Friday, April 30, 2010

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva
Spring is the time for new life and new charms at Cindy Gimbrone Beads. 

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie spreads her wings and designs a new pair of carvings to be made into pendants.

Strands of Beads
Melissa uses lava beads to help teach her son about volcanoes

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew shares his trip to Denver for the Rocky Mountain Bead Society's Bead Bazaar.

A Bead A Day
Do you ever find beads in your own collection that you forgot you had? Jewelry Making
School is in session, or at least, it will be when you sign up for one of these free copper clay e-courses.

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene's newest member opens her heart and shares how she feels about the Art Bead Scene. Maybe you feel the same?  

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Artist Profile: Paul Bishop

Artist: Paul Biship
Business name: Bishop Wire & Bead
Website: Bishop Wire & Bead

Note from Cyndi: Paul has graciously shared quite a number of wire-working projects with us which will be featured throughout the month of May.  Since my own wire skills are mediocre at best, we should all be very very thankful ;-)

How do you describe your work, Paul?
I took the easy way out for my business name. Bishop is my last name, and I work with wire and beads, so "Bishop Wire & Bead". The ampersand was a stylistic choice.  I do not like seeing the word 'and' in a business name. "And" does appear in my site's URL, because & is an invalid character there. When that rule gets changed...

My work is generally elegant and simple. Symmetry and pattern are the two elements defining most of my jewelry. My focus is on wire work and the use of quality gemstones.

I'm not a person that has an artist statement unless "Stuff happens" is valid. I have no real theme to my designs. Whatever appears on my table is usually unique or in small quantities.

What is your creative process like?
My worktable doubles as my computer table, so my jewelry stuff needs to be quickly moveable. It sits in various stackable containers, sorted by type: gemstones, non-gemstone beads, boxes of findings, gold, silver, copper, stringing material, chain. Inside the containers, everything is separted again by stone, finding type, etc., all in numbered bags. When I'm working, all of these containers are arrayed around my workspace and I just grab the bags I need as I go. The numbers correspond to the database I use, so after making a design, I quickly write down the bag numbers. Pricing work is a separate event from creativity. When I price, I take the individual jewelry articles and count the use of each design material and determine the price.

Music is always playing when I'm creating. I haven't noticed if the music affects how I create. The type of music doesn't matter much. I play everything except rap and twangy country. Those are just not my favourite genres.

I don't always use a recorded design element. That is, it isn't always on paper.  Sometimes I know what I want to use, and I play with it and other materials to see what happens. Deliberate design on paper is often very minimalist and abstract - a curve presenting stringing/chain material and shapes for beads I know I have for necklaces and bracelets. I don't always think in colour; that happens later.  Simple earrings are always done spontaneously. Wire work often starts as a design to be sure I haven't tried to plan an impossible object that can't be rendered in three dimensions.

The rule about symmetry doesn't always work for my wire-wrapping. My wire-wrapped hearts never have a design for the decorative portion on top. That happens wherever the wire wants to go. Sometimes I enforce symmetry on those objects and I like the result even if I didn't get a curve to match perfectly or a loop the same size as it's supposed twin.

When I sit to make most jewelry, I do it in large chunks of hours, making at least one item at a time. It is rare for me to start a piece and lay it aside to be completed unless I need a specific item for it. When I'm doing something simple like creating single drop earrings, I might work in small lots. Often I put those materials and needed tools in a small box and take it with me to fill time away from my table. I have learned for wire-wrapping that making similar items in batches in specific steps is usually easier on the hands. Select the stones; make the wire harness; wrap off the harness with the stone in place; do the free-form design. If I don't do it this way, I'm repeatedly stressing my fingers as I make the wraps tight, and then trying to make the interesting decorative part with tired fingers. All that seems like a lot of process, but it minimizes my time in the long run.

What kind of training did you have which helped you achieve your current level of artistry?
I don't call myself a professional. I took one class in wire jewelry-making and another in wire-wrapping to learn the basics. For jewelry without precious metal wire, I learned from "the basics" sections of magazines or jewelry-making books. I learn the technique and apply it, simple as that.

The "rules" of symmetry and patterns come from my love of mathematics, which is what I majored in in university and played with my entire life. It was rare if I took a bunch of building blocks and created something that was assymetrical or unpatterned.  I like those aesthetics.

Is there a tool or material that you can't imagine living without?
Easy - wires and pliers! Without those, wire-wrapping is very difficult. ;)

What inspires you to create?
For wire-work, it's very object-based. I look at interesting shapes and wonder if I can replicate it in wire. Once I've accomplished that, I look at design variations. Often the objects that generate the most interest hold something else, since most of my wire wrapping is around a gemstone that must be kept in place. For all of my jewelry, it's the play of colours, shapes and patterns.

