Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Making your bead stringing designs unique - part two

Copper and Bone necklace
Unusual material that you don't see in this combination everyday

To recap, here are the principles that I suggest you think about as you seek to make your stringing designs unique enough to stand out from the crowd.  Don't try to cram all of these ideas into one piece.  Yikes!

Make your own components or beads
Work with asymmetrical designs
Use multiple strands
Develop a recognizable style
Use unusual materials
Choose daring color combinations

The links will all lead you to tutorials, but please don't feel that you much duplicate these pieces exactly...that's exactly contrary to the point!

Rock Candy
I've fulfilled the principle of making my own beads in this necklace

A classic asymmetrical design

Ocean Lariat
 Multiple strands

Blow a Fuse
A bold color combination, and kind of unusual materials as well!

Part one

Copyright 2013 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 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.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Bead Journal Project: April 2013

 April Cabochon, finished

This month I worked on adapting the Russian Spiral for the Bead Journal Project!  In the April 2012 issue of Bead and Button, Wendy Lueder showed a flattened version of the stitch which she stitched into beautiful bead woven components that she stitched together into a chain.  With her idea to get me going, I worked out the bead count and figured out how to adapt it for a bead embroidery bezel.  

In progress

January plus explanation for the series

Copyright 2013 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 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, April 26, 2013

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Real Food Fast 
Here's something that goes especially well with beads...chocolate whiskey fudge! 

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done! 
Jean uses DIY videos (see a cool example of one) to help her learn jewelry techniques, but long ago the best way to learn was from an expert teacher like Eni Oken. See jean's Wabi Sabi ring inspired by Eni! 

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton 
Using glow-in-the-dark polymer clay, Andrew creates some unique floral-themed pendants! 

About.com Jewelry Making 
Innovation and beads go together, and this new book reviews gives you the 411 all about it. 

Art Bead Scene 
Rebecca shares some handmade bead artists from her native shores of Britain with Art Bead Scene readers! 

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Amazing stringing artists from our archives

I have featured many many innovative stringing artists here over the years.  Here are a couple of my very favorites, just to knock something loose in your head and get you revved up to try something new:

Phaedra Torres

Jamee Jones

Karen Leslie

Tammy Powley 

Michelle Mach

Eileen Bergen

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Book review: Vintage Revised Jewelry

What a fun book this is!  Vintage Revised Jewelry was written by Co-Co Nicole Bush, and published by Cico Books.  Co-Co isn't interested in merely recreating old styles.  Nope.  Her mission: take old things and use them in contemporary ways. 

There are 35 step-by-step projects that will teach you new techniques and inspire you to put your own spin on your pieces by re-purposing the treasures in your own life.  Especially if you are a beginner in the area of recycling and mixed media, I think you will really enjoy this book.

Vintage Revised Jewelry
By * Co-Co Nichole Bush
CICO Books, $21.95; www.cicobooks.com

Photo credit: Photography by Gavin Kingcome

So what techniques are covered?  Here are just a few.  If you are a complete beginner, all the basics are covered, like turning loops, using crimp covers and jump rings, etc.  Co-Co also shows the reader how to turn a pin back into a pendant, reassemble a vintage necklace, and use fold-over crimps with fabric strips that are woven into your treasures.  You'll also learn about attaching charms and achieving visual balance in your designs and incorporating hardware store finds and metal stamping into your pieces. 

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Monday, April 22, 2013

I've been a bit distracted...

And here's the reason why...my beautiful new grandbaby, Julianna.  More pictures on Mixed Media Artist today if you want to see them.  Now back to our regularly scheduled posts about beads :-)

Photo copyright 2013 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved.

Bead stringing with multiple strands: Scarab necklace

I was asked awhile ago to make a double-strand necklace to showcase a scarab that my customer had.  Do you see the two crystals and metal beads in the middle?  You can just see that there is a large jump ring sitting between the two metal beads.  I included a few more jump rings in the package just in case it needed to hang lower to look right.  Here are the details on the construction:

1. String two beading wires through the four central beads.  Make sure they are both several inches longer than you need for your desired length.

2. String the wires with the beading pattern of your choice.  I used a selection of seed beads in different finishes and slightly different shades and tints of turquoise.  The accent beads are ceramic disks.

3. At the ends, use crimps to attach the wires to a clasp and a length of chain.  Make sure there are one or two seed beads in between the clasp and the crimp in order to save wear and tear on the crimped wire.  Adding a chain makes it adjustable, but you can skip that and just use a soldered ring if you'd like.

