Friday, November 30, 2007

Simple & Beautiful Booth Display Ideas

My husband, Jess Contreras, is doing his first art show this weekend with his own booth and line of jewelry. I'm so jealous of his booth display! He haunted the 1/2 off sales of Hobby Lobby to find some unusual and dramatic display props. I thought I'd share with them you:
A photo of the whole booth. He borrowed my work desk instead of using a card table. The drawer is open and filled with dried lavender blossoms and a mirror for customers.
A tray and two photo box frames give his booth some needed visual height and interest.
A purchased shadow box, with the glass removed, to display a few of his favorite pieces.

A discounted frame that is backed with foam core board and fabric make a quick and easy display.
My favorite touch is his dried flower arrangement. He designed this all himself and it is the highlight of the show we are doing this weekend. His presentation, while simple, makes a dramatic statement. So the next time you are walking through the home decor aisles, take a look around you might find some unexpected booth display props.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bead Scoop: Felt Tree Kit from Art Girlz

I am the type of crafter that is so busy with holiday shows well into mid-December, that I am too busy to buy and decorate a big Christmas tree of my own. By the time my shows are over, I am pooped and just want to concentrate on holiday gifts, parties, and cookies. But I was looking at the Art Girlz website and found this super cute felt tree kit! That's a tree that I can handle decorating! I think it would make a really cute gift to give to others too, especially if embellished with a few extra art beads on the garland, or one fancy sparkly bead for the tippy top.

This kit sells for $11.99 at Art Girlz

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bead Theme - Coffee Haus

Here is a quick caffeine fix from a few beadmakers who sell on Etsy. Remember there are only a few days left to enter our November monthly challenge. Pull out those art beads in shades of mocha, carmel, espresso and whipped cream and inspire us with your latest designs!
Polymer clay focal bead by Janice Abarbanel
Ceramic coffee beans by Panopoly

Carmel Mocha Lentils by BurningScentsations

Morning Coffee by Bluewater Studio

PMC Coffee Beans by Star Hill Designs

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Call for Entries for Metal Clay Book

This post is a call out to all you designers/beadmakers out there. Looks like a great opportunity!

Call for Entries

Book Title: Picture Yourself Making Metal Clay Jewelry: Step-by-Step Instruction for Forming, Firing, and Constructing Finished Jewelry

Publisher: Thomson Course Technology

Series: This text will be part of the publisher’s “Picture Yourself” series.

Author: Tammy Powley

Contact Information:

Estimated Publication Date: May/June 2008

Call for Entries Deadline: There are two deadlines: studio/work area pictures December 10; projects/gallery pictures January 7, 2008.

Book’s Focus: The focus of this book is super simple to make metal clay component projects (charms, pendants, beads) teamed up with basic jewelry techniques resulting in projects which allow readers to make finished jewelry pieces showcasing their metal clay creations.
Audience: The audience is the interested hobbyist who has very little if any metal clay or jewelry making experience.

Project Descriptions: All metal clay projects will be designed to use low-fire metal clay (either PMC3 or Art Clay 650) and will be small enough to allow firing by either a hand-held butane torch or hot pot. The projects will include instructions for both making the metal clay component (such as beads or a pendant) as well as incorporating this item into a finished piece of jewelry (such as earrings or a necklace). Therefore, other jewelry techniques including basic bead stringing and wire work will be covered as well.

Studio/Work Areas Submission Instructions: One chapter of the book will describe how to set up a place to form metal clay items and one to fire metal clay items. Therefore, I am looking for artists to share pictures of where they work, from the super simple to the ultra fancy from neat as a pin to messy as all get out. Images must be sent in digital .jpg format, min. 300 dpi, emailed to by December 10, 2007. Please include “metal clay book” in the email subject line.

Gallery Format Submission/Instructions: All items submitted for the gallery must be sent in digital .jpg format, min. 300 dpi, emailed to by Jan. 7, 2008. Please include “metal clay gallery” in the email subject line. Along with the image of the finished jewelry piece, include type of clay used, form of firing used, and any other materials information.

