Thursday, March 31, 2011

Seed bead artists: Dunitz & Company

Company: Nancy Dunitz
Website: Dunitz & Company

I design a wonderful seed bead jewelry line which is made for me in Guatemala. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years. The designs are beaded by a talented group of Mayan women in the highlands of Guatemala. My business, Dunitz & Company is also a proud member of the Fair Trade Federation. Each season we introduce a new collection of designs in twelve different color combinations. We wholesale to stores and exhibit our line at several major trade shows around the country. These pictures are from our current season's collection including a new line of beaded yarmulkes.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Recent publications: March 2011

Creative Lampwork: Techniques and Projects for the Art of Melting Glass 

The Weekend Crafter: Beading: 20 Great Weekend Projects by Rankin Street Press

Stitch Workshop: Peyote Stitch: Basic Techniques, Advanced Results by Editors of Bead&Button magazine

Polymer Clay Beads: Techniques, Projects, Inspiration by Grant Diffendaffer

Endless Sparkle: 10 Crystal Components - Unlimited Jewelry Designs by Aimee Carpenter

Easy & Elegant Beaded Copper Jewelry: How to Create Beautiful Fashion Accessories from a Few Basic Steps by Lora S. Irish

Creative Lampwork: Techniques and Projects for the Art of Melting Glass by Joan Gordon

Wire Jewellery (Jewellery Handbooks) by Hans Stofer

Resin Jewellery (Jewellery Handbooks) by Kathie Murphy

Kumihimo Wire Jewelry: Essential Techniques and 20 Jewelry Projects for the Japanese Art of Braiding by Giovanna Imperia

Jewellery from Recycled Materials (Jewellery Handbooks) by Jaimie MacDonald

Enamelling (Jewellery Handbooks) by Ruth Ball

75 Chinese, Celtic, and Ornamental Knots: A Directory of Knots and Knotting Techniques Plus Exquisite Jewelry Projects to Make and Wear by Laura Williams and Elise Mann

Jewelry from Found Objects by Heather Skowood

Wired Jewelry: Knitting, Crocheting and Twisting in Wire by Kath Orsman

Wire Style 2: 45 New Jewelry Designs by Denise Peck

Steel Wire Jewelry: Stylish Designs * Simple Techniques * Artful Inspiration by Brenda Schweder

1000 Jewelry Inspirations (mini): Beads, Baubles, Dangles, and Chains (1000 Series) by Sandra Salamony

Jewellery from Natural Materials (Jewellery Handbooks) by Beth Legg

Simply Necklaces: 20 Beading Projects (Simply Pamphlet) by Lark Books

Simply Earrings: 20 Beading Projects (Simply Pamphlet) by Lark Books

Simply Charms: 20 Beading Projects (Simply Pamphlet) by Lark Books

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Turquoise tube bead necklace

Wow!  This necklace uses materials that I've acquired in so many different ways that it's a total supply-collaboration!

First off, several weeks ago I made a series of little tube beads and capped them with some of the beautiful 6mm turquoise rondelles that I received from Auntie's Beads.  These start with a simple two-bead ladder stitch and then are formed with brick stitch around a crochet hook.  Using copper wire, I filled each bead with large seed beads to stabilize it and created a wrapped loop at each end around the rondelles.  You can get specific step-by-step instructions for making these beads in Nancy Zeller's book, Bead Tube Jewelry.    

Once these beads were all stitched and finished, the rest of the construction began in earnest.

Materials and Tools

Stitched tube beads or other long beads of your choice
Copper wire
Small turquoise chips (from Auntie's Beads)
Small copper spacers
Copper chain (from Michael's)
Head pins
Wavy copper spacers (from my Bead Soup partner, Chris Murphy)
Faceted fire agate (from Chris Murphy)
Small turquoise rondelles (from Auntie's Beads)
Jump rings
Hammered copper oval links
Copper toggle clasp (from Chris Murphy)

Round nose pliers
Chain nose pliers
Wire cutters
Tape measure

1. Create links with the copper wire, turquoise chips, and small copper spacers.  Make wrapped loops and alternate these links with the tube beads.

2. Measure a length of chain to match (more or less) the length of the links.

3. Use jump rings to attach the chain to the links and the links to a large hammered oval link.  I ended up needing to add an additional large link on each end to achieve the length that I wanted.   

4. Use head pins and create dangles with turquoise chips, wavy copper spacers, faceted fire agate, small turquoise rondelles, and small copper spacers.  Create simple loops on each. 

