pinterest pin it

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

ABC's of Creativity - L is Loomwork

A loom is a hand-operated or power-driven apparatus for weaving fabrics, containing harnesses, lay, reed, shuttles, treadles, etc. (

Loomweaving beads requires a simpler loom with no need for extra device. Just something to hold the warp threads strung. And then the weft threads are created as you weave. The beads are secured by tying on thread. Picking up beads, pushing them up between the warp threads and securing them by passing back over the top of the warp threads. As seen on the loom used to loomweave these kimono panels. The panels then are stitched together like fabric to create this amazing kimono.
Panel in progress on small simple wooden loom

"Costume of Kabuki" kimono on display at Bead & Button Show with designer and beader Takako Sako
I’ve seen many different styles of looms with each artist sincerely believing their version is the best. They are absolutely right in their claims. Because there are so many styles and global commuities who do loomwork, looms come in all shapes and sizes. For loomweaving you need a long or expandable loom to string the long warp threads which are secured to coils, combs or nails at both ends of a basic loom made of wood or a fancy high tech Mirrix loom.
8" Lani Loom from Mirrix
Some loom manufactures claim the loomwork created on their loom can be finished by simply pulling in the warp threads.
New loom from Clover, going to experiment with it

Other styles embrace the warp threads that can be finished in fringes. Or tied into elegant swags. This is the case in in the Ukrainian -style of ‘gerdany’ which I teach and and have patterns for.
Leaning long wooden loom against table for a more comfortable work environment

Adding fringe to finish warp threads on lower edge of medallion
Joining warp threads to make swags

I’ve had the pleasure of taking a loomwork course with Don Pierce. The creator of “Larry the Loom” which can be tilted for comfortable loomweaving.

Vyacheslav Kalejnikov builds his own window frame looms which are an ideal height for weaving while sitting on a small stool. He uses found objects, i.e.curtain pulls for the top and nails along the lower edge where he can wrap warps threads around. He prefers to do large scale projects. Note the aids used to make sure he picks up the beads one row at a time. Vyacheslav prefers to use 2cut beads which tend to stretch out faces.
Vyacheslav working on his custom loom
Because of the distinct differences of seed beads, you need to be consistent by choosing either the  more donut-shaped Czech seeds v.s. rounded squarish-shaped Japanese seed beads. Mixing them together in one piece could cause unevenness. Cylindrical beads, i.e. Delica® or Aiko® should be used on their own. It has a complete different feel than a piece loomwoven with seed beads. Use nylon beading thread, i.e. NYMO or C-LON for the warp and weft.

Early bandolier bag makers used a wooden loom to create beaded designs which were then applied to the bags. Artists strung beads on the loom in a series of parallel lines, a process that made it difficult to create abstract or circular designs. Consequently, most pattern woven on the loom are geometric or linear.
courtesy Jean Upton
Master craftsman Maria Chulak of Pyadyky, Kolomyya Region, Ukraine shows off her ‘gerdany’. These are stylized. The motifs appear to be floating and a few are loomwoven in contemporary fashion color.
Originally there were no such things as loomwork patterns. Traditional embroidery patterns were used for reference. Opaque seed bead were matched to the embroidery thread color. It’s interesting to see how the old became new again in 2011. Solid loomweaving of the embroidery pattern recreated in Czech seed beads.
An assortment of stylized 'Gerdany'with traditional motifs' by Maria Chulak, 2006
"Gerdan" by Maria Chuluk, 2011
An assortment of 'gerdany' by Maria Chuluk
An assortment of stylized 'gerdany' by Maria Chulak. I own the center one.
Jennie Bochar’s grandmother's 100 year old ‘gerdan’ depicting a protectress “berehynia’ loomwoven in Ukraine was photographed during my Gerdan-makingSeries at the Ukrainian Museum Archives in Ohio 2011

 Here we prepare to weave a medallion style piece:
Aligning the woven bands to prepare for weaving the medallion
Maria and Grace show off a loom with folded band ready for weaving medallion

From my 3 week Looomwork series that I taught at beadFX earlier this spring.
Matiss, 9 year old, managing his beads
Matiss' work in progress
Maria and her amazing students at beadFX April 2013
If you are interested in learning my style of loomwork I will be teaching a 3-week series again this fall at beadFX.

This entry in our creativity series was prepared by Maria, but blogger was not letting her create, edit and post it. So I have been Maria's tech support.

Hope that you will look at loomweaving with beads as a creative possibility. 

Happy Beading!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Bead & Button Show

Maria at her booth at 2012 show

This weekend, Jun 7-9, is Maria's 10th year at the Bead and Button show. She will be in her usual place, booth #933. She looks forward to seeing fellow beaders, customers and other members of the beading community.

She will have the newly updated Diagonal Weave pattern. It includes an insert with full color pictures of the steps.  You can use this very versatile pattern with everything form simple seed beads, triangle beads and even Swarovski crystals. 

The Jeweled "V" necklace is a very elegant design with a surface embellishment of tiny rondelles. Maria will have the latest color variation of this project. This regal shade of purple makes this a wonderful statement necklace.

Also in this regal purple is the Beaded Soutache bracelet. A variety of different beads using our herringbone stitch give this bracelet a wonderful texture.

Those of you who will be at Bead and Button stop by the booth, even just to say hello!

Happy Beading!

Monday, June 3, 2013

ABC's of Creativity - K is Kits

In recent conversations with some of my beady friends we have talked about how we got started beading. Many of us can pin point a teacher, class or kit. In many cases all three.
Found in the bottom of my kits drawer Rypan Designs Airy Crystal Choker Kit from 2000 (still waiting to be made)

Kits whether purchased for use in a class with a teacher or from a booth, website or bead store to work on at home on your own are a great way to get a head start with a project.

With a kit all of the challenging prep work has been done. Supplies have been chosen and gather. Instructions are ready to use. In some cases findings, needle and thread are also included. Your first challenge may be deciding which color kit to pick.
Rypan Designs' Chicklet Bracelet - work in progress

Often once you have used a kit by one designer you will likely want to do more. Progress your way from simple to more elaborate projects. Or you will want to make your own versions of the design.
My variations on the chicklet bracelet, beaded by J. Woolverton

If you have never done a specific technique kits can just the thing. You will learn something new and have finished project in the end.
From back in 2006, my very first attempt at chain maille. Kit by Marilyn Gardiner, made by J. Woolverton

Here are some of my favorites -

Maria's Rypan Design kits were among the first that I ever did. The Chicklet bracelet is a favorite, in fact I recent purchased more chicklets to make more variations. I also like the Cascading Swag series.
Refined variation in copper & copper lined amethyst, kit by Maria Rypan, beaded by J. Woolverton

Marilyn Gardiner's chain maille kits are wonderful. After my first kit in 2006 I have done a number of others. Here is a classic design, Byzantine Bracelet.
Byzantine Bracelet in progress, kit by Marilyn Gardiner, maker J. Woolverton

Marcia DeCoster in another fav. She taught in Toronto a few summers ago. I purchased some additional kits to make after the classes. Her elegantly packaged kits include a CD with pattern for printing. 
Under the Mast, kit by Marcia DeCoster, beaded by J. Woolverton.

I like to think of future projects as kits. I try to pull together everything I need into one zip bag or basket.
Future box project, pattern by Julia Pretl. I have decided to change two color and noted them on my hand written supplies list.

I hope that you will give a kit of a new technique, new designer or and long time favortie designer a try in the near future. But also remember to ask yourself what if and make your own version of project the next time around. Check out the gallery of Maria's students & customers' beadwork made beyond the kit.

Happy Beading!