Monday, April 30, 2007

Last Day to Enter

Enter the Art Bead Scene's Monthly Challenge to win over $100 in art beads from our contributors!

The deadline is tonight, April 30th, at midnight.

To upload your photos and enter, visit our Flickr group.

Here are two recent entries:

Fly Girl Necklace by Jane Mormino.

A wall hanging from textile artist Kathy Marks

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Fit to Print - Bead Review Book 2

What better place to review a book about glass art beads than at the Art Bead Scene? If you love glass beads in any form, this is a book that you will want in your collection.

Bead Review Book 2: A Year of Exceptional Art Glass Beads is the second in a series published by glass bead artist Brad Pearson and is a collection of beads from the previous year in glass bead making.

You can find it at Art of Beadmaking describes the Bead Review on their web site as this:

Bead Review 2 is a snapshot of the artistic talent found in the contemporary art glass beadmaking movement - within the pages is a global overview of the finest handmade creations of the year. Thoughtful writing and artist insights accompany beautifully photographed art beads, all sure to inform as well as elicit “ooh's and aaah's."
This year's Review had three categories: Focal beads, Sets and Newcomers. Each piece that was chosen for the first two categories spans a two-page write-up consisting of the bead picture of course, the process used to make the bead, the artist's description and a write-up by one of the jurors for the project. The simple but elegant layout by Julie Ferguson, assistant editor and creative director, allows the reader to really soak in the images and information on each page and makes one want to look through it again and again and again.

This year I am proud to say that I am among the artists represented, with a set of my 'stitched' beads on page 54.

Congratulations to everyone who is in this publication! And for those of you who want to submit for the next Review, you have from now until around September to be working on your submission for Bead Review Book 3. Hop to it! We here at the Art Bead Scene will let you know when the call for entries goes out.

Lori Greenberg is a glass beadmaker who blogs from her studio in Cave Creek, Arizona.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Findings Worth Finding: Contemporary Pewter Findings

If you like bold, graphic findings for your jewelry designs, check out these new pewter designs that have recently come onto the market. I found these hammered-style pewter toggles, rings, and links at Art Beads. These high quality items are made from lead free pewter in the USA and come in 3 shiny finishes: bright gold, rhodium (silver), and copper, which are plated heavily onto the pewter surfaces. The styles are very clean and geometric, and would go well with many types of handcrafted beads like lampwork glass, ceramic, and polymer, for a contemporary look that doesn't detract from the beads with too much fussy detail and ornament. The whole line of links, rings and clasps co-ordinate together perfectly for endless design possibilities.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Call for Entry - 1000 Jewelry Details

From Rockport Publishers:

"We are seeking project contributors for an upcoming book tentatively titled 1000 Jewelry Details. The book will feature handmade jewelry that can be made at home with simple tools by non-professional jewelry makers. Some images will show entire pieces of jewelry, but most will home in on points of interest: uniquely crafted findings, bead combinations, dangles, hand-carved details, surface texture, fibers, color, and nontraditional materials."

More details here: Rockport Publishers

Sounds interesting - let us know if you decide to send in an entry - always an exciting endeavor.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Findings Worth Finding - Gunmetal Findings

Gunmetal findings, which is blackened brass, is one of my favorite jewelry supplies at the moment. I'm crazy for little metal tassels, like the ones at the bottom of these lariat necklaces. You can find an assortment of gunmetal findings at Rings & Things. In the projects above I mixed wire-wrapping with copper wire, gunmetal chain and sterling siver beads. Yes you can mix your metals!

Art beads used: cuff bead in blue (bottom), lariat beads in olive & copper from Humblebeads.

Uploading Your Photo to the ABS Flickr Group

If you are new to Flickr, adding photos to the groups can seem a bit confusing. Hopefully this will help.

1. Join the ABS Group.

2. Upload your photo.

3. After your photo is uploaded, click on it and you'll get a screen that looks like this:

4. Click on the icon above your photo, it says, "add to group" Choose the Art Bead Scene. (the red is for illustrative purposes.)

That's it, your photo should be uploaded. If you are having technical difficulties, you can email me your photo and I will post it for you. Make sure to include all the important details if you email me your entry.

Good luck!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Beadmaker Interview: Vickie Miller, Hipkitty Beads

After seeing Vickie's mini lampwork and beaded purses and flip-flops in the Lampwork Etc. gallery I tackled her and convinced her that she just had to give us an interview! Enjoy!