Though low-fire clay items are encouraged, since that is the focus of this book, other types of clay items will be considered for gallery inclusion. Those artists selected for the gallery (included in the final published copy of the book) will be required to sign a release for publication form and will have their names and contact information (if desired) included in the gallery section.

Project Format Submission/Instructions: Though the author will create the majority of projects for the book, some projects by guest artists may be included if they are deemed appropriate for the scope of the book.

Entries should include projects using low-fire metal clay (either PMC3 or Art Clay 650) and should be fired using either a butane torch or hot pot. A list of supplies and basic techniques should be included along with step by step digital color images of the process. (The author will write up complete instructions for any accepted projects.) Images should be clear, high quality, .jpg format, min. of 300 dpi, and emailed to by January 7, 2008. Please include “metal clay book project” in the email subject line.

Those artists selected for the projects section (included in the final published copy of the book) will be required to sign a release for publication form and will have their names and contact information (if desired) included in the text. The author will also send them a free copy of the book when it is released for publication.

Disclaimer: The author will accept submissions in good faith and as she deems appropriate for the book; however, this does not in any way guarantee publication since other issues such as space, page numbering, page breaking, etc. can require the publisher to make alterations to the finished text without the author’s knowledge.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Spotted on Beading Daily!

Beading Daily is featuring a free online project from Melanie Brooks Lukacs of Earthenwood Studio. I love the way she has incorporated fibers in with the chain for an old world style that compliments the art bead charms. Check out Pixie Parchment for complete instructions.

Another Art Bead Scene contributor is featured on Beading Daily today, you can read an interview with our own Cindy Gimbrone. The interview also includes a free project incorporating Cindy's spiral beads designed by Sandi Wiseheart.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

As The Bead Turns, November 25, 2007

Bringing you all the dirt and drama from the beading blog world...

A peek at one of the entries for the Coffee Haus challenge found in our Flickr group, by Lorelei. Read about this piece in her blog!

Art Bead Scene Only a few days left to enter the Art Bead Scene challenge with the Coffee Haus theme! Get your caffeine on and get moving on a coffee related design using art beads! Jewelry Making Give a double wammy of beads this holiday. Tammy has discovered a group that has great beaded jewelry to give and get that also gives to needy young women.

Bead Arts Cyndi is ga-ga over the pictures and information she found recently on Kanzashi, Japanese hair ornaments.

Jewelry & Beading Two of Cyndi's pieces are in the lastest issue of Jewelry Crafts.

Naughty Secretary Club Grab a left over turkey sandwich and tune into the DIY Network Holiday Special this weekend with oodles of different craft projects. One with Jennifer Perkins making a chunky charm bracelet and necklace using decoupage.

Pearlesq. Check out Robin's closeup photos of Distress Crackle Paint along with tips and techniques to get the best "crackin'" results!

Savvy Crafter Last week Candie found herself in a maze of seed beads in Kathmandu. See pictures of her visit to the Indra Chowk bead market…

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done! It's not too early to start stashing away those hand-made teachers' gifts for the Holidays! You will be glad you did later when the rush is on! Jean shows what she decided to make the teachers (shhh! It's a secret!) this year!

The Impatient Blogger If you're feeling the holiday stress, take a moment to enjoy a delicious little gem of a movie that'll spark your creativity and make you smile. A kinda movie review from your pal Margot!

Did you read or write any good dirt on a bead blog this week? Leave us a comment and a link and tell us the latest scoop!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Snap out of it Jean, there's READING to be done!

"I could hardly wait to receive my copy of The Impatient Beader..."

So begins the review that our friend Jean Yates wrote for Amazon. We have noticed that Jean is an excellent and thoughtful Artisan of Review, so much so that Amazon made her a Vine Voice reviewer. So we thought we would occassionally provide our readers with links to some of her reviews that may be of interest to the beading world. We call this post
"Snap out of it Jean, there's READING to be done!", a nod to her popular blog of a similar name.