What inspires you to keep going when the work gets frustrating or tough?
Since this is a money-making hobby, it rarely is frustrating on a large scale. It's what I do to relax. Those are the few projects I put down to be completed later. I write down the design I have so far and keep the incomplete design where I can easily see it and let time and other jewelry making fill in the gap until I have a "Eureka!" moment.

For a general malaise, making jewelry is what brings me out of it. However, I need to be creatively ready to do that. I just spent from Christmas until now not making anything at all because I couldn't see my way to it. My ability to create was siphoned off by a very demanding work schedule. To combat this, I sat down with
what I have already created, or at least pictures, and looked through them. I read books on creativity and went through my favourite jewelry books, just looking at pictures. I reflected and wrote about what made it tough. I look up resources for technique to see if I'm going something wrong.

I also arranged to be at a simple craft fair. I didn't make any new items for it since I had a lot of old stock. The act of being in sale mode and the enjoyable chit-chat with people about my work was inspiring. Spring's arrival also helped my mind-set.

What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?
Learn techniques one by one. Decide what you'd like to make. Pick a technique you need to make that and learn it. Do this until it becomes so familiar to you that making objects using it is easy but not yet boring. After that, learn the next technique that will enhance that particular one. Don't take on too many techniques at once, or too many different types of jewelry making. Otherwise, your work will improve very slowly as you use more techniques but focus on them less.

I learned simple stringing, some chainmail weaves, and basic wire work to make simple bracelets, earrings and necklaces. I took the wire work further because it was what I really wanted to do. As much as I want to use polymer clay or learn lampwork, those are entirely different skills and need tools I do not have and I
have decided I do not know enough about wire work yet.

What takes up the majority of your time besides your art?
My full-time job, and reading and writing keeping up with friends.

What's your favorite comfort food and other favorite things?
Purple is my favourite colour. I have 10 metres of purple linen cord that I want to do something with but I don't want to cut it.

My favourite comfort food is hard pretzels with a little mustard. I know I'm ready to stop being comforted and work on jewelry again when I imagine stringing them together or connecting them with jumprings.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Get ready for selling!

The spring and summer are great times to try some new selling strategies, whether it's selling through a new (to you) venue, taking part in some outdoor fairs, or just boning up on sales techniques. Here are some wonderful links to get you on your way to a profitable summer.

Luann Udell has written a fantastic series of posts on how to get people OUT of your booth at the fair...the people who need to be given the boot, that is!

The Jewelry Show Guide has listings of many of the up-coming events, many of which have classes on business or could be a great venue for you to become a vendor.

Have you ever thought of trying to sell your jewelry tutorials? Janice Abarbanel decided to give it a shot on Etsy and found that it was pretty successful.

Julie, of On the Dot Creations, has put together a downloadable free book called The Secrets of Saavy Etsy Sellers.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Making barnacles on a bracelet

I decided that I wanted a lot of texture on the cuff bracelet that I made for my March piece in the Bead Journal Project.  The inspiration was the seaside in late winter and early spring...the colors are more subdued and the forms you find are more stark, but it's still beautiful in that rugged New England sort of way.


Making the barnacle form is really easy, but it looks complex on a completed piece.  I used barnacles on Ocean Depths, shown above, too.  Let me walk you through it and show you how easy they are to stitch.


1. Stitch on a 10 or 12 mm bead for the center.  Don't worry about the thread showing at the sides since it will be covered when you're done.

2. Stitch stacks of beads around the outside of the center bead.  I find that by using a size 6/0 bead as the base, I can fit about 10 stacks comfortably around the outside.  For each of the stacks, I stitched up to the top of the fabric, added 1 size 6/0, 3 size 8/0s, and 1 size 11/0 bead.  Skipping the top bead, stitch back down through the stack and through the fabric.  Add the next stack. 

3. When you've come back around to the beginning, take your needle back up through the first stack.  Run your needle and thread through each of the top size 11/0 beads around the circle.  Go through the first couple of beads again, and run your needle back down through the stack.  Pull snug and knot on the back.   

Copyright 2010 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, April 26, 2010

Fabric flower necklace with zing!

I made another fabric necklace, this time with zippy bright-printed fabrics.  The foundation, which you can't see very much, is bright yellow and lined with shirt-weight fusible interfacing.  You can find all the instructions for making a fabric necklace like this in my previous tutorial.  The major difference is that here I used the same fabric for both layers of the gathered flowers, and I used felt "buttons" for the flower centers. 











