Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Feeling Uninspired?

by Sherri Stokey

Have you ever had one of those days (or weeks, even) when it feels like your creativity has left the building?  You've ground to a halt; come to an agonizing standstill.  Your muse is on vacation.  The idea fountain has run dry... I think we've all been there, but I'm here to help today with some ideas on how to find that spark again.  I find inspiration everywhere!  The wall decoration above is a good example.  I found it at a yard sale for $1 and besides the fact that I love it in all its kitchy glory, it gave me a little seed of an idea that turned into this micro macrame piece:

Micro macrame bracelet based on colors from 1970's kitchen decoration.

Fun, don't you think?  Flea markets and garage sales can be a treasure trove of pieces that may just transport you to another decade and change the way you look at things for a little while.  Anybody remember these Tupperware containers in avocado green and burnt orange (my mom is still using hers):

Beaded bracelet based on colors from old Tupperware!

Try to change your mindset and look around you.  Common, everyday objects can provide you with ideas on colors and textures.  Even sand:

Sand dunes in macrame (bracelet).

And water:

Freeform macrame inspired by water.

And street signs (this is from my hometown, Valentine, Nebraska, and yes, they really do stencil hearts on the sidewalks on Main Street):

Valentine inspired bracelet with hearts.

If you have a talented person in your family (or friends), maybe you can piggyback on their creativity to jump start your own.  My mom makes beautiful quilts, but maybe you know a painter or a weaver or a clothing designer?  These are a couple examples where I drew inspiration from Mom's work:

Patriotic quilted piece and macrame bracelets in red, white and blue.

Quilt in purple and green colors inspired a macrame bracelet.

Are you getting excited yet?  Seeing some possibilities?  If none of those ideas appeal to you, you can always turn to color palettes pulled from photos.  

Blue and gold color palette and beaded micro macrame.
Color palette based on NASA photo and resulting macrame piece.

Try thinking of the photos a little differently, too.  Instead of just pulling a color palette, consider the shapes, textures and movement in the photo.  Is it something you can use?  Like these undulating lines:

Micro macrame bracelet based on USGS photo and color palette.

Or this texture:

Bead weaving spiral necklace inspired by lizard photo.

Or just pick up a feeling from the photograph and go from there.  In this next piece, I tried to capture the feel of the waves lapping up onto the sand; the foam; the colder, deeper water further out:

Micro macrame bracelet by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

One more place you can turn in a crisis and then I'll leave you to ponder.  One of my all time favorite color palettes is pulled from the raku finishes on some of the art beads I've collected (these are from Star Spirit Studio).

Beads, cord and art beads (pendants) in raku colors.

I think I could use these colors for years without getting bored (raku focal pieces below are from Star Spirit Studio, Spinning Star Studio and Elements Pottery and macrame work is by yours truly)!

Micro macrame bracelets and necklaces featuring art beads.

If you get to that point where you're uninspired, try taking a look around you again with fresh eyes.  Hopefully some of these ideas will help you.


Monday, May 25, 2015

Family Roots: Fiber Boot Camp

Carol Dekle-Foss
Hello everyone! I'm very excited to introduce you to my dear friend Sharareh, or Shery for short. I met her over a year ago in a metal smith class and instantly fell in love with her work. Her jewelry designs embrace her family traditions and culture yet have a unique modern feel. She incorporates different techniques in expressing her style and has created a niche for her designs. I thought of her immediately for our fiber boot camp because she utilizes a special Persian fabric in some of her work called Termeh.

For this boot camp I challenge you to look at your very own family traditions using textiles, see what inspires you and create something unique. Feel free to leave a comment here with a link to your design. I would love to see what you come up with!

I asked Shery to tell us a little more about herself and what inspires her. Shery's answer:

A beautiful hand woven Termeh bag with Zardozi embroidery,
passed down to Shery from her mom.
"All my life I have had a passion for making jewelry. Early in my life making jewelry for my friends became more than a hobby. I learned how things are made by repairing my friend's jewelry. It has been especially interesting growing up in Persia where history and culture intrigued me. How old things are, 200, 300 years in Persian antique shops. My grandmother had coins from an ancient empire. Since beginning my new life in the United States in 2007, my handcrafted jewelry has found a niche. I have been taking classes, most recently copper enameling, so we will see how I incorporate this with metal engraving that I've been experimenting with."

