Jigging at the Bead & Button Show

Two years ago I visited the Bead & Button Show for the first time and was overwhelmed.

BeadFrosty

It is amazing how a convention center can have a block worth of bead booths with all of them offering different wares.

moreisles

The plethora of colors and sparkles resulted in me only buying a few strands, since I couldn’t remember what I had at home.

rowsofbeads

This year I checked my color inventory ahead of time.

BeadInventoryBefore

Two friends had gifted me a lot of beads, so I had quite some notes to take.

BeadNotes

I also wanted to learn how to operate my jig better, so I signed up for a few of Brenda Schweder’s Now That’s A Jig! Sessions.

JigStarterKit

I use the jig for my frosties, which morphed into the dot show pieces. I also started experimenting with butterflies and dragonflies for the Swarm Show.

JIggingDotsBfly

I knew I could learn more tricks by getting some hands-on demos from the Jig designer herself.

NtaJcomponents

On June 8 I learned how to make stick figure necklaces with lovely beads by Diane Hawkey.

facebeads

It was so hard to pick out faces. I’m glad we got to choose three.

MaikesStickmanJig

Brenda introduced us to the gadget that helps make collars.

collarbenders

I finished putting my people together at home.

stickmanHomework

I reviewed my swag bag and started plotting the map.

swagbag

Bead & Button has various calls for art prior to the show, and the beaded artistry was amazing.

beaddreamsbouquets

The display of buttons was amazing also, and I coveted these museum pieces.

ButtonExpo

Crowns of beads and wirework and lots of whimsy.

beaddreams

I drove back to Milwaukee on Saturday morning and tried to be methodical in going aisle by aisle.

beadbooths

I did get distracted here and there, but since I had marked my must-see booths in advance, I was able to focus my purchases for day 1.

crystals

These handcrafted Peruvian critters were impossible to resist.

critterbeadsfromPeru

There were tassels that reminded me of See Jane Sparkle.

sparkletassels

Crystals everywhere.

ssilversparkle

Beads in all sizes and shapes.

bargainskulls

What’s better than beads? Beaded beads!

beadedbeads

Smartly, the convention center kept the snackbar open on the shopping floor, and had a cocktail bar to boot.

lunchbreak

Fortified, I continued to browse and note what was where.

BeadShowBooth

I compared prices on pearls and druzy agate and had lovely conversations with vendors.

TAPearls

Although I had not planned to shop on day 1, some beads were impossible to resist and I brought some treasure into the hotel with me.

Day1Loot

I took a lovely stroll of the riverwalk and enjoyed a restful night before the workshop the next day.

roundsgalore

On Sunday I participated in the Jig StartrWorkshop-Xpress to learn what all my pegs and rounds could do.

sundayxpress

Now That’s A Jig! Was designed by Brenda Schweder as a collaboration with Swanstrom in 2012.

StickManClassKit

I had met Brenda in 2011 and took a bangle class with her then.

BrendaSchwederDesignsManquin

We reconnected at Ayla’s Highland Park Bead Bazaar in 2014 and I ordered a jig shortly after.

ChainlinkDemo

We were given a lovely template to learn different connecting pieces that could form a bracelet and help kickstart a variety of ideas.

LinkPatternPak

You can also make jumprings on the jig.

jumpringcoiling

Brenda’s technique is different from mine, so it was good to see how she works and learn how to maximize the Swivelok.

SchwederDemonstrates

I was too busy admiring all her beautiful pieces and learning more tips and tricks to really focus on finishing the bracelet links, but we got take the template home so I can finish making links later.

BrendaSchwederDesigns

Later this summer I’ll do a studio visit to learn how to operate Now That’s a Pliers!

NtaP

This year Brenda launched PatternPaks to help people set up the jig with a published design.

LinkPatternPak

After class I went up to the booth to check out additional PatternPaks, and settled on the RainChain template for which I already have all the rounds.

NtAJBooth

Then I reviewed my shopping list to determine what beads I needed to take home.

czechbeadpiles

Of course my self-imposed ban on blue beads didn’t last, but they are all unique finds I know I wouldn’t be able to source as easily here.

SandySchorFtWorth

I decided to indulge in cheese fries before the ride home.

cheesefries

It was a lovely day of sifting through colors and sparkles, and being inspired by the wide variety of beads that exist.

BeadsGalore

The gulls decorated my car as it stood overnight.

seagullgrafitti

I am already at work designing beads for people who made special requests, and look forward to sharing additional designs at the upcoming Evanston Sidewalk Sale.

