Thursday, June 26, 2008

Venetian and Murano glass beads suppliers

Beautiful beads from Via Murano
De Roma Venetian Glass
Imported Venetian glass beads

Venetian Bead Shop
Imported Venetian and Murano glass beads

Gems 2 Behold
Wholesalers of Venetian and Murano glass beads

Via Murano
Imported Venetian glass beads

Glass of Venice
Wide selection of beads and gifts

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Full-service catalog suppliers

For everything beading you could possibly need!

Jesse James Beads
The prettiest specialty beads on the planet, plus all the necessary tools and supplies!

Rio Grande
A comprehensive selection of raw materials and other jewelry making supplies.

Rings and Things
Everything from jewelry display items to stones and jewelry components.

Ornamental Resources
An enormous selection of beads and other decorative materials, with many hard-to-find items
Fabulous selection!

Auntie's Beads
Lots of specials and low-priced shipping

Mama's Minerals
Besides a nice selection of beads and findings, you'll also be able to purchase fossils and rockhounding equipment here

Cherry Tree Beads
The nicest people in the world!

The Bead Shop
New products added frequently...well worth the visit!

Bead & Button Company, UK
Wonderful buttons!

Beads Direct
Europe biggest bead supplier and an official Swarovski Crystal Retailer who works very closely with them for live events in the UK.

This post contains affiliate links: Beadaholique and Jesse James Beads

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Book review: Picture Yourself Creating Metal Clay Jewelry

Picture Yourself Creating Metal Clay Jewelry
by Tammy Powley

When the author, Tammy Powley, approached me about creating a project for this book, I was very excited, but also a bit scared! I’ve been involved with a couple other projects with Tammy, and I already knew how much detail and effort she puts into everything that she does. I knew that this was going to be an amazing and very complete book for beginners. And I wasn’t the slightest bit disappointed when I received my copy of Picture Yourself Creating Metal Clay Jewelry. Tammy’s instructions are excellent and very thorough, and the DVD is just the icing on the cake!

Here’s a picture of the project that I made for this book, using a pendant blank from HHH Enterprises. Those little maple leaves on the cover? Those are mine :-)

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Creativity online

Online tools

Imagination Prompts
Are you looking for some random writing prompts or story starters for your journal, blog, or other creativity-related project?

Creativity and the periodic table
Roll your mouse over the table to see examples of each strategy

Excellent articles
Don’t wait for the muse
Apparently you shouldn’t sit around waiting for yours even if you do happen to believe you have one!

Six myths of creativity
This study may change how you generate ideas

11 tips to suviving a day job with your creativity intact
View your day jobs as the blessing that it truly is!

How to get your day job to leave you
How to naturally outgrow your current life right into the one that you desire

Best sites for a general pick-me-up
Creativity Portal


Creating Minds

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Artist profile: Olivia Competente


Artist: Olivia Competente
Business name: Jewels By Olivia
Location: San Francisco

Website: Jewels By Olivia
Gallery: Museum of Craft and Folk art in San Francisco

Olivia, how do you describe your work?
I have always loved sparkle and color. I started out with beads and they have always been my first love. What I do now is and extension of my bead work. I love the art nouveau movement and Egyptian adornments.

What is your creative process like?
Sometimes I render a piece, but mostly I like looking at what I have and what will fit with it. I work very organically – it cannot be forced, it will work itself out and be or not. Then I show the design to my mom and she has a great eye and gets me to finish a piece.

What kind of training did you have which helped you achieve your current level of artistry?
When I was 9ish I lusted after a pair of earrings at Macy’s and my mom wouldn’t buy them for me. Instead she took me to the oldest bead shop in San Francisco and bought me beads and started my life long passion for jewelry. Then in 2001, the industry I worked in got hit bad by 9-11 so my mom told me to go back to jewelry and I started my formal training on metal fabrication. I am now a PMC certified artisan, teach enameling, fused glass and bead work at the Sharon Art Studio in San Francisco.

