Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Best of the ABS - Goals/Resolutions
Who out there has New Year's resolutions / goals? As I reviewed last year's beading list it came to my attention that every idea checked off as "completed" was accompanied by specific "to-do" steps. So this year, I'm setting only goals with "how to" steps - no general resolutions. My "resolve" to do-what-needs-to-be-done seems somewhat weak, but give me a written out goal that I can then cross off the list and I'm on it. I love tools and my tools right now are a list and a Sharpie!
So now I present you with a few of my beading goals and the steps for achieving these goals:
1) Keep up with paper work.
a) Place a sticky notepad by my bed so I can jot down notes as I get ready for bed. In the past I just kept one notebook in my studio, but could never seem to make myself go back downstairs to write in it if I had neglected to do so earlier in the day. I'd just tell myself "I'll write it down in the morning." Yeah, you can guess how good that worked out. So now I'll be able to just grab that sticky note and plop it into my actual notebook the next morning.
b) Put a sticky notepad in my car and one in my purse.
c) Get rid of that place where I put things to file later and just file them now, later never seems to get here.
2) Design and post a entry for each month of the Art Bead Scene challenge. (I know, this should be especially easy for me as I get to know the challenge even before the month begins!) As I set about laying out the steps to achieve this goal I realized that my block has to do with my beading space / organization. So my real goal here is to "Set up and maintain an area for jewelry making". Which, in my case, if very different than the area where I make bead and pendants.
a) Organize beads, pendants, findings, yarn, wire and tools.
b) Hang cork board.
c) Get a sketch book and use it. No more scrapes of paper all over the place.
d) Do not use my beading desk as a "catch all" place for my home life - this is work space. I'm very protective of my clay working space, why not be with my beading space?
e) When trying out different designs, take a quick digital photo of one arrangement before trying the next arrangement - my memory is not what it used to be. Keep digital camera handy - no lost time looking for it, its battery, cables or whatever.
3) List one item on Etsy per week. (This goal is also tied to the above goal.)
a) Read up on Etsy, but don't delay listing: I don't have to know everything before getting started.
b) Designate a place to store items listed in a manner where they can be easily packed up and shipped when sold.
4) Get new styles of beads and pendants out there for the public to see.
a) Maintain my own blog better. (I know this sound more like a resolution than a goal - I did write out steps to achieve this but they are too boring for here.)
b) Improve Elaineray.com (Same as above.)
c) Post entries on Art Bead Scene.
d) List on Etsy.
e) Visit and leave comments on designer blogs / web sites.
f) Send digital images / samples to bead shops.
g) Always take the time to photo new items.
5) Set up a somewhere to take quick, reliable photos. They don't have to be jury ready quality, just get the picture taken.
6) Get a business card and carry a few with me at all times. Never hesitate to give one out.
As I read through this list, I realize how fast I should be able to get the steps done, freeing me up to accomplish the actual goals throughout the year. To realize that I really do need to stop and think about what is getting in my way of accomplishing my goals has been a good exercise. Being an Occupational Therapist by training, I should have realized this - no one does Activity Analysis like an OT!
If you'd like another perspective, additional ideas and support to write or revise your own goals, here is link to a great article written by our favorite Bead Nerd, Lori Greenberg.
Thanks for letting me think out loud here with you. Everyone has different ways of approaching goals and getting the job done. Leave us a comment with your own ways of organizing / goal setting for your beady businesses and we can all learn from each other. Feel free to leave a link to your own list of goals / resolutions.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Best of the ABS - Ribbon
A very modern design by Lorelei Eurto combining a Humblebeads spacer bead with wood, glass, stone, brass and a rich chocolate ribbon closure.
Smoky gray seam binding from WistfulSupplies.
A cuff bracelet by MJM Jewelry Designs using another Humblebeads spacer with silk ribbons.Hand dyed silk ribbon from Jamnglass.
Raku pendant with silk ribbon by MAKUstudio.
