Workshop at Whaley Studios


If you have been making or collecting art beads in any media but are still not sure how to use them, I’ll be teaching a one day workshop called “Designing and Making Jewelry with Artisan Beads” at Jay Wahley’s jewelry studio on October 9. Back in the days before I made glass beads I used to string beads and make jewelry using broken pieces that were either given to me or with beads that I would find at garage sales and thrift stores. Later when I learned glass bead making I always kept the idea that beads could and should be worn and that there are so many ways to design with them. This will be the first time for me to teach this class as I usually teach glass beadmaking or glass fusing so it’s exciting and a little nerve racking to try out a new thing. One thing for sure is it we will have fun and create some fabulous things and get a chance to play with some nice materials. If you haven’t been to Jay’s studio it’s a beautiful facility in the wonderful Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego. For more information and to sign up please visit Jay’s website www.whaleystudios.ning.com
I’ll have kits and beads available for you or you can bring your own beads to create with. I’d love to see you there!

Here is a bracelet with lampwork glass beads, carnelian seed beads and a silver Mercury dime button clasp.





Make Art Not War

I had a pretty successful trip to the Tucson Best Bead Show, a trip that was marred by one annoyance. If you haven’t traveled on the I-8 from San Diego you wouldn’t know that the border area has been effectively militarized, complete with dogs, checkpoints, walls and helicopters. The young woman border patrol agent at the checkpoint right after I crossed into Arizona said her dog liked my car so I was waved into secondary inspection. I pulled up under the little carport and I see another woman with her little girl waiting for officers to finish searching her vehicle. What are they looking for there? Mind you that I have driven through these checkpoints many times over the years and have never been stopped. I got the feeling that these guys and girls needed something to do on a slow hot day in the middle of the desert because they certainly were not making me feel more secure or safe in my own country. I got out of the car and opened all the doors. The back was filled with my beads and display stuff for the show. The dog climbed into the car to sniff at my dog’s blanket on the back seat. Nothing found, I was sent on my merry way. A few miles up the road I see these two billboards less than 100 feet from each other…



All I can think is, wow Arizona! Was I profiled because I’m black? It’s a place I don’t like to go because I am always hoping to be judged on the “content of my character” instead of how I look, middle aged black woman with dread locks, but I’m thinking that anyway. Then I think maybe it was my bumper sticker, the wonderful “Make Art Not War” sticker by Shepard Fairey. Who knows? Whatever the criteria they use it’s all f’d up and I feel pretty powerless when I’m at their mercy. The sentiment expressed by my sticker can really screw with a persons thinking, especially if they like to think that humans couldn’t possibly exist without war. What a concept, I like to think it! I feel bad for people that want to hate and kill everything that they don’t understand, it’s like they have some kind of illness.
The rest of my drive was uneventful, a couple of Jan Brewer for governor signs assaulted me along the way and I finally arrived at Kate’s house. Safe!



September Song

Boats at Lake Henshaw.
We took a Sunday drive out to the back country this Labor Day weekend. It was surprisingly quiet on the roads and at the lake as everyone seems to be wrapping up their summer.

I’ve been making beads for 4 days straight in preparation for the Best Bead Show this coming week in Tucson. I can’t believe I’ve gotten this much time to work since I only managed about one day a week of bead making this summer.

I love Arizona, even with its crazy disfunction. I debated whether to boycott the state or not since I in no way agree with their immigration stance. I live less than 1 hour from the California/Mexico border, 10 minutes away from the San Onofre border check and about 20 minutes from the Fallbrook/ Temecula border check. I have witnessed firsthand the positives and negatives of immigration both legal and illegal as a Southern Californian. I decided that a boycott of the state was not in my best interest as a good portion of my livelihood depends on Arizona and I can show some solidarity with my peeps who are not down with the nuttiness of their state government. Besides who are we in Cali to decide, we have our own crazy politicians that would love to implement similar kinds of laws and have tried to in the past.
The Best Bead Show starts Friday, September 10 and runs through Sunday the 12th. It’s located at Kino Veterans Memorial Community Center, 2805 E. Ajo Way. Tucson, AZ
Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Please stop by my booth and say hello and check out my beads, jewelry and glass.