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Showing posts from February, 2011

Bead Journal Project: February

I'm making a series of covered buttons with watch faces for the Bead Journal Project this year.  I still haven't decided whether they are going to be kept as buttons, used as individual cabochons in a larger piece, or stitched together in some way.  No matter for now...I'm having fun.  We've had a lot of crazy weather in New England this winter.  A little over a week ago, the temperature went up to 60-some degrees and I sat out on our porch, surrounding by shrinking snowdrifts and melting icicles.  A day later, it snowed again.  I know the grass is under there somewhere, so I stitched it, topped by fluffy snow! January Button Link to tutorial Technorati Tags: handmade beaded jewelry , wearable art , beads , jewelry , necklace , mixed media , beading Technorati Tags: handmade beaded jewelry , wearable art , beads , jewelry , necklace , mixed media , beading

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

  Beads & Books Do you use buttons in your jewelry? Michelle is hosting a Button Swap. Sign up to get a partner, trade buttons, and create something! Cindy Gimbrone, the Lampwork Diva Do you use any sewing techniques in your jewelry? Come see what Cindy's sewn up!   Earthenwood Studio Chronicles A fun find at an antique store uncovers new inspiration with some women's medicinal history and a crazy folk song   Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio After a very busy couple of weeks, Lorelei finally has time to share some pictures from a recent trip to Spain!   Snap out of it, Jean, There's beading to be done! Come and see what the amazing Kim Miles has been up to as Winter turns to Spring--You will love it!   The Bead Dreamer Inspired by the poet Rumi and a gorgeous pendant from Green Girl Studios, Charlene creates a necklace using beads, fiber, a button - and of course - the pendant.   The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton

Society of North American Goldsmiths

The Society of North American Goldsmiths , or SNAG as it’s known, consists of metalsmiths who work in both wearables and non-wearable art forms.  There are many jewelers and designers who are members of SNAG, and they embrace artists who work in metals other than gold too.  This is a professional organization well worth your while to check out if you are serious about working in metals. Whether or not you decide to become a member and receive the journal Metalsmith , there are resources on the website that are available for all.   The Professional Guidelines page has an amazing amount of information to download on topics from taking better pictures of your work to inventory and legal advice.  There are sample contracts that you can use, and information on fundrasing auctions and open studios.   Want to get into a juried show?  Read the Top Ten Tips first! Technorati Tags: handmade beaded jewelry , wearable art , beads , jewelry , necklace , mixed media , beading

Recent publications: February 2011

  Bead Tube Jewelry: Peyote and brick stitch designs for 30+ necklaces, bracelets, and earrings by Nancy Zellers Mixed Metal Mania: Solder, rivet, hammer, and wire exceptional jewelry by Kim St. Jean Technorati Tags: handmade beaded jewelry , wearable art , beads , jewelry , necklace , mixed media , beading

What would you do? The source of our materials

Try googling "child labor", "slave labor", or "sweatshops" together with the term "jewelry". You might be shocked by what you find, or maybe not so shocked. I think that many of us know instinctively that where there are large profits to be made, there are also likely to be people who will unscrupulously take advantage of others. This is the topic that I want to think about for this installment of our series What would you do? Edahn Golan , writing for the International Diamond Exchange has written an article that discusses child labor and slave labor practices in several countries. Some of these countries - not all - have laws prohibiting this behavior, but they are not enforced, or at least they are enforced selectively. You can find dozens of articles like this without even trying very hard. I'm not trying to make us feel bad, but I do want to make us think. Do you know the practices and standards held by the companies that y

Beautiful turquoise from Auntie's Beads

Ok, just because turquoise was "last year's" color doesn't mean that it is passé!  Look at this beautiful turquoise that I received from Auntie's Beads last week.  You can find these pieces and more at their gemstone page .  In the picture above, you'll see from top to bottom: Small turquoise chips Medium turquoise nuggets 6mm turquoise rondelles Squared cross pendant The rondelles are my favorites, and I immediately had to start putting them to use as cap beads on these brick stitched tube beads: I've got an idea in mind for how these are going to be used, along with some of the other materials shown above, but it may take a little while for me to get it all together.  I'll be sure to show you the results as soon as the piece is ready.  I'll probably do a giveaway with some of the left over beads too, so stay tuned! As regards FTC disclosure guidelines: I have received turquoise beads free of charge from Auntie's Beads in order t

So now that you know about honeysuckle...