Hand dyed ribbon from JodyPoesy.
Here are some more art bead and ribbon designs that have been entered in the Art Bead Scene Flickr group for various challenges.
Ribbon ideas from Beading Daily
And a few designers who offer inspiring creations with ribbons in their jewelry:
Nina Bagley - Narrative/altered art jewelry
Raven Eve Jewelry - Victorian inspired designs
Gilded Cage Design - Ribbon and button jewelry
I'd love to see your designs using art beads and ribbon. Leave a link in the comments if you'd like to share.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Best of the ABS - Seeds of Invention
Many jewelry designers start out in the beginning of their learning process using seed beads and then somehow gradually move away from seed beads in their designs as they begin to use lampwork, ceramic, polymer clay and other kinds of art beads. But there are many ways that colorful, fun and simple seed beads can fit into a sophisticated jewelry design and work well with art beads as the finishing touch.
This design by Lorelei Eurto uses a Humblebead's chrysanthemum bead, wire, metal chain and seed beads combined with metal charms. The seed beads add texture, color and a lighthearted touch to the design. The tone and matte finish of the seed beads works perfectly with the warm metal and focal bead colors, and there's something very attractive about all those tiny bead shapes in a strand like this.
This Lotus Flower Bracelet signature cuff bracelet design with Heather's lotus flower art bead six-hole divider combines seed beads with crystals, pearls and stones. Beautiful colors, totally compatible with a great jewelry design and using seed beads blended with an art bead spacer to make a unified color statement that's linear and balanced.
I've been doing some reading about the history of crafts and found out about a designer named Ramona Solberg, a legendary groundbreaker in jewelry design from the 1960's who created a series of this style of necklace using strands of various shimmery colors of seed beads combined onto wire like the one pictured at the left. It's almost structural, and the colors and textures are really unique.
One of the very best things about seed beads is that they are easily available, come in multitudes of rainbow colors, in glossy and matte finishes, and they are very inexpensive. And that leaves you more money to invest in your art beads and special finishing items!
Here is a trellis bracelet tutorial by Heather on her blog that shows how to use seed beads to create your clasp for a bracelet. Let's add versatile to the list of descriptions for seed beads.
Stretching your art bead budget using colorful seed beads is a very good thing!
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Best of the ABS - Designer Interview with Deryn Mentock
Deryn Mentock is a published jewelry designer, has a recognized blog that was recently featured in the Stampington publication 'Artful Blogging,' and has a collaborative project coming out soon in the book 'A Charming Exchange' - she visited with Art Bead Scene about her love of beads, her work and her studio, her inspirations and what's coming up in her designs.
1. What is your personal name, business name, website and location?
Deryn Mentock, Something Sublime, I live in Cypress, Texas and have a blog online, Something Sublime, and an Etsy store.
2. What kind of jewelry do you make? What types of materials do you prefer? What kinds of art beads do you use?
My jewelry is created with all kinds of mixed materials. Everything from sterling wire to puppy teeth! I love to combine unusual and found elements to create unique pieces of jewelry. I have a special fondness for worn and aged things and love anything a little strange.
Some of my favorite things include tin types, tiny bottles, vintage jewelry findings, old coins and tokens, teeth, bones and petrified wood. I also love all things natural; feathers, mica, butterfly wings, seeds, shells...you get the idea! I use a lot of steel wire in my work but also use copper, sterling and precious metal clay.
I'm addicted to beads! Mostly, I use freshwater pearls and semi-precious stones but I also have a collection of vintage aurora borealis crystal beads and chandelier crystals.
Anything faceted...lots of natural materials. Basically, anything is fair game.
3. How did you get into jewelry design? What are some of the important things you do for your business?
My mother is very creative and, when I was a kid, we used to make earrings together. I loved those trips to our local craft shop picking out beads and findings! That love has stayed with me over the years though I've worked in many other mediums as well.
