Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Yay for Zan!

Zan is the winner of the wonderful seed bead giveaway that was made possible by Ekaterina, of The Best Beads!  Congratulations, Zan!

Bead Journal Project: June 2013

June cabochon, finished
I chose herringbone stitch to make my June piece for the Bead Journal Project and found that it is really well-adapted to making stylized floral shapes.  I'm starting to really enjoy geometrics!

In progress

Additionally, at the end of last month I completed my third bead embroidery e-book, this one inspired by this very Bead Journal Project year!  I've called it Bored By Back Stitch, and it focuses on creating bead embroidery motifs from beadweaving stitches.

Bored By Back Stitch will teach you how to create twelve different bead embroidery motifs, using nine different beadweaving stitches.  Learn how beadweaving stitches can be morphed into beautiful bead embroidered motifs, created to surround and enhance your cabochons or accent beads.
The specific motifs you will learn are designs that use embroidered forms of basic peyote, Cellini spiral peyote, brick, Russian spiral, herringbone, chevron chain, right angle weave, square, African helix, and double or single St Petersburg chain.  In addition, there are step-by-step instructions for three projects to help you use your motifs.  The e-book is available now, 127 pages, $3.00 US.  

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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Monday, June 24, 2013

Resin-polymer clay bezel

Broken jewelry pieces, polymer clay, and two-part epoxy resin...what could be more fun?  You can't tell from this picture since the piece is resting on a pale background, but the resin part in the middle is clear.  I could have added more do-dads or an image if I had wanted to, but I really liked the effect of the beads floating.

1. Pick through your collection of pieces, bits, and bobs.  Chose more than you'll need.

2. With a scrap piece of polymer clay, create a flat, enclosed shape as an anchor for your jewelry pieces.

3. Press them into the clay to make it easy to see where they will go after baking the clay.  Bake according to the manufacturer's directions, keeping the piece flat.

4. If desired, add some colorant to the base piece.

5. Place a piece of strong packing tape on the back of the clay shape.  Rub it well to get it to adhere all the way around.  Mix and pour a small amount of resin according to the manufacturer's directions.

6. In spite of being as careful as I could be, this bubble escaped my notice as the piece dried and cured.  No problem, though.  I just added beads to that spot.  When the piece is fully dry, carefully remove the tape from the back, peeling slowly.

7. I don't have any of those no-hole microbeads, so I just used size 11/0 and size 8/0 seed beads, and I used a toothpick to flip them on end so the holes don't show.  I poured another layer of resin over them, but they are not fully submerged.

8. I added a jump ring and a few beads to a satin cord to finish the pendant off.

This post contains affiliate links: Beadaholique

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, June 21, 2013

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done! 
Jean tries a bit of Jewelry Therapy, making a lovely bracelet to relax during an exciting, event-filled week! 

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton 
Andrew shares the evolution of the Allegory Gallery Annex space! 

A Bead A Day 
Design Contest News!! Check out the big prizes available for winners of this year's JTV Designer Showcase Challenge! 

About.com Jewelry Making 
The polymer clay community has gone global. Learn about a new book that shows off the works of hundreds of international artists. 

Art Bead Scene 
Gaea shares her June etsy finds in a gorgeous treasury, full of texture and colour! Perfect for working on your challenge piece with. 

Resin Crafts Blog 
Sometimes when you have too many supplies you just go too far. Take a look at this over the top initials in resin clay necklace. 

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mixed media tutorials and resources - part one

So many of the tutorials that I share here on Beading Arts could easily be called mixed media, but I tend to share them in different months depending upon the primary medium.  What makes any of these pieces into mixed media jewelry is when you combine one category of material with another.  That's the simplest definition of mixed media jewelry that there is.  So pick your favorite, or maybe several favorites, and see what projects, resources, and books await you!

Polymer Clay tutorials  
Polymer Clay books 

Wire tutorials
Wire books

Lampwork tutorials
Lampwork, fusing, and glass bead books
Lampwork projects

Metal Clay tutorials and resources
Metal Clay books

Seed Bead tutorials
Best Seed Bead books
Seed Bead basics online

Next week - 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.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Special seed bead giveaway!

