Sunday, January 31, 2010


PLATE XX OF THE MANUSCRIPT TROANO (DRESDEN CODEX)Title: A Study of the Manuscript Troano. Author: Cyrus Thomas. Publisher: Classic Textbooks, 1882. Original from: the University of Michigan. Digitized: Jan 29, 2008. Length: 794 pages.

This Image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published before 1924 are now in the public domain.

This file is also in the public domain in countries that figure copyright from the date of death of the artist (post mortem auctoris in this case the Pre-Columbian era ca.1492, and that most commonly runs for a period of 50 to 70 years from December 31 of that year.

"It was the custom in all the cities of Yucatan that there should be at each of the four entrances of the place—that is to say, the east, west, north, and south—two heaps of stone facing each other, intended for the celebration of two feasts of unlucky days. These feasts took place in the following manner:

"The year of which the dominical letter was Kan the omen was Hobnil, and, according to the belief of the Yucatecs, they both reigned in the region of the south. This year, therefore, they fabricated a hollow image qr figure of baked earth, of the idol which they called Kan-u-Uayeyab, and carried it to the heap of dry stones which was on the south side. They elected a chief from the citizens, at whose house they celebrated the feasts of these days. At this ceremony they made also the statue of another god, named Bolon-Zacab, which they placed in the house of the chief elect, in a spot where every one could approach.

"This done, the nobles, the priest, and the citizens assembled together. They returned, by a road swept and ornamented with arches and foliage, to the two piles of stone, where they found the statue, around which they gathered with much devotion. The priest then perfumed it with fortynine grains of bruised maize mixed with incense. The nobles placed their incense together in the censer of the idol and perfumed it in their turn. The maize mixed with the priest's incense is called zacah, and that which the nobles present is called chahalte. Having incensed the image, they cut off the head of a fowl and presented to it.

"When this was finished they placed the statue on a litter called Kante, and on its shoulders an 'angel' as an omen of water and the good year which they should have. As to these 'angels,' they were frightful in appearance.

"Then they carried the statue, dancing with much gaiety, to the house of the chief, where he found the other statue of Bolon-Zacab. While they were on the way one of them carried to the nobles and the priest a drink composed of four hundred and twenty-five grains of burnt maize, which they called Picula-Kakla, and all partook of it at the same time. Arrived at the chiefs house, they placed the image which they carried, face to face with the statue which was already there, and made many offerings of drinks and viands, of meat and fish. These offerings were afterwards divided among the strangers who were present, and they gave the priest only a leg of venison.

"Others drew blood from themselves by scarifying their ears, and anointed with it a stone which they had as an idol, called Kanal-Acantun.

They modeled a heart from the dough of their bread, and in the same way another loaf, of gourd seeds, which they presented to the idol Kan-u-Uayeyab. It was thus that they guarded this statue and the other during the unfavorable days, perfuming them with their incense and with incense mixed with grains of bruised maize. They believed that if they neglected these ceremonies they would be subject to the calamities which were the result of this year. The unlucky days having passed, they carried the statue of the god Bolon-Zacdb to the temple, and the image of the other to the eastern entrance of the city, in. order to have it for the next year. They left it there, and returning home each one occupied himself with preparations for the celebration of the new year.

Sundays with Cindy

Good morning, Beady Readers! Wondering what's going on in the bead and jewelry world? Take a peek at our links and see.....

A Bead A Day
Is it too early to "think spring" or will that make it get here faster? Lisa used her Soft Flex Trios in an attempt to hurry spring along. Jewelry Making
Are you ready to load up on some Valentine's jewelry tutorials? Are you even making jewelry for this holiday?

Art Bead Scene
Meet the pretty girl with lots of brains plus a whole lotta soul!