The most important thing I do for my business is pray! I try to turn it all over to the true Creator and also remember where my inspirations come from.
I started my blog about three years ago and it's been a fantastic way to connect with people. The Etsy shop is my tool for retail sales but the blog keeps people informed about what's going on in my creative world. My blog was recently featured in the latest issue of "Artful Blogging" published by Stampington. That was a big honor and a great way to attract readers.
4. What is your workspace like and how do you work in your studio? What is a typical day like?
I'm not sure how I get anything done in my studio, considering its size! My workspace is fairly small and I tend to drag a lot of things out when I work on a project. I'm more interested in creating than housekeeping. When things build up to a certain point, I take time to re-organize.
My typical day usually starts by answering emails. I have two kids at home still so I squeeze time in my studio in around driving my youngest to and from school, doing laundry and making dinner. It doesn't sound too romantic but, that's life! My most creative time of day is usually the afternoon ... right about the time I should be cooking dinner!
5. How do you stay inspired and motivated?
Again, I pray a lot about inspiration. I don't seem to have much trouble staying inspired. I see things that bring on new ideas in everyday life. Much of my inspiration comes from Bible verses, quotes, phrases ... even a word or two will bring on an idea for a design. I'm a scavenger so things I run across in junk stores or in parking lots often inspire a design.
Staying motivated isn't hard. My studio time is fairly limited so that drive to create never really goes away. It's not something I want to do but something I have to do. If I wasn't making jewelry, I would be creating in some other way.
I keep a sketchbook of design ideas so I don't forget anything. There's never enough time to do everything I want. Right now, on my blog, I'm offering a challenge for anyone who wants to participate. We're going through Mary Hettmansperger's book "Wrap, Stitch, Fold and Rivet", putting our own twists on Mary's ideas. It's a great way to spark your own ideas.
6. What kinds of art beads do you look for? Is there a bead you wish an artist would make for you?
I love faceted beads, turquoise and anything ethnic or old ... anything unusual. This summer I picked up an incredible strand of huge, unpolished amber beads. I can't wait to work with them.
I adore Pauline Warg's metal beads and one day hope to take a workshop with her. http://www.paulinewargdesigns.com/
I also love lampwork and think I will have to try my hand at that someday. In the meantime, I would love to have any beads from Gayle of Graciebeads. http://graciebeads.blogspot.com/ She makes the most incredible lampwork!
7. What beady plans do you have for the future? Do you have new designs or ideas you will be exploring soon?
Yes! I have a few new things I've been pondering for focals for my necklace designs. I picked up some great natural materials in my summer travels this year so will be incorporating that into my designs...maybe with a Western flair. Should be interesting!
Thanks to Deryn Mentock for answering our questions and giving us a peek into her studio and her creative process.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Best of the ABS - Can We Talk?
Let's talk about self-promotions.
It is absolutely necessary to have a business card. You can design one yourself or pay a graphic artist to do their magic for you. It should represent you and your business. A business card is an item that is always picked up at shows and should be shipped with orders. Your card usually ends up in a pile with other cards that will be looked at later. Stand out from the crowd! I like to design business cards vertically instead of horizontally. I believe you can get more info onto the card in this format.
The best price for 4 color printing is Vistaprint. Sign up for their mailing list and you will receive loads of offers for free items. I have had business cards, postcards, magnets and note cards printed through them. You just can't beat their prices.
The next item after your business card is a postcard. This is a multi-functional tool for marketing and so cost effective. They can be mailed out prior to the show you will be exhibiting in and telling your customers your booth information. They can be used to showcase a new item or design in your line. Postcards are in essence a larger business card that can be mailed, handed out, hung up or left at other businesses as a pick up item. 4 color is very eye catching and stands out.
More ideas? Of course we have plenty. What about buttons?
Not the type I make but the advertising type button you pin on. Melanie uses them in her packaging and for shows. People love to collect these adorable buttons. Choose a great image or catchy phrase.
