Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Patina Ideas

The other day I ran across this formula for creating patina on copper sheets with Miracle-Gro and vinegar and thought it would be worth a try. Hint - it has to be the Miracle-Gro water soluble azalea, camellia and rhododendrons plant food. You can read the directions here from Home Depot. 

I would use copper sheets from a jewelry supply shop, Ace Hardware or Hobby Lobby - they don't have a coat and you'd like to use thicker .016 copper sheets for most jewelry projects. 

(Photo credit: Home Depot)

This is a super fun idea from Rena Klingenberg using a Sharpie as a resist for patina - so many possibilities! Check it out here

(Photo credit: Rena Klingenberg)
You can totally fake a patina with Vintaj's Patina paints. Check out the video on Lima Beads here

(Photo credit: Lima Beads)

Another favorite of mine is Swellegant patina paints. I wrote a review with lots of tips a few years ago. Visit my blog for the article here. This is great for updating inexpensive pewter or brass components.

Have fun exploring coloring metal with these simple techniques! And if you try out that Miracle-Gro formula let me know - I'd love to see the results.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Amuse the Muse - Ocean Inspired Beads - with Rebecca of Songbead

Hello all! It's the last week of our ocean-inspired beads roundup - and this week, I'm bringing you a selection of beautiful handmade polymer art beads. Enjoy!

And now for the BeadBlogger Links - have a great week everyone!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Check out Andrew's new bronze creations and find out what he plans to do with them!

Robot Love
Enjoy some fun amigurumi & learn about a few crafting giveaways.

Connie Gee's SAL
Connie has started up a free SAL. Join the Connie Gee's Stitchers group on Facebook to share your progress photos. Find out how to get started.

Silhouette Studio - Tedious Tasks Made Easy
Silhouette Studio conquers two card making issues. Two-sided projects don't align well with desktop printers. Many pieces mean tedious cutting & varied results.

Art Bead Scene
Meet Julie of Uglibeads, one of our fantastic new Art Bead Scene contributors (and FYI, her beads are the opposite of ugly!)

Table Transformation
Cherie transforms an old table into a fun piece for the living room.

Beading Arts
Make a teeny tiny little bead embroidered pendant! It's fast, easy, and a great way to try stitching with the smaller seed beads.

Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer; currently living in the capital city of Edinburgh. You can read more about her and her work at her blog, songbeads.blogspot.com and see more of her jewellery at songbead.etsy.com. She also has a supplies shop at thecuriousbeadshop.etsy.com.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Pantone Fall Color Inspirations

I haven't even started enjoying summer yet and fall is already on the horizon. Actually, more than fall - Bead Fest in Philadelphia and thinking ahead to fall designs for the show is on the horizon! 

When I was designing a new line of beads for fall and samples for an upcoming event I turned to several sources for my inspiration. And when I was struggling with colors, I pulled out the Pantone Fall 2015 top 10 colors and went to town! 

The Pantone palette this season is inspired by the evolving landscape and finds it's inspiration in what they are calling haute hippie, with roots from fashion from the 70's. I really like the muted colors as a starting point.

You can read the color report here and see some Pinterest inspiration here. What do you think? Any color calling your name? For me, I love Biscay Bay, Cashmere Rose and Oak Buff - what a combo!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Inside the Studio with Humblebeads

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 prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard and tell us what you think. The following week a winner is chosen at random from all eligible entries.

Congratulations to Blue Kiln Beads!

You have won a mystery bundle from Claire's latest bead making marathon! 

Hello and welcome to the Humblebeads Studio today! I'm actually on a little hiatus this week - which went by way too fast to work on book #3 for me that will be out next summer. Yeah. But aside from that I have also been busy in my studio this summer creating class samples for fall retreats. (Yes that is plural!)

I will be hosting my 5th annual fall retreat during Halloween weekend in South Haven, MI - my sleepy little hometown.

It's three days of beadmaking and playing with metal and wire to create jewelry. This event is my heart and inspiration wrapped up into three days.

I pick a theme every year to create a collection of jewelry and this year is Forest Floor Treasures. We will go for a nature walk on the trail near my home to a covered bridge over the Black River. It's one of my favorite places here in town and has inspired many a creation in my studio!

If spending three days soaking up my beadmaking knowledge and creating jewelry sounds like a little slice of heaven, stop on over and read all the details. I only have a few spaces left and would love to have an Art Bead Scene reader or two join me!

So on to the giveaway - your favorite part right? At my first retreat I created little name plates for everyone's door. It was a small touch but it was appreciated. I also put together a little fall inspired gift bag with beads from a few of my friends and treats I picked up a bead shows during the year. My first year I even created a little creative scavenger hunt booklet - I should do something like that again!

My question - what little surprise or extra touch would mean a lot to you at a bead retreat? Help me brainstorm some ideas.

One lucky random reader will be picked from the comments for a $25 gift certificate to Humblebeads.com.

