Sunday, October 10, 2010

My first feather fan

This was a pretty big and complicated piece, for me. I'd never done a fan before, just beaded single feathers. Steve sent me the eagle feathers (with the requisite permit-it's illegal to have eagle feathers in your possession unless one is Native American, and has a permit), and fan handle and told me to go for it. I wanted to make something that reflected, but didn't exactly copy the traditional feather fan. Part of the work, straightening the feathers a bit was definitely a first for me, and was a bit scary, but the methods outlined in David Dean's book worked.

I did some threadwork on the feather shafts, beaded the handle, and decided to do a definitely untraditional motif on the wider part of the fan handle.
I added wild dove feathers to the front, to symbolize peace, and fringe to the bottom of the handle.

I hope this is something he likes, but if not, it can be's only beadwork, after all. :-)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Taos Wool Festival

I went to the Taos Wool Festival for the first time last Sunday. I've been trying to teach myself hand spinning for the past year, and finally found a course near enough and scheduled on a day that I could actually attend, so up to scenic Taos I went. The class was great! Taught by Ruth Northrop of California, it gave me all the hints and tips and tricks I needed to become a good beginning spinner. Next year I'm definitely going to take a more advanced course from her, if she comes back.
Then I spent a bit of time at the actual festival, scoping out the many gorgeous finished pieces, watching hand and spinning wheel spinners, sheep shearers, oogling at the llamas, sheep, angora bunnies, and even a yak!

I bought some 'tops'-wool that has been prepared for spinning, some natural and one dyed and came home to play with my new toys.
I try to spin some every day (not difficult, as it's a soothing and engaging task), and can see that I've got a new craft to keep me occupied, especially on cold winter days.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

New pouch finished

This week's creation (while I was waiting for some supplies to come from Steve for a big project) is a little pouch I call my Aztec Princess. It's my favorite four petal design (which when worked up in a tiny pouch is called a pollen pouch), about six inches long, sewn together with picots of transparent red size 11 seedbeads, and embellished with a polyclay face surrounded by gold plated charlottes and the luscious peacock dagger beads I picked up at Betcey's Beyond Beadery open house this year, and topped off with some transparent red nailheads that I got from my buddy Mary.
Man, that commercial brain tanned leather is like 'buttah'! Gotta get more of that.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Finished rattle embellishment

Steve bought a rattle at Indian Market and left it with me to do some beaded embellishment. He gave me freedom to do what I wanted with it, so I did. I worked up a peyote bird and bear print pattern on the handle, added brass cones and green deltalium to the fringe at the bottom of the handle. Then I made a netted cover for the gourd, with jasper bears dangling from the netting which increased the intensity of the rattle sound, and changed the red horsehair topper for a blonde horsehair topper. I think it turned out well.

Monday, August 23, 2010

More Indian Market pics

I fell in love with these pipes by Argus Dowdy, a pipemaker and sculptor from Oklahoma. His quillwork rivals any that I've seen and each pipe is a work of art. Pictures can't do them justice, but here they are:

The pipes are sculpted from Minnesota pipestone, this one is inlaid with a tin/lead alloy, which is close to what the original pipemakers used; according to Mr. Dowdy the original pipes were often inlaid with bullet lead.

Steve and I meandered into the NNMAC gallery on Friday before Indian Market and fell in love with a series of fantastic masks made by Yup'ik artist Phillip John Charette:

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Indian Market purchases

I managed to get out, so far, without doing too much damage to my wallet, but I couldn't resist this sea serpent by 8 year old Jacy Edaakie from Zuni, and this wonderful pottery mouse by young artist Grace Aragon from Acoma Pueblo. I have a feeling both of these young artists will be well known in the future!

More Indian Market

Another foray around the Plaza and beyond. This time I saw a beautiful blue ribbon blanket, woven by TahNibaa Naataanii of Shiprock, NM. She also had a framed piece in the booth-her very first weaving, done at the age of 7. This artist is also experimenting with weaving on a European style loom and also had two fabulous felted scarf/runner pieces that were like nothing I'd ever seen, with sections of what looked like silk fabric incorporated into the raw felting (I didn't take pics of these.)

The first weaving piece is mounted on what looks like a regular 8 1/2 by 11 inch sized paper. Delicate and intricate work for such a little girl.

