Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Surgical strike, bead embroidery-style

I knew almost as soon as I started putting down the beads that I wasn't going to be happy with it. But, due to emotional distractions and general obsessiveness, I powered forward anyway.

The result is this photo on the right. Notice the matte gray and the matte black right smack next to each other. Bad mojo.

Now, take a look at the second photo. I sprinkled some seed beads on over the matte gray. Sexy, no? (Am I the only one that thinks seed beads are sexy? I really need a life...) A little flare of shimmer between the big gray and black spot made me happy again and I think it makes the piece better. (And frankly, if you have Delicas hanging around, you should use them.)

But what to do? I had already sewn all the beads on, knotted so very many threads. It's now time for a surgical strike! A delicate removal of beads...

Anyone who has done any sort of bead weaving or bead embroidery knows that if there's a mistake, threads will be cut and tears will be shed. Anyone who has done this enough has figured out how to save as much of the work as possible. I'm going to post a few tidbits that I've picked up over the years, hopefully they'll be useful.

1) The first step is reinforcing all the work that you want to keep. If you're smart, you'll use only one thread for a color, thereby saving you this step. If you're a kid like I am, you'll forget all about that, and just work on whatever section inspires you at the time. For me, this means sewing over the black beads again.

2) In the second close-up, I've started taking off the matte grey beads. There are threads all over the place. As much as possible, I try to knot the loose ends on the underside of the work, preserving as much of the beadwork as possible. Once this is done, I'll be adding the new beads. Then I have to make some jewelry for Rebeca for One of a Kind! Phew!

Vanessa Walilko
Eclectic chainmaille jewelry designs, hadmade jewelry, chainmaille fashion, and epic beadwork
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Friday, November 27, 2009

Tiamat dress in progress

I've been looking back over my blog posts and photos, and I've been working on the Tiamat dress since September 2008. It's amazing to consider how long it has taken for me to get a good obsessive momentum with the dress. I tell people it's an elephant birth--it took a long time to gestate, but now it's alive and kicking.

Here's a current progress photo:

(You can see more photos at my Facebook page:

I'm really thrilled with the way that the neckline came out. Since I hear that the Babylonians saw the Milky Way as part of her body, I wanted stars to be an integral part of the design. (I'm only hoping I have enough of those black lip stars since Fire Mountain Gems stopped carrying them! *insert worry here*) I've used or will use amazonite, blue goldstone, hematite and flourite stars in the piece, as well as the 1,000+ black lip stars I did manage to squirrel away.

But what am I doing blogging? I have to get back to work!

Vanessa Walilko
Kali Butterfly
Eclectic chainmaille jewelry, unique handcrafted jewelry designs
Become a fan of Kali Butterfly on Facebook.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Post-DIY Trunkshow

I had such a blast at the DIY Trunkshow on Saturday! A lot of people came out and showed their support. My chainmaille jacket received a lot of attention (and who doesn't like attention?), and people seemed to like my chainmaille designs.

In fact, I'll be posting many of the new designs I created on Etsy this week. I just listed my "Goth Queen" chainmaille necklace. I had two designs initially, but thanks to some valuable feedback, I decided on the design in this listing. Make sure to check it out!

Vanessa Walilko
Eclectic Chainmaille Jewelry Designs

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Evanston Art Center Winter Arts + Crafts Expo

While I didn't have the wherewithal to photograph the 3 pounds of jewelry I sent to the Peoria Art Guild this week, I did have the presence of mind to take a blurry photo of the 75 pieces of jewelry that went to the Evanston Art Center this morning.

Also, my secret's out--I work on the floor! It's like a giant table that nothing can fall off of (anyone who has heard the tinkling of many rings and/or beads falling off a table to the floor knows the benefit of this).

Now, to make some jewelry for the DIY Trunkshow...


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Featured in an Etsy Treasury

I'm happy to report that I was featured in this fabulous treasury by MaggieGlynn

You can see the treasury for yourself here: Molten Treasury.

You can also find the tan shaggy scales necklace here: Chainmaille Scales Necklace by Kali Butterfly.

Also, if you happen to like my jewelry or armor (the pieces I've been known to wear while wandering around Bead&Button), be sure to become a fan on Facebook: Kali Butterfly - Chainmaille and Beaded Jewelry by Vanessa Walilko.

Vanessa Walilko

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Upcoming good things

A couple exciting things:

1) The DIY Trunkshow! This will be my first year selling my own jewelry at the DIY Trunkshow (although I think the third/fourth year working it. I'm looking forward to another busy year.

2) I've got new Halloween/Autumn themed items in my Etsy shop. Fun and spooky Skull and Scale Earrings and an Autumn Leaves Chainmaille Scale Bracelet. I also just made a chainmaille y-necklace from large scales. I can't stop wearing it.

So much for the diversion! Back to work!