Yet more!?! Last year I took a leap in the self promo world and had pens and sticky notes printed. I was trying to think, what would people hang onto longer than a couple seconds that they could use. You always need a pen. The sticky notes were cute and functional. Being the purple freak that I am, I made sure the pen wrote in purple ink. Believe me I scoured the internet for the best prices. Unfortunately the prices change every year from vendor to vendor. ThePenGuy.com still had the best price on a basic stick pen at .24¢ each. This year the best price for sticky notes was Quality Logo Products. Ask for Anthony, he's a hoot to deal with.
Custom 2 part order forms are great and look professional. They can have all your vital information and be referred to later by the customer. Plus the credit card receipt can be stapled to the written receipt. I use 2 sizes. A small size 4.25" x 5.5" for retail shows and an 8.5" x 11" for wholesale shows to write orders. I didn't want a pad that involved carbon paper. carbonless.net and carbonless.com both have many different sizes and formats to choose from. Of course price is always paramount.
There are thousands of promo items out there. You need to decide what fits with your business and your budget.
Recently I purchased fitted table coverings. And they come in purple (oooo, aahhh), which is what I ordered. I was getting tired of the individual pieces of fabric on the tables. The fitted cover will look more professional at shows and help at outdoor festivals with fabric blowing in the wind. Plus people were tripping on the fabric.
Presentation is everything!
Tell me what promo items you use or have used. Do it work well?
If you have a great resource, please share! I need a good resource for banners at a good price.
Our money needs to be stretched really far these days.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Best of the ABS - Bead Storage
I'm in the process of organizing and updating my studio, so storage is on my mind today. How do you store your beads? Any great tips or photos of your workspace? I'd love to see them. I need some inspiration and encouragement to know that there is hope for this train wreck of a room!
Here is a great way to store and display your art beads.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Merry and Bright Wishes
Our hardworking team is going to take a break through the New Year. Over the next few days we'll share some of our favorite posts from 2008.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
On the 12th Day of Christmas: Winter Branches Necklace
1. On the 1" headpin string a seed bead, 6mm fluted silver bead and a seed bead. Trim wire and create loop with round nose pliers. Attach a jump ring to both sides.
2. On the 2" headpin string 1 nickel bead, 1 wood bead, repeat 2 times, string 1 seed bead. Trim wire and create loop with round nose pliers. Attach a jump ring to one end. Attach to the fluted dangle with a jump ring.
3. String 1 flat spacer, 1 disk bead, 1 flat spacer on 1" headpin, trim wire and create loop. Repeat 2 times. Attach one of the disks to the wood dangle with a jump ring. Attach each dangle with a jump ring.
4. String a 3mm firepolish bead, 10mm fluted silver, 3mm firepolish bead, trim wire and create a loop, attach the disk beads with a jump ring.
5. String a seed bead, faceted glass, repeat 2 times, string another seed bead. Trim wire and create a loop. Attach to the firepolish beads with a jump ring and add another jump ring on the other side of the faceted glass dangle.
6. Cut chain in half with heavy cutters. Attach linked components with jump rings to both ends of chain.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
On the 11th day of Christmas: Fun Felted Headband
My husband shrank his favorite Mr. Rogers sweater.
Measure and mark on the opposite side of sweater pieces. I cut out 2 pieces 3" x 10". Depending on the size of your sweater you could cut out one long piece 3" x 20". Measure your head to get the correct measurement.
Stitch your piece or pieces together with thread along the seam.
Stitch along the the seams and edges of the head band using a blanket stitch.
Embellish!! I put a bead on top of the felt balls and added them to the headband. I pinned on the Funky Felt flower from the Second Day of Christmas. Add as many or little embellishments as you'd like.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
On the 10th Day of Christmas: O-Ring Bracelet
Monday, December 22, 2008
On the 9th Day of Christmas: Christmas Decorating Magic
To make these I used 9 inches of 18 gauge copper wire for the framework and 4 inches of bright brass 18 gauge wire for the hanger, but you can work with whatever you have or need for the look you are creating. Even colored wire would be lovely to use.
