THE TWO BIG ONES
How do you cut it?
Well, I use a reallllly.........BIG.......SECRET!
It took me many years to evolve my fabric millefiori process so I've decided to keep my mouth shut for once in my life. My cutting method is not one that you can easily come by, I had to invent it, and it requires detailed and challenging maintenance.
What kind of glue do you use?
Well, yes folks, this is the other really big secret. I use my special secret glue. For the purposes of your questions of durability, the glue protects mightily against water and a quite a bit from light as well.
Will they fall apart in the rain?
Absolutely not. As I said above, the glue makes Fabric Jewels water resistant. By that I mean that they will get wet in the rain or when swimming (but don't try it!) and when laid out to dry, you'll find them fine once the moisture has left. They certainly won't unravel or dissolve in any way!
Over the years, I have probably heard 100 times that my Fabric Jewel pins have accidentally been put through the washer and dryer. It's not recommended or guaranteed but just about everyone reports they make it through fine. Once or twice I've heard of cases where the beads come off in the dryer or the pin back is pulled away. Anyway, again, not recommended and really beyond the call of any pin's duty.
The fabric part is amazingly durable and always fairs well!
One customer told me she ran over her earring with a pickup truck. She went inside after arriving home on rainy night, and realized that one of her favorite earrings was not in her ear where it should be. Returning to the scene of the crime, she found the beaded earring lying squished into the muddy tire track of her truck. She washed it off and reported gleefully that it survived the ordeal perfectly.
How did you think of this?
I always want to answer this with some dazzling one liner, but the truth is, it has been a long evolution. It mostly comes down to three things:
Show up every day
Pay close attention and
Follow the prompts
How long does it take to make one?
This question always kinda makes me laugh. In a way it makes me think of another question: how long does it take to live? It takes everyday and my whole life, and that is how long it takes to make this jewelry.
How long do the rolls of fabric take to dry?
It depends on the size of course but also on the weather. First they must air dry for days and then I dry them using a custom adapted dryer box. It is designed to keep a very low even heat without baking them in any way. Even with the dryer, during periods of little rain the rollies begin to dry within a week, in Seattle's wetter times it takes as long as 2 weeks. I gradually cut my way through the roll and it takes about 3-4 weeks to complete. Without the dryer it would be months and months for the largest ones.
Are those beads in there?
There are beads added to the bottom of many FABRIC JEWELS, but in almost all cases what you think are beads in the slices are actually a cross-section of cording or thread. The most noticeable seed bead like dots are cross-sections of satin cord. I use a great deal of welting also and I hand-dye much of it. It is cotton batting encased in polyester netting, generally used for piping on furniture and pillows. I enjoy the little detail of the polyester casing as it does not take the dye and stays white, causing a "stipple-effect" around the cord.
On rare occasions, in perhaps 5% of the slices, actual glass beads are added to fill the holes that are too large to allow an earring or pin-back to be placed behind the slice. When I do add beads to these slices, I epoxy them from behind to carefully secure them.
FABRIC & FIBERS
Where do I get my fabrics?
97 % of the fabrics are from used items. Recycled bedspreads, placemats, and woven items are primary ingredients. I also use t-shirts, towels and any other fabric that looks exciting. It is 99% cotton.
IS IT ART NOW?
None of you actually ever ask me this question but I ask it all the time.
Especially when I am driving cross-country to a show or taping, measuring and labeling the zillionth box to ship if I decide to fly to the show instead. Often when I'm running into extended trouble with my credit card machine or filling out the beloved sales tax forms, that little voice will pipe up "is it art now?" There's an astounding amount that goes into keeping the business part afloat.
But the bottom line is, I get to make the work, awaken my joy into form, have this studio and this life with fabric and beads, and share it with you. Ain't that grand?