Friday, July 3, 2015

Inside the Studio :: Erin Prais-Hintz, Tesori Trovati Jewelry

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 thecolorofdreams on winning a $20 gift certificate to Mary Harding's  Etsy shop.
Email Miss Mary
to claim your prize!

Today we visit with Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati.

My studio is a shambles and I have been so very busy with traveling for beads, ballparks and ballet the entire month of June. And July will be no different. But in between all of the busy-ness, I have some projects that have popped up that involve making kits for sale. So I thought I would let you in on how I go about kitting a project. I call these Creativity to Go kits. I got my first taste of kitting late last year. I enjoy it and I hope to offer more in the future!

The first thing that I do is come up with a project.

That is the easy part! One of the kits that I am making this month will be sold through Interweave (keep an eye out!). The Interweave kit requires a brand new, on-trend jewelry project that will be targeted to new crafters. It will be mixed media in nature, and I think that the idea I have will be fun to play with.

The other kit I am making is a based on my own design featured in the upcoming Create Jewelry magazine. (I can't wait to get my copy of this! It is always a highlight of my year!) Their themes are based on color and one of the pieces that I submitted is called "Seek Beautiful Moments" for their Warm Hues section. Since the focal is only available from me, I thought that a kit would be a good idea.

The focal for this bracelet is from my 'Sari Snapshot' line of Simple Truths. The bright colors are complemented by the marquise-shaped dangles and a chunky brass chain. It is a fun and flirty look that has a lot of impact and movement.

The second thing that I do is come up with a list of all the items that make up the project, right down to the last bead and crimp.

I start with scribbled notes and sketches, and then hit the internet to start researching. To keep track of everything, I put together a spreadsheet so that I can track where I purchase the materials and at what per piece price. That way I can have a record of what I bought and from where, in case I have to duplicate it, plus it helps me with the kit pricing.

It takes a lot of research to put together a kit. Unfortunately, there is no 'one-stop shopping' when putting these types of things together. Sometimes I have to make changes for things that I can no longer get, like the chunky chain. You might notice that the one below is different than in the example above. I had to do my best to come up with a similar substitution. One of the key pieces was on back-order for over a month, and so I sat on pins and needles hoping I could actually get them in time!

Could you find all these things yourself from the list of materials in the instructions? Yes. But the cost of a kit covers the fact that I am pulling it all together in one place so you don't have to search it out or buy it in bulk. It takes a lot of time (this one took me almost 3 months to put together!) and effort to track down the best elements in the right quantities. I am hoping that having all the pieces in one place will be the selling point.
Bezels waiting to be filled and chunky chain... a substitution from the one in the magazine that I couldn't find!

Then I need to divvy up the materials.

When I did my kits in January for the Fabulous Facets DVD from Interweave, they left it completely up to me as to what I would include and how to package it. I know that branding is important and I wanted my buyers to feel like they were getting a gift, the gift of creativity. So I put just about everything in the box that they would need, right down to the paint brush and paint palette and made it feel a bit like a present, which of course it was!

For the 'Seek Beautiful Moments' kits, I have decided to do the same, and make sure that everything needed is included.

However, I decided that I would create it in two limited edition colorways...

'Seek Beautiful Moments' bracelet kit - the original Spicy color palette
 ...warm and spicy reds and pinks, similar to the piece in the magazine...

'Seek Beautiful Moments' bracelet kit - new Breezy color palette

...but also in cool water colors of blue, green and purple. Because I am all about variation and choice! I am even offering the focal by itself, if that is more your style and you want to create your own piece (but I am hoping that at least some will want to buy the kits!).

For both kits, you can see that I have included everything you would need, right down to the last jump ring. The only thing you have to bring is your pliers!

Packaging production for the Fabulous Facets bead kits, December 2014
Finally, I assemble the packages. to present them? I have been more than inspired by Rebecca's recent posts about packaging. I could certainly just put the pieces in a zip baggie and send them on their way, but I like it when it feels like a bit of care and planning went into the package.

I have decided to package them in a cute drawstring muslin bag with my skeleton key logo stamped on the outside, and I always  - ALWAYS - include a little personalized note. I can jazz it up with ribbons and my little copper skeleton key charm. I just ordered the bags and they should be here in the next few days. I am also getting a custom stamp created so I can further brand the creativity to go kits from a company called The Stampin Place. Sally Booth was a delight to work with, super responsive and I think that price is right! Now I can use this on all sorts of things. When it is all here in the next few days, I can get my 'kit-elf' on the job personalizing the bags for me. Forgot to mention that...everyone needs a helper when putting together kits! It is good to have another set of eyeballs on them to be sure they are complete. My 'kit-elf' is a stickler for details, so I know they will be done right! ;-)

It is a lot of math (*shudders*), with the calculating cost per item, per kit, and the counting out of each and every supply. So while that part is not something that I look forward to, I do love the idea that others can learn from something I have created, which is one of the biggest pay-offs.