4. I added a dangle to the other end of the chain, using a head pin and turning a wrapped loop

Copyright 2013 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 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 20, 2013

So proud to be from Boston

The courage of our first responders, volunteers, and fellow runners puts the spotlight clearly on the cowardice of the thugs.  So proud of all the ordinary folks who ran into the fray along with the trained first responders to provide help.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Resin Crafts! 
Sometimes a pendant looks so much better if you collaborate with another designer! 

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done! 
Jean is hosting a giveaway of the wonderful book, Suzanne Golden Presents Interviews with 36 Artists Who Innovate with Beads! For a chance to win this GREAT book, see Jean's blog! Hooray! 

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton 
Andrew participated in a cool blog hop challenge hosted by Tara Linda! The prompt was a NASA image of a nebula!

A Bead A Day 
Bead love...Lisa's got it, how about you? Stop by A Bead A Day to share your bead love story. 

About.com Jewelry Making 
Get hammered with beads, copper, and wire when you make these pretty flower earrings. 

Art Bead Scene 
Gaea shares some colourful art bead inspiration in the form of a treasury based upon this month's challenge piece by Monet. 

Carmi's Art/Life World 
Have you made a slider bracelet yet? Carmi wirewraps her main slider to create a floral window box effect. 

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Blossoms of the Moonlit Waves came home!

Blossoms of the Moonlit Waves

I sent this piece in to Fire Mountain Gems and Beads for their 2012 seed bead contest, and it came back as a finalist!  Not as good as my first place in pearls a few years ago, but I should just be happy as it is :-)  Blossoms is one of the pieces featured in my e-book, Some Assembly Required.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Yay for Dixie Ann!

Congratulations to Dixie Ann, who writes Dixie's blog!  She won a copy of Multistrand Jewelry.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

O and N Craft Supply

You'll see a brand new advertiser over in the sidebar...O and N Craft Supply.  They specialize in Greek ceramic beads, which I love so very very much, and also carry silk cocoons and metal charms!  Maybe you guessed that I love Greek ceramics, since I'm sharing two pictures :-)

Visit O and N Craft Supply for some really unique products.  An entire selection of textile supplies will be coming soon too!

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Book review: Stonesetting for Contemporary Jewelry Makers

Setting your own stones just might be the thing you need to learn this year to set your designs apart from the competition...and it might not be as out-of-reach as you believe!  In Stonesetting for Contemporary Jewelry Makers, written by Melissa Hunt for St Martin's Press, you will learn all you need to know about the tools and equipment, and how to chose the very best stone specimins possible for your unique designs.

I never really thought through how many different types of settings existed.  After a chapter on the basic techniques that are applicable to many of the styles, Melissa covers eleven different "families" of stone settings, like prong and snap, gypsy, claw, pave, and tension settings.  It's almost overwhelming, but Melissa explains each style thoroughly.  There are step-by-step instructions that explain how to set cabochons, faceted stones, and irregular specimins.  There is also a great section in the back that explains the care, maintenance, and repair of finished pieces.

Seriously, I have never seen a book like this before, that focuses on everything from ready-made settings to those completely fabricated from scratch.  And Melissa shows you how to use these in your designs.  My favorite is the gypsy setting, which I'd never heard of by name before.  Also known as flush or burnished settings, these "bury" the stone into the thickness of the metal.  Very cool-looking, and can be done on a flat or curved surface.     

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Basic bead stringing: Mental Gears

Mental Gears

You can make your stringing projects more interesting by choosing a theme or a story to tell.  Mental Gears is a steampunk style bauble on a "heavy metal" strand of beads, featuring real pyrite, copper, and bronzed glass. The copper chain and hook make it adjustable, from 16-1/2 to 20-1/2 inches. The central pendant is polymer clay, fashioned by Amy E Fraser, painter and polymer clay artist.

1. Gather up a selection of beads and charms (optional) that you feel help to tell the story of your focal piece.

2. Use beading wire to string this central section, leaving several inches of extra wire on both sides.

3. Use crimps to attach the wire around some chain on both ends.

4. Add a lobster claw clasp (or other style clasp of your choosing) on one end and add a small dangle to the other end with a jump ring. 

Copyright 2013 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 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, April 12, 2013

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Carmi's Art/Life World and Dazzle-it 
Carmi is hosting a jewelry making blog hop for Dazzle-it this week that is sure to inspire! 

Resin Crafts 
New bezel sets from Spellbinders make for a fabulous tiered necklace! 

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done! 
Jean is in a blog hop FOR Carmi, and explains what she did for the Dazzle-it! hop on her blog! She had a ball! 

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton 
Andrew had a lovely creative playdate with artist and jewelry-maker, Lynne Suprock. 

