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About Me

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Francestown, New Hampshire, United States
I am the owner of Mirrix Tapestry & Bead Looms (www.mirrixlooms.com) and an avid tapestry and bead weaver, among other things. Needless to say, I love my job!

Friday, June 22, 2012

First attempt at iphone/smartphone case

A while back I started the silk purse for the latest weave-along.  I was so proud of myself for starting it a while few weeks before I needed to.  I took a bunch of photos but took no notes.  When I finally got around the compiling all the photos into something that resembles instructions, it was clear I had both screwed a bunch of things up and missed a bunch of essential photographs.  Elena said:  do it again!

But I decided at very least to finish the piece on the loom in adequate as it was.  Who wants to cut off and toss ten inches or so of weaving.  So I grit my teeth and wove away.  And this is what I just finished.  The strap is a flat braid.  I've used mostly hand painted silk with a little bit of railroad yarn.  I lined it with silk.  It will work.  It's just not what I envisioned at all for the weave along.  I will spend the rest of today an tomorrow working on the new one.







And below, of course, is where this purse comes from!


Friday, June 15, 2012

Mirrix Grant

Please help us get this grant so we can employ more Americans!  THANK YOU!



We need your help to get a small business grant from Mission: Small Business℠! We're coming into this late, but need 250 votes to qualify before June 30th. Please take the time to vote for us (and tell your friends, too)! 

Here's how:

- Click Login & Support and log in with Facebook
- Search for Mirrix Looms
- VOTE!

We try every day to make your Mirrix experience the best it can be all while running a socially conscious business. Mirrix Looms is woman owned (and, mostly, woman operated) and all our looms are made right here in America. Thank you in advance for your support!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hand painted silk ribbon! and some roving . . .

Pam and I painted silk for about ten hours.  Long enough that our feet were tired and our minds were totally burnt out.  We were both surprised had exhausted we felt.  But once I thought about it I realized that although painting silk is fun, it also takes a lot of mental energy.  We are constantly debating what colors to use and in what combinations.  I am constantly mixing up new colors.  We dyed about three kilos of silk.  But that's not what I am going to show you here because I am not going to upload the silk yarn pictures until I've made it all in to skeins which is taking forever.  But I am going to show you the silk ribbon, which is new.  Gorgeous stuff.  Really expensive.  This ribbon is 4 mm wide.  It is so much fun.  Takes the dye very differently from the yarn.  I also dyed a little roving that I will spin someday.  Not sure what day because right now I am getting ready for Bead & Button . . . yet another deadline . . . so working seven days a week to make that one.

Here are the pictures:





Hand painted silk roving.

Hand painted silk ribbon chilling out on wicker chair on front porch.



Hand painted silk on skein winder.

Hand painted silk ribbon all in a pile.









The family!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Beads, Baubles and Jewels


I am copying this from an email I received today. I did this segment over a year ago.  It has aired on PBS stations, but I am not sure where or when.  But now you can see it.  Read on . . .

April 6, Beads, Baubles and Jewels began broadcasting weekly on beadsbaublesandjewels.com.  Each week a new episode will be broadcast starting Friday at noon until the following Friday – then a new episode will be broadcast.  We will not archive the episodes - we want to encourage people to visit the website each week.  Anyone can view the episode at any time all week long by visiting the website and DVD’s are available there as well.

Episode 1410 of Beads, Baubles and Jewels will begin airing on June 8 at noon.  First, Kristal Wick shows how to make a knotted and ruffled crystal pearl necklace using wire lace.  Then, Marlene Blessing is on location with Joan Babcock – showing jewelry designs that incorporate macramé with beads.  Next, Claudia Chase shows how to make a fiber/bead cuff bracelet on a loom – a new technique for our show. Finally, Mark Nelson demonstrates the process of gilding and reticulation - a great way to add texture to metal.
Please let everyone: friends, relatives and customers know when they can watch you online.  We’d love if you would mention it on your blog, newsletter, Facebook page and even twitter.  For those viewers who do not get the program on their local PBS channel it’s a great way to see the show, and for those viewers who just want to watch it again it’s a great opportunity.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Affinity bracelet with a change

For a change of pace I added the hand painted silk to the gold thread.  It was fun.  This is a rather thin, delicate bracelet with a fine set using 11/0 beads.  Give it a try!







