Friday, September 30, 2011

September Monthly Blog Tour

"We don't accomplish anything in this world alone... and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one's life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something."  ~Sandra Day O'Connor

This month we are treated to a tapestry of heart and soul as imagined by the quilter's of Gee's Bend. Bold colors, stacked blocks, even tea stained words all play a part in this masterful textile. And the entries this month are a true testament to the vibrancy and life that these quilts embody.

Lynda of SCDiva created a polymer clay quilt block to honor all the quilters in her family's past who inspired her. The palette she chose - rust, red and brown - is beautiful for fall. 

Starting with a vintage copper button adorned with colorful ribbons and accenting the texture with a grouping of bumpy lampwork beads, Klassy Jool made a cute and sassy bracelet design that would bring a smile to your face.

Personally, I have a tendency to overthink things, and sometimes my designs get overworked because of it. But Cilla of Tell Your Girlfriends proves that simple can be striking if you have something beautiful to work with. The lampwork glass she chose is a fun palette that just makes me happy!

Molly of Beautifully Broken Me (above) says this is her favorite challenge to date! And we can see why. She was inspired by the love of her grandma who taught her how to sew. But more than that, Miss Molly created a stained glass mosaic that is the perfect embodiment of the inspiration quilt. Fabulous! 

As Bee Tree by m.e. says, "I am amused and amazed that artists WILL make Art no matter what!!!" The lack of resources did not hinder the creativity of the Gee's Bend quilters. m.e. made sure to use a variety of textures and patterns including flowers for blossoming talent, birch bark rolled beads, hand painted rag silk and even an old thread spool. This design is a beautiful tribute to those talented ladies of Gee's Bend!

I am all about trees right now. Can't get enough of their branches and of course the amazing blankets of color that they are robed in right about now. And apparently Angela Lund-Logan is also on the same wavelength. Check out her beautiful necklace!

With a nod to the exuberant color palette and the 'wonky lines' used in the quilt, Miss Heather of My Muse, Aquariart (above) made a very tactile bib necklace. The fabric, the tassles, the game tiles are all a wonderful folksy feel, perfect for any quilter. And Heather ought to know, as she is one of the most inventive designers with fabric I have seen!

Mixed media seems to be the order of the day and completely in keeping with the quilter's use of whatever textiles they could find, so Honey from the Bee used vintage buttons, an old belt buckle and some brass tags as well as some Fordite beads that are the ultimate form of beady recycling! This colorful and varied necklace encourages you to Dream A Little Dream with Honey from the Bee.

Cece the Beading Yogini was inspired to create her own textile by knotting colorful threads around a wire base. This clever focal was accented by what else...buttons!

Being doubly inspired, Kathy Engstrum of CatherinesDreams made not one but TWO entries this month! Both feature a completely fun color palette and an explosion of pattern. See the first one above and go to her blog for Part II!

The Bead Therapist went in search of the perfect art beads for this month's challenge and came up with a wonderful glass artist using bright pops of color and multiple textures. This bracelet would be fun to wear and the plus is that it would go with absolutely everything in your closet!

 Mary Harding created a beautiful pendant inspired by actual seaweed from a walk on a Maine beach in the perfect fall colors that I just want to wrap myself in.

I have always had a fascination with sewing and quilting in particular. To be so focused on making those little squares and seeing that each piece will be part of a beautiful larger whole is magic. And those who wrangle seed beads hold that fascination with me as well. Mackin-Art literally wove a tapestry of seed beads that mimics the quilt perfectly.

Lisa Cone of Inspired Adornments created a double-sided focal for her bracelet. On one side there is a resin mosaic of the words "housetop" for the name of the quilt and the other is a little mini felted quilt square. Genius!

And finally, I actually didn't think that I had it in me this month to participate, but that is a stated goal of mine to do each monthly challenge (you all need to keep me honest!), and after perusing all the wonders that you created, I decided that I had no excuses and I would get it done (unfortunately, my son has the same procrastination gene that I have have so he was feverishly working on the first major book report of the year!). You can read all about my artful procrastination here.;-)

Thanks for hopping on the monthly challenge blog tour with us! Stay tuned next week for a look at the October challenge!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Holiday Gift Ideas - Eight Free Jewelry Projects

With the chill in the air and October looming only days away I realized it's time to start thinking about the holidays.  I love making jewelry this time of year for both my gift list and for shows.  

