Monday, July 24, 2017

Inspirations from The Clay Hen

My posts here are centred around inspiration and there are certain artist that stand out to me as artists that are directly inspired by the world around them.  Melissa Gable is one of those artist that comes to mind.  She once made the tiniest, cutest ceramic teapot beads that I adored!!  I love her work and asked her if she would share with us, the things that inspire her most.  So here is what Melissa had to say:
I have been making ceramic beads and components for nearly 3 years, I started with earthenware but I now mainly work in porcelain as I find it nice and strong once it has been fired. My beads and components are sold under my The Clay Hen name. I have also just started to make one off slab constructed leaf plates with underglaze and sgraffito design

In my past life I was a potter for ten years...I hope to get back to someday, once my studio is bigger! I used to make funky one off functional ware from teapots to bowls. I LOVE working in clay! I love all aspect of making, but I have to say my favourite part is opening the kiln, it is always such a surprise and there is a touch of alchemy about it. I live on the beautiful Far South Coast of NSW in Australia, surrounded by nature, which I absolutely love.

My first experience in clay was when I did a course in 1991 – 92 in ceramics. It was an excellent course that taught me all the fundamentals of ceramics, from throwing to glaze technology. From that point on I was hooked.  I have been working in clay on and off for about 25 years, although I did have a break for a few years and worked as a web publisher in Government, prefer the clay work!
My recent work has been inspired from trips to the beach, snorkelling:

Seeing how the seaweed sways in the ocean currents, spying octopus under rocks with their tentacles darting out to touch your foot and watching the silver fish glimmer as they swim about. Really amazing!! I think my experiences seep into my brain and then come out as I am working. I occasionally draw my ideas, especially if I don’t want to forget them. But, a lot of the time it is from experimenting with the clay in the studio…just playing around.
My last series was partly inspired by looking at Nasturtium petals and just how utterly beautiful they are! I did a series of pod and petal inspired beads.

I develop a new technique that gives me a water colour effect after the final firing.

The porcelain I am using is very fine and white so it is a perfect canvas for this particular technique. I especially love it when it is combined with oxides and a peak of white clay shows through.
I have also started to do a range of rustic caps made from the fine porcelain and raku clay which has a lot of grog in it, this gives it a rustic quality and some of the glazes just look fantastic on it.

Where you can find Melissa's work:

Isn't Melissa's work amazing!! I Have some of her rustic pods on their way to me and I just cannot wait to get them and make earrings for myself!!
As you are reading this I am still a few days from being home from my trip. I am putting this post together before flying off to Italy.  I look forward to next post - sharing lots of inspiration from my trip!!  See you then! And until then....
Wishing you all "inspiration in everyday"!!
Terri Del Signore

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Creating Eclectic

When I started my lampwork journey I was very focused on making beads that matched, I worked hard to create sets that were evenly sized, its good practice to get into, it certainly helps to develop skill. The down side is it can become very restrictive, perfect for days when your mind doesn’t wander and the results are fabulous when you see a bunch of uniform beads that work perfectly together. 
This post is about an unravelling of sorts, when you’ve been in that focussed place for a while it can be really hard to let go and just explore. To make the transition easier I decided to work within a colour palette, giving me structure, with these sets I have explored working with different sized mandrels (the steel rods lampwork beads are formed around) different patterns and textures, shapes and sizes, and I worked on something completely new for me, off mandrel hearts (these are formed directly on the end of a glass rod and the hole is pierced through with a hot tungsten tool) 

This set is my favourite in terms of colours. 

This set just screams summer beaches to me. 

I love these warm heathers and soft teals. 

I am really quite pleased with where these sets have taken me, they have given me the freedom to explore a new way to make bead sets, I think they could be great for the eclectic jewellery maker mixed with some polymer clay, wooden beads and cords. 
I have been adding to my personal stash too, just because I love seeing them all together in my bead trays :) 

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Goody Two-Shoes

Goody Two-Shoes!