Mark the center of the 9 inch copper wire and on either side of the mark make two round loops that curl in opposite directions. Wrap the legs of the wire around the sides of your art bead centerpiece to give it the proper shape. Mine is an oval so I captured the curve of the oval sides, but you don't have to be too precise now. The loops at top and bottom give you a way to tighten and loosen the sides later.
Wrap a loop at the top using each leg of the wire that goes around the bead, then bend the wires toward each other. Don't close off the top yet. Using the 4 inches of brass wire, make a eyeloop at one end, and wrap the loop around the copper wire at the bottom on the center mark. This brass wire goes through the bead and suspends the ornament, becoming the hook that goes on the limb. I put a star button with a shank loop on the brass wire above the loop, then put the bead over that. You can use any decoration you like or that has meaning for you.
If the side wires are a little loose you can tighten the top and bottom loops now to adjust it. I added a bead dangle on the bottom, hanging from the bottom brass wire loop in the center, you can also add more dangles using the two copper loops at the bottom of your wire wrap. If you like lots of dangles make additional loops on the sides of the wrap. Make it the way you like it, there are lots of possible variations!
The top brass extra wire becomes the hanger that goes over the tree limb, put a large gentle curve on it using a paint brush handle or size 11 knitting needle, and you can make a small loop at the bottom of the brass wire to finish it off. I used 24 gauge brass wire to make the dangle with a red glass bead and bead caps.
So go grab your stash of favorite buttons, glass lampwork and art beads, you're bound to have some that will make wonderful ornaments and decorations. If you close the brass wire loop at the top instead of leaving it open, you can make gift wrapping decorations or even jewelry this way!
I'm headed off now to hang this new little ornament on the tree, it may be a gift for family or friends. Enjoy!
Posted by Lynn Davis who enjoys decorating with a special handmade new ornament for each year's holiday season and gifting them to family and friends.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
The Desperate ABS Neighborhood
The Desperate ABS Neighbors have gotten out their recent projects to share with one another.
Here's Cindy's Meditation Necklace....
Heather's Jingle Necklace....
Tari's fun and "green" Flower Pin...
Lynn's dyed Blue Pearl necklace....
and Jennifer's Holiday bracelet....
Oooo, ahhhhh! Lots of pretty jewelry in the neighborhood today. Let's wander out into the Bead Blogging World and see what they have to share on this Sunday before Christmas....
About.com Jewelry Making
Get into the Christmas spirit with jingle jangling crystal dangles and Santa charm earrings! This jewelry project for the wire and bead lover.
Art Bead Scene
Running out of ideas for gifts? Art Bead Scene has the Twelve Days of ABS projects ready for you!
Sneak a peek at the projects in the January 2009 issue by watching our three new videos!
Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi upcycles an old coin necklace.
Carter Seibels for Divali Glass Jewelry
Uncork the bubbly and put on your sparklies! Carter's studio is full of festive creations.
Jewelry & Beading
The fabulous Tammy Powley shares some of the secrets to her success in the jewelry making business!
Katie's Beading Blog
Check out Katie's polymer clay creations!
Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Remember the book, Rabbit Redux? Jean reviews another Redux-y book, Vintage Redux, a cool jewelry design book for your enjoyment!
Strands of Beads
Need a last minute gift idea? Don't panic! Melissa has a quick, easy and inexpensive snowball pendant project for you.
The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Despite his aversion to snow and the cold, Andrew finds appreciation for the winter whiteness and creates a buying guide for snowflake themed jewelry components.
Have you heard any good dirt in the beading world? We'd love for you to share!
Gossiped...errr...reported by Cindy Gimbrone, The Desperate ABS Editor and glass beadmaker.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Studio Saturday-Dear Ima...
This week's very lucky winner is SueBeads! Congratulations! