Monday, October 31, 2011

Designer of the Week: Rebecca of Songbeads

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The designer of the week is Rebecca of Songbeads!  This is a lovely interpretation of the monthly challenge!  All the colors and elements work together to create a tour de force!  Congratulations!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Link Library with Melanie

Back in 2007, Elaine shared some ideas for making fan pulls with art beads!  It's still a great idea today, so thought I would pull this link back up from the archives to share the memory with all of you!

A Bead A Day
Are you sharing your talents with others? Lisa shares her recent experience teaching a group of friends a simple, but rewarding project. Jewelry Making
Break into glass jewelry making with these tutorials and techniques. 
Art Bead Scene
Heather helps us look ahead to the holiday season with some great inspiration for seasonal jewelry 
Beading Arts
Polymer clay + greeting cards = a fun mixed media necklace! 
Beads & Books
How long does it really take you to make a piece of jewelry? Michelle shares the long process behind a simple pair of earrings. 
Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi has a cute fabric brooch idea for Halloween. 
Cindy Gimbrone Beads
This week's Tuesday Tangle features handmade earrings of metal clay and wire. 
Resin Crafts!
This week we have a nice series showing you how to use an ice tray to make fun skull and bone cast pieces. 
Snap out of it,Jean! There's beading to be done!
Wonderful, really exciting giveaway from Beaducation! Read all about it and sign up on Jean's blog!
Melanie Brooks is the ceramic beadmaker behind Earthenwood Studio, who blogs from her Metro Detroit, Michigan home.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Studio Saturday with Cindy Gimbrone

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.

The winner this week is Stephanie McGinley! - Congratulations, you have won one Heather's fall leaf pendants! Heather with your address, and she will send the pendant out to you.

Welcome to the studio of Cindy Gimbrone!
Time gets away from me. It's almost November and I've barely touched a glass rod. I've spent the fall immersed in another medium - metal clay. I even took a class in Mokume Gane. I've been blogging about my adventures so instead of words, I'd like to take you on a visual tour of some of the steps I've gone through in my studio this fall....

It ain't pretty but when it comes to all that metal clay dust, safety is important - studio exhaust fan on in the background.

Burnishing Mokume Gane metal clay pendant

Metal clay fresh from the kiln - crispy but fired to perfection!

Close up of polished Mokume Gane Pendant

Polished and Sealed Mokume Gane Mini-Pendants

I've got a few more pieces to fire from class. Next up will be white bronze. Attending a class filled me with ideas and excitement. I'm sure my glass misses me, but this hiatus is fueling my creative energies. I didn't intend to be away from the glass torch this long, time has gotten away from me but I'm realizing it's time well spent.

Has something re-energized you? It might be time away, a class or inspiration you found in the changing season. 

Share with me by leaving a comment and you'll be entered to win one of my Mokume Gane Mini-Pendants.
I look forward to reading your comments!

Friday, October 28, 2011

October Monthly Blog Tour

"The fox has many tricks. The hedgehog has but one. But that is the best of all."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Did you know that hedgehogs did tricks? Apparently, as pets they are easy to train. The one that people are most familiar with is the ability to roll into a tight ball and then even rolling away from an attacker while keeping the quills on the outer part of the spine puffed out as a defense mechanism. But they are just as likely to run away from trouble and have been clocked at 4.5 miles per hour! I think that might be faster than even I can run! ;-)

This month's painting sure brought out the varmints in you! And the acorns and snails and the soft cashmere colors of a gray fall day. I love it! Here is your monthly blog tour as inspired by the painting "A Hedgehog in a Landscape" by Gionvanna Garzoni.

Our first entry this month (above) came from Linda of SC Diva Designs. She made a pair of polymer clay earrings that is so reminiscent of the wood of a tree. Such a beautiful pair!

Mary Ellen of beetreebyme was inspired by the fact that Giovanna Garzoni was one of the first female still life painters. She was very prolific, which suits Miss Mary Ellen to a T as well, as she is one of the most prolific designers I have witnessed on the Art Bead Scene! Read all about her inspiration for her Gaea necklace plus the multiple focals that she created for this design.