1. What is your personal name, business name, website and location?

My name is Vickie Miller. I am the owner and creator of Hippkitty Beads. I live and work on Camano Island in Washington state. I'm still working on my website but my blog page is:

2. What kind of beads do you make? What kinds of processes do you use? What is your favorite beadmaking technique?

I make lampwork glass beads. I use mostly soft glass imported from Italy called Effetre. About two thirds of the beads I create are simple, colorful, whimsical sets, with lots of different shapes and designs for interest but my personal favorites are bead sets with complex floral designs. I've heard this type of bead being referred to as "watercolor florals". Each bead having many different layers of interest almost like a painting. I use furnace glass frits, (mostly from Val Cox), fine silver foil, and many different hand mixed canes for these designs. Each bead can take up to 30 minutes or more to create. A very time consuming process but I feel this sets me apart from the rest.

3. How did you get into beadmaking? What are some of the important things you do for your business?

I started making jewelry a few years ago and while searching the internet for supplies I came acoss Corina Tettinger's website. I fell in love with glass art beads. I deciced then that I had
to learn how to create these tiny treasures myself. I read everything I could get my hands on and slowly started buying equipment and supplies. I made my first bead in the summer of 2004. I've never taken a class but I've watched a few very talented beadmakers in person and I also own a video or two. Lots and lots of research on the internet. So I guess you would say I'm self-taught.

I started selling my bead sets on Ebay after about 6 months and this has been a very successful endeavor for me. I try to have a least one auction up at all times and this is what takes up most of my time. But Ebay is where most of my beadmaking income comes from.

I also sell my finished work at local art shows. About 2 to 3 a year. I love meeting and chatting with my customers in person!

4. What is your workspace like and how do you work in your studio? What is a typical day like?

My beadmaking studio is in my garage which is very comfortable. The space is heated and I have a nice high bench for my torch and kiln. I really haven't personalized the space too much but I will get around to that sometime in the near future. It could use some more color.

I do have a newly remodeled office/jewelry studio that I really love! It has space, color, computer, TV, shipping center, photo center, jewelry tool and supply organization..... everything at my fingertips.

My day starts with answering emails while having my coffee. I have my 7 year old grandson before and after school so after I fix our breakfast and get him to school I can get to work. I take care of any shipping or ordering of supplies first and then I head to the torch where I spend about 6 to 7 hours creating beads. I pick up my grandson from school in the afternoon and spend an hour or so with him before he goes home. After dinner is when I clean beads, take pictures, write auctions and spend time at the computer.

I treat beadmaking as I would a regular job, meaning I try to stick to a schedule in order to get everything done that I need to in a day. It's a busy life. I still have a home and husband to care for and lots of friends I like to spend time with so sometimes I wish there were more hours in a day.

5. How do you stay inspired and motivated?

My inspiration comes from many different places. I have been a seamstress since I was a child and I love textiles. Fabric, ribbon, yarn, fibers are all great sources of inspiration for me. When I'm stumped for a new color combination I'll often go to one of the many bookmarked fabric websites. Fashion and home decorating magazines and websites are also full of design and color ideas.

6. What type of beads and jewelry designs do you feel best compliment your art beads? Do you design your own jewelry too?

Jewelry making was my first love and the beads that I make for myself are made with a particular finished piece in mind. It's hard to say what type of jewelry most compliments my beads. I have made simple necklaces and bracelets with just a single bead as the focus and I also love to make complex designs with lots of sterling silver components, crystals, and freshwater pearls. The more danglies the better! I also love to make "art pieces". The elaborate types of jewelry that you might see in a gallery but really not very practical for real life. I just added a big pile of Bali style sterling beads to my supply inventory so the challenge will be in using these highly detailed beads to compliment my designs and not detract from them.

7. What beady plans do you have for the future? Do you have new designs or ideas you will be exploring soon?

I'm in the process of updating my show inventory right now. The things I have left are very recognizable and I want my customers to always have some new things to look at when they
come to see me. Remember when I said I wish there were more hours in a day? I sure could use some right now.......

I would also love to do some teaching in the future. Maybe someone will invite me :)

8. If you have a discount code you would like to give our readers, please list it here, including the expiration date:

I sell my beads and jewelry from my blog site from time to time and if you mention the discount code "Kittys discount" in your email to me when requesting a piece you will get a 5% discount on regularly priced items, (not sale or marked down items), throughout the month of April 2007.

