Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Another bookstore trip.

First of all, tonight our Legend of the Five Rings game was canceled. Our host was having home renovations and forgot to tell us until today, when his home was too chaotic to have a game. Most of the group was under the assumption that we could play at our friend Alex's place... because none of them have listened for the past two or three weeks when he's been going on and on about how he wouldn't be at the game because he'd be in HAWAII! We maybe could have crammed everyone into our apartment, but I wasn't about to go into a panicked cleaning spree on such short notice. So, no game. Bah.

Anyway, Chris had another commitment, which he was going to bow out of early to run the game, so this freed him up to be there as long as he wanted, and I guess that's a good thing, because it was all the way on the opposite side of town as our host's house. The brewery that he was meeting his friends at is in the same mall as the 2-story Barnes and Noble, so I tagged along, with the idea that I would shop and read books, and we'd do dinner when he was done.

I had an AmEx gift card sitting on my desk, so I decided to take it with me and buy a couple more beading books. Ever since gem show I've had this insatiable desire for new books, because I kept hearing how good they were. Today I picked up Diane Fitzgerald's new book on Zulu beadwork, and Sherry Serafini and Heidi Kumli's book on bead embroidery.

The Zulu book was one that I hadn't really heard anything about, but really wanted. There are a lot of really interesting, unique techniques in there that I'm eager to learn. The book has a nice introduction about the Zulu people and the history of their beading tradition, and then lots and lots of tutorials. Each technique has a photograph of a piece made in Africa, and then some photos of examples that the author made. It's cool to see how the stitches and cords can look so different depending on the beads you use.

The bead embroidery book came highly recommended by Betcey (my boss at gem show) and by Charlene (who I had lunch with), and really, I just kept hearing good things about throughout the show. The two authors are both masters of the technique, and I've especially admired Serafini's work because her sense of style and color really appeals to me. There's basic how-tos, an assortment of projects, and lots of information on design and inspiration. Even if I never take advantage of the technical information, the eye candy was definitely worth the price.

I'm really excited to start putting all these new techniques to use! I got a lot of cleaning and organizing done in the beadroom today, which also has me feeling inspired. As long as I'm not coming down with the cold that Chris had (for less than 24 hours), I'm going to be beading like crazy for the next couple of days!


  1. Hey you play L5R? Chuck did several illustrations for that game! Some strongholds, I think, they were beautiful

    mmm books. The Serafini one is goureous! She uses some of my faces and stones and I adore what she does!

  2. When you said strongholds, I immediately thought of the "Emerald Empire" book that came out not too long ago, so I flipped it open and sure enough, Chuck is on the artist list! SO COOL! Did he do the Clan castles?

    L5R is a really fun game and my husband is running an awesome campaign, which is why I was so bummed out that it got canceled.

    I saw one of your faces and one of your flowers in the embroidery book last night :D

  3. He said he did a few strongholds, and a few charachters. He did some symbols on scrolls too, I have some of those, they are holograms. You might look on his site, maybe you recognize

    I don't know anything about the game really, but the fans seem to like it. We know April Lee from the shows too, she did a lot for them, and she is super cool

  4. Very cool! The holographic ones must be for the CCG... I only play the RPG, but the couple who runs our local gaming store both play both games.

    I looked at Chuck's site and saw a Dragon castle and a Crane castle, but I'm not sure if they're the ones in the book. I'll have to flip through the book and see.

    By the way, did he ever do any artwork for FASA or Living Room Games for the game EarthDawn? His art reminds me of some of the art in those sourcebooks (and that's my very favorite system, even more than L5R).

  5. oh yes, he has only done cards for L5R. They may have put his art into books as well, but they were all for cards. I think he only did D&D books. I don't know for sure though...

    Hm, those other names don't sound familiar to me. I know he did Warhammer something.

    I would love to learn to play one of these games sometime

  6. I saw the Warhammer stuff on his site -- that's my on-line pal's favorite game!

    L5R seems to recycle their artwork a lot, I've seen the same piece in multiple books, so I'm not at all surprised that they'd use card art in books, too. I suppose they don't pay Chuck again for using it, they just pay him once for the art and use it however they see fit?

    If we lived closer I'd be happy to get together and teach you how to game. You may want to wait and see if there's a Free RPG Day this year. Last year, a bunch of companies provided demo versions of new games that they were coming up with, and gaming stores hosted events for it... So basically anyone could show up and join in a game. It was pretty fun, the game that we tried out became a new favorite!

  7. AJ,
    I have so many great opportunities to learn about gaming when we are at Gencon for 4 days, its only one of the biggest gaming events. But I get caught up in helping at teh art show and this time I might teach a beading class. Last year I didn't even see the whole vendor room! Its pretty cool, the sales people are all around tryign to lure you in to play a sample of the games, and answer questions. Its fascinating...

  8. I have GOT to get to GenCon sometime! It sounds awesome :) Comic Con is going to be fun, but there's not a lot of gaming there.

    If you get the chance, you might want to try out White Wolf's Changeling. I haven't tried the new version yet, but the old versions were great. You get to play a faerie!

    By the way, I looked at a couple more of my L5R books while I was making room to photograph, and Chuck's artwork is also in "Art of the Duel" and "Creatures of Rokugan." I can't find "Four Winds" to check it, and he's not in the core rulebook.

  9. Yeah GenCon is great! We would love to go to Comic Con and to Dragon Con sometime, just to attend, not display. Sometimes I think he can get more done if he is not tied to his booth.

    I will tell im about the books, he didn't know that the pieces were used in there too.

    I have these holographic scroll cards he did, there was a whole series of them. THey are opld scrolls with japanese kanji I think. Is it total sacrelige to cut them up and use them in a craft project? They are so cool looking!

  10. I'd like to get to Dragon Con sometime, too... And Mini-Con, because then I could meet Marilee!

    What I'd love to do is be able to go to a different convention every year.

    As for cutting up the scroll cards... Well, it depends on if they're rare! I'm sure that any CCG player would weep at the idea of a valuable card being cut up and used in jewelry. I know that there are sites that will tell you how rare and valuable a Magic card is, so there's got to be a similar site for L5R cards. Alternately, you could do an eBay search and see how much they're going for there.