Using whimsical  miniatures in your earring designs!

I've been collecting these sweet little ceramic earring pairs by Melissa Gabelle of The Clay Hen for a while.  I have a soft spot for vintage items or ones with a vintage/antique feel like these! They really tug at my heartstrings! Turning unique shapes into earring designs can be a challenge, but I found once I jumped in, the ideas started flowing!

I put all the little shoe pairs in front of me on my work table and asked each one  ~ Who are you?

The sweet little yellow boots looked like galoshes and thought might pair with some vintage 'rain' crystals and an umbrella! The crystals were salvaged from a 1930 necklace and I used oxidized over-sized bead caps to  give the impression of an umbrella.

Here are some little men's shoes that felt as if  they belonged to a gentleman of the 1700's. I wanted to keep it a bit masculine, so I added some antique mother of pearl shirt buttons, some oxidized metal beads and some subtle sparkle with rhinestone spacers.

These are quite possible my favorite!  I get a French military feel with these....I could be all wrong but that's my artistic license, no?  I added a little flare with the touch of red fabric and the brass wreaths.

It took quite a while to find just the right components. I wanted to enhance the little boots but not overpower them.  I wanted to add to the sweetness.

I think I'm all set for Halloween! I went with the pattern of the socks and decided to go all stripes!  Using Indonesian black and white stripe glass beads I continued to layer more stripes with some tin bead caps by Lorelei Hill Eurto.  Then, softening the look with a bit of frayed silk. 

I was careful to consider the weight of the earrings.  I never make anything that I wouldn't wear myself and I'm all about comfort.

I was going to end my blog post here, but I still had one pair of boots and an orphan! Here we go....

I decided to create a lariat necklace!  Whaaa... not earrings?!!  :)

The vintage chain is from Allegory Gallery, more vintage crystals...and wait for it... the bead caps are hand finished bullet shells from Artwear Elements on Etsy!  

Last, but not least, a hand wired pin!  I love this this so much!


Boots and shoes:  The Clay Hen

Wire, silk and hand finished bullet shells:  Artwear Elements

Vintage supplies and beads:  Allegory Gallery ,  Shipwreck Dandy SuppliesLorelei Hill Eurto

Thank you for joining me for this month's post of The Earring Whisperer!  Until next time!

Loralee  :)

Loralee Kolton Jewelry

Monday, July 10, 2017

Art Bead Evolutions :: Tropicalico

There are sooooo many possibilities with this month's inspiration art..... stormy sky.... blowing leaves... waving grasses.... tiger stripes..... and of course with so many choices it is really hard to choose! Also, since I am full-on in the midst of creating kits for the two classes that I am teaching at the upcoming Adornments Retreat (time is running out but there is still space in classes and we would LOVE to see you!), and Sunday night we celebrated my husband's 49th birthday with dinner out and a Phil Vassar concert (Ended up in the FRONT ROW, which was awesome, until mid way through the concert they didn't hold back the people who just bought general admission so then we couldn't see a thing for the drunk hoards that careened in front of us ), needless to say, I was very short on time. 

We were so close to Phil that it was like we were practically best friends. Soooo good!
In addition to his own songs - and he has written so many great songs that other artists have made famous -
he did an amazing rendition of Come, Sail Away and Piano Man that had has all singing.
Hey! I just noticed how awesome his background looks and works so well with this month's palette!

I toyed around with the idea to make a sort of modified tiger stripe cane, but I also know how hard it is to create a beautiful cane (which is why I will gladly buy any beautiful caned work from my favorite polymer clay artists!), so I knew that was not going to make sense for me even if I had the time, because I clearly lack the patience. So I settled on focusing on the color palette and a very simple stylized leaf shape, since the jungle foliage dominates the entire scene.

I started by mixing all my own colors. That is something that I spent a lot of time on in the Julie Picarello class at the Bead & Button show. Sure, right out of the package there are a vast variety of greens along with gold and yellow and russet red and flame orange, but Julie really instilled in me that you need to take it just another step to make it great. These colors are all very earthy and while bright they are a bit more subdued in hue. I think they play well together.