Thanks Vickie! Make sure you come back and let us know when your web site is live so we can give you a link here!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Fit to Print Review: Metal Clay & Mixed Media Jewelry

Metal Clay and Mixed Media Jewelry by Sherri Haab is a gorgeous exploration of more advanced techniques for working metal clay and combining it with other materials. This book is a visual feast of beautiful jewelry and interesting, complex projects shown and described in incredible detail. Much of the book's examples use art beads either in the metal clay projects themselves (like the ceramic cab project) or use various art beads in the construction of the jewelry.

The beginning of the book briefly covers the basics of metal clay, the types, the working methods, and the firing. But the heart of this book is the innovative techniques that showcase metal clay at its best. Bezel making and firing the clay around ceramic and glass stones is covered in several step by step pages, full of photographs. Also, methods of bezel making and filling after firing is covered, using concrete, resin, and cement as filling materials. Adding color to metal in the forms of polymer clay, resins, and collage materials is another focus of the book. Finally, various styles of clasp projects and ideas are shown, making this book a fully rounded exploration of metal clay uses in jewelry.

If you are coming to metal clay from another material, are looking for ways to expand your techniques, or just want an appreciation for the beauty and process of the art beads you have seen made of metal clay, I highly recommend this book.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Monthly Challenge Highlights

A few entries in the Art Bead Scene Monthly Challenge:

Necklace and art beads by Donna Millard.

Entry from Jean Yates with art beads from Earthenwood Studio.

You can view all the entries and submit your own at our Flickr group. You have 7 more days to enter. Remember we are giving away $100 in art beads!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I Heart Tools - Pricing Calculators

Still not sure if you are pricing your jewelry correctly? Well, not fear - the very talented Eni Oken has created a tool just for you!

Eni's Jewelry Price Calculator for Excel is an easy to use pricing program. Just punch in your materials, how long it took you to make your jewelry item and viola, a suggested wholesale price and retail prices.

Need to figure out how much each bead cost? Eni also has a Bead Cost Caculator that you can use. Type in the length of the strand, price and size of the bead and it does the rest for you.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Ever have artistic block?

It happens to all of us, we settle into our spot to start making beautiful things, look down at our piles, boxes and bags of supplies and feel completely uninspired ....... Sometimes I feel a bit of panic "Time is so precious - I need to get something done before this window of opportunity closes." Sometimes a bit of dread, "I'm not really an artist - who am I fooling, I can't even think of a new thing to make" and other times I just feel stuck.

What to do? There are many things people do to get over a mind block; take a walk, look at books / magazines for inspiration, listen to music or call a friend. My own favorite thing to do is clean up and organize my studio area. This may sound crazy, but it does the trick for me. As I pick up, fondle and think about all the pendants, beads, clay, glazes, chain, brushes and various tools to be put away, many of them will spark a new idea or rekindle one I had days or weeks ago. It seems that as my physical environment becomes organized, so does my mental environment. Give it a try and let us know of any great ideas you come up with!

And now for a bit of studio inspiration:

Lisa Peters shared her solution for storing her beautiful art beads.
This studio Caroline Sandlin is constructing would inspire me!

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Bead Biz: Talking wholesale with Shanalyn of Shana Logic

Wholesale Pricing and Sales Tips
By Shanalyn Victor

I have been inspired to write this article simply because I get a lot of emails daily from artists who wish to sell on my site that I have noticed are struggling with where to begin when it comes to pricing and wholesale.

What is wholesale?
It's when an artist sells at a discounted rate in larger quanties to larger shops.

I'm not talking about people who are hired to mass-produce items, but artists who would like to expand their business and at the same time still want to respect the small business world.
The artist quotes in this article are based on actual emails I've gotten from artists.
--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
Pricing work appropriately for selling wholesale

"I can't sell my items at wholesale pricing because then it's not enough money to be worth my while!"
-Artist who doesn't price their items appropriately

In order for retail shops to be able to sell your merchandise, they need to be able to at least double your wholesale price (many stores do 3 times in order to be able to afford overhead; ads, rent, photography, design needs, staff, etc). You must think of wholesale pricing as the amount you need to make in order to sell your items in bulk. If you can't afford to sell your $15 tee at $7.50 to a reseller, it looks like you need to raise your prices! If that means your retail tee is now $24 so that you can get $10-12 per tee, then it's just icing on the cake if you do happen to sell one at full price on your own!

