Brenda Schweder Day

Right after fair season ended, it was time for a fun day. Now That’s A Jig! inventor Brenda Schweder had ordered an Ugly Sweater Angel via Instagram, which was a fun challenge.

I used some of my Belgian felt pieces as embellishments, picked some ‘ugly’ paper, and then ‘uglified’ it more by creating as much glittery pattern as possible on the body and wings.

Then when I told her I was about to ship it, she said she would come pick it up instead, with video equipment in tow. So I had to clean my desk!

Brenda arrived and the lights were set up.

I asked Brenda to bring an extra 1″ square peg for my mini-book projects. With the variety of pegs and extender packs Brenda has available, the NTaJ! possibilities are endless, especially with all the demonstrations she gives to inspire handufacturers.

We had a lovely morning chatting while I demonstrated how to wax a rainbow onto the wire bird Brenda had brought.

FridayMyDay Fieldtrip to Maike Vw's!Rollin'! . . .

Posted by Brenda Meintz Schweder on Friday, December 16, 2016

You can find the tutorial on making the wire part of the bird here:

HolidayBird Ornament Tutorial: Part II (The BirdFrame)Rollin'! . . .

Posted by Brenda Schweder Jewelry on Monday, October 17, 2016

A live watcher won the final piece. I am actually polling what kinds of birds are popular for a murmuration project.

Then my traveling Angel said goodbye to Ugly Sweater Angel.

We went for lunch and then I introduced Brenda to the merchants of the Main-Dempster Mile, which was a blast. I think she might return to Evanston, possibly before going to Rockford. 😉

A few days later Brenda mentioned a Craftsy Tutorial, and I signed up for one of hers too, of course.

I also want to re-read this article and jig that necklace up.

I am certain that 2017 will bring more NtaJ! shenanigans along with more Brenda fun!

Now That’s a Jig! news and product updates are available here, and you can take NTaJ! classes at June’s Bead & Button Show.

Jigging with Brenda

Recently I took a mini-roadtrip to Waukesha to visit Brenda Schweder in her studio. I have been intrigued by her Now That’s a Pliers! since she introduced them, but wanted to take them for a spin before committing to another tool investment.

NtAJPlaytime

She showed me her fabulous studio space that has various sections to run the different functions of her business and craft. I also delivered the angel that she had reverse-engineered for me, in Now That’s A Jig! colors.

BrendasAngel

Then she demonstrated the Pliers and I got to play with them a little bit.

NTAPPlaytime

Soon I realized that the Now That’s a Jig! was the better tool for my purposes, and I started playing with the variety of pegs Brenda had on hand.

NTAJBangleStacker

She gave me tips and recommendations, and I got to peruse her plethora of demonstration pieces. You can see her tutorials on YouTube.

Inspiration

Soon I had created a shopping pile, and I went home with a variety of tools, inspiration, and design ideas.

NTAJLoot

At home I implemented the DoubleDekr peg for earrings and a bangle.

doubleDekrSpiral

I’ll still need gloves, but this will be easier than the uneven paintbrush handle I’ve been using.

CrystalBangle

I played with the infinity design of the 3/8″ pegs some more.

InfinityMakingNtAJ

The results are on the NtAJ Facebook page. I like how these turned out.

InfinityCombo

I made earrings out of the pieces that were too short.

PurpleEarringsNtAJ

Pretty cool.

purple earrings

Brenda publishes in various magazines, and is in the latest issue of Step by Step Wire Jewelry.

WireMagazine

A smaller frosty design was born.

LiterateInfinity

So many more ideas percolating!

NewDesigns

These aren’t loaded into the Shop yet but feel free to message me if you are interested in purchasing one of my creations.

PlayatHome

Jigging a Daisy

In 2011 I learned to make wrangled bangles with Brenda Schweder.

TCCEWrangledBangleworkshop

Little did I know that intro to wire class would lead to a whole new career!

BSchwederBangle

Wrangled Bangle by Brenda Schweder in 2011

At the time I considered myself a paper collage artist, and encaustics were just beginning to show up on my radar.

WrangledBangleWorkshop

The bangles workshop was just to pass the time at the Creative Connection Event, but I did like the results.

MaikesWranglesTCCE

Fast forward a few years and I am now the owner of Brenda’s Now That’s a Jig!

StartrKit

I added a round peg combo pack to my order so I could use the Jig for my Frosties.

FrostyNowThatsAJig

Then as I was fooling around with a daisy I realized that might be a jiggable item as well.

handwrangleddaisy

So I laid the hand-wrangled version on the jig and started spacing out pegs. Then the bending began.

jigging

2 petals formed.

NTaJ

And then I kept looping around the pegs and created a replica of the daisy.

daisymaking

The center wasn’t stable, so I wrapped more wire around it to secure the shape. I bent the petals for dimension and adhered the wire to the encaustic substrate with a mini-iron.

daisydaylight

Then I had to conduct an overnight hang test to make sure the wire would stay on.

daisyhangtest

Now you can see this piece at Creative Coworking through the end of the month.

hexaptych

I’m looking forward to taking Brenda’s Now That’s a Pliers! Class at the Bead & Button Show.

Collaborate2014

Collaborate Project by Brenda Schweder in 2014

Her creations are so inspiring!

