19 February 2010

dashing about

Well, here I am again ... about cross-eyed from listing new work on Etsy.  So far I've listed 5 of the 12 pieces I have ready.  The thing is, it's gorgeous outside and here I am plonking away at the computer.  I can't stand it any more, so I thought I'd share some pics of the new work already listed and the new work to come over the next couple of days - just a bit of a teaser.

When I was last here, I had been working on the crosses.  I'm quite pleased with the results.
This one is sapphires and diamonds and ruby with a Tunduru sapphire and silk necklace.

This one is peridot, sapphire and diamonds and the necklace is iolite and spinel with steel blue silk

I got a wonderful blast of inspiration earlier in the week - the resulting pieces were inspired by two of my favorite spring happenings, blooming redbud trees and azaleas.  One of the best parts about being back in the south is spring - gorgeous, blessed spring.  The branches of redbud trees are an amazing feat of nature and I think this necklace really speaks to the bloom encrusted branches.  It's all deep rose faceted tourmaline rondelles with one faceted nugget accent, dark brown silk and some of my plum silk ribbon.

This one is the same style, but the colors are inspired by the, soon to be heavily laden, banks of azaleas.  It's mostly garnets, regular red and plum colored mystic garnet, with dark brown silk and my steel blue silk ribbon and a few sapphires on the solo branch.

The last big piece is an update of a KVK classic.  For years and years, I wore variations of a beaded 'bracelet'.  It started off in 1992 as a few strands of seed beads on quilting thread and, over the years, grew to a 15' wrap on heavy duty beadalon of about a zillion different kinds of beads.  Here's vintage me with the longest incarnation.
I wanted to update the idea with the knotted silk and faceted gems and the 'spring branch' idea. I was also compelled to add something extra to the silk.  I decided to inscribe a message and braid it into the piece - a gentle, but constant reminder and one of my favorite passages from Oneness.  Written on the silk and braided into the necklace/bracelet, "These times are about embracing the power with which you have been blessed and relinquishing the remnants of limitation and fear that result in separation from self."  

The 2010 version can be worn wrapped as a bracelet or doubled for a necklace.  The new "Spring Branch" piece is 36" long.  Remember that to knot those tiny gems on silk, I need to use more than double the projected length.  Working with 4 strands of 6' was about all I could handle - literally.  At 36" it will wrap twice as a necklace or about 5 times as a bracelet.  There probably won't be too many of these - it was quite an undertaking - satisfying end result, but quite a challenge.  

I think that's it for now.  I have got to get outside and soak up some of that wonderful sunshine.
Sending out all good things and copious blessings - kvk

13 February 2010

satisfyingly intense = intensely satisfying

It's been an intense couple of days working on new jewelry.  Watching all those shows about Savile Row tailors and behind the scenes of haute couture with Ralph Rucci and Chanel proved very inspirational.  The details, oh my, the glorious details.  Watching the evolution of incredible garments from pattern to completion and the extraordinary meticulous details therein lead me to step back and slow down and rethink.

Armed with solid blocks of time and an ambient soundtrack, I set to work.  A background sample ...

First thing I wanted to do ... the jeweled cross from the last post got a makeover.  Excited to put my self-needle technique to the test, I commenced to stringing and knotting a gorgeous strand of tunduru sapphires.  Because the cross had some heft, I wanted to give the necklace more visual bulk as well as actual strength.  I wove in a length of my plum silk ribbon.  Stout silk thread wraps between knots finish the ends.  I love the rich colors and how the gems in the cross tie in with the sapphires, ribbon and dark brown silk.

Today, I've been working on a second cross.  This one has a lot of 'bling' to it with faceted peridot, raw diamonds and a faceted yogo sapphire at the top.   I tried several combinations of gems for the necklace and finally settled on a mix of iolite and spinel on gray silk with steel blue silk ribbon.
One thing I learned from yesterday's work, knotting these tiny gems takes a lot of silk.  For this necklace, I used almost double what I would normally use and still came dangerously close to running out.    It is possible to graft in additional length if needed, but it's a pain and I'd much rather have plenty to start with.
I'm quite pleased with my efforts.  I think the finished pieces accomplished my goal of merging medieval inspired pendants with decidedly contemporary details.  I'm also working on adding some of the knotted gemstone elements to my existing body of work.  Here's some early results ...

  It's been such a satisfying day, intensely focused with a steady rhythm to the work.  Design is all about problem solving ... that's probably my favorite part of working on new things ... figuring out how to weave in the silk ribbon, which kind of closure to finish the ends, etc, etc.  

Through the day images of couture and bespoke craftspeople have been lacing through my head.  Madame Pouzieux unraveling yardage for the raw materials of her signature braid, Madame Collette working on the details of a Ralph Rucci gown, the roomful of young women embroidering and beading silk tulle for the grand finale Chanel wedding gown, tailors with their chalk in hand marking patterns and fine tuning exquisitely crafted suits.  Taking time for details, not rushing to make something less expensive, creating from the heart rather than from a mind overrun with thoughts of the bottom line.

I'm not going to worry about how to streamline production of these pieces or where to cut costs or how to make large numbers of a design.  That's fear's hold on me and, little by little, I'm chipping away at it's grip.   Pandora's box has been opened and a shining light has taken aim on my old habits and limiting ways.  