Copyright 2010 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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Saturday, April 24, 2010

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Bead Journal Project: bracelet for April

This is my Bead Journal Project piece for April. Growing grass, flowers starting to peek out from the dead leaves left behind in the garden, small leaflets beginning to unfurl...that's April in New England.  It's sparse, because we often still see snowstorms in this cruelest of months.  I wish that you could see the button that I used as a closure on this piece's got this great raised circular texture which links to the little bead stacks that are sprinkled across the bracelet.  I painted the fabric that I used for the background  


Here are the instructions for how I am making these bracelets.  

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Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Stranded by the volcano, Carmi has time for a little more window shopping. 

Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva
For Cindy, yellow is the color of anticipation.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie sets up a trunk show at her favorite local indie craft gallery. Check out her display!

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Resin has become quite popular in jewelry design lately. It's a lot trickier than Lorelei had originally thought. She tries out the technique for the first time. 

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Do not miss out on Andrew Thornton's amazing sale and giveaway! It is fantastic!!! Go now! Really fun!

Strands of Beads
Melissa creates a sweet Spring necklace from wasabi-colored pearls and a beautiful Lillypilly pendant courtesy of  

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Be entered to win a one year subscription to Beadwork magazine! Find out how! Jewelry Making
It is flower power time! Mix resin, real flowers, and beads for this necklace design.  

Art Bead Scene
The Art Bead Scene Welcomes Miss Fickle Media to the editorial staff!  

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Barbe will be at Unique LA promoting the Steampunk Style book  

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Blog Carnival!

The good people at Craft Critique have put together a list of projects that will have you seeing green, including one of mine!  Join the crafty bunch of people who have found reducing, reusing, and recycling to be good for you and fun :-) 

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Artist Profile update: Denise Perreault

Men Eat First, 2009

A couple of years ago, Denise Perreault shared her amazing beaded curtains with us. She also shared her creative inspirations and process, which I think you'll find fascinating. You can read about Denise in her artist profile.  Well, I recently asked Denise if she would care to share an update with us, and I think you're going to just flip over her new work!  Another way to keep up with Denise is to become her fan on facebook: Denise Perreault Bead Artist.  

Denise Perreault has been concentrating on sculptural beadwork for the past year, completing both "Freak Show Ferris Wheel" and "The Men Eat First" from found objects in 2009. "The scavenger in me loves to find discarded items that I can repurpose into art," says Denise. "It's satisfying to be challenged by a piece of "junk," -- like the iron flower pot wheel that inspired "Freak Show Ferris Wheel" -- and transform it into something beautiful, provocative, or humorous."

Freak Show Ferris Wheel, 2009

Denise's newest piece reveals something of her values, as "Freak Show Ferris Wheel," (22" high x 17" wide x 5" deep), is peopled by her opinion of who 21st century circus freaks might be. Each chair bears the title of the riders: "The Misogynist," at top, throws popcorn at "The Trophy Wife," while "The Sports Fanatic" is so wrapped up in the game on his podcast that he's oblivious to the ride. "The Religious Fundamentalist" argues with the Ferris Wheel operator, whose "White is Right" tee-shirt marks him as a racist. Finally, "The Homophobe" and his friendly dog are angering "The Animal Hater" below him. The piece reveals Denise's
frustration with America's increasing polarization.

"The Men Eat First" (tallest figure 13" high), was inspired by the Indonesian folk art candle sticks given to her by a friend who was purging things during a move.  Instead of candles, the women bear plates of food, and their voluminous beaded skirts contrast starkly with their thinness. Here Denise comments on her time as a Peace Corps volunteer in a tiny Tunisian village in the mid-90's, where she struggled to abide by the traditional Muslim custom of the men and guests, like herself, being served the meat and choicest foods first, while the women and children ate whatever was left over. "Skinny old Pier One Import candle-holders," says Denise, "seemed the perfect cast-off to convey the injustice I felt towards that tradition." These pieces and others will be exhibited in a group show entitled "Rough Ruffles" that Denise curated for the Dairy Center for the Arts in Colorado for 2011.

A new honor for Denise was to be chosen this year as a juror for a fiber arts exhibit running this spring at the University of Colorado in Boulder entitled "Re-Connections." "This was my first experience as a juror," says Denise, "and it gave me a better understanding of how and why certain pieces are accepted. Besides space considerations, there's also the challenge of choosing pieces that represent the breadth of the theme, so sometimes excellent pieces are passed over in favor of other pieces that present an innovative use of new materials, or even a bright color that's wanted for a muted gallery corner. The bottom line," says Denise, "is to
always submit high-quality images, but to never take a show rejection personally."

Denise is also busy writing free-lance articles for her local newspaper, as well as researching her family's French-Canadian ancestry as a 75th birthday gift for her father.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Recent publications: April 2010

Beaded Allure: Beadweaving Patterns for 25 Romantic Projects by Kelly Wiese

The Workbench Guide to Jewelry Techniques by Anastasia Young

Totally Twisted: Innovative Wirework & Art Glass Jewelry  by Kerry Bogert
Read my book review and enter the giveaway!

