Saturday, April 30, 2011

Studio Saturday - Humblebeads

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.

We have three winners this week: moonlightfantaseas, rosebud101, For My Sweet Daughter!

Congratulations! You have won etched copper tags from Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati!

Send Erin an e-mail with your address and she will get it right out to you.

Now let's head on over to the
Humblebeads Studio...

There are 34 days until the Bead & Button show.

My life is consumed with this countdown at the moment...

I'm working on new beads that will hopefully dazzle - like the headpins above.

Making piles and piles of things.  I press beads at night while we watch movies.  We've watched entire series over the last few weeks.  This is one of many trays.

Or like last night, I don't go to bed until 2am because inspiration struck at 11pm.

These are pendants with vintage images - I'm all over bicycles, umbrellas, beehives, birds, foxes, butterflies & nests.  They aren't quite done, I'm going to play around with some antique finishes and I think I'll try some in sepia tones as well.  I also have some sketches to do some tiny watercolors and use them for pendants too. 

Despite these little bits of squirrelling away, I'm far from being ready.   Preparing for Bead & Button is a Herculean task that must be mixed in with already packed days.  But no matter what, I will be ready by June 7th - car packed and heading up the road! 

So two questions - what type of vintage image would you like to see in a pendant and most importantly - will you be at Bead & Button this year? 

If so, mark booth #1212 as one to stop by and say hello to me!

This week's prize is a pair of my new headpins, leave a comment for a chance to win.

Friday, April 29, 2011

April Monthly Challenge Blog Tour

Welcome to the Art Bead Scene April Challenge Blog Tour!
Our challenge painting inspired so many wonderful responses! From the birds to leaves to anything oriental, this was a great way to incorporate a huge variety of art beads. Birds and nests and trees are such popular motifs it was not hard to find something that fit.

Since I am a knowledge junkie (research is fun! I should have been a librarian ;-), I thought I would share with you a five fun facts I learned about finches (courtesy of Birdhouses 101):

1.The finch lifespan ranges from four to seven years. It's maximum life expectancy is 20 years, but that is rarely reached.

2.It is one of the smallest birds on Earth and belongs to the largest bird family known as the passerine, commonly referred to as perching birds or songbirds.

3.Finches are small and quiet birds that do not need human interaction. They don’t mind having humans around when searching for food on the ground or bird feeders.

4.The house finch was only a western bird before 1940. Then they were illegally shipped to New York City for trade as caged birds. Some pet dealers, however, later released their birds which eventually thrived in Long Island. Since that time, the house finches spread to the eastern and Midwestern part of the U.S. Today, they are one of the most common garden birds.

5. House finches are non-migratory to partial migratory birds. They usually stay in or close to their breeding areas over winter. They may only wander off to other areas in search for their food.

Okay! Enough of my geekery...on with the Hop!

{Kristi Bowman makes some awesome bronzclay charms... just look at the detail on those leaves!}
Starting us off this month is a beautiful piece from Kristi Bowman of Dreamsome Designs. Her new line of metal clay pendants and charms are beautiful in their detail and patina. Here she made the bamboo leaves that complement the earthy tones of the Havana Beads glass leaf headpins. Read all about it here.

Cindy Dolezal used some beautiful fibers to mimic the leaves of the tree in the perfect shade of green. They complement the beautiful wood beads and the bamboo ceramic square pendant made by Cindy herself.

I really enjoyed reading the process behind the design from Bee Tree by m.e. Some designs just beg to be touched and worn, and m.e. did just that... she wear tested this beauty just to make sure. Check out her blog to read more.

Mallory Hoffman, For the Love of Beads, chose to pull out the red in the Chinese letters of the painting using glass flowers that she created. The glass flowers are so lush and I imagine would make a delicate sound when worn! 