A Bead A Day 
Spring has arrived along with the rains! Lisa's embracing it by pulling out flowery beads. 

About.com Jewelry Making 
Mix metal, seed beads, and gemstone beads in this new necklace tutorial. 

Art Bead Scene 
Guest 'Pintrest' Blogger Kaushambi leads us through a Spring-themed abundance of art beads! 

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Stringing artists who always add a twist: Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel

Houdini by Lorelei Eurto

I know I mentioned Lorelei and Erin's book before, but now I want to mention both of them as artists worthy of your attention.  I have never seen a boring piece of jewelry from either of these women, and I only wish I could say the same about myself!  I get into ruts...they seemingly never do. 

Indigo Forest by Erin Siegel

Do you want to learn to make pieces similar to these?  Then I suggest that you give their book consideration:
Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry by Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel (review)

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Book review and giveaway: Multistrand Jewelry

This fine volume has been put together by Bead Style Magazine, part of the Kalmbach Press family, and I think that you are really going to like it, especially if you are a beginner.  In Multistrand Jewelry, most of the projects are simple, but very nicely done, and I would recommend it most strongly for someone who has fallen in love with stringing and who wants to move to the next level with some great looking multistrand pieces.

There are 31 projects - even more when you take into account all the suggested variations - by quite a number of very fine designers.  There are the wonderfully clear directions that Kalmbach is famous for, and great tips for success from the designers.  Beginners, you will love it!


Would you like to win a free copy of Multistrand Jewelry?  Here's what you need to do...please read this carefully.  Leave me a comment here and include your email address.  If I don't see your email address, I won't be able to contact you.  No contact, no win, and I simply have to go on to the next person.  You are welcome to spell it out if you'd prefer, for example, cyndi at mazeltovjewelry dot com.  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 17, 2013

Best books for innovative stringing

Need some more inspiration?  Any of these books will be welcome additions to your library!

Create Jewelry - Glass by Marlene Blessing and Jamie Hogsett (review)

Designing Jewelry with Semiprecious Beads by Kim Gover (review)

Jewelry & Beading Designs for Dummies by Heather Dismore and Tammy Powley (review)

Ancient Modern Polymer Clay and Wire Jewelry by Ronna Sarvas Weltman (review)

Beading In No Time by Linda Peterson (review)

Jewelry Designs from Nature by Heather Powers (review)

The Venetian Glass Bead by Kathy Fox (review)

Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry by Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel (review)

Necklaceology by Candie Cooper (review)

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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Making your bead stringing designs unique - part one

What makes strung beaded jewelry unique? How can you set your own work apart from the masses of perfectly nice handmade beaded necklaces out there? Consider some of the following ideas:

Shulamit Raanan
 Make your own components or beads, or seek out unique pieces from those who do

Michelle Mach
 Work with asymmetrical designs

Use multiple strands

Phaedra Torres
 Develop a recognizable style 

Use unusual materials, like these amazing beaded beads

Lea Avroch
Choose daring color combinations

Part two

Copyright 2013 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 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.

Monday, April 08, 2013

A new bead stringing project: Aegean Seas

Aegean Seas

This necklace features beautiful Czech beads from my friend Ekaterina at The Best Beads.  I designed it not only to show off her beads, but also to show you a way to take your basic stringing up one notch: by adding some very basic crocheted chain stitch!

Materials and Tools

Paua shell donut
C-lon cord from Marion's Jewels in Fiber
Czech glass 12 x 7 mm leaves, blue with white lines
Czech glass 6mm rounds, aquamarine
Chain and clasp set with 3 holes
G-S Hypo Tube Cement

Crochet hook (I used size G)

1. Thread beads onto the cord without cutting it from the spool.  You'll need to experiment a bit to figure out how many beads you'll need in order to obtain the proper length.  I made 3 strands, one with a few extra inches of small beads in the center so that I could form a lark's head knot around the donut.

2. Crochet the strands by crocheting a few chains to start out.  Then crochet around a bead, form another chain with no bead, and crochet around the next bead.  Alternate across the strand, ending with a few chains.

3. Use the longest strand to form your lark's head knot around the donut.  Anchor the knot by slipping a few beds from the knot through holes in the strand.

4. Twist all the strands together as tightly as you wish.

5. Tie the ends to a chain and clasp set.  Glue the knots and allow to dry completely before trimming the ends.


Copyright 2013 Cyndi Lavin. All rights reserved. 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.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Art Bead Scene 
Brandi pulls out a beautiful colour palette from this month's challenge piece by Monet. 

