Friday, April 17, 2015

Inside the Studio: 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 free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.

Congratulations to DivyaN!

You have won a $20 gift certificate to Ema K Designs.  
Send Ema an email to claim your gift certificate. 

Welcome to the Humblebeads Studio today. My studio is crazy disaster today as I have too many deadlines and projects on my plate at the moment. When that happens I tear through my studio like a hurricane. And then the mess spills over to the kitchen table and soon every flat surface in the house has a project going. 

I'm busy getting ready for trunk show this weekend and have been adding in custom orders and fun projects to round out my inventory. The believe and wish cuff started off as special orders. I can't always fit in a special order, but if it's something in line with what I already do and I'm looking to add new beads they are just the what I need. Of course, I use molds for these beads and have been whipping out little piles of them now! 

These bees have been enjoying flying off around the country. Gotta give props to the bees, we wouldn't be here without them! They started out inspired by a winter set that I did and I wanted to create a spring version and the bees replaced snowflakes - as they should!!!

Another custom order that fit nicely into my regular line of beads. The rings will be fun to work into different designs. Can't wait to see what jewelry designers do with them.

So I'm going to giveaway a $35 gift certificate to 

Your assignment, take a quick peek at and let me know what would be your wish from me if I was bead genie and could make any Humblebeads that you wished. Is there a type of bead you'd like to see me make or a variation of some kind that I haven't thought of yet. 

Leave a comment below, we will draw a winner next Friday. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Complimentary Components

I'm always fascinated to see what other supplies designers mix in with their art beads. Today I thought I'd share the finds I made as I search for supplementary materials to use with your art beads when designing for this month's challenge.  I have some standard materials that I reach for: czech glass is usually at hand.  I get a lot from fellow editor, Rebecca's shop.

When I did my regular Etsy picks post earlier in the month, I struggled to find suitable monkey beads. Fortunately there are lots of cool vintage monkeys around the place.

I love vintage components nearly as much as I love art beads. Well, I might even love them both the same.

So cute in earrings! And look at these beauties:

How about some gemstones...

This black tourmaline has some edge to it; maybe you're more taken with the gauzy butterflies and dragonflies in Kahlo's painting.

And finally, a little more Czech glass:

Bye for now, Claire

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Perfect Pairings :: LaTouchables + TwoSistersDesignss

I love the spirit of exploration and innovation that this experimental earring by Dawn of LaTouchables embodies. She describes how she used the top stem of a garlic plant, hand-drawn leaves forming lacy foliage along with a metal art bead that has a distinctive pattern on the top. Those thorns are real, from her rose bush, and make this appear slightly sinister. Perhaps not the most wearable piece of art, but art nonetheless!
And I think that Miss Frida would be proud!

Featured Designer :: Dawn of LaTouchables  
Featured Bead Artist :: TwoSistersDesignss 

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 April 28th!

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, April 14, 2015

Art Beads Inspired by Frida kahlo's painting Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird

                         Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird by Frida Kahlo

Each month Art Bead Scene posts a painting, or other piece of art work to inspire readers to create a piece of jewelry and or an art bead.  On our Beads Monthly Challenge Pinterest Board this month we have several new art bead artists to introduce you to: Andrea Salkowe of Josephine Beads; Cate Van Alpen of Fulgorine Beads; Julie Wong Sontage of Uglibeads and Sue Evenson of Tres Jolie Designs by Sue.
Last month, you may remember I wrote about the bead artists inspired by Emily Carr's painting.
You can view that post Here.  This month the artists I mentioned above have been inspired by Frida Kahlo's painting Self- Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird.

I will begin with Andrea Salkowe of Josephine Beads.  This is her first time submitting beads for the Art Bead Scene Challenge.  She writes that she was inspired by the primitive aspects of Frida Kahlo's work in combination with  the sophistication of her style.   She believes the beads pictured below capture these two elements of Kahlo's painting.

I love the primitiveness and yet sophistication of Frida's painting and life. These beads I created have that feel to me. Thanks for letting me join the board!
                     Ceramic Bead by Andrea Salkowe of Josephine Beads

Andrea's career as an artist has involved many different mediums but  now her favorite is clay.
Here are a few examples of "her tiny works of art" as she calls her beads.

