Friday, August 31, 2007

6 Reasons to Join a Bead Society

Bead Societies are spread across the world and if you are lucky enough to have one nearby, here are 6 reasons to join today!

1. It's not good to always bead alone. Meet other like-minded bead-aholics who won't judge the hoard of beads you have stashed away.

2. It's fun! Bead societies will often have challenges or contests. Our bead society has a design contest every year along with 2 annual parties.

3. You'll be in the know. Bead Societies will help you keep up-to-date on the bead shows coming to your area, as well as opportunities for you to showcase your jewelry.

4. Learn something new. Most meetings will have a special presentation or speaker. Bead Societies often host classes for their members at special rates.

5. Discounts. Yes! Membership has it's privileges. If you belong to your local Bead Society, you might be able to get discounts at your local bead shops.

6. You'll discover the beadmakers in your area and find new art beads you must have!

When it comes to organizations that are run by volunteers, you'll get more out of it if you become involved! Bead Societies are always in need of talented new members to keep the organization growing and lively. Our society doesn't meet during the summer and I'm looking forward to seeing them again next month!

Want to see if there is a society near you? Check out the extensive and up-to-date list on the Rings & Things message board.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Beadmaker Interview: Jennifer Heynen of Jangles

I recently interviewed a fabulous friend and fellow ceramic beadmaker named Jennifer Heynen. Her business name is Jangles and her website is She is based in in Athens, GA and makes some of the most colorful and innovative bead items I have seen! I especially love her designs for much sought after, interesting components such as clasps, headpins, and toggles, all fashioned in her own creative, funky, color filled style. Enjoy our interview:

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

I make brightly colored fun ceramic beads. I use a earthenware clay, underglazes, and overglazes to give my beads a loose and hand painted look.

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

I first discovered beadmaking when I received a lampworking kit as a gift. After making glass beads for a year, I realized I should be making ceramic beads. I had my BFA in ceramics and it was and still is my favorite medium to work in. People fell in love with them and Jangles was born.

I am always open to changes in my business. I pay attention to markets, fashion, etc. I try to experiment with a new show or market every year. This year I exhibited at a folk art show.

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

I have two studios. I have a clay studio which is housed within a bigger pottery studio. There are classes and potters working all of the time. Its is great camaraderie. My beading, assembling jewelry, and shipping is all done at a studio in my home. I try to spend everyday at the clay studio making and glazing beads. Shipping and everything else is crammed in when I can fit it in.

How do you stay inspired and motivated?

I absolutely love what I do. I have notebook upon notebook of ideas to keep me busy for years. I still attend other artfairs and show openings. I like to be around other artists to talk business and fun.

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

In the jewelry I design I use a lot of glass and silver. I like beads that are matte to help show off the shiny glaze on my beads.

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

As for future plans. I have a book coming out in June. The tentative title is "Creative Ceramic Bead Making". It is being published by Lark books. It was a really fun process and i hope to write more for them.

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

10% off retail orders until September 5th. Mention Art Bead Scene in the comments box.

Ceramic Tube Bead Necklace by Jangles, available as individual beads or as a kit.

Make sure to visit Jennifer's website, Jangles at to see all the great colorful items she has to offer.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Renaissance Style Jewelry

(Photo Credit: Venus and Cupid, late 1520s painted by Italian/Venetian artist, Lorenzo Lotto (ca. 1480–1556)

"O, beauty, till now I never knew thee!"

(Henry VIII, Act 1, Sc.4)

You may feel the same way once you feast your eyes on jewelry in the style of the Renaissance . Full of pearls, gold filagree and gems in long strands, it's luscious! This wasn't jewelry for the masses but rather for the wealthy and those of royal birth.

Adornmynts creates lovely contemporary jewelry in the Renaissance style.

Feeling inspired? Guyot Brothers has an extensive selection of filligree stampings to set you off on your journey to creating a royal piece of jewelry for yourself!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Last Call~ABS August Challenge ends soon!

