Routine Log #5: Back on the horse

I…really don’t know if anything I write this session will make it to the blog, but if I don’t start writing now, I’m not going to write. Over the Summer I was able to take a Creative Writing course, which has gotten me in the habit — again — of thinking of Writing as an art form (with my last post here having taken up the Creative Nonfiction mantle). At this point in time, the class has ceased…freeing up some energy.

This was energy which had — before this class — been channeled into my blogs, which in effect have not been added to very much over the past couple of months, with a prior pause relating also to this specific blog and site. The reason for that is very intertwined with my personal life and the uncertainties I’ve been dealing with, where it comes to what I’m willing to say online. In essence, there is the possibility of self-censorship, as versus making very sure I am certain about what I’m saying and why, and whether I am doing so responsibly, should I choose not to self-censor. I suppose, as versus, “self-censorship,” you could call it, “quality control?” (Or, “self-editing…”)

This falls in line with the question of whether I want to be a writer more along the lines of an investigative reporter, as versus a writer more along the lines of fiction. There is a whole world of difference there where it comes to responsibility and the need for veracity. Because I do take this so seriously…because I actually know there is a responsibility to tell the truth…it actually is possible that I could become a good journalist, if I wanted to. The latter just requires an adherence to the truth — not to money, and not to ideology.

Right now, time is my most precious commodity; I’ve had a different class start up already. In about a month, I’ll also have another couple of classes starting…so right now, I am essentially taking a breather after a Summer intensive. With the current course, though, I’m not sure to what extent I will have to expend energy looking up ideas that my books assume I already know (like the definition of object-oriented programming).

Yesterday, I allowed (note the term, allowed) myself to work out a couple of variations on one of my own earring designs. Because I mostly know what I’m doing now, it didn’t take too long: I was able to turn out two sets of earrings in one afternoon. Granted, that it was the first time I had beaded in months. My reasoning for staying away is more psychological than grounded in reality, and at this moment, I still don’t have enough resources to solve the one certain problem I’m dealing with. (This relates specifically to the possible presence of toxins in colored glass, and whether they are at all a threat, given that the beads are not themselves, consumed — in which case, you’ve got a bigger problem than toxins.)

This is a question for me specifically because of the warning that glass beads are not for use by those under the age of 15…which leads me to wonder if anyone else should be using them, either. In my own case…well, it’s my body, and I’ve already been exposed to these things for a number of decades. I also know that I tend to be sensitive to this type of issue, so I’m taking that into account.

In any case, the earrings didn’t turn out quite as expected! I’m finding that slight differences in color get wiped out when I’m using tiny amounts of each bead. There isn’t enough of any one bead, that is, to make a huge difference in a mostly-monochrome color scheme. This is something I need to keep in mind going forward, because I currently want to experiment with the color schemes. To get anywhere, though, I needed to just do something…so I started in on a color scheme I had worked out in January of this year.

Initially, this was going to be copper and pink…but it turned out to be a more warm-orange type thing, as the orange of the copper and the heat of the pink and violet, blended.

Not for sale. Orange and purple pillow earrings.

Of course — now that I look at it, I remember that I used orange lentil beads, not the copper ones. This is largely because the copper lentils I had, contained the name, “Capri.” Capri Gold finishes, I know to be unstable. On the Capri lentil beads, I could also see the first black specks of oxidation. This is why I didn’t want to use them — well, period. The orange appeared to be my closest match, hue-wise. What I mention about Capri Gold is also something to watch out for on other unprotected (e.g. not PermaFinish or Duracoat) metallic coatings. The copper on the larger drop beads to the left, has already begun to erode.

I should note that not everything with a “metallic” sheen is what I’m referring to as, “metallic,” above. In the above, I’m meaning to reference specifically silver (or silver-tone), gold (or gold-tone), and copper coatings…in seed beads, they’re referred to as “Galvanized” coatings, but I don’t think there’s any parallel convention for regular glass beads (to wit, most of the other beads I use are Czech in origin).