          Set of 10 handmade ceramic glazed art beads cubes "box numbers"Set of 10 handmade ceramic glazed art beads cubes "box numbers" on Etsy         

  When I corresponded with Andrea about her work she shared her ideas about bead making with me and gave me permission to post them here:

My objective is to challenge the definition of the word bead, to enable jewelry artists to stretch their imaginations, exploring ever changing possibilities in color and texture.

Wikipedia defines the bead as a small, decorative object that is formed in a variety of shapes and sizes.and that is pierced for threading or stringing.  This seems very narrow to me. Having painted on many mediums in my life, I consider my ceramic beads and pendants as intimate 3 dimensional canvases. The options are endless and take me on a never-ending journey. I truly hope that those who love to create will travel along with me, incorporating my bits of art in their own creations.

Beads have been in existence for over 40,000 years. Buried in ancient tombs to carry their story into the next life. These little objects of adornment tell my storya diary or journal so to speak, leading up to where I now am and where my dreams might take me along lifes journey."

When I asked Andrea to share some pictures  with us of her beads illustrating some of these ideas she sent me the following ones:
Set of 7 handmade quirky wordy ceramic glazed hollow art beads jewelry pendants  "stream of consciousness"
Set of 7 handmade quirky wordy ceramic glazed hollow art beads jewelry pendants "stream of consciousness" by Andrea Solkowe

Set of 7 handmade ceramic glazed art beads cubes with amazing surfaces "crawling cubes2"
Set of 7 handmade ceramic glazed art beads cubes with amazing surfaces "crawling cubes2 by Andrea Solkowe

You can find more of Andrea's work at Josephine Beads on Etsy


Next we will meet Julie Wong Sontag of Uglibeads. Julie is a lampwork bead artist from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  She tells that she first was smitten with beads at a very early age by a necklace in her mother's jewelry box--a loom woven piece made by a Canadian First Nations craftsperson.  At 12 she bought her first bead book  Beads!! by Stephanie Tomlin.  Today she is a  full time  self supporting lampwork artist.  She is proud to report that she is not self-taught and that she loves to learn.  She has been making lampwork beads since 2001 when she made her first strand of Ugly Beads.  She still has it and it morphed into the name of her business:  Uglibeads.  Julie says she picked that name because it "reminds me of the importance of learning and growing, and giving myself permission to try - and fail - at new things. When you first start making stuff, whether it’s jewelry, art beads, poetry, music, whatever - your first attempts aren’t always pretty. Why should they be? You’re a beginner, right?"

Julie's submission on Pinterest for this month's ABS Challenge is pictured below:
APR ABS Monthly Challenge. Art glass lampwork focal bead by Julie Wong Sontag of Uglibeads. I was drawn to the leaf motif, and also picked up on the shimmer of the dragonfly and butterfly wings with some reflective silver areas. The mysterious penetrating eyes of the cat are echoed in the dot patterning. You really have to click on the full view to appreciate all the details and subtle silvery color reactions in this one! #uglibeads

When I asked her about her inspiration for this bead she told me "Most of the time, inspiration happens organically for me. When I saw this month's challenge, I was very drawn to the colors and symbolism in this powerful, almost hypnotic self-portrait of Frida. I saw in it her strength, bravery, and resilience. The color palette was informed by the Monthly Challenge, but the meaning in the bead grew out of a very emotional and moving experience I'd had that day. When my beads can tell a story and communicate a feeling, I feel I've done my job.

When the bead emerged from the kiln the following day, I was not surprised to see the subconscious influence of the painting's intriguing details. Of course, the leaf motif, but also the shimmer of the dragonfly and butterfly wings, and the mysterious penetrating eyes of the cat echoed in the dot patterning."