Leather Jewelry: 30 Contemporary Projects by Nathalie Mornu

Mixed Metal Jewelry Workshop: Combining Sheet, Clay, Mesh, Wire & More by Mary Hettmansperger

Perfectly Paired: Designing Jewelry With Polymer and Metal Clays by Patricia Kimle

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Legal details for your jewelry business

Spring seems to be a season when lots of people gather strength and energy, and launch into something new. If that's you, and if you've decided that the new thing this year is to make your jewelry-making hobby into a business, here are some excellent links with legal details for you. PLEASE, do not expect any of these links to take the place of checking with your own Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, SCORE, or your lawyer.

At Modish Biz Tips, there's a wonderful rundown on many of the steps you'll need to take to make your new business legal.

Home Jewelry Business Success Tips also has an article on the legal and financial steps you'll need to take.

Turn to Entrepreneur Magazine for things to do before you start.

And finally, take an e-course from Tammy Powley, which will walk you through the process. It's free!

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More ideas for using lampwork beads

Whether you got all excited and began making lampwork beads last month, or if you've been making them for a long time, you know that they begin to pile up fast! You can never have too many suggestions for how to use them, so I gathered up a few of the easiest necklaces that I make using my own beads and have taken some shots to give you just a few super-easy ideas for stringing or wiring your own beads.

The necklace at the top of the post uses a lot of lampwork spacer beads along with a few larger focals.  Between each bead in the focal section, a small metal round and some metal daisy spacers keep the beads well-centered on the beading wire (I use SoftFlex).  In the upper sections near the toggle clasp, the lampwork spacers alternate with round 4 mm glass druks.

For this necklace, I slid all of the lampwork beads along with metal spacers and bead caps onto a length of 18 gauge sterling silver wire.  I made a wrapped loop at each end, around a length of chain.  You can gently bend the wire into shape for your necklace. 

Lampwork beads often have holes that are large enough to accommodate stringing materials other than beading wire or thread.  Here I used an organza ribbon and slid them on along with a couple of vintage crystals.  A loose know on each side of the beads will keep them from sliding.

This necklace was also strung on beading wire, like the first one.  Instead of having a solid strand of lampwork beads, I used size 11/0 gold seed beads to space out the clusters of beads. 

Copyright 2010 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, April 19, 2010

Online silver sale

My friend Tammy Powley is off-loading some silver charms and pendants that she is unable to use at this time.  Most of them are large cast pieces, and all are first come first served! 

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Super-simple little lampwork bead earrings

After I piled up a whole bunch of little lampwork spacer beads last month, a group of my girlfriends and I decided to get together for a sleepover.  Yeah, I know...but really, we're NOT too old to be doing that.  I asked them if they wanted to do a really simple little project and the answer was unanimous.

Great!  Now, what to do, what to do?

Earrings.  Always popular, super easy.  I packed pairs of spacer beads in lots of different colors (more than shown here...the favorites have already been grabbed!), head pins, 2 mm rounds, flat metal beads, ear wires, and the tools, and we all had at it!



So easy.  Just slide a 2 mm round, a flat metal bead, a lampwork bead, another flat metal bead, and another round on a head pin.  I demonstrated wrapped loops and how to open the ear wires without distorting the loops.  That was about it.  Everyone got a new pair of earrings in no time! 

Copyright 2010 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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Saturday, April 17, 2010

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Totally Twisted blog tour and giveaway!!

I am so excited to have Beading Arts be the 5th stop in the wonderful blog tour of Totally Twisted by Kerry Bogert!  And I have a copy of this delightful book to giveaway to one of you, but I've got to show you something first.

I love making glass beads, stringing, working with wire, and doing all sorts of mixed media jewelry making, but there's always been one element that has been a problem for me.  I love having the end of my beaded strands finished off nicely, especially if I'm working with multiple strands.  But I've found the search for nice looking bead cones to be frustrating and expensive.  Enter Kerry's new book.

Kerry shows you how to turn a wrapped loop into a beautifully coiled cone!  It was a head-slapping "duh" moment for me when I saw this tip.  Kerry used a mandrel, so her cones were much nicer than my pitiful first attempt.  Still, I think you can see the endless possibilities of this idea!  Imagine a better shaped cone that extends not only over the beading wire and crimp, but also down over the top portion of the first bead. 


Would you like to win a free copy of Kerry Bogert's book?  Just leave me a comment below and you'll automatically be entered.  If you tweet or post on Facebook or other social spots about the contest, you can leave a second comment and be entered twice!  Deadline: April 25, 2010.  

You can follow the rest of the blog tour for Totally Twisted by visiting the facebook fan page

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