Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Co-creating with Kimberly Crick

Kimberly Crick's pendants from
 I’ve been thinking about copyright and proper accreditation all morning long, and then I read this post by Jean Power about those very issues. It’s not the exact same thing, but it’s a very interesting article and interesting that it "popped up" when I was thinking about the whole issue.

 I put a picture of my current doll, Glissanda, up on Facebook, and got a number of “likes.”

I like her, too, but I’m feeling like I should give due credit to Kimberly Crick for the original design. She created it for a pendant that she sells on her website, The Enchanted Gallery.

I found the image during a Google image search for “mermaid.” Out of the millions of images returned, this was the one I liked the best.

I liked it so much I ordered some of the pendants.

I created Glissanda from this design, and even though enlarged, reversed, in a completely different medium and some elements changed, she is still very much the same mermaid. She is the only doll I have ever made from a design like this. Is she for sale? Not exactly.

I was offered a barter by an artist friend of mine when I went to her studio to do a workshop with her. She offered me the workshop in exchange for a healing doll for a friend of hers. So, technically, as a barter, I got paid to make a doll. I agreed to the barter, and this doll has been made with a healing focus, a prayer in every stitch, a blessing in every bead. I also let Kimberly know I was making her.

When I read more about Kimberly, I realized that she, too, had serious health issues and have been regularly including her in those prayers. I look at the pendant and think about her often. The other pendant will travel with the doll to her new owner.

So, big thank yous, and original design credit to Kimberly Crick – thanks for creating the little mermaid who would become Glissanda and tie us together in a circle of healing.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Workshop Weekend

Looking out to sea from the beach at the Anacortes ferry dock.
Lola and I arrived in Friday Harbor around 4 p.m., pretty much on schedule even though the ferry had been delayed. We weren't about to miss that ferry and being Kemps, we were plenty early in the ferry line, like 2+ hours before the scheduled departure. We had a good chicken caesar salad and shortbread cookies with pink frosting from the little deli in the terminal. We walked on the beautiful beach nearby and watched the fog roll in and out. An hour later we had more pink-frosted cookies after they announced a 1-hour delay.

We checked into Earthbox just moments before we were due to meet Robin and some of the other students for dinner, connected with our "sister-from-another-mother" Jenny, and were on our way "downtown" (3 blocks away) for the start of our dream workshop weekend.

It was the first time I'd met Robin in person. She is taller than I thought from her pictures, very pretty and slim. She was beautifully dressed (every day!) and wearing a gorgeous beaded necklace she'd made herself.

Lampwork beads at Dream Beads
I didn't take enough pictures! I was too involved most of the time. So I've taken some pictures off the net to show you the places and people who helped make our weekend memorable.

We started off with a "meet-the-artist" event at Dream Beads. Leilani Dyer made us welcome and we mixed, mingled, and picked out special beads we'd like to put on our bead embroideries. Dream Beads is a small store with a big heart and a surprisingly large variety of beads and tools. I was particularly fascinated by the large selection of lampwork glass beads by local artists.

The workshop started promptly at 9 a.m on Saturday morning. Robin has the impressive ability to teach while simultaneously drawing clear bead diagrams, complete with thread paths, on a flip chart. And - she makes it look easy! I know from experience that it's not! We all practiced the stitches on small samplers.
Working on our samplers
Robin brought many of her bead embroidered pieces to share with us. What a bank of inspiration! I'd seen pictures of most of them, but 1) they don't do them justice, and 2) there's nothing like being able to pick something up and look at it really closely, see how the fringes and textures move and catch the light. They can be seen peeking through the back of this next photo.

Robin created this quilt using twelve of her Bead Journal Project pieces.
Four hours in a row may be too long to learn and bead non-stop.... we were all pretty much tired and hungry by the time lunch arrived at 1 o'clock the first day. Folks who know me know that I love my food, and I wanted to be sure we had an excellent lunch as part of the day, without having to leave the conference room. It's not always easy finding the best caterer from 2500 miles away. 

Deb Nolan, of Deb Nolan Custom Catering came highly recommended. One friend said, "People will come just for the food if they know Deb is catering." They would have, too! Deb worked with a long list of food allergies and preferences and served us the best vegetarian soups, salads, whole-grain breads, and little "protein sides." She is such a neat lady! Such a good cook, for one thing, and highly organized and efficient and just as nice as she could be. The food was awesome good.