I'm going to stay on my bespoke path and know that it leads to my long squelched, true self.

with gratitude and blessings - kvk

p.s.  Zoe had a nice day as well

07 February 2010

i think I'm in love

So, normally there's pretty much nothing on the regular telly we want to watch.  Last night we hit the jackpot and I'm still abuzz.  We started off with Project Runway (on-demand) which is so much better than it's been the last couple of seasons.  They're back in NYC (we have yet to see our favorite guy at MOOD, really long silver hair in a pony tail that always helps us when we're there), some of the designers might actually have some skills, Heidi is pregnant (the girl's a machine), her raucous good humor in rare form.  Moving along through the on-demand maze, we decided to check Sundance hoping Man Shops Globe might have reappeared.  Even better we discovered a 3 part series they're airing called Savile Row about the legendary tailors and the challenges of staying in business - first episode, horror of horrors, Abercrombie & Fitch are moving in.  Can't wait for the next two.

Then we moved on just in time to the Ovation Network.  They've got a whole bunch of programming under the moniker, Drop Dead Design.  The one we caught was Everything Is Art.  This one found me hauling out my pencil and paper to take notes.  Now on my must have and must check into in depth list, John Maeda's book, The Laws of Simplicity and a Japanese retailer, Muji.  John Maeda is the president of RISD and, from the little bit I saw, a certifiable genius.  His book looks to be a necessary addition to my library.

Then, when I really went all limp and new I was in love for sure, came a segment on Muji.  Everything they do reflects absolute simplicity, no logos, no bells and whistles, clean straightforward functional design.  I'm trying not to drool here.  I can't abide anything with logos emblazoned all over it (the pocket stitching on my Levi's is the only exception).  For the most part all my clothing is solid colors - black, brown, ochre and charcoal gray.  Okay, so I'm not all gloom and doom and somber colors - I do have some gorgeous scarves in some gorgeous colors, all made by Jacki Pallister in Port Townsend, pretty much the most amazing artist I've ever met.  As for Muji, I've just barely dipped my mouse into the website, but for starters, the 'play Muji' section is most excellent. 

Turns out, Sundance has a bunch of fashion oriented programming coming up.  One of our favorites, Signe Chanel, a series that follows Lagerfeld through a season from sketches to runway, starts on the 12th.  There's more and the Sundance link has all the details.

Heaven, I'm in design heaven.  So much inspiration in one evening.  Serendipitous heaven!

I've actually gotten a bit of work done this week.  Some added inspiration came in the mail on Friday - an exquisite little bundle of Basha Beads  and one of my recent Ebay purchases, a small lot of herkimer diamonds.  I've had a few ideas mulling around for the Beads and I'm going to try firing the herkimers and see what happens.
Mid-week I started working on some variations of my talismans, tiny ones on braided silk.

I'd also been thinking about jewel encrusted crosses for the last couple of weeks and had just finished a couple when the mail ran.

First thing that came to me for Barbara's beads, combining them with said jewel-encrusted designs.  One bead just happened to be an exact match for the cross I had made - raw diamonds, yellow sapphire in the center, ruby at the top.

The other thing I finally figured out how to do - making a self-needle with my Gudebrod silk.  The key was a new pair of super sharp scissors (Omnigrid) for skiving down the end of the thread.  Then give the, now frayed, end a twist and run it repeatedly through beeswax.
My tools ...

The chunk of beeswax is one of my most cherished possessions.  It belonged to my grandfather who was a shoe repairman.  Back in the day, his shoe repair shop was an old city bus.

When I knew the bus, it was permanently parked in his yard, full of all his old tools as well as copious amounts of junk; the underneath was fenced in for the rabbits he raised for food.  I thought the rabbits were pets.  Unfortunately they neglected to tell me the food part, so when Grampa teased me about eating my cats, I believed him.  Grampa had a strange sense of humor.  But I've gotta say, that bus was probably the best playground a kid like me could have.  I still remember how it smelled, leather and beeswax and rust and musty upholstery.

So the wonderful thing about the silk self-needle thing is now I can get my size F silk through the teeny holes in my large cache of also tiny faceted gems, well most of them anyway.  The holes in the raw diamonds are even smaller and too abrasive for silk.  The necklace on the far left is the first prototype for a new series.

All in all, a good week, crummy weather and all.  Well, we did have one sunny day - Wednesday was a stunner - and we had about an hour's worth of sunshine this afternoon.  Zoe and my paperwhites and I were very happy.

A couple more new links ... Jurgen Lehl - more beautiful, minimal design.  Still perusing, but looks promising.  And another design blog that I pop in on every now and then - similar to Pia's - Abundance.

Not sure where the new jewels are going.  The diamond cross is a gift, but everything else is to-be-determined.  I'm hoping to eventually phase out my Etsy site and switch everything over to the KVK site.  I'm gathering pieces for AOT, but I'm thinking I'll do the Etsy thing for now.  Check back in a day or so........

Okay, so that's it for now.  Time to get dinner started (can't seem to switch over to 'supper') and get ready to watch some commercials and maybe some football in between.

many blessings - kvk