Resin Crafts 
A good craft disaster story is the highlight of the week on Resin Crafts blog! 

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done! 
Jean discusses the words Crazy and Creative and somehow ends up at jewelry! 

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton 
Andrew recaps the last week of projects created for the Fusion Beads 30 Day Bead Challenge. 

About.com Jewelry Making 
Tammy adds anther incredible designer to her monthly series.

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Thursday, April 04, 2013

Artist profile: Shulamit Raanan

Artist: Shulamit Raanan
Business name: ShuliDesigns

Shuli Designs on etsy
Facebook page
Shuli Designs on Wanelo

It can be challenging for jewelry makers to find unique beads to work with sometimes.  I would like to introduce you to Shulamit (Shuli) Raanan, a polymer clay artist who lives in Israel. 

Shuli, what inspires your work and designs?
Living along the Mediterranean Sea and especially in the Middle East is very inspiring.
The colors of the sun and the sea, the green of the mountains and valleys alongside the yellow desert, the taste of wine, the smell of local spices, the cultural variation and the rich history of the region are all rooted in me.

Since I remember myself, I was inspired by our beautiful nature. I always had the passion to create with my hands and to experiment different crafts and materials. I am very optimistic by nature - That's why I have chosen to concentrate in Polymer clay designs which allows endless colors and shape combinations.

How do you describe the process you work by?
My works and designs are done with Polymer clay which involves a long and complex process.
First I choose the family of colors to be used - warm colors, cold colors etc. I then decide on the principal design I want to achieve. I first construct a Polymer clay cane of the principal design. To construct the final cane I start mixing colors with a pasta machine and combine the colors in a special technique which is called "MILLEFIORI".  Millefiori stands for "A thousand flowers" in Italian, a technique used originally by Italian glass artists to create colorful and complex glass beads and other ornaments.

Using the same technique I combine together a few canes to create a big cane about 20 Cm (7.87") diameter, then I carefully reduce by hand the diameter to the final size of the product I want to get (this stage is very physical but enjoyable). From the reduced cane I design surfaces with complex design to create wall decors, Hamsas, love birds and endless combinations of colorful beads, spinning-tops, necklaces and so on.

How do you make the final product?
Once I created the colorful canes I design some sketches of the final product on paper. Then I produce a few prototypes from which I choose the exact design, pattern, shape and surface texture of the final product I want to get.
The next stage is producing the final product based on the prototype. I combine the Polymer clay with silver and gold chains and charms, I bake the product in an oven and then I apply varnish, drill holes where needed and add it all together with glass beads and accessories to achieve the perfect item as I imagined it.

What is your training and education? How does it relates to your work?
My formal education is B.ed degree in Technology, Drama and Art and a Master's degree in Humanities, specializing in Art Creation.  On top of that, I participated in different kind of seminars and training sessions, in Israel and abroad. Those included topics like graphic design, painting, ceramics, paper works and Polymer clay.

My most inspiring and meaningful training was joining a Polymer clay workshop held in Warner spring near San-Diego CA about eight years ago during which I had the opportunity to witness and work alongside world leading Polymer clay artists like Donna Kato, Judy Belcher, Julie Picarello, Carol Blackburn and more.

I feel that I still have a lot to learn and improve, I'm all the time seeking new ideas and trying to invent new techniques from different sources of art fields and inspirations like architecture, photography, sculpture, graphic design and more.

Is there a tool or material that you can't imagine living without?
My main and most important working tool is my pasta machine that enables creation of very accurate layers and stripes of Polymer clay and also to create gradient colors transformations. I also use a few different sharp knives, metal needles, texture stamps, shaped cutters and of course Polymer clay. Without the above I could not achieve perfect results.

What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?
My best advice is persistence and consistency together with renewing the sources of inspiration from different art fields. To learn from one own mistakes which may lead to new ideas.  Never give up when things get tough and frustrating and believe in yourself.  

What takes up the majority of your time besides your art?
I am an art teacher in a primary school so I spend most of my mornings there. I really like working with kids. You can learn from them quite a lot, mainly from their optimistic way of thinking.
Besides that I am a mother of three wonderful kids which I love to spend time with. My husband is very supportive of my work and helps me a lot with relating to the Internet and marketing.

What makes you happy in your artistic work?
Satisfying my potential customers is the most enjoyable and important thing for me. Knowing that my works are viewed, appreciated and purchased all over the world gives me a very good feeling about myself and a confirmation that I am on the right track. I am very optimistic about the future and especially about my artistic work.  I regard it as a way of life that will keep on going as long as I have my sources of inspiration.

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Wednesday, April 03, 2013

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