Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Metal clay artist: Kristi Bowman-Gruel

Artist: Kristi Bowman-Gruel
Website: Dream Some Designs

My 2 year anniversary of beginning this wonderful journey of working with metal clay is fast approaching and I love working with it more than ever. It hasn’t lost any of it’s excitement. I’ve reached 2 of my earlier goals of becoming Certified with Rio Grande and becoming a member of the Etsy Metal Clay Group (EMC Team) this year.

Though my work is still very primitive and rustic in nature, sometimes even more than it has been in the past, I’ve recently been focusing on finding ways to add more color to my pieces. Incorporating more stones and glass lampwork beads by other talented artists and also learning how to use Resin and Enamel myself which I hope to showcase in the near future.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

Metal clay artist: Carol Gregory

Artist: Carol Gregory
Website: Carol Gregory

Though I've been interested and making jewellery on and off since the early 70's, when I came across an article by Maggie Bergman on how to make a tube bead from PMC in 2006 my life changed! Maggie has become my teacher, mentor and friend and I've taken many classes with her and have developed my skills to the point where I now run my own classes too.

I love colour and often use this in my work as I have in all three pieces.

The photograph in the Russian towers pendant is one I took whilst travelling along the Volga on a riverboat and it was made in a class by Maggie where we learned a new technique of making hinges using sheet PMC. The gingko leaf was layers of paste over a leaf and then I used Prismacolour pencils to add the colour.  The bronze piece was made very soon after BronzClay was released in 2008 and the fabulous blue patina was a wonderful surprise when I took it out of the tumbler. The silver centre is soldered to the large piece

I don't really have a style but love to experiment and often alter my plans along the way - with many pieces evolving as I make them and I enjoy working with mixed metals so am trying things out with the base metal clays we can now get.

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Metal clay artist: Lis-el Crowley

Artist: Lis-el Crowley
Heart of the Fire

Creative expression is right up there with eating, sleeping and breathing in my world. I am always looking for new ways to express my own creative energy and to help others express theirs. I find Metal Clay to be a fabulous medium for both established artists/artisans and people who feel creatively challenged. It's adaptable to a vast array of styles and techniques and almost anyone can create something they can be truly proud of. In addition to metal clay, I work as a potter, fused glass artisan, fiber artist and zentangle doodler as well as teaching others to do all of the above. I own and run a small artisan gallery in Windsor, CT where I teach classes and showcase my work and the work of other fine local artisans.

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Results: What's the best thing you've made this summer

The answers are in, and the results are spectacular!  It's never too late for you to join in if you'd like...just visit the Beading Arts Forum and post your picture and links.

by Casey Sharpe 

by Maria Nyberg

by Heather Pyle


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Friday, August 27, 2010

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Carmi's Art/Life World
The new Katiedids components are responsible for Carmi's new pearl necklace design.

Cindy Gimbrone, The Lampwork Diva
While Cindy's off enjoying the bead-ch, let's get ready for the upcoming HalloweenMas newsletters by checking in on a re-wind. It's Barbe Saint John's magic with Cindy's Calaveraz. 

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie shows off the treasures of her shopping spree at Bead Fest Philly

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
Lorelei shows off her loot from her Bead Fest Philadelphia trip!  

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean is totally WOWed by the fabulous Margot Potter's latest book: scroll down to read the truly intriguing review of this unique book--it is SO worth it!  

A Bead A Day
Do you like to mix crafting with jewelry making? Lisa is looking for crafty ideas for using a filigree pendant to create a unique piece of jewelry.  

About.com Jewelry Making
Tammy announces her first About.com jewelry making video.  

Art Bead Scene
While Art Bead Scene Editor, Cindy Gimbrone is on vacation, she's left us a gem from Studio Saturday - her box of inspiration!  

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Artist Profile: Terry Pugh

Three Owls

Artist: Teresa (Terry) Pugh
Business name: Wired4Style
Location: Merced, California
Blog: Wired4Style

Fat Cat

How do you describe your work, Terry? 
I would describe my jewelry as bold and colorful. A lot of my work are like little wearable sculptures, wire mosaics, wearable art. I am known as Wired4Style by my friends on the internet. I wanted wire somehow in the name since I love working with wire, metals and stones. I am in the process of change and am on a journey to connect with a much more personal name that reflects me as an artist and a person. My jewelry falls into the art jewelry/ sculpture category. I am an eclectic designer with a love to recycle whenever I can. Taking bits n pieces from broken or discarded treasures is exciting to me. I love taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary. When it comes to color, I’m not shy. The bolder the better.

What is your creative process like? 
I love sitting at my desk by the window. My honey made me a custom L shaped desk that faces our bedroom window. It is there that I do my intricate work. I love listening to music while I create. I usually plug into my mp3 player, that way I can tune out the world. I am easily distracted and tend to take frequent breaks because of my arthritis. Most of the time, I have several projects going at once.