In the end, it may be a lot of hassle, but it is worth it to me to offer kits. I like coming up with the ideas, researching where to find all the supplies and then packaging it up to make it special. I hope those that get them will feel the same and that they will spark their own creativity!

These limited edition kits are now for sale in my web shop, Would you like your own? I will give away one 'Seek Beautiful Moments' bracelet kit - in your choice of SPICY (reds/pinks) or BREEZY (blues/greens) color palette just for the price of some sort of answer to the following questions (you don't have to answer them all, just tell me your thoughts on kits!):

Do you buy kits? What kind?
Is there a kit you would you like to try?
Do you prefer them complete, right down to the tiniest finding with the most precise instructions, or just a kickstarter with components and a suggested image you can use in any way possible for your own variations? 

Is there a technique that you would like to be able to learn from a kit? 
What price point do you think works best for a kit?
What do you think about the packaging of a kit?

Or perhaps you sell kits of your own... what kind? Do tell!

P.S. There is a special coupon code in an ad I placed in the Create Jewelry magazine. Be sure to look for the ad I have in there so you can get the coupon code!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

July Monthly Challenge

Still Life with Shells, 1640
BBalthasar van der Ast
Pigments on Panel
(NOTE: painting was lightened for more detail. Actual painting is much darker)

About the Art
Extraordinary shells from distant lands were highly collectable in the 16th and 17th centuries. They arrived in the Dutch Republic on trading ships from the Dutch East and West Indies. We find them in collector's cabinets and in still lifes. The shells depicted here can be easily identified as originating from Indonesia, The Dutch West Indies, Cuba, Florida and West and South Africa.

About the Artist
Balthasar van der Ast (1593/94 – 7 March 1657) was a Dutch Golden Age painter who specialized in still lifes of flowers and fruit, as well as painting a number of remarkable shell still lifes; he is considered to be a pioneer in the genre of shell painting. His still lifes often contain insects and lizards. He was born in Middelburg and died at Delft.

His lifetime of works was once summarized by an Amsterdam doctor who said, "In flowers, shells and lizards, beautiful"

Balthasar van der Ast was born in Middelburg in the Southern Dutch province of Zeeland, in the family of a prosperous wool merchant. His birth was not recorded, but years later, on June 30, 1618, his older brother Jacob’s legal action indicated that Balthasar was around 25 years old at the time, making his birth date 1593 or 1594. His father, Hans, was a widower, and when he died in 1609, Bathasar moved in with his older sister, Maria, and his brother-in-law, the prominent Dutch painter Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder (1573–1621), whom Maria married in 1604.

Van der Ast was trained by Bosschaert as a still life painter, and his early works clearly show Bosschaert’s influence. In turn, the three sons of Ambrosius Bosschaert, Ambrosius the Younger (1609–1645), Johannes (ca. 1612/13-1628 or later), and Abraham (1606-1683/84) were trained by van der Ast upon the death of their father. Together, this group of painters is sometimes referred to as the “Bosschaert dynasty”.

Van der Ast accompanied the Bosschaert family in their move in 1615 to Bergen op Zoom and in 1619 to Utrecht, where van der Ast entered the Utrecht Guild of St. Luke. Roelandt Savery (1576–1639) entered the St. Luke’s guild in Utrecht at about the same time. Savery, had considerable influence on van der Ast and his pupils in the years to come, especially in van der Ast’s interest in tonality. Besides the Bosschaerts, his pupils were Anthony Claesz and Johannes Baers. It is also likely that Jan Davidsz de Heem (1606-1683/84) was van der Ast’s pupil in Utrecht. He also influenced Willem and Evert van Aelst, and Bartholomeus Assteyn.

Van der Ast remained in Utrecht until 1632, when he moved to Delft and joined the guild of St Luke on 22 June 1633. On February 26, 1633 he married Margrieta Jans van Buijeren. They had two children, Maria and Helena. In Delft, van der Ast and family lived in the house on Cellebroerstraat until 1640, and in the house in Oude Delft until his death in 1657, when he was buried in the Oude Kerk.