{Makin Art never ceases to amaze me. These are fabric leaves with real driftwood.}

Delving into the world of mixed media, and straying from her preferred seed beads, Mackin Art designed this awesome piece that really looks as if the branch was plucked right from that tree. Those leaves are just begging to be touched!
Welcome to the Blog Tour, Eleanor! This is a first entry for Eleanor, and I think that she outdid herself. When I first saw this I thought that it was grasses woven together. But it is silk! Read about her process here
Etching metal is such a great project to do and she drew her own bird image. This stunning cuff by StaciLouise blends so many textures together... metal, silk, leather. I bet this dresses up your jeans nice!

Lynne of Island Girl made everything in her necklace (except for one little bead). That dichroic focal bead is truly a work of art in itself!

{Miss Heather, the Peacock Fairy, was doubly inspired this month. This sweet little chicadee is from Sharon Palac of Bijou Jardin}
The lovely Miss Heather, a.k.a. the Peacock Fairy, is likely doing a little nesting of her own (her first child is due to make an appearance soon!), but in the midst of all that nesting, she found time to make not one, but two lovely little baubles, each one different totally different. I love this sweet little chickadee and the Chinese writing beads paired together. (And I am totally digging the photo styling on this one!)

Christine Damm, of Stories They Tell, never ceases to amaze me at the depth and nuances of her hand made polymer clay pendants. This month Christine pulled out all the stops for a multi-layered effect that is truly spectacular, and inspired by a movie called "The Curse of the Golden Flower" (that I am totally going to look for!).

Inspired by Chinese calligraphy and the royal dynasty, there is a lot going on in this design by Creaciones Inaru. I especially love the sketches that show the thought that went into this piece.

{Sally B Anderson created this earthy necklace with a pendant from Jeannie Dukic. Jeannie made this pendant as a giveaway inspired by this month's challenge painting. I don't think that Sally has a blog...yet!}

Grubbi from the UK made every single component in her bracelet. Check it out. And she just opened an Etsy shop to sell her components, resulting in her first sale this week! Congrats!

Beth and Evie are the talented duo behind EB Bead and Metalworks. I just love the way they work together as if they are finishing each other's creative thoughts. Their enameled metal pendant just about knocked me off my chair this week. Originally all I saw were the beautiful bamboo leaves in it... and then I noticed the camouflaged birds on the top. Brilliant!
Using an etched metal pendant with the perfect pair of birds, Miss Pamela of Klassy Jools designed a necklace with rustic elegance. You can't go wrong with pearls!

{I love that sweet little bird and those beautifully crafted leaves!}
Jackie Mello of Dose of Inspiration created these layered leaves from leaf shapes using mica powder for that extra flash. I love the sweet bird on the branch. Check out her process at her blog.
Pushing through her doubts, Miss Kate of Tropical Blonde created a great polymer clay focal using a mokame gane technique, but the best part is the hint of green wire peeking through! So glad you joined in! Read all about it here.
And finally, if you would care to see my challenge piece, I share a bit of my process in taking apart a treasure that didn't sell from my gallery exhibit last summer and using the perfect parts to enhance this new design, as well as a little tip I use on mixing metals. Hop on over to the Treasures Found blog to have a look.

Thanks for all the wonderful entries this month! Stay tuned for the May challenge painting to rev up your inspiration!

(If you find any links not working, please contact me I tested them all late last night but somehow the gremlins in my computer were messing with me. My apologies!)
Erin Prais-Hintz writes about all things that inspire her at Treasures Found::Inspiration Is Everywhere. Her jewelry designs are one-of-a-kind made one-at-a-time. She collects quotes and dust and invites you to send her your favorite (quote - not dust!) to

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Trends from Etsy

Etsy is a great source to see what's on trend, they publish a monthly report.  Here is the May edition and some art beads that fit the themes. 

Hope: peace signs, cherry blossoms, Japan-inspired themes.

Geometric patterns: triangles & teardrops, chevrons, stripes.

Unique findings: artistic headpins & toggles.

Garden themes like gnomes, mushrooms, snails, flowers, bees and butterflies.

