Saturday, June 30, 2007

Findings Worth Finding: Holly Gage Components

Art beads come in a variety of shapes - lentils, chicklets, button and pillows - it can be a challenge to find high quality beadcaps for all the shapes that are available and that compliment your design. Holly Gage's pressed bead caps to the rescue! Made of sterling silver, the beadcaps can be squeezed slightly with nylon jaw pliers for a custom fit. A lovely finishing touch to your design!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Deadline Reminder - ABS Monthly Challenge

Who needs cake when you have designs as sweet as these?

Marie Antoinette pendant by Joan Miller

Cake bracelet by Rachel Place

Cupcake earrings by Patty Woodland

The June challenge ends tomorrow at midnight. (central standard time)
Enter your "Let them eat cake" themed creation and view the other entries at the ABS flickr group.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bead-A-Day Call for Submissions

Bead and wire artist Sharon Hessoun is the new editor for the Beading Bead–A–Day Calendar by Accord Publishing. She is in the process of compiling the 2009 edition. Believe it or not, the 2008 calendar has been printed and will be arriving in your local bookstores within the month!

The 2009 calendar will have different projects and inspiration pieces from the 2007 and 2008 editions, as well as basic instructions in numerous techniques. If you have a project that you’d like to have considered for inclusion in the 2009 calendar, please contact her at .

Don’t be shy! This is a great way to get your work “Out There”! If your work is included, you’ll receive a free copy of the calendar as your payment, along with your contact information published with your project!

She hopes to hear from many of you with projects and inspiration pieces to consider! There are a lot of days in a year!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Glass Bead SRA Movement

ABS recently caught up with Melinda Melanson who hosts the web site for glass lampwork Self-Representing Artists. What's that? Read on...

What is your name and what are your web sites? Personal and SRA.

Melinda Melanson

Tell us about you, outside of SRA. How did you become a glass beadmaker? How long have you been making beads?

I'm 42 yrs old with a retired Air Force Hubby and an 18 yr old daughter. We love animals and have a bunch. Dogs, cats, birds, snakes, lizards, tortoise, and a frog. I've always been drawn to beads and glass work. As a child I remember finding beads in the road or school play area and gathering them up to make my own jewelry. Way back then, I strung them on fishing line. I am always looking for something new to try, and in the early 90's, I bought a booklet and some beads and started making seed bead earrings. From there, my collection of beads has grown to take over my house. I don't do a lot of stringing work. I prefer bead weaving, loom work, bead embroidery. I started making Art dolls and was getting frustrated in not being able to find just the right beads for my dolls. Around 1999 I saw a bead making kit in a book club and figured I could make simple beads to adorn my dolls. Well, I had no idea there was a market for the beads I was making, they kept piling up and after a quick search on eBay, I decided to sell them there. I didn't start to sell them until 2001, but I was making them in late 1999.

Where do you sell your beads? Do you sell finished pieces?

Most of my work is sold on eBay and my website. I occasionally sell finished items, but mostly they are donated to a worthy cause. Some of my work has been in beading magazines and websites.

How did the Self-Representing Artist (SRA) site come about?

Basically, a bunch of [glass] bead artists were discussing how we could let our buyers know that they are looking at work that is made by the artist and not mass produced. Before a couple years ago, this was easy, there were very few mass produced lampwork style beads and it was easy to distinguish between SRA and mass produced. But then the overseas mass producing factories started to produce the same designs and styles that we were making. We decided a badge or logo would help us stand out from the mass produced beads.

How does it work?
Very easy to join. Send in some basic info. Once we verify that the applicant is a SRA, the member will get a membership number and a copy of the logo to use. I retain the rights to decline or pull anyone's membership at any time. The logo is used by strict permission only.

How many SRA’s do you have listed?
I've lost count after 1000, I think we are about 1500 strong now.

What are the requirements to be an SRA? Is it just for glass? Are there other organizations of this kind?
Our group is very easy to join. We only require the members to sell their own or immediate family members glass work where they display the logo. We do not require the member desist from selling other work. But they may not display the logo on this other work. Because our basic mission is to help buyers find genuine glass work, this group is for glass only. There are groups out there that represent the self representing jewelry designer.

Are you affiliated, endorsed or recommended by any other organizations? (ISGB? Local guilds? Etc).
I'm not sure if we've gotten any official recommendations from other groups yet. I believe The Angry Mandrel is linking to our site now. I know word is spreading like wildfire and the group receives new applications almost daily.

