Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Perfect Pairings :: Ann Schroeder + Tree Wings Studio + SueBeads

The thing that keeps drawing me into this Degas painting are the swirling tulle skirts and the bright pops of coral. So when I saw these earrings from Ann Schroeder I had to come back for a closer look. The round Aster disks make me think of the swishing movement of those skirts as they flair out. The tiny coral rondelles are the perfect counterpoint to the more somber color. And I love that she put this all on some waxed linen with the ends twirling free. C'est magnifique!

Featured Designer :: Ann Schroeder
Featured Bead Artist :: Tree Wings Studio + SueBeads

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tutorial Tuesday: Wrapped column earrings

So, today, I thought I'd share how to make these wrapped column earrings. Mine are wrapped with sari silk ribbon and feature a pair of ceramic droplets from Scorched Earth.  However, you could wrap different types of ribbon or fabric offcuts, and you could also use different beads at the bottom. Maybe you have an earring pair - whether beads or charms - and you've been wondering what to do with them? This might be the answer.

The list of other ingredients you'll need is also fairly flexible.  You'll need 26 gauge / 0.4mm wire and 22 gauge / 0.6mm wire. I've mixed the metal finishes here; don't be afraid to do that if you wish. You'll also need at least two pairs of bead caps (around 10mm wide).  However, as you can see, I've used several pairs of caps at the top of these. I've been stacking up bead caps quite a bit recently; it gives extra textural and decorative detail, which I rather like.  Finally, along with some ear wires, you'll need some beads to form the inner columns.  I've used some hematite tubes (approximately 4mm wide) that have been in my stash for an age - perhaps you have something similar?  Alternatively, you could use 4mm seed beads to form the core.

To start, take about 10cm of your 22 gauge wire and make a wrapped loop at one end, attaching your bead or charm before closing the loop. Then, thread on a bead cap, followed by around 3.5cm of tube beads.

Next, take a good length (say, 25cm) of your 26 gauge wire and attach one end to the base of your column by wrapping around the core wire (above the cap and below the tube beads) a couple of times.  

Now to add the ribbon. Cut a piece that is a little bit longer than your column of beads. You'll be wrapping the ribbon lengthways along your wire, folding the edges round, rather than winding the ribbon around like you do with the wire.  Unless you actually want a bulky look, this is the best way to wrap ribbon onto any shape.

To start wrapping, fold the ribbon round the bead column and pull the wire up, making a couple of quick wraps to secure it. Then, continue wrapping, ensuring that the ribbon is fixed at the bottom of the column by wrapping several times. Once it is secured at the base, you will probably need to trim the end of the ribbon there (along with the tail of your wrapping wire), which can be done with flush cutters.  Then, keep on wrapping up the column. Use the wire to tidy and tuck in any loose edges and flatten any little bulges.  Be careful to avoid any gaps forming between your core beads as you don't want the wire to fall between them as you wrap.  You may need to add more wire, which can be done easily, at the top or bottom of the column. Once you have a good coverage of wraps, wrap up to the top of the column, secure with a few more wraps and trim both your wire and any excess ribbon. 

Now you need to add the bead cap(s) at the top. I've layered up three caps at the top of my earrings.

Finally, make a wrapped loop with your core wire to complete your column. Now all you need to do is add an ear wire...

...and, of course, repeat to make your second earring!


Monday, April 21, 2014

Amuse Your Muse Monday with Rebecca of Songbead

Sunday, April 20, 2014

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

Congratulations to Angie Blasingame! You have won an adorable trio of owls from Clarie Lockwood of Something.To With Your Hands. Please contact Claire so you can claim your prize.
Welcome to the Humblebeads Studio today. And on my bead table and what I'm obsessed with at the moment? Spring and gardens! In particular, fresh blooms in delicate hues paired up with items that are weathered and full of rich patina.  Don't you love coming across an old garden piece or architectural detail that has aged beautiful? 

This pendant can be found as a free project in my latest newsletter - check it out here.

I've been working with some of my favorite beads that I make and adding patina finishes to them - they look like there were buried under ferns and over-grown hedges in a forgotten garden.  

Each piece is a one-of-a-kind due to how they are created.  

My other direction I headed in created pieces with metallic finishes and after some trend research last month I was really drawn to this dagger shape.  These make awesome earrings.  

And speckled wobbles treated with the same metallic finish.  These look like eggs to me.  I love them!

