Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Interview with Bead Artist Melissa Gabelle

Ceramic Beads by Melissa Gabelle
Today I am pleased to bring to you an interview with Melissa Gabelle, a ceramic bead artist from Australia.
 I originally connected with Melissa on the Ceramic Art Bead Market where we both sell out work.  I was so impressed with her creations that I wanted to share them with  you.  Melissa graciously agreed.  Our interview has been done by email as she lives in Cabargo on the South Coast of Australia.  Melissa graciously sent beautiful photos and answered the questions that follow about her work.
So let's begin!!
Mary:  How long have you been working with clay and how did you first get into it?

Melissa:  My first experience in clay was when I did a course in 1991 – 92 in ceramics. It was an excellent course that taught me all the fundamentals of ceramics, from throwing to glaze technology. From then on I was hooked. I just love making things with clay. I have been working in clay on and off for about 25 years, although I did have a break for a few years and worked as a web publisher in government.
Early Work  Melissa Gabelle

Vessel by Melissa Gabelle

Mary:  What lead you to start making beads?
Melissa:  I first had experience making beads in a course where we made our own Egyptian paste and then made beads out of it. I would love to make Egyptian paste again. I was talking to a woman in my local town who owns a bead shop and she makes exquisite beaded jewellery. I was saying I would love to get back into ceramics, but I didn’t have a big enough space to set up all my equipment. She suggested I make her some ceramic beads. I though wow, what a great idea, little works of art, perfect. That is when I set myself up with a tiny studio and pulled my old kiln out of storage, presto beads!
Mary:  How did you come up with your wonderful  name for your business.
Melissa:  Hmmm, that took a little while. I actually read the ETSY guidelines for naming a shop and they suggested something that was easy to remember. I love clay and my other love is chickens and birds. So The Clay Hen seemed like a great name for me. I am also into anything whimsical so it fitted my personality.
Clay Hens by Melissa Gabelle  Icon for her shop The Clay Hen

Mary:  Do you ever make jewelry with your beads? 
Melissa:  I do make some earrings from my beads for a local handmade shop and occasionally for exhibitions. I find I don’t have a lot of time to make jewellery as I am busy making beads! I also don’t enjoy working with metal much…too hard for me, I like the soft squishy nature of clay.
Earrings by Melissa Gabelle

Ceramic Earrings Melissa Gabelle

Mary:  What other creative adventures are a part of your life—past and present?
Melissa:  Wow, now that is a list. I still love print making (not that I have time lately).When I was at art school in my youth I studied etching for about 2 years, this is where I got a love of printmaking, I also really love lino printing. The whole process of designing and cutting the lino and the excitement of seeing the whole thing printed up is such a wonderful process. Knitting, crocheting, drawing, sculpture and ink drawings. I have also worked in web publishing/design. My biggest love and the thing I have been doing the longest is ceramics. I use to create quirky wheel thrown functional ware that I sold in galleries around NSW, Australia. 
Ceramic Vessel by Melissa Gabelle of The Clay Hen

Mary:  What is your workspace like? 
Melissa:  I have one word to describe my workspace….tiny! It is a meagre 1.5 metres x 1.5 metres, just big enough to make beads and small sculptures. I am planning for a bigger workshop in the future. This will allow me to mix glazes, do some throwing (on the wheel), plaster work, teaching etc.
Studio Melissa Gabelle

Mary:  Are there any ceramicists or bead makers that have inspired you.
Melissa:  Yes, many! With beads I just can’t go past Claire Lockwood’s stuff, original, different and quirky, just love it. I also love Joan Miller’s work, especially her whimsical robots and figurative porcelain and silver work, an amazing talent. There are quite a few potters I love so I will just list them!
Sony Manning amazing inlaid work, Andrew Cope, Barbi Lock Lee’s Australian animal pots, Greg Daley, Sandy Lockwood and Jenny Orchard’s wonderful sculptures. I could keep going but I think I will stop there. (all Australian potters)