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Epic of Creation - Tiamat

I have been plugging away at the Tiamat dress. Right now I'm trying to figure out where all the cool fossils and stones I have should go. This idea has had a long gestation time--like an elephant birth--so I'm trying to chip away at the massive project whenever possible. Here is the progress:

Vanessa Walilko

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Happy eBay experience

I'm totally floored. I ordered something on Saturday--from England--and it arrived today. It may have even arrived yesterday, I didn't check the mail.

In any case, since I'm so impressed by this seller, I want to give a hearty recommendation for Razor's Edge Footware for such incredible service. Honestly, I don't get packages from the US this quickly, and I'm totally floored.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Inexpensive macro studio

I'm still working the kinks out, but having a mini macro photo studio is a lot of fun to play around with. You'll note that the lamps are clamped to my kitchen counter. I am nothing if not resourceful.

Anyway, thanks to Rebeca for her mini article on DIY photography and How To: DIY $10 Macro Photo Studio for inspiration.

Vanessa Walilko

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Celtic Visions

While working at Blue Buddha Boutique, I received an email from a customer who wanted to know if it was possible to scale up the sizes for the Celtic Visions bracelet. Frankly, the idea was too cool for wait for the intern to do it, so I cranked out a bracelet tonight.

The large rings are T14, the small rings are L16. The best part: you can make it using all anodized rings. Happy day!

Vanessa Walilko

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Crazy chainmaille necklace

I wanted to make a necklace for my friend Nastassja, something interesting and strange, a mad amalgam of different weaves and colors. I kinda like it a lot.

Vanessa Walilko

Monday, June 8, 2009

Bead and Button 2009

I was at Bead&Button for the third year in a row with some of the crew from Blue Buddha Boutique. I never cease to be amazed at how friendly so many people are. Granted, I was wearing my chainmaille jacket, so I did get a bit of attention (Jean Campbell even included me in her blog post, which was incredibly nice), however, I can say with confidence that the Bead&Button crowd is the nicest group of people you'll meet.

And, of course, no drive back to Chicago would be complete without a stop at the Mars Cheese Castle. The smoked mozzarella is divine.


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Return to an abandoned blog

What can I say? I've been busy. A couple weekends ago I was in Knoxville, talking about feminism, and last weekend I was drumming as a part of Twisted Midnight for the first Ladies Rock Camp benefitting Girls Rock! Chicago. And this week I'll be off to the Bead&Button show, where whatever free moments I have will be spent sleeping or eating.

So what to say when I have some time?

Yes, I finally finished off the inventory for the Peoria Art Guild. They only wanted a couple more Shaggy Scales necklaces, but I thought I would send them some new pieces, too

The big chunky aluminum bracelet is a twist on an old design, with a spiffy new clasp that I just adore:

I also discovered that my new favorite weave is oval, and my new favorite rings are lavender:

Click on the images for the links to my Etsy shop with larger photos.

Off to bed!
Vanessa Walilko

Monday, May 4, 2009

QuickBooks to Excel and PDF, the inexpensive way

I've been desperately trying to get the BSGC finances off to the accountant. When I was told to send a PDF of the files, I was immediately stumped. I'm operating with QuickBooks 2003 Basic, and didn't feel like making the expense personally or for the non-profit to get the Premier or Pro version of the software just so I could export the file as an Excel document. However, with some puttering around, I figured out how to get the data to OpenOffice and then export as a PDF. Here's how, if anyone is interested.

Here's the process for anyone running QB 2003 on Vista. I have no idea if this works anywhere else. I'm a Mac person; my knowledge of--and desire for knowledge of--PCs is limited.

1) Get OpenOffice. I think everyone should have this anyway, the software is incredibly easy to use, the files generated are compatible with Microsoft Office, and did I mention it's free? Get OpenOffice here.

2) Print the report (in my case, the general ledger and income statement), to a file. Choose the "comma-delimited" file option. For me, it saved as a PRN file.

3) Change the extension of the file to .xls. A warning notice will pop up. Just confirm that you do want to change the file extension.

4) Open the file with OpenOffice Calculator. When you open the file, a "text import" window will pop up asking you what you want to do with the file. Check the box that says, "comma" in the "separator options" section. The little preview box at the bottom of the text import window will show that all of your pieces of data are now neatly in their own cells.

5) Click "Okay" and you've got yourself a spreadsheet! While in OpenOffice calculator, you can choose "Export as PDF" from the File menu and make a PDF of the information.

Anyway, hopefully someone else can benefit from my puttering around. I love QuickBooks and all, but I'm also a fan of doing things in the most inexpensive way possible.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tiamat beaded talon fingertips

In the midst of trying to wrap my head around just how I was going to manage adding all those beads and stones to the Tiamat dress, I decided to start working on the accessories. I wanted to do something repetitive that I wouldn't have to think too much about. That way, my subconscious could work out how to line up all the beads and I could still work on the project. It's win-win.

