Butter that Fly

Just a little twiddle…

Someone on my chainmaillers group posted a picture of what they’d done with the Conjure units.  Not to be left behind now that I had the tutorial and the weave in my hands (as well as the aluminum scales) I had to follow suit…

 

Lookit – a butterfly.

 

Conjure Butterfly

Am I having too much fun with this weave?

 

 

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Abracadabra – I Conjure a Pendant!

Look…I made a thing!

Conjure - 3 unit E4-1 choker

 

I have to admit – I dithered over purchasing this tutorial for the focal, called a Conjure Pendant, for about a month.  This weekend, I finally caved in and ordered it.

Now, I have two sides to buying tutorials for crafting stuff.  On the one side, I like to support someone else’s creative endeavors.  Not only are these people taking the time to craft a new way of weaving little metal rings together, but they’ve also dropped creation to take multiple photos and write up the do’s and don’ts of their particular creation.

I wrote out a tutorial once – it’s a whole ‘nother brand of insanity.

But…on the other side of random internet purchases…I hate to buy tutorials because I may not have the rings or stones on hand, which means a delay of a week or more to get rings in from TRL, or time and more temptation running to the beading shop in Brookfield, or just putting the tutorial in one of my files for ‘stuff I gotta get around to…’

That file is starting to get a bit large…

I’m blaming the chainmaillers group I belong to on Facebook for the purchase of the tutorial.  Too many people were posting too many pendants, earrings, and other bits and bobs featuring the Conjure pendant for me to resist the urge to get the damn thing and make some of my own.

So, I caved, and hit the purchase button on Saturday.

shocked-face

 

 

I HAVE RINGS IN THE RIGHT SIZE!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

*Insert celebratory dance here*

Out of respect to the author of the tutorial – I won’t go into detail on how I built the Conjure unit.  Once the pattern is in the hands, though – the units go together nice & smooth.  By the time I was on the 3rd pendant, I was fully ‘off’ the tutorial, and weaving in a way that made more sense to my own personal pair of hands.

Now that I had three little fully-encased gems – it was time for some fun.

First, I attached the three units together with short lengths of byzantine on either side.  Sure, I could have connected the units together with a single ring between the pairs, but what fun is that?  And I like the bubble effect it gives between the units.

I tried to craft a length of hoodoo for the chain – but that failed rather spectacularly.  I’ll just add hoodoo to the list of ‘stuff I gotta get around to.’

See…that list grows even with the right rings in stock…

But…I do know E4-1 quite well, and the sidewalls on the Conjure pendants were spaced like the pendant was created specifically to fit into an E4-1 sheet with my ring sizes in mind.

I just love when things work out like this 😀

I even struck gold on the clasp.  A couple of months ago, I bought a tube clasp for a different project.  That clasp turned out to be way too small for that project, and has been languishing in my parts bin since.  It fits this choker PERFECTLY.

 

So much for getting anything else done Sunday – I spent pretty much the entire day on this build.

Worth it!

Conjure units

Dude, Really?

 

A couple of weeks ago, I showed a picture of a little chainmaille fella I’d been working on, who accompanied the SQO on his trip to Texas.  He didn’t fare too well on the journey.  One of the beads fell out of his leg.

At least he didn’t leave his heart in Texas…

Now, by the time this little dude came back to me, damaged but still recognizable, he had a brother or 2 – as I employed chainmaille therepy to combat the separation.  Those guys aren’t going to lose any pieces any time soon, as they were upgrades in pattern and design from the little Dude who went traveling.

This weekend, I got the last few ring sizes I needed to finalize the overall design, and I’m happy with the result.

 

dude-assembled

Introducing:  The Dude – a whimsical little Maille Man design by yours truly.  He’s  entertaining the masses from his residence in my Etsy shop – available in both stock and customizable colors.  I even wrote a tutorial if you want to make a Dude of your own!

 

You want to know how a pile of rings and beads went from “I’m bored,” to “Look, I made something KEWL!”?  You got it…

Here’s the process behind ‘The Dude Project’

Step inside my mind…

***Creak***

***Dry Rustle***

***Wet Squishing***

Oops – you may want to watch where you walk – but don’t worry, a bit of cleanser and a stiff brush should save your shoes…

Never mind the piled junk in the corners or the graffiti painted on the walls.   The cauldron?  It’s boiling at the exact shade of purple it should be.  Don’t follow the trail of broken bracelet parts out the door  –  that’s the Dragon’s Trail, and you’re not fireproof!

