Brace Yourself

Here it is the end of August, and not one post this month. My apologies. My previous posts  suggested a need to reinvent myself, or my work at any rate. And that is what has taken up most of my time – not the producing part, but everything else: reading, surfing, talking, thinking, imagining, visualizing, all just to grab a wisp of inspiration. In the end, there were two designs that inspired me to use as a jumping off point and attempt to transform a new concept into a woven form.

18K gold bracelet handwoven on a traditional loom with gold threads and black silk in a twill pattern. By Carolina Bucci.

As soon as I saw this, I fell in love with this bracelet. This is from and sold for $2,200.  That would be a nice income for a handweaver, a handweaver who could easily recognize the point twill pattern in the design. I set out to warp my Baby Wolf loom with a 6 Harness point twill in a black perle cotton yarn. I used colorful novelty yarns in the weft. (Didn’t want to use the 18k gold yarn for this first effort.) These are my results.

Handwoven twill cotton and novelty yarn cuff bracelet – blue/green/purple

Handwoven twill cotton and novelty yarn  cuff bracelet – pink/yellow/orange

Not a bad first try. I am quite happy with the finished bracelets and am looking forward to playing with it some more and tweaking the pattern, the fibers and the shape.

Now my other inspiration came from Memphis artist Dawn McKay. She and her partner Shannon Cable are shoveIt designs. This is how they describe their work on their website:  “shoveIt designs transform broken skateboards into wicked wearable art.” Now I am not at all familiar with the construction of skateboards, and don’t think I’ve ever been up close and personal with one. My generation after all still used skate keys for our roller skates – the one with 4 wheels on each boot. So I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this deconstructed skateboard that Dawn transformed into a bracelet.

Cuff bracelet made from a broken skateboard. By Dawn McKay of shoveIt designs.

This was another example of love at first sight for me. And as you all know, I have been playing with rep weave designs on my loom lately, and saw that the pattern in this broken skateboard represented rep weave. Here is my cuff design in a rep weave pattern inspired by shoveIt designs.

Handwoven rep weave cotton cuff bracelet

Creating these bracelets was like my “Aha moment”. This was what I had been searching for all along. But it doesn’t end here! I have had my eye on a certain lovely all metal  tapestry and beading loom for a long while now. The looms are made  by Mirrix Looms  based in New Hampshire. So I took the plunge and purchased the “Big Sister” model.

16″ wide Big Sister Mirrix loom for tapestry and bead weaving

You ask, what am I going to weave on this loom? More jewelry of course! Here are a couple of handwoven tapestry pendants that I wove on my new loom.

Handwoven tapestry pendant with coins

Handwoven tapestry pendant

So here it is, the end of the summer and I am finally having fun!

Dutch Treat

Do you know about saucijzenbroodjes?  (so-sise-en-bro-chess)  The literal Dutch translation would be small sausage breads. These are appetizers of  puff pastry stuffed with a filling of  a spicy ground meat mixture.  These aren’t your run of the mill “pigs in a blanket” as the meat flavoring holds a blend of exotic spices.  The Dutch after all were early settlers of the Spice Islands which would become a part of the extensive Dutch East Indies Empire and are now part of the archipelago of Indonesia.

Weaving and Holland have a long history together. The medieval art of  the handwoven tapestry comes from  the northern European region once known as Flanders and today is an area that includes France, Netherlands and Belgium.  Perhaps it is because of my Dutch ancestry that I am a handweaver.  But I do know that it is because of my Dutch heritage that I enjoy saucijzenbroodjes. And so I shall share the recipe with you.  A special thanks goes out to my friend Zita who sent me her recipe and with her blessings, I altered it a bit.

A dozen saucijzenbroodjes fresh from the oven


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.


1 lb. ground beef

1 lb. ground pork

3 eggs (beat two together and set one aside)

handful of bread crumbs

2 bunches of scallions, chopped

2 tsp. nutmeg

2 tsp. paprika

2 tsp. ground cloves

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp.  salt

2 packages of puff pastry sheets, thawed

parchment paper

In a large bowl, mix the ground beef and pork with all the spices, bread crumbs and the two beaten eggs. Mix well and then form 24 – 2″  meatballs.   Unfold the pastry sheets and cut along the fold lines.  Then cut each of these sections in half so that there will be a total of 24 rectangles.

Place a meatball on each of the pastry rectangles.  Fold the narrow ends of the rectangle over the meatball until they meet and slightly pinch the seam closed so it won’t separate during baking.  This seamed side will be the side that sits on the parchment paper. The ends of the pastry can be left open so the meatball is exposed, or the ends can also be pinched shut as in the saucijzenbroodjes in the above photo.

Line two cookie sheets with the parchment paper, and place the saucijzenbroodjes on the paper so that their sides don’t touch.  Meanwhile, beat the third egg and with a small pastry brush, brush the egg on top of the saucijzenbroodjes. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Zita says to check the bottom of the saucijzenbroodjes to be sure they don’t burn.

These can be served hot or cold, and they can be kept refrigerated for three days.  They can also be frozen then reheated and they’ll be ready to eat.  Saucijzenbroodjes are best eaten with spicy brown mustard.  They can be eaten as an appetizer or a meal by itself with a side salad or soup.  And don’t forget the Heineken!

Smaakelijk eten! Until next time when I’ll return to the subject of weaving!

Klompen - Decorative Dutch wooden shoes

Pictures at an Exhibition

I had forgotten about Emerson,  Lake and Palmer’s Pictures at an Exhibition until I walked into the lobby of the Circuit Playhouse in Memphis, Tennessee.  Though the theater is located on Poplar, one of Memphis’ busiest main streets, walking through the front entrance takes you into another world.  The lobby is a small enclosed space with dark burgundy walls, and there seems to be an other-world presence once you enter the building.  The theater’s manager did confirm that there is a resident ghost.  We were there around the time of Halloween but not for ghost hunting.  Several artists with Memphis Association of Craft Artists (MACA) were hanging an exhibit of their work in the lobby area to be viewed by theater goers until the end of December 2009. But while we were busily at work, hanging and positioning items, all that I heard was Keith Emerson playing “Pictures at an Exhibition” on the Hammond organ.  The environment was perfect for it.

circuit playhouse exhibit 2

Clay, wood and fiber pieces

circuit playhouse exhibit 1

Woven tapestry, Metal and Clay Sculptures

circuit playhouse exhibit 3

Fiber, metal and clay pieces

circuit playhouse exhibit 4

Art quilt and handwoven tapestry

circuit playouse exhibit 5

Silver and dichroic glass jewelry, small clay sculptures

These artists are represented in this exhibit:

Barbara Olive, pottery     

Jennifer Hyatt, metal sculpture

June Kramer, tapestry weaving

Agnes Stark, pottery

Michele Price, woven clay

Rick Cannon, wooden bowls

Marilyn League, art quilts

Deirdre Daw, clay sculpture

Mildred Schiff, precious metal clay and dichroic glass jewelry

Katie Dann, clay sculpture

Felicitas Sloves, handwoven scarves and shawls

During the time of the exhibit, Circuit Playhouse will be performing “The Toymaker’s Apprentice” and “The Seafarer”.  The artists represented in the MACA exhibit will provide the perfect background music to these shows.  As will Keith Emerson on the Hammond organ!

…..Lead me from tortured dreams,  Childhood themes of nights alone, Wipe away endless years, childhood tears as dry as stone.