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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!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Holidays

I actually feel relaxed.  Thanks to the amazing folks at manufacturing and a lot of effort all around (Elena, take a day few days off, please . . . you make me work too hard!) we got all the looms out in time for the various holiday celebrations.  Ones we even said "no way, can't do it, it will never get there in time," did, amazing the customers and those who received the loom gifts in time.  Of course, a certain amount stress goes with this.  Okay, a lot of stress.  And now I am de-stressing, although it's hard to imagine that I really don't have to do anything today.  There is of course always something to do.  I could tackle some accounting, design some new kits, order some beads and thread and yarn and all the supplies we have almost out of.  Or I can just chat away on this blog and relax, go for a long walk, hang out with the family (if I can find them), visit friends . . .

I wanted to share a picture of my son and Chloe which I took Christmas eve.





Zach and Chloe

Maia and Christmas tree (we went for a planted tree this year . . . it has a ways to go!)

In the spirit of making things for presents this year, Zach made pottery.  Here is the line up and some detail.  We spent forever picking who should get which one. 











And of course I did finish my beaded smart phone case and I will be giving it away to a dear friend some time this week.

Whom did you give your purse to?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

This and That now that I have a few seconds

So in the middle of chaos yesterday I decided:  why not come up with a new bead mix.  So I did.  I used all those gorgeous permanent galvanized and gold iris seed  beads (size 11/0 only) we put in the tapestry bead cuff kits.  The great thing about this mix is you can experience the full range of the  permanent galvanized beads without having to buy all of them.  The price is great too:  $10 for 15 grams.  15 grams is equal to two of the normal tubes these beads come in, so it's quite a lot of beads.  In fact, after I write this I am going to see how those beads look using the no warps method. Might make a kit out of it if I like the results.  Will post that tomorrow.  You can find it for sale at:  bead soup.  But for now,  here is just the bead soup:



Remember we are still promoting the gold thread at the very low price of $65 for nine 24 yard three-ply skeins:  gold thread.  And if your purchase of other stuff (and that can include this deal) is more than $200 we will throw in a skein of this beautiful stuff for free.  That deal ends on Saturday.

Okay, back to my loom and packing the last of the holiday orders.  Geez, I am exhausted (but the Post Master says I should not complain, and he is right).


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

What I would want for a Present from Mirrix!

Obviously, this is not going to happen.  I don't need a present from Mirrix.  Good thing, because my husband insists that sporting equipment is the only kind of present there is.  My kids and friends are not nearly so narrow in the their present giving ideas (thank goodness).  For example, my husband gave me a helmet and a climbing harness (that would be a rock climbing harness and helmet to protect my head in case I fall!).  Touching.  This year I've asked for a particular present:  a kick stand for my Vespa.  She just has a center stand and I just do not like hauling three hundred pounds of bike onto that stand.  My arms just don't seem long enough.  So kick stand is on my list this year.  Guess what:  he won't remember.  He'll probably buy me a climbing rope and maybe some really fashionable climbing shoes.  Gotta love, but not for his present picking skills.

So what if I didn't own Mirrix and what if my husband was capable of buying me something other than sports equipment/clothes for presents.  What would I want?

Used to be I would  have said the ZachLoom.  It's my perfect size for tapestry.  Not too small, not too big and easily hauled around.  I just love its shape, its form.  It's the one I always head to for tapestry weaving.  But that was before the McKinley loom was born.  Even though I have not had the time to use my McKinley loom, I stare at it in awe all the time.  After the holidays I plan to weave a woolen table runner on that loom.  He's a little taller and a little wider than the Zach.  The proportions are geared toward some great height.  Perfect for making a small rug or large runner and of course great for tapestry weaving.  The jury is out.  I might still want the Zach if I could have only one loom.  But maybe not.

And then there is the issue of bead weaving.  Recently, my LaniLoom is always warped.  Sometimes I use the shedding device and sometimes I use the no warps kit (an essential item for anyone who owns the 8, 12 or 16 inch loom because it's so much fun).  I have been making the No warps to Weave in Bracelet Kit like it's going out of style (and the way they have been flying off the shelf, I doubt they will ever go out of style).  But I am also weaving the beaded smartphone case  on the 16 inch loom using the shedding device.  What fun.