Next I spent some time cutting out strips in varying widths and laid them on the diagonal on a backing sheet of black.

Finally, I cut them into an inverted teardrop shape for a mod leaf, slightly off center, adding texture to various parts.

And.....that is where I left off.

I am actually not sure what will happen next! Perhaps some more distressing.... definitely some patina.... not really sure where I am going with this. I am baking some up right now to experiment with some options. With any luck, I will have some to share at the Adornments Retreat! ;-)

Friday, July 7, 2017

July Monthly Challenge Sponsors: Allegory Gallery + JunQue Jules

We have two very talented artists as our wonderful sponsor for the July Challenge. We will have 2  Lucky Winners this Month!

Allegory Gallery
Andrew Thornton of Allegory Gallery creates handmade jewelry, jewelry components and unique art at his studio in Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

"We are a creative space that's one part bead store, one part jewelry boutique, one part fine art gallery, and one part gift shop. The aim of Allegory Gallery is to promote artisan craftspeople, inspire the community to explore their creativity, and act as a focal point for classes and artistic education in the area."

Andrew is donating in everything pictured above valued over $64 which is composed of vintage seed beads, vintage glass, serpentine, hand-dyed silk, Czech glass, red agate chip, deer skin lace, waxed linen, a polymer clay pendant by Andrew Thornton, and one of our Fiber Cards.  The cards include a mixed assortment of four strands that are three meters long.  They are perfect for kumihimo projects, adding fiber embellishments, or adding a little bohemian flair to your next jewelry project.  

Visit Andrew on FacebookEtsyTwitterInstagramAndrew's Blog and Allegory Blog.
: :

JunQue Jules
Emily  Hoffman-Sperry creates ceramic beads, buttons, pendants, and essential oil diffusers. Along with making her own components, Emily also makes wonderful jewelry. She creates one of a kind jewelry using everything from vintage celluloid gumball charms, sea glass, collectible vintage buttons, antique skeleton keys, and crystal, to precious stones. All of this fabulous creativity happens in her Norton Shores, Michigan studio.

Emily is donating beads and components valued at $50 for the Monthly Recap winner.

Visit Emily at her Etsy, and Facebook.

Tiger in Tropical Storm by Henri Rousseau

Submit photos of your wonderful Jewelry creations using one or more Art Beads here. Submit photos of your wonderful Bead creations here.

This Month's art has many different elements that can be used for inspiration:  tigers, cats, landscapes, trees, foliage, weather, rain, green, yellow, orange and red

We can't wait to see where your creativity takes you with the art for this month's challenge! 

**IMPORTANT** Please remember to put JUL ABS in the title or tag of your submission(s).  Pinterest doesn't keep Pins in the order they are posted.

Provide us with the artist of the Art Beads used and we always love to know all the materials you used. 

***Art Beads MUST be used in your entry.***

Welcome Guest Artist: Nealay Patel

Today we welcome innovative designer, prolific author and charming instructor Nealay Patel. Nealay is an artist who crafts in beads and fiber to produce jewelry designs that are striking, colorful and textured. He is a problem-solver who sees his designs as solving a puzzle. His intricate jewelry is always highly textural and full of life, using a mix of metal and fiber and beads and wire. He has authored three books: Jewelry for the New Romantic, Jewelry Designs with Knitted Wire, and his most recent, Jewelry Made with Wire & Fiber. Recently, Nealay has started doing monthly Live Facebook videos featuring a kit that he sells on his Etsy site. Nealay was kind enough to share a project featuring an art bead with us.


The power of a single pendant

How rare is it to come across an amazing pendant that works with just about anything? I asked a bead artisan and glass expert friend of mine to assemble a special pendant for me with just one word in mind…dagger.

Open to interpretation and inspired by the challenge, Scott Griffin of Griffin Glass sent over this wonderful pendant and I have to say, he deserves a gold star!