A $15 tee is great at Wal-mart (blech) but this is the INDIE world! Don't compete with the low-end market--it's not worth it. You need to value your time and your talent.

Also remember, once you set a wholesale price, you must sell to all of your customers at that price (regardless if they double or even triple your pricing). You must also respect your customers by pricing the items you sell on your site at the same retail pricepoint. Meaning, if you wholesale at $25, you should sell your item for $50 or more on your site and all of your competitors will sell for the same OR more depending on their ratio. Your wholesalers will be turned off by having to compete with your personal pricing or the pricing of other shops selling the same things for less.

"These earrings only cost me $5 to make so that's what I'm going to sell them for"
-Artist undervaluing themselves

The most common thing I've noticed is how often artists undervalue themselves when they price their items! This means that when they are asked to wholesale (sell at a lower rate to larger stores enabling them to fill more lucrative orders and receive the money upfront) they have to cut their prices so low that it becomes a loss to them to sell wholesale.

Remember, you MUST account for your time, talent and creativity as well as materials! So, if it takes you an hour to make your product, figure out your hourly rate and add that to the price! That number is your wholesale price, NOT your retail price.

"I can make more selling a necklace at full price than I could wholesaling"
-Artist undervaluing their potential

That's true if you look at a single sale, but not if you look at the big picture. Wholesale is generally the way to make a REAL living as an artist. Sure, one can sell on auction portals but their items are set equal to everyone else forcing artists to set lower prices to compete. Also, it's very hard to have quality control on sites like that, and therefore it's hard to set oneself apart. A $300 dollar item will sit right next to a $3 item! Overall, the prices are too low (believe me, I wholesale from artists who sell on those sites and sometimes I'm blown away at how low some of the pricing is!)

An artist can also sell on their own sites (and they normally do) but there is a limited audience and a limited amount of revenue that can be put back into advertising. As an individual, it's rare to have the same exposure selling alone as it is when one is selling on a large site that has a budget for quality advertisements and a better selection of items with the same feel and quality as yours.

Another great thing about wholesaling is that an artist ends up having a network of loyal retailers who feel just as great about their products as the artist does. They no longer have to ship one item at a time but 10-200 items at once, saving time and resources.

Once an artist has a group of loyal customers and has set the prices of their pieces appropriately, they will find that though the prices may be lower per item, they will make a LOT more money due to quantity and repeat buys than they would selling piece-meal.

"I just have so many wholesale orders, I'm overwhelmed and can't take anymore!"
-Underpaid Artist

That actually sounds great! Looks like YOU have the upper hand, eh?

1. Raise your retail/wholesale prices a tad-- apparently you aren't pricing well enough to accomodate your time! Let those low-end buyers go. The indie shopper is one who values your talent and wants to support you!

2. Time to hire someone! You can fill more orders just by hiring someone to help you out with little things-- cutting patterns, shipping orders, even helping you knit! You are STILL INDIE if you have a helper! It's hard to grow a company alone:-)

3. When under pressure, ask for more time! Seriously, people who wholesale indie items are usually pretty lenient about timelines. If time is needed to take a break, most retailers will be more than responsive! They'd rather have their items than have their fabulous artist quit!

In conclusion, an artist can make the wholesale "machine" work for them if they:

1. Price their work appropriately
2. Raise their retail prices to work together with their wholesale pricing structure
3. Gain a group of wholesalers as opposed to concentrating on single sales
4. Prevent getting overwhelmed by modifying their production plan


Cupcake Charm Bracelet by Amy Secrest

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Bead Theme 2

Here are some more finds to help inspire you for our Monthly Challenge. Remember the theme for this month is Taking Flight.

Orange Birds by Virginia Miska

Fetish Style Blue Birds by Cindy Gimbrone

Flying Clock Button by Creative Impressions in Clay

Glass and metal pendants with vintage images by Vintage Faerie
Take Flight PMC wings by Zoa Art
Pewter bird bead by Green Girl Studios
Golden Branches by Humblebeads

Flight Wingspan Pendants by Earthenwood Studio

Deadline to enter the ABS Monthly Challenge is April 30th.