Is there a tool or material that you can’t imagine living without?
My original Cress kiln.

What inspires you to create?
The light as it plays across the ocean or trees of Golden gate park, new colors in beads.

What inspires you to keep going when the work gets frustrating or tough?
The fact that great work is giving life to an idea, and collaborating with my mom.

What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?
Practice, practice , practice, and have fun in the end.

What takes up the majority of your time besides your art?
Cooking for my family and my pets (4 cats and 2 dogs).

What are some of your other favorite things?
I love a good hamburger, read fairy tales, and right now I love a blue-based red color!

Where else can we see your work?
I will have a piece in the up coming Show for the Northern California enamelist guild at the  Oakland Museum.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Making a resin finger-woven necklace

There are several different methods that are popular for creating woven bead necklaces: a figure-8 style of finger weaving, spiralling half-hitch macrame, and flat square-knot macrame. My preferred technique for this necklace uses all three stitches!

1. Each half of the necklace is woven separately, starting at the ends and working towards the middle. For the loop, I used figure-8 finger weaving, starting in the middle of my cords, and then folded them in half and proceeded with square-knot macrame for an inch or so.

2. Once I began adding beads, I switched to half-hitches so that the work would spiral around. Beads are added only to the central cords, not to the outside working cords which are used only to do the knotting. It takes a little trial and error to figure out how many knots to add between each bead. For this necklace, I used a 8/0 seed bead to anchor each resin bead in place.

3. When each half is as long as you desire, switch back to square-knots to make sections long enough to pass through the pendant bail from opposite sides. Knot the cords to keep them from slipping back through, and add more beads to the ends of the cords to finish.

These are not terribly detailed directions, because there are so many variables that must be considered. Also, there is a wonderful book that is available to teach the finger-woven method, written by Robin Atkins. My method is highly trial and error, and lots of errors went into figuring out how I wanted to make this particular necklace. The next one will be different, I’m sure! My best piece of advice is to start with a smaller piece like a bracelet, or even just a small sample that you’ll cut apart when you’re done. That way you can figure out how much cord you need based on the tension you keep in knotting and the size beads you use.

Copyright 2008 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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Monday, June 09, 2008

Do you want to design for yourself? Conclusion

Ready, set, go make something!

This short series of discussions that we’ve been having about the various pathways and journeys that you can take into designing your own original work was not intended to turn your creativity into just another mechanical exercise. It’s also somewhat artificial to imagine that most of us are so organized and linear in our creativity that everything always flows in one pre-determined order. Still, I believe that the more you understand about your own preferences and biases, the more you may be freed to try new things.

I hope you will spend some time thinking about the steps you usually take in designing, and maybe even spend some time mapping them out. Understanding your dominant patterns of working can both help you to play to your strengths, and also to challenge and stretch your creativity.

Perhaps you could deliberately try a completely different approach to your next project, just to see what happens. It may not work. But then again…it could be wonderful! Here is a list of all the articles in this series:

Focal Point
Color Scheme

Copyright 2008 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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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Artist Profile: Margie Deeb

That Silver Ribbon of Road
Three independent panels of color represent the past, present, and
future, as well as the subconscious, unconscious, and conscious mind.
That silver ribbon of road connects them all. Loomwork by Margie Deeb
and Frieda Bates.
11/o glass beads, acrylic base. Photo by Haigwood Studios, Roswell,

Artist: Margie Deeb
Location: Roswell, Georgia

Website & Blog:
Margie Deeb
Margie Deeb’s Color for Bead Artists

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, t
urquoise, amethyst, chalcedony, vintage pressed glass, 24kt and glass
beads. Photo by Margie Deeb.

How do you describe your beadwork, Margie?
Sensuous beaded art exploring dimensions of color through form and movement.

What is your creative process like?
I am very methodical, engagin in a tremendous amount of planning ahead of time so that when I get to the manifesting stage, I feel very free to enjoy the process. I make endless sketches and drawings and rework color combinations over and over until I come up with what feels balanced and whole. I do this with my paintings, too. I have many sketches of everything I do long before I produce the final piece.