There was a scultptor on the Plaza who had a blue ribbon piece, too. I also loved the salmon that was sitting next to the bigger totem like piece. He didn't have any cards out, and was busy chatting with a visitor, so I managed to not get his name.

I managed to restrain myself and limited my purchases to two pieces by young artists. One is a clever little mouse done by a young Acoma girl, and the other is a snake done by an eight year old Zuni boy. Pictures to follow later.


Still traveling in full sensory overload mode. Today I'm trying to just gravitate towards things that I've never seen before or things that are just so stunning that they pull me towards them. The first thing I saw today that really caught my eye was a table full of dolls woven from something like willow, but on further reflection I bet it's cedar. There were two lovely women at the booth, by the name of Gobin from Tulalip, Washington.

They had won a blue ribbon for their work and and they were happy to let me take pictures of the dolls (also hats, which weren't for sale, but they said they'd be bringing some next year).

Looks like it's almost lunchtime. Time to get back out there. My buddy Beth is hopefully on her way up from Albuquerque to meet up with us.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


I met up with my old friend Steve, who flew in from Portland to attend this year's Indian Market, on Friday, the day before Market started. He managed to score this darling little casita just two blocks from the Plaza in Santa Fe where most of the Indian Market madness occurs, including a coveted parking pass for me! We scouted out the area the day before and then hit the Market in earnest this morning. There are apparently over 1200 artists showing this year, and over 600 booths, and I doubt that we've seen even half yet. Maybe a quarter. There is some SERIOUS talent showing at Indian Market.
I was thrilled to see that my friend Sally's husband Jerry had garnered 2 blue ribbons for his beadwork and quillwork. The pic below is Jerry in his quilled/horsehair bedecked leather coat. The work is exquisite!

Sally and Jerry, and Sally's talented daughter Amber Gauthier have a booth on Palace Ave. showcasing Jerry's traditional beadworked items, his paintings, Amber's paintings and some seriously cool skateboard decks by Amber.
Sally tried to hide from the camera:

Closeup of Amber's decks:

Sally and Jerry surrounded by Jerry's beadwork and paintings, with Amber's paintings just showing behind Sally:

Jerry's first prize winning bag:

Sigh! I'll never come close to doing beadwork like that, but I sure love to see it!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Actual Beadwork Completed

I couldn't resist Anne Choi's latest bead, the Ouroboros and Mandrake, combined with an ee cummings verse. I bought it and made it into a fancy key fob, in memory of my Mom who lived with Alzheimers for the last years of her life. The verse reads "when time from time shall set us free, forgetting me, remember me". The ouroboros and mandrake combined remind me of the magical, spiritual qualities of life, that we are all in a cycle of renewal and disintegration and that it's OK. All is as it should be in any given moment, if we can just let go and accept.

My other big splurge recently was a new stethoscope. When I first took the office nurse job, the culture shock was so great that I felt I'd never need a stethoscope again, and gave my old one to the nurse who took my place in the ER. Well, I've decided that I probably DO need a stethoscope from time to time, so I got a decent Littman and in my usual fashion, beaded it up. This time I used delicas, and I'm not sure I really like the look-I actually think smaller beads might have looked better, but it's done and I like it enough to use it. The pattern on the ear pieces is one I made that I call the 'eye of Fatima', in a nod to the healing hand of Fatima with the eye on the palm. The main tubing is beaded with a yin/yang symbol bordered by a celtic knotwork pattern.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Good deed rewarded

My friend Sally met a woman in Santa Fe the other day. Her name is Debora Duran-Geiger and she's a tile maker who lives in Santa Fe and Panama, and Sally, being Sally, struck up a conversation with her at Hobby Lobby because she noticed Debora's really fantastic beaded purse and mola blouse. Turns out Debora is here in New Mexico to sell tiles at the Artist Outdoor show at the Santa Fe Plaza. Besides doing tile work, Debora teaches women in Panama beadwork, and she told Sally how difficult it is for them to get beading supplies. Sally, being Sally, gave Debora her 'bead soup' and put out a call to the online bead group we both belong to for any bead soup (basically any collection of unsorted or mixed beads) that anyone could spare. Luckily I had a rather large backlog of beads, due to being given a ton of beads by a dear friend last year (beads that had belonged to an avid beader who had died-her family didn't want the beads to just languish, and Steve appropriated them for me.)
Funny thing, I went down to Santa Fe this morning with what felt like 20 pounds of beads and was lugging them through the many, many booths in the plaza when I spotted the purse that Sally had so aptly described. I accosted Debora and ended up spending a bit of time with her at her booth. The beads were gratefully received, and Debora gifted me with one of her tiles, framed and signed. I couldn't resist buying two more (one of which is pictured above, the other I'm holding back, as it's a present for a friend). Of course, Debora gave me an extraordinary discount on the two that I bought, so I feel like a double winner. I got the joy of giving and the joy of a bargain all in one day!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