 Masquerade Mask

What kind of training did you have which helped you achieve your current level of artistry?
I have no formal jewelry education. I am a self-taught jeweler. I have learned all my wire wrapping skills from books, magazines, and online tutorials from some very talented artists. I have taken art and photography classes which have helped me tremendously. I still remember that pivotal moment when my jewelry interests dove into wire. I stumbled upon jeweler Eni Oken’s website and from that moment on, I fell in love with wire, stones and colorful beads. I was always making jewelry for family and friends. I realized it could be more than a hobby for me when I got requests for custom jewelry and developed a returning clientele.

Is there a tool or material that you can't imagine living without?
I sure love my wire. When I’m not working on a piece, I will still fiddle around with wire!  I recently invested in a torch. Thank the fire gods. How I managed without one is beyond me.

 Faceless Girl

What inspires you to create?
A lot of my inspirations come during dream time. If a design appeals to me, I try and imagine it in wire. Nature is also very inspiring and helps me to create. Most any shape can be formed with wire. Creating is very therapeutic for me and helps me manage living with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Sometimes, jewelry work can be quite challenging and trying but the end result is always rewarding. Having talented artists in the house is very uplifting. My daughter is a talented musician and my life partner is an artist, as well.

What inspires you to keep going when the work gets frustrating or tough?
After a few colorful words, I walk away from my desk and jump online. It always makes me feel better when I can message or chat with my fellow jeweler friends. They can relate and laugh with me about my jewelry gone haywire :-)


What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?
Have a sense of humor. I can’t tell you how many times I felt like pulling out my hair over a piece gone wrong. It’s ok to make mistakes, that’s how you learn. Challenge your skills. There is so much information out there to help you grow as an artisan. I cherish all my magazines, books and online tutorials. Most important, have fun!

What takes up the majority of your time besides your art?
When I’m not creating, I love spending time with my family and my doggies. My granddaughters have also taken an interest in art and making jewelry.

 The Passion Key

What's your favorite comfort food?
I would say my favorite comfort food is pasta. I love all kinds of pasta. In the mornings I love my cup of French vanilla coffee.

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Profiles of metal clay artists from the archives

I Think, Therefore I Am 2.0

There are two metal clay artists who deserve special mention here on Beading Arts, both of them having shared complete artist profiles with us in the past.  I am of course talking about Melissa Lee and Lorena Angulo.  Melissa recently became the Grand Prize winner of Fire Mountain Gems metal clay contest! That's Melissa's winning piece pictured above.  Yay, Melissa!

Lorena has also had a busy and prolific year.  Among her many awards and honors, she has been published in Sherri Haab's new book called Jewelry Inspirations.  Yay for Lorena too!

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Recent publications: August 2010

 Metal Clay Origami Jewelry: 25 Contemporary Projects

Bead Chic: 36 Stylish Jewelry Projects & Inspired Variations by Margot Potter

Contemporary Bead & Wire Jewelry (Lark Jewelry Book) by Nathalie Mornu, and Suzanne J.E. Tourtillott

Ceramic Bead Jewelry: 30 Fired & Inspired Projects by Jennifer Heynen

Metal Clay Origami Jewelry: 25 Contemporary Projects by Sara Jayne Cole

The Earring Style Book: Making Designer Earrings, Capturing Celebrity Style, and Getting the Look for Lessby Stephanie A. Wells

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More auction sites to check out

Now that we've made it through the spring and summer, getting our websites up to date, working on our techniques and design skills, looking through our options for what, where, and how to sell, I want to revisit the topic of sales sites. Ultimately, I think it's most people's dream still to have their own website, but that isn't always the best answer for everyone. Sometimes it's better to keep your website as a "gallery" or "portfolio" and conduct your sales elsewhere. And if you're just getting started in sales, it makes a lot of sense to test the waters and learn through an established sales site before going to the expense, time, and trouble of setting up your own website.

If you do decide that using a pre-made sales site is best for you, how do you pick the winner? We discussed it back in the spring, in Sites for Selling, but I'd like to give you some additional data to think about. Almost everyone that I hear from who uses a sales site says that it is best to pick one and do it well rather than to spread out to several. You'll have to decide for yourself if you can handle more than one shop, but here are some comparisons to help you and some new sites on the scene.

I think most of us know about Etsy, eBay, JustBeads, Zibbet, and Artfire as places to look for discounted jewelry supplies and loose beads as well as to sell, but it seems that today there are a couple more.  I have not used these sites, so I cannot vouch for them, but if you've used either of them, please let me know!

AuctionBeads seems to be a typical auction site, with both bidding and a "buy it now" feature.   

AtOncer calls itself a "Craft making supplies marketplace".  There is an auction section and also a fixed price area.  

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Crystal bead bracelet

A few weeks ago, I showed you some gorgeous crystal beads that I received from Auntie's Beads. Today, I've got a really simple project for you that I think takes full advantage of the variations in color, and allows each bead to shine on its own!