Friday, May 11, 2012

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Crafty Class Has Launched

It's here.  In the middle of April Elena and I traveled to Denver for five days.  Claudia spent three days behind a camera talking and moving her hands around a loom to demonstrate the weaving of a bunch of projects on the Mirrix Loom (primarily . . . although she (I. . . why am I talking in the third person) since there was a brief demonstration on a hand made loom and a rigid heddle loom).  Getting ready for it was hard.  Had to have everything in Denver in advance for the filming.  Couldn't just run back to my studio to pick up some forgotten loom or material.  I was very stressed.  The filming itself was fun although hard.  I am afraid to watch the whole thing all the way through.  That is your job.

So What do you get for your $29.99?  A lot.  You get to watch six hours of instruction.  If you can stand watching me for six hours, this is a good thing.  I show you how to make nine bracelets!  Two tapestry/bead cuff bracelets; two No Warps to Weave in Bracelets; Five affinity bracelets.  The course is designed to flow so that you keep piling on skills.  The goal is for you to move into your own territory . . . take the skills and concepts you've learned and create your own masterpieces.

I think it's a great class for both beginners and those who haven't tried these projects yet and are ready for something new.

So how does this format work? It's a great format combining the best of a real in-person workshop with the best of video.  First of all, it's longer than any video you'd ever find.  Secondly, you can access it on the Craftsy site any time you want.  There is a forum for asking your questions and I will get on a million times a day to check for these questions and answer them.  There is also a place for you to post your projects.  The whole thing is very interactive and community like and you can keep interacting for as long as I am still hanging out on this planet.


And even better: there is a special Craftsy/Mirrix store where you can buy some really amazing kits created just for the show at really, really great prices.  Those same kits will not be in our regular store.  The kits are cheaper when you buy all three and even cheaper when bought with a loom.

So sign up for a lifetime (literally) adventure in the world of Mirrix: craftsy

Friday, May 4, 2012

Ott-Lite Blog interview

In honor of Mother’s Day, we interviewed bead and tapestry weaver Claudia Chase and her daughter Elena Zuyok. Together they run Mirrix Tapestry & Bead Looms, Ltd., providing handcrafted looms, starter kits, patterns, books and other inspirational tools.
What inspired you to start weaving? Were you self-taught, or did someone teach you? 
Claudia: I’ve been interested in weaving since I was very young. I received my first rigid heddle loom when I was 8 years old but I didn’t really get involved in weaving until I was pregnant with my daughter (Elena) and I briefly attended a tapestry class in San Francisco. After that, I was self-taught. At the time there was no internet and very few books on tapestry so it was a rather circuitous journey.
Elena: I was brought up as the daughter of a tapestry weaver and therefore had no interest whatsoever in tapestry. I reluctantly learned the basics through osmosis but it wasn’t until I was in college when I accompanied my mom to a class she was (we were) teaching in Canada that I first really became interested in the medium.
Can you tell us about the first project you completed?Claudia: Probably something awful that I keep in a box upstairs where I keep all my awful beginning weavings and try not to look at them.
Elena: Probably something I did when I was five. It was probably terrible, but I can guarantee I used really nice yarn.
When did you start creating beaded tapestries?Claudia: About a year or so after I founded Mirrix Looms, I realized that the Mirrix Loom would also function really well as a bead loom so I forced myself to learn how to weave beads using the unique attributes of the Mirrix Loom. I say forced because at the time I only had eyes for fiber. At that time I had also become an avid spinner and dyer and it was clear to me I would neither be able to make beads or dye them.

Sunrise

Do you both weave? Are there other crafts or hobbies you both enjoy?
Claudia: I love doing just about anything that requires using fiber and beads including crochet, knitting, felting, dying, spinning, most off-loom bead techniques and needlepoint. There’s nothing I won’t try if given the opportunity.
Elena: As for hobbies, we’re both very into playing (not watching) sports. We’ve ridden horses and skied together since I was a very small child.
What made you decide to create your own loom design?
Claudia: I wanted a portable, professional quality loom that I could use anywhere and that loom did not exist, so I designed it.
Is there one project that holds special significance in your heart, either because of its beauty, or who it was for?
Claudia: A tapestry called “Progression” signified the first time I had found my own voice in tapestry.
Mirrix headquarters resides within a very special community. Could you tell us about that relationship?
Claudia: Mirrix manufacturing lives at a place called Sunshine House which employs adults with special needs and/or physical disabilities. Not only is the Mirrix Loom entirely manufactured in the U.S., it is made by some of the finest folks on the planet. There isn’t a day that goes by that we are not grateful for this amazing opportunity to work with people who deeply care about making sure every loom we manufacture is perfect.
What is it like working together as mother and daughter?Elena: Our work relationship is a reflection of our personal relationship. We’ve always been incredibly close with a deep and mutual respect for each other. We learned how well we work together on a professional level back when I was in college and ran her first campaign for State Representative.
At some point Mirrix went from being Claudia’s business to our business and that’s how it’s operated since. We both have different skill sets and strengths and weaknesses but the same work ethic and the same philosophy about running a business. It just works. We enjoy being together and working together and our relationship smoothly transitions from that of a professional partnership to that of mother and daughter.