Mary: I read in one of your write ups for the Ceramic Art Bead Market that you fire your beads in a solar powered kiln. Could you describe your set up and explain how this works.
Melissa:  I have a small 2.4kw kiln, it was the smallest kiln from the manufacture. We have a 5.0kw solar system that feeds back into the grid. I fire on sunny days (which get lots of in Aus) and that means I don’t actually take any power from the grid. It comes straight from the solar panels. The left over power either goes into the grid and we get a small amount back from the power company or we can use it with our household appliances. I also use 100% recycled packaging for my cards, wrapping and postage material. I have even found 100% biodegradable sticky tape!

Solare Powered Kiln 

Solar Powered Ceramic Kiln Loaded with bisque ware

Mary:  I used to live in  Southern California and noticed that most kilns were kept outside and that drying clay was much faster than here in the Northeast. I understand that you live in Australia. How does the climate there help and or hinder working with ceramics?

Melissa:  My studio has the solar power inverter on the wall and that produces quite a bit of heat and with the hot summers it means my beads dry out quickly. I have a lot of experience in how you can dry clay quickly so I don’t tend to have too many problems; there is one exception….porcelain! So I just take the losses as a part of the process with porcelain. I never wrap or slow the process down.
Bisque beads still to be glazed by Melissa Gabelle

Mary: I like the colors and forms you use in your work. Could you tell us something about your color choices and forms. Inspirations? And without giving away any secrets, something about the glazes you use.

Melissa:  I am not sure how I come to my choices in terms of colour and form, it sort of happens organically. I love nature and I get a lot of inspiration from there. I did a couple of series that were inspired from pollen grains and diatoms as seen through a powerful microscope
Diatoms by Melissa Gabelle
Pollen Grains Drops by Melissa Gabelle
 I live on a block of land with lots of bush and there are many creatures that visit us, I have been getting interested in bugs lately….you may have seen a few of my beetle and bee designs
Bee Earrings by Melissa Gabelle
I also love deco and nouveau design.

Deco Drops by Melissa Gabelle
Nouveau Drops by Melissa Gabelle

My daughter gives me ideas too! I would love to mix my own glazes again but as my studio space is limited I use a combination of commercial glazes, oxides, stains, slips and sand. I try to experiment all the time. I love doing different styles i.e. I don’t really stick to one style. I use terracotta, stoneware, earthenware and porcelain. I am also interested in raku….that will have to come later!
Mary:  Besides making wonderful creative beads, what do you enjoy spending your time on?

Melissa:  Well to tell you the truth, there isn’t a lot of time left! I have started doing small sculptures, which I just love.
Bird Sculptures by Melissa Gabelle
Bird Sculpture by Melissa Gabelle
Bird Sculpture by Melissa Gabelle

 I try to have weekends off, which I like to spend with my family. I also love gardening, swimming riding my bike, going to the beach and watching the seals and waves. Nature is just amazing and I just love watching creatures do their stuff.
Mary:  To end our interview I am going to share a collage  of earring drops by Melissa's beads.

Ceramic Drops by Melissa Gabelle
I hope you have enjoyed this journey to Australia to meet Melissa Gabelle. I have included some links where you can find her and keep up to date on what she  s making.
Thank you again Melissa!! 

Where you can find more of Melissa's work.

Thank you readers for stopping by today.
posted by Mary Harding

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Book Review: Making Etched Metal Jewelry

Cover Making Etched Metal Jewelry by Kristen Robinson and Ruth Rae

Maybe you missed this book when it came out like I did, or you have recently become interested in learning how to etch metal ? Or you like mixed media jewelry with a bohemian twist.  In any of these cases, you will find Making Etched Metal Jewelry, Techniques and Projects, Step by Step, by Kristen Robinson and Ruth Rae, a good introduction to the techniques of etching and the construction of many inspiring jewelry projects ( there are 17 to choose from.)   Etching metal is almost magical and is a great way to give your handmade pieces a unique one of a kind look as you can see in the samples here from the cover of the book.
 4 examples of projects in the book 

