Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Eyecatching Photography

As jewellery makers we often spend a great deal of time thinking about bead combinations, colour combinations, composition and design styles but when it comes to promoting our work it can be really hard to get the photos just right. I want to share with you some simple ideas that might help push your photography from good to great!

When we share our work online with a view to selling we lose the direct contact a customer has with a piece, they don’t have any tactile connection with our work so we have to create a visual connection and create that ‘want’ feeling. This makes the images we share all important, they need to communicate the story of the piece and make it desirable. 
Here are some bullet points to consider: 

  • The background of the photo is as important as the work, it should be in neutral tones and not distract from the work.
  • Any props should be appropriate to the jewellery, i.e Leaves for an antumnal feel, shells, small pebbles for a summery/beach feeling, soft coloured flowers for a romantic impression. Again these shouldn’t be distracting, if you are capable with your camera settings using depth of field can help props blur into the background slightly. 

The colours and props in this one are aimed for a spring time feel, pastel, peppermint, the twigs in the background are pussy willow in bud blurred using depth of field on my camera.

  • Often what people will connect with will be colour combinations so its really important that when you edit your photos you try and match the colours as accurately as possible. 
  • Consider how you are framing your jewellery, it doesn’t have to be straight on add and prop that allows you to hang earrings rather than laying them flat, or raise a section of a necklace to add visual interest. 

These earrings hang from two twigs from the garden, supported on two wooden blocks that are out of frame. 

When you are looking for a suitable background a great place to start looking is the hardware store, often you are allowed to take a small piece of wallpaper as a sample, these make 
great free backgrounds and often have interesting textures or patterns and come in a great range of colours. These are some I picked up recently. 

All neutral tones, some with texture, some flat. Avoid anything with sparkles or a shiny finish, they will reflect light and detract from your final image. 

I hope these give you some ideas for interesting photo backgrounds, why not share your own ideas in the comments section. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Earthy Spring Vibes with Summer Wind Art

Earthy Spring Vibes: 

By Ashley Bonney-Summer Wind

I have been playing around a lot lately with mixing different elements in my jewelry. When I was designing this piece, I wanted to have some fun bright elements, but I also wanted to keep it earthy. I found that adding leather cord to the end and some natural stone beads kept it nice and grounded. 

When I am adding leather cord, I like to take a long piece, fold it in half and then use a crimp end to secure it. I then add a lobster clasp and jump ring for the closure.

I really like using Vintaj Brass Findings because they age really well and are very easy to manipulate. You can see in the picture that I just linked the stone beads using eye pins and jump rings. I'll be sure to post the sizes at the end. 

The wood beads on this necklace were tricky, because one hole was very small and the other was larger. I find that wood beads do best when they are secured with twine or hemp. I have tried using eye pins in the past, but I experienced more movement than I like, so I switched to twine. In this case, because the smaller wood bead's hole was much smaller, I had to actually take the twine apart so I had a nice thin piece. I then just made a loop and the top and knotted between the beads and at the bottom. 

I hope you got a little inspiration from my post, I am always so inspired by all the ladies that post to Art Bead Scene. I have soooo much to learn, as far as techniques go, and I am so glad that we have so many talented artists here. Hope everyone has fun creating! 

Ashley Bonney
Summer Wind Art


Twine-I used Baker's Twine from Lima Beads
Leather Cording from Micheal's Craft Store
Stone Beads, any earthy color or shape
Wood Beads- Summer Wind Art

Vintaj Natural Brass
CE20 - 9mm Crimp End
CL0003 - 12mm Classic Lobster Clasp
JR60 - 15mm Smooth 15ga Jump Ring
JR40 - 7.25mm Smooth 16ga Jump Ring
EP1 - 1in Eye Pin

Friday, March 17, 2017

Perfect Pairings :: Sarajo Wentling + Humblebeads

This flowering tree pendant looks like it was plucked right out of our painting this month. While I love birds and nests, I also love that this tree is in full radiant bloom and is the focal in this pretty necklace. Those soft milky blue beads feel like fluffy clouds on a breezy spring day. Ahhh....Spring! Come quick! Just three more days!

Featured Designer :: Sarajo Wentling
Featured Bead Artist :: Humblebeads

We are now using Pinterest! 
You can find more details in this post about the exciting new changes,
including a board devoted to art beads inspired by the monthly challenge!
(Ooh! Look! More pretty beads to lust after!)

Pretty please make sure that you post a link in your Pinterest description
so that I have someplace to attribute the picture! 
And don't forget to tell us about those art beads - providing links to bead makers is appreciated!

Deadline March 29th to get your pictures posted to the Pinterest boards for the creation of the Monthly Challenge Recap post for March 31st.
TIP: If you upload your photo rather than pin it from your blog or shop, edit the pin (the little pencil button) and add your link as the source. Save your edits. This will allow us to click directly on your photo and go to your blog or shop to read more about your entry. If you don't, I might not be able to access the photo to share it.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Firefly Design Studio is hosting Another Designers Challenge!

The fourth designers challenge has been introduced on Facebook and it's all about Spring - daisies and butterflies!  Three kits are available to choose from in blue (however, now sold out) but yellow and pink are still available.  Every challenge has a guest artist that designs a component, and this round it is the fabulous Anne Gardanne with her enameled beauties.  What you receive from Anne is a surprise!  This is what is included in the kits with a link on how to purchase one for $20 -

* Design time from when you receive your kit through Friday, April 14th
* Post your design pictures on the group wall on Saturday, April 15th. One picture will be a group shot of a necklace, bracelet and earring pair. Then a separate close up picture of each, for 4 pictures total. (You must use everything in the kit with anything else you want from your personal bead stash).
* Every like and comment on every picture you post is a vote. The group is public so everyone can like your pictures, but only group members can comment. This is a Facebook thing, not mine 

* Voting will end at midnight, Friday, April 21st
* A prize will be awarded for public vote of a bead embroidery design and a stringing design. Anne will also have the honor of awarding a prize for the most unique use of her component. Winners will be announced Saturday, April 22nd

Does this sound like something you'd like to do?  Then don't wait to buy your kit because they are only available through Sunday, March 19th.  3 yellow and 4 pink remain out of 30 total.  Make sure you join the Facebook group - both to see the designs and vote for your favorites by liking and commenting on the pictures when they are posted.  Here's the link for that -

Hope you'll join in the fun!

Michelle McCarthy
Firefly Design Studio
Ceramic Beads

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Hello March,  Hello Spring, Hello Polymer Headpins :: By the Earring Whisperer ::

All I can think about is the coming of Spring and pastels! So, I thought I'd share some unbelievable new art beads I purchased from Kimberly Rogers of Numinosity Beads! I'm already planing my next order! I'm a sick woman...but, please, don't help me...lol

These focal beauties are headpins! They are big and bold but since they are made of polymer clay, are super light weight which allows you to go little wild with the embellishments.  

The accent beads are from my dear friend, Kay Mallery! I have a deep collection of her work... 'bout, ankle deep actually!  She makes so many colors  that you'll need them all! These are from her stringer series, and are a favorite of mine. She tells me these started out as a mistake but it's getting harder to make that "mistake" on purpose!  Ahhh, gotta love happy accidents!

To mix things up I added some vintage chain links. I adore the pattern on these links, which look very much like an Egyptian eye! In fact, now that I'm thinking about it....the whole piece has an Egyptian flavor.  Funny how that happens even when you don't plan for it.

Well, I hope you enjoy the colors and textures! I appreciate you checking out my little blog post each month! 

Thank you!

Loralee :)

Loralee Kolton Jewelry 


2 polymer clay headpins with a long wire of approx. 4"
2 faceted African etched spacers
2 lampwork stringer spacers
2 4mm jonquil Swarovski crystals
2 24g oxidized copper wire, 4 - 6" approx.
4 24g., pcs. 2" oxidized copper wire *optional
2 ornate links of chain 25mm oval
2 earwires, Vintaj


1.)  Taking your headpin, string on the etched African bead, the stringer bead and lastly your bicone crystal.

2.)  Attach your chain link using a wrapped loop. I added a coiling of fine wire on each end of the link, but that is optional.

3. ) Using a piece of 4-6", 24g wire, go back and add it in between the headpin and the first strung bead by tightly      wrapping it around and around, then tucking in the end with your chain nose pliers.

4.)  Add your earwires. I chose shorter earwires due to the long length of the design.


Polymer clay head pins:  Kimberly Rogers of Numinosity Beads www.numinositybeads.etsy.com 
Lampwork "stringer" beads:  Reflections - Kay Mallery  https://www.facebook.com/Reflections-Kay-Mallery
African recycled glass:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/yukidesigns
Vintage Chain links:  Offered by many shops on Etsy.com
Oxidized Wire:  www.artwearelements.etsy.com 
Earwires:  Vintaj

Monday, March 13, 2017

Art Bead Evolutions :: Nesting Instinct

There is something so hopeful about a bird's nest.

The urge to nest is common to many different animals, from squirrels, mice, pigs, birds - even fish! - and of course, humans. It makes sense. Shelter is of the utmost importance to survival. So it should come as no surprise that setting up a special spot for the new arrivals is so necessary.

