Friday, October 30, 2009

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Cindy Gimbrone aka the Lampwork Diva
Not thinking about your holiday gift list yet? Cindy helps get you started with a Knot Ready for Prime Time Lucky Knots and Friends Projects so you can get started now!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie shares her final Crystal Week necklace... a piece she calls Woodland Mermaid.

Jean Campbell
Jean celebrates her favorite holiday by showing off her costume and some very cool baubles.

Snap Out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews a delightful book by the editor of BeadStyle: Cathy Jakicic.

Strands of Beads
Melissa shows off her favorite necklace created for Cynthia Thornton's Enchanted Adornments and winner in the metal clay category of the British Bead Awards. Jewelry Making
It's like Wal-Mart, only you want to be there in this virutal tour of Shipwreck Beads.

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene is having a book fair. Read up on your favorites!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi has finally discovered how great polymer clay is.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Artist profile: Mark Hamilton

Artist: Mark Hamilton
Business name: Solstice Glass
Location: Eugene, OR

Website & Blog:
Solstice Glass

Solstice Glass blog

Mark, how do you describe your work?
My work is inspired by natural organic forms and colors, and I work with borosilicate glass because the color palette has more of an organic feel than soft glass does. Most of my designs are scenes such as a sunrise or things such as flowers or turtles that can be found in nature.

What is your creative process like?
My creative process is mostly unplanned and sometimes chaotic. I don’t try to create new designs unless I’m in the right mood and can feel the creativity waiting to be expressed. Then I sit down at my bench and just start playing with different glass colors. I just relax and enjoy the process until something emerges that gives me an idea of what I might want to create. Occasionally during the process of playing around, a finished piece will take shape without any conscious direction at all. Those are often the best ones!

What kind of training did you have which helped you achieve your current level of artistry?
I’ve had very little formal training in lampworking. Before I had access to a glass studio, I spent a couple afternoons with friends who were lampwork bead artists. They gave me a little lesson and let me spend a few hours melting glass on their torch. Then a good friend moved to town and it turned out he had just learned the basics of lampworking. He had only been lampworking a couple of months himself but taught me what he could. From there I went on to teach myself by experimenting a lot and reading a couple books on lampworking.

During my 12 years as a lampworker, I’ve also spent time at different friends’ studios and learned various techniques by observing them at work. Most of my work is based on the techniques I discovered through practice on my own though. I feel that being self taught gives my work a unique flavor that I might not otherwise have developed.

Is there a tool or material that you can’t imagine living without?
Pure silver. I file it up, fume it, or cut little pieces off a silver wire and embed it in the glass. It’s extremely versatile and creates some of my favorite effects in lampworking.

What inspires you to create?
My work is inspired by the time I spend in nature. Hiking in the forest, kayaking on a river, or enjoying a beautiful sunset inspires me to express that natural beauty in a glass pendant, bead or marble.

What inspires you to keep going when the work gets frustrating or tough?
When my work gets frustrating it’s usually because I’m not relaxing and letting it flow. What often works is to do something to take my rational mind off my work. Listening to an audiobook can keep my rational mind occupied while my more creative mind creates.

What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?
You can’t go wrong with lots of practice and that usually means paying for lots of materials. So find a way to sell your work online or at a local artisan’s market…it will allow you to spend more on materials and get more practice. It will also give you valuable feedback about your work as you progress.

What takes up the majority of your time besides your art?
I also own Web Weaver Services, a web design, marketing and SEO company that specializes in helping other artists and small businesses be successful online. When I’m not making glass art I’m usually working on a web project for a client.

What’s your favorite hobby?
River kayaking is my favorite hobby and I usually run class III and under rivers. I enjoy trips of around 20 miles or overnight kayaking/camping trips. There’s nothing that relaxes and rejuvenates me like a day spent moving with the rhythm of flowing water.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Work in progress: The Lady of Shalott

I've started a new handmade beaded necklace, inspired by one of my favorite women, The Lady of Shalott. She was immortalized in a poem by Tennyson (the 1842 version), loosely based upon the Arthurian legend of Elaine of Astolat.