The book begins with the specific techniques involved in etching metal.  The authors have chosen to focus on the two most frequently used methods:  etching with Ferric Chloride and etching with Muric Acid and Hydrogen Peroxide.  Since both methods involve the use of chemicals that require special precautions in order to be used safely, I want to be sure to draw your attention to the safety guidelines that have been clearly stated on page 8.    In addition, it is important to note that the methods discussed are only suitable for Brass, Copper and Nickel Silver. 
Besides teaching how to etch metal, the book also addresses a number of metal working and beading techniques to help you make its many mixed media and bohemian style projects.  You will find  information on tools to use to, supplies needed, basic wire wrapping techniques for attaching beads to your work and specific instructions on how to use a circle cutter, dap a metal disk into a dome, how to use a jeweler's saw, and how to use 3 different kinds of patinas and more.

For me the strength of this book is the special ways that etching can personalize your jewelry. Using just a black Sharpie permanent marker you can write on metal and etch whatever words you want to have on your creation.  No need to reverse the text and use a complicated procedure to get what you want to say on your piece.  
Pre-Order / Etched Copper Curved Bars - Original Drawings on Copper - Made to Order  by Gaea
You can use Stazone permanent black to ink up one of your own handmade rubber stamps or a commercial one to get an image on your metal and it will come out etched. And that Sharpie marker is also great for drawing on metal and designing your very own bead caps, tube beads, disks and pendants.
 Circle disks stamped with Stazone ink and etched; Tube beads drawn on with permanent black Sharpie marker and etched. by MaryHardingJewelry

Another aspect of etching that I learned about in this book is making etched metal chain links. You will find several different handmade chain styles using etched links featured in  the projects.  What a great idea for enhancing your jewelry.  I can't wait to try my hand at making some.

I hope you have found this look at Making Etched Metal Jewelry helpful and intriguing.  You can get it at your local bookstore or on Amazon .  The Amazon site allows you to have a "look inside" so you can see even more pictures and features of this publication.  For more examples of jewelry using etched metal components, you can visit my Pinterest Board.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.

posted by Mary Harding

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Perfect Pairings :: WinterBirdStudio + DonnaPerlinplim + Garden of Beads + Glass by Leese + ArtIncendi

The playful artwork for August evokes the feeling of walking in a park in the fall. The trees seem to be alive with color and almost dancing. Same is true for this beautiful bib style necklace from WinterBirdStudio. The ceramic focal components seem like shards of a long forgotten piece of pottery with a very 70s color palette that plays perfectly with this month's challenge art. And this would be the perfect necklace to wear on a stroll through the park.

Featured Designer ::  WinterBirdStudio


Featured Bead Artists ::

(Pssst...Kathrin is getting married! Great sale happening! Check it out!)

We are now using Pinterest! 
You can find more details in this post about the exciting new changes,
including a board devoted to art beads inspired by the monthly challenge!
(Ooh! Look! More pretty beads to lust after!)

Pretty please make sure that you post a link in your Pinterest description
so that I have someplace to attribute the picture! 
And don't forget to tell us about those art beads - providing links to bead makers is appreciated!

Deadline August 29th to get your pictures posted to the Pinterest boards for the creation of the Monthly Challenge Recap post for August 31st.

TIP: If you upload your photo rather than pin it from your blog or shop, edit the pin (the little pencil button) and add your link as the source. Save your edits. This will allow us to click directly on your photo and go to your blog or shop to read more about your entry. If you don't, I might not be able to access the photo to share it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Monthly Challenge Color Palette & Bead Picks

Isn't this month's challenge artwork fun? I love the playful abstraction of the park and trees. But what I couldn't help notice about this month's inspiration was how on trend it is with the Pantone color palette for fall.
Even through the colors may be Pantone's color picks for the season, they really stand the test of time!