I imagine that the birds building this formidable fortress want to protect their little ones and keep foes from intruding. But I also imagine that the interior is soft and warm and cozy, unlike the thorny exterior.

I love the sweet yellow buds and the distant blue mountains. What a beautiful view to be born into!

I decided on making a clasp for this month's Sampler. I have never worked with an extruder before, but I had bought one a few months ago and this seemed like the perfect project to test it out on. It reminds me of the spritz cookie press that I inherited from my mother. You put the dough...er...clay inside the tube and then squeeze it out the other end through a plate that shapes the clay, in this case, I used one with little holes. I ended up with a lot of brown/tan/grey spaghetti that I then fashioned into a wee little nest. I can see that these other discs will be fun to experiment with for the future!

Then I mixed up some granite and turquoise clay to make the tiniest eggs to nestle in there. I am not sure what color eggs that these birds in the picture lay, but nothing says SPRING to me than little eggs in a nest!

So I whipped up a little bracelet last night to show off the Nesting Instinct clasp that I call "Spring Awakening." A bisque birdie I have been hoarding from Summers Studio (missing you Miss LeAnn!), a branch bead from Humblebeads, some wood chips and turquoise chips as well as some oddball fire agate in a mottled golden yellow and snow white round it out. Up in that branch there looks to be a feather, so I added one to the bracelet to complete the look.

Hurry up, Spring!

Each month for my Simple Truths Sampler Club I come up with a bead, pendant or component that is inspired by the monthly challenge here on the Art Bead Scene. I challenge myself to come up with something new, but also teach myself new techniques and tricks. I write a little note with each monthly package that details my thought process and inspirations, my trial and errors. These pieces are offered to the Club members first, but then offered up for sale to the public on a limited basis. You can find out more at www.TesoriTrovati.com.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Perfect Pairings :: Alison Adorns + Humblebeads + Diane Hawkey

I have to be honest....I am totally smitten with all things bird-y! So I was really delighted to see this pretty necklace that brings together all the images that I see in this month's painting inspiration: yellow flowers, birds, nests, branches, blue skies. I adore Diane Hawkey's word beads. I have quite a dragon's hoard of them in my own stash. They always strike just the right note in any design. And this one is chirpy sweet! Hurry up,Spring!

Featured Designer :: Alison Adorns
Featured Bead Artist :: Humblebeads + Diane Hawkey

We are now using Pinterest! 
You can find more details in this post about the exciting new changes,
including a board devoted to art beads inspired by the monthly challenge!
(Ooh! Look! More pretty beads to lust after!)

Pretty please make sure that you post a link in your Pinterest description
so that I have someplace to attribute the picture! 
And don't forget to tell us about those art beads - providing links to bead makers is appreciated!

Deadline March 29th to get your pictures posted to the Pinterest boards for the creation of the Monthly Challenge Recap post for March 31st.
TIP: If you upload your photo rather than pin it from your blog or shop, edit the pin (the little pencil button) and add your link as the source. Save your edits. This will allow us to click directly on your photo and go to your blog or shop to read more about your entry. If you don't, I might not be able to access the photo to share it.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

March Monthly challenge Sponsors: Tesori Trovati and Artisticaos

We have two very talented artists as our wonderful sponsor for the March Challenge. We will have 2 Lucky Winners this Month!
Tesori Trovati
Erin Prais-Hintz is one of the editors here at Art Bead Scene. Erin has a monthly bead club that you can subscribe to. The lucky winner will get to choose their colors and styles from the new Minutiae collection for the prize.

Erin is donating over $60 in Pendants and charms for the Jewelry Pinterest board winner. 

Visit Erin at her websiteFacebook and website shop. 

: :


Terri Del Signore is also an editor here at Art Bead Scene. Terri works in clay creating wonderful beads and components for jewelry artists/designers.

Terri is donating the "Birds of a Feather" components above valued at over $50 for the Monthly Recap winner.

Visit Terri at her website and Facebook.

Armed Bird's Nest in Acacia Bush, Chile by MaryAnne North

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:  landscapes, birds, nests, yellow flowers, purple/blues and neutral tones.

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

**IMPORTANT** Please remember to put MAR 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.***

Friday, March 3, 2017

March Monthly Challenge

Armed Bird's Nest in Acacia Bush, Chile
Marianne North
Oil On Paper

About the Art
The scientific accuracy with which she documented plant life in all parts of the world, before photography became a practical option, gives her work a permanent value. A number of plant species are named in her honour, including Areca northiana, Crinum northianum, Kniphofia northiana, Nepenthes northiana, and the genus name Northia.