On Being an Office Nurse

When I took the job of office nurse, moving from the love/hate affair I had with the ER for 28 years, I was assured I could take my knitting in, it would be so slow and tame compared to the ER. NOT! hehe. First off there were a ton of new skills to learn, from 'working' with insurance companies for such things as pre-auths for meds to learning a new computer system, etc. etc. Then when I had settled in after a few months, the corporation that owns the practice decided to move the practice into a newer building to share space with another doctor. So again, change occurs. The job is supposed to be part time, about 56 hrs a pay period, but has managed to be around 75 to 80 hours a pay period so far. Not complaining about that, it's extra $$, but I really do like the idea of part time.
Meanwhile, I've acquired a new stethoscope and am in the process of beading it, and am trying to teach myself manga/anime drawing. Jake goes back to college next week to try and knock out those four credits he needs to graduate. It's been good having him home for the summer, but I know he's chafing at the bit to get on with his life.
I'm including a couple of my first drawings for the amusement of my two readers....
Stethoscope pics to follow, maybe by Monday.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mini Vacation!

Jake and I took off early Friday morning, with two goals and the thought of some sightseeing in mind. We headed out on 518 towards Mora and then on to Taos, where we stopped for lunch at a little brew-pub called Eske. Nice little place with friendly atmosphere, fast service and good food. Onward towards the north we passed the Earthship biotecture settlement. The houses look fantastic, and I'm determined to go and check them out someday, when time permits. Our first goal was Buena Vista, Colorado, where Jake wanted to check out the sister brew pub to the Socorro Springs pub (our favorite dining spot in Socorro, home of New Mexico Tech, Jake's college). The only motel room I'd been able to get was at the Topaz Lodge in Buena Vista (this was a hastily planned trip and it's full tourist season in scenic Colorado). The motel was, at best, adequate, but the pub, called the Eddyline was quite good. We headed out in the morning towards our other objective, Betcey's Beyond Beadery open house.

Betcey lives way up in the northern Colorado Rockies, above the little town of Rollinsville and the trip was gorgeous and exciting, winding through countless switchbacks and through charming little towns onto a series of well kept dirt roads until we reached Betcey's house. For a beader, the place is paradise. More beads than I've seen in most beadstores packed into the lower portion of Betcey's house. On the drive up, I told Jake "I don't see how she can get anyone to come up here a SECOND time, but after being in the shop for only a few minutes I was already planning how to make the trip and be able to spend way more time and money next year. I was amazed at the endless rows and racks of beads, all numbered and organized by type and color. The amount of work that goes into this business is mind boggling.

Let's not forget Betcey's specialty, Swarovski's. There was a whole section of them, from the newest to the cool old vintage ones. I deliberately stayed away from them, as I have a lot I need to use up before I allow myself to buy more....

Nikia Angel was there with a selection of her kits from Buy the Kit and let me tell you, the pictures you see of the finished projects don't do them enough justice. Each one is a little work of art! The only picture I got of Nikia's work that turned out even a little non-blurry is a side view, but let me tell you, the kits are well worth the price!

We enjoyed a bit of shopping and some snacks and then hit the road for home, a long 6 hour drive, the 'non-scenic' route. I had been planning to go home a slower, more scenic way if we had been able to score a motel room along the way, but everything was booked solid.
Anyone who has ever considered going to Betcey's open house, do it! It's a fun way to see some gorgeous country. I feel as refreshed from this two day flying trip as I have from some more lengthy vacations! Now I just have to figure out how to talk my buddy Mary into making the trip with me next year.....