I am smitten with the hedgehog focal that the Beading Yogini created for this month. Too cute! One of my faves for sure! I love seeing the process. Read all about it here.

The colors of fall and a beautiful floral motif (above) are the theme for Cabby Crafter. I thought that the base of this cuff was very clever as it supports each flower and makes it very substantial. The colors were the guide for this talented crafter!

Want to see how danged cute baby hedgies can be? Go check out Klassy Jooz blog for a peek at these darling creatures that she had when her papa hedgie turned out to be a momma. Oh, yeah... and a stunning piece of jewelry too!

Focusing on the word "encourage", Marlene of Amazing Designs created a lovely fall themed necklace just shimmering with life.

Just in the nick of time, Miss Alice of her new blog Alice Dreaming shares her experience with this month's challenge. The frost on the pumpkin has never looked so good. Does this one make anyone else want a pumpkin spice latte with whipped cream? Yum!

This month it was all about the forest, and Janet of Honey from the Bee found this sweet napping owl (above) to complete her necklace. The colors are perfect and I love the way the acorn stampings are dangling at his feet. Such a pretty necklace...and thanks for introducing me to a new-to-me artist!

Finding your style is a great aspiration for any jewelry designer. One such designer with a ton of style to spare is the sweet Miss Stacilouise. I love her minimalist designs with the focus on simple, not fussy stones and features. The fold form leaf is the perfect touch of copper in this soft and inspiring design. Read all about it here.

Angela Lund-Logan proves that asymmetrical doesn't mean unbalanced. In this lovely necklace, she plays with the shapes and the colors and keeps your eye moving through the piece. Well done!

Karen Williams of Baublicious may be a newbie at the Art Bead Scene challenges, but you have got to go and check out what she made! She calls herself a 'polymer clay dabbler' and she made the most adorable hedgehog yet, complete with a spiky coat made entirely out of seed beads! She also make wire form oak leaves that add such a nice texture to her fall-inspired necklace. Welcome and we hope to see more from you!

Handmade polymer clay beads, including a snail, acorns and the cutest little hedgehog, as well as some upcycled treasures adorn this lush necklace (above) by Marian Hertzog. What an enchanting design!

We love knowing that we have inspired our readers to challenge themselves each month. Kathryn of Catherine's Dreams says that we have done just that. Her fall submission for October is a riot of color and texture. Well done!

Drawing from the rustic fall feel of the inspiration painting, Keenya of The Cranberry Studio picks up on my favorite motif - acorns - for these sweet little dangly earrings and a necklace. I am a last minute submitter too, Miss Keenya, we are so glad that you could share your talents with us no matter when you complete them!

The way the leaves blow about in the crisp autumn wind is what I am thinking when I see this sweet copper leaf in Shannon's design(above). The spines of the leaf skeleton are so pretty in this etched design and the knotted linen really does make me think of a tree branch.

Our UK friend, Miss Rebecca of Songbird squeaked in just under the wire with this festive bracelet. It has a decidedly retro feel to highlight the sweetest little hedgie that looks like it could have been plucked from the 70s. Such a cute little wrist pet you have made!

Starting with the perfect Ojime carved wood hedgie, Lorelei was surprised to find that she had quite a few beads that would fit the soft neutral palette of this month's painting inspiration despite her usual bold color choices in her bead stash. A very wearable piece of art for sure!

For my own design, I created a hedgehog in a 'simple truth' pendant with the message: "do small things with great love" (hedgehogs being small, you know). I used pearls to create the effect of spines of the hedgie, a swirly shell bead as a nod to the snail, natural and painted wood beads in a lovely soft grey and gold tone, and picture jasper an oak leaf branch and a sweet little art bead pewter acorn. Come on over and see it on my last minute blog post!

Oops! Missed one! Be sure to check out the cuteness factor on Cilla's hedgie bracelet at Tell Your Girlfriends!