Put a bird on it: birds, feathers and eggs are as strong as ever.

Locked away: keys, keyholes & lockets.

Things to keep in mind for May - offer priority mail shipping for Mother's Day.

Graduation gifts are needed, create things that can be personalized with initials, school colors or the year. Owls are also fun for graduation as the go-to symbol for wisdom!

Wedding season is fast approaching - lots of opportunities there from Mother-of-the-Bride to the flower girl all need jewelry.  And brides are looking for unique thank you gifts for their wedding party.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Fit to Print Review -- Jewelry Upcycled! by Sherri and Michelle Haab

I love books by Sherri Haab.  Not only are they sure to have innovative tutorials, but they're a treat for the eyes.  This book is no exception!

The book, "Jewelry Upcycled!", features techniques and tutorials for "reusing metal, plastic, glass, fiber, and found objects".   The tutorials are broken down into five "upcycling" sections:
  • Metal and Wire
  • Plastic
  • Glass and Ceramics
  • Fabric and Leather
  • Found Objects
There really is something for everybody in this book.  You'll learn how to rivet, use resin, felt old sweaters, solder with copper tape -- there really is a LOT between these pages.  

And if you think that using recyclable materials means the jewelry won't look like.. well, jewelry, take a look at Sherri's bubble wrap necklace:

Isn't that cool?  

The book is 144 pages and is put out by Potter Craft.  I'd highly recommend it to anyone looking to expand their jewelry-making horizons and go green!

Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.    She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Two Design Contests

Katie Hacker is hosting a design contest featuring her Katiedids components.  Deadline is May 1st, details are on her blog.  Along with winning some fun prizes your design will be displayed at the Beadalon booth at Bead & Button.

Cynthia Thornton of Green Girl Studios is hosting a design contest on her blog as well.   This challenge asks you to design something using the studded bead project in Cynthia's book. You can win one of her amazing new mechanical owls and a pile of other goodies.  Check out her blog for details.  Deadline is May 2nd.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Featured Designer of the Week: StaciLouise Originals

Each Monday the Art Bead Scene features the Designer of the Week. One of our editors picks her favorite from the Monthly Challenge entries. This week's featured designer is StaciLouise!

Here is what ABS editor, Erin Prais-Hintz had to say about this design;

"With my own recent experiments in etching, I was delighted to see someone else working on perfecting that technique. I know how hit or miss that process can be, so I really appreciate that StaciLouise chose to etch her own original design as the artwork. I love the stitching on the fabric and leather, the brass tube rivets that add a little contrast, the handmade swirl clasp out of wire and the little pearl that dangles in the back. A very simple, yet intriguing design."

View more of her work here at her blog and at her website.

Want to see your work here next week? Enter our monthly challenge for a chance to be featured! Be sure to add ABS April as a tag to your photo and make sure you allow us to download your photo so we can prepare our posts that feature you.

And don't forget to post a link to your blog post on the challenge! Deadline for the blog hop is Thursday, April 28th (try to make it early so that I can find them all before I post about it). Watch for the blog hop happening here on Friday, April 29th!

Enjoy the day!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday with Cindy - Not your usual egg

Happy Easter to those who celebrate it! I've searched Etsy today for a few good eggs that are pastel colored confections. Instead, I've collected a few examples that reflect my own quirky sense of style. Hope you enjoy them and the links from the bead blogging world!

Over Easy Resin Ring by zougeebean

Rice Soy Sauce and Egg Ring by SouZou Creations

Lil Eggs set of 5 by Fat Studio...

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Cindy's made some new blush pink drops, come see what she's done with them!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
We all scream for Ice Cream! Melanie shows how she designed and made a new line of sweet pendants.

Resin Crafts!
This week Carmi has a short tutorial on using resin as a glaze.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Rio Grande is encouraging a wonderful way of helping the people of Japan and it is SO EASY! Read about it on Jean's blog!

Strands of Beads
Melissa is brooding about issues of originality this week.

