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Monday, August 31, 2009

CopprClay ammonite pendant - part one

I love messing around with both positive and negative molds: sometimes the exact look you want to achieve can only be had by going through a few extra steps, and that's what I did for this pendant. This week, I'm going to cover how to make the CopprClay pendant, and next week we'll look at one possibility for stringing it into a finished necklace.

If you haven’t had a chance to mess around with CopprClay yet, you can look through the general directions that I’ve posted about working with it. If you don’t have any metal clay of any type, you could also do a similar project to this one using all polymer clay!

Materials & Tools:

CopprClay (Rio Grande)
Olive oil
Waxed paper or parchment paper
Objects to make molds
Polymer clay
Kiln, firing pan, and activated charcoal
Exacto knife, file, polish
Patina solution

1. Instead of having the lines of my nautilus shell etched into the CopprClay, I wanted them to come forward, like a fossil ammonite. So I started with a lump of polymer clay and created a mold. Bake the mold according to the package directions, and let it cool thoroughly before using.

2. Lightly oil the polymer clay mold and press a small lump of CopprClay into it. If it doesn't release easily, simply wait until the clay dries out a bit, and it should peel right off. Add a hole for the later insertion of a jump ring.

3. Follow the General Instructions for Working with CopprClay. File, fire, clean up, and patinate your piece.

4. The image above shows the difference between a piece right from the kiln and what it looks like after it is cleaned up and polished.

5. This is the finished pendant with patina.

(sources: Rio Grande)

Copyright 2009 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva
Cindy unveils a new series of Art Nouveau inspired beads. In French it's known as "Stile Floreal" and in English it's the "Floral Style."

Crafty Princess Diaries
Check out this unusual call for entries the Crafty Princess found for Momiji doll lovers.

Earthenwood Studio Chronices
Melanie shows off some fun experiments that she has seen coming out of her studio, mixing copper and pewter

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Lorelei is hosting a Necklace Round Robin, but you have to leave a comment to be entered to win a spot!

The writing and art of Andrew Thornton
Beadfest Philadelphia was packed with talented artisans and bead-makers. See what Andrew picked out!

A Bead A Day
Have you ever used sterling silver curly-Q tubes in your jewelry designs?? Lisa is searching for cool ideas for these adorable tubes. Jewelry Making
Do you use blogging to promote your jewelry business? Tammy has some thoughts for you on this.

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene expands the editorial staff and welcomes Lorelei Eurto!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi uses shrink plastic to make a neat little bracelet.

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Make Your Own Chain Jewelry - Linda Augsburg by Kalmbach Publishing

Artist profiles - part six

Five fabulous artists to awe and inspire you! From the tiniest seed beads to the largest found objects...these women know their stuff :-)

Olivia Competente

Morwyn Dow

Amy Clarke Moore

Jama Watts

Phaedra A Torres

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Choice by choice

Choice by choice, moment by moment, I build the necklace of my day,
stringing together the choices that form artful living.

~ Julia Cameron

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi has a short demo on how she came up with a contest entry.

Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva
What do bronze and rawhide have in common? Cindy explains how she uses both in her studio.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie contemplates taking risks, making changes, and creative experimentation to prevent art burnout

Jean Campbell
Jean's whipped up a free vintage button brooch project for you to try.

Jewelry & Beading
Cyndi wants to know, what's the best thing you've made so far this summer?

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Take a peek into Lorelei's studio and see some cool bead storage solutions!

Strands of Beads
Melissa reveals her Use the Muse II Entry, "Briar Rose"

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Come join the fun in Philadelphia this weekend at Beadfest! Stop by the Green Girl Studios booth to say hello to Andrew and check out all the great new things available!!!

A Bead A Day
Creating a "tiara" for your wrist is easy using Jill MacKay beading components and bicone crystals. Jewelry Making
Check out my beautifully organized list of mixed-media book reviews and find the perfect book to help you mix up your jewelry making.

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene gets green findings at the local re-use store.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Calls for entries and submissions

Niche Awards: deadline Aug 31, 2009 for professionals, Sept 30, 2009 for students

Stringing Magazine fall challenge, Around the World: deadline Sept 7, 2009

Altered Couture Magazine: deadline Sept 15, 2009

GreenCraft Magazine: deadline Sept 15, 2009

Saul Bell Design Award: deadline Sept 18, 2009

Fire Mountain Gems, Swarovski Elements: deadline Sept 21, 2009

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Artist profiles - part five

Colors of the Lilac-Breasted Roller
A Lilac-Breasted Roller, one of the most beautiful birds in existence, inspired Margie Deeb’s panoply of hues on a cobalt background. The color challenge this bird presented was one of abundance: so many colors, and all so gorgeous. With a calligraphic flourish of lilac, Margie swirls your attention from the main stone up toward the center, the heart of the wearer, crowned in turquoise. The unique shape suggests arms raised in praise of color and beauty. Chrysocolla, turquoise, amethyst, chalcedony, vintage pressed glass, 24kt and glass beads.
Photo by
Margie Deeb

Two more brilliant bead and jewelry artists for your viewing pleasure. If you'd like to be featured, please leave me a comment here with your email address or email me directly at cyndi @ (remove the spaces). I'd love to talk with you :-)

C A Therien

Margie Deeb

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Monday, August 17, 2009

How to make Autumn Arbor

I neglected to take sufficiently detailed process photos while I was working on Autumn Arbor, but for those of you who have some bead weaving experience, it's probably easy enough to figure out. Three basic stitches were used to create the components, and then these pieces were woven together and embellished using the thread tails: tubular herringbone, freeform right angle weave, and spiral square stitch.

Autumn Arbor was a finalist in the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads 2009 beading contest, and you can see it featured on their site.

1. Create a long tube for the foundation of the necklace, using tubular herringbone stitch. A wonderful tutorial can be found at Beadwork at, written in 1998 by Emily Hackbarth.

2. Use single-needle freeform right angel weave (RAW) to create the open-worked panels hanging from the tube. Leave long tails on each so that you can later stitch them to the tube and add bead embellishments. Deborah Roberti, at Around the Beading Table, wrote a good straightforward tutorial on basic RAW. To stitch freeform RAW, add random numbers of beads each time instead of the standard three.

3. Stitch spiral square stitch tendrils, leaving long thread tails on them as well.

4. Stitch all the components together, using the thread tails. Add pearls and leaves (or other beads) to strategic spots on the RAW panels.

Copyright 2009 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene announces the August monthly challenge theme - a beautiful woodcut print.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi explains how she made her glue gun leather brooch.

Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva
Looking to create a pendant from one of her antique button treasures, Cindy tries her hand at mold making.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie shares her new Shino glaze tests, and ponders about new work.

Jean Campbell
Jean helped deliver two babies this week: a new nephew and a new bracelet design

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
There are a couple of new bead and blog books on the shelves at Barnes & Noble! Lorelei's got the scoop!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
The BIG REVEAL is here! Check out Andrew's submission to the Use the Muse II contest!

A Bead A Day
A Crystallized "Square Ring"! If you have never seen a "square ring", stop by A Bead A Day to see how it has been incorporated into a bracelet. Jewelry Making
Too Much Jewelry Business Success? Is it really possible? And if so, what do you do about it?

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Artist profiles - part four

Lampwork glass bead by Lori Greenberg

Five more brilliant bead and jewelry artists for your viewing pleasure. If you'd like to be featured, please leave me a comment here with your email address or email me directly at cyndi @ (remove the spaces). I'd love to talk with you :-)

Lori Greenberg

Denise Perreault

Melissa Lee

Dulcey Heller

Bernadine Stoopman

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Monday, August 10, 2009

Spiral square stitch

This is a really handy little stitch, very easy to do once you get the first couple of rounds started. I like to use two different colors of beads, but you can do it all with one color if you'd prefer. This is a woven stitch that you will create in your hands and then attach to your embroidered or woven bead work later.

All you will need are seed beads, a beading needle, and Nymo thread. I usually make tendrils with size 11/0 beads, but my process photos show you the stitch done in size 8/0s so that it's easier to see.

1. Leaving a 5 to 7 inch tail, string on two beads of color A and one bead of color B.    

2. Pass the needle and thread back through all 3 beads, and then a second time through only the two color A beads.  Pull the circle snug.

3. Add two color A and one more color B beads.  Pass the needle back through the previous color B bead and pull snug.

4. Pass the needle and thread forward through all four color A beads and pull snug.

5. Continue adding two color A beads and one color B beads for each stitch.  Each time, you will pass your needle back through the previous color B bead and forward through the final four color A beads.  The bead work will begin to circle, and then to spiral.  

6. Add as many stitches as needed to make your spiral the length you desire.

7. Add one more bead as a stopper bead, and pass your needle and thread back through all the color A beads, back to the beginning.