If you haven't seen this month's jewelry challenge head over to the blog post to read all about it. You have until the end of the month to enter. 

Here are some offerings from our Art Bead Scene contributor's shops that would fit perfectly in with this month's challenge. 

1. First up is the copper pendant from Mary Harding. I like how the curves are mimic the painting.

2. Tesori Trovati's leaf pendant pulls the sharkskin and potter's clay shades from the painting and gives a not to the subject matter - just in more literal terms.

3. Birds and parks are constant companions so one in that pop of orange would be a great focal. Enamel bird from Gardanne

4. The teal disks from Humblebeads picks up the green/blue hues in the painting and the branch them mirrors the curving branches in the inspiration piece.

5. More birds in a modern style from Swoondimples. I love the purple and think it's a perfect match.

6. As September starts to wave at us, mustard yellow is more and more appealing. This button from Creative Impressions in Clay can also be ordered a pendant. 

7. Ceramic rounds Firefly Designs Studio in that lovely muted shape of pink would look great with any of the other pieces listed here.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Monday Muse and Beady Link Party

My muse is torn between wanting to hold one to those last few weeks of summer and looking ahead to the fall season.

So somewhere in those long, hot days of August I'm reminded of teenage summers at the local pond watching dragonflies skim across the surface of the water and those murky blues, purples, woodland greens and browns rushing together. Here are some dragonfly picks to inspire you too.

First up is the silver dragonfly cuff by Cathy Dailey, pictured above.

Perfect dragonfly pairs in ceramic by Scorched Earth.

A ceramic dragonfly bead by Cynthia Cranes Pottery

Love seeing Earthenwood Studio's shop filled with work like her classic Dragonfly Pendant.

 Polymer clay charms that would make perfect earrings from Ornamental Objects.

 I love these organic silver dragonfly charms from Pam Springall via VDIJewelryFindings

And from me, over at my Humblebeads Etsy shop is this fun and colorful set of coin beads featuring a dragonfly focal.

I'm always asked at shows when I'm selling jewelry if I have dragonfly items, so they seem to inspire many others too! Dragonflies symbolize wisdom, transformation, change and adaptability in life - so no wonder they appeal to so many. 

Beady Link Party
We invite our readers to share their blog post links with us each week. As long as they feature jewelry or beads, share your favorite post from last week with us. We hope this will inspire you to blog a little more often and bring our community closer together.

1. Please only post blog new links each week. *

2. Visit at least two other blog links and leave a comment. We want to grow our blogging community and encourage you connect with each other.

3. You have until Wednesday each week to share your blog post.

We want to connect more with our readers! Join the party and share you latest beady blog link.

Haven't blogged in a while? It's the perfect time to share what you have been up to, what you find inspiring, your creative process, interview a favorite beadmaker, review a beady book - get creative and get blogging!

The beady link party is open to jewelry designers, beadmakers and group bead blogs.

Share you link using the "Add a Link" Inlinkz button below.

*We ask for fresh links, if you have a post that you haven't shared with us yet but it's a few weeks old, that's cool.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August Monthly Challenge Sponsors + Prizes

Our Wonderful sponsors for the August Challenge.
We will have 2 Lucky Winners this Month!


Heather Millican of Swoondimples creates inspirational and wonderful beads, pendants and jewelry. Her polymer clay style rustic and beautiful.  
Hop over to her Etsy shop because you know you love and need some great jewelry components from Heather!!
Swoondimples is located in Gulf Breeze, Florida.

Heather is donating a $50 gift certificate.

Visit Heather on Facebook and Etsy.
: : :
East o' the Sun West o' the Moon

Rachael Grow of East o' the Sun West o' the Moon creates beautiful Wire Core Spun Yarn and patina jewelry components. The hand spun yarn wire comes in so many colors and is perfect for this month's challenge! You need some for your next project!!
East o' the Sun West o' the Moon is located in Portland, Oregon.

Rachael is donating a $50 gift certificate.

Visit Rachael on her EtsyFacebook and FB Jewelry.
: : :

Submit photos of your wonderful Jewelry creations using one or more Art Beads here.
Submit photos of your wonderful Bead creations here.

Park Near Lu by Paul Klee. This Month's art has many different elements that can be used for inspiration: linear, curve linear, trees, seasons, emotions, grey, pink, blue, violet, peach tone and green.

We can't wait to see where your creativity takes you with the art for this month's challenge! 

**IMPORTANT** Please remember to put AUG ABS in the title or tag of your submission(s).  Pinterest doesn't keep Pins in the order they are posted.

Provide us with the artist of the Art Beads used and we always love to know all the materials you used. 

***Art Beads MUST be used in your entry.***

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

August Monthly Challenge

"Park Near Lu"
By Paul Klee, 1938
Oil and coloured paste on paper on jute; original frame strips
100 x 70 cm

About the Art
"Park near Lu." was created when Klee was stimulated by an impression of nature that he experienced in a park near Lucerne. The picture reflects his personal condition at the time. The branches are bare and devoid of leaves, as in winter. But "Park near Lu." is not a winter picture. There is a contrast between the hard black bar strokes that represent the branches and the bright colour tonality of the spaces between them. The work therefore includes spring and winter, death and blossoming in equal measure.
It seems to have been a specific landscape which inspired Paul Klee to paint this picture. Klee's wife Lily travelled several times in the late 1930's to Lucerne for health reasons and she spent time in a sanatorium. Paul Klee had visited her there, when his own physical condition permitted and strolled with her through the park around the sanatorium.

About the Artist
Paul Klee, Painter, Educator (1879–1940). Paul Klee was a prolific Swiss and German artist best known for his large body of work, influenced by cubism, expressionism and surrealism.

“A line is a dot that went for a walk.”
—Paul Klee

Paul Klee was born in M├╝nchenbuchsee, Switzerland, on December 18, 1879. The son of a music teacher, Klee was a talented violinist, receiving an invitation to play with the Bern Music Association at age 11.
As a teenager, Klee’s attention turned from music to the visual arts. In 1898, he began studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. By 1905, he had developed signature techniques, including drawing with a needle on a blackened pane of glass. Between 1903 and 1905, he completed a set of etchings called Inventions that would be his first exhibited works.
In 1906, Klee married Bavarian pianist Lily Stumpf. The couple had a son, Felix Paul. Klee’s artwork progressed slowly for the next five years. In 1910, he had his first solo exhibition in Bern, which subsequently traveled to three Swiss cities.
In January 1911, Klee met art critic Alfred Kubin, who introduced him to artists and critics. That winter, Klee joined the editorial team of the journal Der Blaue Reiter, co-founded by Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky. He began working on color experiments in watercolors and landscapes, including the painting In the Quarry.
Klee’s artistic breakthrough came in 1914, after a trip to Tunisia. Inspired by the light in Tunis, Klee began to delve into abstract art. Returning to Munich, Klee painted his first pure abstract, In the Style of Kairouan, composed of colored rectangles and circles.
Klee’s work evolved during World War I, particularly following the deaths of his friends Auguste Macke and Franz Marc. Klee created several pen-and-ink lithographs, including Death for the Idea, in reaction to this loss. In 1916, he joined the German army, painting camouflage on airplanes and working as a clerk.
By 1917, art critics began to classify Klee as one of the best young German artists. A three-year contract with dealer Hans Goltz brought exposure as well as commercial success.
Klee taught at the Bauhaus from 1921 to 1931, alongside his friend Kandinsky. In 1923, Kandinsky and Klee formed the Blue Four with two other artists, Alexej von Jawlensky and Lyonel Feininger, and toured the United States to lecture and exhibit work. Klee had his first exhibits in Paris around this time, finding favor with the French surrealists.
Klee began teaching at Dusseldorf Academy in 1931. Two years later, he was fired under Nazi rule. The Klee family moved to Switzerland in late 1933. Klee was at the peak of his creative output during this tumultuous period. He produced nearly 500 works in a single year and created Ad Parnassum, widely considered to be his masterpiece.

