November 24, 2014

Shop Update

Micro macrame bracelets and earrings by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

I really have to stop doing this to myself.  I would rather be making jewelry than listing it, so I end up with a big pile of pieces sitting here beside me staring me in the face.  If I had an assistant (or a genie), I would make them do all the photography and listing.  And probably shipping, too, because that's just how I'd be if I had an assistant (or a genie).  Meanwhile if you're looking for me, I'll be here all afternoon listing pieces in my Etsy shop like all these sparkly bracelets in teal, blue and green and matching earrings.

And these blue earrings:

Micro macrame earrings in blue by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

And some sage green earrings:

Lacy hand knotted micro macrame earrings in sage by Sherri Stokey.

And a brown, turquoise and blue bracelet:

Handmade bracelet - knotted micro macrame in brown, turquoise and blue.

There's more, too, so if you've been waiting for some new things to hit my shop, here's your chance!

November 16, 2014


Macrame bezel knotted around a cabochon

I have such news!  I have taken my first lessons in macrame this week, and I'm positively twitterpated!  I have long admired the style of macrame I think of as South American.  I really am not sure where it originated, but I see quite a bit of this style from people from Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, etc.  The pieces I'm talking about are usually done with waxed cord and natural stones as opposed to the nylon bead cord I use and the glass seed beads.  The emphasis is on the knotting.  The style is less "fussy" than mine, maybe.  More natural, more organic.

I don't mean to imply that folks in other areas of the world don't do that style, because some certainly do.  In fact, my teacher is from Estonia.  If you follow the world of macrame, you may have come across some of the work of Percy Palomino Tomayquispe.  I don't want to filch any of his photos to put them here to show you, so I'll just give you this link to his Facebook page.  Prepare to be amazed.

Anyway, back to my story... we don't have a local bead store in my town (the nearest is about 150 miles from here) so classes for me would require travel.  And I'm a homebody (okay, some would make an argument that the correct term would be recluse).  Either way, I've never taken any macrame classes or any jewelry making classes either, so when Percy announced that he would be doing online classes, I jumped at the chance.  

Macrame failures.

Turns out I'm not the world's best student.  I asked Percy to teach me bezeling because I've never quite been able to get it down as well as I'd like.  Those two pieces in the photo above are my first two failures even after Percy's lesson!

Knotted macrame bezel.

Third time is a charm though, and I finally nailed it.  After a second lesson, I also got the back done to hold the cabochon in place.

The back of the bezel and cabochon.

It may not look like much, but I am learning and enjoying every second of it.  And even if I'm not the best student, I am a determined one!  I'm also thrilled to have such an opportunity.  I grew up in the TBI (time before Internet), so it is still a big deal to me that we can interact with folks from the other side of the globe with such ease.  What a learning opportunity.

November 12, 2014

Collaboration Unveiling (Sort of)

Beaded bits and a macrame skull

Do you remember this post from last month telling you about a collaborative project my friend Lindsay Starr and I were doing?  She sent me these:

Beaded components from Lindsay Starr

And I sent her these:

Macrame components by Sherri Stokey

Our challenge was to make something using the other person's pieces and our own techniques.  Lindsay had hers finished in no time at all:

Collaboration of bead work and macrame

I'm just going to show you this little teaser here.  If you want to see the whole piece she made, you'll want to pop over to her blog.  It's worth the trip, let me tell you.  After she set the bar so high, I was really sweating my piece using her beaded components.  For some reason I was set on trying to make a sugar skull and since I've never tried knotting one before, it was a lot of trial and error. 

My pieces are usually fairly simple, but I wanted something much more complex for Lindsay.  I struggled.

Another trial layout.

I struggled a LOT.

Yet another trial layout.

I put the skull in and I took the skull out (I did the Hokey Pokey....).  Nothing "felt" right.  I finally ended up with this:

Finished layout?

I'm still not quite happy with it.  I think now that I have to remove the top coral colored circle with the seed bead flower in it.  Or maybe move it more to the left - I'm not sure.  At this rate, Lindsay might get this necklace in time for next year's Day of the Dead.  It's a good thing she's patient. 

Beadwork and macrame collaboration.

November 1, 2014

Spiral Fossil Disc Meets Micro Macrame: Art Jewelry Elements Component Reveal

Micro macrame necklace by Sherri Stokey featuring a ceramic disc from Starry Road Studio.

If you follow the Art Jewelry Elements blog (and if you don't, you really should!), you know they do a monthly component challenge and giveaway.  I was one of the lucky recipients this month and I received one of Karen Totten's Spiral Fossil Discs!

I have a bit of an obsession with Karen's work.  Do you  remember the necklace I made with one of her bird and branch sets in this post?  Her ceramic pieces are amazingly detailed and beautiful and she continually comes up with new and different things to keep it interesting.  Here are some Starry Road Studio beads I have in my treasure trove:

Ceramic beads and pendants from Karen Totten of Starry Road Studio

See what I mean?  Anywho...(sorry, I got distracted by the beads for just a minute there) Lindsay Starr was also lucky enough to get one of the discs this month (and yes, her stuff is another obsession of mine as demonstrated here and here).  She had her piece finished soon after she got the disc and shared it with me.  I like to keep pushing my limits with macrame to keep it interesting, so I thought I would see if I could mimic what Lindsay did with beads, but with knots.  This is her piece (photo used with her permission):

Beaded necklace by Lindsay Starr of Phantasm Creations.

In an effort to mimic but not copy her design exactly, I started with an antler tip that my dad gave me and knotted around it.

Deer antler tip with macrame knotting attached to a ceramic disc.

I've seen this technique before in some South American macrame designs, but I hadn't ever tried doing it myself.  They typically use a waxed cord which gives it a little tackiness and I wasn't sure how the process would work with the unwaxed nylon cord I use.  I made sure I knotted my first row very tightly around the antler (which is actually the bottom row in this photo).  The antler angles out a little bit at the top, so that first row of knotting actually holds the antler in place.  

Linsday chose a y-shaped yoke for the top strap of the necklace in order to cover as little of Karen's disc as possible.  I chose to do two separate straps of macrame, but I kept them narrow around the disc for the same reason.

Macrame knotting attached to cermamic spiral fossil disc by Karren Totten.

In keeping with the sort of rustic, organic feel of the piece, I chose some carved bone beads to use directly above the disc in a light color to pull in the color from the antler tip.  From there I added some basic square knots in the teal colored thread.

Micro macrame necklace by Sherri Stokey of Knot Just Macrame.

The beads I used in the strap are recycled glass from Ghana. They are made by crushing discarded glass and adding a colorant.  The powder is poured into molds and the stem of a plant is added, which burns away during the firing leaving a hole for stringing.  The beads are fired in a wood burning earthen oven.  The look is crude and primitive and perfect for this project.

Half knot sinnets make spiral micro macrame knotting

I used simple half knot sinnets for the bulk of the necklace straps.  The spirals catch the light in interesting ways and draw the eye to their twists and shadows.

Deer antler pendant micro macrame necklace from Knot Just Macrame

At the end I added a few more glass beads and a simple brass hook closure.  I think it's a fun piece and I've really enjoyed the study in "compare and contrast" with Lindsay's necklace.  I hope you'll visit her page, then stop back to tell me what you think.  What similarities did you spot?  What differences?  Which elements worked better with beads and which did you like better with knots?

I hope you will also join me in visiting the blogs of the other participants to see what each of them has done with the Spiral Fossil Disc:

Monthly Winners

AJE Blog Team

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