Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Glass of Murano, Italy

Murano in the map by Jacopo de'Barbari.  Venice, Correr Museum.
When I was 22, I hit a very rough patch in my life.  In a fit of "why ever not", I threw all caution to the wind, sold almost all of my worldly possessions, and did what I'd only read of in books -- I ran away from home.  Where did I end up?  Venice, Italy.

While there, I marveled at the amazing Murano glass and listened to the shopkeepers explain the history of this storied island.  At the time, I hadn't caught the beading bug, but I certainly knew pretty when I saw it.  Having a love of history, though, I set out to learn more.

in the Murano Glass Museum
Murano glass is named for the small island of Murano about 2 miles from Venice.  I remember vividly sitting on the steps of a huge historic building, eating fresh bread for lunch and looking out over the water towards the island.  Many people know that the Murano glassmakers moved to the island to guard the secret of glassmaking, but they also moved there because they were an enormous fire hazard to Venice in the 13th century.   Oops.

some of my own lampwork beads
In the 1860's the Glass Museum of Murano was founded, and this helped reintroduce the old glass blowing techniques, which had fallen into a bit of a funk due to the glass centers for Tiffany, Bohemian, and Lalique.  The Murano glass industry continues to thrive and no longer shuts its island doors to the world.

photo via
Since my sojourn in Italy, I've taken a glass blowing class, and it's amazing watching that gather of glass turn into something cool (in my case, a paperweight and a shot glass that had walls so thick it would break your toe if you dropped it on your foot).  I've longingly run my hands through bowls of Venetian beads and wished I'd bought some while I lived amongst them.  As I sit at my lampwork torch, I find myself thinking about the Piazza San Marco and Murano and glass.  

And occasionally, pigeons.  There were millions of pigeons in that Piazza.  Yikes.  

But I digress.
Basilica San Marco -- amazing inside and out
You probably don't want to sell everything that doesn't fit in two suitcases to venture to Venice, but as an art bead lover, it should be on your top five list of Places to Go.  My life changed so much during that trip, and learning about the beauty of glass was one of the highlights of those months.

So call the travel agent.  Mark your calendar.  Make a concrete plan, a "yes, in 2012 I WILL go there" plan -- I promise you won't regret it.

the paperweight and shot glass I made in my first glass blowing class

Lori Anderson creates jewelry for Lori Anderson Designs.  She writes the blogs Pretty Things and An Artist's Year Off.  She lives in Maryland.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fit to Print Book Review - Sculptural Metal Clay

I am a huge fan of Kate McKinnon's work.  I can remember years ago when I was first starting to do seed bead designs and I would find one of her projects in the magazines - I could tell it was her work instantly.  Even with seed beads Kate has an unmistakable signature.

When this book arrived it was like enjoying a gallery show.  The projects are so amazing.  And you'll soon discover they are deceptively simple.  At least Kate makes them seem that way as experts often do!

My favorite projects in the book are the findings - bead caps, clasps, decorative headpins, branch connectors. I love that she offers a collection of techniques that you can adapt to your own style to use in your creations. 

The book has three sections.  The Basics covers tools, techniques, firing, finishes and safety. The next section, the Elements, covers the components Kate uses in her projects.  And finally the last section has 10 step-by-step projects for inspiration.  The best part of this book - it comes with a DVD where Kate walks you through the key techniques to complete the projects in the book.  If you have wanted to dive into Metal Clay, this is a great place to start for a solid education and a mega-dose of inspiration.  And if you've been working with metal clay for a while, I have a feeling this book is probably already on your shelf - it's one not to miss!

Buy the book.  Visit Kate's website

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tie One On

Looking for a new twist in your jewelry designs?  Add texture with silk ribbon, leather or crepe cording and  crystal chain.  All of these can be found at Ornamentea along with a collection of innovative tutorials showing different ways to incorporate these items into your work.  Check them out!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Designer of the week- Boston Baked Beads

 Each Monday the Art Bead Scene features the Designer of the Week. One of our editors picks her favorite from the Monthly Challenge entries. This week's featured designer is... Boston Baked Beads!


