Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fiber artist: Leonor Pisano

Leonor Pisano makes lovely soft beads that are then combined with hard edged settings and wire for a truly unique look.  Leonor writes:

Life is always evolving- To often we restrict ourselves to traditional use of materials. What I tried to do is to take soft wool, felt it, embellish it and unite it with an unlikely partner, metal to create a unique piece of Art you can wear. I like the 3 dimensional quality that roving wool allows me to incorporate into my work, the texture contrast between the two materials adds appeal to the pieces as well.

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Maasai fiber artists: The Leakey collection

You might remember the Zulugrass jewelry that I was fortunate enough to be able to offer in a giveaway back in March.  Well, the Leakey Collection has another fabulous jewelry style that they thought you might be interested in learning about: a fiber necklace called The Coir.  

The Coir (compressed coconut fiber) chain necklace is approximately 36" in length. This lovely piece alternates with cross sections of Coir wood and coconut chain. The intricate chain is woven ONE LINK at a time by hand using coconut fiber. This unique chain, a fading art, is all natural. (Images attached) The Leakey Collection founded in 2002 by Katy and Philip Leakey. Their work includes the design and manufacture of contemporary jewelry that is hand made by the Maasai women and men of Kenya from environmentally sustainable materials.

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Worldwide fiber artists: One World Projects

One World Projects (OWP) is an established fair trade importer and distributor that has been operating since 1992. We import handmade crafts, household goods, jewelry and other items from over 100 artisan groups in more than 25 countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Our mission is to provide viable economic alternatives for artisans and their families, while serving the most disadvantaged and expanding the reach of ethical and fair trade.

These beautiful bracelets are crafted by some of the remaining Zenu Indians of Colombia. They braid strips of caa flecha, a durable palm, that has been used by their ancestors for centuries.

Our recycled plastic bracelets are crafted in Burkina Faso from old plastic mats that are used for rugs and prayer mats throughout Western Africa. They are routinely discarded on the edges of villages. A group of 4-10 women collect them to make these colorful adornments.

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Recent publications: September 2010

Tapestry Bead Crochet: Projects & Techniques 

Making Beautiful Bead and Wire Jewelry by Linda Jones

The Absolute Beginners Guide: Stitching Beaded Jewelry: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started by Lesley Weiss

Tapestry Bead Crochet: Projects & Techniques by Ann Benson

Making Metal Beads: Techniques, Projects, Inspiration (Lark Jewelry) by Pauline Warg

The Complete Book of Glass Beadmaking (Lark Jewelry) by Kimberley Adams

Jewelry Design Challenge: 10 Materials * 30 Artists * 30 Spectacular Projects by Linda Kopp

The Art & Craft of Making Jewelry: A Complete Guide to Essential Techniques (Lark Jewelry) by Joanna Gollberg

Wired Beautiful: 30+ projects to hammer, coil, spiral and twist by Heidi Boyd

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Making a "sea glass" necklace

Using the sea glass beads that I received from Auntie's Beads, I made this cute lightweight necklace.  It jingles slightly because of the Indian bells, and there is just a lot of movement in general since the crocheted wire is so flexible.  

Materials and Tools

Sea Glass Round Bead Strand, Clear, 6mm
Sea Glass Round Bead Strand, Red Marble, 8mm
Sea Glass Free Form Nugget Bead Strand, Strawberry, 16 x 24mm
Sea Glass Round Bead Strand, Black/Clear Marble, 6mm
Red craft wire, 28 gauge
SoftFlex, 0.014" diameter
Silver craft wire, 22 gauge
Silver colored curb-style chain
Silver crimp tubes
4 jump rings
Lobster claw clasp
2 large pewter beads
Indian dancing bells, silver colored
5 - 6mm pearls, garnet colored
Size 8/0 seed beads, garnet

Crochet hook, size H
Chain nose pliers
Round nose pliers
Wire cutter
Small file

1. Follow the basic instructions for Blue Bells and crochet the clear, black marbled, and red marbled rounds onto red craft wire, interspersed with clusters of three Indian dancing bells. Leave 4 to 5 inch wire tails at the ends of each strand.

2. String one strand of the heavier beads, including the nuggets, some of the red marbled rounds, pearls, and seed beads onto SoftFlex.

3. Create a wrapped loop with a 4 to 5 inch piece of silver colored wire, and crimp the SoftFlex strand around it. Repeat for the other end. Wrap the wires from the crocheted strands around the loop and wrap down the strand to tighten. Clip ends close.

4. Add some seed beads, Indian bells, and a large bead to each wire, creating a wrapped loop at the other end.

5. Use jump rings to attach chain to each wrapped loop. Add another jump ring to the end of one piece of chain and attach the lobster claw clasp to the other piece with a jump ring.

As regards FTC disclosure guidelines: I have received the sea glass beads free of charge from Auntie's Beads in order to 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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Monday, September 27, 2010

Bead Journal Project: bracelet for September

Every September, our apple trees are ready to harvest!  We only have three trees, a Johnathan, a Gala, and a Golden Delicious.  This year, the spring and summer weather caused the trees to be ready to pick about three weeks ahead of the regular schedule, so instead of being in the middle of apple season this past weekend, we are already finished :-(

My Bead Journal Project piece celebrates our apples.  Apple sauce, apple butter, apple dumplings, cake, pies, and tarts.  Yum.  Recipes at the link!


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

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

"Sea glass" beads from Auntie's Beads

I received this very cool selection of "sea glass" beads from Auntie's Beads recently.   These rounds and nuggets mimic the look of authentic sea glass pretty well.  The major difference is that the sizes of the rounds are uniform, something you could never get from a walk on the beach.  The surfaces have frosted finish from an acid bath or rock tumbler, giving these beads the look that makes sea glass so coveted. 

Just wait till you see what we're going to do with them...on Tuesday!

Sea Glass Round Bead Strand, Clear, 6mm
Sea Glass Round Bead Strand, Red Marble, 8mm
Sea Glass Free Form Nugget Bead Strand, Strawberry, 16 x 24mm
Sea Glass Round Bead Strand, Black/Clear Marble, 6mm 
Sea Glass Round Bead Strand, White, 8mm
Sea Glass Round Bead Strand, White, 6mm

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

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
To celebrate his birthday, Andrew hosts a week of giveaways! Five days! Five giveaways!

A Bead A Day
What does your Monday jewelry look like? Do you find you grab more sparkle for an added boost? Jewelry Making
Are you trying to pinch those pennies when it comes to making jewelry? Here are some ideas to help you out.  

Art Bead Scene
This week we have a Monthly Challenge treasury to share and inspire you.  

Carmi's Art/Life World
Another felted and beaded pendant is turned into a necklace by Carmi.  

Cindy Gimbrone, The Lampwork Diva
This week's Wednesday Wire is all about the rings.  

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie faces her fears of home improvement by relating it to her beloved jewelry crafts.

Katie's Beading Blog
Katie's dreaming up jewelry projects inspired by the season. Leave a comment for a chance to win a Beads, Baubles & Jewels DVD!  

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews the amazing tutorial, Color Drenched Metal, by Shannon LeVart, which is available at Shannon's Etsy Shop: missficklemedia. This is a FANTASTIC opportunity for eager designers to learn how to patinate a variety of metals in gorgeous, vivid colors!  

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fiber artist: Jorie Johnson

Jorie Johnson of Joi Rae Textiles makes hand-crafted felt accessories for the body which shows the unique use of the wool fiber and its' sculptural capabilities. Jorie studied Textile Design at Rhode Island School of Design, RI, USA, and then entered design school in Finland where she first was shown how to make a pair of traditional Scandinavian felt boots. Now, living in Kyoto, Japan her studio produces wearable wool objects and clothing, as well as interesting items for interiors, exclusively from a wool base (either natural color, naturally dyed or acid dye.)