So earlier this summer, Jean reviewed the beading book "Sparkletastic" by Margot Potter. This is a great looking title that sounds perfect for the bead artist at all levels of creativity. Check out Jean's firsthand review and you may find that it to be a book for a beader on your holiday list.

As Jean says, "We will all shine on, if we own this book!" Click HERE to find out what makes her say this...

Friday, November 23, 2007

Beadmaker/Designer Interwiew: Mango Tango Designs

A colorfully oxidized bead with dragonflies and spirals.

What is your personal name, business name, website and location?

Bev Gallerani, Mango Tango Designs

I divide my time between Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Naples, Florida. The common element unifying these two locations is how they inspire me to create all things related to nature and the sea. I am happiest when I can view H2O –- whether that’s the ocean, a lake, or a mud puddle!

I have two websites:, which will launch on January 2, 2008, and The MangoTangoDesigns site currently redirects traffic to my Etsy shop until it officially launches. When it does, it will carry the higher-end pieces in my line, while the more affordable work will continue on Etsy.

An oxidized bead featuring acorns and oak leaves

What kind of beads do you make? What kinds of processes do you use? What is your favorite beadmaking technique?

My beads are made of Precious Metal Clay in paste and sheet form, occasionally embellished with gemstones, fused glass and cubic zirconia. The beads are created with wood clay which is hand-formed over a wooden mandrel. I paint fine silver paste over the wooden clay form in many layers, ensuring that each layer is thoroughly dry before adding the next. Most beads require 12-15 layers of silver paste before they are sturdy enough to withstand firing and the daily rigors of jewelry wear. Once I have finished layering the silver paste, I embellish the bead with handformed end caps and apply decoration in silver sheet form. When the design calls for it, I add gemstones, glass or cubic zirconia and form bezels out of PMC syringe. I then remove the bead carefully from the mandrel and fire it; the firing process burns out the wood clay and leaves the hollow silver bead. After firing, I wire-brush the bead and tumble it in a rotary tumbler to work-harden it and bring out the luster. At this stage some beads are oxidized with liver of sulfur to give them the impression of age and define the highlights; sometimes I stop the oxidation process early to achieve beautiful hues of copper, purples and blues. Oxidation can produce some wonderful surprises!

Fine silver and sterling drop earrings featuring borosilicate beads by

How did you get into beadmaking? What are some of the important things you do for your business?

Once I discovered the joys of working with Precious Metal Clay through taking a class at a bead shop, I went through a frenzy of creation and soon became a Certified PMC Artisan. That process taught me several wonderful techniques, including creating hollow form beads from fine silver. Not only do I create my own beads, but I frequently incorporate both my own beads and those made by other artisans into my silver work. I favor borosilicate beads due to their durability, luminosity and color intensity. I enjoy supporting and networking with other artisans.

Brand new fused dichroic glass and sterling necklace featuring glass I fused

What is your workspace like and how do you work in your studio? What is a typical day like?

Well, I have two workspaces divided by about 1,800 miles, so that can be a little bit of a challenge! I try to keep it portable. I have two identical workbenches, one in my studio on Cape Cod and the other at our condo overlooking the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. Using twin workspaces helps to keep me oriented. The supplies that aren’t spread chaotically all over my workbenches are stored in plastic bins and containers. On the Cape, I keep my kiln in my garage. In Florida, it sits on my lanai when it’s in use! Trying to be frugal, I move my supplies between locations rather than attempt to have duplicates of everything. The kilns and tumblers are the only exception.

A typical day finds me up and sipping coffee in my studio at 6 a.m. Sometimes I need to be reminded to eat -- I tend to become a little too engrossed in my work. I rarely look up while I’m working. When I’ve got pieces firing in the kiln, I usually turn my attention to some other facet of jewelry making. Sometimes I’ll cut or grind glass while I’m waiting … I like to multitask!