And pay no attention to the long, stringy, slimy guys in the other room singing ‘Madness’ by Muse (a bit off key, I might add…)

They’re just ear worms…

Step up to my work table.  Yes…I know it looks like a big pile of papers and junk, but trust me…there’s a table under there…

See – right in the center of the pile of stuff?  The cell phone?  That’s the Muse Hotline…and lookie here… it’s RINGING…

 

muse-text-copy

At least they haven’t figured out emoji’s yet…

Soooo – let’s dig out some rings, and play…

dude-one

Dude #1  –   OK – round ring for the head.  Round ring for the body.  Paired chains suggesting arms & legs.  A way (ok…a bad way) to settle limbs in a manner which suggests they ARE limbs.  All in all – a very ROUGH proof-of-concept.

Problems:

  1. He looks like a deformed spiny/fuzzy fish mated with a human being…in maille.
  2. He has NO neck.  The head is loosely attached to the fuzzy/spiny body & he’ll get whiplash if a strong breeze comes along…
  3. Without more definition for those things coming off the center ring, he could be a squid, a sun, a malformed table…  The form needs to scream ARMS, LEGS, HEAD, TORSO.

 

dude-2

Dude #2   –   Fixed the spiny/fuzzy fish-man mating issue by building a short chain of FP 6 in 1 for the body. Form now resembles a stick figure…certainly a human-analog with the addition of ‘fingers’ and a neck.  Going in the right direction…but – gave him pants up to his armpits.

Problems:

  1. Body too skinny.  Need a quick & easy sheet-weave instead of a single-strand chain.
  2. Colored AA rings do not come in the 19ga 1/4″ rings used to capture 6mm pearls.  Closest common size is too big, as evidenced by this Dude’s trip to Texas, where he came back missing a bead, and common glass beads do not come in 7mm.  Will have to ditch the ring colors, working only in Stainless Steel and/or bronze/copper.
  3. Dude is bow-legged, and legs still have no defining characteristic.

 

dude-3

Dude #3  –   This torso is MUCH more pleasing, offering better positioning and flex in the legs & hips, while keeping the suggestion of a neck between the torso and the head ring.  Really BIG feet define human form legs, as well as solidly locking in those beads.

Problems:

Just need to work on a face.  The body feels complete, and the feet are adorable!

 

dude-3-5

 

Dude #4  –  Facial design prototype.

Face has suggestions of eyes, hair, and a mouth full of (?)teeth.

 

Problems:

 

  1. Face piece too small for the body.
  2. Face is IMPOSSIBLE to attach to the body without losing the teeth in the neck.
  3. Are they REALLY teeth – or just confusing stabilizing rings?

dude-4

 

Dude #5  –   Final.  Reconfigured the facial design using larger framing ring.  Lost the teeth, but gave him a hint of a smile with this final construction.

Dude project complete – and he’s a happy little guy.  Can add colors to the ‘hair’ rings for variety, as well as changing out the colors of the beads.

 

The Muses are pleased.  The Dudes are pleased.  And I have a new fiddly-toy thing to play with at work while I sit on hold…

 

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That’s Debatable

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The first debate between the two major competitors in the contest of ‘Who wants to Pick Curtains for the White House’ happened on Monday evening.

The interwebz are ringing with ‘TRUMP!’ or ‘CLINTON!’ cheers, as each side in this contest seem to believe their candidate verbally trounced the other.  Meme’s are being slammed into Facebook accounts with specially-laced keyboard venom.  YouTuber’s are happily pulling select clips from this debacle…er…hotly contested race and making 3 minute videos of Trump’s sniffing (SniffGate?) and Hillary’s coughing throat-clearing (HealthGate?).

Twitter, Instagram, and all the other social media outlets are all feeling the rising hostilities as America once again simultaneously shows it’s soft, undefended belly, and tears strips out of it in this 4-year annual, ultimate throw-down brawl.

The only ones who win this particular three-ring-circus are the ones selling political advertising.  The rest of us are straight up S.O.L.

As I find Political Theater less enjoyable than passing a kidney stone, I did not watch the debate.

I find politics annoying.  I don’t care if you’re going to vote for the orange megalomaniac baboon, the commensurate establishment liar, the third-party ‘I think I’ve heard of him’ guy, or write in the Commie.   I don’t care if you’re going to stay home in protest instead of making your way to the ballot box.  All I know is I’ve made up my mind on how I’m going to behave on election night.

(for the curious ones out there – I’ll cast a ballot, and celebrate that the freakshow election cycle is OVER)

So, what did I do during this first contest between Trump & Clinton?

ball-bearing-pendant

I did something constructive, and created a little piece of beauty.  A much better use of my time, I would think, than participating in the hostilities.