Carmi's Art/Life World
After a week at CHA Carmi chooses the sweater surgery necklace as her favorite event.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Instead of biting her fingernails down to the nub, Cindy makes Grunge Beads!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie looks to the skies for the inspiration for some new cloud carvings

Jean Campbell
Jean met up with two very cool artists this week: Gorgeous wool designs (including wool beads!); wonderful women.

Jewelry & Beading
Cyndi is so happy that the third year of the Bead Journal Project has started. This year, she's making a bead embroidered bracelet for each month of the project.

Snap Out of It Jean! There's Beading to be Done!
book review by jean: here's a cool title, harking back to the 60s...Crunchy Granola Charm eBook by Yvette Doss !

Strands of Beads
Melissa creates a new necklace design using cute heart beads from Rings & Things

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Mayan Vampire Headed Deity

Mayan Vampire Headed Deity

Mayan Vampire Headed Deity
Title: Mexican and Central American antiquities, calendar systems, and history Issue 28 of Bulletin, United States Bureau of American ethnology Issue 28 of Bulletin (Smithsonian Institution. Bureau of American Ethnology). Mexican and Central American Antiquities, Calendar Systems, and History, Charles Pickering Bowditch.

Authors: Eduard Seler, Ernst Wilhelm Förstemann, Paul Schellhas, Karl Sapper, Erwin Paul Dieseldorff. Editor: Charles Pickering Bowditch. Translated by: Selma Wesselhoeft, Alberta M. Parker. Publisher: U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1904. Length: 682 pages.
This Image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published before 1924 are now in the public domain.

This file is also in the public domain in countries that figure copyright from the date of death of the artist (post mortem auctoris in this case the Pre-Columbian era ca.1492, and that most commonly runs for a period of 50 to 70 years from December 31 of that year.

The accompanying drawing of the vampire god occurs on a clay vessel found buried with a dead person on the summit of a temple mound in Chama, together with an urn.

The pot is cylindric in form, about 55 centimeters in circumference, measured around the outer edge, and 15 centimeters in height. It was broken into many pieces, and the polish and painting are greatly damaged. It is to be noted that reddish black, droplike spots occur all over the pot, as if some resinous fluid had been sprinkled over it with a brush. I have also observed similar spots on pots from the Zacapa region.

In order to form a characteristic image of the vampire god we must direct our attention to his dress and to similar representations on the monuments of ancient Maya civilization.

The first tiling that strikes us is that he wears the collar of the death god, showing the three round balls, which also appear on the cloaklike wings, and which we may, no doubt correctly, assume to be human eyes.

That an ornament of this kind should be given to the death god is entirely in keeping with the fact that the extinction of the eyesight in approaching dissolution is one of the most striking phenomena of death.

In the temple at Copan which bounds the western court on the north, on the east side of the inner entrance, was the representation of a battle between the vampire god and Cukulcan, the god of light, which I am inclined to regard as morning twilight, the struggle between darkness and light. On the basis of this, supported by the fact that the vampire leaves his hiding place at twilight,

Wr regard the streams of breath that shoot from his mouth as a symbol of sunset. It seems to me certain that this does not mean wind, with Which rorce of nature this god has no connection, although I know that his glyph often occurs with Ben-Ik, which combination, however, refers to all birds, beasts, and gods whose life and dwelling is supposed to be in the air.

We may therefore regard the vampire god as the servant of death, the ruler of twilight.

The god Cukulcan, ruler of air and light, and therefore of life, is represented in almost all the temple pictures and on the monoliths of Copan, sometimes with a human body, more frequently as a bird, also as a double snake. I will not at present enter more deeply into the reasons which have led me to this decision localise the subject deserves treatment in a special paper.

The glyphs belonging to the picture on this vessel afford us no solution, since we do not understand them; the central glyphs of plaua probably denotes the vampire god, since the dots appearing on the forehead remind us of the representations at Copan, where they occur in a similar manner. The central glyph of plate b occurs in the Dresden codex, page 151, at the bottom.