---- On a side note: can I tell you how much I love reading all your thoughtful comments on our Inside the Studio posts! I really loved reading about your color combinations last week on Claire's post. You guys are so inspiring. Love ya to pieces!!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ceramic Raku Art Beads

                                    Ceramic Raku fired Beads by Mary Harding

Just last week I did a raku bead firing at my home so that I would have some color samples for a class I would be teaching at the Thousand Islands Art Center in Clayton, New York.   They are pictured above.  The class was exciting and our beads came out well.  Since raku beads are fired quite differently than kiln fired ceramic beads, I thought I would show you a couple of pictures of how they are fired.  For this class the raku firing was a collaborative affair with the ceramic studio and myself. At The Thousand Islands Art Center they have a very skilled potter and a wonderful raku kiln which they break out 4 times a year for a community open studio type event.  The public can purchase a pot, glaze it with raku glazes and watch it get fired.  We were invited to participate in this firing which took place last week.

The picture above is of the kiln.  It  has a crank that opens it from the top after it reaches the temperature of 1800F  degrees.  The kiln is fueled by a propane tank like the ones used for outdoor grills.
This picture shows the kiln being opened up.  You can see the flames that heat it on the sides and the tool in the foreground is the giant tongs used to pull out the red hot ware (and our homemade bead rack) and put it in barrels that are full of shredded paper and other combustibles.  Once the lid is placed on these containers,  the beads and pots will be starved of oxygen which will in turn entice the glazes to show their metallic colors of copper, blue, red and more.  This is called the  reduction phase.  After about 20 minutes  the hot pots and beads are dunked in water which completes the process and causes the metallic colors to brighten and some of the glazes to crackle.    
Now that you  have some idea of the process for making raku beads, I would like to share with you today a number of raku fired art beads I  have found on the web.  Raku beads can be very colorful and they can also be gungy and dark with exotic surfaces.  I hope you enjoy this raku bead tour.                        
                          Handmade Raku Fired Ceramic - Lentil Bead - Focal Bead - in shades of Turquoise Emerald and Copper
                               Beautiful Raku Fired Lentil Bead By Lisa Peters Art
We will start with Lisa Peters, who  has long been at the forefront of raku bead making.
You can see the metallic glints of copper at the center of this beads.  The dark areas of black are characteristic of raku fired beads as well.
Marianne Kasparian, is the creative person behind Maku Studio.  She too has been making raku fired art beads for a number of years.  Her work is characterized by strong metallic colors and bold images.
Raku Ceramic Heart Pendant Jewelry Handmade Gifts         by MAKUstudio
                                  Raku Ceramic Heart Pendant by Maku Studio

Raku Ceramic Pendant Raku Jewelry Supply Handmade             by MAKUstudio

                                   Raku Ceramic Pendant by Maku Studio

Love all those swirls of red copper and blue which the raku firing made happen.

198. Three Raku Autumn Midnight Rusty Copper Leaves
                              Raku fired feathers by Wondrous Strange

More metallics, this time in golds and silver.
164. Viking Invasion Hoard  Ten Charms Copper Moss Green Burgundy  Raku Pendants
Viking Invasion Hoard Raku Fired Charms and Pendants  by Wondrous Strange

Raku Steampunk Rivet and Filigree Necklace Connector
From Petra Compeau of Scorched Earth a raku fired steampunk necklace connector

Raku Iron Age Pendant - Steely
Raku Iron Age Pendant   Scorched Earth on Etsy

Urban Industrial Tribal Raku Earring Shield Earrings
Incredible metallics  titled  Urban Industrial Tribal  Shield  Earring components from  Duane Collins of Elements Pottery
Raku and Copper Focal Bead Set

Stunning set of raku fired beads is bright copper and other metallics by Elements Pottery
Gilded Buds-  Handmade Porcelain Raku Connectors

Gilded Buds Porcelain Raku Connectors by Kiyoi Design
Handmade Porcelain Raku Pods
Porcelain Raku Pods by Kiyoi Designs

Pendant gold raku ceramics - jewels in raku - europeanstreetteam

Modernistic Raku Fired Pendant by Thomas Lussi of RakuLabFly

Buttons raku pottery and copper yellow half-moon - europeanstreetteam - rakulabfly

Button Set by Thomas Lussi  RakuLabFly

I want to finish up this tour with the delicate raku screen printed pendants by Caroloine Dewison of  BlueberriBeads  The one above is a screen print on ceramic clay that has been raku fired!!!

      And this pendant is a Raku and Lustre fired Fox Pendant by BlueberriBeads

  I hope you have enjoyed this look at raku art beads.  May they inspire and enrich you.
Thanks so much for stopping by,

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Perfect Pairings :: Dawn of LaTouchables + Something To Do Beads + Mudrenko + Balelaceramics

There is a certain peaceful simplicity in everything that Miss Dawn of LaTouchables makes. I always stand in awe. I aspire to have this level of confidence in my own voice. Her pieces always sing, and the song seems to come from a deeper place, one that is ancient and timeless and mystical. I am fascinated with the way she plays with fibers, old pieces of fabric, rough pieces of raffia, tiny stitched embellishments and a hand-crocheted cord to tie it all together. The colors are at once muted and yet vibrant in their juxtaposition. She chooses her beads wisely with an eye of a curator. I love that she chose NOT to make this a literal interpretation. There isn't a shell to be found in here. Yet, it embodies shamanistic qualities that feel as ancient as the sea with a wisdom of the ages in that tiny pouch. 