To view the current entries, visit our Flickr group.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Jewelry Making Forums

Chances are, you know about internet forums. They are virtual worlds where people gather and discuss just about anything. When I have questions about something I go straight to a related forum for my answers. I've used them for everything from grouting tile to gold fish ailments. But that's not what I wanted to tell you today.

In the event that you might not know what forums are, I would like to direct you to a handful of jewelry making forums that I know of , and invite you to share others that aren't mentioned here. Please either leave a comment or email our suggestion box so that we can update this list!

Here are a few to get you started:

Bead & Button Communities
Beading and Jewelry related

Lampwork Etc.
Predominantly Lampworkers (glass bead makers) but they have a section for jewelry, PMC/Metal work as well as some other areas.

Large art forum site for all media but also a large glass bead area and a place for Wearable Arts Jewelry Making

Again, send us your favorites so we can let the world know.

Lori Greenberg is a glass bead maker who blogs from her studio in Cave Creek, Arizona

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Fit to Print Review-Beads 2007 Special Magazine

Interweave's Beads 2007

The annual publication from the editors of Beadwork magazine is filled with trends, tips and resources for jewelry designers.

The best part of Beads 2007 is the Editor's Top Picks. Over 100 innovative beads and findings are spotlighted in this issue.

You might recognize two Art Bead Scene Contributors in the Editors' Picks and on the cover.

Heather, from Humblebeads, had her Lariat Art Beads featured. You can find them here in a rainbow of colors along with a gallery of design ideas.

Melanie, of Earthenwood Studio, had her super cute snack charms picked. They are the cream of crop after all. I love the little sweets. You have to go see them. Her Linky Clasps were also chosen.

Beads 2007 is on newsstands now.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Lark Books - 500 Pendants and Lockets Call

Continuing on in their 500 Series, Lark Books has a call for entries out for their upcoming book, 500 Pendants and Lockets that is due to be published in Spring 2008.

Don't let it pass you by...this is your opportunity to get your work in front of thousands of people. The deadline is May 1st to submit your images of contemporary, handmade pendants and lockets.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

I HEART Jewelry Tools

I love my tools but I have to admit there are a few that I love a little more than the rest. Yes it’s true! I love a few of them more because they’re special. They perform a special task that the other tools either can’t or don’t do as well. Today, I’m going to tell you about one of them, they’re my nylon jaw pliers.

I use wire wrapping in my work and go through a lot of wire making headpins, eye pins, loops, clasps, jump rings and more. The best investment I ever made was in my nylon jaw pliers. If your wire is shipped to you kinked or you goof while working with wire, you use the pliers to straighten it. The nylon jaws coax out any kinks so the wire is so smooth it’s like butta! I’ve straightened all sizes of wires and taken out tight kinks. I’ve saved a lot of wire using these pliers and that translates into less money wasted. The nylon jaw pliers cost between $10 – 24.00 US and are available from various sources. The pliers pictured above are from Euro-tool.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Findings worth Finding-Color wonderful Color!

I was searching for jumprings today, when color popped into my head. Like that's something new, I'm usually wearing lots of color. I remembered once upon a time seeing annodized aluminum jumprings. So I did a dogpile search and there were lots of options for annodized aluminum jumprings. The best place I found that served my purpose was The page appeared on the screen and ahhhhhhhhhhh, the heavens opened up and a chorus of color started singing to me! COLOR! Rainbows of jumprings.
I have always wondered where to find those cool washers and there they were: Annodized Aluminum Washers! Another chorus (higher pitched than the last one).
Fun brightly colored necklaces and bracelets started dancing in my head. What beady possibilities! I was shaking by now. So I ordered one of everything. OK, so they had me on Hello.
Another cool thing about this website, besides they sell every color of satin cord imaginable, is they have tutorials on knots. My fave was the button knot :)
If you are a color freak as I am, have a look at
Life is way to short not to use every color available!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Dear Ms. Bead-It-All

Dear Ms. Bead-It-All,

It's me again and I am yet again lost. You helped me last month with my vertical holed bead problem, and now I have another problem dealing with bead holes! I have found some wonderful ceramic pendants by a variety of artists. They are quite lovely, but they have holes that go from front to back! How can I use these so that they hang properly on my beaded artworks?