Feltmaking is a historical nomadic textile technique which has come full circle and has added new elements to contemporary textile art and design in the 21st century.

1. Three-In-One Choker and two bracelets which allows you several color and shape combinations OR wear them all together for a longer neck piece.

2. Rainbow-dyed wool felted into a bracelet and closed with silver clay beads.

3. Tie-dyed wool bracelet which surprisingly changes into a brightly colored and uniquely shaped wrist piece.

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Fiber and bead artists: Love Heals

Love Heals is an ethically-sourced, luxury jewelry collection that embodies a commitment to spirit, nature, and service. For every piece of jewelry sold, 10 trees are planted with - to date, over 404,000 trees have been planted with Love Heals.

Love Heals is a mother, son, and daughter team that create their handcrafted jewelry alongside a team of loving hands in Ojai, California, where they strive to live a lifestyle that is environmentally friendly. Love Heals jewelry is sold in hundreds of high-end luxury retail locations. Founders Adriana and Gunnar have been designing jewelry for over twelve years together, and draw from travels around the world to inspire and be inspired. Love Heals is handcrafted by American workers and uses ethically sourced materials from around the globe. Love Heals sources the highest quality materials by carefully reviewing the labor, manufacturing and environmental practices of its suppliers and vendors. This includes buying gems and pearls from companies with fair labor practices, using sustainable leather with non-toxic dyes, using recycled metals in many designs, working with metal plating that uses eco-friendly practices, and avoiding widespread use of controversial materials such as coral or ivory. Love Heals reviews their suppliers on a regular basis to make sure they continue to maintain and improve their practices. This is a constantly evolving goal that has allowed them to donate to dozens of nonprofits and expand their commitment to sharing beauty with the world while continuing to give back.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fiber artist: Marilyn Goodman

Do you find it hard to let go of small scraps of fabric and lace?  Marilyn Goodman of Such and Sort Altered has a confession to make:

I've been making fabric cuffs, with mostly vintage items, embellished with beads, charms, bakelite buttons, etc. The fabric is all vintage- brocades, pillow ticking stripe, vintage upholstery fabric, doilies, etc. I'm a collector (hoarder!) of vintage goodies and can't seem to rid my self of little vintage goodies and fabrics, so I've been turning them into fabric cuffs and having fun going through all my little boxes of goodies and embellishing.

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Random business thoughts

Here are a few random thoughts about jewelry and bead businesses that I've been collecting for awhile. They don't seem to fit anywhere else, so it made (some sort of sense) to just lump them all together!

We've been talking about business names this month and one thing is clear: Think long and hard before you commit to a name, a logo, or any kind of branding materials for your business.  Here's why :-) I know that someone has recently corrected this over-simplified chart, and you can visit the new link if you'd like, but the point is still worth considering. Consistency is important.

Aileen Wong has written a very thoughtful article on how to give the type of customer service that you'd like to receive. It was posted on Rena Klingenberg's Home Jewelry Business Success Tips, and is worth committing to memory! Another take on customer service, especially as it relates to the handmade business, was written by Stephanie Fizer. Definitely check it out too: How to be a customer service superstar.

There are a couple of recent books covering starting a jewelry business and different sales strategies that have gotten good reviews and seem like they're worth a look:

How to start a home-based jewelry making business by Maire Loughran

Sell your jewelry by Stacie Vander Pol

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fiber and bead tutorials from the archives

I was actually a little surprised when I looked back through our past tutorials and gathered up all the ones that directly related to fabric and fibers mixed with beads!  This list doesn't even include all the tutorials that cover bead embroidery on different fabric surfaces. 

Crocheted fiber-wrap necklace

V-pendant necklace

Finger-woven resin necklace

Knotted turquoise necklace

Ribbon cuff bracelet

Wire and ribbon necklace

Wild caterpillar bracelet

Sublime Spring bracelet

Fabric flower necklace

Fabric flower necklace with zing

Wool roving necklace

Turquoise finger-woven necklace

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Turquoise finger-woven necklace

Finger-weaving uses a couple of common macrame stitches.  For this piece, I used half-hitches and square knots.  Since a half-hitch is one half of a square knot, this is really an easy technique to master!  I've covered some tips in the past for finger-weaving, which you might want to look at to brush up. 