My friend Ekaterina at The Best Beads has done it again!  She is an expert in Czech glass, and has graciously provided a very special treasure for a lucky winner...four bags of seed beads at 50 grams each!  Three bags of seed beads are from Preciosa Ornela, and are 2mm silver lined rocailles. The last bag of seed beads is a rare find made Jablonex, which hasn't even existed for almost three years.  Ekaterina was lucky to find remainders of their stock in Jablonec!

In addition, Ekaterina has a very special surprise gift for the winner, but I'm not allowed to tell you what it is. You'll like it though!  ;-)

Traditional Czech Beads


Would you like to win these seed beads?  Here's what you need to do...please read this carefully.  Leave me a comment here telling me your favorite seed bead technique, 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: June 25, 2013

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Book review: Foxy Epoxy

Have you had the opportunity to play with epoxy clay?  I can guarantee that if you spend any time with Foxy Epoxy, the new Lark book by Kristal Wick, you won't be able to held back.  So there...you've been warned!

If you've worked with two-part epoxy resin before, you've already got the basic idea: mix the resin and the hardener together and pour.  Except this is clay!  So you will mold, moosh, squish, carve, and polish instead.  And it adheres to practically everything (though not to silicone, which is convenient for mold making).

Piece by Debbie Simon
I love the organization of the book; there are little thumbnail photos for project in the front so that you can easily find exactly the one you want to go back to.  You'll find projects by Kristal and 12 other designers.  Some are subtle and elegant, some are over-the-top bling.  Something for everyone, in other words!  My very favorite projects are those by Debbi Simon where she teaches how to do image transfers onto epoxy clay.  I also am very fond of Candie Cooper's "In the Round" earrings, where she mixes in wire mesh ribbon.  So pretty!  So unusual!

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Nail polish head pins

Awhile back I was browsing through Cloth Paper Scissors, one of my favorite mixed media magazines, and I saw something that made me sit up and say, HUH.  Pretty loudly too.  It was the May/June 2013 issue, and there was an article by Shayna Butler about making faux lampwork head pins from acrylic paints and UTEE (ultra thick embossing enamel).  Brilliant!  But I don't have any UTEE and I really didn't want to go buy some just to do this one project.  What could I use instead?  How about nail polish?  So, credit to Shayna, and here is my warped method:

1. I used 4 inch pieces of brass wire to form these shapes.  The loop at the top is turned with a slight overlap, and the bottom just has a small hook.

2. I decided to make all the head pins about the same size, so I rolled out a log of polymer clay and used a ruler to get semi-accurate cuts, not worrying too much about perfection.  The color of the clay is not important, but it did turn out that I used a similar color of nail polish.  Use whatever color you have scraps of.

3. I formed fresh water pearl shapes on each loop and hung the clay to bake according to the manufacturer's direction.  When they were fully baked, I left them suspended to paint.

4. Paint first with nail polish (multiple coats may be needed with some brands), and after they have dried, dip them into Future Floor Finish (two coats for mine) to protect the finish.  These look a lot like iris peacock pearls in person, and I made half a dozen additional colors as well.  What can I say...I've got a lot of nail polish colors!

At some point in the future, I'm sure there will be a project that features these!

Editor's Note, 06/18/13: Beverle contacted me and said that she'd seen online that you shouldn't use nail polish because it could eventually break down the clay.  I found another reference after her message about it sometimes causing clay to get sticky later.  But other people had no problems, and still others said it was fine as long as you coated the piece with a sealer (like Future Floor Polish!), which we've done.  Mine are about 3 weeks old now, and they are still just fine.  All I can tell you is that different brands may react in different ways, and you should do a test before you sink a ton of time into a project!

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, June 14, 2013

Bead & jewelry blogging round-up!

Resin Crafts Blog 
You can replicate the look of kiln fired clay with air drying resin clay and brass stencils! 