September is almost here, so that means it's the last call for your Midsummer Night's Dream inspired projects. We have over $100 in free beads to give away on September 1st! Enter your photo by midnight, August 31st at our flickr group or email it to Heather along with your information.
Take a look at some of the current entries, and notice how many different ways this theme can be interpreted:

Moony, night time inspired necklace by Gaea Cannaday

Floral inspired necklace with quotes directly from the Shakespearean Play by Melissa Lee

Another Shakespearean quote can be found in this woodland themed design by Cindy of Alchemical Journey

Monday, August 27, 2007

Findings Worth Finding - Springall Adventures

Is there a more perfect clasp? Not for me! I love this design from Springall Adventures found at Fusion Beads.

The artist is Pam Springall and it looks like she does a few bead shows, but doesn't have a website that I could find. I love the organic and earthy nature of her work. The perfect compliment to any floral art beads that you may have stashed away in your collection.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

As the Bead Turns, 8/26/07

Bringing you all the dirt and drama from the beading blog world...
Humblebeads: Heather shares more photo tips using Beverly Herman's beautiful bracelets, one of which features a Humblebeads bead. Take a peek above at one of the "after" shots, and check out the blog for the "befores" and the photo tips...

Bead Arts: Here is Cyndi's latest installment in the Bead Journal Project, inspired and run by Robin Atkins!

Jewelry and Beading: Thinking of trying your hand at making fused glass jewelry? Well, then you need your own glass studio. Tammy tells you how to set one up.
Katie's Beading Blog: This week's blast from the past features Katie's 1980's Fimo earrings, plus links to cool, contemporary caned polymer clay jewelry.

Naughty Secretary Club: Jennifer reminds us that Elle Girl Magazine is alive and well in an online format. Look for Naughty Secretary Club in the current issue as well as a video podcast interview with Beth Silverberg about her “cool job” of being a jewelry designer.

Savvy Crafter: One Fish, Two Fish, Three Fish, BEAD FISH! Candie goes deep sea bead fishing in China. Check out her fabulous fishy finds!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!: Jean shows off one of her latest pieces of chain maille with a goddess focal, which is in her chain maille gallery and also in this month's Art Bead Scene. She discusses the focal's goddess image and what it means.

The Impatient Blogger: In another archived post from Adventures In Jewelry Making with the BQOTU (day) Margot shares her pearls of wisdom...or is that snarky know it all musings?! If you are a project designer waiting for an editor to show you some love, you need to read.

Did you read or write any good dirt on a bead blog this week? Leave us a comment and a link and tell us the latest scoop!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Tomato Cage and Me...Alternative Uses for Art Beads

I've been staring at an old tomato cage for a few months. It looked like a tree, it was asking me to make something from it. I had to think, though. I'm a rabid recycler but my weakness is that I ALWAYS think I can re-use something - even when it's broken beyond repair. But this tomato cage wouldn't let me send it to the curb. I finally figured out what it wanted to be - a beaded garden sculpture! I've been keeping those pretty beads that weren't saleable in a bowl in the studio. No one is allowed to take them - well, ok, maybe I've let a few kids take them - but they're just not up to the standards I have for saleable items. They're little pieces of art, though, and I just couldn't bear to put them into the glass garbage.

I think the beads whispered to the tomato cage - "let's work together." I know, I know, the beads don't talk and neither does the tomato cage, but sometimes art does have a way of speaking to us. Does it speak to you?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Fit to Print Review: Celtic Knots For Jewellery

Looking to add a lovely knot or two to your jewelry creations?

If so, take a look at this book written by Suzen Millodot and published by Search Press. It takes the mystery out of Celtic knots with concise instructions and color photos of each step. Having never made a Celtic knot before, I was surprised that within minutes I made a beautiful knot from which to hang a pendant!

Even though it is chock full of projects, there are lots of opportunities to improvise with the plethora of decorative and functional knots found in this book. Suzen is a teacher and it shows in this clearly written and beautiful instructional book which I highly recommend.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bead Scoop - Electroformed Beads

Like some mad scientist, glass-beadmakers can add new life to their beads through a process that involves chemicals, metallic paint and an electric current. I'm sure when the beadmaker retrieves their creations from the chemical bath in the back of their minds they shout, "It's alive!"