The Bead Dreamer
A lovely tree branch, soft pink flowers and wisps of silk inspired two necklace designs.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew takes a peak at Anne Choi's new BRONZE beads

A Bead A Day
Do you like glitter AND jewelry making?! You are going to love this project that Lisa found over at! Jewelry Making
What are your plans for your siver scraps now that silver is crazy expensive?

Art Bead Scene
Here's a fresh idea for spring - a garden gate clasp.

Barbe Saint John
Barbe's giving away the latest Industrial Chic booklet and some charms!

Beading Arts
As part of the Artbead challenge, "What's Old is New Again", Cyndi has constructed a flapper-style necklace from some very cool components!

Carmi's Art/Life World
This weeks blog features the poppies of Paris and the jewelery it inspires.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Studio Saturday with Erin Prais-Hintz, Tesori Trovati Jewelry

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.
This weeks winner is Elaine Robitaille of Too Aquarius!  
Congratulations! You have won a  sweet little ring dish from Shannon of MissFickleMedia!
Send Shannon an e-mail with your address and she will get it right out to you.
This week we visit the studio of Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati Jewelry.
 I don't know about you, but I am the sort of person who can't say no. 

Some months ago, I was talking with the director of my daughter's dance studio pitching her the idea that I could take my 'simple truths' pendant line and do a semi-custom order form for the dance studio that would be a fundraiser for them. I would take 2/3 and they would get 1/3. And the dancer's would have a semi-custom necklace commemorating the 10th anniversary of the studio.

Win. Win. Win.

But I agreed to do more. I am also working on a showstopping necklace for Ms Tori to wear during the performances next weekend. Something that shows up on that stage with all the bright lights shining when she takes her bow. I have a good idea and I did actually pre-order some materials. But I have yet to start it. I sure hope that I can pull this off (just as soon as I take that ham out of the oven for the Easter dinner that I am serving!). 

But wait! There's more! 

Ms. Tori approached me to say that she had an idea to treat the young ladies who have been dancing with her for 10 years. They were the foundation of her school starting and these families have been the backbone. Would I take on that challenge? 

Here is where the problem comes in. I cannot say no. I see that challenge as an opportunity and I just cannot walk away from it. And I love to help. So, of course, I said yes. Even though I had every single second of the month of April scheduled out and there would be no room to take that on between dance and baseball and softball. And oh, did I mention that I am hosting my husband's family tomorrow for Easter? Those eggs don't hard boil themselves you know!

So in the midst of creating the 25 special necklaces that were ordered (and I have a feeling there will be more orders after I deliver them next week) and the drop-dead gorgeous necklace (that is merely in my head!) for Ms. Tori, I agreed to take on 14 more necklaces.
Someday my Tiny Dancer will be honored with the ten-year prize. And if all goes well I may be doing this for a long time for her. (Plus all these projects are going to pay off the 4th quarter tuition and the 11 costume changes for Tiny Dancer for next week. Eleven! And you know those things aren't cheap!)
I had a rubber stamp of the studio's logo made so that I could use it for the other pendants. Could I use it for etching on metal? Why not! Now etching metal is something that is still quite new to me. You can read about my earlier exploits with etching here. When I started developing my 'simple truths' line, one of the materials I was experimenting with was etched or stamped metal. So my 'market research' last fall included creating dog-tag style necklaces with one word of each power phrase per tag. People love them. And they are quite novel where I live, but I knew that there were plenty of people out there in Etsyland who were far better than I would ever be at etching and stamping on metal. That is when I came up with the current look of the 'simple truths' pendants. But I digress (if you know me, you know I do that a lot! ;-).
{copper tags awaiting a spin in my new Lortone tumbler...first time out of the box!}
I have no problem saying I will do that thing that I do not the know the first thing about doing, and in my wicked overconfidence I don't seem to see that there would be room for error. But there always is.