Here are all the construction steps:

Part one
Part two
Part three
Part four

Beading foundation fabric
Beading thread 
Seed beads
Accent beads
Pendant beads

Tools: chain nose pliers, round nose pliers, wire cutters, needles 
Basics of Bead Embroidery (first chapter of  Every Bead Has a Story is free!)

This post contains affiliate links: Beadaholique

Monday, October 26, 2009

Make It From Scratch carnival

In a return visit to Oz, this week's Make It From Scratch carnival appears on Frills in the Hills!

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Dreaming of Spring

I found this wonderful vintage rolled-brim felt hat with a built-in scarf in an old musty antique shop a couple of years ago, and it just occurred to me that I've never shared the instructions with you for its transformation!

I loved the style and the color, and knew immediately that the structure of the hat would stand up to a lot of altering! Sifting through my collection of vintage buttons and jewelry showed me just what direction to go with this hat. The name, Dreaming of Spring came to me before the hat was completed. I filled the brim, but still something was missing. The final piece was still sitting on my work table: a small vintage bee pin. Obviously, the bee was to be the focal point, the one who was "dreaming of spring"!

Now as cold weather approaches, I can wear this hat with the promise that spring will one day return to New England.

Materials and tools:
Vintage hat
Buttons, beads, seed beads, and vintage jewelry
Black nymo thread, size O
Beading needles
Fabric glue

1. Consider carefully the structure of the hat you choose. I was attracted to this rolled-brim style because there would be no need to line the inside after finishing the sewing: the style itself hides all the loose ends. I also looked for a hat with the structural integrity that could stand up to the weight of the embellishments I wanted to add.

2. Gather together all of the embellishments from your stash of button, beads, and jewelry (broken or whole) that you think you might want to use. Choose a theme or a color palette to unify your choices. Although I chose a solid colored hat, multi-colored would be a lot of fun to work with too. The color of my hat led me to develop a springtime theme in a monochromatic palette, with gold-toned accents.

3. Stitch shank-style buttons around the top of the brim, using nymo beading thread.

4. Stitch or pin your major focal pieces into place around the face of the brim. I used some larger vintage pins to divide up the surface.

5. Stitch buttons and beads in a pleasing pattern between the larger focal pieces. Use size 8 or 11 seed beads to decorate the threads holding the buttons. Take an extra anchoring stitch or two before and after stitching on each new piece.

6. After all your buttons and larger beads are attached, go back and “fill in” each large gap with a size 8 seed bead. I used bronze iris beads to add just a hint of extra color.

7. Use a small dab of fabric glue on each knot on the inside of the hat. If you’ve used a roll-brim hat like mine, there will be no need to line it, but if you’ve chosen a different style, consider adding a lining fabric to protect your hair from getting tangled in the underside of the stitches.

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, October 23, 2009

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Carmi's Art/Life World

Carmi decided to finally use her bead stash from Paris.

Cindy Gimbrone aka the Lampwork Diva
Cindy's got some new findings from Ornamentea. What's she going to make with them?

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
The inspiration for Melanie's Machinery of Nature necklace comes from science, steampunk, and nature.

Katie's Beading Blog
Check out Katie's ideas on making your old beads new again- and make some affordable gifts along the way!

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Better get on board, Lorelei is having the last of the Enchanted Adornments giveaways. Leave a comment to play!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean has a little Boo power going on for her in this hand made Halloween bracelet!

Strands of Beads
Melissa shows off metal clay goodies from Rings & Things

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew revisits a bracelet design and creates six others.

A Bead A Day
Does a simple design equal a "Zen" experience? Lisa would love to hear your thoughts on when simple designs are able to make an impact. Jewelry Making
After posting a new jewelry book review for a very cool mixed media book, Tammy is looking ahead to other reviews coming up very soon.