Kate Folwe Meleney

The mix of metal and glass is an intriguing combination. Most electroformed beads use copper and we've all seen the amazing collection of copper findings that are on the market. What an incredible way to add new life to your jewelry creations.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Virginia Miska and I (Elaine Ray) got together for a quick collaboration. The subtle purple tone in the background of Virginia's love birds matched up perfect with my small, purple cubes. Also used are sea shell chips and blackish seed beads. Shells seem to blend beautifully with clay pieces, I suppose since they both are naturally occurring part of our earth.

This picture is just a scan done on my scanner/printer which turns out to be a fairly good, easy and cost effective, but not perfect way, to show my work. Now, tomorrow I will ship this necklace with coordinating earrings and bracelet to Virginia. There, her husband will professionally photograph the necklace. Once that is done, we will post both pictures to give you good visual images to compare as you are trying to decide when and how to photo your work. I think you will see that there are times and places to do a quick scan of your jewelry (such as to post on your blog) and times to when it is worth the time and effort to do it properly (maybe to use in your print advertising).

Stay tuned and we'll get you those images.

- Elaine

Monday, August 20, 2007

Creativity Boosters

Feeling a little blah lately? Need a quick shot of creativity?
Here are 5 tips to get your muse out of bed and back to the work bench!
1. Repeat history - find a painting that you love and use it as the color inspiration for your next piece of jewelry.

Beads and bracelet inspired by Monet's water lily paintings by Heather Powers.

2. New tricks - challenge yourself to learn something new today. Wire-wrap a pendant if you haven't before. Never worked with seed beads? Add fringe to an art bead pendant for some extra punch. Create a chain bracelet to showcase your latest art bead treasures. What technique have you been longing to try, but haven't made the time to learn?

Bracelet from CND Jewelry Tales.

3. Know your limits - try limiting yourself to using only one color, one material or pick a few random beads that you must use together. By limiting your choices, you can open up new design possibilities.

4. Have camera, will bead - go outside today with your camera, take 10 photos of things that catch your eye. Print them out, cut them up and glue them into a notebook. Use the colors and designs to inspire your next color combination.

5. Take up the challenge - whether it's our Art Bead Scene monthly challenge or another like Inspire Me Thrusday, use the call of a challenge to stretch yourself into uncharted beading territory.

Necklace by Norma Dalton of Off Center Productions.

MySpace for Grown Ups?

Visit Indiepublic

Indiepublic is part of the new social network called Ning. You can connect to artists and designers across the globe, share photos & videos, post in forums, post to your blog on your page, join groups, meet new friends and find inspiration at every turn. Indiepublic is brought to you by the folks of cuteable, home of a daily dose of colorful indie* eyecandy!

You start by creating your own page, here is mine. Then plug into the community. A new feature is the Indiepublic Learning Library. It's a place for indie-oriented how-to articles, inspirational stories and more!
Here is one I submitted on finding arts & crafts shows.

It's like myspace in the way you connect with a community, share and make new friends, but without all the flashing lights, music and gizmos that can turn people away.

If you join, stop by to say hi. Friends are like beads, you can never have too many!

(*No, indie isn't an Indiana Jones fan club. Indie is the word for independent designers, artist and crafters who brake out of the mass market mold to offer you unique handcrafted goods.)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

As the Bead Turns - August 19th

Dishing all the dirt and drama from beading bloggers.

The Impatient Blogger Frantic, Margot?! Um, yes. The life of a "bead queen" is never boring! She's off to shoot an infomercial, but not before getting a wonderful reminder of what's real. Super Girlie Good Power is rockin' the universe!

Savvy Crafter It’s cleaning day at Candie’s Bird Cage Studio! See what she made with scraps and pieces that she found while tidying her nest. And learn to make a tiny wire-y nest of your own-it’s way more fun than cleaning!

Naughty Secretary Club Catch up on Jennifer's adventures at Art Unraveled and at the photo shoot for her new book!