Fire Flowers
Running your own company, writing books, creating patterns, even serving as a State Representative for six years—how do you find time for your own crafting?Claudia: Currently, one of my most important jobs at Mirrix is to design new products which has the advantage of forcing me to weave on a regular basis. Until about a year ago I was selling my work in galleries but now I find I am so busy with product development that I don’t have time to create a substantial amount of work for sale. I’m actually enjoying taking a break from doing that. When I served as a State Representative I produced a huge amount of work because, in order to keep myself calm, I had to keep my hands busy at all times. I noticed from my big leather seat in Representatives’ Hall that other folks were doing crossword puzzles, playing games on their phones and sometimes sleeping. By creating artwork I was actually able to concentrate better because it seemed to keep my ADHD tendencies in check and allowed me to sit in my seat for more than a half hour at a time. And yes, I did weave on the Mini Mirrix while there. There was a rule about not using computers in Representatives’ Hall, but nobody said anything about looms.
What does weaving tapestries bring to your life?
Claudia: Initially weaving tapestries forced me to design the Mirrix Loom because I was looking for a portable, professional loom which did not exist. Currently, weaving tapestries allows me to indulge in my passion for color. I use a lot of my own hand-dyed and/or hand-spun/hand-dyed yarn for my tapestry weaving which gives me a lot more control over the color and the texture. For me, tapestry weaving is extremely meditative, something a very hyper person like me really needs.
What advice would you give someone who is just starting out?Claudia: Someone starting off in tapestry should buy a few of the wonderful tapestry instruction books one can now find on the market. He or she really needs to understand that tapestry is not an art form one learns overnight. There are many skills one needs to master but the mastering of these skills is in and of itself extremely rewarding. Just don’t plan to give your first tapestry away as a wedding present. Also, really try to explore in-depth the materials, including warp and weft, that you will be using to create this tapestry because your tapestry is only going to be as beautiful as the material you use to make it.
Bead Weaving
If you’re not initially buying a kit for someone else’s pattern, take yourself to the biggest bead store you can find and spend many hours there staring at the beads. I found that one of the biggest challenges of bead weaving, since I couldn’t make my own beads and my own colors, was learning what shapes, sizes, colors and finishes were available in beads. I now have a really good understanding of what is available, hence I can often design a piece in my head using embedded images of beads. Keep in mind that the skills required for your basic bead weaving (a rectangle or a square) is not nearly as challenging as the techniques one must learn for tapestry. The challenge with bead weaving is creating the design and choosing the beads.
Mini Mirrix Loreli Loom Giveaway Contest! 

This mini loom is made for the beader on the go. It’s small enough to take anywhere and is great for making beaded jewelry. And now you can win your very own! To enter, please “Like” Mirrix Looms and OttLite on Facebook AND post a comment to this blog. If you’re already a Facebook Fan of OttLite and Mirrix, your work is half-done! Just leave a comment here!
Winner will be announced on Friday 5/4! THE CONTEST HAS NOW ENDED

Sunday, April 29, 2012

More hand-painted silk

We spent the day dyeing and then hung it out on the clothes line to dry.  That is about two kilos of silk. That's a lot of silk.  Now the "fun" part:  making it into skeins.  But the painting was so much fun.  


Hanging in the sun

That's Pam, my dyeing partner

Claudia with her eyes closed, as usual

Monday, April 16, 2012

A rainbow, a bracelet

I took these photos the other day.  Just found them on my camera and was surprised that the rainbow was photographed so beautifully.  Thank you camera.






And then there was the second rainbow.  I put a hand-painted silk cord on the loom and then wove with hand-painted silk ribbon.  This bracelet has an entirely different feel from the other affinity bracelets.  It's very stiff because the warp was so heavy and the silk ribbon gives it lots of subtle texture.  I wrapped and tied some silk cord around the overlapping warp ends.  This just proves you can use a huge variety of materials in these affinity bracelets.