October 2008

Courtyard of the Historic Ursuline Campus, Southwest School of Art & Craft

Whenever I travel, in addition to looking for bead stores, I also search for galleries, shops, and studios that feature contemporary art and craft.  It is a special treat to find work from the hands of people that live in the area.  I also try to walk as much as possible when I visit a place.  On foot, I find I get the feel of the city and its people better and can notice subtleties and nuances that would remain unseen if I whisked by in a cab.

And so, I set out to find the Southwest School of Art and Craft in San Antonio, TX.  I knew it would be a bit of a walk from the hotel.  But then, after walking quite a ways and being in what I thought was the right location, I couldn’t find it.  I walked and walked, checking the map I had, checking street signs, not seeing anything that looked remotely close to a school of art and craft.

I saw a place that was an artists in residence gallery and work space.  Immediately upon entering, I felt a calmness and quietness within.  It is always like this when I enter a place of art and artists.  I feel a sense of grounding, connection and belonging.  The young lady at the front desk was kind enough to look up directions for me.  After still more walking, I found it.  They were between exhibits.  Such is life.  I did get to visit the gallery shop with exquisite handcrafted items and walk the peaceful and lovely grounds.


I bought the center red spotted bead quite a while ago.  In fact, I have three of them.  They have an old-world quality and luminosity to them that makes them endearing.  However, it took me a while to try and use them.

The trick was to create something that had a level of sophistication and didn’t head into theatrical or comical.  Polka dots kind of don’t have a serious reputation – they are known for being fun.

I think I created a lovely and unconventional bracelet.  And two more red spotted beads remain…


 I completed the shadow box pendant and necklace. I have not named it yet, that will come. If you saw how it looked in my post Thread, Lots of Thread, you can see this piece has come a long way.

I love the simple sweetness of it and am inspired to create a small collection of related pieces. I am travelling to San Antonio next week, so Beads on the Go will be with me again and I hope to start on the second piece of the collection.

We are doing some landscape design – wanting more plants, more softness, more life – and came across this birds nest.  Birds nests are just plain amazing.  You can just imagine the bird – fretting about to find the perfect materials, working so diligently to weave it together, fussing, adjusting, trying to make everything just right.

It might be hard to see, but there is a tiny scrap of pink ribbon woven into the nest.  I can relate to a lady wanting a little something pretty in the nest.

to reality, can be quite a journey.  I have always wanted to learn to do metalwork and have had my share of ups and downs.  Anyone who read A Torch is a Girl’s Best Friend knows I’ve had my share of struggle with it.   I’ve gone from scared to light the torch, to daring to try a fairly complex piece for my skill level. 

I had a couple of lovely stones that inspired this piece.  Taking my cue from them, I created the sketch you see above.  Ambitious, yes – but sometimes you have to go for it.  And so I did.  Some things went well, others not so well.  I stayed determined and I am almost there.  The further I go, the more I have invested and the more I have to lose.  I have to set that aside and work from a place of confidence. 

Natasha Earrings
Originally uploaded by TheBeadDreamer


Nature gives us such a dazzling display this time of year; it’s easy to find sources of inspiration. These earrings were made using a traditional Russian beadweaving technique interpreted into an autumn tone color palate.

It’s interesting that spending most of the past few months learning to do metalwork has brought beadweaving back into my life. It has been a few years since I focused on bead weaving.  It feels good to have them both in my life and I am getting little seedlings of ideas of how to marry the two together. We will see…

This past weekend, I attended the Port Warwick Art and Sculpture Show.  It is held every October and is a really delightful show.  The level of art and craftsmanship is always high and they also have entertainment and children’s activities.  I purchased a ceramic wall hanging; you can see part of it in the photo above.  I am always so amazed by the creativity and level of skill exhibited by other artists and feel so very fortunate when I can bring a treasure home.

Ceramic art by Creative Works.

Next Page »