Katie's Beading Blog Jumpstart your creativity with some subversive guided journaling. This week, Katie shares the 411 on Keri Smith's book, Wreck this Journal.

Beading and Jewelry Blog Tammy at Beading and Jewelry offers some tips on quality for those of who buy rather than make our lampwork beads.

Art Bead Scene From the Art Bead Scene archives, Ms. Bead-it-All helps a lost beader with some tips on using beads that are headed in the wrong direction.

Luann Udell has a 5 part series on Booths Gone Bad, read about common mistakes and pitfalls to avoid when designing your next arts & crafts show both. This is the first article, look on her side bar for the rest of the series.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Findings Worth Finding: Sumptuous Leather Cord

I have been on a quest for some time to find a really good leather cord to use for hanging my pendants. Since I have a entire drawer full of cord that I have purchased over the years, I can attest to the fact that they vary from source to source. Some are too tough and crack, some are too irregular in their diameter, some have been wound around spools and won't lie straight, others aren't pliable enough to make a loop and still others just plain look cheap.

Recently I discovered Greco Leather Cord, who specializes in providing quality leather cord. When I received my order from them recently I knew I had finally found the best cord on the market. The Natural color I ordered in the 1.8 mm. was so consistent in width and was supple enough to make some handsome and very sturdy knots. The other color I ordered was Moose, which I have never seen offered anywhere else. It reminds me so much of my first pair of Frye boots from the seventies after a year of constant wear...anyone out there that has owned a pair of these knows exactly what I mean... a warm, rich, dark tan (by the way, I recently learned that there is a pair displayed in the Smithsonian Museum as an emblem of the anti-war and women's liberation era!).

There are are so many shades to choose from at Greco Leather - I counted 26 fabulous colors in the 1.8mm width! They also carry six other widths in the most popular colors, which are the Black, Natural and Moose.

Check them out - I'm so sure you will love these cords!

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Bead Scoop: Inspirational Tools

Inspirational Message Stick Charms by Earthenwood Studio

Everyone needs a little bit of inspiration sometimes. Many of the big bead sellers on the web understand this, and have sections of their sites to post creative ideas, tutorials, and picture galleries perfect for finding that elusive bit of inspiration. Here is a collection of bead store inspiration pages that I found while surfing:

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Midsummer, Midnight Bead Theme

Since our bead challenge theme of the month is Midsummer Night's Dream, I have been thinking of beads that remind me of the midnight sky. Moons, planets, stars, and dark midnight colors are the inspiration for all of these beads. I hope they inspire you as well!

Above the Cloud silver bead by Anne Choi

"Above the cloud with its shadow is the star with its light. "- Pythagoras

Call for Entries - Refined: Abundance

REFINED is a bi-annual exhibit of jewelry and metal work hosted by the School of Art at Austin State University in Texas.

This year's juried exhibition seeks to exhibit the wide breadth of originality throughout the world in response to the concept of "Abundance" in the medium of jewelry. "The theme should be understood in the broadest of terms, seeking to accommodate a range of work - from flamboyant to a more quiet expression - while responding to the theme conceptually or formally."

The deadline for submissions is October 1, 2007 and application and guidelines for submission can be found at the university's website.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Food for Thought Winner

Here are the answers to yesterday's pop quiz:

1. Green Girl Studios
2. Joan Miller Porcelains
3. Creative Impressions in Clay
4. Earthenwood Studios.

The winner is Gaea.

(Thanks to Tari, from Creative Impressions in Clay for drawing our winner.)

(Garlic Pendant from Joan Miller's Etsy shop)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Food for Thought

Need a big ol' plate of inspiration for today? Head on over to the Block Party Press blog to challenge your creative spirit. The theme this week is create something that is inspired by food.

How well do you know your Art Bead Scene? Identify the 4 beadmakers who created these food inspired art beads and you could win a $20 gift certificate from

Submit your entry in the comments section. A winner will be randomly drawn this evening from the correct entries. The answers and winner will be revealed tomorrow.

(hint: all of these beadmakers have been 'scene'.)