Next you'll want to see a copy of wonderful Margie Deeb's Spring/Summer 2011 Spring Color Report for Bead & Jewelry Designers .  Margie publishes these reports twice a year, with Pantone's approval, so you know you're getting the most accurate and comprehensive color report available.  The information and color palettes presented are for bead artists, polymer clay artists, fashion, interiors, graphic design...everyone who uses color! I have had a chance to preview this year's first report, and I can tell you that Margie has done a spectacular job of creating palettes for you which show fresh new combinations and the proportions of each color that you should aim for.  As always, she features lovely beaded pieces by herself and other artists which illustrate so clearly how these colors can work together.  I particularly love how Peapod, Blue Curacao, and Honeysuckle have been used together in the cover piece (shown above) that was created by Jamie Cloud Eakin.

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

  Beads & Books Michelle shares a behind-the-scenes look at her work doing technical edits on a jewelry magazine. Carmi's Art/Life World A new bronze pendant from inspired this new necklace from Carmi.   Cindy Gimbrone, The Lampwork Diva Cindy shares her "DO" for the week. Come take a look!   Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Melanie explores the old craft of paper quilling in an experiment combining the technique with resin for jewelry . Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done! Jean reviews a comforting and beautiful book for beaders which she herself has often turned to as a "bridge over troubled waters": Beading for the Soul, by Deborah Cannarella The Bead Dreamer Book Review: Steel Wire Jewelry. Love alternative materials and modern, whimsical jewelry design? This book is a must have. Project one is an earring wardrobe! Read the review in full.   The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton

Book review: The Beaded Edge

  I had no idea exactly what I was opening when I first received a copy of  The Beaded Edge . May I just say, I need to go buy some more sweaters and scarves so that I can add beaded edgings and trims to them!  Midori Nishida and some other talented contributors show you how to make 18 different crocheted or bead woven trims that you can combine and alter in many ways, just in case 18 isn't enough.  Using a small crochet hook or a beading needle , you'll learn how to use a simple thread and lovely beads to make exceptionally lovely embellishments for both your wearables and non-wearables.    After you drool over the trim designs themselves in The Beaded Edge , there are many suggestions for how to use them and what to use them on.  Midori's book also covers how to attach your trims and obtain a clean finish, important in maintaining an elegant classic look. A pretty book with a different twist, published by Interweave Books , so you know it's gonna be good! Te

Improving your jewelry designs for 2011

Spending some time improving your jewelry designs is a great way to work through the dreaded February slump!  Just when inspiration seems to be at its lowest, take heart that spring is just around the corner.  At least it is when you think about coming up with a new collection for your customers! Our own archives have many posts on jewelry design . Check out the book review on a one of the fabulous Dummies Guides, Jewelry & Beading Designs . Michelle Mach of Beading Daily wonders Why Simple Designs Aren't Always Simple to Make . Trendsetter shares some insights into Fashion Trends for the spring and summer of 2011 . Artbeads has posted a prediction for 2011 Jewelry Trends . And Pantone has their color fashion report ready for the spring too! Technorati Tags: handmade beaded jewelry , wearable art , beads , jewelry , necklace , mixed media , beading

