Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Monthly Blog Tour

"I know a little garden close
Set thick with lily and red rose,
Where I would wander if I might
From dewy dawn to dewy night
And have one with me wandering."
~William Morris

We were treated to a classic this month, the stylistic wallpaper of William Morris. And our ABS community rose to the challenge of bringing this Arts & Crafts image to life.


Jenna of HoneyBijou (above) puzzled through how to create a mold for her handmade clay beads which makes them multi-dimensional. The color on these are a spot on match to the Trellis wallpaper. I am impressed that she also included a trellis bead that she handmade and was able to use recycled materials to make it work. This is a sweet and whimsical and fresh way to start out the hop.

Elisabeth of BeadsForBusyGals make a garden fairy pendant come to life with the mix of olive silk and a carved rose bead from England. She looks like a mischievous garden spirit!

The bracelet that Shaiha of ShaihasRamblings made looks like it would be fun to wear. All the dangles were a lot of work and really play up the twining vines and leaves on the trellis in the inspiration wallpaper.

Welcome the ABS Challenges, Miss Patti! For this, her first challenge (above), she found so many pretty art bead treasures in her hoarded stash (don't worry, we all have them!) that suited the Morris wallpaper. Choosing an egg - which is where the bird comes from, right? - was a smart design choice, especially one so perfectly shaded as this one! We hope to see more of your work this coming year!

Updating a classic and making it new and exciting is hard to do. But that is exactly what Kelly of MackinArt did. She used a right angle weave technique to create a modern interpretation of a trellis complete with one stunning art bead leaf. Infinitely wearable and chic

Cece The Beading Yogini has this wonderful spirit. She has taken this inspiration and crafted something so unique and pretty that it actually made me gasp. The attention to detail in each little stitch on her fabric pendant is gorgeous.She must have incredible patience to do such intricate work.

Constructing a trellis out of enameled links is what Beth & Evie of EBBeadAndMetalWorks did for us this month. The skill that it takes to saw out the flowers and then enamel them in pretty variegated colors is truly awesome. Add in a smattering of Beth's handmade glass beads and you have a masterpiece that would be at home in any garden party!

Taking her cue from Victorian images, Lynda Moseley of SCDiva created a lush and hushed garden nymph focal bead and a necklace that is just dripping with florals.

Cilla of Tell Your Girlfriends (above) found her inspiration in the dragonflies flitting among the trellis. Her bracelet brings in the color palette of greens and orange so expertly and looks like it would be very fun to wear!

Reconstructing a memory is what bee tree by m.e. did with her lovely challenge necklace. She recalled her grandmother's wire fences as "garden jewelry" and created a wearable version of this. What a sweet tribute to a loved one!

Welcome Miss Rebekah of Tree Wings Studio! We are so happy that you decided to start the year out right by jumping in on your first ABS challenge. Your handmade cabbage rose flower beads (above) are the perfect shade of salmon. I love the extra details you added to make the serpentine bead look like the trellis with the wire wrapping and the finishing touch on the ends of the cord. We hope that you will come back and play with us again!

Karen Gille of Squirrel Haven Studio worked in so many details into her piece. I love that she was willing to try something new by creating a pendant in a mosaic fashion with polymer clay. I was really inspired to read about her process. I love the way it all works because of the cohesive color palette despite the variety of elements.

The Claying Mommy came up with a clay design that perfectly mimics the garden that is all a-buzz with life in her beautiful necklace (above). This elegant filigree encrusted pendant has swooping birds and flowers on the vine. I love the way the pendant is like a microcosm of that wallpaper. So intricately detailed!

Sharyl of Sharyl's Jewelry & Reflections gave us a macro tour of her necklace and earrings. Taking macro shots is a great way to show all the wonderful detail that goes into making your design stand out. The focal art bead all wrapped up in wire is a wonderful way to interpret the trellis!

Elaine of TooAquarius really knows her way around polymer clay. She created a focal with the palette and themes of the wallpaper that looks to me like something special my grandmother would have worn. This is a sweet and simple necklace that would be a way to welcome the spring that will surely come.

There are a lot of us hoarders out there, aren't there? We buy pretty beads with no earthly idea of what to do with them. Then inspiration strikes! We are glad that Pam of KlassyJools (above) had these amazing glass flowers just lying around waiting for just the right moment. Her necklace is a showstopper!

Miss Sue of SueBeads created two lovely entries this month. Her necklace was created for a show that didn't happen. Lucky for us, she still had this perfect necklace that really ties into the floral theme. I am sure that this lovely won't last for long!

Art beads by different artists can truly play together nicely. Kym Hunter proves this in her beautiful piece with a soaring bird, lampwork glass and ceramic toggle and leaf. I love the way the colors all work in harmony despite the very different materials and makers.