BeadsfromtheShow

But first, the beads had to be inventoried.

BBLoot

I can see how malas and rosaries can help quiet the mind, because there is something zen about counting beads on a string.

countingpearlsMore photos to come soon!

Preparing for the DOT Show

I’ve been toggling between doilies and dots this past month.

Studiotime

After my show opening at Creative Coworking I launched into dot-making for the next exhibit. The DOT Show has been in the making for about a year.

bigroundred

It is an exhibition of 14 FUSEDChicago members at the Chicago Arts District in Pilsen.

postcardstash

The show was installed this weekend and officially opens May 13 with a reception in ShowPOD7, from 6 to 10 pm at 1834 S. Halsted in Chicago.

MakingBlackWhiteDots

Each of the 7 windows included in this unique exhibition will have its own composition, yet, through the connecting form of the dot, they will visually link to the other 6 windows.

tableview

I put all the rounds on my Now That’s A Jig! to play with.

BigDotJigging

But putting the rounds up against the wall put things in perspective. It is quite a leap to go from Frosties to larger installation art.

snowmanscale

I used bottles as mandrels to go bigger.

largermandrels

The larger pieces are hard to keep stable without a frame or substrate.

bigdots

Thankfully a brainstorm with Carol Myers had me running to Michaels to pick up wreath holders, and those offered a nice framing device for my larger pieces.

MichaelsLoot

Curated by FUSEDChicago members VA de Pintor, Elyse Martin, and Linda Sorkin-Eisenberg, this exhibition supports FUSEDChicago’s mission to educate and promote encaustic art, which is an ancient art form.

NakedDots

It is the process of painting by fusing layers of pigmented wax. The flexibility of this medium affords many interesting results. Surfaces can be smooth or highly texturized. Layers of the wax can be sculpted or embedded or simply scraped away.

dottedpaper

In my case, encaustic medium is fused to the wire.

MakingOfPurpleRound

Artists included in this exhibit:

firstfew

  • showPOD1  Sue Cahill & Marian Ostrowski

coilingaway

  • showPOD2  Carol Hamilton & Maike van Wijk

coiling

  • showPOD3  Linda Sorkin-Eisenberg & Carol L. Myers

CoilyDoilies

  • showPOD4  Alicia Forestall-Boehm & Amy Van Winkle

polkadots

  • showPOD5  Michele Thrane & Pat Lagger

usingupsteel

  • showPOD6  Joan Moriarty & Karen Tichy

testhanging

  • showPOD7  Kathy Blankley Roman & Jenny Learner

Purples

I scoped out the venue and was glad to be paired with the prolific Carol Hamilton, who sent me the dimensions of her pieces while I was still putting together the Creative Coworking squares.

Partners

This coming weekend I’ll learn how to solder which will hopefully inspire better ways to create these larger pieces that everyone loves.

reddots

ShowPOD is a program of Chicago Arts District. showPOD is a high exposure exhibition space, compact, dynamic, unmanned, and designed to support concepts of art experimentation and installation.

colormatching

Developed by the Chicago Arts District, showPOD creates an instant art experience in the non-traditional space and format of 24/7/365 exposure to art installation.

DotShowCard

showPOD by design can be viewed by anyone at anytime during the life of its installation, allowing a rich public art experience that breaks down the traditional limits of gallery space or museum.

DottiePod2

FUSEDChicago is an organization of Midwest artists who share an interest in encaustic, a method of making art using pigmented wax fused to a surface by heat.

layingout

Come out on Friday and see how this turned out!

The making of my Edges submission

This summer has been so busy that a deadline on my calendar snuck op on me. I only had one day before submissions were due for Edges, Morpho Gallery’s fourth annual encaustic show. I was part of Wax(‘N)Blue two years ago and always love the way this annual show comes together.

0_Maike_Van_WijkEdges_Postcard

I decided to continue the wire experimentation I had started with Encounters with Language and Communicating Love. With limited time, and knowing Morpho Gallery is a good venue for small works, I used two 5 x 5 inch cradled boards to start my work.

1_Substrates

I had already started a layer of medium so I heated that up and evened out the medium layer.

3_Fusing Medium

I cut out the strips of piano scroll I wanted to use for these ‘edgy ‘pieces. Our prospectus stated: “Artists are invited to interpret the theme of Edges. The word “edge” has many meanings. It can be a noun: the thin sharp side of a blade, a brink, place where two surfaces meet, a line or border where a surface terminates – or it can be a verb: to sharpen, to move sideways, to advance cautiously – to name a few. The exhibit is open to artists in the U.S. who work in the encaustic medium.”