The tables were set up in a U and Robin moved around the center in a rolling chair, helping individually. The great thing about a small group setting like this one is that everyone had a chance to ask one-on-one questions and the others get to hear the answers and learn from each other.

She also called us over in small groups to demonstrate a particular stitch and share how it could be expanded, using her own works as examples. Again, being able to see and hold the actual pieces added a lot to the learning.

 Look at these happy smiles!
After lunch we had more lessons, and some time for free beading on a project of our choice. At 5 p.m. we were invited to a special discount sale at Vital Elements, an interesting shop a short walk away. The owner, Rhonda Scott, has a marvelous collection of beads, ribbon, trims, papers, embellishments - all of my favorite things - and finished art pieces for sale. This picture, from their blog, gives you a small feel for the store. I was glad I had a well-established daily budget to stay within and a weight limit on my suitcases going back. I was tempted by so many things here and could have browsed for hours if I hadn't been more than ready for dinner. Rhonda fortified us with sweet iced tea, which was very welcome since I was acutely dehydrated most of the time.

Easter Sunday was Day 2 of the workshop. It was beautiful and clear and cold (45 F?) when we went out to breakfast. Everyone we met in Friday Harbor was so friendly and warm. They really made us feel welcome. Did I plan to have a workshop on Easter? No. I had no idea it was Easter weekend and it kept surprising me.

Many of us, including me, were a little under-the-weather. I love the spring flowers, but they don't love me so much anymore. Still, determined to bead and learn!

Beading all day long wasn't enough! We had evening sessions after dinner, too. One night I put in a stacked bezel around a flower and decided that it was just too high and took the entire thing out before I quit for the night. The next night I worked peacefully on my sampler and really practiced some edgings I wanted to know more about. There is an endless variety of things you can do using four or five basic stitches.

It was fun having my sisters Lola and Jenny there with me. We all had the same basic kit with a prepared piece of fabric, 3 sizes of beads and some sequins. In addition, we could add anything we wanted from our own stashes. Over and over again, without looking at each other's beads,  Lola and I would choose the same colors and sizes of beads on our samplers. Sisters!
Lola's sampler on the left, Peggy's on the right

I waited until the end to shop at Robin's "store" at the workshop. I think I was afraid that if I got started, I wouldn't be able to stop. Again, the basic daily (or in this case, 2-day) bead budget helps when faced with more size 15 Miyuki seed beads than you'll ever see in one place in person again. The rule is "Always buy as much as you can afford of anything you really like because you may never get the chance to get them again, especially not on Kauai." I call it the "Living on a Desert Island" syndrome.

I did get her "Beaded Treasures" book - I've been wanting it for a long time. Snuck a peek at it on the way home on the plane - oooh, can't wait to try it. I have lots of charms and individually interesting beads.

I pretty much bought beads everywhere. Fusion Beads, Dream Beads, Vital Elements.... my brother Mark invited me to go bead shopping with him on Monday and I actually declined in favor of going to the big video store. I wanted to get a present for Doc Matt, one he'd really like, not some hot pink gimcrack orca coffee mug from the ferry, that leaked so badly it ended up in the Goodwill bag. Oh wait, that was MY souvenir gift, not his. If I'd known Mark was going to give me a double daily budget gift when I got back in the truck, I might have re-considered that choice. EXCEPT - we got a whole season - 26 episodes - of the original Star Trek, which will give us many evenings of entertainment.

And I got plenty of great beads, including 24 K Delicas, pearls, titanium, hematite, whales, and some great shell dentelles and cockles.

da swag
Stone cabochon, dentelles, cockles

I spent my last 2 nights in my sister Lola's clear bright condo in Seattle - my starting place, too. We had peaceful dinners at home with family and I beaded quietly much of my last full day of vacation.

View from the lanai at Lola's - the camera click scared this little squirrel and he ran away.
Was it my dream vacation? In many ways, YES! It could have been longer...

Was it my dream workshop? In many ways, YES! Johnny Depp didn't come, but it was probably just as well. We had a superb teacher in Robin Atkins, truly inspirational. I met some great people and enjoyed seeing their work and getting to know them better. The food was awesome. We were surrounded by natural beauty and plenty of flowers. I think everyone had a good time. I hope so!

Would I organize one again? Probably...although I'd rather just be a student at a workshop someone else organized and coordinated.

