At the Bead & Button Show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 6-13, the irrepressible Jamie Cloud Eakin will be teaching three classes with fantastic projects: her Royal Fringed Choker, Multi-Cabochon Bracelet, and Wide Wonder Bracelet. Jamie is a popular author, as well as a teacher: Her best-selling Beading with Cabochons has more than 20,000 copies in print, and she is the featured cover-piece designer for Beading with World Beads.
The release of her new book, Bugle Bead Bonanza, gave me a good excuse to chat with this beader from Modesto, California, and find out a little bit about what makes her tick … and bead. And, to celebrate the book’s release, Jamie was generous enough to create a special, beautiful bonus project PDF based on the book, offered specially for the LarkCrafts.com community.
Here’s the great bonus project: Rollin’ Waves Bugle Bead Bracelet.
And now here’s the interview:
Jamie, how did you get started beading?
I’ve always been interested in crafts and especially needlework. I still have some cross-stitch pillowcases that I did when I was in the third grade, and the needlework just evolved into beadwork. When I started beading, there were no bead stores, there was no Internet shopping, and there were very few beading books that I could find. So, I am pretty much self-taught.
Where do you bead? Do you have a special place for it?
I have a space that any artist would love to have! It used to be our family room, but it’s now dedicated to my beading. I call it my studio. I do share it with my cats.
You’re known for the precision of your designs and the accuracy of your instructions. Where do you get your ideas from, and how do you turn them into jewelry projects?
I get my ideas from everywhere and everything. I once was in line at the bank and noticed the hair of a woman I happened to be behind. There were inches of dark roots with gray showing above bleached blonde with red and brown strands, and I thought “Oh, my! What awful hair … and wouldn’t those be fabulous colors for beadwork!” I went home and loomed a pouch in the colors inspired by the woman’s hair colors with lots of fringe. My sister has it now! We refer to it as the “bank lady pouch.”
I mention in my bio here that one of the most creative hands-on things I get to do at Lark is food photo shoots. Food is like a second language to me, my favorite topic. It’s the thing I think about every 7 seconds. So I love diving into food shoots because I get to cook, plate, and garnish the art, then create the world it lives in. And I get to graze through some amazing flavors throughout the day—for better or worse (hey! no stopping to count calories).
Photos of your work can stand out for a lot of reasons. One way to call some positive attention to your pieces is to use the colors around you to your advantage. Giving some thought to complementing the color palette in your needleart can mean the difference between a ho-hum pic that gets skipped and a must-see-more pic that gets clicked. I’ve selected some images for you of needleart from Flickr that I hope will inspire you to new heights of creative coloring in your photos.
I have some rather vivid memories of myself as a child, foraging through the tangled beauty of our tiny backyard garden. I recall pink-hued stalks of rhubarb taking up house right next to a knot of bountiful bean plants. I remember the beautiful red orbs of fresh tomatoes ripening on the vine, knowing that my mom would likely be tossing them into a simmering pot of soup or sauce later in the season. It wasn’t much, just a little rectangle in the dirt off our back stairs, but it was a favorite place to sit and watch the changing of the seasons. Even though my family certainly partook of our share of processed foods that magically birthed from cans and boxes of every shape and size, we still saw the value in tending to your own little patch of food.
I forgot about it until just a few years ago when I found myself inspired to jump on to the gardening bandwagon. At the time I was becoming more mindful of the ways in which nourishing the earth can also nourish ourselves and our communities. Living in the thriving Foodtopia of Asheville, brimming with farmers’ markets, restaurants specializing in local food, and organizations such as Slow Food Asheville and the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, it’s hard not to get swept into the farm to table foodie fantasy. “But I can’t even keep a common houseplant alive,” I thought. “How would I, Queen of the Black Thumbs, possibly be able to tend to an entire garden?” Well, I’ll tell you. What happened surprised me to no end, and continues to fill my life with a sense of wonder and delight.
Meet Ira G, Asheville dog-about-town and trusty Lark assistant. Each week, of course, you’ll discover the hottest dog spots in town (not for that, for free treats and belly rubs!), how to maintain a doghawk (mine’s natural), and meet a whole host of characters along the way. Welcome to This Dog’s Life.
For anyone pricing wedding attire and accessories- it’s expensive! Veils can easily run over $100, which is why I chose the crafty route and decided, “This is simple enough even for me!”
All you need is a plastic comb (I found plastic wide combs stick in your hair better than metal ones. You can purchase one at Veilubridal), tulle (get a few yards to play with or measure a few feet longer than you would want your veil to be) and invisible thread and needle. I found a spool of the invisible thread at Michaels. It’s great if you decide to bead your veil as I did. It’s hard to thread since it’s much like fishing wire. But’s much sturdier than using fabric glue. And if you do bead your veil, you’ll obviously need beads. My pearls and rhinestones came from the extra pieces after my dress was altered.
First, decide how long you’ll want your veil to be. I wanted fingertip length (about 40 inches and 108-inch-wide tulle).
Practice first with tracing paper for the shape. Then, spread out your tulle on the floor and then fold it in half lengthwise. Then tape it down on the top and bottom so it doesn’t move. Then carefully cut a gentle semi-oval shape.
To attach the tulle to the comb, gather the top and whipstitch it to the comb with the invisible thread. To add sparkle, you can easily attach silk flowers on the top of the comb or bead it as I did. I attached each bead by hand with the invisible thread- a great project to do while watching tv. For the edging, I preferred a raw edge (simply cut by scissors) to a rolled edge, so about half an inch from the edge, I would thread three beads at a time and then secure it through the tulle without pulling it too tight. You could also use fabric glue if you preferred that.
I was really proud of my final result- simple, elegant, and I can be proud to wear something I made myself on my wedding day.
The Society of North American Goldsmiths (aka SNAG) held its 2010 conference in Houston in March. I sat down with John Jensen, the juror for 500 Knives, a spellbinding gallery book filled with everything from swords to switchblades, cutlery to cleavers. In these two short videos, John talks with me about his background and perspective on jewelry, metals, and knife making (Part 1) and about fantasy knives as evocative objects of beauty (Part 2).
I love old furniture…and textiles. And if you combine the two in an interesting way, I’m in heaven. Which explains why my heart rate quickened just a bit when I came across this chaise at one of my all-time favorite stores ABCCarpet. Wondering how furniture can be inspiring? Take a look…