I do not think that this clay vessel was prepared especially for burial, as I supposed in regard to the urns with a melon-shaped base. It seems to me rather to have served for religious purposes.

Spilt Milk

Grottaglie, Italy


Grottaglie, Italy

Dynamic Duo

Southwalk, London

Vigilante Justice

Shoreditch, London

After a very long break from updating the blog comes a SUPER POST! Four updates in one. Woo! Two are previously unposted shots from the 'Men of Tomorrow' series (Vigilante Justice being a shot that wasn't included in the show last year), and two are from Fame festival last September (These two are currently available as large limited prints and aluminiums from Andipa.) New images are coming soon too, now the weather isn't so cold and wet and the little people can glue to the pavement without falling over.
The main site,, will be updating soon too with image from last years shows.

Studio Saturday with Lorelei Eurto

This week we visit the studio of jewelry designer, Lorelei Eurto.

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.This weeks winner is
Mary Jane Dodd
! Congratulations!
You have won one a pair of Bead Buttons, from the studio of Tari Sasser.
Send Tari an e-mail with your address and she will get it right out to you.

Welcome to my very first Studio Saturday! I'm glad you stopped in! Lately, I've been wondering why I ever called my personal blog, Inside the Studio, because I rarely talk about what's going on in the studio, so this is a great opportunity for me to actually discuss where the inspiration is coming from, and what exactly it is that I'm working on.

This past week, I was able to work on several new designs that feature clasps at the forefront. After browsing through some of my sold jewelry, I realized that I really implement this design in my work a lot, but never seem to talk about why it is or how I come to this design when I'm in the midst of beading.

There are many reasons why a designer places the clasp at the front. In this case of this first simple charm necklace, I placed the Vintaj Brass swirly hook clasp at the front because it works well with the large 15mm jump ring that that charms dangle on. It also creates a nice flow up and around the back of the necklace, creating a comfortable piece.

Sometimes it's because the clasp is interesting or a work of art in and of itself! Here, I used a beautiful Shibuichi bronze Bird toggle from Green Girl Studios. This piece has to be in the front of the necklace, because it's an eye catcher, and you wouldn't want to hide in the back of the necklace! Although, with this piece, any part of the necklace could be the front, so in reality if the wearer, had her hair up, an eye-catching clasp could be interesting at the back of the neck.

Placing this handmade toggle at the front of this necklace created a more cohesive piece and helped provide a nice flow around the back. The design with these seed beaded links, doesn't need to be interrupted with a clasp at the back. Using a toggle makes it easy to hang the main pendant or focal from the toggle ring. Here, I've used a jump ring and attached it to the hole in the hammered ring. See the detail.

Here, I created a necklace similar to the first charm necklace where the focal dangles from a large 15mm jump ring. Instead of the swirly hook, I used a handmade S clasp that hooks into an additional smaller jump ring that is attached the larger ring. One thing to keep in mind when creating your own clasps and using the clasps at the front, you don't want to take attention away from the focal, so keep the clasp smaller, will help blend it into the design. I usually gauge it on how wide the necklace is where the clasp is attached and keep the clasp at that same width.

The question this week is,

What is your favorite way to incorporate a clasp as the focal in your designs?

Leave a comment on this post, and you'll
be entered to win this cool handmade
ceramic clasp from Gaea!

Friday, January 29, 2010

This is why I love them.

My friend Gustavo Aimar just sent me this amazing video
and I just had to share it with you. Enjoy!

Oldest Known Form of the Chinese Dragon

Oldest Known Form of the Chinese DragonOldest Known Form of the Chinese Dragon, from the Aboriginal Tribes of Western China.

Title Encyclopaedia of superstitions, folklore, and the occult sciences of the world: a comprehensive library of human belief and practice in the mysteries of life, Volume 2.
Encyclopaedia of Superstitions, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences of the World: A Comprehensive Library of Human Belief and Practice in the Mysteries of Life, Charles McClellan Stevens.