Thank you Shery for telling us more about yourself and revealing what inspires you!

Ready for a heavy dose of inspiration? Here are some more of Shery's beautiful designs.

Domed sterling silver charm with Termeh paisley

Sterling silver bracelet 
Etched paisleys with Termeh earrings
Shery made these earrings to represent her love for Iran.
The top pair are etched in Farsi, My love Iran

Beautiful sterling silver and rose quartz paisley necklace
with bezel set Australian pink opal

Gorgeous Sterling silver domed paisley ring
Etched brass domed earrings with intricate bead detail
Here is a You Tube video that Shery has provided for us so we can learn more about this amazing textile and it's origins. 

I've also pinned a few examples of Termeh, both machine and handwoven here on my Inspiring fibers Pinterest board.

Shery gave me this beautiful piece of Termeh a while back. I never used it for fear of not doing it justice. It measures about 4 inches square.

 With Shery's fabric, I took our fiber boot camp challenge and made this bracelet.

Brass, sterling silver and enameled flowers accent the intricately detailed Termeh fabric.

I hope this post has inspired and encouraged you to look at what textiles your family has held dear and create some unique designs that may someday become cherished family heirlooms.

Thank you Shery so much for sharing your beautiful creations and letting us know what inspires you! You can visit Shery's facebook page here to see more of her beautiful work.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Memorial day! Let's honor all those who have sacrificed serving in the Armed Forces. 

Thank you for reading!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Introducing Myself

by Sherri Stokey

Who is going to introduce the new person?  Nose goes!  Yes, that me with my finger on my nose (not in it - really).  Didn't you always dread that part of the class when they said, "Why don't you stand up and tell everybody a little bit about yourself?"  *Groan*  

I said I'd do it though, so here goes: My name is Sherri Stokey and I am a maker of micro macrame jewelry.  Ms. Staci Louise Smith (maker of really cool beads and jewelry) invited me to write a guest post a while back and instead of being properly appalled by my piece, they actually asked me back on a regular basis.  Go figure (#willwondersnevercease). 

 I am an obsessed jewelry maker with an emphasis on macrame and a curiosity about all other techniques.  I've dabbled a bit in bead weaving and I don't totally stink at it, but it's not my passion.  I tried playing with polymer clay, and that I do stink at.  I tried torch fire enameling and ended up with a slightly singed thumb, a bead permanently adhered to the rod and melted mini blinds.  Metal work resulted in more personal injuries (minor, but why push my luck).  

Somehow I always work my way back around to micro macrame knotting.  I like it and it's a good fit for me, too.  It doesn't require any power tools and I am not at great risk for putting my eye out with the scissors since it's a sedentary activity.  I usually use glue to end my pieces rather than flame, which is probably better for everyone involved.  Besides, the process of turning of turning a bit of cord and a handful of seed beads into something beautiful fascinates me me.  From this:

To this:

Or from this:

To this:

So that's what I do when I'm not sitting around with my finger on my nose trying to avoid whatever unpleasant activity is up for grabs.  

A few other facts about me:
I retired almost 6 years ago, but I work full time (and no, I'm not that old).
I have two (mostly) grown children and one absolutely adorable grandson.
I've been married for more of my life than I was single.
I'm allergic to beavers.
I can't swim and water terrifies me.
I've eaten turtle (tastes like chicken) and gator (tastes like mud).
My family has a "go plan" in case of a zombie apocalypse.

On that note, I'll return you to your regularly scheduled programming and I'll see you back here in a couple weeks!  

PS  If you're looking for me in the meantime, you can follow me at KnotJustMacrame.com or drop me a line on Facebook.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

How it is Made

by Staci L. Smith

My dear friend over at Handstampin Metal Mama posted this GREAT little insight into recycling scrap and making a pendant.  I just had to share it with you.

I just love seeing how things are made, with process shots.  

First of all, she uses Argentium Silver, and highly recommends it.

To recycle her scraps, she finds ways to melt and use them.  

And she turned these into a sweet little pendant!

Isn't that just GREAT?  And because it is so pure, you don't need solder, you can just fuse it together!  Virtually no fire-scale or anything.

You can find her work here on facebook

Handstampin Metal Mama

Here are some of the wonderful things she does with her metal!

Thank you Metal Mama for sharing your process with us!

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