Fine silver and apatite anklet featuring my own molded seashell charms

How do you stay inspired and motivated?

Oh, that’s the easy part! I haven’t been doing this for very long … until about a year ago, I was a professional miniaturist. Then a friend dragged me along to my first PMC class. I got hooked and the rest, as they say, is history.

I have many more ideas than time to execute them. I’ve also taken or plan to take many more classes in complementary disciplines that will enhance my work. For example, I just finished a Kumihimo beading class so I can make my own beaded necklaces to use with my PMC pendants. I also recently completed a glass fusing workshop. In the coming months I hope to achieve Level II PMC Certification and learn to enamel and water-etch my beads.

Fine silver necklace featuring glass cabochons by

What type of beads and jewelry designs do you feel best compliment your art beads? Do you design your own jewelry too?

I think my style leans slightly toward the contemporary, although my background in miniatures demands a great deal of detail and precision in my work. I’m not so much the freeform contemporary type as the exact replica type!

I do, definitely, design my own jewelry. I have tried really hard to plan and sketch out my pieces in advance, but things never seem to happen in that organized a fashion. My pieces tend to design themselves. Whatever flows out of my hands is what I go with!

What beady plans do you have for the future? Do you have new designs or ideas you will be exploring soon?

Since I have recently added glass fusing to my skill set, I plan to incorporate more glass and embellishments to my beads, as well as expand my techniques to include enameling and water etching, and create beads that are only one design element in a larger work.

My lakeside studio and workbench on Cape Cod

A special offer from Bev: ArtBeadScene1107 for 10% off any purchase over $50 at, expires 6/08.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Beaders Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for all the things in our lives. Relationships, careers, home...and BEADS! Here are some of the things I am thankful for today, from my beading board:

My sharp, precise tools, always ready to work, and always close at hand

Those perfect unusual clasps to complete the perfect projects

My diverse and well stocked selection of specialty findings to perform every task

All my seed beads, well organized and never spilling all over the floor

My rainbow of sparkly accent beads that work hard to make my fancy beads pop!

A bounty of beautiful art beads from friends and artists all over the world

What beady things are you thankful for?

The editors of Art Bead Scene want to thank you for reading us everyday!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fit to Print - Bead Trends

I found this new bi-monthly publication at the local arts & crafts chain. Bead Trends is an idea book with beautiful photography and inspiring designs. They had an entire section of projects featuring lampwork beads and a few polymer clay and paper bead creations too. I give it an art bead thumbs up!

The book offers written instructions, not always the easiest for beginners to follow along. They also offer up some alternative uses for beads, like bookmarks and scrapbooking.

My only complaint is that you have to hunt for the project resources, which is spread throughout the magazine. It would have been nice if they were listed on the same page as the project.

Overall, it's worth checking out. It's 162 pages of mouth-watering jewelry designs.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Metal Coffee Beads

I have always wanted a stainless steel kitchen. But until we win the lottery, I have settled for a brushed aluminim coffee maker! So lately I think of coffeetime when I think of metal . The coffee pot, the clinking of spoons, the brushed steel sugar and coffee containers that sit on my counter top. These metal based beads all remind me of coffee at home:

Coffee Mug Necklace by Bread and Badger

Anyone for Coffee Beans pendant by Jen and Jules Designs

Sunday, November 18, 2007

As The Bead Turns, November 18th, 2007

Bringing you all the dirt and drama from the beading blog world...
Katie's Beading Blog Katie's been a busy blogger this week! Get links to instructions for a fun necklace & earring set, vote for your favorite thing to bead, and check out Katie's new Cafe Press Shop (Get Your Bead On design shown above!)

Bead Arts A maple leaf on top of a maple leaf! Cyndi has created a necklace that features both a full sized and a miniature leaf. Can you spot the big leaf? :-)

Jewelry & Beading Artist Wendy Van Camp has shared with us about her inspirations and creative process in making her beautiful wire and gem jewelry.

