How has your mother (or a mother you love) inspired you artistically?

As I get older, I appreciate more the childhood that shaped who I am today. Part of that was growing up in a house full of creative energy, inspiration and lots of art supplies. I joke about how I thought it was normal to have a living room full of gigantic floor looms and how, by early elementary school, I was a certified yarn snob. Although I wasn’t very interested in weaving as a kid, we were constantly creating and always allowed full artistic expression. I remember when was about five years old there was a bike parade in our town where kids would decorate their bikes with streamers and bows and ride through the town square. There were prizes for the best decorated bikes. I took my tricycle, strapped a tiny blue chair to the back and placed my giant stuffed lion in it. Then, I drew a person in market on a piece of paper and taped that to the front. I think there may have also been streamers. I won the prize for “funniest”. That incident pretty well exemplifies my artistic senses from then on. I was always inventing, creating, trying to come up with something new. For me, art was about expression. My mother fostered my love for creating by always encouraging, helping and never quelling my wild side. She was also quite the creative force, at the time very serious about her tapestry weaving, and I am sure living in such an environment helped shaped who I am today.

In honor of Mother’s Day this year, we’ve launched a little contest on Facebook. You can win a $25.00 Mirrix Loom Gift Certificate just by answering this question (Either on our Facebook Page or Facebook Group): (THIS CONTEST HAS ENDED)

How has your mother (or a mother you love) inspired you artistically? 


We will choose one winner on Mother’s Day.

Here are our entries so far: (Be prepared for some tears!)

Kathryn A Wyant Schulte My Mother Mary Margaret inspired me artistcally by being a cake-decorator. She also inspired me to be creative because at 8 I taught myself to sew and she bought my first sewing machine.It was a very good one,probably more than my dad and her could afford. I still use it and I have had it for 52 years .It is the best, better than all my new ones.


Therese Magnani My mother is a quilt artist. I tried quilting and found that while I could do it, it wasn’t my thing. My mom has taken a lot of classes and workshops over the years that combine a variety of fiber art techniques, and when I go to visit her, she always has something new to share with me. We end up making projects together and teaching each other something in the process. In doing this, she opens up new ways for me to see things. Whether it is working with color combinations, materials, or techniques, she inspires me to always look for something new to try. I aspire to be as creative and productive as she is now when I reach her age.


Jennifer Chasalow VanBenschoten My mom was an amazing knitting, crochet and needlepoint artist, as well as a phenomenal wildlife photographer. When I was a kid growing up, she earned her income from selling her original patterns to yarn and craft magazines, and then later as an editor for those magazines. When I was pregnant with my son, she was my inspiration for venturing out as a full time artist so that I could stay home with my son for his first years. She never discouraged my sister and I when it came to our artistic endeavors, and we are both successful profession al artists today! I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the example of my mom! Mom passed away in 2008 when my son was just five months old, but she inspired me to follow my bliss!


McKinley Murry My Mother is my best friend. She has always put me first in her life. Mom has taught me to always try new things and never stop learning. For the past 3 years we have done fiber arts. I know more and do more than most people. We have changed the way people think of challenged people. Mom has guided me, but allows me to do my own thing. I love color because Mom made color important in my life. I can express myself through my weaving. And I am judged by my skill not by my looks. Weaving gives me a voice equal to others. My voice. My work. Mom is always close by to cheer my efforts. She provides me with tons of good books to use for ideas. Buys me the best supplies. The best music to listen to. And most of all her time and energy. She always ask my opinon of her work and listens to my ideas. We help each other reach for the moon in our weaving and if we fall? We land in the stars and start again. Life is Good.


McKinley Murry I have to speak of another improtant Mother in my life. Miss Betty Clarkson. She and Mr. Jim are parents of Miss Bailley their Cocker Spaniel. She is like a mother to me. She has taught me many fiber arts. While Mom was going nuts weaving bracelets, Miss Betty and I were learning tapestry together. She always has a smile on her face and a “Can do attitude”. She is proud of my weaving and we laugh a lot together being “Goobies”. Miss Betty supports my ideas and always tries to help me as little as possible so I learn. That is a very hard thing to do for someone you love. To watch me struggle and allow me to make my own mistakes. She inspires me to be the best I can be just like my Mom does. I needed to tell you how Important Miss Betty is to my work. We share ideas and our life together. I love her and her family. Miss Betty Clarkson my BFF!