Study in Fuschia & Orange
Margie Deeb created this necklace in which each color has its own
form, while all converge as one in a surging swirl of color. Bead
embroidery. Glass beads and sensuede. Photo by Margie Deeb.

What kind of training did you have which helped you achieve your current level of artistry?
I’ve always been an artist, and have painted and drawn my whole life.

Being a graphic designer helped me hone my process and become more disciplined and methodical in my approach. Making a living as an Art Director where I constantly have to get into a client’s mind and heart, and produce work that fits a client’s objectives has made me not take myself or art so seriously, and as a result, become very flexible.

Being a musician has helped me with rythym, pattern and movement.

Writing has taught me to use a different part of my brain, the side not so natural to use, and helped me think better.

Is there a tool or material that you can’t imagine living without?
Colored markers, colored pencils and colored pens!

Dance of The Undines
The element of water is personified in Undines, those ineffable,
invisible beings of movement. “Dance of the Undines” is study of the
movement of color within the movement of water. Loomwork by Margie
Deeb and Frieda Bates. 11/o glass beads, acrylic base. Photo by
Haigwood Studios, Roswell, Georgia

What inspires you to create?
Beauty and the desire for more beauty! Meditations and dreams (on the intangible level).

On the physical level, certain color combinations will light a fire in me, or stir my imagination. And I love looking at people’s faces. I find faces one of the most fascinating things in the world, and one of the most beautiful. I love painting faces, not portraits, but faces.

What inspires you to keep going when the work gets frustrating or tough?
My desire to rise to a challenge. I may get down for awhile and consider giving up – but that never lasts. I love a challenge.

The Heart of Her
11/o glass beads. Photo by Haigwood Studios, Roswell, Georgia

What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?

Do your work. Your work is your art. Every day. Just do it. It sounds so simple and trite, but it is the greatest thing I know – just do it everyday, of course always striving to learn more. I’ve wasted years at a time mucking around looking for answers to creativity, when I find all my answers IN THE PROCESS of my art.

The second thing is: play and experiment. When I stop playing and experimenting and stop loving the process, then I am in big trouble. My art becomes stagnant and dead. So I make sure I balance my work by coming to the table (at appropriate times) in a spirit of play and experimentation.

I always need to remind myself of these two things. They are so simple we tend to overlook them, or think we’ve outgrown them. I promise you I will need to return to this interview for my own advice within four months.

The Beader’s Color Palette: 20 Creative Projects and 220 Inspired
Combinations for Beaded and Gemstone Jewelry opens the door to worlds
of color inspiration. Gather from history, culture, and our planet to
create stunning color schemes for beaded creations. Gorgeous beaded
jewelry illustrating 220 specific palettes for glass and gemstone
beads make The Beader’s Color Palette a coffee table book of
inspiration for color lovers working in every medium. Includes
detailed instructions for stringing, finishing, looming, and off-loom
stitches. (Ready for publication on June 10! Pre-orders can be placed now)

What takes up the majority of your time besides your art?
Teaching (am now teaching online classes on CraftEdu as well as travelling all over the country), my graphic design work, my community of beloved friends, and my family (musician husband and 2 dogs).

What’s your favorite book?
I love the book Art & Fear by Bayles & Orland. When I’m lodged in fear, a few paragraphs of that motivate me like a wildfire.

Margie’s other books: Beading Her Image, The Beader’s Guide to Color, and Out on a Loom

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Book review: Creating Crystal Jewelry with Swarovski

Fantastic sparkle! With the precision of an engineer, Laura McCabe has counted and measured so that you don’t have to. There are charts included in this book that will save you a lot of time when you decide to bezel a few rivolis for yourself :-)

This is a gorgeous book that anyone who enjoys sparkle will love looking through. A lot of the projects are similar, or are variations on each other, but that’s to be expected with a book that concentrates on something specific like this. It’s not a beginner’s book either, but a determined beginner will not have problems following Laura’s excellent illustrations and directions.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Making a pearl dangle pendant

The “pendant with dangles” look is still going strong this spring. It’s a jewelry look that I like, and so even though I don’t usually consider myself any kind of slave to fashion, I was pretty quick to figure out how to make one of these to my liking!