This is what Art Bead Scene Editor Lorelei Eurto had to say about this piece:

"I love that this artist created beads centered around the  George Barbier painting. Each one has it's own creative connection to the painting, each individual and unique. The industrial washers on the beads give it a nice hardness to each of the beads, and balance out the polyclay perfectly.  I can see a beautiful piece of jewelry inspired by these beads, and in turn inspired by Persia!"

 There is still time to get your designs entered for this month's Art Bead Scene challenge! Submit your pieces to the ABS group on Flickr and a winner will be randomly chosen on the 1st of October.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sundays with Cindy

Let's see what our Bead Bloggers have been up to this week.... Jewelry Making
Are you trying to pinch those pennies when it comes to making jewelry? Here are some ideas to help you out.

Art Bead Scene
This week we have a Monthly Challenge treasury to share and inspire you.

Beading Arts
Have you seen what you can do with macrame? Don't think hemp, think colorful and modern!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Another felted and beaded pendant is turned into a necklace by Carmi.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
This week's Wednesday Wire is all about the rings.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie faces her fears of home improvement by relating it to her beloved jewelry crafts.

Katie's Beading Blog
Katie's dreaming up jewelry projects inspired by the season. Leave a comment for a chance to win a Beads, Baubles & Jewels DVD!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Studio Saturdays with Designer Lorelei Eurto

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 weeks winner is commenter number Sabine of MyCriticalEye! Congratulations Sabine!!
You have won a free copy of the Color Drenched Metal tutorial from Shannon LeVart's studio!
Please forward an email to Shannon with your email address so she can send your ebook to you!

This weeks Studio Saturday is with Jewelry Designer, Lorelei Eurto.

Actually, instead of hanging out in the mess of my studio today, let's head down to the office, and chill at the computer, shall we? I want to talk today about creating your own photo collages.  Photo collages are easy to make and they are so fun to put together, I know you'll all be doing it non-stop once you learn the steps.

There are a few reasons why photo collages are cool:
1. They act as a really awesome marketing tool- for either bead makers or jewelry designers!
2. Showing off your beads or jewelry in groupings with other pictures  helps create a power of suggestion.
3. Outfits are my favorite choice for creating collages, but other things like color/ texture photos also help
make an attractive collage!

Step one:
Download Picasa- it's free photo editing software, and I love using it to edit all of my jewelry pictures. So it has a dual purpose here- editing, and fun collages. You can't beat that!

Step two:
Find images you want to use with your bead or jewelry pictures.  Choose pictures that are eye catching, and I recommend not stealing peoples photos- so make sure they are copyright free.

To snag photos, create screen shots:
PC users: Press the Print Scrn button on the keyboard- image will be saved into the screenshots folder in 
Mac users:  Press command + shift+4 then select an area. Takes a screen shot of an area and save it as a
file on your desktop.

Step Three:
If you use a PC, you'll have to crop your screen shots so that all you see  is the picture of your article of clothing or photo.
Mac users- your image should already be cropped.

Step four:
PC: after all shots are cropped, save the pics to a folder, then move your bead or jewelry pictures to that same folder. It's easier to create your collages if all your pics are in one place.
Same goes for Mac.
Click the folder within the Picasa program, so you are viewing all of your collage images. Holding down the Ctrl / Command(mac) key, click the photos you want to use in your collage.
Click the COLLAGE button at the bottom of your screen.

Step five:
You must pick which kind of collage you want, chose the type at the top left, drop down menu. I like to use Mosaic. You can also choose the monitor/display size and create thicker grid lines here.
Click Create Collage button. the collage will be saved in the Collages folder within Picasa.

Attach your new collage to a blog post and Voila! You've got insteant Power of Suggestion!

I am showing 2 examples, one with an outfit, and one with different types of images- so you can see they are both quite attractive and show off my jewelry designs.

This week, I am giving one lucky randomly drawn winner, one of Kelley's new Lampworked glass buttons!
To qualify to win this Mustard and Clear glass button, you must leave a comment with your answer to the following question:

What other cool marketing tools do you know of? Care to share?

Thank you so much for stopping by my office today, I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Editor's Pick - Autumn Treasures

I keep seeing this wonderful combination of orange, silver and neutrals in home decorating magazines. I want to sit and make some jewelry inspired by this autumn inspired combination. I'm especially digging on carnelian and labradorite paired with pewter right now. 