Betty Clarkson My Mother always instilled in each of her 4 daughters the love of creating. At a very young agea we did clothes for our dolls, embroiedery, pot holder weaving, and many other fiber crafts. I remember one summer creating a picnic cloth. Mom took a new white bed sheet and we decorated it with fruit. Tracing the design unto the cloth and using crayons to fill in the color. Wax paper was placed on the design area and heat set with the iron. Her encouragement of the fiber arts were contagious. I began weaving on a simple loom and graduated to a floor loom. It did not stop there. Spinning and dyeing fibers was another adventure into the wonderful world of fiber. I started using the Mirrix Looms about a year ago and now am enjoying the journey of learning how to create tapestry and bead weaving. My mother always encouraged and instilled the love of creating with fiber. She passed 3 years ago – I miss her but know she is happy that I am continuing my journey. Thank-you Mom for everything. Hugs XOXOXO


Patty Stabile My Mom let me try things and had the patience of a saint when I failed, ie: knitting. Mom can do anything and I keep trying to catch up to her standards, especially my flower arranging. She made my bridal bouquets, beautiful.


Denise Prince My mother was an expert seamstress. The most amazing part of this is that she was entirely self-taught. In my youth, when I would want to try some new artistic endeavor, she was always supportive. She taught me to sew by showing me what I was suppose to do — and then leaving the room! She was never far, in case I needed help. Whatever I tried, she was there to offer support (from the next room! lol). When I started making jewelry, she was my #1 client. When she would get a compliment on a piece I made, she would say, “My daughter made it. She only uses the good stuff.” She inspired me with her “you can do anything” attitude and constant belief that everything I did was wonderful.

Susan Kirby When I was in high school and learning to sew, my Mom would always buy me the best fabric. She would encourage me by admiring everything I made. She was one of my best clients for my jewelry not only wearing it herself, but buying it often for gifts. She always said she was proud of me.
 
Sherie McManaman My mother is a true artist, she worked in oils and pastels for a great deal of her life. She always supported me in anything I tried – from painting to sewing to knitting. She is to this day, ever patient and happy to share her talent and steer me in the right direction.
 
Cindy Moore My mother is a wonderful seamstress. She made almost all my clothes until I learned to sew myself. I always had the up-to-date fashions in school thanks to her. Because of that, I know I can have anything I want if I make it myself.


Mothers Day Contest Entry
My mom is my biggest inspiration, she is a great seamstress, avid knitter and crocheter and owns her own LYS. At a young age all five of us were crafters, even the boys. Mom always said “Don’t quit” You can do it. My eight year old brother taught me to sew oven mitts for christmas on the old treadle. Sewing was my first passion, then knitting, but now I found beading I cant stop. When we would go to bed at night and mom was knitting by the fire, in the am we would have new mitts or socks to go to school. She is precious and still teaching today. My sisters are both great painters and seamstress , I dont paint or draw.

More hand-painted silk

We spent the day dyeing and then hung it out on the clothes line to dry.  That is about two kilos of silk. That’s a lot of silk.  Now the “fun” part:  making it into skeins.  But the painting was so much fun.  
Hanging in the sun