It was my turn for the challenge next and I didn’t know exactly what to do with it at first, I have to admit. I knew I loved it simply by itself! So, why clutter up a fabulous pendant with beadwork, right?

I threw out a few chains and cords onto the table and the fiber cord spoke to me the most! The detailed, black and white cord worked perfect to set the backdrop for this star! I added some minor embellishments on either side, a technique that can be found in my latest book, Jewelry Made with Wire & Fiber.

I also had this fabulous wire collar, from Halstead Beads, that worked amazingly with the pendant! I love the bright silver, un-textured collar that contrasts with the very textured pendant.

A perfect combo for the fashion forward! Give it a try!

Be sure to stop by Nealay's Beads & Bubbles Facebook page and mark your calendars to watch his next video on Wednesday, July 26th for the In Bloom Bracelet shown above

Beading Kits by Nealay Patel for this project and more are available in his
Etsy shop:

And check out his new book Jewelry Made with Wire & Fiber for some great ideas that you can incorporate into your own designs, intersperse with art beads and jazz up your style!

UPDATE! Nealay has agreed to give away a copy of the digital version of his new book (retail value $21.99) to one lucky random winner for answering the following question:

Tell me...
what type of project would you love to see on a future installment of Beads & Bubbles?

Winner will be chosen at random from all entries
(one per person please!) and announced on July 14th!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

July Monthly Challenge

Tiger in a Tropical Storm
Henri Rousseau
Oil Painting

About the Art
Tiger in a Tropical Storm was the first painting that Rousseau painted in his signature jungle scene in a dream-like style. The painting was first rejected by the salon show but was exhibited at a non-juried show where it received mixed reviews. Henri was a self-taught painter and his naivete was not favored by critics, although he was admired by artists looking to break away from the traditional art establishment.

The painting was actually quite large at over 5" wide. Rousseau captures a surreal dream quality in his work from a wide range of resources that fueled his imagination, such as French gardens, museums and books. The painting is so detailed in it's lush, tropical foliage with a sophisticated use of color and brushwork that it transcends the 'childish' label from critics. 

The subject of the tiger is ready to pounce on an unseen prey, leaving the story to the viewer and inviting us into Henri's daydream of a dangerous and wild jungle.

About the Artist
"As a self-taught painter, Henri Rousseau was completely untrained in any established art techniques. He is best known for his na├»ve, or primitive, childlike jungle scenes. He was good at painting and music as a child, but spent most of his life in the profession of a customs officer at the outskirts of town. He started painting seriously at the age of forty and by the time he was 49 he retired from his job in order to paint full time. 

Although the painting establishment laughed and ridiculed his artistic style, he was highly regarded by artists who were outside the establishment, such as Picasso, Jean Hugo, Leger, Beckman, and later, painters of the Surrealist style. 

Rousseau’s painting style was unlike that on any other primitive painter, and many of his paintings were jungle scenes. Although he had never been to a jungle (he actually never left France), many of his paintings depicted over-sized plants and wild animals lurking in the shadows. He made many trips to the botanical gardens, perused illustrated books, and observed closely studied taxidermied animals."(1)

His artistic contributions and place in art history were mostly noted after his death. From 1986 until 1908 Henri exhibited his work yearly with growing recognition but wasn't celebrated until Picasso discovered his work and held a banquet in his honor. During this time he exhibited with the Fauves (Wild Beasts) such as Henri Matisse, although Rousseau is more noted at an outsider artist due to his lack of training. 

Our Sponsors
Please visit us Saturday 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 JULY 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 two 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. Two 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 Friday, both you as the designer and the art bead artist can get the credit you both deserve!

• An Link Up 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.  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 31st.

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 Link button at the bottom of the post to share your process and inspirations!

• Winners will be randomly chosen from all the qualifying entries on August 1st.

Perfect Pairings: Designer + Art Bead Artist
• Perfect Pairings 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 Friday here on the 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.***