Is there anything you’d like to say to art bead makers and designers that use art beads?
To the bead artists out there, stand up and proclaim you are a self-representing artists. Make it easier for new customers to find your work. Be proud to be an SRA. Educate your customers about the differences between SRA work and mass produced work.

And to the designers......A HUGE thank you for supporting the SRA's. I believe the quality in the glass work made by SRA's is greatly superior to the mass produced items. And by supporting the SRA, you are directly supporting the artists and not a bunch of middle men/importers.

Is there any advice you can give for other art bead makers in other mediums that might want to follow your lead in the SRA movement?
Stand up and be proud of being a SRA in whatever medium you work in. Search for groups in your medium that can help you find your customers. If there isn't a group, think about starting one. Help others along their path.

(All beads in this article are by Melinda Melanson. Click images for a larger view).

Lori Greenberg is a glass beadmaker who blogs from her studio in Cave Creek, Arizona.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Bead Scoop - Beaducation

Want to take a jewelry-making class from one of the industry's top instructors in the comfort of your own home? Then you must check out the projects at Beaducation. Beaducation provides step-by-step video classes featuring techniques for all skill levels. Visit their website for a few free demos and to see their class offerings.

Monday, June 25, 2007

June Bead Theme 2

Just a few more days to enter the ABS June challenge. Here are a some beads from Etsy to inspire you.


Pukashell - not a bead, but I couldn't resist!

Block Party Press


To view the current entries and to enter your photo visit our Flickr group. If you are unable to post to Flickr, email your entry and I will post it for you. Please include your description and a link to your website or blog if you have one.

Win over $100 in art beads!
The ABS has another treasury on Etsy. Check out all the talented beadmakers selected for the ABS Clay Edition.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

On Display: Tutorial by Neo-Vamp

If you have ever searched for a convenient way to bring a display of jewelry to a meeting or store, check out this great tutorial I recently found by Carolina González on her Neo-Vamp blog. She expertly shows you step by step how to make this handy jewelry display binder, which you can fill with earrings, necklaces and bracelets. She makes it look so simple to make, and this innovative idea can be easily customized to fit your own look. Thank you, Carolina, for sharing this idea and tutorial!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Findings Worth Finding - Adjustable Toggles

When I first started making bracelets I wondered what the ideal size was. I wondered how jewelry designers got around the fact that not all wrists are created equal. Did they make many different sizes? Did they resize for every customer that came to them? How could something so simple throw me into such a quandry?

Then I discovered adjustable toggle clasps. Yay! Now the same bracelet could work for a range of sizes. The toggle shown here can be found at: Who Has Time.

The ones that I have include three rings for an even longer extension. If you don't like them that long you can always snip off one of the rings with your wire cutters. If you do like them that long but they seem a little bare compared to the rest of the bracelet or necklace you can wire wrap some components and add some bling that way.

If you know of other versatile toggles like this, leave us a comment. Our readers love to get resources!

Lori Greenberg is a glass bead artist that blogs, a lot, from her studio in Cave Creek, Arizona.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Heather Powers in Bead Style!

Stringing an Eclectic Mix

One of our own is featured in the July issue of Bead Style magazine! We all get sooooo excited for each other when this happens. There is nothing like flipping through a beading magazine and getting that great visual surprise of looking down at the page and saying "Hey - there is my friend!" or "Wow - I know that bead maker or that jewelry designer!" I am fairly new to the online and in the magazines bead world, but already I'm beginning to recognize individual styles and get a thrill when I see a name and can put some type of personal attachment to it.

Anyway - on to the subject at hand... Take a look at what Heather has to offer this time!!!

On page 99 Bead Style says it best: "This necklace has it all - an art bead, gemstones, pearls, seed beads, and a mental pendant. It even has a button to play up its handcrafted appeal. The combination of single and double strands highlights the necklace's asymmetry, and colorful drop earrings made an unfussy accompaniment."

If you are running short on time (and who isn't these days) get everything you need to make this great necklace here:

Or, if you just need the three main beads, click on the picture to see all the great color combinations Heather has to offer:
One of my favorite things about this necklace is the ideas it inspires me to try. Lets imagine substituting with these beads:

Keep the dragon fly and seed beads and ta da! .... you will feel like you are on a short vacation in a field of these!