SchwederJewelry

Steel wire jewelry by Brenda Schweder in 2011

Jigging Frosties

My offline life is speeding up so the online blog is getting off-schedule. Here’s a peek at what pulls me away from the computer these days.

JigWorkSpace

In mid-October I was able to purchase Brenda Schweder’s Now That’s A Jig Starter Kit, which I eagerly anticipated.

JigArrival

I consulted with Brenda via email on the various Rounds she had, and ordered the Big Rounds set for my Frosty the Snowman Holiday Ornaments.

FrostyRounds

I joyfully set up the jig on a sunny day.

JigSetup

Then I dove in with the frosty-making.

JigSmallFrosty

Once I had added an ‘allowance’ for the wire, twisting the strips was easy-peasy.

jiggingwire

Having the option of making various sizes of Frosties is great.

Jigging

It beats using the household mandrels I used last year, and makes the process much faster.

Mandrels

I still do some hand-bending after the base is completed.

bending

Then I heat up the griddle for their adornments.

Griddle

Sometimes a bit of smashing is required to flatten the snowmen out again.

flattening

I tried setting up the jig for trees and angels too but that requires a little more finessing (more pegs in particular).

TreeAngelJig

Productivity is booming for the holiday season!

FrostyProduction

You’ll see my frosties, angels and other holiday ornaments on Etsy, at Aurora Rose Boutique in Lemont, Dragonfly Boutique in Evanston, The Evanston Art Center’s EXPO, the Waukegan West class of 1990 fundraiser and the Bucktown Holiday Fair.

FrostiesJigged

Necklace pendants, earrings and key chains are also in the works.

pendantsWIP

Fall Bead Bazaar

Ayla’s Beads held a Bazaar in Highland Park’s Art Center last weekend and I could not resist going.

TACBeadBazaar

Having learned from the Bead & Button Show, I took a visual inventory of what I had in stock.

Beadinventory

I sort of had a budget in mind, but made exceptions for exceptional beads in the 4 rooms of The Highland Park Art Center.

TACBeadShowMainRoom

They had a mother-daughter show in full swing, which had some lovely pieces.

TACMOthersDaughtersShow

Of course the butterfly by Matt Duvin caught my eye.

ButterflyArt

I turned a corner into a side room to discover Brenda Schweder’s That’s a Jig Booth.

BrendaSchwederJIgBooth

I’m planning on making that my Christmas splurge, and am so inspired by all the pieces Brenda’s friends have created with the jig and a variety of materials.

ThatsAJig

It was lovely to chat and reminisce about our first meeting at The Creative Connection Event in Minneapolis.

BrendaSchwederMaike

photo by Brenda Schweder’s assistant

I was in such a different place then, and I needed the reminder this particular week that you are never stuck in the present.

Butterflycage

I was reminded that people you meet and classes you take can lead you down paths you don’t anticipate at that moment, but do help you pursue what you are meant to do over time.

chunkystones

Silk Road Treasures had a wall of beads.

SilkRoadWallofBeads

I was thrilled with Dakota Stones, which was one of the busiest booths at the show due to its amazing array of gemstones. String a Strand had some awesome beads and findings as well.

DakotaStones

The handmade glass beads intrigue me, and I got a small starter set to play with from Diane Tarullo before delving into this.

CynthiaMcEwen

I had a lovely chat with glass artist Sheila Papaioannou and her husband.

MedusaStones

I am inspired by their designs as well.

handmadeglassbeads

I splurged on some ring bling from Ayla’s booth, which is so inspirational.

AylasBeadsBooth

I look forward to taking a steel soldering class there next month that might help me create a pink ring of my own.

AylasRingBling

I look forward to creating pieces with all these new inspirational, healing and cheerful pieces, and cannot wait to show them to you.

BeadBazaarLoot

My Shopping quota has been reached for now too, unless I sell loads of pieces at Ravenswood Art Walk October 4 & 5!

Exploring Beads & Buttons

This year I attended the Bead & Button show for the first time, and it was a blast.

showsign

I laughed at Milwaukee’s interpretation of compact cars.

CompactCar

My intent was to systematically go down each isle, but there were too many sparklies and bargain tables distracting me.

Beadtable

So I meandered and enjoyed the colors, the inspiration, the plethora of tools.

Mermaid

I was told I would be overwhelmed and it was true.

beadsgalore

Fortified by beer and a burger I carried on (smart to have a mini-bar in a confined environment full of glitter!).

Beer&Burger

But for the first time I was glad I made just a day of it, a quick drive up, though I will ponder whether to stay overnight next time.

Bedbargains

You can see how a multi-day trip looks here, here 2, here 3, here 4.

collaboratecolors

Brenda Schweder’s collaborative exhibit was mesmerizing.

collaboratetitle

collaboratedisplay

I am trying to track down the book to go with it (a case of “should have bought it there”–update, got it for my birthday!).

collaboratenecklace

Just the display is inspiring.

collaborategeometric

I am intrigued by her Jig too, but need to compare it to wubbers to see which works best for me.

Collaborate1

Next year I may sign up for some classes and demos.

Collaborate3

So much to learn!

collaborate2

For now, my loot will keep me busy and inspired.

BBLoot

It complements my inventory nicely-which I will make better mental notes of next time since I wasn’t sure what I had in stock.

WhatIOwn