Here are 3 more photos of Julie's Work

     Aurora Headpins  by Julie Wong Sontag
 Hollow Beads by Julie Wong Sontag

Crossroads by Julie Wong Sontag

If you would like to see more of Julie's work, I have listed several options.  Currently her Etsy shop is closed but it will reopen soon.   she tells me this is her most active online presence  this is her blog and has lots of information about her beads
You can read an interview Julie did with Esfera Jewelry HERE

Our next bead artist is known to the ArtBeadScene community as a jewelry designer but this month she  posted on our art bead Pinterest board her first attempt at bead making.  But truly she has been making many many beads for her jewelry pieces for some time now.  She is excited about being able to offer some of  her beautiful work as jewelry components.  Lets meet Sue Evenson of Tres Jolie Designs by Sue.
Below is pictured her beads Frida's Leaves

Frida's Leaves Ok, so this is my first attempt at making some sort of bead-like elements. They are made of transparent polymer clay, painted, baked, and then glazed. Holes can be made where needed, using a heavy duty needle or a polymer clay tool (or something like it)
Frida's  Leaves from Tres Jolie Designs by Sue

Sue Evenson says that she has  loved working with her hands and making small things since childhood.  She took those skill into her career as a dentist for 15 years. While a dentist, she used her free time at home to let her "creative spirit go wild" painting on walls, furniture, fabric, clothes and glass.  Fifteen years later, when she decided to stay at home with her 2 young children, she began making jewelry.  Her medium is polymer clay.
Sue tells us about how she works and makes her "beads.
"When you speak about beads, as far as my work goes, I guess they are not your typical beads. Because of them not being traditional, meaning having a some sort of ‘hole’ in it, I have really never entered the ‘bead’ challenge board.  When I design a piece, I have some sort of plan in mind, but I don’t usually put any holes in them until I actually start piecing it together. This allows me to have more freedom as to where I may want the ‘beads’ to go.
I may try and make more beads that I can envision other artists being able to use in the future.  But, having a piercing tool is so important!
I really do so enjoy these challenges.  They have really made me push the envelope!"

Unique Hand Made Polymer Clay Abstract Medallion Statement Necklace
Unique Hand Made Polymer Clay Abstract Medallion Statement Necklace by Tres Jolie Designs by Sue

               Unique Handmade Polymer Clay Statement Floral Necklace~Swirling Flowers~very lightweight

Unique Handmade Polymer Clay Statement Floral Necklace~Swirling Flowers by Tres Jolie Designs by Sue

                                  Unique Handmade Polymer Clay Statement Necklace~Crackled Black Feather-Like Shapes

Unique Handmade Polymer Clay Statement Necklace~Crackled Black Feather-Like Shapes by Tres Jolie Designs by Sue

I am looking forward to seeing Sue offer some of these beautiful leaves, medallions and flower as beading components.
You can see more of Sue's work
Sue's Etsy shop
Her  Flickr Site
Her website 


Our next artist is Cate Van Alphen of Fulgorine who currently hails from the Uk England but spent the first half of her life in South Aftrica;  She is a polymer clay artist who has a varied career as an artist including traditional painting, stained glass and computer animation (she has a degree in computer science.) Cate began working in polymer clay in 2009.  She likes polymer clay because it allows her to work with with both color and texture.  She reports that she has even used polymer clay as paint--again combining her two passions: color and texture.

Cate's 2 submissions to the Bead Pinterest board this month follow.
 Hollow polymer clay cabochon, olive green brown and champagne filigree
Hollow Polymer Clay Cabochon by Fulgorine

Unique green polymer clay art beads, round 12mm diameter
Unique Polymer Green Beads By Fulgorine

When I asked Cate about her inspiration for her beads this month she tells me that

"I'm fairly chaotic and intuitive when I work. When making beads my inspiration usually starts with a colour combination that speaks to me. I try to make my beads with different shapes, sizes and textures so that I can combine them in interesting ways to make a finished piece of jewellery. Often my pieces of jewellery start because I'm inspired by the interaction of beads I find together in my workspace. There's generally a lot of trial and error to find something that looks right. "

Her beads cover a wide range of expression but always reflect her love of color and color combinations.
Kinetic cylinder bead pendant, wire wrapped polymer clay art bead, wine indigo yellow
Kinetic Cylinder Bead by Folgarine

Purple pinstripe polymer clay orchid, unique focal bead slider pendant
Polymer Clay Orchid by Fulgorine  

Stone wall components by Cate van Alphen
an example of some of her textured beads  --you can find out how she made them on her blog post