Thank you to all who participated this month! We are delighted that you continue to be inspired by the paintings and artwork that we select for you. Keep it up! Check back in a few days for the revelation of November's challenge.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Earrings Everyday Blog Partner Winners

First, I want to thank everyone who entered a submission in the call for entries for my new Earrings Everyday blog.  I enjoyed looking at all of your beautiful creations - you made my job so difficult!  And I may be calling on a few of you to do guest posts later on, there is so much talent that reads this blog.

But after looking over all the entries and going back and forth between my favorites there were two that really stood out to me.  Yes, being the boss has it's privileges and I decided to add two blog partners instead of just one.  

The two new blog partners are Keirsten Giles and Kristi Bowman.

When Keirsten entered she said she didn't have many earrings in a her shop, but a glance around her Etsy shop quickly told me that what she lacked in quantity she made up for in quality.  Each pair she had offered something unique.  Handmade ear wires, component and bead caps are the hallmark of Keirsten's work.

I love this fun twist of adding color to the ear wire with a little bead, so clever!

Keirsten mixes her handmade components with a variety of beads, including a generous helping of art beads.

Kristi Bowman's work always makes me drool and while she was in the running as soon as I saw her entry, the deal for sealed for me when I took a look at her blog and saw a recently collection of her earrings.  I love the Kristi's clay copper components with their iridescent shimmer.  

Kristi is another fan of adding art beads into her earring designs that she pairs up with her metal pieces.

I love the little added touch of enameled headpins that Kristi adds as a pop of color into her work.

I'm looking forward to sharing our new blog with you soon.  

Earrings Everyday will be a daily blog dedicated to handcrafted earrings featuring the work of our team of designers.

Watch the Art Bead Scene for details and a giveaway next week.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Design Tips for Holiday Jewelry

Handcrafted art beads add magic to jewelry that will last well beyond the holidays.  When designing seasonal jewelry pick focal beads that celebrate the winter season along with more traditional festive picks.  Think snowflakes and evergreens, deer and pine cones, doves and winter berries.  Mix in stones like rutilated quartz, blue lace agate, rock crystal, smokey quartz, and garnets with your holiday art beads.  I'd probably throw in some dark wood beads too along with chain in a gunmetal finish.

The design above is entitled Winter Solstice and can be found in my book, Jewelry Designs from Nature.  I used a pewter pendant from Lynn Davis with a deer and woodland motif and paired them up with icy rutilated quartz.  While it's inspired by a walk in a winter forest, the necklace could be worn all year long.

Here are some of my picks for holiday inspired beads.  With November breathing down our necks, it's time to get those beads ordered and start on those holiday projects!

let it snow - simple truths...

Old Lace White - 16mm Patina...

Medium 8 Petal Verdigris Pat...

Snowflake Charm - Teal

Vanilla Birds- tiny ceramic ...

Holiday Pendant, "Belie...

Red Kirk Wood Button Hand Ca...

Ember Red Beads - set of 8 -...

Verdigris - 10mm Patina Copp...

Swirly Bird Leaf Pendant

Petal Headpins Mulberry - se...

Leaf and Hart Hand Cast Pewt...

Jangles Ceramic Pendant

Snow Dove

Falling Snow / Ceramic Snowf...

Evergreen- Handmade ceramic ...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fall Inspired Bead Shopping Spree

I've been having fun designing jewelry and getting ready for some upcoming shows.  Here are a few favorites I'd like to add to my bead stash! (Or may have recently, shhh!)

First up I'd like a collection of glass beads from Yuki Designs.  This bead seller travels to Indonesia to find these lovely strands of color.  I'm so into those matte spacer beads I can't even tell you.  Hurry up Mr. Postman!  I'd like to pair them up with my Branch disk beads.
My next top picks are Czech glass.  Dream Girl Beads has a wonderful selection of leaves and flowers that I have been drooling over lately.  I picked up a strand of those little eggs and have been including them in my nest designs.  I love pairing up Czech glass with my Willow and Wildflower collection, like the headpins shown here.
And finally I'm into all things feathered and I'm particularly fond of these colorful patina charms from Patina Worx.  I'd match them up with my Birch Branch beads.