Click on this link to view my favorite Etsy picks for this theme.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Findings Worth Finding: Artisan Headpins

I can't get enough of these!  You can use decorative headpins to liven up earring designs.  Add a little splash of color at the bottom of pendants.  Or add them in where you'd like a little bit of texture, wire-wrapping them into your designs.  Oh, the fun you could have...

 Double Dips by Cindy Gimbrone.  I love to use these as toggle bars!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

ABS Carnival Blog: Renewal

Welcome to this month's Art Bead Scene Carnival Blog! Our intrepid bloggers took on the theme of "renewal" for September. September is time to go back to school, to put away the garden tools for the season and look forward to the holidays. Although fall is a season of change, one can feel surprisingly energized by the newness that change brings.

Nicki shares a powerpoint from her days as a jet-setting professional on the stages of change.

Nicki was faced with a monumental change in her life. She's translated that sense of renewal into a lovely piece of jewelry:

Like Nicki, Holly has renewal foisted upon her. She puts it to good use at the torch and channels her energy into making glass beads.

The mothers's juggling act pressures many of us. September finds Chris balancing her time between family, writing and the torch

While some of our bloggers are experiencing a change in life paths, Marcie reflects on the theme and interprets renewal in the turning of the leaves. She shares a lovely set of handpicked artist made leaves including this lovely one from dreamgirlbeads.

Michelle sees fall as a time to pare down and organize. As she cleans out her studio she re-discovers treasures and feels energized.

But what if you're a cleaning phobe (like me) or the cleaning muse hasn't hit you(where is she when I need her)? Maybe you want a more methodical way to re-charge. Enter our intrepid Patty. We can count on Patty to write a post full of great tips. She takes on this month's theme in her usual manner and lists tips and tricks for gaining a sense of renewal.

What? you've gotten this far in our post and none of the ways our bloggers approach renewal resonate with you? What about exploring other art forms? Elaine Luther found inspiration and renewal in quilting. Needing inspiration to infuse a new series of beads, Mary Harding heads to the art gallery where she finds her inspiration and creates these beauties.

Or maybe you're like me, you just get hit on the head by your muse, as if she's saying "duh! make these!"

How do you find renewal?

Hope you've enjoyed this month's Carnival Blog! If you'd like to join us, we're always happy to welcome another dedicated Art Bead Scene reader to our Carnival Blogger Group! Interested in joining? Please send an email to Cindy saying you'd like to join.

Until next month...the Carnival Bloggers bid you adieu!
(written by Cindy Gimbrone the Carnival Bloggers' fearless leader.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gather Together

Looking for a place to connect with other creative and beady folks? Check out these upcoming events.

Dallas Bead Fest

Adorn Me 2011

Beading by the Bay 2011

Bead Cruise 2011

Many bead societies take a break during the summer and have started their fall programs again. If you are looking for a bead society in your area, check out this resource from Rings & Things. And check with your local bead stores or art communities for classes in your area.

Don't have a bead society in your area, gather together with beady friends one day each month and start your own!

Not sure what to do:

Throw an autumn-themed Bead Soup Party.

Do a bead swap.

Findings Day - make custom earwires & clasps, each person shares and teaches an idea.

Resin day - make your own art pendants.

Whatever you decide to do just being together and sharing a day of beads is good for the soul!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Designer of the Week - Elisabeth Auld

 Each Monday the Art Bead Scene features the Designer of the Week. One of our editors picks her favorite from the Monthly Challenge entries. This week's featured designer is..... Elisabeth Auld !

This is what Art Bead Scene Editor Shannon LeVart had to say about this piece:

 When I think of the September Challenge Persia painting by George Barbier, I think "Draping". Everything about the painting.... drapes. The vines, the woman's dress, the man's turban, the flowers and even the clouds have a undulating, sinuous, draping quality. Elizabeth's necklace exemplifies this perfectly; the fluid stringing of the czech glass beads paired with Diva Designs polymer clay art beads fit the color scheme and captures the overall feel of Babier's painting.

 Please visit Elizabeth at her shop here and check out more of this talented designers work!