Any full-service catalogs will have the pendants and connectors that you will need. I got mine in an antiqued pewter metal from Rings & Things: the central pendant, the two rose connectors, and the 5 loop drop. In addition, you’ll need a selection of pearls and crystals, or other beads of your choice, a bail, head pins, jump rings, and additional charms. I also used a 5 strand chain tassel from Rings & Things, but you can substitute plain chain or skip it altogether and just make beaded links.

1. Assemble all your beads and findings and think about how you might want to lay them out. Generally, I think the balance is best on these pendants when the central dangles are a bit longer than the ones on the ends.

2. I started by attaching the 5 loop drop to the pendant and the tassel to the center loop of the drop, using jump rings. From there, I began to add beads to the bottom of each chain, making simple loops with head pins.

3. Moving outward, I added beaded links and the two connectors to the next loops and shorter beaded links and charms to the final loops on the outside. To make the beaded links, I simply cut the heads off of the pins since none of the links needed to be very long.

4. Finally, I went back to the center and added some small beaded dangles to the length of the 5 chains just to fill in a bit. How full you make your piece is up to you.There you have it! These are so easy to make that you might find you want to adapt this style and make one in each color combo that you like! Mine cost under $9 in materials, so they would also make a wonderful gift.

Copyright 2008 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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Monday, June 02, 2008

Do you want to design for yourself? Structure

Structure: Patterns and techniques

No matter how intuitively you work, at some point you will need to make some decisions about the structure and pattern you’re going to use in order to avoid having to go bead buying right in the middle of a project. That is usually not the best time to be making clear-headed decisions!

You might be the type of person who decides what project to do based upon what type of stitch you feel like doing, and you make most of your structural choices at the very beginning of your design process. For me, the technical details are often one of the last things I consider, but like all of the other pathways into designing, structural questions can easily pop up at any time along the way.

In design terminology, pattern generally refers to repetition or lack of it in stringing or weaving a piece. (It can also refer to the plan for the exact placement of beads in something like a flat peyote weaving, but that’s not what I’m referring to here.) The pattern can be repeating, symmetrical, asymmetrical, or random. No matter how complex your piece is, from a single strand to the most intricate multi-strand weaving, these underlying patterns can be detected.

Asymmetrical and random patterns are the most dynamic and challenging to the eye, but can still be peaceful and pleasing if they are balanced visiually, either by color repetition or by judicious placement of larger beads. A peaceful feel may not be your desire, however! Repeating and symmetrical pieces tend to be easy on the eye with a classic feel, but they can also be seen as static and boring. You can use your pattern choices to keep the eye moving around the piece, or to focus it on a spot you choose. Pick the pattern you use to complement your entire theme and be aware of the underlying message pattern can send subliminally. This is certainly not an unimportant afterthought, even if pattern isn’t the first design element you consider!

Other structural considerations in designing include length, complexity, and contruction methods/techniques. Will your necklace be a standard length or adjustable? How many strands will it contain? Will it be needle-woven, strung, loomed, or a combination? Will your design necessitate large-holed beads that can accommodate many thread passages? Will it require special findings that you must buy or make? Will you use thread, wire, or some combination? Do you have enough materials and all the tools you will need?

This is also a good time to fill in all the gaps, before you start constructing. You may need to head back to the torch or go on a (perfectly justifiable) shopping trip. Make sure you’ve got enough of everything, including all the mundane items like thread, wire, crimps, jump rings, and spacer beads, to complete your design.

We’ve almost come to the end of this series now! Next Monday, wrap up and links :-)

Copyright 2008 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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