What would you do? Using inexpensive materials

Next up in our What Would You Do? series. There's a temptation when we first start a new art or craft form to buy the most inexpensive materials possible so that we can practice without breaking the bank. In theory, I think this is an excellent idea. For example, if I wanted to practice doing a really tricky wire wrap technique, I might want to think about using inexpensive craft wire before shelling out for sterling silver. But there is a real world problem with this: sterling silver doesn't feel and work quite the same as inexpensive craft wire. There comes a point when you actually have to use the real thing...take a deep breath and start bending. My friend Cindy Lietz pointed this out in relation to polymer clay. Sometimes the inexpensive alternative can have quality issues that make it unsuitable even for practice. And as far as using inexpensive materials in our finished work...well, let me just say that I put way too much time into my pieces to trust them

Star Light Star Bright

My first thought was of flowers, but as this piece came together, the dazzling sparkle from the Swarovski crystals reminded me more and more of stars, especially the brilliance that we see in the winter skies during the long New England nights! My thanks go out to for supplying the glorious crystals that made this piece possible.  I bezelled the 18 mm Rivoli with seed beads, and used three different sizes of Margaritas (6, 8, and 10 mm) on 32 gauge gold-colored wire to crochet the centerpiece.  Although I was originally thinking about making a pendant from it,  it ended up becoming a hair fascinator instead.  Have you heard of these?  "Fascinator" is just a newer term for a hair thingie...attached usually by a comb like I used, but sometimes with a barrette or head band instead.  Instead of just wiring the piece together, I decided to place it on a fabric foundation and to back it with another piece of fabric (which has the comb sewed to it) so that t

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

  Art Bead Scene Art Bead Scene unveils the February monthly challenge. Beads & Books Michelle shares the bracelet she made for 7000 Bracelets for Hope. There's still time to make and donate a denim blue bracelet for this great cause. Carmi's Art/Life World This week Carmi has a hand felted heart brooch to celebrate Canadian Valentines!   Cindy Gimbrone, The Lampwork Diva Finding the perfect findings can be difficult. Here are some suggestions.   Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Melanie uses metallic resin clay to solve a design problem of altering antique buttons to make them into charms and links.   Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done! Jean got some super wonderful beads from Amy Freeland , her Bead Blog Soup Party partner, and shares some photos of them and some thoughts with her readers here!   The Bead Dreamer Bead Soup starts to simmer in Charlene's studio Jewelry Making Tammy has

Book review: Lacy Wire Jewelry

  Fans of Bead & Button magazine are sure to be familiar with Melody MacDuffee, both her exquisite beadwork and her larger than average heart.  I am extremely pleased to tell you, that Melody has a new book out, and if you've been looking for something new and really different, this just might be it!  In a world where wire jewelry books start to blend together, Lacy Wire Jewelry stands apart.  Would you like to learn new attractive ways to wire wrap and bezel your focal pieces?  Have you ever admired older pieces of filigree jewelry?  Would you like to bend wire fearlessly?  Melody's book will have you humming right along in no time.  The techniques are straightforward, but they will take practice.  So if you decide to order this book, also order up some inexpensive 20 gauge and 28 gauge craft wire to practice with!  Believe me, when you see all these gorgeous projects, you'll want to dive right in and not have to wait.  Technorati Tags: handmade beaded jewelry

Make way for "Honeysuckle" this spring

Last year, Pantone's color of the year was turquoise.  This year, turquoise moves over (but doesn't completely retire) to make way for honeysuckle.  Fashion Trendsetter reports that honeysuckle lifts the spirits and emboldens us for the trials of life.  I sure hope it's true.  I really like this color, even though it's one that I would probably never wear.  Nonetheless, a lot of people will be wearing this color, in their clothing and even more so in their makeup.  We'd be foolish to ignore the trend in our jewelry-making plans if we plan to sell what we make!      Leatrice Eiseman reports: While the 2010 color of the year, PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise, served as an escape for many, Honeysuckle emboldens us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor. A dynamic reddish pink, Honeysuckle is encouraging and uplifting. It elevates our psyche beyond escape, instilling the confidence, courage and spirit to meet the exhaustive challenges that have become part of eve

What would you do? Skivving someone else's work.