Roche Harbor, San Juan Island
I remember now being really happy being in the company of one of my staunchest bead mentors over the years and other beaders and my sisters, being stimulated learning new things and really getting the space to practice them and try out variations, being inspired by how unique everyone's individual pieces were. I'm so grateful that we had this opportunity to study with a master artist and for everyone who came and added their energy and beauty into the mix.

Journey to Improvisational Bead Embroidery

On the way!
All the dreaming, the visioning, and focus paid off. We created a great Improvisational Bead Embroidery workshop on San Juan Island. Well, Robin Atkins created it, taught it, and constantly inspired us. I just dreamed it into being in that particular location. I'm so glad I did.

I flew into Washington state a few days before the workshop and spent time with my family. That was the main thrust of my visit at this time. I live far away in Paradise and I miss them. I didn't take very many pictures when we were together.

My sweet mama - Uta Mae in her kitchen
My mama offered to donate and help round up all the snacks, containers, paper products, pens, and other small things so that I wouldn't have to shop for them. Thanks, Mama! That was so great, we got to enjoy each other's company instead of dashing about tracking down crackers. She has always made the best snacks for parties and made it look so easy.

I brought some things from Hawaii for the gift bags. In Hawaii they usually have nuts, an individually wrapped cookie, and small gifts like sunscreen or a beach frisbee. These also included a rainbow string and String Figure Bracelet of Blessings from Lois and Earl Stokes and a small bag of assorted sequins and charms I wanted to share. I have about 33,000 sequins - always willing to share some of them! I had so much fun putting the bags together, making little grass skirts on each one.

My family days went by way too fast. I got out to Mark and Nicolette's - near Oso, in the foothills of the mountains. It was so beautiful out there - spring bulbs in bloom, new leaves on the trees, dogs joyfully prancing about. Nicolette baked one of her famous blueberry coffee cakes and then fed us a wonderful pasta lunch. My heart expands when I think about them and their life together on that farm.

So let's go already!

Good thing sister Lola was driving us up to Anacortes and over on the ferry. I had just a few things to bring. I told her, "There's 80 things on my bed that are ready to go in the car. No, wait, there's 80,000." I can't resist yanking her chain. She wasn't sure whether to believe me. I think she was relieved that there were only 8 things.

Next post - the workshop!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Tatanui - A Manifestation Dolly

Tatanui's inception - beadbacking cut to shape and peyote petals ready to attach.
Plenty of my favorite colors and 24K beads and pearls to play with.
I've written here and here about the Improvisational Bead Embroidery workshop with Robin Atkins that I'm organizing for March. It's filling up and there are only a few spaces left, which is really exciting. I've been focused on attracting students who will learn and enjoy and have as much fun as I'm going to.

At the end of the first night - her tatas look as big
as her head and she gets her name.
 As often happens, I made an intention and start working on it, energized it fully in the beginning, and began to see results. Then life and grief intervened, and my energy and attention took a dip for a while. I couldn't feel enthusiastic about much of anything except crawling into a hole and pulling the edges in after me. I wove prayer nets on the needle, and tried to focus on beauty.

Tatanui's 3rd day - she sits next to a replica "Doll of the Vespi," Russian fertility doll.
She has a 24K ruffle and heavy 24K border.

 So, the question is: How do we persist and keep the vision and intention energized when entropy and daily life start to wear it down? Well, how do we persist in anything? Step by step, meal by meal, 10 minutes at a time on a work project if that's all we can manage, thought by thought, bead by bead.

I persist by making art that consciously symbolizes and energizes my intentions. As I stitch each bead, I say a prayer. I see my intention coming to pass and I feel the emotions that I would feel in that moment. I see it, I savor it, and I save it in memory.

Bodice has been filled in with vintage sequins and pearls,
more gold. Peyote stitch sleeves begun.
I don't have hours every day to do this, so she developed over a period of 10 days. There were a couple of nights I didn't do much except look at her and focus. I created a graphic of the checks I wanted to receive, and kept her on it, near my computer. I also did a number of practical marketing steps, like follow up on email leads, post to Facebook, follow up with a venue. This is important - simply thinking and dreaming does not produce a comfortable, well-organized workshop with great food. And how would any other sort of workshop attract students?

Up in Kokee - the head enlarged and a lovely face by Dottie Hoeschen
added and temporarily bound with string until bezel is complete.
 I like to take my dolls out into nature, to strengthen them. Doc Matt and I went up to the mountains on our Sunday date. He played guitar and I beaded happily and we went home refreshed and energized.