Materials and Tools
Gold colored SoftFlex, 4 pieces, 10 inches long each
4 size #3 crimp beads
Size 8/0 seed beads, lilac
Size 6/0 seed beads, 2 lilac
Lobster claw clasp and soldered loop

Wire cutters
Chain nose pliers

My project is a variation on one that I found in Linda Peterson's book Beading In No Time.  I constructed it in a slightly different manner from Linda, but I still want to give her credit.  You've probably seen bracelets similar to this before, featured in different magazines and books, and Linda's version is more elaborate than this, with a prettier clasp and some additional dangles.  Mine is very basic.

1. Crimp 4 strands of beading wires in pairs around a lobster claw clasp.  Use a large crystal and a size 6/0 seed bead to cover all the wires.

2. Randomly add crystals to the strands, bringing two wires together with a size 8/0 seed bead at frequent intervals.  Use the seed beads to group different wires each time to get the woven look.

3. Crimp the other end of the wires in pairs around a soldered loop.


Beading in No Time: 50 Step-by-step Designs for Beautiful Bead Jewelry

As regards FTC disclosure guidelines: I have received crystal beads free of charge from Auntie's Beads in order to write a review and/or create a project free of charge for you.  I have not been paid for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received.
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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Metal clay artist: Michelle Loon

Big Wheel Bike

Artist: Michelle Loon
Blog: Soaring off the Sketchbook

I envision "art" as a single physical presence. One that has its own gravitational orbit I can't escape from. It is always there, waiting to draw me back in. Reading, talking to people, and seeing things that make me wonder, "how did they do that?” sparks my imagination. Sometimes an idea is so powerful it seems it could be physically touched. Sketching helps in tackling such ideas until I am able to bring it into being, releasing my mind for a new obsession.


I love that metal clay is a blend of sculpting, traditional metal techniques and something close to magic when it is fired from a clay state to solid metal.  The new discoveries and experiments combining different types of metal are fascinating. With metal clay, there is always something new to explore and learn.


Creating fantastical wearable sculptures fulfills my desire to escape into a land of play. Current themes involve critters, moving parts, and mixed media with wine cork. I look forward to learning more traditional metal techniques, teaching and hopefully bringing as many friends along on this art ride as I can – the more the merrier!

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Metal clay artist: Shahasp Valentine

I received some images from one of the true masters of Precious Metal Clay.  Shahasp Valentine has been creating jewelry since before her first formal jewelry class at the age of thirteen, professionally since 1993 and working with Precious Metal Clay since 1999. Her work with PMC has been recognized in books and magazines, on television and has been featured in numerous gallery shows.

Shahasp’s Modern Artifacts Collection is a historically inspired collection. The designs are based on great jewels of the past, places visited, architectural details, stained glass windows of great cathedrals and elements taken from virtually every period of history. This collection is intended to appear ancient as if the jewelry has been excavated from an archaeological dig, found in a sunken treasure chest or handed down for generations. Each piece is of fine silver and/or 24-karat gold Precious Metal Clay and signed and numbered by the artist, no two are alike.

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Bead Journal Project: bracelet for August

I found myself continuing with the water theme that took over my mind in July.  My August  Bead Journal Project piece has deep pools and still waters, unlike the rushing torrent from July.   Are those splashes from raindrops or stones in the pond?  I'm not sure.


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

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Art Bead Scene
It's the Art Bead Scene Monthly Carnival Blog! Join us as we embark on an exploration.

Carmi's Art/Life World
This week Carmi makes a floral tribute necklace with fabric flowers.  

Cindy Gimbrone, The Lampwork Diva
This week Cindy's Mad for Monday is about the frit.  

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie shows the results of her experiments with Ice Resin and LEDs... Light! Science!  

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews Making Mixed Media Art Charms and Jewelry: not to be missed!  

Strands of Beads
Melissa unveils her new Saturn charm.  

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
For this week's Thursday Giveaway, TWO winners will walk away with beautiful bead sets created by Gaea Ceramic Beads.

A Bead A Day
Do you have plenty of beads in all the right colors? Lisa is exploring the meaning of the color purple and discovers she might need to do some bead shopping! 

About.com Jewelry Making
Have you ever thought about expanding your jewelry business but need a little mulla to do so? Then you may want to learn more about this jewelry grant.


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Friday, August 20, 2010

"Dimensional Beading" is available for download!

The third chapter of Every Bead Has a Story - mixed media bead embroidery has launched! 

Chapter Three, Dimensional Beading, is 93 pages long and covers more stitches and techniques to take your bead embroidery from flat to fluffy: stacked stitches that turn into clusters, barnacles, and ruffles; seed beads that become small flowers and spiral elements; bezels and bails and more!  There are two step-by-step embroidery projects included that will put those techniques to excellent use.

Chapter Three: Dimensional Beading
Price $3

Here are some examples of the step-by-step techniques and projects that are included:

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