The result is this: the beaded talon fingertip. I wanted to give Tiamat claws, for while the Enuma Elish doesn't describe her as a dragon, she does give birth to dragons and monsters, so I imagine her to have claws... and horns. I'm looking for excuses to use my onyx talons, I admit it.

Vanessa Walilko
Beaded dragons, beaded armor, chainmaille jewelry, and chainmaille classes

Sunday, April 12, 2009

In progress - The Tiamat Dress

I was much too obsessed with my chainmaille jacket when I was working on it to actually to the in progress photos I had originally planned on doing. However, I decided to take photos of the dress while it was in progress, since this is the most epic project I've ever worked on.

Of course, when I say progress, I really mean, "fussily obsessing about where things are going to go next." I'm working, right now, on placing the cuneiform characters. I managed to find a PDF of the transliteration of the first 100 lines of the Enuma Elish, and the original cuneiform characters. After some editing, I sized the characters in relation to the width of seed beads and came up with a good scale for the characters in relation to the dress.

in any case, that was months ago. Today I was only concerned with the position of the characters--how they would flow with the dress. I came to this formation--the vertical formation is the characters for Mummu Tiamat.

For anyone interested in reading the Enuma Elish, you can find the full text here. These are the first four lines of the epic, taken from the site listed:

When on high the heaven had not been named,
Firm ground below had not been called by name,
When primordial Apsu, their begetter,
And Mummu-Tiamat, she who bore them all

Here's how they look in relation to the whole dress:

Back to work!

Vanessa Walilko
Handcrafted beaded jewelry, chainmaille jewelry, beaded armor, and beaded sculpture

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Dreams of the Fallen

Thanks to a trip to Milwaukee on Friday and some last minute scheduling, I got my big collar/capelet photographed by Larry Sanders. I just sent it off to the Bead Dreams competition. Wish me luck!

Vanessa Walilko
Chainmaille, beadwork, art

Saturday, January 24, 2009

February Classes

When I wore my dragonscale bracelet to class, I knew that I was teaching it somewhere soon. Well, here is the list of all the classes I'll be teaching in February:

Dragonscale - February 7
Briolette Beads, Forest Park

Chainmaille Earrings - February 8
Discovery Center, Chicago

Japanese Cascade - February 12
Caravan Beads, Chicago

I will also be subbing for Rebeca on weeks two and three for her Vikings and Dragons class at Lill Street starting February 11, and I'll be running the open studio at Blue Buddha Boutique on February 9.

As always, contact information for all of these locations can be found on my Resources - Classes page.

Vanessa Walilko
Gianessa Designs - Handcrafted Beaded and Chainmaille Jewelry

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New Etsy Items

I figured that as I got sucked into the online auctions for Battlestar Galactica (I love the show, but seriously, the Tighs as Cylons annoy me) I would update the website and the blog.

I posted some new items on Etsy. The first design people have seen before, either on my wrist or at the Cornelia Holiday Show. It's the Shaggy Scales bracelet, which also has it's own page on the website.

The second piece is the Shaggy Scales Bib Necklace. I'm a huge fan of these scales. Black on one side, gunmetal on the other, the colors create an amazing texture. Did I mention that they jangle? I like things that make noise and I love huge pieces of jewelry. This necklace has quickly become one of my favorites.

Vanessa Walilko
Kali Butterfly: Eclectic Chainmaille and Beadwork

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Custom Fly Ring

I imagine other artists feel this way: they make something that turns out even better than they imagined and then walk around the rest of the day/week/month thinking, "I'm a genius." At least, I like to think that other people do it, since I am self-conscious about my narcissistic megalomania. Or maybe that's megalomaniacal narcissism?

In any case, I did something yesterday that has sparked the "I'm a genius!" chant in my head. I made a housefly ring. It's a custom order, and it's just the prototype, but I totally fell in love with it. The garnet eyes are my favorite part, but the legs have a lot of personality too, and that makes me happy.

The finished piece will have a 14K band and the silver will be treated with liver of sulfur to make it black, but this little prototype ring makes me stupidly happy.

Remember, if you have any custom desires, just drop me a line.

Handcrafted Unique Beaded Jewelry, Chainmaille and Beaded Sculpture

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

January Classes

Oh, the horrors of the sinus infection. I've been out of commission for essentially two weeks, first battling a cold, now a wicked sinus infection. In fact, I've forgotten to put up information about upcoming classes until now. However, I have made some serious progress on the chainmaille jacket, so all is well in the end.

January class list:

Lill Street Gallery:
5-week chainmaille class, January 7-February 4

Briolette Beads:
Beg. Maille
X-Lock Byzantine
January 17

Ayla's Originals (my first official classes there!)
Spiral I
January 24

Contact information for stores can be found on my classes page. Class descriptions can be found on the Blue Buddha Boutique class page.

Vanessa Walilko
Gianessa Designs, Handcrafted Beaded Jewelry, Chainmaille and Art