signed again, Lost My Direction

Dear Lost,
Oh dear! With all of your confusion about bead holes it seems you need a map and a compass to enter a bead store! Just teasing, this is actually a common question, especially for bead makers who make such frontally drilled pieces. Why do they do it, then, you ask? Well some materials that artists used can be fragile and temperamental. Items such as glass, ceramic, shell, and wood are all delicate and may not withstand a drilling or piercing horizontally. When a piece is flat and wide, the easiest way to place the hole can be through the shortest section of material, to prevent breakage. Do not worry, there are many creative solutions to this dilemma and here are just a few:

Heart Flame pendants by Earthenwood Studio

#1 (above) Use a simple Lark's Head knot in the center of a cord.
A simple hitching knot called a Lark's Head Knot, is one of the simplest ways to attach a frontally drilled pendant to a cord. To tie, fold your cord in half in the middle, and string through the pendant hole, extending an inch or two. Open the loop in the cord, thread the cord ends through the loop, and pull the ends securely. It's that simple! The size of the cord will depend on the size of the hole. Remember that your cord will have to be doubled through the hole. In this example, the hole was fairly large, so I was able to show microfiber suede, silk ribbon, and silk cord. You can play with multiple thin cords too!

Bird Pendants by Virginia Miska, Sterling Bails available at Fusion Beads

#2 (above) Use a decorative metal bails for a quick solution.
Many metal bails are available to use for easily converting a frontally drilled pendant for easy stringing. Sterling silver is an ideal material, because it is a soft and pliable metal, but take caution...your bail will only open once or twice before the metal starts to become compromised and risks breakage. So choose wisely! Look for a bail with one or two internal prongs that will fill the hole of the bead, and don't be afraid to trim those prongs a little if your pendant is thinner than the space between the prongs. Take great care when attaching such a bail and squeeze carefully. Delicate materials like shell and ceramic are likely to chip if they are treated too harshly.

Ceramic Pendants by Marsha Neal Studio

#3 (above) Make your own metal bail using wire

Doing your own wire work is an inexpensive solution to the frontally drilled pendant problem, and one that provides for additional creative opportunities. Use a soft, high quality wire such as sterling or gold-filled, and use some caution when applying your metal and pliers to the pendant. Shown here are a simple wrap, a more elaborate wrap with two wire spirals, and a wrap with an additional bead wired between the bail and the pendant.

Goddess Tablet by Earthenwood Studio, Hollow glass beads by Rejiquar

#4 (above) Use cord and some well placed knots to center your pendant

You may find a pendant with double frontally drilled holes, which happen to be on the smaller side. The holes int he pendant shown here would only accommodate a thinner cord, in this case a waxed cotton cord. Using thinner cord can be an advantage design-wise, and here it was used doubled throughout the necklace for a multi-strand effect. Knots placed atop the first bead section secured the pendant tightly and securely. The cords were then alternately separated for stringing and brought together for knotting, creating a chunky, textural feel to the necklace.

Sea Swoosh Pendant by Earthenwood Studio

#5 (above) Use seed beads to make a beaded bail.

Another way to make your own bail is to use tiny beads such as seed beads to create a beaded bail. Seed beads are wonderful because they come in so many colors and sizes, are inexpensive, and add great detail to beading. For the bail used in this example, size 8 and size 11 seed beads were alternated on flexible cable wire, with the ends of the cable criss-crossed through a crimp in back to create a loop of seed beads onto the pendant. The pendant could then be string onto a beaded necklace, cord, or chain.

Wingspan and other components by Earthenwood Studio

#6 (above) Use seed beads to incorporate pendant into necklace.

While we are on the topic of seed beads, here is an example of seed beads and accent beads weaving almost seamlessly in and out of a front drilled pendant (this one with three holes!) Notice the use of multiple crimps, which are hidden under the crimp covers, which look like little silver balls. Repeating the same seed bead throughout the necklace makes for a perfectly integrated solution, with endless possibilities for creativity.
I hope that these ideas have given you something to consider, and make the prospect of using those frontally drilled pendants a little less confusing!

happy beading, everyone!...*Ms. Bead-It-All*

p.s. Ms Bead-It-All reluctantly admits to not knowing *every* solution to *every* beading problem... If you can think of another solution to the question at hand, please share with us and your fellow beaders! We invite you to leave a comment here. Or write about it in your own blog. Let us know about your post and we will link to it!