5. Space the dangles out and attach them to the copper chain.

6. Attach the toggle clasp with jump rings.

As regards FTC disclosure guidelines: I have received turquoise 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 2011 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, March 28, 2011

Bead Journal Project: March

Here's my next installment in the Bead Journal Project for this year.  We went to Guatemala to visit our son's family in the orphanage they help to run.  Bright colors abound in the clothing and other textiles in Lake Atitlan region, and so I drew from the inspiration of that trip to make this button.

Link to tutorial
January Button
February Button

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Seed bead artist: Karen Whiteduck

Artist: Karen Whiteduck
Website: Ducklet's Hut

I'm Karen Whiteduck, an Algonquin artisan, from Kitigan-Zibi, Maniwaki, Quebec. I have been making native crafts since 2003. I have a website Ducklet's Hut Native Crafts that showcases my work in the photo gallery. I sell my crafts on Ebay, and at local gift shops. When I first started I made only leather dreamcatchers, and gradually learned how to make beaded ones. There's alot to learn when it comes to making crafts, I'm always learning new skills to enhance my craftwork.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Jewelry jobs

My friend Tammy Powley has written an article on jewelry jobs for's Job Searching site. She covers quite a few different career paths that you can consider besides the obvious "jewelry designer"... not that there's anything wrong with that!

One of the career paths she discusses is becoming a jewelry rep.  That's an interesting topic all on it's own, because I always hear people asking about how to find a good rep.  Here's another article you should probably take a look at, whether you want to hire a rep or become one: Hiring a jewelry sales rep.   And think about this: if everyone is looking for a good rep, maybe that's a niche you could fill.

And what about teaching?  There are so many opportunities to teach, from your local bead store to club meetings to national gatherings.  Make sure you read through this article on Experience vs pay scale before you sign any contracts!

Image: Tammy Powley
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Book review: Mixed Metal Mania

Kim St Jean wants to make sure that you master the basics of metal work.  To that end, she does a masterful job in the new Kalmbach Press book, Mixed Metal Mania, showing you in great detail just how to accomplish dozens of basic metal techniques.  From various cold connections to using flames, foldforming, finishing and everything in between, Kim's book is a resource that anyone working in metal will want to have.

Even if you are a complete beginner, Kim makes metal work seem really doable.  She has structured the projects in the book to build one after another upon the basics that she teaches.  As a popular workshop teacher, Kim knows how to explain and organize.  Does metal work seem overwhelming to you?  It won't seem quite so daunting once you've taken a stroll through Mixed Metal Mania!

What about if you are an experienced metal worker?  Kim's personal tips, sprinkled liberally throughout the book, are probably worth the price right there.  But add to that some advanced projects that are unique and intriguing...well, you get the idea.  I think you'll want this book too.

I have to admit that as a tool junkie, I enjoyed the stroll through Kim's studio most of all.  And I thought that I had a lot of tools!

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Book review: Bead Tube Jewelry

I received a copy of the new Kalmbach Press title, Bead Tube Jewelry by Nancy Zellers, and after leafing through it for an evening, I knew that I had to stitch something up to show you just how wonderfully simple her concept is.  Nancy shows you how to use either brick or peyote stitch to make these luscious little tube beads that you can then combine in all different ways to make fun and fabulous jewelry.

Not content with the obvious and the easy, Nancy teaches odd-count peyote as well as even-count so that you won't be limited in your designs.  And she shows you SEVEN different ways to make the turns in odd-count, rather than assuming that you'll automatically like the style that is her favorite!  My goodness...this information, plus the tips on reading charts are worth the price alone.

You might suspect that a book full of projects that uses one repetitive form over and over would be a bit boring, but I think you'd be wrong!  Nancy helps you to fully master the few stitches and all the many nuances, and she shows you just how many looks you can achieve after making a pile of these tiny treasures.  I enjoyed several evenings of stitching as I got caught up on some taped TV shows.  Once you get the rhythm, they are easy and even soothing to make!  

I used a crochet hook to work my brick stitched beads around

Here's my pile of beads plus a piece of the plastic straw I stuck inside each

Seed beads keep the head pins from rocking around

I attached each of my beads to a gold-filled bangle with loops


Bead Tube Jewelry: Peyote and brick stitch designs for 30+ necklaces, bracelets, and earrings

Copyright 2011 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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