Naughty Secretary Club Have you seen the new issue of Altered Couture Magazine? Look for two pieces of jewelry by Jen and a 3 page spread about her sister Hope Perkins and her hand painted dresses.

PearlEsq. Robin just wants to show you her nieces' new puppy Charlie, go "awwww!" and have a good smile.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done! Jean shows a bracelet she made for the November Art bead Scene challenge: lots of fun--coffee is the focus!

The Impatient Blogger Margot shares some thoughts about the transformative power of the creative force in this thought provoking post.

Did you read or write any good dirt on a bead blog this week? Leave us a comment and a link and tell us the latest scoop!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Bead Scoop: Bead Crochet Resources

Have you tried something new in your jewelry design lately? I am enamored of seed beads and crochet and have been for a long time. When I hit a creative block in beadmaking, I'll crochet or beadweave to get my juices flowing again. You can combine art beads, accent beads and wire crocheted together for a lovely piece. There are lots of resources to help you explore this wonderful technique and here are a few:

The Beadwranger hosts the website Bead Crochet with free animated bead crochet lessons!

If you prefer to hold a book in your hand, Bethany Barry's Bead Crochet is well worth the money.

Try a different technique with your art beads - crochet!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Alternative Uses for Art Beads - Rings!

By using commercial ring blanks you can quickly turn your favorite art bead into a bold fashion statement. Designer Ann Westby of Beadiful Things created this ring using one of my wafer beads.

Or use a little creative wire-wrapping to make a ring featuring stunning art bead from your collection, ring by BlueNoodle.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Call for Entry - Beads of Whimsy

The Textile Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the Upper Midwest Bead Society is calling for entries for a gallery exhibit which will highlight the creativity of bead artists internationally. The exhibition, Beads of Whimsy, will run from March 7 - April 12, 2008 in the Joan Mondale gallery at the Textile Museum.

All entries must contain at least 50% beads, have been created after January 1, 2007 and be whimsical in nature. "Artists are encouraged to let their imaginations fly to create something in a whimsical spirit." Wearable and non-wearable submissions such as necklaces, purses, wall hangings and sculpture will be accepted.

The deadline for entries is November 30, 2007.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bead Theme - Have a Cup 'o Joe

Here is some beady inspiration from our contributing members for the monthly challenge theme, Coffee Haus. Enjoy!
Don't you just love the little fancy cakes and pastries they serve at coffee shops? Charms by Earthenwood Studio.

Coffee Mug Button by Creative Impressions in Clay

Good to the last drop! Beads by Cindy Gimbrone.

What's more perfect than a coffee colored donut? Elaine Ray Beads

Morning News In Rust by Virginia Miska

Coffee Haus Disk Beads by Humblebeads.
Don't wait to enter. Just like a good cup of coffee, November will be gone before we know it!

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Heart Jewlery Tools

Tools are so cool - they help you get the job done is so many different ways.

Use the lever effect and suddenly your hands are stronger.

Tweezers can make your fingers feel smaller and more precise.

Using a clamp or vise can give you a third hand while a magnifying glass can let you see really close up.

This got me thinking about what some of my favorite tools are and one that didn't immediately come to mind is my HP 3210 All in one scanner / copier. Though it took me a couple of minutes to think of it, I really do love it and use it often and for a variety of purposes. I can easily do a quick scan of a bead or pendant to send to a customer or just to keep a record for myself and I can scan finished jewelry if a better picture is not needed. For some reason - when I scan a flat piece, the scanner doesn't create as much glare as a camera flash does. The photocopier function is great for me to copy invoices, copy sketches, cut / paste sketches and enlarge or shrink an image. Anything that I can photo copy, I can also keep a digital record of just as easy.

All - in - one models are significantly more expensive than just a simple copier, but I feel I have really gotten my money out of it and would recommend a scanner / copier to anyone who was trying to decide between just a copier and a scanner / copier.

What are some of your often used "tools" that don't come quickly to your mind, but that you wouldn't want to be without?