A friend of yours knows that you do very fine beadwork, and she wants you to make something for her. Wonderful, you think, I'm getting a commission. But then she drops the bombshell on you: she wants you to make a piece for her that's "just like" the one she saw in a book or magazine. Oops. You're no copyright skivver, but probably no one will ever know. And some magazines say that you can make copies for yourself or a friend. And you could really use the money from the commission... What would you do? I haven't had to face this exact issue, personally. I did have a gentleman email me and ask if it would be ok for him to use one of my how-to articles (in a magazine, not online) to make a piece for a customer who wanted THAT EXACT NECKLACE, but was unable to make it for herself. I have to tell you, I really appreciated him asking me. I'd never have known that he did it if he hadn't asked, but it made me feel really good about his personal

How to make beaded buttons

I've decided to make a set of 12 beaded buttons for the Bead Journal Project this year.  Last year I did embroidered cuff bracelets, and while I enjoyed them very much, I thought I needed something a bit faster this time.  I'm thinking that I might end up stitching some of them together when they're finished and treating them like cabochons instead of buttons.  But in the meanwhile, until I know for sure, I'm constructing them as easy with the Dritz button covers that you can find everywhere! 1. I used the largest (I think) size that Dritz makes, or at least the largest that are easy to find.  Size 60 are 1-1/2 inches across, and I bought 12 of them. 2. Use the pattern that comes with the package to trace circles on muslin.  I used the actual size of the button top to trace smaller circles on lightweight fusible interfacing.  I wanted to make sure that the embroidery would stay firm, and that heavy elements wouldn't rip the fabric.

Casting Your Own Jewelry

Leon Harris from Pennsylvania Precision Cast Parts has written this article on lost wax casting for all of us.  Thank you, Leon! Casting Your Own Jewelry If you’ve been engaged in basic jewelry-making for a while, then you are no doubt familiar with such techniques as stringing beads, creating chains, and so on. Simple jewelry-making can be done by almost anyone with just a couple of tools (pliers, tin-snips) and a little creativity. If you’re a bit more hard-core, you might even be firing your own glass beads. But if you’re starting to get bored with the basics, it may be time to move on to something a bit more complex where your hobby is concerned. If you’re looking to take your craft to the next level, you might want to learn how to cast metal as a way to create professional pieces like the ones you see in stores and online. You will have to invest more time and money into the process, but it may not be nearly as difficult as you think. Here is the simple step-by-step pr

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

  The Bead Dreamer Inspired by winter’s frosty tones, Charlene selects beads in a chilly color palette. Jewelry Making Break the ice and get a warm welcome at the Jewelry Making Forum.   Art Bead Scene Going to the bead shows in Tucson this year? Here are a few tips for you take along.   Beads & Books Michelle shares some color ideas for Valentine's Day jewelry and a link to the "Bead My Valentine" contest at Happy Mango Beads.   Carmi's Art/Life World Carmis shows off some button jewelery necklaces from CHA!   Cindy Gimbrone, The Lampwork Diva The Wednesday Wire becomes the Tuesday Tangle. Cindy shows off some funky retro wire earrings.   Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Melanie experiments with enamel spray paint on filigree to create some great colorful components   Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio A recent bead shopping trip to NYC leaves Lorelei Tired but Inspired!   Snap out of it, Jean! Th

Recent contest winners

Gold Medal Winner, Keiko Wada FMG Gemstone contest Are you inspired by gorgeous pieces?  If you make beaded jewelry or objects yourself, I sure hope you are!  Here are some of the most recent contest winners that I've found for your drooling pleasure: 2010 Flex Your Creativity contest Artbeads What Inspires You contest Fire Mountain Gems: Pearls, organic beads, and polyclay Gemstones Technorati Tags: handmade beaded jewelry , wearable art , beads , jewelry , necklace , mixed media , beading