Here are eight free projects to give you a jump start on your gift-making ideas!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Autumn Inspired Art Beads

I'm so in love with autumn it hurts. I can't get enough of the colors here in Michigan - my first fall season in 10 years!  Each trip outside I feel like I have to have my camera ready to snatch those fleeting bursts of color.  The textures and shapes of foliage and trees make me giddy!

I've pulled out my ravens, owls, oak leaves, pine cones, acorns and tree beads - I'm chasing after the season in beads!

I see I'm not alone in my autumnal inspiration! Here are my picks of artist created beads inspired by the hues and symbols of the season.

Pine Cone Lampwork Beads

Handmade lampwork glass bead...

Lampwork Carnelian Dragonfly...

Small Ginko Leaf Pendant

Parched handmade stoneware b...

Acorn Bead Pair

Oak Leaves Pendant - Yellow ...

Leafy Tree Pendant

Ceramic Bead Donut Pendant P...

SALE Naos Glass - Indian Sum...

Brand New Autumn Bittersweet...

Autumn Delight Leaves - Hand...

Handmade Lampwork Glass Bead...

AUTUMN DROPS - Set of 6 Hand...

Autumn Harvest - handmade l...

Lampwork Glass Handmade Flow...

October by Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.

The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.

Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Art Bead Versatility and Special Orders

Circle Buttons
Clay is a very versatile material, be it earth clay or polymer clay. I use a low fire white earth clay.
Whether you were aware of the versatility of clay or not, I wanted to show you the possibilities using one design.

Have it your way...No holes (cab), 1 hole, 2 holes (one on each side), 2 holes (as a button), 4 holes (as a button), cutout, cutout with 2 holes. Cabochons, connectors, buttons, pendants or clasps.
As you can see there are so many possibilities with one design and mold.

Other options not shown, are imbedding Kanthal (high fire) wire into the clay. The clay is fired with the wires in place. Imagine the button on the bottom right with 2 wire loops in place of the two holes. If 2 aren't enough add one or two more.

Need it different way? Just ask. As your mom told you, it doesn't hurt to ask.
In other words, have it your way. You need a piece of your design puzzle to fit your vision.
Special orders don't upset us!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Featured Designer - Karyn of Plus Size Bangles

Each Monday the Art Bead Scene features a Designer of the Week.
One of our editors picks her favorite from the Monthly Challenge entries.
This week's featured designer is;
 Karyn of Plus Size Bangles!
Here is what ABS editor Shannon has to say about this special piece;
"The professionalism of the photo lept out at me from the entries page and when I clicked to get a closer look, I totally "got" this necklace. I was really excited to see the close up texture of the hemp as it pulled from the burlap in Lillie Mae's quilt.  The colors and image of the resin bezel a perfect souvenir of such a treasure as "Housetop".
Please take time to view Karyn's other earthy but elegant offerings in her etsy store.  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sundays with Cindy, now with Melanie

 Hi there!  If you are a long time reader of the Art Bead Scene, you might remember me: Melanie Brooks of Earthenwood Studio.  I helped start the blog way back in the first posts and wrote here for quite some time.  My business and life took off in various directions, so I had to take a break for a while, but I am back now to present you with the Sunday posts!  Editor Cindy Gimbrone has decided to hand over the Sundays with Cindy posts over to me.  I would like to thank her for posting such great links for us every weekend and I hope I will be able to a good job filling her beady shoes!