Our Sponsors
Our Sponsors this month are HumblebeadsCeltcraft Designs and Songbead.
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 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 JUL 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 July 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 July 29th.

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 July 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.***

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June Monthly Challenge Winners

Congratulations to the June Monthly Challenge winners! 

2 winners were chosen randomly from all the challenge entrants.
1 winner was chosen randomly from the InLinkz blog entries.
Winner of a month of advertising on ABS from the Monthly Challenge Bead category.

Our First lucky winner is Precious Violet.
She has won a $50 in Artisan Beads and Components from Bead Lovelies.
Our Second lucky winner is Pamela Traub.
She has won a $50 Gift Certificate from Ditsy Blue.
Our Third lucky winner is Bijoux Gems Joy.
She has won a $50 Gift Certificate from Dreams and Elements.
Our winner from the Bead entries of the Monthly Challenge is BHClaysmith.
She has won a Month of Advertising here on Art Bead Scene.

       Bead Lovelies                            Ditsy Blue                       Dreams and Elements    
Thank you Bead Lovelies, Ditsy Blue and Dreams & Elements for being our July Monthly Challenge sponsors!

Winners, please E-Mail with your information (Name and address) so your prizes may be sent to you.

A Big THANK YOU to everyone who entered this month using "Feuilles" by Seraphin Louis, as your inspiration. We were so fortunate to have so many beautiful entries and experience such creativity from our wonderful readers.

Visit us tomorrow to see what July's challenge brings.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June Monthly Challenge Recap

The beautiful leaves and petals of the painting Feuilles, 1928 by Seraphine Louis seems to be shimmering and moving. It is vibrant and full of life. A perfect image to kick off summer, with the abundance of flowers blooming all around. The reds and pinks, the oranges and yellows, the greens and whites... these colors feel so alive. Obviously, you agreed because there was so much creativity happening!

June ABS Monthly Challenge Recap by Slidely Slideshow

Now it is your turn! Show us what you made so we can celebrate you!
An InLinkz Link-up

Get the InLinkz code for your blog!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Amuse the Muse - Jewellery Packaging - with Rebecca of Songbead

Happy Monday everyone! I hope it's the beginning of another smashing week for you :-) And it's the last week of jewellery packaging! What will be July's theme, I hear you ask? Well, you'll just have to wait because for now, it's still jewellery packaging.........

I shared some bright orange twine a few weeks back but really, who can resist a hot pink? And I'm definitely thinking pink this week, as you'll see.....

Who doesn't love a bit of the seaside at this time of year? 

Ok, yes - it's just another Kraft box you could say - but look how deliciously that soap has been packaged within! 

What gorgeous colours! And what's even better? You can print these damask bracelet cards at home!

I cannot resist a bit of lace....especially if combined with linen!

I just had to include this awesome image from Wild Woman Jewelry - this is her gift wrap upgrade. Phwoar! Gorgeous! (More pink here, as you will see too...)

More pink to end this wee round up! Something about hot pink and turquoise just cry 'summer' to me. 

And now for the BeadBlogger Links. Have a lovely 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

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Tips for Using Wood Beads in Jewelry Designs

2 Leaf Beads : Cherry, Maple or WalnutBirch Logs Focal Bead6 Concentric Oval Wood Beads : WalnutTiger Lily Brass Bezel Pendant
Van Gogh's Oleander Disk BeadsPalmwood, Slipper, Chunky, Natural Wood Beads, Large, Big, 10mm x 32mm, Half Strand, 8 Inches, 24pcs - ID 1840Fern Charmshambabalud Wood Beads Large, Geometric Shape, Wooden Garland Beads 10357
Tiger Ebony Wood, Teardrop, Natural Wood Beads, 18x34mm, Large, Big, Half Strand, 6pcs - ID 1854Gilded Bird BeadGraywood, Rectangle with Diamond Cut, Faceted, 10mm x 20mm, Large, Natural Wood Beads, Half strand, 10pcs - ID 1855Tree House Bead
Cherry Blossom House BeadRobles Wood, Long Twist, Hand Carved, Focal Bead, Natural Wood Beads, 15mm x 45mm, Large, Big, Chunky, 4pcs - ID 1859Blooms and Birds Bead Sets - Color BurstNatural Wood Log Beads, Cylinder, Log, Brown, Light Brown, Dark Brown, 16mm, 18mm, 20mm, 22mm, 24mm

Powered By Toastie Studio - Etsy Tools - Click on the images to go directly to the item. 