For fall I'm crushing on textures, rich pops of color mixed with earthy neutrals and nature inspired motifs.  (No surprise there!)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Designer of the Week - Staci Louise

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

Here is what ABS editor Heather about Staci's necklace:

"I love the mix of ceramic art beads, the metalwork copper leaf,  handmade links and the clasp.  Everything about the necklace is perfectly balanced and captures the earthy color palette and quiet mood of the inspiration painting.  I'm also drawn to the use of the rich silk ribbon for the back of the necklace.  Makes me want to pull out some ribbon and give it a try!  Overall it's a beautiful piece and one of my favorites from this month's challenge."

To see more of Staci's work visit her blog and Etsy shop.  And if you haven't seen Staci's component shop, be sure to stop by for a visit!

Want to see your work here?  Enter the Monthly Challenge and you might be picked as our next featured designer or highlighted on the blog hop at the end of the month.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Link Library with Melanie

  Welcome to another Link Library post!  In May of 2007, I reviewed some new silver charms that I found at my local bead show.  They are the creations of Hip Chick Beads, and you can read my Findings Worth Finding review here.  Since that time, I have seen the fine works of Hip Chicks popping up all over the place... in magazines, shows, and online.  They are still going strong and adding new designs, and I still love them!

That was this week's blast from the past... here is what's new in the bead world:

A Bead A Day
Need to stop buying and start making? Lisa is having the same problem, BUT check out these sparkly connectors she found. Jewelry Making
You will fall in love with this new necklace tutorial, or at the very least follow your heart.  

Art Bead Scene
Jennifer shares a free tutorial on making adorable bead zipper pulls, perfect to spruce up a fall jacket! 

Beading Arts
Cyndi explains how to turn a cabochon into a simple bead embroidered pendant!  

Beads & Books
See the fun earrings Michelle made with sari ribbon and get inspired to work with this popular material. 

Cindy Gimbrone Beads
Cindy's back from her class with Hadar Jacobson. Take a look at the mokume gane pieces she made from metal clay.  

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie shows off her holiday packaging and questions photography in another Etsy Boot Camp post 

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews the beautiful new book by Heather Powers, Jewelry Designs from Nature  

The Bead Dreamer
Charlene reviews the book Color, Texture and Casting for Jewelers
Melanie Brooks is the ceramic beadmaker behind Earthenwood Studio, who blogs from her Metro Detroit, Michigan home.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I Heart Tools: Vintaj Big Kick

In September I was fortunate enough to attend a two day Vintaj workshop in Galena, Illinois at the Vintaj Earth Studio.  It was an incredibly inspiring weekend with more tips and tricks packed into two days than one would think possible.  One of my favorite projects was working with the new Vintaj Big Kick Machine.  We embossed textures and images unto Vintaj blanks to create fun pendants and components.

Here are some class projects of the altered blanks embossed and riveted with charms and pendants.  I love the look of layering the pendants.  It's fun way to customize your metal without hammering away or pulling out the chemicals.  The process is so simple, you can whip out a ton of pendants in a short session.

Add the embossed blanks with your favorite art beads for quick and easy holiday pendants.  In fact, that is what I'm doing this weekend to prepare for upcoming holiday shows.  I'm pairing up the tree pendants with my egg, bird and branch beads.
Step by step directions and video links can be found here.

This is the Big Kick - it's sort of like a printing press.  You place your metal blank into the folder, layer it between the two sheets of plastic and run it through.  Yep - that's it!  After your pendant is done, you can add some depth by buffing it.  The black Arte Metal blanks buff up with silver highlights - loved them!

This is my favorite folder - me and that tree became fast friends.

You can find the Vintaj Big Kick & folders at Hobby Lobby or online at Beadaholique or Bello Modo.

I see that Vintaj is hosting a one day workshop covering the embossing and melt art techniques in November.  Click here for more details.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Call for Submission - Earrings Everyday

Hi Everyone!  I'm super excited to tell you about a new blog that is underway - Earrings Everyday.  This is a group blog showcasing earrings in all their glory from some very exciting designers.

The blog is for inspiration for those who make earrings and a showcase for those who love to adorn themselves with unique tiny treasures.