Next week I will start posting with a new title and I hope to bring some additional fun content to your Sunday posts.  I am looking forward to being a part of the Art Bead Scene team again!  And now here are this week's beady links:
A Bead A Day
Have you ever made a zipper pull to match a pair of earrings? Check out this first attempt! Jewelry Making
Jazz up your eyes with this beaded eye glass chain tutorial. 
Art Bead Scene
Shannon shares some tricks of the trade regarding jewelry metal punches. 
Beading Arts
What do you do with copper tube beads? Make a fabulous necklace, of course! 
Cindy Gimbrone Beads
This week's Tuesday Tangle is about experimentation and trying new designs. 
Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie gets ready to join up in the Etsy Boot Camp and is looking for more recruits! 
Resin Crafts!
Resin crafts has a few tips about resin and polymer clay. 
Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews (and holds a giveaway!) of Jamie Cloud Eakin's fabulous new bead embroidery technique book, coming out in early October! And posts a Blythe doll photo, of course. 

The Bead Dreamer
Love miniatures? Charlene takes miniature book components, paper, ribbon and a few beads and makes a mini book necklace. You can too!

Melanie Brooks is the ceramic beadmaker behind Earthenwood Studio, who blogs from her Metro Detroit, Michigan home.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Studio Saturday with Missficklemedia

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.

This week's winner is Baglady! Congratulations! You have won a Mystery Button from Tari! Send Tari an e-mail with your address and she will get your prize out to you soon!

This week’s Studio Saturday is my turn, Shannon with I have been buried under paper work for the past month and nothing else is getting done. Not only did I have inventory sheets to send out with jewelry shipments for 4 stores, but there was a ton of insurance forms, new patient forms for an allergist, school paperwork for 2 kids, tax forms and wholesale invoices. Articles and stepped out projects were also needed which means math and measuring. With so many half finished projects in the air, this amount of time being sucked away by paper work is draining me of creative energy. 

 In addition, I had problems with custom orders, my third pair of hole punch pliers broke, metal I needed wasn’t available, a case of lacquer was delayed and my tumbler got the dreaded black plaque from oil residue that required way more hours of labor I had to fix it.

 This means that all the goodies I had ready to put in my shop have sat in a box, collecting dust for the past month instead of being photographed, listed, shopped and designed with. 
As a result, sales have all but stopped.


 So aside from paying off debts and getting caught up with bills, this next month’s focus is going to be loading up my store for the upcoming holidays! While this might mean no more custom requests for awhile, it definitely doesn’t mean that there are no grungy patina goods available. 

Until I get the new items listed I would like to offer a sneak peek in the form of a give-away;
A Color Wrapped Key pendant!
If you would like to be entered to win this saffron color wrapped, antiqued key pendant, simply leave a comment to this blog post, answering this question; What are you doing this year to ready yourself for the holidays? 
Trying out a new show? Streamlining your line? Packing your store full of delicious beadful goodness?
Let us know what you're up to!
Thank you for visiting us here at Art Bead Scene!
Much Love & Respect,

Friday, September 23, 2011

Charming Experiments: Free Tutorial

Double dips are a good way to test out potential color combinations instead of taking the time to make a bead. Yet what do I do with those color experiments I don't end up offering to customers?

Make them into charms! Here's the tutorial I wrote last year for the double dip charms. Of course, the double dips can be cut with wire cutters and used as headpins but I like to see how many different things I can make with them. The charms are a particularly nice way to add accent color and use my color experiments.

If you don't know where to buy the double dips, they're available over on Cindy Gimbrone Beads. Enjoy!

Tutorial by Cindy Gimbrone first appeared on her blog, Lampwork Diva. She shares it with the Art Bead Scene Community by permission.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bronze and Copper Clay Components - Without a Kiln

Since I first started creating with art beads, I have noticed a distinct lacking in the area of artisan created bronze and copper metal clay beads and components.
This is understandable, the time and money invested into this media demand a higher price than other more easily created production work. 

Why this is important to me is because;
1. I cannot afford a kiln right now and I need to work with these certain metal alloys to demonstrate how patinas work with them

2. I like to support other artists of handmade beads and components in my own handmade jewelry I send in to stores and

3.  With endless, unique varieties of creating with base metal clay components, the market won't be over saturated with similar designs for a couple of years.

So I began collecting links to the few jewelry artists that did offer these fascinating bits of fired metal as limited edition beads that we could use in our hand crafted jewelry.