8. Now you will have both threads exiting one end, making it easy to stitch your spiral into place on the embroidery piece later.

Copyright 2009 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Friday, August 07, 2009

Books, books, and more books!

I've got a rather impressive birthday coming up next month. You know, one of the ones with a ZERO at the end? All my loved ones want to know what I want, and the answer is...not much! I'm a pretty content person overall. But I do have a special fondness and weakness for books.

So I'm asking you: what books should I buy? Please don't feel you have to confine yourself to suggesting jewelry or beading books...I'm really open to suggestions in most art fields. Maybe even open to books that have nothing much to do with art. But only maybe :-)

So far, I'm pretty sure that I'm going to ask for Ann Baldwin's Creative Paint Workshop for Mixed Media Artists, and Jacqueline Sullivan's dvd called Acrylics: Textures, layers and metallics. Anything I should add to my list?

Image: Stock.xchng

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Bead & jewelry blogging round-up! Jewelry Making:
Is the under 20 crowd crafting more or less these days? Take the quick poll & see the results of what other crafters are thinking about this issue.

Art Bead Scene
Looking for some new earring ideas? The Art Bead Scene reviews 101 Wire Earrings.

Barbe Saint John - New Treasures from Forgotten Artifacts
Join in the fun of the Objects & Elements Reader Challenge!

Carmi's Art/Life World
A little Friendly Plastic, a charm and resin makes for an amazing pendant.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Summer heat getting to you? Cindy has a wrist full of Frost Links in Pear to keep her cool.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie happens upon a new line of supplies that blend perfectly with her steampunk designs as well as her new resin collage pendants.

Jean Campbell
Jean whips up a pair of funky Steampunky earrings; you can make them, too!

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Lorelei shares some links to another really cool blog beading challenge.

Strands of Beads
Melissa creates a simple but stunning necklace with goodies from Rings & Things

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew reveals ten new jewelry designs.

A Bead A Day
Do you use buttons in your jewelry designs? Stop by A Bead A Day to share your experiences and ideas.

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Artist profiles - part three

Glorious beadwork by Mary Tafoya

Aren't these bead and jewelry artists amazing? It inspires me all over again each time I look at their work!

Mary Tafoya

Margaux Lange

Heather Powers

Tina Koyama

Karen Paust

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Monday, August 03, 2009

Hanging the Moon

I picked out and received some Swarovski Crystal Beads recently from They generously provided the crystal components and beads so that I could create a project to share with you. It was hard to make a choice, but I fell instantly in love with a new-to-me color called Bermuda Blue. I think that the ring components have only become available in this color pretty recently. Bermuda Blue has a metallic coating on one side that gives each bead and component an extra flash.

Materials & Tools:

2 lengths of gold SoftFlex beading wire, 24 inches each
4 - 5 inches of chain
Gold hook
18 bicones, 6mm
6 cubes, 8mm
20 mm square ring
14 mm triangle ring
14 mm square ring
14 mm round ring
Star charm
Moon charm
11/0 Delica seed beads, color-lined mixed green/blue
Nymo beading thread, black
8 jump rings, 9 mm
3 jump rings, 7 mm
11 jump rings, 4 mm
11 head pins
28 crimps, size #1
2 crimps, size #3

Flat nose pliers
Round nose pliers,
Wire cutters
Tape measure
Beading needles

1. Arrange charms and crystal components in the order you'd like them to hang. Use the largest jump rings to attach chain to the components, and the medium sized ones to hang the charms.

2. Create wrapped loops for each bicone you'll hang, using the head pins.

3. Attach bicones to the chain using the small jump rings.

4. Make a square stitch bail or any other style you want using the Delica beads. The pattern I followed for this bail was created by my friend Dulcey Heller, and was published in Bead & Button, December 2007. If you don't have that issue, you can get the pattern from Buy The Kit: select Dulcey's name in the "Designer" box and scroll down to "Simple Solutions Earrings".

5. String each piece of SoftFlex wire through two of the beads at the top of the bail. Use size #1 crimps to anchor the pendant and each of the cubes and bicones that you string on the wires. I used three of each shape on each side of the pendant.

6. Using size #3 crimp beads, attach a short length of chain and the hook to the ends of the beading wires. Add a bicone dangle to the loose end of the chain.

As regards FTC disclosure guidelines: I have received Swarovski free of charge from in order to write a review and/or create a project free of charge for you.  I have been paid for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received.  You have my pledge that I do not ever endorse products or services that I feel are not a good value.   

Copyright 2009 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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