So, for instance, there is a bead finish I really love which is referred to as Jet Red Luster — it’s actually a dark olive green with a beetle-like luster, once you see it, but it’s called, “Jet Red Luster”…this is not what I’m talking about as “metallic.” Jet Red Luster, in my experience, has been fairly durable. In the same category — in my mind, at least — are the “Hematite” (or gunmetal grey) and “Bronze” finishes (golden brown). They look metallic, but they do not behave the same way, in wear, as glass with metal stuck to it.

What I’m talking about when I refer to “metallic” coatings (at least, in this entry) are metals laid onto the surface of glass, and then not sealed from damage, or from the elements. Toho and Miyuki — two major Japanese seed bead manufacturers — have devised ways to protect these finishes with coatings, which are called PermaFinish and Duracoat, respectively. (I should also note that I’ve heard that rainbow finishes and the like may be due to the introduction of metal vapor to the molten glass, but I know so little about this that it is, for now, a side note.)

beadwoven blue pillow earrings
Not for sale. I used the “opaque silver” beads
as accents on this pair of earrings.

So there are ways to get that attractive metallic finish, and have it last. I also have a number of beads which fall into the Czech Fire-Polished category, which do appear metallic, but have not, to date, had that metal rub off, or tarnish. The notable example I’ve found is Aurum. I have not had the pleasure of using these yet, but was impressed when I got something that actually looked like gold and did not immediately smudge off onto my fingertips. “Opaque silver” parallels this. The same manufacturer seems to produce, “opaque bronze,” “opaque light bronze,” and “opaque hematite” beads in the same size and cut. I used the “opaque silver” variant on the blue earrings to the right.

Of course, it would help if I could recall (with specificity) what manufacturer actually made these…but they’re 2mm fire-polished beads; it’s unlikely that many manufacturers actually do make them. Of those who do make them, those who import them (to any one specific locality) are likely fewer.

Granted, there are likely a large variety of ways to get silver-tone, gold-tone, or copper-tone beads, not all of which may even use silver, gold, or copper. (Think, “metallic paint.” I doubt anyone’s using real gold, in there.)

I can see that the orange lentils I used above, actually are holding true to their promise of being orange, however! These turned out much brighter than I had expected, pretty much outshining their drops! I also can see very clearly, in this and the other set I made, the general size differences between Toho and Miyuki. If I’m recalling correctly, the magenta rainbow beads in the corners of the pillow shapes above, are Miyuki, while the matte purple ones to either side are Toho. The small blue beads in the corners of the blue pillow earrings are also Miyuki.

11/0 Tohos tend to be longer in stringing length than 11/0 Miyukis — in my experience. Of course, I’m speaking generally; this will vary from bead to bead, and I haven’t checked it outside the 11/0 size.

I intended to start this post on beadwork last night, but one of my classes has us paying attention to the contents of consciousness (essentially), and what turned up at about 10 PM — which I did record — set me off on a path so that all I should have been writing about, was that. As I couldn’t get off of it and didn’t want to get into such a disagreeable topic right then (do I ever?), I made some notations and went to sleep.

I’ve left that topic alone for today; it’s amazing how a night’s sleep can reset troubled thought to a stable normal, sometimes. (Unfortunately, I still have to deal with what triggered that thought in my life, but for now, it’s in my periphery.) What I have realized is that paying attention to little moments like this and taking the time to engage and write them down, is almost necessarily going to tempt me to write for longer, each day. That might be one of the reasons the instructor asked us to do it.

I do realize that there is an inherent conflict here between the possibility of becoming an investigative reporter, and not wanting to deal with ugly, ugly reality. The problem is, if we go without dealing with reality for long enough…reality degrades. Further, I should say. Writing, for me, is a relatively healthy way of working out problems; and maybe, finding solutions.

Published by Haruna

Haruna is a Librarian by training, currently pivoting from Public Services into Technical Services. Their undergraduate major was English -- Creative Writing, and they hold an additional small degree in Art (i.e. Visual Arts). They are now pondering whether a career in Academia is viable or desirable, given the current situation.

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