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Adrienne’s big kumihimo adventure, week 5

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A new version of the “Kumihimo on the Double bracelet,” which was a project in the June issue of Bead&Button magazine.

For the past several weeks, we have been sharing stories and photos from kumihimo artist Adrienne Gaskell as she took a month-long kumihimo-related trip down the west coast of North America, from Vancouver to San Diego. Her journey will took her to various bead stores and manufacturers, the Braids 2016 conference in Tacoma, Washington, and a 3-day workshop of her own, with lots of stops along the way.

Week One: Visiting Vancouver and Western Canada

Week Two: Washington and Oregon

Week Three: Sonoma County

Week Four: San Diego

Taking a month away from my studio is always a challenge, but it also gives me the opportunity to actually spend time doing something other than work. Since my studio is in my home, I tend to work long hours and I rarely take a day off. I love to travel and visit new places, but it also gives me some down time to reenergize.

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A necklace by Bill Reid.

In reflecting on our West Coast Kumihimo Adventure, it is difficult to look back and say what I liked best. Of course everything. Kumihimo is always at the top of the list, but the hiking also stands out as a high point. Although I love living in south Florida, we aren’t known for great hiking trails—well at least none with mountains, waterfalls, and amazing vistas.

Visiting new museums and galleries fed my creative soul. Whether I will actually interpret new designs into my work, or just gain a new perspective, experiencing art is always stimulating. I especially enjoyed seeing the art of the First Nations people in British Columbia. I had been admiring the gold and silver jewelry by Bill Reid on the Internet, but there is no comparison to seeing it in person.

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The party at our house.

Reconnecting with friends all along the trip made every destination more special. In Tacoma, I gave a little party for my students that were visiting Braids 2016 from Japan. This was sort of a thank you party for the hospitality they have shown me over the years on my visits to Japan. When they all showed up at our house, I was not quite ready, but have no fear when Japanese ladies are around you will get a lot of help. We had a lot of fun fixing hors d’oeuvres together. They showed me their way of peeling a hard-boiled egg and even a fast way of popping out the yolk, but I surprised them when I turned them into deviled eggs, apparently something they were unfamiliar with but did not hesitate to eat. There were many oohs and aahs and the laughter crossed all language barriers.

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Melodie Owen works on a Kumihimo braid during class.

Ending the trip with the 3-day kumihimo immersion class in San Diego was the best way I could have wrapped up the trip. I’m passionate about teaching as I really love sharing my kumihimo innovations with my students. I really enjoy watching them learn and what makes me really happy is when my talented students take something I have done and put a new twist on it to make it their own.

I’m back to work and invigorated to create new projects. I just finished a new version of the “Kumihimo on the Double bracelet,” which was a project in the June issue of Bead&Button magazine. I hope you also get the chance to feed your creativity by getting out of your normal routines.

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