And of course, there is always gold.  With the great deal with have going on now for this gold thread, I would ask for that.
Midas stopped here.



Beaded smartphone case . . . how can you not want to make that?


I have made about six of these bracelets (and lots of friends!)

Nothing prettier than the sight of a Mirrix Loom
I am going to check back tomorrow with some more thoughts on what Mirrix item I would want for a present!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Guest Blogger: Anthony Locane


We're fascinated by the amazing work that our customers produce every day. From fantastic bead weavings to stunning tapestries and innovative art spanning many mediums, we want to hear from our customers about what they create. Beginning with this guest blog post by the artist Anthony Locane, we'll periodically be featuring guest posts from our customers. Do you have a suggestion for a guest blogger who weaves on a Mirrix? Let us know by emailing elena@mirrixlooms.com


RELATIONALshifts: Digital Woven Art by Anthony Locane




I call my art "Digital Woven Art" because it combines two of my favorite things … weaving and digital art. More on the RELATIONALshifts aspect later.

BACKGROUND:
I fell in love with weaving back in undergraduate school when I was an art major at Buffalo State College, part of the State University of NY (SUNY) system. The Design in Fibers class covered weaving (both floor and frame tapestry) along with all other fiber arts (macrame, stitchery, quilting, etc). Since that moment, I have never lost my love or enthusiasm for weaving.

Fast forward many years and I was a graphic designer, having taught myself how to design on the computer. During those many years in the corporate design world, I always dreamed of living the life of a producing artist; but time and work always seemed to get in my way. Then in 2004, I changed my life. 

I quit my full time job in marketing and decided to fulfill my dream. I knew I wanted to somehow combine my love of weaving with my digital skills. I started by painting and drawing, in Photoshop, over a digital photograph of my friend. I manipulated the photo and created many variations until I had about 20 images. After a few days of wondering what I would do next with these images, I suddenly had the thought of weaving them together into a new and different image. But how could I weave paper; unless I resorted to a method I remembered from my elementary school days of weaving paper strips against each other?



PROCESS:
Having determined that my work would best be suited for an upright tapestry loom, I decided on the Mirrix loom because of its metal construction that would hold up to the rigorous tension demands of my warps and its unique shedding system that facilitated weaving with my paper strip wefts.



Back in those days, I would print out each version (sometimes 20-30) of the digital image I created, cut each version into strips and weave selected strips from the various versions to create my new image. Needless to say it became a very expensive process as many strips lay unused. After several months of experimenting, I developed a proprietary method whereby I can actually simulate a weaving on the computer screen and experiment with selecting strips from my various versions. I save tons of paper and ink now and often only need to print out 1-3 versions of an image to create my final piece. As I weave, I often deviate from my planned image to find that my intuitions and spontaneous decisions lead me in new and more interesting directions. Today, I employ three graphic software packages in designing my pieces; each forming one step in my design process. I still start with a digital photo that I manipulate by painting and drawing over; but often I will paint on the final woven piece after it is removed from the loom; or I will go in and remove ink from the piece by bleaching and painting over with water or rubbing out areas.

After a one-man show in 2007 and my first group show earlier this year, I became interested in working in metal. My Masters Degree is in sculpture and I have always wanted to go back to my 3-dimensional roots. I since have purchased a large-format Epson printer with the capability of printing on metal sheets. 

My warps are now wire … usually in the 20-30 gauge size and either aluminum or copper. My wefts are specially treated aluminum and copper sheets that accept Epson pigment-based inks that are archival; meaning they will last 75-120 years if framed or enclosed in plexiglass or glass and not subjected to direct, intense sunlight. Weaving metal wefts against wire warps allows me to manipulate the pieces into 3-dimensional forms after removal from the loom.