I have a bead crush, it's a long standing one - but every once in a while the flames are fanned again and I can't get enough wood beads. I love the warmth of wood. I love that it's lightweight. It connects my designs directly to nature. And they happen to perfectly compliment my line of Humblebeads. Wood beads also let you work with larger pieces without adding weight to your jewelry.

Tips for Working with Wood Beads

Balance - Since wood is so light add in stones or ceramic beads to add a little weight to your jewelry. For bracelets add one or two heavy beads at the bottom of the bracelet so the back of the design will stay weighted on your wrist. And for necklaces, add a few heavier pieces at the center so the necklace doesn't shift around too much.

Irregular or Larger Holes - pull out spacer beads to cover larger holes. Try flat copper spacers to cover larger holes. Use round metal beads that are 2-4mm in size to keep wood beads laying smoothly while you wear it.

Add Color - Mix in a pop of bright color to your jewelry to balance out the dark wood.

Asymmetrical - I like the look of asymmetrical designs in jewelry that uses wood. I think it looks more modern.

Tie It Up - The larger holes in wood beads make them excellent to use with leather cord or waxed linen.

Do you love wood beads? Share your art bead and wood jewelry in the comments below or in our Facebook group.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Inside the Studio: Mary Harding

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 Carolyn You've won a $20.00 Gift Certificate to Woot!  Email Heather  to claim your win!!
Welcome to My Studio!!  It is a beautiful sunny summer day today!!  I have been working hard on three fronts lately and I will give you a brief peek into all of these doings.

Front Number 1
I have been doing a lot of glazing in the last few days.  I was having difficulty getting these toggle clasps to stay on the skewer sticks because the stringing holes are just a bit too big.  In desperation I came up with using my fingers to touch up the clear glaze!! 
            Not recommended unless you are in a pinch for something to hold your pieces!!!  LOL!!
Why so busy you ask???
I have been making work to take to a very special art festival in our area called The Mare's Wares Art Fest.  It hashappened every year for the past  7  years on Canada Day!!  That means July 1.  This year that is a Wednesday.  Lots of folks cross the St. Lawrence River on one of several bridges, depending where they live in Canada and come on over.  It is a very fun event with many vendors, live bands, demonstrations and fun activities.  I will have an assortment of my ceramic pendants ready to turn into a simple necklace

Some of the ceramic pendants I will have for simple necklaces.

Continuing with the Leaf theme this month, I made these little leaves all with the same texture plate I made from a small Oak leaf.  I plan to turn them into earring.  Love how they came out.
It has been quite a while since I did a show, so I am a bit nervous.  Luckily I know many of the artists who will be there.  I am looking forward to a fun day.

Front Number 2

Tonight is the  opening of the St. Lawrence County Arts Council Members Exhibition at the Gibson Gallery on the  campus of Potsdam College.  I was so pleased that our arts council collaborated on this event.  It has been an opportunity for all members to have their art work exhibited. Each member was eligible to have one piece shown and then possibly a second or third one would be juried in.  I am pleased to have two of my necklaces on display.

Flamenco necklace by Mary Harding
 Necklace by Mary Harding      Mrs. Senn's Fish  Inspired by a short story titled Mrs. Senn
                                                     written by Jumpa Lahiri

I credit our arts council with getting me going on selling my work.  They were so encouraging and best of all they gave all members a venue for selling by opening a store front.  They taught us about the business of selling.  Now that they no longer have  the shop,  they have found other ways of providing artists in this area with opportunities for being seen and for selling work.  Tonight being one of them.  I am so grateful for their work.

Front Number 3
I am taking an online class with Keith Lo Bue called Steeling Beauty through Artful Gathering
.We use  this humble annealed steel rebar wire for all of our lessons.( see picture below)

                                                             steel rebar wire

I just love this wire since it is soft and fairly easy to work. And the way it looks when it has been forged and polished is next to sublime!!

Keith is a wonderful teacher with a great sense of humor.  This is my second on line class with him.  I hope to share some of my creations in a post later in the summer.  So far I have watched all the videos and done some experimenting.  Nothing yet too enlightening.  But I really enjoy forging on my steel anvil.  So satisfying.

Well that is a quick look at what has been happening inside my studio so far this summer.  Now on to the question we ask each time:

When I was writing about our arts council, I thought I would like to know more about how other art councils work .  

So here is my question for today.   Are you involved in your local/state arts council?  How do they extend help and services to artists in your area?  I would really be interested to know.Your comment can also be about any kind of group that helps out artist since I don't know if all states have arts councils.

All related comments will automatically be entered in a drawing to win a $20.00 gift certificate to my  Etsy shop.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.