Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Book review: Jewelry Making with Resin

One of my very favorite series to recommend to beginners in any media is Kalmbach's Absolute Beginners Guide.  And the latest by Theresa Abelew is no exception.  Jewelry Making with Resin is an inexpensive book which thoroughly covers the materials, tool, procedures and techniques of working with resin, plus it throws in jewelry making basics and 22 really great projects.

The projects take you step-by-step through making pendants, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings.  But instead of just the same old poured projects that you've probably done dozens of times, Theresa shows you how to use resin as paint, make "stained glass" papers and fabrics, use it with silicone molds, embed images and object, add color, and (of course) pour into bezels both with and without backs.

Theresa wants you to ultimately be able to take a technique from one project and combine it with ideas from other projects in order to create your own personalized pieces.  One of my personal favorites is shown on the cover, the spacescape cuff bracelet.  Theresa uses a material called Triple Glow Powder that I've never heard of before, and it makes the cuffs GLOW IN THE DARK!!!  How cool is that?  Plus, they're really pretty in the daylight too :-)

This post contains an affiliate link: Amazon

Monday, May 29, 2017

A practical lesson in choosing colors for your beadwork - part two

See last week's post for part one of this tutorial!

The analogous color scheme starts with the dominant color that you’ve already identified, and adds colors that are adjacent on the color wheel. In this case, I have chosen to go from blue through teals, true green, to yellowish green. We could have gone from blue through the purples instead, but I made the first choice since the focal piece does have green in it, and has no purple. There are plenty of colors to choose from in this piece: I don’t think it’s necessary to add too many more!

Remember, if you choose this scheme, you should consider all the tints, tones, and shades of the colors as well as the pure hues.

Once you have your analogous color scheme set up, it’s a very easy matter to add one of the complementary colors, most often the complement to the dominant color. In this case, I have added the pale orange that we saw before. An analogous-complementary color scheme has just a bit more pop and sizzle than a plain analogous scheme. That may not always be what you want though, so I feel it’s still worthwhile to consider both.

Interestingly, in this case, we could achieve the look of an analogous-complementary scheme by adding a liberal amount of golden or copper metal throughout the piece! Well, isn’t that convenient?

The last color scheme that I want to examine is the triadic. It consists of three colors, spaced somewhat equally around the color wheel. Here we’ll start with blue, and add red and yellow, which are all spaced an equal distance from each other. Most likely we would not use all three pure hues, but maybe use pale pinks and yellows with the stronger blue.

I feel we are starting to splash too many unrelated colors around here. If the focal piece had any pink in it, it might be really nice, especially with the pale yellow echoing the gold dichroic glass. But there is no pink, and the scheme totally ignores the green which is also so prominent along with the blue of the focal piece. I also didn’t care for a triad based upon green (adding purple and orange), and didn’t even bother to photograph it.

Since this fused glass piece uses both blue and green glass, and they are both so strong, I am leaning towards using either an analogous or analogous-complementary scheme. A monochromatic blue scheme would be fine too, but it feels too “safe” to me compared to how lively the focal piece is. Again, if you disagree with my choices, that is perfectly fine. The bead police will not show up at your door and confiscate your stash!

So, join me next week when I share the tutorial for stringing this one up!

Copyright 2017 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, May 22, 2017

A practical lesson in choosing colors for your beadwork - part one

I love working with focal pieces that allow for many different possible color choices. My friend Jeanne Kent, of New Terra Artifacts also loves to mix colors, so I find myself drawn to many of her gorgeous fused glass pendants and beads. But I’ve learned that not everyone enjoys the uncertainty and the ambiguity quite as much as Jeanne and I do! In fact, whenever I make a piece using one of Jeanne’s glass masterpieces, I always get lots of questions from other beaders on how I chose the bead colors to go with it.

Do you wish that you could be braver with color? Try picking a multicolored focal piece like one of Jeanne’s pendants, and I’ll show you how I go through the process of making those color decisions.

Many times, I just haul out my tubes of beads and lay them out to look at color combinations, but sometimes I use paint strips instead. To illustrate the process for this article, I decided to use paint strips because they photograph better than tubes of beads. And paint strips are free…can’t beat that! If you don’t have a fully stocked bead cabinet, I would highly recommend stocking up on paint strips, lots of them, and then take the appropriate ones with you when you go to buy beads.