My first experiments with the resist were not pretty. The paint pens were blotchy, the toner transfer flaked off and in one instance I left the metal in the etching solution for far too long and it wore the image down completely. Drats. And now I only had 4 more days to complete this until the deadline. Still I had to keep going. Because I promised.
{etched dancer logo on copper with hammered texture - pre-tumble}
I was able to get the dancer logo etched but the words were just a hassle and there was originally a skinny border around the outside edge (if you squint just so you can still see it). In my frustration I took a hammer to one... and I liked it. I hammered all around the etching, obliterating the sparse etched line, and creating texture which was repeated on the other elements.
Since the etching wasn't going my way, I opted to use my very favorite stamp set to personalize a tag with the dancer's name (which I will have to buy again at Bead & Button since you can barely make out the 'e' or the 's' anymore!).
A third tag captures the Dance Education Center's motto: never surrender your dreams

To finish them, I added a little eyelet to the hole for a nice finishing touch (and finally taught myself how to use a tube rivet - thanks to my friend mary jane dodd!), aged them with liver of sulphur, conquered my fear of my new (sitting in the box since November!) tumbler, buffed them all with steel wool, rubbed them all down with a layer of Renaissance wax, packaged them in pretty little pillow boxes with my signature chocolate satin ribbon. (Seriously... how many new things can I teach myself with one project? Does anyone else out there do that? It is just dumb luck that any of these things worked!)
I delivered them all on Wednesday. And now I have one more custom order for one of these charm neclaces... for Miss Tori herself!

In my etching experiments, I etched some tags with the motto that I did not use. They are raw copper, so they are like blank canvases that you can age with Liver of Sulphur, or color with paint, or maybe enamel, or play with patinas. There are no holes, but if you ask I will be happy to add them for you.

Next week I will have Heather select three winners of one of these etched copper tags for you to play with. All you have to do is answer this question:

What is your wildest dream?
Enjoy the day!
Erin Prais-Hintz writes about all things that inspire her at Treasures Found::Inspiration Is Everywhere. Her jewelry designs are one-of-a-kind made one-at-a-time. She collects quotes and dust and invites you to send her your favorite (quote - not dust!) to

Friday, April 22, 2011

Smilebox for Business

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Create a free slideshow design

This is a fun idea to add a little pizazz to your online promotions.  Smilebox is a free program that you can download to create slideshows, invitations, announcements and photo albums using your pictures.  Typical you would use Smilebox for family photos and virtual scrapbooking, but there is no reason you can't use it to show off your latest creations.

There are tons of themes to choose - from simple and modern to cute and whimsical.  Of course, the trick is to pick one that compliments your photos and doesn't complete with them.  You can add a little music to your slideshow or not - it's up to you.  After you complete your project you can show it off on facebook or your blog. 

A few ideas:
  • Show off a specific collection in a slideshow.
  • Create a photo album as a catalog to showcase your product line.
  • Use it to create a step-by-step tutorial or show some process shots of how you create your work in s slideshow.
  • If your photos are inspired by nature or art, pair up the inspiration photos (copyright free photos only) and the finished piece.  Take a few detail photos to include a few close ups.
  • Create an invitation to an open house, upcoming show or online sale.
  • Give a studio tour.
  • Create a 'lifestyle' ad for your jewelry featuring images of your jewelry and inspiration images that relate to your brand or current line.  Like if you have a line of beach inspired jewelry mix photos together of your collection with photos from the beach, shells, sea urchins, starfish, etc.  If you have access to a model take photos of her wearing the jewelry sitting on the beach in a casual outfit, hair blowing in the breeze, sand between the toes.  You get the idea!
The service is free, but you can upgrade to include more features and even print out your creations!  Have fun and if you make one using your jewelry, be sure to share it with us in the comments below.  I would love to see how creative you guys can be with this fun and easy program!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Artist Made Buttons

Michelle Mach is hosting a fun Button Swap blog hop today.  Love how creative some of the participants were with incorporating buttons into their jewelry.  Buttons can be used as clasps, pendants and even earrings.  Get creative with wire and jump rings to turn them into unique findings and focals. 