I love what happens when you go out on a limb. I would like to think that I helped encourage Miss Keirsten of CerebralDilettante (above) to join in the ABS challenges, but I know that Miss Keirsten would only yell at me for being a pied piper and trying to get her to join in the fun! (Did I read that right? You enjoyed it?! So, does that mean you will be back again?;-) Her necklace is truly remarkable in its styling and components, many of which she made herself. In her car. Hammering on her lunch hour. How's that for going out on a limb?
Can you all do me an itsy-bitsy favor? It would help me immensely if you would kindly post the exact blog link in your comment. Please, please, pretty please... please put your exact link to your blog post in either the Flickr description or in the monthly challenge post comments! (Okay, this is me begging now!) I spend hours, days really, reading through each and every one and then writing the summary post. I love to see the inspiration that you share, the process, the materials. Sometimes I have a suspicion that a regular has posted something on her space, but hasn't left the link, and then I go searching for it through pages of blog posts. But the worst is when I click the link and then it is just not there. I don't want to not include you, but it is so hard to search for it sometimes and I don't want to disappoint you if you are not in the hop. So I search and I search until I hopefully find the exact post. I am so inspired by all of YOU and I want to help share your wonderful posts with the world. So help me help you! Thank you!

Looking forward to seeing what you do with the February challenge!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Link Library with Melanie

 A few years ago, Heather shared some great links to blog posts sharing ideas for organizing and storing beads.  Check out that post from the archives here

And now, here are some great links from our beady friends this week:

  A Bead A Day
It's Toho competition time! If you are up for the challenge check with a bead store near you for more details.

About.com Jewelry Making
Are you struggling with the cost of metal right now? Tammy gives you a tip for getting the look of metal beads without the cost.

Art Bead Scene
Gaea shares some of her current favorite beading and craft related tools

Beading Arts
Interested in publishing this year? How about starting out with a magazine?

Beads and Books
Join the spring challenge and makeover a ready-made wintry bracelet into a piece of springtime jewelry!

Jean Campbell
What exactly does a beadwork tech-editor do? Read on!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Everyday Gemstones from the publishers of BeadStyle magazine is beautiful, easy, and is a special Winter 2012 issue --and Jean thrilled to be in it!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Want to help a small business out? It's so easy! With a few clicks you can help Allegory Gallery get some free advertising dollars!  

Melanie Brooks is the ceramic beadmaker behind Earthenwood Studio, who blogs from her Metro Detroit, Michigan home.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tooling Around

Brains and imagination are not always the bottom line for creating, although you can get quite far on those alone, but chances are you may need help in the way of tools. These are a few of the gadgets that are saving my mind (and hands) in the creativity department.

EuroTool Power Punch
After destroying my hand held hammer hole punch set (as well as my fingers!) I realized more than brute strength was needed to punch holes in metal! This nifty, easy to use metal hole punch has easily replaceable dies in a variety of sizes! Yay! A small investment for perfectly punched holes!

Beadsmith Bead Reamer 
Nothing drives me more crazy than pulling out a beautiful strand of semi-precious beads only to have half of them not fit on the wire. A bead reaming tool will save the day! Bead Reaming Set from EviesToolEmporium.etsy.com

Small Sketch Pad
Keep a small sketch pad at hands for those quick ideas. A sketch app like Doodledroid for your smart phone is a nice paper free alternative. A beautifully made art journal is inspirational in and of itself! Art journal from Indra's Ideas.

Nearly every phone has a camera feature. It is perfect for capturing inspiration and ideas. (Inspiration comes from many places. Don't judge.)

Aveda Hand Relief
One word.... Ahhhhh.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Designer of the Week: Mackin-Art

Each Monday the Art Bead Scene features a Designer of the Week.
One of our editors picks her favorite from the Monthly Challenge entries.
This week's featured designer is....
Here is what ABS editor Heather Powers said about Kelly's necklace:
"I love the beadwork on Kelly's necklace, with the fun play of the colors inversed.  What a clever way to interpret the trellis pattern of this month's inspiration.  The pendant is the perfect focal for the graphic beaded backdrop and the clasp fits in perfectly with the design elements of the beadwork, echoing the copper colored glass beads." 
There is still time to join the challenge.  The blog entry deadline is January 29th and the last day to enter for this month's prize drawing is January 31st.  Read the complete challenge rules here.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Link Library with Melanie

 If you will allow me to indulge myself for a moment, today's peek back in the Art Bead Scene archives is one of my own posts from 2008 when I first started exploring Steampunk.  It's hard to believe that was almost four years ago now.  It's fun to see the way Steampunk exploded in the craft scene... it was pretty cool to be there from the start to see how things evolved.  While I still am involved in the imagery and genre of the scene, it is exciting to think about what new trends are developing right now...