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done! 
Jean previews an exciting blog hop and reveal hosted by Carmi Cimicata, using Dazzle-it's great new Chinese Knotting book by Fernado DaSilva! Come see the excitement! 

Art Bead Scene 
ABS editor Tari selects Susan McClelland's quirky, art bead-filled design for her Designer of the Week piece. Check out Susan's gorgeous necklace! 

Carmi's Art/Life World 
Don't you love when a new tool does your job for you? I cut all my felt necklace parts with one pass in the eBosser. 

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bead sculptures: Natasha St. Michael

Organic, intricate, and interconnected are the three words that immediately spring to mind when I see Natasha St. Michael's amazing seed bead sculptures.  Visit her...they will knock your socks off!


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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Yay for Nelly May!

Nelly May   Penny, who writes Smelly Nelly, is the winner of our Exploring Canework in Polymer Clay book giveaway!  Congratulations!!

Book review: Suzanne Golden Presents

Oh my goodness!  I read a LOT of books, obviously, for both Beading Arts and for Mixed Media Artist.  And I really really like most of them.  But it's been a long time since I have lavished so much time and attention on one book.

Suzanne Golden Presents: Interviews with 36 Artists Who Innovate with Beads  is the first in a new series by Lark Books called "Spotlight on Beading".  Some of these artists you will recognize; others I'm pretty certain you will never had heard of.  The chosen artists are very heavy on seed beads, and I am now wondering if future volumes in this series will be covering other bead types more thoroughly.  The only thing I can tell you for absolute sure is that you are going to want to see a copy of this book, or better yet, own one.  If you get it from your library, you run the risk becoming a library thief!

Eva Maria Keiser
It was very difficult to choose favorites, because there are so many amazingly unique visions represented here.  Under duress, I can point to Eva Maria Keiser's spectacular architectural beadworks, and Jeanette Ahlgren's lovely baskets full of light.  As you gaze and read, you get a sense of the artist as well as the art. For example, Jeanette answers the typical "What's your favorite part of working with beads?" thus: "When the fourth side of a piece is finished."  When asked, "How do you choose the beads you use?", she quips: "I get lucky."  A smart aleck after my own heart!

Jeanette Ahlgren
Truly, this is a book you will not want to miss.  Run, don't walk, to get a hold of a copy.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Book review: Metal Jewelry in Bloom

If you love flowers, you must have Metal Jewelry in Bloom by Melissa Cable.  Seriously.  The way Melissa teaches you to create these flowers from the simplest metal components is amazing...there are no limits!  Simple, yes, but not necessarily easy, if you understand my meaning.  If you have ever toyed with the thought of working with sheet metal, this is definitely the place to start.


Melissa teaches us how to use shaped templates, which are included, to cut and layer the metal sheets into sunflowers, daffodils, orchids, roses, and more, all using cold connections and simple techniques.  She includes instructions for 20 flowers and 12 complete jewelry projects that use them.


Melissa starts with the fundamentals, breaking down the flower structure in the first chapter.  The second chapter turns to specific flowers and shows 15 basic styles.  Chapter three teaches advanced techniques for 5 more complex flowers, plus leaves, branches, and vines.  And the last chapter includes the projects to create finished pieces from your components. 

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Insulator pendant necklace

Last month, I showed you how to make the simple wire fitting for around the neck of this found object pendant.  I neglected, at the time, to explain how the pendant piece itself was made, since Mixed Media Month was coming up next anyway!  So here you are...

1. Here are some of the old ceramic insulators that I scavenged from my attic.  Some of them have a bit of shiny glaze on them, but most are just smooth but unfinished ceramic.  

2. I used a lampwork bead mandrel to suspend the insulator over a paper-lined bowl for decorating.

3. India ink applied all over the surface, and down into the holes at each end as far as I could reach.

4. I dusted the dried insulator with Pearl Ex powders.

5. Two or three coats of Future Floor Finish gives it a nice glossy look and seals in the powders.

6. After forming the wire fitting, I added and chain and some fibers to finish it off.

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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