Here are a few collections of artist made beads to help inspire you today. Click on the links below for more information about the buttons.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pricing and Value

Brandi Hussey is offering an awesome free ebook on pricing.  If you are selling your jewelry to make a few extra dollars or running an empire - I recommend giving this one a read.  In fact, you should download it right this second, read it and then come back and read the rest of this post.

It brings up many good points, but two that have been on my mind over the last few months is charging what you are worth and charging prices that are going to sustain you over the long-haul.

There is a tendency among hobby jewelry designers to charge just enough to cover their materials.  I'm not calling anyone out on this or want to make anyone feel bad for doing that - what you charge is your own business and I'm only asking you to consider the following.  If you were paying someone for their time the amount you pay yourself, could you honestly look them in the eye and be okay with that?  Are you treating yourself fairly, asking for a living wage for your time or are you underselling yourself because of fear? 

Maybe you feel like since this isn't your 'real' work, you are just happy to make back your expenses.  Even if you love every minute of it and it feels like play, you are working and spending your time making something of value.  And you should get paid fairly for your time, skills and creativity.  Don't undervalue your work!

There is a saying from a historic labor strike where women reportedly carried signs saying, "We want bread, and roses too."  Don't feel guilty about wanting your business to provide roses too - don't be afraid to charge fair prices that allow for you to reward yourself for your hard work.  And not merely with covering your expenses or even just meeting your bills for the month.  Dream bigger, dream about your business providing luxuries. Dream about a business that could allow you to contribute to your family income.  Or provide for a vacation, yes artists are allowed to afford a real vacation.  Or heaven forbid, let's really dream here and set our sights on a business that could provide for the expenses of health care and a 401K! 

It's okay, you can have bread and roses too!

Women have fought long and hard battles to earn a fair wage, why would we undervalue ourselves when we own a business or we are trying to start a new business?  Stand together in solidarity with your handcrafting sisters and ask for what our time and talents are worth.  I don't want to see you burnout or give up on your dreams because you are working too hard for not enough pay.

I think undercharging often comes from a place of not feeling worthy and fear. Maybe you don't feel like a 'real' artist or feel like your local economy wouldn't support fair prices.  By arming yourself with a little business know-how and doing the gritty work of seeing how much money you are actually making or losing from your jewelry business, you will start moving in the right direction.

Jewelry designers of the world unite! You can have bread, roses and new beads!

Other resources:
Right Brain Business Plan - you can download the Kindle version on your PC or mobile device.
Business Growth Planner - from Crafting an MBA

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

7000 Bracelets for Hope

Lori Anderson just hosted a fun blog hop featuring bracelets created for the 7000 Bracelets for Hope project to show support for kids who are suffering from rare diseases and disorders.

"The Global Genes Project (GGP) volunteer team is collecting blue jean/denim inspired bracelets for families living with rare disease, the campaign is called “7,000 Bracelets for Hope.”

To help raise awareness we’re asking 7,000 jewelry designers, volunteers from the craft community and various artists to donate one bracelet to this campaign to show their support for kids living with rare disease, disorders or conditions. These bracelets will then be distributed to participating families in December 2011."

You can still donate a bracelet, visit the website here for complete details.
Bracelet by Mary Harding

Bracelet by Erin Prais-Hintz

Need more inspiration?  Here are some of my favorite picks of artist made beads that would fit the theme:

Cherry Blossom Time - G...

Lampwork Spacer Bead Se...

turquoise and cobalt bl...

Polymer Clay Beads with...

Second Star To The Righ...

Copper Aqua Raku Bead C...

Loopy Turquoise Torch F...

2 small clay pendants

Cobalt Blue Delicate Sc...

Winterflower Blue Poly...

easter and springtime a...

Blue Bayou - Earring Pa...

Organic Lampwork Glass ...

Electric Sea Discs........

Blue Turquoise ad Black...