My awesome team of designers include myself, Lorelei Eurto, Erin Prais-Hintz, Kristy Abner and Marie Cramp.

But I'm looking for one more designer and thought why not put out a call and have some fun in my search efforts!

Who should apply:
Anyone who sells jewelry online and can commit to writing two blog posts a month.

What am I looking for?
Someone who can make beautiful earrings and take great photos.  A designer who is constantly trying out new styles and ideas when it comes to earring construction.  A handmade component is nice but not required.

How to apply:
To apply simply leave a comment with a direct link to your most amazing pair of earrings and a link to your online shop.  (The earrings don't have to currently be for sale, they can be a photo from your sold section, your flickr account, etc.)

*If you are reading this post on Creative Hive or Facebook - please go directly to the blog post to enter.  Only comments left on the Art Bead Scene blog will qualify.

I will pick the designer next Thursday - so hurry!!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Holiday Checklist

Make lots of earrings and smaller pendants.
Brainstorm gift ideas - ornaments, fan pulls, beaded pens, zipper pulls, etc.
Create a collection of higher priced items for special gifts.
Make twice as much as you'd like to sell this season.
Have a small portable box of components and create earrings or wire wrap accent beads during your spare moments.
Use the Muffin Tin method to have projects ready to go during this busy time.
Create memory wire bracelets or adjustable bracelets to improve their gift appeal.
Personalize items - monograms or customized options can increase your sales this season.

Decide Where to Sell
Online - join with others to promote your work and participate in online events.
Arts & Crafts Shows - probably too late to sign up now for bigger shows but don't be afraid to contact promoters of smaller shows to see if they have a spot or cancellation.  (One tip - make sure your spot is in the main selling area, if not - skip signing up.)
Plan your own open house.  Lorelei Eurto had some great tips earlier this year. Pair up with another small business owner.
Get creative - I've set up a mini display for teachers during their lunch hour to shop for last minute holiday gifts.  I know some offices host shopping days during their lunch hours.  Start brainstorming and asking around.
Create your own holiday gift guide with your work and the work of other artists you admire. Share it with your social media lists.

Shipping & Packaging
Buy items in bulk if you can.
Check out Etsy for shops that sell cute packaging items.
Step it up during the holidays with great boxes, wrapping and bows.  It makes a difference.
Order business cards, postcards, tags and earrings cards now so you won't run out during the holiday season.

Have fun prepping and offering your wonderful creations this holiday season.  Remember it's not just about making money and selling - focus on pairing up shoppers with the perfect holiday gifts and filling their needs and the money will follow.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Free Project- Zipper Pulls

Get a jump start on your holiday gifts with these fun zipper pulls - they are perfect for gift exchanges, teacher's gifts, secret Santa surprises or tucked away in stockings.

Supplies Needed for Flower Pull:
1 flower bead
4 assorted accent beads
2 silver inch silver headpin
10mm silver spring ring
1 lobster claw clasp

1. String a small bead onto the headpin followed by the flower bead.
2. Just above the flower make a simple wire loop. Trim any excess wire.
3. String the remaining accent beads in desired order and make a simple wire loop at the top. Trim excess wire.
4. Slide both loops of the charms you just made onto the spring ring. Note* If you use jump rings when you pull the zipper, it will most likely open, spring rings will stay closed.
5. Slide the clasp onto the jump ring as well.
6. Clip the clasp onto your zipper and enjoy!

Project Written By: Jennifer Heynen a.k.a. Jennifer Jangles

Monday, October 17, 2011

Designer of the Week - Marie Cramp

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

Here is what ABS editor Heather about Marie's necklace:

"I love the subdued color palette and rich texture of this necklace.  Each part of the design sings in harmony.  I love the mix of art beads from different artists.  My favorite touch is  the accents of the off white peanut seed beads and how perfectly they compliment the focal bead.  They bring the eye back to the centerpiece each time I look at the necklace. "

You can see more of Marie's inspiring work on  her blog!

Want to see your work here?  Enter the Monthly Challenge and you might be picked as our next featured designer or highlighted on the blog hop at the end of the month.