 Tata's front is done. Her tatas no longer look as nui as they did in proportion to the rest of her body. It's the giant head, which could symbolize the power of the imagination. The hot pink vintage sequins have consistently morphed into ovals, possibly from being under a warm lamp, or leaning up against a warm battery back-up. So do the components of our intentions change and modify as we go along.

I can hear you thinking: "Is EVERYTHING symbolic to this woman?" And the short answer is... (wait for it) ... YES. Everything is symbolic when you operate on a symbolic level.

The next night, the 8th night, I finished the back. I kept thinking it needed a tassel or something, but in the end I liked the simplicity and the power of the words. Words are strong, they have power. The words we use to describe our emotions and situations influence our reactions and eventual outcomes. This is easy to demonstrate: Say to yourself "I feel like a huge pile of crap." See how you feel. Say to yourself "I feel lucky! I always have been lucky and I always will be. I get what I want. I win!" See how you feel. Which is more effective?

Tatanui is done! Sitting on her checks and energizing my intentions.
Every day after I played with Tatanui and focused on my intention, I got some return, either new registrants, or checks in the mail. Focused intention brings results! The work doesn't stop when the doll is made - it doesn't stop until you reach your goal.

We are very near that goal - only 4 spots left. This doll was created using 5 basic stitches, all of which you can learn in this workshop. Now is your moment of power to sign up!


I just googled "January is the cruelest month." Turns out to be a misquote of "April is the cruelest month," from T.S. Eliot's Waste Land, but Google had 283,000 references, so some other people have thought it was January.

It felt cruel. Dr. Sherman Merle, the father of one of my dearest friends, passed away and was buried with military attention. His granddaughter Sarah, a rabbinical student from New York, presided over the service and it was beautiful and comforting. The loud chirping and song of birds interrupted the prayers and testimonials, which was appropriate since his nickname and handle were "blackbird".  I'd never attended a full-on graveside funeral and hope to never do so again. It was weird and hard, even though his passing was a blessing on many levels. He was 90.

The day of the funeral, one of my best friends of 35 years, John Foppes, AKA Foopes, was in the hospital and hung there in a coma for several days, 1 foot in each world, before waking up and then lapsing into complete liver failure and passing away. He was 60 and one of the most loving people I've ever known.

Foopes and his son Nathan

Another close friend is divorcing her husband and experiencing that loss. The end of a marriage is often the end of a way of life in a beautiful place and that is a loss in itself. On some level, I've been grieving that loss, too - of my own first marriage and our family, friends, and dreams together in that magical place in the woods.

Grief is insidious sometimes. There are the hard constantly tearful days, weeping and more weeping, ending up at night unable to sleep because your head is pounding and your heart hurts. Those gradually pass, and then come the days when you think you're more or less done grieving for now and a song or a poem or even a happy memory suddenly starts the tears afresh. Or you have to tell someone, and that makes it more immediate again. Sometimes I feel disloyal for being alive, enjoying myself, laughing. This is all normal. Anything we feel or experience is normal.

A prayer net for Foopes - this is what I do when I don't know what to do. I bead and I pray. I pray and I bead.
New losses bring up old losses to be reviewed and healed, if necessary. Some people believe that grief has a basis in anger at the person we've lost. I don't feel angry now, but sometimes new loss brings up old anger, and that is illuminating.

Foopes and Rhiannon, back in the day
 All these things made it difficult to work, dream, plan. A couple of times I thought I'd give up the dream. "OK, it's not working, it's not going to, why waste energy on it, waaaaaa, etc etc". REALLY? Doc Matt put it clearly: "Your friend is sad because she's going through some big changes, and you are depressed because your best friend died. It has nothing to do with this dream. Give it a chance, don't give up."

After a while, I get bored with the tears, the focus on what I've lost, it's limiting and it's tiresome and it makes me sick. It's not good for my eyes to cry this much. I have to turn to appreciating all the things I HAVE, because grace is boundless and they are many. The world doesn't stop being a beautiful place just because we've been focused inward. It is still there, waiting to help us heal.

I decided to make a doll that would focus my thoughts and energy on what I wanted to manifest - a fabulous improvisational bead embroidery workshop with the right number of participants.

Voila! Tatanui.....