I have been sketching away new ideas for Bead & Button.  My next beads will be from Van Gogh's garden inspirations - sunflowers, irises and almond blossoms.  I can't wait until I get started on those.

So the big question this week - what is your current bead table inspiration?  
Leave a comment this week and on Friday we will draw a winner for a $25 gift certificate to

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Bead Addicts, Jewelry Making Machines & Connoisseurs of Handmade

ABS April 2014 Monthly Challenge brings us the dynamic yet delicate ballet dancers painted by Edgar Degas in -  Swaying Dancers.


And below are art beads and components by a few skillful artists that I picked to go with the theme and color palette...









While most of the above art beads and components are typically representative of the artists' work, you may find some of them as active listings in their store, and some may be requested as custom orders !  

Brandi explains the color palette with POINTERS - so draw some inspiration and design on !

And in the process, stay PINNED to the Art Bead Scene Challenge Boards


(Jewelry Artist at Ornament Lounge)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pinterest Picks with Claire Lockwood

Regular followers of this blog will know that Kaushambi Shah has produced some fabulous pinterest boards for the monthly challenges, and has taken on the role of ABS Pinterest Curator.  Unfortunately, Kaushambi isn't able to post this month so I'm stepping in.  Kylie Parry did a one-off post several months ago, sharing a number of art bead related boards.  Today I thought I'd shared a selection of pinners I follow, who pin fascinating and inspiring things.  Some have no interest in beads, and aren't particularly concerned with jewellery, but I love to seek inspiration in all manner of places, and if you are like me, I hope you'll be interested in checking out the collections these pinners have curated.

It's peculiar to be writing this post, talking about individuals I know next to nothing about.  What I do know are their tastes and interests and I find lots to admire in the images they pin.  The first pinner who came to mind when I started compiling this post was -SAND-, Sandrine Gergaud, a painter based in Pornic, France.  She has a great selection of boards, ranging from more general collections (drawings, mixed media artworks) to the peculiar and quirky (little houses, spinning tops and girls with moustaches!)  I particularly like her colours combo board.  Here's a selection of images from her collections.

(clockwise from top left: jazzman (flickr); Boomkamp (tumblr); paperiaarre (flickr); ngaiolenz (flickr); Nancy Chow (flickr))

Next up, a pinner who shares some really fabulous jewellery finds.  Amanda Thon is a metalsmith based in Florida. Beside her collections of rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, etc., there are boards devoted to packaging, display, tools, sketch books, and much, much more.

(clockwise from left: Nikki Couppee; Ed Wiener; Moorigin; Reka Fekete; Becky Crow)

Vicki P of Sky Gypsy Studio has similar selection of jewellery-focused boards, alongside a great range of art in different media.

(clockwise from top left: Stacey Bently; Kathleen Dustin; Nina Bagley)

Next, something for polymer fans. Cara Jane Hayman is a polymer designer based in Bristol in the UK.  Her enthusiasm for her medium can be seen in her vast collection of polymer-related boards.  There are also stacks of tutorials, so if you are a clayer you may want to check those out too. 

(clockwise from top left: Maniguette (flickr); Kathleen Dustin; Artybecca; Elena Fadeeva)

Finally, an artist from the North of England, Helen Birch, aka draw draw draw, whose boards include '2D drawings', '3D drawings', 'Found drawings', 'Sketchbooks', 'Textile, Surface, Pattern'.  I'm always finding fascinating new images via draw, draw, draw.  

(clockwise from top left: Fiona Rae; Thomas Jackson; Yves Kline; Nick Turpin; Antoni Tapies; John Ruskin)

I hope you've found something here that catches your eye. Do feel free to share your favourite boards in the comments, art bead related or more general.  While I'm here, here's a link to my pinterest boards.

Bye for now, Claire

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Perfect Pairings :: Tres Jolie Designs by Sue

Miss Sue is a polymer clay powerhouse!

I have no idea how she engineers these delicate swirling tapestries of color and texture and light, but they are fascinating. Miss Sue has created each of these seemingly impossible petal-like forms out of polymer clay paired with a combination of bugle beads, matte seed beads, and wire to connect it all together. There is a graceful flow to this piece and the colors look as though the fabric of the dancer's tutu floated out of the frame and onto her clay. She was also inspired to create a complementary second design inspired by the challenge painting. Do check out her marvelous creations!

Featured Designer & Bead Artist :: Tres Jolie Designs by Sue