Our Sponsors
Our Sponsors this month are 
Please visit us tomorrow to see the prizes!

How to enter the Monthly Challenge:
1. You need to have a Pinterest account. Go get one ASAP if you don't have one already. It's easy, fun and inspiring.

2. Email us at absmonthlychallenge@gmail.com to get added to the monthly challenge board.

Subject: Monthly Challenge Board Request

You will be emailed an invite to the board within 48 hours. Accept the invite and you are ready to pin your entries.

3. Two ways to pin your entry to the board.

Pin your photo from the internet (on your blog, Etsy shop, etc.)

Add your photo directly from your computer

Create something using an art bead that fits within our monthly theme. We post the art to be used as your inspiration to create. This challenge is open to jewelry-makers, fiber artists, collage artist, etc. The art bead can be created by you or someone else. The challenge is to inspire those who use art beads and to see all the different ways art beads can be incorporated into your handiwork.

An Art Bead must be used in your piece to qualify for the monthly challenge.

***Beads strung on a chain, by themselves and beads simply added to wire or cord will not be accepted.***

Please add the tag or title AUG ABS to your photos. Include a short description, who created the art beads and a link to your blog, if you have one.

Deadline is August 31st
You may upload 2 entries per month.


• Beads Makers Pinterest Board-Art beads must be created by you and fit the Art Bead Scene's monthly challenge theme. They can be made for the challenge or ones you have made before. 2 entries per month are allowed. 

One entry will be picked by the editors each month for a free month of advertising on the Art Bead Scene. Bead entries have to be pinned by the 30th of the month.

Beads only - do not post jewelry on this board. If a post doesn't fit the challenge it will be deleted.

Monthly Challenge Recap
• Please post at least one single shot of your creation on the Pinterest Board. This will be used to make a collage for the Monthly Challenge Gallery. Every creation will be added to the collage, regardless of a blog post. So everyone gets included!

Your entry must be on Pinterest 2 days BEFORE the recap to be included.

• Be sure to share with us the name of the art bead artist in the description of your photo so that if you are selected for the weekly Perfect Pairings on Wednesdays, both you as the designer and the art bead artist can get the credit you both deserve!

• An InLinkz button will be added to the bottom of the Monthly Challenge Recap post. Here you will be able to link up your blog post if you have one. It is no longer necessary to add your blog post URL to the description unless you want to. Be sure to hop around and see all the great inspiration and leave some comment love!

• The Monthly Challenge Recap with Blog Tour will be posted on August 31st.

Monthly Challenge Winners
• One prize winner will be selected at random from all pictures posted on the Pinterest board.

• One prize winner will be selected at random from all blog posts added to the hop for the Monthly Challenge Recap post. So if you want to be in the pool for the second prize, be sure to use the InLinkz code at the bottom of the post to share your process and inspirations!

• Winners will be randomly chosen from all the qualifying entries on September 1st.

Perfect Pairings :: Designer + Art Bead Artist
• Formerly the Featured Designer of the Week, our new Perfect Pairings will focus on both the jewelry designer and the art bead artist. 

• Be sure to point out all the art bead artists in your work in the description of the photo on the Pinterest Board. Links to their website or shop are appreciated. That way we can all find new art beads to love!

• From all the entries during the month, an editor will pick their favorite design to be featured every Wednesday here on ABS, so get those entries in soon.

What is an Art Bead?
An art bead is a bead, charm, button or finding made by an independent artist. Art beads are the vision and handiwork of an individual artist. You can read more about art beads here.

***A bead that is handmade is not necessarily an art bead. Hill Tribe Silver, Kazuri ceramic beads or lampwork beads made in factories are examples of handmade beads that are not considered art beads.

Beaded beads, stamped metal pendants or wire-wrapped components are not considered art beads for our challenge.***