Kew Gardens claims that the North Gallery (situated in the east section of the gardens) is "the only permanent solo exhibition by a female artist in Britain". In 2008 Kew obtained a substantial grant from the National Lottery, which enabled it to mount a major restoration of both the gallery and the paintings inside.

On the back of paintings and backing boards other works and sketches were revealed, showing North's preparatory practice and her reuse of materials throughout her artistic process.
Conservators also discovered that North would sketch out designs in ink before applying her oils, which she then squeezed straight from a tube onto the surface of the painting. She also wrote onto her works noting colours for her final paintings and observations of her travels, such as a description of a sloth which records its idiosyncratic way of moving and its tastes for local foods.
These insights enable us to gain a better understanding of both this inspirational woman's life as a traveller and her artistic process. This conservation work not only secured the future of these artworks and their iconic gallery building, but also unlocked secrets of Marianne North's incredible life journeying with her paints across the world.

About the Artist
Marianne North (1830-1890) was a remarkable Victorian artist who travelled the globe in order to satisfy her passion for recording the world's flora with her paintbrush. The result of these epic journeys can be seen in the Marianne North Gallery at Kew, where tier upon tier of brightly coloured paintings of flowers, landscapes, animals and birds are arranged. There are 832 paintings, all completed in 13 years of travel round the world.
Marianne was devoted to her father Frederick North who was Liberal MP for Hastings. When he died in 1869 it had a profound effect on her, for until then all life had centred on him.
In 1871, Marianne at the age of 40, began her astonishing series of trips around the world inspired by earlier travels with her father and the exotic plant collections she saw at Kew. Her words on embarking on this new period in her life sum up her excitement: 'I had long dreamed of going to some tropical country to paint its peculiar vegetation on the spot in natural abundant luxuriance.'
Between 1871 and 1885 she visited America, Canada, Jamaica, Brazil, Tenerife, Japan, Singapore, Sarawak, Java, Sri Lanka, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Seychelles and Chile. Often she would stay away for long periods. In India she visited a number of regions over a period of nearly 18 months; in Brazil she spent 13 months travelling into the interior and making long and arduous journeys across very rough terrain. Marianne was fortunately well connected through persons within her father's political circle and was able to contact many useful people who supported her in her travels.
She was invited to dine with the President of the USA and the poet Longfellow and was able to stay with a range of well-to-do acquaintances such as the Rajah and Rani of Sarawak. In the UK she also had many supporters, including Edward Lear, Sir Joseph Hooker (Director of Kew) and Charles Darwin, the latter encouraging her to visit Australia to paint their extraordinary flora.
Notwithstanding these 'introductions', Marianne was rare among women of this period - travelling unaccompanied and visiting areas virtually unknown to many Europeans. She was at her happiest when discovering plants and painting and spent nearly all of her time abroad in the wild, surrounded by the habitats and plants she longed to capture in oil paint.
Some of the plants she painted proved new to science and one genus and four species were named in her honour. She took a year off from travelling in 1881-1882 to arrange her pictures in the Gallery, which was built at her own expense and designed by James Ferguson, the architectural historian.
Eventually feeling tired due to her extensive travelling, and with failing health, Marianne North retired to Gloucestershire, where she died on 30th August 1890. Her legacy lives on in the gallery, providing visitors to Kew with the chance to explore the amazing 'snapshot in time' represented by her paintings.
-Kew, Royal Botanic Gardens

Our Sponsor
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 absmonthlychallenge@gmail.com 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 MAR 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 March 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 March 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 February 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.***

Thursday, March 2, 2017

February Monthly Challenge Winners

Congratulations to the February Monthly Challenge winners! 
1 winner was chosen randomly from all the challenge entrants.
1 winner was chosen randomly from the Linked blog entries.
Winner of a month of advertising on ABS from the Monthly Challenge Bead category.
Our First lucky winner is Divya N. of Sayuri.
She has won a $50 Gift Certificate from Soul Silver.
Our Second lucky winner is Karen Martinez of Fairies Market.
She has won $50 in Beads from Driftless Glass.
Our Winner from the Bead Entries of the Monthly Challenge is Jaqui R. of Kydo Jewellery. 

She has won a Month of Advertising here on Art Bead Scene
Please e-mail an image and link for your ad.

 A huge thank you to Soul Silver and Driftless Glass our February Monthly Challenge sponsors!

(claybuttons.com email address is acting wonky) with your information (Name and address) so your prizes may be sent to you.

A Big THANK YOU to everyone who entered this month! We were so fortunate to have so many beautiful entries and experience such creativity from our wonderful readers.

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