Of all the different color schemes that exist, I find that there are several that are the most useful in beadwork, appearing over and over in different artists’ work. The ones I see and use most frequently are neutral, monochromatic, complementary, analogous, analogous-complementary, and triadic. There are many others, but I believe that these are a really good start.  We'll look at the first three today, and the last three next week.

A neutral scheme (above) involves allowing a hue to be surrounded by black, white, and grays. In jewelry making, we often add the metallic colors to the list of neutrals. In addition, some designers consider browns to be neutral as well.

Personally, I don’t often place a colorful focal piece into a black and white setting, but it is an option worth considering. More frequently, you may decide to use only a metallic color with your focal piece, such as when you hang a colorful pendant from a gold chain. As you examine how your piece looks with neutrals, you can also take that time to decide which metal color, if any you will be using.

Although this focal piece has both silver and gold dichroic glass in it, I far prefer the look of the gold beads with it. And I definitely do not like the look of the neutral black, gray, and white!

There are two very strong candidates for monochromatic schemes to go with this centerpiece: green and blue. By laying out the paint strips, I find that I prefer the blues, and I still like the gold metal color much better than the silver. If you feel differently, don’t worry! This is preference, not pure science.

A monochromatic color scheme can include as many different tints, tones, and shades of the basic hue as you desire, so be sure to consider all the possibilities before narrowing down too much.

A third color scheme to consider is called complementary. The opposite color on the color wheel is added to your dominant color and causes that color to pop more. Often, a tint or tone of the complement is chosen rather than another pure hue. I set up paint strips to see what each of my monochromatic choices above would look like if I added their complement.

Once more, I like the look of the blue set better. The pale orange (the complement of blue) seems to pick up the golden tones of the dichroic glass. The pink (red is the complement of green) just doesn’t seem to go with the colors of the focal piece as well. It’s possible that we could find a different pink, or could try burgundy instead, but I still think that I would like the blue and orange better. 

Next week in part two, we'll look at analogous, analogous-complementary, and triadic schemes, and I'll make my final choice.  Finally, there will be a tutorial for the finished necklace in two weeks.
Copyright 2017 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, May 17, 2017

Spring/Summer trends in jewelry for 2017

Whether you follow the trends or not, it's always helpful to know what is going on around you :-)  Even those who make OOAK works of art can sometimes find inspiration in the newest looks to walk the runways.  So, here's what's up for Spring and Summer:

Super thin chokers
Layered necklaces, lots of chains
Statement or "Art school" earrings, large and long
Arm cuffs which spiral upwards on the arm
Multiple rings
Statement piece necklaces, long, large, and with a pendant
Raw mineral slices as pendants
Fantasy ear cuffs
A single large earring
Fabrics used in jewelry pieces

When you combine these looks with the current colors, the overall mood is much lighter and brighter than it's been for awhile!

Click on this for a much larger view

Pantone's Color of the Year 2017

Monday, May 15, 2017

Run-Around Wrapping - a beaded necklace tutorial

I bought some large turquoise beads at a gem show and then couldn’t decide for awhile what to do with them.  I thought about wire-wrapping them, but I knew that I wanted to combine some seed beads with the wrapping.  So I compromised, by using beading wire as the foundation of both the “wrapping” and the necklace strands.

Although I've provided bead measurements below, you can easily substitute beads of different sizes to make your own necklace.  The exact number of beads that you will need, especially seed beads for the decorative wrapping, may change.  Beadaholique has a very nice selection of turquoise and turquoise colored beads available. 

1. Cut a piece of beading wire 30 inches long.  String on a size 8/0 turquoise seed bead and center it.  Take both ends of the wire through another 8/0 turquoise seed bead, through the large flattened oval pendant bead, and through one more 8/0.  Bring the ends of the wire back up to the top, and feed them through the central seed bead, going through from opposite directions.  Pull firmly to snug the seed beads against the pendant bead, but allow the wire that loops up from the bottom to have some slack.  Use alligator clips to hold the beading wire still while you proceed to the next step.