DESIGN INSPIRATION:
My work is all about relationships to people in my life, places, and ideas and concepts. I first began with portraits (FACEscapes) since I have always been obsessed with faces. Next came my LANDscapes and then my abstracts that I call my MEMORYscapes. Each has transformed as I progress with my art. My earlier portraits were very personal, as were my landscapes. My new work, while still very personal to me, exhibits a more universal quality. Portraits illustrate more of a greater human condition while my MEMORYscapes are leading me into areas that push my boundaries or preconceived notions of my world. I am currently working on my Beholder's Eye series; exploring the concept of and what constitutes beauty.

I am currently part of a group exhibit, the National Juried Small Works Show, at the Windsor Whip Works Art Gallery in Windsor, NY. 56 artists (primarily painters) from across the U.S. were selected to present their best works. I am delighted to announce that I won 1st Place: Best in Show for my piece, "Beholder's Eye: Sea Urchin." Not only is it validation of my work, but also that weaving has a place in the fine art world. True, my work is not traditional tapestry; yet I cannot help think that with intention and imagination, anything is possible. The medium does not determine criteria in categorizing fine art. My computer and looms are merely my tools. 

My work may be viewed at www.anthonyjlocane.com

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Four legged family friends and members and then there is the fox

How can you resist that face!  Chloe is enjoying her new life outside the woodpile where we found her.



Our boxer friends visited over the weekend.  They were rescued from a kill shelter down south by my dear friends Joni and Pat.  Sophie (on the right) was about three and skin and bones with hardly any hair.  She had been living in a breeding factory and lived on a cement floor in a metal cage.  She was timid and afraid but not anymore.  Zoe was eight months old when she was adopted (at the same time as Sophie). We think she is Sophie's daughter.  Because she was so much younger and had not yet been bred she pretty much acted like a puppy from the get go.


As you can see they feel right at home on my studio couch.  No complaints from me!


Now this is amazing.  Chloe is on Pat's lap and she appears to be purring.  That is the first time we've seen her near a dog.  Normally, she hides until the dogs leave.


 And then this morning my husband Rick declared that there is a fox in our pasture.  And sure enough there was.  Meet our fox.


That is one large fox.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

No warps necklace

Had to try it!  I can't stop playing with the no warps kit.  It just fascinates me as does weaving on wire, which I've never been able to do before.  I took the beads from the no warps kit and used them for a necklace.  The piece is only four warps (three beads) wide.  I made it 14 inches long.

Here are my results:





It's kind of a choker style piece.  I used a glass button to finish it.



I love those magatamas although I can't stand their name and I always have to look at the package to spell the name.  They carry color differently from round seed beads.  Maybe it's because they have so much surface.  I am fascinated.  Okay, so it doesn't take a lot to fascinate me when it comes to color and beads!



Here's where you can get the bracelet kit and just use it to make a necklace (or two) instead.

http://www.mirrixlooms.com/nowarpstoweaveinbraceletkit.html

Or just buy some soft flex wire:

http://www.mirrixlooms.com/softflexwire.html

Looking for your own stash of magatama beads?  Check out Caravan Beads.  Since they import directly from Japan, they always have the full range of all Myuki Beads.  Candy store here I come!

http://www.caravanbeads.net/

Friday, December 2, 2011

Busy weaving and busy talking to all of you!

Not at the same time.  I can't talk and weave at the same time.  One is right brain; one is left brain and my right and left brains are NOT attached.  At all, it seems.

I am going to post the eyeglass case I made out of the small purse kit.  It was fun!  Can't decide if it's okay to give to my brother-in-law because of the beads.  But why not?  Please, someone weigh in on this?  Can guys carry around eyeglass cases with beads?

Let me show you the piece.


Sewing her sides up.


Covering up the sewing with beads.


Done!

I love the silk lining.

Another angle.


Please check A Word from Elena on Sunday for more about this and the weave-along.  We will be doing week four of the latest weave-along.

www.mirrixlooms.com

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Soft Flex Again and and another no warps bracelet

I can't stop experimenting with my Soft Flex wire with the No warps to weave in kit.  It's not only fun and quite fast but the final product is amazing.  I think these bracelets will last forever.  So whether you are making them for yourself, your friends or to sell, I think you will be thrilled with the results.