Ms. Bead-It-All is the sassy alter ego of Melanie Brooks Lukacs, the ceramic beadmaker of Earthenwood Studio, who blogs from her Metro Detroit, Michigan home.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dreams of writing a book?

I blogged it once and I'll blog it again, read Margot Potter's How to Propose a Craft Book Title, over at her Impatient Blogger (TM) site. Margot is a Jane of many trades and promises to share her process of writing a craft book, right from the proposal. From having seen other things she writes about, you won't want to miss this, or anything else she has to say. Bookmark her and watch her go!

Lori Greenberg is a glass beadmaker who blogs from her studio in Cave Creek, Arizona.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Designer Interview: Melanie of Earthenwood Studio

Art Bead Scene recently interviewed one of our contributors about her thoughts on beads, business, and creativity. We hope you enjoy reading a little bit about this artist:

What is your personal name, business name, website and location?

My name is Melanie Brooks Lukacs and my business is Earthenwood Studio. I am a bead maker and jewelry designer. I live in the Detroit, Michigan area and my website is

What kind of jewelry do you make? What types of materials do you prefer? what kinds of art beads do you use?

I have a small line of jewelry that I make with my own ceramic components. The jewelry is very simple, composed of my pendants strung with simple, high quality cords and sterling findings. This style reflects the type of jewelry I wear everyday: simple and casual with a message and earthy beauty.

I also spend a lot of time designing beaded jewelry for bead magazine projects. This lets me play a little more with glass beads, metals, and unusual stringing supplies. I like to use handmade glass and metal beads from other artists in particular, and I like to look for art beads from other bead makers that co-ordinate with my own art beads.

How did you get into jewelry design? What are some of the important things you do for your business?

I started out making and selling my ceramic jewelry in art fairs after college. More and more, I found that people wanted to buy my art beads to use in their own jewelry. I made the decision to spend less time working on jewelry and more focusing on just the beads. Eventually the beads took over and I am just now inching my way back into jewelry. For my business, I have found that print advertising, Internet marketing, and packaging are all very important things that have brought me success.
What is your workspace like and how do you work in your studio? What is a typical day like?

We live in a small house and our studio is scattered throughout. My husband is also an artist so we have art stuff all around! I have a space for glazing, a place for shipping, and the basement for the dirty clay stuff. The rest of my studio is mobile, using lots of trays and carts that i can roll around and put away when I am done. I do a lot of work on the couch watching tv with my hubby and dog.

Everyday I start with web work and email and paperwork or writing. The afternoons are spent preparing for shipping, working on jewelry, glazing beads and loading kilns. After dinner, I make beads...almost every night. This schedule is pretty comfortable for me at this point.
How do you stay inspired and motivated?

I am usually not at a loss for inspiration. I have lists of things to do and sketchbooks full of ideas to work on. When I come up with an idea, I try to let myself work on it right away, while the idea is fresh and I am excited about. So when I am not feeling as inspired, I can do more production minded tasks. I get inspired when I go to bead shows and art fairs and look at bead magazines, so if I am feeling stuck, I try to engage in those activities.

What kinds of art beads do you look for? Is there a bead you wish an artist would make for you?

I love organic, earthy beads with fantasy imagery. I try to find glass that looks like porcelain and I love metal beads. I would love to see more artists come up with interesting ideas for findings and clasps.
What beady plans do you have for the future? Do you have new designs or ideas you will be exploring soon?

I am excited to work on submitting more stringing projects to magazines and I want to work on more complex designs, perhaps including seed bead work. I also am interested in simple knot work such as macrame. I am currently working on a new line of chunky organic pendants called Earthly Elements, which are inspired by nature. I designed the first one in direct response to a necklace that I started that needed a pendant. I would like to explore this more, designing beads specifically for a jewelry design, so the two are integrated.

If you would like to shop for Melanie's beads and charms, or finished jewelry, visit her website at Please use the code FreeShip for free shipping on retail orders within the USA.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Color for Jewelry Designers

Here are some resources for using color theory in your jewelry designs.

Color Relationships

Color Wheel & Designing with Color by Suzanne Copper

Eni Oken's Color Scheme Software

Project Spectrum is a Flickr group that focuses on creating in a specific color theme during a 2 month period. April/May's colors are pink/green/yellow.

Happy Creating!

Disk beads can be found at

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