My Arts & Crafts

These are some of the things I do for fun when I can’t stand to read or write another word. There should be a “Magpie Clan” for people like me who love shiny things. I give a lot of my work away to family and friends because I like designing things with particular people in mind. (Also, my own jewelry and scarf racks are getting really crowded).

Note that these are not “Indian arts and crafts” under the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, because I am not an enrolled citizen of a federally recognized tribe. I do use some Native-derived beadwork techniques.* I also use a weaving style from New Zealand, but that doesn’t make me a Maori.

*One technique I use a lot is sometimes known as “gourd stitch,” but many books and people have gotten in the habit of calling it “peyote stitch.” This seems to be a misnomer for various reasons, but it’s become part of the vernacular like a trademark that’s fallen victim to “genericide”. Personally, I’d just as soon call it something else, because then I wouldn’t feel obliged to explain to people that I don’t take peyote – I just do the stitch. (If someone did try to do peyote stitch while under the influence of peyote, they might end up with beads sewn to their skin. And now I suppose some modern primitive will read this and decide that sewing beads to their skin sounds like a great idea. . . if so, read the disclaimer: I Am Not Responsible).

Clicking on these images will enlarge them for better viewing.

Necklace: Red disks, black spheres (2007)
Red freshwater pearls, black onyx beads, red paua-shell cabochons, seed beads. My first beaded-cabochon piece, wanted to try out a couple of different approaches.

Dancer’s blue-and-green kinetic necklace (2007)
Art-glass and dyed mother-of-pearl chips. Kinetic jewelry that moves when you dance in it, catching the light at different angles, is a favorite theme of mine. Also, I wanted to do something with irregular-shaped chips beyond single strands or entwined groups of single strands.

Pawprint cap decoration (2007)
Cap decorated with beaded cabochon pawprint. Lapis lazuli cabs and seed beads. Gift for Jen Nevis, DVM.

Peach art-glass and sectioned shell choker (2007)
Choker: art glass, seed beads and sectioned shell. Gift for Amacker Bullwinkle, who doesn’t need to resort to hypnotic shiny distractions to talk all four legs off the stubbornest donkey and persuade it to go for a walk afterwards. (She also said my site “kicks ass”; I feel I must emphasize that no donkeys or other animals were harmed in its construction).

Palette cap decoration (2007)
Cap decorated with beaded cabochon artist’s palette. Hematite, quartz, red and yelow jasper, aventurine, and turquoise cabs, seed beads. Gift for Kate Nevis, civil engineer and painter.

“Blue Angels” necklace (2007)
“Blue Angels” necklace. Seed beads. Gift for Nancy Baker, who married a pilot and raised an engineer and an artist who both liked airplanes. Gave me a chance to try out tubular peyote stitch, ladder stitch, and needleweaving, play with some 3-D design (short of making the little jets actually flyable – maybe next year, for MakerFaire), and use an atypical combination of subject and medium.

Green iridescents with spirals (2007)
Green necklace with bars and spirals. Seed beads and green fluorite with an iridescent dichroic glass pendant set in silver. I got the pendant a while ago and finally made something to hang it on – I’m always short of extra chains, and felt like doing something more complementary to the main material. Not exactly an understated Zen kind of design, but sometimes it’s good to get “busy.”

Lehigh drink holder, woven taaniko (2006-07) Lehigh drink holder, woven taaniko (2006-07)
“Lehigh Mountain Hawk” taaniko woven drink holder. Suede-look yarn weft, nylon twisted structural warp, satin lining. Taaniko, invented by the New Zealand Maori, is a tool-less, loom-less form of weaving you can take anywhere (at least until some $#%^&$% terrorist tries to strangle somebody on a plane and the TSA confiscates any long, tyable object like a belt, tie or shoelace).

These drink holders are my own design, not traditional. They fit soda cans and various other beverage vessels. You hang it around your neck and it keeps the drink upright and at constant temperature while you walk. It’s also helpful if your car doesn’t have a cupholder or if your coffee tables and end tables are subject to random “clean sweeps” by energetic pets and toddlers. I made several for PILP (Public Interest Law Project) auctions at school and they went over well.

Those for particular people are the most fun, though. This one was a gift for Ben Nevis, Ph.D., retired Lehigh wrestler, runner, mechanical-engineering professor, and lifelong fan. The vessel-holder design refers to their new team name, the Mountain Hawks (I unfortunately did not realize the extent to which the recipient, like many other alums, disapproved of the name change – ooops, my bad.) The calipers on the side strap refers to their old team name, the Engineers, which Dr. Ben would rather they kept, and also looks like an “L” for Lehigh.

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