Evie's introduction to beads was going to Inspired Fire with Beth and watching her create beads. If I wasn't watching her create, I was cleaning the bead release (dried, baked, and caked mud) out of the bead holes with a dentist pick or spiral wire by hand - talk about tedious. Beth had been making beads and jewelry about three years before she convinced me to take the introduction class (a gift certificate from her to me). One major difference with me making beads - no more cleaning the holes by hand - I bought a Dremmel immediately with a diamond bit - cleaning was a breeze now!
Unfortunately, my eyes aren't as good as Beth's, and my hands are not as steady. I have difficulty telling how close I am to the flame, and lack the precision for extremely detailed work. I am more of the "organic - abstract" sort, but I rather like my style. It works for me.
After Beth started metalsmithing classes, I would help her in crunch times to meet project deadlines. She taught me how to use the jeweler's saw (hate to think how many saw blades I broke). I discovered I liked to do the detailed work - cutting all the little holes out in a design. It was relaxing - getting in the zone. For this, I wear headgear with magnifying glasses built in which helps immensely. Beth taught me how to enamel the copper. She also taught me how to hammer copper bowls into shape. What a stress reliever - blissfully hammering away - don't forget the earplugs. I tend to design bowls that are a bit on the wacky, slightly off-kilter style. I also prefer to make mini bowls that I call ThumBOWLinas.
I taught myself how to macrame (I still have a lot to learn) and to make Chinese sliding button knots. I find it very relaxing. I use satin cord or hemp in a variety of colors to make necklaces and bracelets to compliment our beads and copper pendants. The bright colors are popular in Grove, Oklahoma, but more subdued colors are preferred in Lafayette. I find it interesting that tastes vary from state to state, city to city, person to person. Sometimes I incorporate the satin cord, flameworked beads, and a copper pendant, all in one piece. I find that pleasing. Sometimes, I make by hand sterling silver links, closures and coils to use in the making of our jewelry. This is extremely time consuming. We save that feature for the more elaborate pieces or when want a piece to be totally handmade. Beth loves using the burr cups to finish off the ends. I like turning the ends of the wire into shape and hooking them together. It is fortunate for us that we both appreciate different aspects of the process to complete a finished product. We aren't mainstream, but that's okay.
As Beth said, she hates to draw. I don't draw, but I sketch well. Beth would tell me what she envisioned, and I would sketch it. This collaboration has worked out very well. We both have ideas, I sketch, and we both create projects from there. Don't let Beth fool you; she completed some very nice artwork in her classes and will sketch in a pinch.
Beth is more conservative in her color palette than I. I like mixing colors that unexpectedly go together well and pop. Of course, Beth would probably say it is because I can't tell what color the rods of glass are when I pick them up, and it is a surprise to all once it is fired.
I have only entered one juried competition after being nagged to death by Beth. I did win second place in the beginners' necklace category in the 2007-ISLAGA Art of the Bead competition. Frankly, I just like making things I like. If someone else likes it, I feel extra proud. Being juried is just too nerve-wracking for me. Beth says I just have to get over it. Yeah! Right!
I have woven baskets (staining/coloring my own reeds). I have created stained glass sun catchers and ran a small side business selling them. I made a large stained glass window for front door of a friend who lived in a historic home in Pennsylvania. My dad made a traveling case for it, and the gentleman drove here to pick it up. I will one day finish a very large stained glass piece of a wolf on an outcropping of a rock I started years ago for my son Brian. Beth is still waiting for her dragon in stained glass, and I want a Celtic Love Knot - one of these days. When Beth and Brian were in kindergarten I did the artwork for the holidays in their classrooms. I used to sew all my clothes and clothes for Beth and Brian. I also made their Halloween costumes, which sometimes won them a prize. My mom and I made a man's suit once (and only once - what a pain). I crocheted blankets for each of my children before they were born (only crocheting I have ever done). I started knitting recently. The only thing I know how to make at the moment is a baby hat. Beth and I are trying to get 50 of them made, and then we will donate them to hospitals. My mom would be so proud - I have learned to knit and it isn't so tight you could hold water in it!