2. Thread a 2-3 foot piece of Nymo thread onto a thin beading needle, and tie it near the bottom of one of the beading wire strands that cross the pendant.  For the first stitch, pick up two size 8/0 turquoise seed beads and slide them down to meet the wire.  Take the needle under, around, and back up over the wire, up through the second bead, pulling them snug against the wire.  For subsequent stitches, pick up one bead at a time, taking the needle under, around, and back up over the wire, and up through the same bead.  Do not pull the stitches too tight – allow the beads to run along the outside of the wire rather than sitting up on top of it.

3. When you reach the top, pass the needle and thread through the top centered seed bead from step 1.  Work down the other side, adding the same number of beads as you did on the first side.  I ended up adding 17 beads on each side, but your count may vary depending upon the size of your pendant bead and how tight or loose you leave the beading wire.

4.  When you reach the bottom of the second side, take the needle and thread back up through your last bead, and begin to add picot stitches between each size 8/0 bead as follows: pick up a copper colored size 11/0 seed bead, a turquoise colored 11/0, and another copper colored 11/0.  Take the needle down through the next 8/0 bead, up through the next 8/0 bead, and repeat all the way around.  At the very top and the bottom, you might have to add 5 beads or more instead of 3 to make a nice looking picot.  Work your needle and thread back to where the original knot was and tie the loose end off.  Use cement on the knot and allow it to dry before clipping it.  You can hide the ends in the beadwork.

5. String each side of the neck strap as you please. I started each side with a size 8/0 seed bead and a 3 mm round turquoise bead, and then alternated short segments of turquoise and glass beads with copper beads for accent. When the straps are almost as long as you want them, in my case about 8 inches, add a couple more 8/0 seed beads, a crimp bead, and one last 8/0 seed bead. Take the beading wire through one end of the chain on one side, and through the clasp on the other side. Work the beading wire back down through the seed beads and pull it snug. Flatten the crimps with your flat nosed pliers or with crimping pliers if you have them.

6. Thread an 11/0 turquoise colored seed bead, a copper heishe, a turquoise rondelle, and another heishe and seed bead onto the head pin. Create a wrapped loop around the free end of the chain. Clip the end and file it smooth.       

This post contains an affiliate link: Beadaholique

Copyright 2017 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, May 08, 2017

Earrings redo

A friend of mine had a nice pair of earrings that she wore often.  They were not part of a set, and filled in mostly for casual occasions.  And then they broke.  The little turned loops at the top were not well constructed, and after a time one of them simply gave out and snapped.  This is one reason why it's important to practice loop-turning skills - if they are off balance, the weight hanging off them can eventually make them brittle and cause them to snap.

Another issue was that the little soldered ball on the broken earwire was missing.  That meant that I wasn't going to be able to reuse them either.  Since that was the case, she decided that she'd rather have them in a gold tone.  Even though the amethysts at the bottom are surrounded by an antiqued silverish metal, the top crystal is topaz colored.  Mixed metals are much more common today than when she bought the earrings, so we made a swap with gold-colored head pins and earwires.

Copyright 2017 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, May 01, 2017

Easy fiber cord and tassel earrings by Nealay Patel - a tutorial

We have a special treat today, a guest post by the fabulous Nealay Patel.  I hope you enjoy it!

Hi friends! My name is Nealay Patel, author of Jewelry Made with Wire & Fiber. I hope you had a chance to read Cyndi’s review of my book! If you haven’t, it's at the link.

I have a cool little earrings project to share! Here’s a snazzy pair of earrings that’s perfect for a girl on the go.

Here’s how you can make them:

Step 1: Cut 5 in of 4mm flat fiber cord and coil it three times. Use a beading awl to make a hole where the cord overlaps.

Step 2: Insert a 1 in. head pin thru the hole.

Step 3: Make a 3mm simple loop and attach an earring hook to it. Set the component aside.

Step 4: Make a simple loop and set the component aside.

Step 5: Cut a 3 in. length of 22 gauge half-hard wire. Make a 8mm simple loop at one end. String a decorative bead and make a 3mm simple loop with the remaining wire.

Attach the larger simple loop to the fiber cord loop and a tassel to the smaller simple loop. Make a second earring to complete the set and you’re ready to go!

If you loved this design, check out my book Jewelry Made with Wire & Fiber. Also, be sure to check out my Facebook Live show, Beads & Bubbles, @beadsandbubbles.

Happy beading friends!

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