Sunday, August 10, 2014

My Five Day Foray in Kumihimo

My Five Day Foray Into Kumihimo

I was tempted. But I, as you know from my earlier posts, was in the throes of completing my summer 2014 collection Scintilla. More on that if you scroll on down..

Once the launch was over and done (with some success I might add) the temptation grew stronger and I was drawn in. Kumihimo. I felt like I was about to climb Everest. Venture into the unknown. Explore the mysteries of this ancient Japanese art of braiding.

My local expert and friend recently posted tutorials on YouTube Making it Easy with Liz and that was where I strapped on the crampons and began to contemplate my climb. She’s good. I felt like Liz was right here alongside me as I spread out most of the necessities for the adventure:

Kumihimo disc
S-lon cord
a weight (substitute)
industrial strength glue
clasps to finish pieces (I live in hope).

And I was up and running.  I followed Liz’s instructions to the letter, smiling at her anecdotes (which brought my intensity down a level or two). And this is the result of the first hour. It uses three colours of S-lon cord and I was surprised at the physical rhythmic benefits. Not very impressive I know, but you have to toddle before you walk!

It was time for a tea break.

Not wanting to scale the North Face too early on in the learning process I dug around in my stash and found satin rattail going back a few years. Not enough to follow Liz’s tutorial but with a little improv, and by adding a length of fine suede leather and some cotton cord I had stored away from my candle making days, I made our dear little whippet, Tilly, a smashing necklace. Seen here. She loves it, can’t you tell?

It was time to call it a day, but I already knew Day Two would hold more joys as I ran my hands through my stash of gem-lined crystal beads, Japanese lustre beads, and porcelain sweeties - pairing them, matching them to clasps and S-lon cords. One step away from drooling!

Day two and nothing else got done around here I as patiently threaded beads. Bronze, and ruby with pewter lined crystals. The colours dazzled and I couldn’t put MY Kumihimo down. As I brought the cords across the disc in the prescribed order, ensuring each bead was tucked into where it should be, my mind wandered to the history of beads, what was their primary purpose? How were they made? The writer/researcher in me made me want to dig further - not this day.

Before lunch I was done. With the exception of attaching the clasp. After lunch it was time to check in with Making it Easy with Liz Attaching a clasp to your Kumihimo.  And voila! My first Kumihimo bracelet is here:

I do have another life, as many of you know - but I was on, what seems commonly called, “a roll”, and days three and four progressed beyond bracelets and into ideas for designing necklaces.  At the end of Day Five I was out of stash, out of clasps, and the pantry was also very bare!  But I felt that I’d reached Base Camp of Kumihimo. I’d explored techniques and improved my skills. Inspiration and design ideas were kicking in, and while I know it’ll be some time before I reach the summit, I’m looking forward to the journey with tingling fingers.

And that's it - five days of total indulgence.  

My thanks to Liz Carter, of Making it Easy with Liz, for sharing her skills with me, for introducing me to precious metal clay and for being my guiding light for over seven years. Also to Sandra Marquis of The Lilieth Boutique in Liverpool for providing an outlet for my work.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Scintilla: the summer 2014 collection

Scintilla Launches in Liverpool

Three years ago, I launched a new collection of wearable art at The Swoon Gallery in Hammonds Plains. It was exciting. It was successful, but now it’s time to reveal a new collection closer to home.

As you know, I work primarily in silver clay, hand forming the pieces and firing them in a kiln, as I once did as a potter, but on a much smaller scale. The result is jewellery in fine silver (.999), each piece unique.

But I’ve been exploring new mediums, this new collection includes work in bronze and also knitted wire.  For that I had to research early Greek and Roman techniques.”

There are 60 pieces of jewellery/wearable art in this summer 2014 collection I've called Scintilla. I like the word, it means, among other things, a spark of a feeling, and that is what started the inspiration for the work more than six months ago.”

I've been represented at The Lilieth Boutique on Main Street, Liverpool, Nova Scotia since 2013, and that is where I’ll be on Saturday 28th June 2014 from 2 - 5 pm launching Scintilla. Everyone is welcome.

For more information, find the event on facebook or visit