Here is a list of my favorites:

Kristi Bowman Design
You may remember Kristi from her very generous sponsorship of Art Bead Scene's July challenge

 Jennifer Tough
I have been collecting Jennifer's worry beads since 2010 and I have several of her flowers ready to rivet onto metal ring bands!
Dana is a new discovery for me and exactly what I pictured swinging from the end of long patinated lariat chains!
LeAnn is adding to her bead making skills and is now offering hollow tube beads from bronze clay! 

I certainly hope you enjoy working with these artists components as I have, in fact there a few free design projects I would love to share in future posts! If you know of any art bead or component makers that work skillfully in bronze or copper clay media, please share a link with us in the comments.

Much Love & Respect,
Shannon LeVart

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Free Project: Woodsy

"A wise old owl sat on an oak
The more he saw the less he spoke
The less he spoke the more he heard
Why aren't we like that wise old bird?"

Owls are associated with wisdom. They can see things that others can't. Apparently I needed to heed the power of the owl because I was ignorant of how social media could work for me.

I am not a big fan of Facebook, as I would rather spend my time blogging, and Twitter is just way too brief for me (please, I say 140 characters before I even get out of bed in the morning!). But I know that a lot of you are out there on Facebook quite regularly. After I spent the night listing things (please, Etsy, make it even quicker for me to batch edit and list items!) I stopped into Facebook for my bi-weekly check in. I added a picture of one of the little hooties to my profile and within moments I had hits and mentions and comments and hops... it was viral, I tell you! I have never seen anything like it. And because of that little innocent posting I even sold a bunch of things. (Note to self: rethink your aversion to Facebook). My point is that I wasn't even planning that interaction and yet there it was.

This necklace features one of the first wise old owls that I made in my 'simple truths' like back in January 2011. With the cooler weather in the air, I have been making up a clutch of young owlets like my first wide-eyed friend, and apparently you like him! (Note to self: make more owlets). I submitted this little guy to a magazine...but he got rejected :-( Sad for me, but a bonus for you! I think that he is too cute to keep to myself, so I am going to share him with you for free! So here is a project to design your own fall-inspired, asymmetrical necklace.

23” antique copper bar chain, Industrial Chic line (or substitute what you have!)
6 etched brass jump rings
1 etched brass oval jump ring, Vintaj
4 antique copper jump rings, Vintaj
1 brass ball head pin
1 leaf toggle bar, Vintaj
1 leaf toggle, Vintaj
6” 20 gauge bronze wire, Vintaj
6 antique copper cog spacers, TierraCast
3 polymer clay disk beads, Humblebeads (or substitute ceramic for an earthy feel!)
1 long antique copper branch, Nunn Designs (or make your own with thick 16 gauge copper wire hammered and twisted into a branch shape)
2 short antique copper branches, Nunn Designs
1 copper leaf stamping, similar found at AccesoriesSusan

Finished size: 18” with a 1” drop
Step by step:
1: Separate the chain into two 10 ½” pieces and two 1” pieces. Set aside.
2: Cut the wire into three 2” sections. Create a wrapped loop stringing one copper cog spacer, one polymer clay bead and one copper cog spacer. Finish with a wrapped loop. Repeat two more times.
3: Connect the wrapped bead links with the etched jump ring. Attach the two long pieces of chain to the jump ring on one side. Attach the two short pieces of chain to the jump ring on the other side, ending with another jump ring.
4: Connect the pendant to this jump ring. 

5: Position the branch connections so that they form an open space in the middle. Connect them together using small jump rings. To the middle branch add the copper leaf stamping. Attach an etched jump ring to one side, and connect the other side to the jump ring in step 4.
6: Use a small jump ring to attach the leaf toggle to the etch jump ring.
7: On the other end of the chain, connect an oval etched jump ring. Thread the brass ball head pin to the leaf toggle bar and created a wrapped loop underneath. Open the oval brass jump ring and thread the toggle bar and the two remaining ends of the chain.

I think I need to get back in the studio and make more of these happy little owlets because they are literally flying out the door!

Happy creating! 

Do you design around the seasons and traditional themes, or do you just design what you will like?
What sort of motifs are you seeking as themes for your designs this fall and for the upcoming winter/holiday season?

Do tell!