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Improvisational Bead Embroidery Workshop with Robin Atkins, March 30-April 1, 2013

Two and a half days to have fun with beads - learning, practicing and creating - on lovely San Juan Island - at the friendly Earthbox Inn and Spa! You can bring your partner, friend or spouse to enjoy spring wildflowers, hikes, kayaking, bicycle exploring on San Juan Island, while YOU play with beads.

March 29 - evening

Gathering at a local shop (yes, of course, beads) to meet Robin and the other students, and enjoy some light refreshments.

March 30-31 - all day + optional evenings + delicious, hot, catered lunch on both days

Improvisational Bead Embroidery, her favorite in the whole-world workshop to teach.
Learn all of the basic techniques for sewing beads on fabric, including high relief and textural variations, bezels, edge stitches, and fringing techniques. Practice them on a sampler similar to the one below.
Then begin to work on a small piece of bead embroidery, which can be made into a pouch, appliqued on a large bag, framed, sewn into a quilt, or one of many other possibilities. Throughout the two days, Robin will be teaching how to work improvisationally, without a plan or drawing, in a way that is fun and very empowering!

April 1 - morning

 Beady Problem Solutions
This optional half-day session is an opportunity for you to bring, show, and discuss your own work. Robin is prepared to assist you with "problem pieces," perhaps beadwork you like except that something doesn't "feel right," or pieces that you don't know how to finish. Bring any type of beadwork to this session.
Register now! Enrollment is limited to 12 students to provide for one-on-one instruction for every student.
$250 for Gathering and Improvisational Bead Embroidery workshop
$50 for Beady Problem Solutions
$275 for both of the above (save $25)

To get all the details and/or to register, please contact me: 

Peggy Kemp, pegnard (at) or join our event page at

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Spring into 2013 with an Island Bead Embroidery Getaway

A pocket crown for Queen Emmalani, October, 2012
2013 is starting off with a bang!

Well, it usually does, in our neighborhood above Kapaa, on Kaua'i. The neighbors start setting off fireworks around dark, usually about 6 p.m. and go on until midnight. Some of them were really big booms. I used to like those M-80's in ceramic cases, and once had a couple of M-240's, which are the equivalent of a quarter stick of dynamite. We'd buy them on the Indian Reservation in Washington State. An M-240 will blow a 6-feet diameter crater in the lawn. Just saying. You don't want to put one in a mailbox.

Nowadays, I don't like firecrackers as much because they really scare the dogs. They were quite anxious and Lola was crying. They huddled together in the inside kennel. They were still spooked the next day.

It is deafening at midnight, and very quiet five minutes later. I was asleep and woke up at midnight and came out and kissed Doc Matt on the lips and wished him a Happy New Year. Five minutes later I was sound asleep again.

I was dreaming about this Improvisational Bead Embroidery workshop with Robin Atkins. March 29-April 1, 2013 - San Juan Island, Washington State.

Improvisational Bead Embroidery by Robin Atkins
 I am so excited about it that I can barely sleep, and when I do, I dream about different designs I want to work on during the workshop.

So how did it come about? A very generous client gave me a large bonus which I used to order airline tickets. In March I will fly to Washington and see my family, which is exciting enough, all by itself. I made the comment on Facebook that it would be even cooler if I met up with Robin Atkins, and one of my friends said "Why not ask her?"

So I did. Dream a dream. Make it real. Take a step. Feel the feel. Get excited. Talk about it. Expect the best!

Before you know it, you've got a dream workshop planned, a venue on one of the most beautiful islands in the world, the best caterer on San Juan Island, and a special room rate for participants at Earthbox Motel & Spa.

To me "Island Bead Getaway" = "Hook up with your dream teacher. Make the group small. Time to bead and bead and then bead some more. Eat something yummy. Bead some more. Don't have to cook or clean or manage anyone. No cell phones or clients. Can actually walk from bedroom to workshop room in under 2 minutes. Bead some more. Consider going out into natural beauty or down to the gorgeous indoor pool for a swim. Bead some more."

Sound good? Come bead with us! We are going to have SO MUCH FUN! it's a flat-out bargain at $275 for 2-1/2 full-on days (and evenings) with Robin Atkins. A dream come true! I keep saying that, but it is!

If you have not already gotten her latest book, go straight to Amazon and order it. It is so complete, has hundreds of excellent photos, and an index, which is a rarity among art or craft books.

Email me at pegnard (at) for more details, like my Peggy in Paradise Facebook page and comment there, or join our event on Facebook at