This piece was made from rhodium and 24 karat gold plated size 11/0 delica beads on a Very Fine soft touch warp.  I used C-Lon beading thread for the weft.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New No Warps Bracelet one and two

Daggers and size 8/0 seed beads on a Soft Flex copper wire warp
This was fun and easy and we now have it in kit form:  http://www.mirrixlooms.com/nowarpstoweaveinbraceletkit.html

I also am weaving another bracelet with a slightly thinner Soft Flex Warp and size 11/0 Delica beads in a rhodium and 24 karat gold finish.  This one is still on the loom.


I will get back to you tomorrow with a better picture and final results of this bracelet.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tomorrow's Weave-along

Getting ready for the beginning of our two weave-alongs due to start tomorrow.  Have no fear, if you haven't ordered your kit(s) yet you still have time.  Tomorrow will be set up day and the results will be posted at http://awordfromelena.blogspot.com/ and will remain there for as long as Mirrix exists.  Both these pieces will take quite a while to complete.  Whether you give them away as a gift or keep them for you own personal use, you will be thrilled with the results.


I have NOT given mine away.  I use the bead pouch all the time to hold my cell phone  I find myself constantly touching it because the texture is so smooth and amazing.  I also find other people wanting to touch it and keep it.  I take it almost everywhere my cell phone goes whether it gets shoved in my purse or my pocket or my backpack.  It is my cellphone home and I adore it.  I am looking forward to weaving my third beaded cell phone pouch (the first is owned by Elena).  I know I will give it to someone, but I don't yet know who.  A lot of love and time is going to go into that piece so it surely will be someone very special.  



And then we've got the wool purse/pouch.  Call it what you want, but I call it just perfect for carrying around a few things like a credit card, some cash, and even my cellphone if I dare to remove it from the beaded pouch.  I did do that while away for the last few days.  I used it for those three things and it worked great.  The only thing I will change on my next purse is to make it one inch taller.  That's all, just one inch.  In fact, I think the instructions have the right height but I got all excited about cutting it off and just couldn't wait to weave one more inch.  My cellphone is just a tad too tall for it so I have to put it in my purse side ways.  My cellphone is not an iPhone.  Not because I don't want an iPhone but because I can't get service here.  My cellphone is a little taller and a lot thinner.  It wants a slightly taller purse in order for the flap to close properly.


So if you haven't signed up already, you still can.  I do have kits here waiting to be mailed priority mail.  You can get them in three days.  Check out the links below and even get a 25% discount!  Participate in this weave-along and you might win the Ott-lite: http://www.ottlite.com/  How can you lose!

http://www.mirrixlooms.com/wovenpursekit.html

http://www.mirrixlooms.com/beadedpursekit.html

Saturday, November 5, 2011

New Mirrix Products and the motor scooters

I thought it would be fun to line up some of the new products we've created here at Mirrix during this autumn.  It's kind of stunning and now I know why I really could use some sleep.  I believe Elena feels the same.  And now as I think about and that picture I just took I even left out some stuff.

Let me list them, all of them:

The shedding device for the eight inch loom
The McKinley Loom (28 inches wide and 44 inches in possible weaving length)
The kumihimo on-the-go kit
The small tapestry purse kit
The tapestry cuff refill kit
The Just weft Yarn kit
The No Warps to Sew in kit
The 24 karat gold thread
The silk yarn selection
The ultra-suede
Tulip bead weaving needles
New Bead Soup

As well as a bunch of loom starter kits sure to keep you fascinated with weaving throughout the cold or wet winter months.

We welcome new suggestions and if we can and think it will work, we will try to create it or find it for you.  We want to become a place where you can shop for all your weaving needs, or at least a lot of them.  And we want to continue to find beautiful fiber for you to weave.  We love doing it and hope you love what we do!




And now the pictures you've been waiting for:  Vespa and Buddy!  They are really quite beautiful and I wish to heck winter was not a reality here so I could actually ride them more than twice before I have to pack up their batteries and winterize their gas.