Can you can imagine a design using these art beads to enter into our Monthly Challenge? Maybe Ms. Dragonfly will be feasting on some sweet nectar of those great flowered beads!

Thanks for looking and keep those Challenge images coming!
- Elaine Ray

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cindy Gimbrone Beads

What is your personal name, business name, website and location?

My name is Cindy Gimbrone – it’s Italian so it’s a bit unusual to pronounce – “jim- BRO-nee” – good thing my first name is so easy! My bead business is on the web at Cindy Gimbrone Beads I work out of my home studio in western New York State. I've also opened an Etsy

What kind of beads do you make?

I create glass beads with texture and symbolic meaning – like the spirals. The spirals reflect how certain events in my life kept coming back to me. I work to express emotion and thought – the unseen and then make it tangible through the glass. So when you touch a spiral – you’re touching a feeling, emotion or thought.

Do you design your own jewelry too?

Yes and I’ve written an article on a fiber knotting technique – Lucky Knots and Lampwork that appeared in the Premiere issue of The Annealer Magazine in December 2006. I teach classes too. I’ve taught Lucky Knots and Lampwork at Beadfest. I like to use typical materials in unusual ways to complement my beads. Lucky Knots and Lampwork was designed to highlight my faux porcelain beads.

How did you get into beadmaking?

How does anyone discover his or her passion? You stumble upon it! As a jewelry designer working with wire, I bought beads to incorporate into my designs. After designing for awhile I found I wanted specific beads – but beads that I had created in my head– when I couldn’t buy what I had in mind, I knew I had to make them myself!

What are some of the important things you do for your business?

I had to scour the forums and beadmakers boards to find relevant business information. I realized the only way I was going to find it was to start a networking group. So, I started a business group comprised of beadmakers from different media, clay, glass and polymer. It’s a group of dynamic women who are a constant source of support and inspiration. It’s been one of the most important things I could do for my business and myself.

What is your workspace like and how do you work in your studio?

Aww gee, do I have to tell you what my workspace looks like? You’ll probably tell me to clean it up. I like to have all of my things at the ready so that means I have to have EVERYTHING out and on my workbench. Another word for that is “messy.” I contend that your eye is untrained to see the high level of organization that lurks there– that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

How do you stay inspired and motivated?

I’m inspired not so much by the external as the internal world. I spend a lot of time these days talking to my teenage son – he inspires me a great deal – the “Pins in my Heart” beads were inspired by a day when he was so raw emotionally, everything hurt – I was very worried about him when I went into the studio. So instead of putting it aside, it was the inspiration for a bead that reflected how he felt.

What beady plans do you have for the future?

Beadwork magazine’s has a free project featuring my Spiral beads. I’ll be offering kits on my website based on the free project. I already have a Spiral bead set based on April’s Beadwork Challenge featuring the spirals.

Do you have new designs or ideas you will be exploring soon?

Absolutely! I’m developing bead kits for seed beaders featuring my lampwork and fused glass beads. My “purse buttons” to use on knitted/crocheted purses will be up on my site this week. They’re one of a kind bead/buttons that can be used to finish off that purse you’ve been working on!

If you have a discount code you would like to give our readers, please list it here, including the expiration date:

Ten (10%) off all website purchases for ABS readers until my 25th wedding anniversary on July 3rd, 2007. In order to get the 10% off, please write “I saw it on ABS” in the comments section of your payment window.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bead Scoop - ABS Treasury on Etsy

Here are some top picks from my favorite bead artists on Etsy.
Please visit the Art Bead Scene treasury, leave a comment and click on the images to learn more about these amazing beads and their makers!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Web sites for bead and jewelry people.

How many of you out there are baffled at the whole web site thing? How many want a web site but are intimidated by the process? How many of you want a web site but know you would need someone else to do it and you're not ready for the investment?

Well, worry no longer. Pappashop to the rescue! Alex and Jocelyn Pappadakis are a husband and wife team that specialize in making web sites with integrated shopping carts geared towards the bead and jewelry community. Jocelyn is a bead maker herself but has also worked on the design side of the web site business.

If you sign up with them you can bring your own design and they can integrate their shopping cart software and if you don't have a design they can help you get one.

The best part is, you don't have to know html. You only need to know how to upload files and type. Even if you don't know how to do that, they will walk you through.