You can read more about Cate van Alphen at the links listed below
She has some free tutorials Here
She actively blogs Here
You can find her on Facebook Here
She has two Etsy Shops: one for beads and one for her jewelry
I hope you have enjoyed meeting these art bead artists today.  If you would like to participate in the art bead challenge you will find all of the necessary information on how to do it HERE

The ArtBeadSceneTeam and our readers look forward to seeing what you make and how you were inspired.
Thanks so much for stopping by today.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Amuse the Muse - Flower Beads - with Rebecca of Songbead

Hello hello - it's me! Life is rather challenging, shall we say, for me and my little family at the moment, and so I haven't been able to post here on Art Bead Scene as much as I would like to - I'm really lucky to have the support of the team taking over when needs be! However, things are calmer these past few days so I'm here again! Thank you to Tari for taking over for me last week. You are a star! (You should see my own word - TUMBLEWEED.....!)

Flowers are the theme for April, which is happily one of my favourite images to work with in jewellery. Who are your favourite flower bead artists? Do you make flower beads? Leave your links in the comments! 

Here's some of the flowery goodness that the Art Bead Scene team have created to inspire you and your designs. Tari shared a bunch of her beautiful buttons last week, but let's see what everyone else has for you...

Seriously sweet roses from Erin...

Art-inspired floral loveliness from Heather (some of Lottie's favourites too, thank you for the shout out!)...

Handwoven daisies from me...

Impressed copper wildflowers from Ema...

Bold, graphic blooms from Claire...

And a happy, happy scarlet daisy from Mary - don't you just adore this colour combination?  

Which ones are your favourites?

And now for the BeadBlogger Links. Have a great week!

Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer; currently living in Edinburgh, capital of her native land. You can read more about her and her work at her blog, and see more of her jewellery at She also has a supplies shop at

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Art Bead Scene Lounge

We love the Art Bead Scene community and want to hang out! Grab a cup of tea and head over to join the Art Bead Scene's new Facebook group: Art Bead Scene Lounge.

We are just getting the party started this weekend, but plan to jump in with a few surprise giveaways with goodies from the ABS team.

Stop by and join the group today!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Inside the Studio with Ema Kilroy and Cherry Blossoms

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.

Congratulations to Liz!

You have won a $20 gift certificate to Erin Prais-Hintz's lovely shop, Tesori Trovati.  Send Erin an email to claim your gift certificate. 


Hello Art Beading Friends,
It's been some time since I've had a chance to visit with you. I'm happy to be here today. The day job, family life and snow (as I write this post on April 9th, it snowed ... again! Mother nature has been overbearing this winter.) have kept me incredibly busy over the past few months.

I wish I was better at carving out time to create. Lately I've been feeling a sense of lack in myself because my schedule hasn't allowed time for me to relax and create. Or maybe I haven't properly scheduled the time. Whatver the reason I've had plenty of sources for inspiration!

New glass inspired me.
This scrumptious pink glass, Opal Raspberry, by Reichenbach is simply amazing. It's an incredibly expensive glass. This rod is sold by the ounce whereas most glass rods are priced by the pound. I'm always on the hunt for delicious pink glass so when I saw this I couldn't resist, I had to buy a few rods and I'm glad I did. This is simply a luscious glass to work with. 

Raspberry Cherry Blossom

Opal Raspberry Blossoms

Cherry Blossom heart

Staying with the cherry blossom theme I was inspired by a scarf worn by my friend. She was kind enough to take it off so I could snap a couple photos to use for my inspiration.

 Cherry blossom scarf ....

... becomes Cherry Blossom beads.

I also found inspiration in a blog; Earrings Everyday March Inspiration photos. Our own Erin Prais-Hintz choose some fantastic macro dragonfly photos for the March inspiration. Here is just one. I just love these photos!

Macro Inspirations

I'd like to explore these macro photos a bit more. The color combinations and the macro nature of the photos light my creative fires!

(Side note: I'll be listing these beads in my shop on Sunday morning. The beads have been added to my shop on Etsy)

As always, thanks for visiting ABS today.

Please share with me how you manage your time.

Answer this question to win a $20 gift certificate to my shop.

 How do you work creative time into your schedule?

Ema Kilroy is a lampworker and metalsmith living and working in Central Massachusetts.