Art Bead Scene
You've heard of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? Well, this Sisterhood shares bracelets.

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Barbe gets tangled up with Chain Style book review

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Artist profile: Krystal Backer

Krystal Backer
Business name: MonkeyBuns
Location: Mason City, Iowa

Websites & Blog:
MonkeyBuns etsy shop
MonkeyBuns facebook
Krystal Backer blog

Krystal, how do you describe your work…and why MonkeyBuns?
MonkeyBuns is my son’s nickname. I started making jewelry when I was up to feed him at night so it seemed only natural to name my business after him. I would describe my work as unique and on the cuff of being outside the box.

What is your creative process like?
I have a few ways of working. Some times I make sketches of projects if they come up at a weird time like just before bed. Mostly I see the finished piece in my head and go from there. Sometimes the piece ends up the way I saw it in my head sometimes not. I usually have the TV on when I’m working but find I’m a lot more productive if I listen to music. I especially find I’m creative when listening to the Beatles or 90’s music. I tend to work on a project of a span of time. I work 2 jobs and have a son so as much I as wish I had hours on end to create I just don’t.

What kind of training did you have which helped you achieve your current level of artistry?
I am as self taught as I can be using other people’s tutorials. I have not taken any formal classes although I’d love to. I never set out to become a jewelry designer I just originally wanted something to do when after I was done feeding my son in the middle of the night. I lack the ability to just go back to sleep after waking up. Eventually there came a time when I had to many jewelry pieces so I started selling them.

Is there a tool or material that you can’t imagine living without?
The one tool I depend on a lot is my bead trays. My favorite material is Delica Beads.

What inspires you to create?
My son mostly inspires me. He’s very artistic himself and his energy really inspires me. I find inspiration in other random things like nature or a floor rug. Being an artist tends to make me look at things different.

What inspires you to keep going when the work gets frustrating or tough?
I am very lucky that I belong to a great group on Etsy, JETS. This group of ladies is just awesome about helping each other get through our frustrations and disappointments.

What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?
I would tell them that the first year is rough. No matter how great of a product you have it takes time to get seen in the sea of other great artist. You have to be willing to market yourself other wise you’ll drown in that sea.

What takes up the majority of your time besides your art?
My son is a huge priority in my life. I spend as much time with him as I can which often means that I don’t get time to create until he goes to bed. I also work so that takes up a lot of my time.

What’s your favorite comfort food?
My favorite comfort food is food my mom made me while I was growing up.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Buy at
Jewellery for Sale at Istanbul Bazaar...
Wes Walker
24x24 Photograph...
Buy From

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Book review: Enchanted Adornments

Cynthia Thornton, jewelry artist and storyteller, has combined her love of both to produce a book which is the portal to a magical journey. Filled with techniques she developed in the Green Girl Studios, Cynthia introduces you to characters that each need a special piece of jewelry, for a very special reason. You'll find yourself getting just as caught up in the narrative as you do in the projects, wondering how it is all going to end!

The book begins with a wonderful technique section, where readers are taken step by step through creating mixed-media jewelry with resin, PMC, polymer clay, and wire. You'll learn Cynthia's signature techniques for mold-making and stone setting as well.

The projects range in complexity from beginner to advanced. Even the more difficult or time-consuming projects can easily be scaled down to the reader's ability level. The directions are step by step, and it's easy to see where substitutions could be made. I definitely recommend this book for anyone who is looking into how to put more meaning into your pieces!

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Sher's gorgeous beaded geode

I am so excited to share this piece with you! Based upon the tutorial Turning a Geode into a Beaded Pendant, Sher created this amazing necklace. She has graciously sent me a link and allowed me to show it to you. I love the extra flourishes that she added...isn't it gorgeous?

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Calls for entries and submissions

Saul Bell Emerging Artists: deadline 12/03/09

500 Silver Jewelry Designs: deadline 12/04/09

Bead Journal Project 2010 registration: deadline 12/15/09

Altered Couture: deadline 12/15/09

Art Doll Quarterly: deadline 12/15 /09

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Barbe gets a mini artpiece from Artbeads.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi makes some resin filled embellishments quickly!