Editors: Cora Linn Morrison Daniels, Charles McClellan Stevens. Publisher: J. H. Yewdale & sons co., 1903. Original from Harvard University. Digitized: Mar 27, 2006.

This Image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published before 1924 are now in the public domain.

Chinese dragons are legendary creatures in Chinese mythology and folklore. In Chinese art, dragons are typically portrayed as long, scaled, serpentine creatures with four legs.

Chinese dragons traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over water, rainfall, and floods. In yin and yang terminology, a dragon is yang (male) and complements a yin (female) fenghuang "Chinese phoenix". The Chinese Dragon is generally used as the symbol of culture. The dragon is also a symbol of power, strength, and good luck.

The Pliers Hierarchy

While raiding your husband's tool box for those first pair of pliers may have worked when your jewelry-making fever first struck, it's always recommended to buy the best tools you can afford.  So what exactly does a good set of pliers run and which ones are the best?  Well, it just so happens that Tracy Stanley gave us the 411 on the Bead Cruise so I thought I'd pass the scoop along to you.

We've featured Lindstrom pliers before and it took me a good 15 years of jewelry making before I finally invested in them.  Ah, what was I waiting for?  These are heaven, your hand never gets tired forming those wrapped loops.  If you have a wish list, put these on it!  Lindstrom pliers are around $50 a pair. They are of the highest quality and will last a lifetime.

A good middle of the road pair are German made pliers.  I actually bought this pair as my first pliers. They are rosary pliers and have a cutter on one side, very handy.  They lasted for many a year until I lost them in a move.  There are other pliers out there of similar quality and price.  Sharilynn Miller wrote a great review on Baby Wubbers.  These pliers range from $20-30 a pair.

And then there are the ones that you use in a pinch or picked up because they were a good deal.  What can I say, we do what we can do, right?  You'll find pliers made in China and Pakistan for $3-10.  The problem with inexpensive pliers is you get what you pay for. Round nose ones may not be round!  There may be mars or imperfections that ruin your wire.  They are not as durable or as comfortable as the higher quality.  So if you are finding results in your wire work that are less than satisfactory, it may not be you, it may be those pliers!

Do you have a favorite brand of pliers to recommend?  We'd love to hear about it.

All photos from Rings & Things.

Coming & Going

It's not only a sight to behold, the sound they make is equally enthralling.
Like a gentle breeze.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

L.A. Illustration team, Wicks & Henninger

As I was flipping through a recently acquired stack of old Life magazines this dramatic illustration stopped me short. Wow, I thought, this is something I have to get scanned and posted as soon as possible!

You're probably thinking, yeah, because that illustration is really something - and yes, I think so too...

... but what really got me excited was seeing that this very cool illustration was by "Ren Wicks and M. Henninger", an L.A. art team I knew about more by reputation than example.

Over these last few years we've talked about a lot of mid-century illustrators, most of whom hailed from the East Coast. We've discovered a fair amount about the artists of Chicago, the "Art City", and thanks to folks like Charlie Allen, Bruce Hettema, and Barbara Bradley, we've discovered the rich history of the San Francisco commercial art industry. But to this day, I can honestly say that I know next to nothing about Los Angeles illustration field during those times.

In fact its thanks to Charlie Allen that I know about Henninger and Wicks. Charlie mentioned in passing that "[Ren] Wicks shared space with Joe Henninger, a competent tight illustrator and instructor at the Art Center School. He helped a lot during my one year there....was a very popular guy and good teacher. [Henninger] did aircraft jobs in those days. A conservative, detail type, illustrator."

And thanks to Will Nelson, who worked first at the L.A. offices of Stephens, Biondo, DeCicco before moving to their Chicago studio, we know just a bit about Henninger's career trajectory. Will wrote, "When I started right out of Art Center the head of the Los Angeles studio was Howie Forsberg, illustrator along with a staff which included Fritz Willis and Morgan"Joe"Henninger."