2_PianoScrolls

I decided to use a chocolate brown for the background color. It took a few layers for it to get the depth I wanted, and I could have added a few more if I hadn’t been pressed for time.

4_BrownSublayer

Then I waxed the scroll and layered that on the piece. With more time I would have re-adhered these layers too as it was a bit bubbly, but pressed for time I evened the paper out as well as I could.

5_AddingtheScroll

Kathleen Waterloo and Kathy Blankley Roman jurored all three prior encaustic shows at Morpho: Hot Wax in the City, Wax(N)Blue and Unbound(ed). Kathy Blankley Roman is an award winning abstract painter. She has studied encaustic with Jenny Learner and Shawna Moore. Her acrylic and encaustic works have been exhibited nationally and internationally online. She has a lot of earth tones in her work and also uses a lot of mixed media, including vintage paper.

6_MaskingTape

I decided to play with masking tape a bit to give my shapes a bit more edge, potentially channeling Kathleen’s work a bit.

7_MaskingTapeReveal

Kathleen Waterloo received her BFA in 1996 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  Her work is represented in Chicago, Minneapolis, Washington DC, and Portland, and has been exhibited nationally and worldwide. Kathleen uses vibrant colors and geometric shapes in her work. After the masking tape came off I adjusted the lines with a razor and a dentists’ tool.

8_ScrapingEdges

Then it came time to add the wire.

9_AnglesWireBending

Morpho Gallery “prides itself in seeking talented artists who are on the cusp of being discovered by the mainstream art community.  We invite local artists to exhibit their work in a creative and non-competitive atmosphere where artistic experimentation and development are encouraged. By creating a blank palette inside the gallery, we offer infinite possibilities for an array of colors, textures and media to come together. Morpho Gallery also offers leasing packages at affordable rates to groups and individuals who wish to stage their own shows.”

It took a bit of hammering and re-bending to get the wire to lay the way I wanted to.

9b_TrianglesWired

Et voila, two new encaustic pieces were ready for submission.

10_EdgesonEdgeMaikesMarvels1

Pushing the deadline does make for instant gratification. I am thrilled to be accepted into the show, along with FUSEDChicago members Carol Hamilton, Catherine Keebler, Cindy Lesperance, Dan Addington, Joan Moriarty, Karen Tichy, Kari Hall, Kelly Mathews, Laura LaRue, Linda Wein and Pat Lagger. The show also includes Alex Wilhite, Amanda Jolly, Amy Finder, Cate Cormack, Daniel Breslin, Denise Minkler, Danielle Miller, Gina Stanley, Elizabeth Schowachert, Karl Kaiser, Margaret Berry, Melissa Lackman, Naomi Hart, Nicole Prigan, Robin Miller, Robin Tripaldi, Stephanie Green, Susan Dickman, and Wendy Shapiro..

0_Maike_Van_WijkEdges_Postcard

The opening reception of Edges – 4th Annual Encaustic Exhibition is on August 7 from 6 to 10 pm at Morpho Gallery, 5216 N. Damen, Chicago, IL 60625. The show runs through September 6th, 2015.

TCCE Workshop Day

Saturday was my play day at The Creative Connection Event. I knew my brain would be full from 2 days of panel discussions, so I took two crafting workshops to prevent information overload.

The first was a button-tufted family tree project by Big Picture Classes. How cool is this frame made of rulers?

I would never have come up with a project like this. We got lots of goodies in our kit.

Then we painted and tufted.

Wendy Smedley and Stacy Julian were lovely hostesses and I am curious to explore their big picture classes.

I finished the project at home.

The photos will end up in an accordion album and then I’ll print smaller ones for the frame like the sample has.

My next class was Wrangled Bangles by Brenda Schweder. We had a blast shaping and hammering 16 and 18 gauge wire. While I dabble in jewelry here and there, my experiments have been more delicate than the industrial ingredients Brenda recommends.

Her tools come primarily from the hardware store, which means the investment isn’t as high as a ‘professional’ jewelers toolkit would be.

The hammering got a bit noisy and we did have to wash our hands afterwards.

I am happy with the results. My favorite was the ‘cage’ wrapping technique.

It motivates me to finally work on some Creative Bloom projects. I met Jennifer Swift at this event last year and we enjoyed catching up again this year.

More insights from the panel day to follow!