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
There's a new addition to the Heartz n Skullz Family. Come check out the new Skully Bowz!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie heats things up with some fire inspired crystal and porcelain beads in her newest necklace from her Art Beads crystal week

Jean Campbell
Jean reviews Wendy Ellsworth's wonderful new book, Beading--The Creative Spirit.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean is wowed by the plethora of activities a beader can find this weekend, both online at Earthenwood Studio and also at the supergreat classic, Soft Flex Glass Art and Bead Festivals!

Strands of Beads
Melissa shares her new work, "Natural Selection", that placed Second in the Necklace category of the Bead Arts Award 2009

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
See what Andrew whipped up when he sat down in the studio after a dry spell.

A Bead A Day
Do you have a distinctive style or do you go where the wind blows you? Lisa would love to hear about your design process. Jewelry Making
Fall is in the air, at least in some areas of the world, so it is time to think about making fall jewelry.

Art Bead Scene
ABS shares a motherlode of giveaways for October.

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Book review: Chain Style

Here is a book that I can whole-heartedly recommend to beginners who want to make great looking jewelry, and want it FAST!

There's nothing like adding chain to your design, or even designing an entire piece around chain, to make the design work up quickly. Chain is an excellent material for both beginners and those with advanced skills, because the complexity of your projects is only limited by experience and imagination.

The techniques and materials section is minimal but sufficient. Largely this is because the projects are all so accessible. There are 50 designs to inspire you, many created by designers whose names you will know. This gives a wide variety of styles, and I'm sure you'll find some that catch your eye no matter how experienced you are.

Using chain is also a wonderful way to stretch your beading budget. A few special beads connected together with chain will make a fabulous necklace that won't break the bank!

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Beaded flowers

There are so many different ways to make beaded flowers. Some of the most intricate and beautiful that I've seen have been done on thin wire in the French style. I decided to figure out a way to do mine with needle and thread instead.

You might remember awhile ago I shared a piece that I made, inspired by my mother's flower garden.  [Note - Here is a tutorial on putting the whole piece together!]  I thought it might be nice to show you one of the simple ways that I made some of the flowers for this piece.
Materials & Tools
8mm crystal beads
Delica or Czech seed beads
Nymo thread, size O
Beading needle

1. Wrap the thread through the hole of an 8mm crystal twice, tying a knot each time. Position the two threads so that they are on opposite sides of the bead.

2. Starting near the hole where you've tied off, add brick stitch all the way around, using the threads as the foundation. If you are using Delica seed beads, you'll be able to fit 16 beads around the circumference (14 of most Czech seed beads). It's important to make it an even number.

3. Needle up through the first brick stitch and pick up 8 seed beads. Go back down through the 7th bead and peyote stitch down to the base. Needle down through the next brick stitch and back up through the first.

4. Stitch another peyote row around the outside of the petal, adding only 2 beads on each side. Needle down through the second brick stitch, and up through the next to start the next petal.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 around the circumference, making 8 petals (7 if using Czech beads).

6. Stitch petals in between the first set with a second color, making 8 more for a total of 16 petals (7 more and 14 total with Czech beads).

7. Optional - stitch one skinny petal between each set of two petals. Use 6 beads of a brighter or darker color, plus a gold bead for the tip. Go back down through the sixth bead and pick up 5 more. Needle down through the same brick stitch you started from. Skip 2 petals and needle up to form the next skinny petal all the way around.

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.


Friday, October 09, 2009

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Art Bead Scene
The October Art Bead Scene Challenge gets folksy.

Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva
Cindy shows off her new buckle charm necklace but what should she name it?

Earthenwood Studo Chronicles
Melanie brightens up her beading palette with some spring colors for her second Art Beads crystal blog post.

