Thursday, June 20, 2019

Creative Fun - Launch of a New Minecraft Server for Autistic Individuals and their Families - It IS CAKE!

Since starting this blog, I've occassionally taken a little detour from discussing my work to talk about my son, Tony's, creative efforts, such as writing children's books and making comics. Today, I am very proud to share with you his latest project, a Minecraft server for those on the autism spectrum and their families - Spectrum Insights Minecraft! Tony and those he is collaborating with have been working for almost two years to create an amazing server with 8 different worlds to play in.  They've all had experience as administrators and moderators on another Minecraft server for autistics, and they are all on the spectrum themselves. Their server will be a safe and fun place to enjoy Minecraft and make connections. 

Why did the team at Spectrum Insights create this server? What do they hope to accomplish?  As they put it on their Kickstarter:

Why are we doing this and why should you join us?
Environments and communities with the following factors help human beings thrive:
Being Inspired
Being Safe
Being Challenged
Being Accepted
Being Known
Being Empowered
We want to make a place where people can feel inspired. We can tap into the energy and dreams that drive us, and find more out about ourselves: What are our passions? What do we want from the world? What do we bring to it? Our kids get online and seem to check out, but what’s actually going on? Could they be learning, engaging, finding encouragement and tapping into inner strengths? We want to help kids find what inspires them.
We want people to be safe. They will feel secure in knowing that we will talk about every conflict or problem, and together we will decide what to do to resolve things.We can learn without fear or embarrassment. You don’t need to worry about who your family is interacting with. Our server is vetted and moderated. 
When we are challenged, our brains respond utilizing their inborn elasticity. Human evolutionary biology has demonstrated repeatedly that challenging a system within healthy boundaries stimulates growth.
When we are accepted as we truly are, we have the freedom to think about what we might be. Being able to “try on” attitudes and values to see what resonates is a luxury that is not often found in the immediate, virtual world. In our Minecraft environment, we’ll  examine issues using a compassionate and principled approach  and attempt to demonstrate the value of each individual. We want to encourage acceptance of others, as well as acceptance of self.
Being known is to be seen by others as you actually are, and thus people are able to understand and trust your intentions. Being known means you feel safe enough to open up and know others.
Being empowered is to have explored enough of yourself that you are confident that your choices demonstrate a clear picture of your values. You know who you are.. You can stand by your principles and values because you build them into every step of your life.
This IS CAKE.. Come play with us!

Please consider supporting the Kickstarter for this amazing project! Just sharing the Kickstarter page is much appreciated. They only need a little more funding to make this project a reality!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Magic of Fiber and Metal Together: Mixed Media Crochet Jewelry

(Available in my Etsy Shop)

I know it's been a terribly long time since I posted anything here.  No excuses, but I am sorry.  That said, over the course of the last year I have been busy experimenting with the combination of hand-dyed threads and metal components to create crocheted jewelry.

I've done this to some extent almost since the inception of Gossamer Tangles, as I've crocheted fiber into metal chains. to create necklaces.  I've continued to work on techniques for crocheting into metal chains.

Lately, though, I've been working with metal focal components.  They offer a more complex configuration of openings to consider in deciding where to place crochet and fiber design elements.  Here are some examples of the types of metal components I've worked with:

Perhaps one of the most important factors in choosing a metal component is the size of the "holes".  They need to be large enough that you can squeeze a crochet hook through; although there are work-arounds, if truly needed.  For example, when working with the many-holed floral pieces shown in the just abov, I used my thread to sew straight stitches in a spiral pattern over the metal component by using the openings as though they were holes I was making with my needle through a piece of fabric. I then worked my crochet into those stitches.  You can see the results in the yellow/gold and rust/copper necklaces below .

(Available in my Etsy Shop)

Spiral components have been some of my favorites to work with.  They offer lots of design possibilities, especially for pendants.

Crescent shapes have also offered some fun possibilities.

Available in my Etsy shop

There are lots of shapes and styles of metal focal components out there and they offer endless possibilities for crocheted jewelry.

The thread that I've been working with in these mixed media pieces is all hand-dyed perle cotton - usually in size 8 or 12.  I love to work with the beautiful colors. The crochet stitch work and beads add interesting texture to the smooth metal components.

To date, I've worked almost exclusively with Tentakulum Painter's Threads. I love the gorgeous colors in palettes used by famous artists, such as Gaugin, Monet, and Klimt. Artistic Artifacts has been a great supply source for buying these threads, which are manufactured in Germany, online here in the US.  Very recently, however, I also discovered a wonderful Canadian source for absolutely beautiful hand-dyed threads, Colour Complements.  Lorraine, the fiber and mixed media artist who creates these artful fibers, does an amazing job and has a large inventory of choices. The first piece I created using her threads is the crescent necklace in the purples and jewel tones pictured at the very beginning of this post. I know I'll be using her threads for many more of my pieces in the future.

(Available in my Etsy Shop)


As I create more mixed media, crochet jewelry, I look forward to sharing my work with you.  No promises on when my next post will be, but I'll try for sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I'd love to hear what you think about this technique and I'd be happy to answer any questions.  Just get in touch through the comments.