Featured Designer :: Dawn of LaTouchables
Featured Bead Artists ::

Just a friendly reminder... We have a slightly new format for uploading your pictures for consideration for the Perfect Pairings each Wednesday, as well as the Monthly Challenge Recap post. 

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 to! And don't forget to tell us about those art beads!

Deadline to get your pictures posted to the Pinterest boards for the creation of the
Monthly Challenge Recap post is July 29th

TIP: If you upload your photo to pin it 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. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hello from Julie, of Uglibeads!

Before I join in the regular rotation here on the Art Bead Scene blog, I’ve been asked to introduce myself! So... here's a big hello!

I’ve been an avid reader of the Art Bead Scene blog for quite some time now. I always look forward to seeing the new posts. I have to tell you though, my very favorite thing is the Monthly Challenge.

I’m a glass beadmaker, and I’m always looking for new inspiration to use in my work. Last month, I was mesmerized by the beautiful, bright colors and leaf motifs in the challenge painting. I took a break from a big project I was working on, and had a play day. Every once in a while, you REALLY need one! I was so excited when I pulled these big hollow beads out of the kiln the next day! Hollow beads are one of my favorite things to make, and they’re magical to hold, because they are so surprisingly light for their size.

Since I had all those *gorgeous* colors out on my worktable, I awarded myself another play day (when you're the boss, you can do that!), and carried on with a series of funky disk-shaped bead pairs. I love the combination of the bright colors and the bumpy, imperfect organic shapes!

I’ve been making glass beads since 2001, and it is now my full-time job. But of course, it's my passion too. I think about beads... way too much. Glass beads are a double whammy: of course I've had a nearly lifelong obsession with beads, but as a material, I also find glass endlessly fascinating. Strength and fragility... transparence and opacity... cool reflection and fiery, molten movement. It’s such cool (hot) stuff.

Aside from making as many beads as I can (despite the ridiculous heat that the summer weather brings... ladies who work with torches and kilns, raise your hands...), and spending time with my amazing husband, I have been working on a very personal side project. This weekend, I’ll be attending my first local arts market, where I’ll be selling..... jewelry. That’s a big, scary, new adventure for me! (Any wise advice for calming the pre-show jitters? Let’s hear it!)

Usually, I make the beads, and that’s where my contribution ends. I leave the designing magic to my very, very talented customers. But about 8 months ago, I began making a series of small lampwork pendants. Something about them really captured my attention. 

I couldn't resist keeping one and wearing it myself, gradually picking out beads and stones and other materials I could wear with it, investigating its amuletic properties. Since then I've done a lot of exploring. Through my research and reading about amulets, charms, and talismans, I’ve become totally fascinated (read: obsessed) by the history and lore of objects that people all over the world have worn for personal protection or good fortune.

For a long time I’ve been experimenting, struggling to discover my ‘thing’ when it comes to jewelry. Beads, I can do. But jewelry... is a challenge. If you’re in the beginning stages of a new creative journey, like me, you might identify with that. Maybe you're a jewelry maker who wants to learn to make your own components - or a weaver who wants to learn how to paint! We all run into that feeling of not quite knowing where to begin. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the amazing work out there. It can be very intimidating!

After thinking about it a lot, I realized that I do know a few things about beginning. I mean, there was a moment when I sat down at a torch, with no clue, and made my first bead, right? No matter what it is you’re learning, whatever medium or form of expression you want to explore, you have to start somewhere. And starting with something that has personal meaning to you, that makes your heart happy when you make it or wear it... that’s the way to go.

And that is exactly how I feel with my amulets. I feel like I'm onto something BIG. Something that goes really deep and connects to who I am, right at the very core. And that's where the creative magic happens, you know?

Will they get better over time? Of course they will! It's just the beginning. But we have to celebrate the first steps too. They're important, and they're special.

Here’s one of the first amulet necklaces I made; designed to bring me inspiration and good creative energy. I’ve been wearing this one almost daily. I think it's working!

That's one of my mini pendants (right), an etched lampwork ring in the middle (I made that too), some gorgeous African beads, and a bit of hammered and wrapped copper wire.

I look forward to sharing more with you in future posts, but for today, I’ll leave you with another amulet necklace. Some of my own beads, a large recycled glass bead from Africa, river  // beach rocks, and bone. This one, for strength and courage:

Ok, and one more bead photo! Because I am after all, still a beadmaker at heart ;)

If you’d like to read more about my process, my inspirations, and how I became a beadmaker in the first place, Janine Lucas of Esfera Jewelry interviewed me >> here << a while back. She did a really fantastic job. I invite you to take a look!

Before I go, I’d like to say what a pleasure it is to join the group of talented artists who make Art Bead Scene what it is. Each and every one of them does amazing, inspiring work, and I’m honored and humbled to be part of such a great team!



f a c e b o o k : www.facebook.com/uglibeads
i n s t a g r a m : @jules_sontag