I am not affiliated but I am a happy customer and recommend them highly!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sweet Rewards - June's ABS Monthly Challenge Prizes

Here are the prizes that have been donated by this month's sponsors. The theme challenge for June is "Let them eat cake!" Read the details for the monthly challenge here. Enter your creation and view the other entries at our Flickr group.
Bring on the sugar...

Elaine Ray Beads

Lori Greenberg

Thank you to our contributing editors for donating this month's prizes. Win over $100 in art beads - enter today!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Wikibeadia: Palchemy

Here is a new word to me: Palchemy
Dawn Chastain left a comment on my blog about using the process of elimination. This caught my attention so then I clicked on her name which lead me to her Etsy store. As I read the description of the listed item I see the word "Palchemy" ... I love words so this was intriguing to me. Here is what I have found posted by lilikoi on Etsy:

The word alchemy, to me, means something magical - being able to take a material and make it into something else. It is with this in mind that I'm announcing not a contest, but a game... it's a little bit alchemy, a little bit PIF, but it's also about being friendly... Alchemy + PIF + Pals = Palchemy There will be no prizes awarded and no winner chosen, it's all just for fun. ************* If you want to play, CONVO me. I will match people up and post the matches here. You can sign up to be a Sender, or a Maker - or both. Senders: Will mail, free of charge, some items of your choice to the Maker I pair you with. What you send is up to you. The value of the items, size, all that - is up to you. It can be wild and crazy, or it can be ordinary. Please include a minimum of three (3) items. Makers: Will create and list an item using mystery materials provided by Sender. You may get findings, you may get paper, you may get fabric - who knows?? You must mention the Sender's shop name in the listing description, and include the word Palchemy in your item title. One of your photo spaces should be a picture of the items that were sent to you before you made them into anything. You can add other materials of your own, the idea is to incorporate as many of the received items as possible into a new piece, but the piece does not have to consist soley of the received items. Please note: Senders will be "paid" in publicity via the description listing, Makers keep whatever they make on the sale - I'm assuming that there will most likely be their own materials involved as well.

I'm not sure if Palchemy is still supported and participated in on Etsy. Can anyone out there let us know? What I'm especially excited about is that this idea is getting the word around about supporting each other as unique, artistic individuals who buck the "big box" stores and all they stand for.

Of course, all of us here at Art Bead Scene would especially love for you to use items received from a palchemy exchange in conjunction with art beads / pendants which were made by individual artists. So I'm asking you to post a comment that has a link to photos, listings or other gatherings that support a collaboration between an art bead maker and exchange items (such as palchemy) that you have participated in or have viewed on the Internet.

Thanks again to Dawn for introducing the new word and idea "Palchemy" to me.

- Elaine Ray

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Bead Scoop - Raku Displays

So if you are creating wearable art, why not display it on a work of art?

Raku Display Sculptures by XAZ Bead Company.

Couldn't you see a row of these on your display table with your jewelry on them? Or maybe just one at home to show off your favorite necklace?

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Bead Scoop: Melanie's Bead & Button Stash

Want to see what an incredible stash of art beads one can get at a bead show? I wanted to share my personal stash with you from the Bead & Button show. I think seeing a person's bead stash is very revealing about them. What does my stash tell about me?

A crackly porcelain heart and wicked flowery skull from Joan Miller.

A fish pendant with matching accents from Clay River Designs and porcelain dragonfly beads from Splendid Loon Studio

Square pendant by Marsha Neal Studio, Button by Creative Impressions In Clay, Leaf by Embroidered Soul, and Raku discs by Bag Lady Beads

Brown tablet beads and a highly coveted magnetic clasp by Jangles

More fun stuff from Clay River Designs

Tiny spacers from Clay River Designs

Um, yeah, I went a little crazy at the Green Girl Booth. Check out the Shibiuchi heart toggle!

yep, I went crazy twice at Green Girl Studios.
Here is an incredible bird bead that I got from Kim at North Fire Designs and a flower I got from Ofilia Cinta, whose booth was just two down from mine
Ooh, my special treasure from Anne Choi! This one really spoke to me. It says "be not forgetful to entertain strangers" and it has feathers around it. It reminds me of my grandma and my mom, who love to feed and watch the birds.

A copper and sterling pendant and a toggle bar (it says Fly Away on it) by Coliebug Beads

And last but not least, shell and wood pendants and beads by Lillypilly Designs

Good stash, huh? I can't wait to start playing with all of these!