1. Choose a selection of beads and divide them into two similar piles, one for each finger-woven strand.

2. Cut 3 to 4 pieces of cord (I use C-Lon) approximately 50 inches long.  Cut another cord approximately 150 inches long.  Fold all the cords in half and form a lark's head knot over one of the toggles or loops.  Make a few full square knots with the long cords around all the shorter cords to anchor the knot, and then begin weaving in some of your smaller beads.  Use only the shorter cords to add beads.  Switch to half hitches when you begin weaving in beads so that the necklace will twist.

3. Begin adding larger beads.  I made 2 half hitches between each smaller bead, and 3 between each larger bead.  You can experiment with this to see how full you want your necklace.

4. Weave a second strand similar to the first.  At the bottom, bring all the cords together and tie a few full square knots around the shorter cords with the 4 longer ones.  Put a dab of glue on the knots to keep them tight.  I use Hypo-Tube cement for this: it's clear and dries quickly.

5. Add beads to each of the cords and knot to keep them in place.  Put a dab of glue on each knot.

6. I used a toggle at the top of each strand of beads.  I used a chain bracelet with a lobster claw clasp for the closure.     

Beaded Treasures: Finger Woven Bracelets, Necklaces, Tassels & Straps by Robin Atkins

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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Friday, September 17, 2010

Book review: Tapestry Bead Crochet

Tapestry Bead Crochet: Projects & Techniques

I've never found bead crochet to be particularly intimidating, but that's probably since learning to crochet was one of the first fiber arts I tackled as a child.  However, when I saw the cover of Ann Benson's new book, Tapestry Bead Crochet, I thought to myself, "Yeah I could ever do that!"

Well, now that I've read through it, I think I probably could!  Ann makes it look easy, and if clear photos and illustrations aren't enough, she includes a bonus dvd to walk you through the techniques.  No matter how complicated the bead pattern looks, Tapestry Bead Crochet only uses three crochet stitches: chain, slip, and single crochet.  Come on!  We can all do that :-)

This book is another beautiful Lark publication, so you know that the quality will be high.  If you've been thinking about learning a new technique, this might be just the book for you!

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Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean explores creative jewelry design using inspiration employing wordplay--what do you think?

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew gets interviewed by Ray Hemachandra for a Blogger Profile on Lark Crafts: Jewelry & Beading. Jewelry Making
Check out this new rivet gadget for making cold connections with your jewelry. 

Art Bead Scene
Looking for inspiration for the ABS monthly challenge? Come check out the list of Art Deco sources at ABS.

Barbe Saint John
Barbe reviews some Rings and Things Halloween Beads and is giving some away too!  

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi uses her Parisian ribbon collection to make some fabulous beads.  

Cindy Gimbrone aka The Lampwork Diva
Cindy brought back some beach treasures Lake Huron. She's created a keepsake with them you'll want to see.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie reflects on the politics of the playground for a series of hopscotch themed pendants   

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Fiber artist: Laura West Kong

Laura loves fabric and she loves making jewelry too!  Be warned, once you get a look at how cute and easy these covered buttons are to make, you'll be hooked.  Visit Laura at her website (link above) or her blog to see what's going on that's new.  Laura writes:

As a quilt designer, I work with a lot of fabric ... and sometimes beads too! On the surface, large bolts of fabric and tiny seed beads may not appear to have much in common, but two important qualities they share are gorgeous colors and inviting textures. Put some pretty fabric scraps and your jewelry-making supplies together with cover buttons and you have everything you need for fabulous wearable art, no tailoring skills required. Find more fabric cover-button fun in my book, Fast, Fun and Easy Fabric Cover-Button Jewelry: Create Gifts and Glamour in an Afternoon, by C&T Publishing.

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