 

 

 

 

Everything’s Shiny, Capt’n

captaintightpantscopy

 

Sorry – not an homage to our favorite Space Cowboy, although…yea…Firefly is a favorite.  Damn the network for screwing that one up.

It’s been exceedingly quiet lately on the T&T, because I’m sliding through creative cycles with shiny stuff… and to be perfectly honest, here, I’ve always known this would eventually happen, because this is the way my creative impulses work.

I go through phases.  I’ll be utterly obsessed with the written word for a while, put out some flash fiction, work on a longer story, blog like a mad thing in an attempt to catalog my thoughts.

Pick fights on Facebook when the politics of the world annoy me JUUUUUUST so…

Then something new will catch my eye, and I’ll be making faces out of clay.  Or photographing everything in sight.  Or creating memes in photoshop.  Or exploring new greenspaces and obsessing over celestial events. Or…you get the idea.

 

The creative voices in my head rearrange the furniture in their living space more often then new homeowners… 

My latest impulse – is jewelry, and I’ve become obsessed enough to share my creations with the world through Etsy:

TempestAndTeapot

I got the initial idea, not surprisingly, from the kids, who brought with them, along with their clothing and furballs, a collection of natural gemstones.  Most of these were loose, but a few had been lovingly treated to exceptionally intricate metal cages by some extremely talented artists.

How could I resist diving into wire wrapping some stones of my own, with such stellar examples of the craft sitting there – RIGHT THERE – in my own living room???

20160503_174127

No – this is not a photograph of one of the aforementioned intricate pieces – this is the first attempt I made at wrapping a stone in wire.  It’s a tumbled rose quartz piece I fished out of a bowl of pretty rocks I had sitting around, and some cheap craft wire I picked up at Walmart.  Ghastly, isn’t it?

They say you never forget your first…

After that – I played.  I bought some cabochons and beads and donuts from one of them discount-jewelry-findings websites.  Got more/better wire.  Played some more…

 

 

Then last summer took over, with the heat and the teeth issues and the fleas and the bedbug scare and the massive upheavals in the relationship with the SQO…everything went to pot … except wire wrapping.  So long as I was tossing pieces about, I had some semblance of control.

Eventually, all the twisting and wrapping and bending and viewing what other people had done on the web ended with this:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Apology Squid

What I like the best about this piece is the two lowest tentacles.  They look like feet…so the mighty squid is walking across my chest 😀

Aaaaand – once the squid emerged, the drive to create new wrapped pieces winnowed away…

This, too, is something I’m used to in my creative outlets.  I start a new art-form, spend time learning how it works (in this case, how wire bends, and how it DOESN’T bend), create something I’m extremely pleased with, then watch as the creative impulse within drains away from working in that medium.  For me, it seems the learning of a new craft is the drive – once I’m competent, I tend to move on.

I did manage to sell a couple of pieces in the fall – the kids took a small case of my better efforts to their last few camping festivals of the season – and this gave me just the boost I needed to explore complimentary crafts in jewelry making.

One thing I tried as a quirk while working full-bore on wire wrapping was the Kumihimo disk.  It’s based on Japanese braiding, and makes some quite pretty necklaces/bracelets.  I needed something unique to hang my wire wrapped pendants from, something larger and stronger than your traditional necklace chain.

I knew Kumihimo was short-lived when I got it, and I wasn’t surprised when the drive to weave heavier braids petered out quickly.  I’ve never had soft textile artforms stick with me throughout all of my 29(+) years, even though I’ve attempted several times to do so.

What’s the definition of insanity again?

So here I was – still stuck for an idea on what to offer as a chain or pendant cord for my creations.  After all, a pendant is just a pretty bauble until you have something to secure it to your person.  I browsed braided leather cord.  I browsed organza ribbon necklaces.  I toyed with the idea of full collars of woven wire, even though the push for wire wrapping had diminished.

And then I happened upon – The Ring Lord.

He runs a shop out of Canada which specializes in making jump rings.

Yea, I know…sexy as hell…

But – Ooooooh – what you can do with a little circle of wire.  OK, to be honest, a LOT of little circles of wire.

You can make chainmaille.

Chains with repeatable, intricate patterns along the length.  Chains that you can make to any length and width you want, and chain patterns that you can twist, loop, piece together and make new and exciting geometric shapes.

 

 

So…that’s what I’ve been doing with my little crafting self.  Come have a poke around my Etsy shop, and see what I’ve come up with.