Perhaps we will see the rise of some new trends in some current links from some of our beady friends:

  A Bead A Day
Interested in using plastic to create special Valentine's Day Jewelry? Here are a couple of pieces for inspiration.

About.com Jewelry Making
What is better than some beaded embroidery how-to for a buck? Errr..nothing!

Art Bead Scene
Heather offers a beautiful free project inspired from high in the treetops!

Beading Arts
Cyndi has been trying to encourage everyone to get out there and take a class this year!

Beads & Books
See the 30+ beautiful winter jewelry designs in the Secret Snowflake Challenge. Participants used techniques such as bead embroidery, resin, stringing, wirework, etching, and more!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi has a link to a kumihimo give-a-way to share!

Charlene Sevier Jewelry
Sometimes jewelry acts up a little before it comes together. Charlene shares one of those times

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie looks back at an older post where a favorite song inspired a series of wing themed pendants.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Valentine's Day is one of the most delightful days on Jean's calendar! Why? Because she gets to think about love, and jewelry such as the astounding pendants at NanoStyle! Tell your beloved "I love you" in a most incredible way!  

Melanie Brooks is the ceramic beadmaker behind Earthenwood Studio, who blogs from her Metro Detroit, Michigan home.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Studio Saturday - Trunk Shows

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.

Congrats Carol D. you are the winner of the Humblebeads' owl pendant from last week! Please email me with your mailing address so I can send your necklace out to you!

Well, hello there again dear friend.  Hopefully next week we'll be back on track visiting the studios of the rest of our blog team.

What have I been up to this week?  I have been slowly but surely refilling my bead boxes getting ready for two awesome bead trunk shows over the next few weeks.  (Click to view my upcoming events.)

You'll have to excuse my Ipod photos, no glamour shots today! 

I love doing trunk shows. I've done a few where I've sent a box of goodies to shops and some where I get to go and sell my beads in person and visit with everyone.  Of course, I prefer the second. I love meeting people who are excited about beads, you are my tribe after all!  I've had the privilege of meeting so many great people over the last few months during trunk shows and book events.

Trunk shows are a great way to start a relationship with a business.  If you live in a town with a boutique you could set up a trunk show once or twice a year to show off your latest goods.  The best way to start if you don't already know the owner is check out the shop where you feel like your work would be a good fit.  I'm a little shy myself, so if I didn't know the owner I would probably see if they have a website and facebook page and then I'd muster up the courage to send a quick introductory email with a link to my website.  I'd let them know I am booking trunk shows for the spring and would love to bring in some of my work to show the owner and see if they would like to set up a date for a show.  NOT that I've done that with jewelry, but if I was feeling ambitious, that is what I would do. 

A trunk show is nice because it's a fun way to build up excitement about your work, you don't have inventory tied up in a consignment situation and it's a nice way for a store owner to see how well your work does without her making any big financial commitments.  Of course, follow up with the store owner after the trunk show if you sell your work wholesale. 

Make sure if you do a trunk show your terms are spelled out clearly.  What percentage is being taken by the shop, who is collecting the money, what advertising is going to be done, what materials will you need to provide for marketing, will you need to bring your own tables and display items?  You can never ask too many questions when hammering out the details.

Don't wait for events to happen, create your own! 

So you know the drill, each week we ask a question and give away a prize.  This week you can win one of my new flower pendants in a bright and cheery orange design inspired by this month's challenge.

My question:
What is one brave thing you'd done lately when it comes to your business or creative pursuits? 

I can wait to read your stories.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pantone's Color of the Year: Tangerine Tango

Handmade Lampwork Glass Bead...
Scarlet Orange Enameled Cone...
Lampwork Focal Bead -Coral D...
Handmade Round Raku Clay Bal...
Glass lampwork beads Rustic ...
Lampwork glass headpin / Mix...
Artisan Handmade Lampwork Gl...
Yellow Orange Vintage Brass ...
Small Pendant Art Nouveau St...
Copper Leaf Pendant
2 Large Rectangle Curved Bea...
On Sale 30% Off Handmade Lam...
Big Handmade Brass-Fiber Bea...
Lampwork Carnelian Dragonfly...
Glass lampwork Head Pins Apr...
Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.

Are you ready to dance?  Tangerine Tango is an energetic color that adds a pop to any jewelry design.  Go all out with a sun kissed creation or add in bits of the orange as accents.  Pair tangerine up with teal and grey for the modern palette.  Or go with greens and browns for an earthy creation.  Pick a sherbet colorway and add in yellows, pinks and purples for a combination that is ready for spring.

I'm feeling sunny already!