Jean Campbell
Jean shares her delight with Cynthia Thornton's new book, "Enchanted Adornments"

Katie's Beading Blog
Katie's mixing polymer clay with beads again - check out this new design!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean is swooning over the newest Crystallized Innovations from Artbeads!

Strands of Beads
Melissa is proud to be Soft Flex Company's Spotlight On... Designer for October!

A Bead A Day
Do you buy beads for their "coolness" factor? What is your definition of "cool" when it comes to beads and jewelry? Jewelry Making
Tammy has taken her net and collected some butterfly crafts for you in plenty of time to participate in The Butterfly Project at the Holocaust Museum Houston.

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Thursday, October 08, 2009

Seed bead artist: Olga Romanenko

Wood Nymph, by Olga Romanenko

Take a look at Olga's gorgeous work, featured on Jewelry & Beading this morning!

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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Book review: The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Jewelry Making Techniques

Think of this new book as an overview of what is possible. It's not nearly detailed enough to be a true how-to book, but it covers so many different materials that it will probably boggle your mind with possibilities and send you racing for your notebook!

This book covers far more than beading techniques, so look elsewhere if you'd like an introduction to beadwork. This is a guide for an experimental jewelry who wants to create one-of-a-kind jewelry using modern techniques and materials. There are instructions and photographs outlining how to work with rubber, resin, glass, leather, paper, plastics, ceramics, textiles, and much more. But again, each chapter is an introduction, so you should plan to use this book to inspire your search for the next great thing you want to try.

A very beautiful and compelling book. Now where did I leave my notebook...?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Monday, October 05, 2009

Fourth Day of Creation

I made this multi-strand necklace for my friend Sherry. She wanted something that celebrated the fourth day of Creation, and she wanted me to make it for her! I was thrilled and flattered. Sherry is just about the perfect person to work for on a commission such as this: She knows the general style, weight, colors, and images that she wants, but she never crosses the line into micro-managing.

Her necklace became a three-strand affair, but still ended up relatively lightweight. I used a bead embroidered centerpiece, chosing a lovely fused glass bead made by my friend Jeanne Kent (New Terra Artifacts). The piece also features several beads that I bought when we visited Venice and Murrano last year...I hoard these, so you can guess that Sherry is very special to me!

Like I said, there are three strands:

  • The heaviest strand features a gorgeous string of lapis beads, interspersed with crystals and glass.
  • The second strand alternates hammered oval loops with wired clusters of beads.
  • The lightest strand is size 8/0 seed beads accented with 4mm stone, glass, and crystal.

All three strands are twisted together and anchored with strategically placed jump rings. The central bead embroidered piece is very similar to the Beaded Cabochon Pendants that I've already shared with you.

Finally, once the necklace strands and central pendant were fully assembled, I spread out the charms and decided where to attach each one with a jump ring.

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, October 02, 2009

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Jewelry & Beading
Have you ever thought about trying glass fusing? The talented Wendy Talaro shares a fused glass primer this week! Jewelry Making
Tammy offers you two simple ways to become part of the on-line jewelry making community.

Art Bead Scene
Take a tour with the Art Bead Scene. We've got places to go and beads to see!

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Simply Gemstones book review

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi creates a new necklace with heart shaped resin pendants she made.

Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva
Take a walk on the dark side and see what kind of jewelry Cindy comes up with.

Earthenwod Studio Chronicles
Melanie begins her celebration of a week of crystal pendants with an autumn inspired fairy butterfly necklace

Jean Campbell
How do you use beads to decorate your house? Check out these photos of Jean's beady household decor.

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Lorelei is hosting a Necklace Round Robin, come check out the necklaces as they transform!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean recalls and reposts a recipe for some cool October earrings, now that there is a chill in the air!

Strands of Beads
Melissa blogs about an intriguing new blog by lampwork artist Sarah Moran

A Bead A Day
Have a favorite piece of day-to-day jewelry? Lisa shares hers and reasons for leaning toward practicality.

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