There is still one more Monday to go before September's challenge is over. So be sure to upload some Persia inspired designs to the flickr group and include the SEPT ABS tag before the 24th.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday with Cindy

Let's see what our Bead Bloggers have been up to this week.... Jewelry Making
Check out this new rivet gadget for making cold connections with your jewelry.

Art Bead Scene
Looking for inspiration for the ABS monthly challenge? Come check out the list of Art Deco sources at ABS.

Barbe Saint John
Barbe reviews some Rings and Things Halloween Beads and is giving some away too!

Beading Arts
Wool roving for a necklace? Cyndi's tutorial is finished!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi uses her Parisian ribbon collection to make some fabulous beads.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Cindy brought back some beach treasures Lake Huron. She's created a keepsake with them you'll want to see.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie reflects on the politics of the playground for a series of hopscotch themed pendants

Snap Out of It, Jean! There's Beading to be Done!
Jean explores creative jewelry design using inspiration employing wordplay--what do you think?

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew gets interviewed by Ray Hemachandra for a Blogger Profile on Lark Crafts: Jewelry & Beading.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Studio Saturday with Shannon LeVart

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 weeks winner is commenter number 13; Barbara! Congratulations! 
You have won 2 Puzzle Piece Buttons from Tari Sasser's studio of Creative Impressions in Clay.
Please forward an email to Tari with your address so she can send these buttons out to you.
This weeks Studio Saturday is Shannon LeVart of Who is presently not in a studio creating but rather elbow deep in correcting dangling participles.
 What an intense week this has been with the launching of the Color Drenched Metal tutorial. I have been attempting to bring this file to completion for some time now and its delay has been overcome with the help of friends and family.

  In spite of the fact that I am NOT a professional writer, the tutorials I offer are tangible items that I am proud of. Overcoming a lack of funds and a lack of time to pull together organized, thoroughly researched and personally tested files is feat that I pat myself on the back for. I know by the hundreds of emails I receive that I have helped many a jewelry designer achieve personal goals of adding new skills to their repertoire. Sharing what has given me thrilling moments of discovery in my own work is a driving force that I cannot ignore.

    But darn it if it isn't one of the most difficult things to get a handle on!
 - Researching the topic can take months; is someone already offering this? Is this useful, practical information? What kind of buyer will be interested? 
 - Purchasing the necessary supplies to complete the stepped out instructions is expensive. From beginning to end, every tiny detail needs to be accounted for, logged and linked for buyer availability.
 - Photographs need to be focused, well lit, chronologically listed, and edited.
 - Text needs to be clear, grammatically correct and laid out in an easy to read manner.
 - Proof reading by an editor, testing by honest people who will tell you what to fix and re-working it until the tutorial flows is a final process that takes weeks to complete. 

 But complete it is! Ready for consumption so to speak! Aaaaaaaand I have a free copy for a randomly drawn winner next Saturday! 
 However, in order to qualify for next weeks drawing, you must leave a comment with an answer to this question;
What obstacle is in YOUR way of seeing a project to completion? 
 Heath issues in my family is a big obstacle of mine. I am constantly torn between caring for sick ones and soldiering on through business projects. It can make a good mama feel guilty and a good business woman feel neglectful.  But I did something different this time, I asked for help! I received it in abundance and went forward in my goal. And the reward is all that much sweeter sharing it with loved ones who took the time to assist me.

Thank you for sharing your time with us here at Art Bead Scene and for participating in comments!
Much Love & Respect,


Friday, September 17, 2010

Monthly Challenge Treasury - Persian Garden

I put together a treasury inspired by our Monthly Challenge inspiration. Click on the link to view the beads.

Pull out those beads this weekend and join in the fun!

George Barbier, Persia

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Beads: The Dawn of Civilization

This video is worth a watch.  The Mind's Big Bang.

It suggests the beginning of civilization is when humans were no longer merely surviving but creating artifacts of social identify.  And those artifacts were beads!  It's fascinating to think that the first spark of humans needing to express themselves were fashioned in bead form.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Eye Candy - Fall Filigree

I have beads from each of these artists in my stash and can say that they are treasured possessions!

What beads are you currently lusting after?