On his own, Ren Wicks is probably best remembered as a pin-up artist (a well deserved reputation), Wicks certainly had a way of delineating lovely ladies.

Here are two pretty examples where his skills were tastefully put to good use.

A somewhat more risqué Wicks pin-up can be seen at Grapefruit Moon Gallery's website.

* My Ren Wicks Flickr set.

Our future abode...

Manolo's sketches
Manolo's sketches above and the computer drawn blueprints below.
Casa 5
Casa 5
Casa 5
Casa 5
Casa 5
If all goes according to plan we'll be moving in the beginning of June!

Faux Etched Metal

Love the look of etched metal, but not crazy about the chemicals? 

On the Bead Cruise, instructor Tracy Stanley showed us how to use texturing plates to achieve an etched metal look without the chemicals! She simply taped the metal blank and texture plate down to her bench block and hammered away to impress the texture onto the metal. Pure genius! For mine, I used Vintaj altered blanks and sanded the surface to bring out the texture. Tracy showed examples using copper and then antiqued them in liver of sulfur. At first I thought her examples were etched metal, they were fantastic!

Brass texture plates are generally used for PMC and can be found at places like PMC123.

Tracy is a fun and fearless teacher that encourages experimentation and creativity in her classes.  If you have the chance I highly recommended signing up for one of her upcoming classes at Bead & Button!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day Hearts

Happy Valentine's Day HeartsHappy Valentine's Day Hearts. Holiday window on New York City's eastside, Third Avenue at 71st street.

Image License: I, (sookietex) the creator of this work, hereby release it into the public domain. This applies worldwide. In case this is not legally possible,
I grant any entity the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.

If This image is subject to copyright in your jurisdiction, i (sookietex) the copyright holder have irrevocably released all rights to it, allowing it to be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, used, modified, built upon, or otherwise exploited in any way by anyone for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial, with or without attribution of the author, as if in the public domain.

WILLIAM COTTON (1880-1958)

William Cotton trained as a fine artist at the Academie Julien in Paris. He exhibited at the Luxembourg Museum and other esteemed institutions, such as the Corcoran Art Gallery in Washington and the Art Institute of Chicago.

But Cotton's gallery paintings-- consistent with the fashion of his day-- often looked like sappy Victorian Valentines. They are mercifully forgotten today.

In the 1930s, Cotton turned from gallery painting to illustration and began doing caricatures of Broadway stars, writers and politicians for Vanity Fair and the New Yorker. For the first time, Cotton was forced to accept the subjects that editors assigned to him. He was forced to work on deadline. He no longer had the luxury of unlimited space to paint fancy lace collars and detailed fabric. Instead, he was forced to cut to the essentials, and simplify his images for reproduction on a small magazine page. The result was a long series of really neat, beautifully colored caricatures:

Cotton quickly became one of the most famous caricaturists of the 1930s. His artwork was seen by tens of thousands of people. Eleanor Roosevelt called his Vanity Fair portrait of her, "my favorite character picture."

I love the colors and bold simplification of forms in these pictures. For me, they are far superior to Cotton's gallery work. The relentless efficiency of the marketplace scrubbed away a lot of frills and pretensions, leaving Cotton's work clear, robust and decisive.

We love to be outraged when tasteless commercial sponsors impose restrictions on talented artists. Yet, nobody talks about the other side of the coin: artists whose mediocre "fine" art was improved by the challenges and limitations of commercial media and commercial audiences. It does happen, and we should keep our eyes and our minds open for it.

Those cold blooded market forces do a lot of damage, but there can also be value in keeping art employed in the service of commerce (just as the very first art was employed in the service of the hunt, back in the Cromagnon era). Art that serves no purpose other than to hang as an object on a museum wall often suffers because it is not integrated into daily life. That's one reason I have such a soft spot in my heart for illustration.