That’s Pam, my dyeing partner

Claudia with her eyes closed, as usual

Weave-Along 6: Crystal and Two-Cut Bead Affinity Bracelet

Necessary materials: 
Warp:  Hand painted silk is nice but anything strong and beautiful will do
Beads:  We are using lovely two cut size 11/0 iris beads (www.caravanbeads.net)
Crystals:  any size 4mm round crystals will do
Warp your loom with the hand painted silk warp (or something beautiful).  You will essentially have six warps, but we suggest you double the end warps so that you have more silk to create the rope or braid at the ends.  You will also be leaving a space twice as wide as the other spaces between the two middle warps.  This is to accommodate the crystal, which is twice as wide as the beads.
String up six of the two cut beads and put behind and between the warp threads.  Sew through the front of the warp making sure to capture all the beads
 For row two, you will string up two beads, one crystal, two beads.
I have skipped a row, but what I am doing here is what you need to do with your first crystal.  Pick up two beads.  Bring thread in front of piece after warp three.  Sew through crystal.  Bring thread behind warp before warp four.  String two beads.  Then sew back through the two beads, the crystal and the remaining two beads.
 Weave two rows of just beads.  Repeat two rows with one crystal.
  Weave until you’ve woven fifteen crystals  Remove from loom.
Trim loops on end of warp.
Tie overhand knots in the pairs of warps.  For fun, we slipped on two glazed clay beads.  You must have something fun around your house you can slip on before creating the rope.
We made just one rope by dividing the warps in half, twisting in the direction of twist already in the warp and then back twisting on itself to create one rope on each end.  Recently, we’ve figured out that C-clamps come in handy for this operation.  Just clamp the body of your piece to a table to keep it stable while making the ropes.
For the cl asp, make a small rope with the warp material and then wrap it twice around the over-lapped warp ends and pulling it tightly.  Tie a knot.
Your bracelet is now ready to wear or to gift!

The Friendship Bracelet All Grown Up

Like many of us these days I live across the country from some of my closest friends. Skype, Facebook, IM and email have made keeping in touch much easier, but it’s still hard to be far from all those people who I have known the longest. My best friend, 3,000 miles away in New Hampshire (I’m in Seattle these days), had a fantastic idea recently: to take a notebook and send it back and forth across the country filled with whatever we want: poems, pictures, journal entries and anything else we can think of. It was such a wonderful surprise to get the notebook in the mail a few weeks ago and I am excited to send mine back. In addition to a whole bunch of writing I decided to include an Affinity Bracelet in the notebook. I won’t show the bracelet in case she reads this blog, but it was a pretty basic all-bead Affinity with lines of crystals added periodically making the edges not straight.

The great thing about these Affinity Bracelets, but also about creating art in general, is that it gives you a piece of yourself to share. My husband and I got married recently and I must say some of the most touching gifts were handmade. I mean, we adore our new vacuum cleaner (seriously, I love that vacuum cleaner) but the painting that was painted just for us? That’s a special kind of gift. 
Create. Share.

Craftsy

It was a year ago next month that we posted our first project to the then brand-new website Craftsy. We watched as they grew from a simple place to post projects to a great resource for patterns, instructional videos and inspiration. We connected with them fairly early on and eventually planned an online instructional course that we’ve been shooting this week!

Claudia, filming!
The course will be sold on Craftsy and is more detailed than anything we’ve done before. It covers aspects of tapestry, bead weaving and combining the two and will presented on the fantastic Craftsy platform, allowing students to ask questions and share their work online!
We had a lot of fun shooting. The people at Craftsy are so incredibly nice and fun and funny too.

Claudia’s hair and makeup was done by the fabulous Danica. Check out her website: http://danicajardien.com/

Expect this course to be available in the next month or so. Thanks to everyone at Craftsy and remember to check out their website at www.craftsy.com.

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UPDATE:

You can view Claudia’s Craftsy Class Here

A rainbow, a bracelet

I took these photos the other day.  Just found them on my camera and was surprised that the rainbow was photographed so beautifully.  Thank you camera.

And then there was the second rainbow.  I put a hand-painted silk cord on the loom and then wove with hand-painted silk ribbon.  This bracelet has an entirely different feel from the other affinity bracelets.  It’s very stiff because the warp was so heavy and the silk ribbon gives it lots of subtle texture.  I wrapped and tied some silk cord around the overlapping warp ends.  This just proves you can use a huge variety of materials in these affinity bracelets.

Affinity Bangles

I wanted some bangles. You know, like this but not $1,095.00. I decided to take out my Mini Mirrix and attempt to make my own. The problem with making a woven bangle is that it needs to be fairly rigid and generally beaded bracelets are not. Claudia suggested I weave something wide and then roll it into a tube to add strength, which I think would work and I intend to try. I decided to first use a combination of SoftFlex wire and silk as my warp and weave a piece using only 8/0 beads.

I warped the loom four dents across with one strand of SoftFlex and one strand of silk, both in a single dent. The weaving was very fast.
I’d say for a normal wrist, you should make your weaving about 8″, but measure first. 
After cutting the piece off the loom I connected the two ends. Ideally, I’d like a little bow or pretty bead or something where the ends meet to cover up any messy finishing. 
Generally, I’m happy how this turned out. The SoftFlex gave the bracelet and nice weight and made it less flimsy. Once it’s on a wrist it hangs very nicely. That said, to be a true bangle, it should probably be a little stiffer. I will keep experimenting and let you know how it goes!

A new affinity bracelet and an ankle bracelet

I kept fixating on the clay beads that are on sale at the www.caravanbeads.com site.  I knew they could be used in an affinity bracelet.  So I finally took a break from getting ready for the Craftsy video and ordered and then wove those beads.  I used a very thin tapestry needle to string them onto the silk thread.  They have huge holes (I am using the 2mm by 4mm beads).  I love the look.  It is kind of funky but also very colorful.  Instead of making a peyote stitch clasp, I simply tied a piece of suede cord around the the over lapped braided silk ends.  Works great and fits in with the overall design.

I used the blue, terra cotta and light green beads . . . they come in lovely muted colors.

The clasp could not have been easier to make!

Elena suggested I try to make a bangle on the loom.  At first I was going to try to do it with beads, but then I got fascinated with the idea of doing it with silk thread and a few beads.  My idea was that I would weave an eight bead wide and silk tapestry piece using the No Warps Ends Kit and softflex beading wire and then roll it up and sew the sides together.  I thought it would make something rounded and bangle-like.  The mistake I made was to use two cut beads which resisted rolling up.  Next time I will use size 11/0 seed beads.
Bangle for the wrist?  I am not sure.  It’s a little bulky.  Plus I didn’t make it big enough so that if I had sewn the ends together it would have struggled getting over my hand.  
I had purchased some thin, flat leather cord a while back.  I had tried to put memory wire in the piece, but it just didn’t want to go.  So I threaded the cord into a large tapestry needle and pushed it through the piece, leaving a few inches extra for the tie.
And then I tied it on my ankle.  This is hands down the sweetest ankle bracelet I have ever made.  You can see it a mile away.  It is not subtle at all and the colors just sing.  This is staying on my ankle all summer unless I make a nicer one.  And the good news is it is so easy to take off and those ties really stay tied.  

Now I have two new supplies in my supply box:  clap beads and suede ties.  

Weave-Along 6: Week Two, The Second Bracelet

This second Affinity bracelet is made entirely of seed beads (in this case we’ve used 2 cut 11/0 seed beads, but you can use just regular 11/0 seed beads.  The warp is  hand painted so we only used one “color” which turns out to be a lot of colors.

The supplies you need other than the warp and the beads include:  C-Lon (or some kind of) beading thread, a bead weaving needle, a tapestry needle and a scissors.

We used eight warps.  You can use as many or as few as you’d like, but we like this number of warps for this particular weave.

Tie the end of threaded C-Lon thread to side bar of loom using a slip knot.

Weave one row of beads.  Remove tied end from side bar and make half of square knot and pull so that the warp threads are arranged so that there is no space between the threads and the beads.

Sew in the tail end of the bead thread, tying a knot around a warp thread and sewing some more.  

Trim weft tail.

Start the gold thread.  We have used six strands.

On your return pass, catch the end of the thread so that it travels up the side of the weaving and is buried.  Use this same method to conceal the bead weft, so that it too travels up the side of your weaving.

Once you’ve woven six or so rows, trim the gold weft tail.

 Weave another row of beads, burying the gold thread along the side of the piece.

Wasn’t that fast!  We are almost done weaving.  See how tight and GOLD this piece looks.

Close up of that magic gold thread.

We discovered a way to keep the piece from  running all round when trying to finish the ends.  Just use a nice big C-clamp and clamp the body of your piece to a table edge.  Works great.  Do not break asn beads though.  You will notice that the piece we are finishing is not the one that was on the loom.  The finished piece uses size 11/0 seed beads.

Tie over hand knots in  half the threads.  Use your tapestry needle to push the knot toward the base of the piece.

We have braided our ends instead of making roes.

Make a peyote tube for closing.  Instructions for this are in Affinity bracelet One tutorial.

Now it’s time for you to explore your bead stash and make up new design to share with us!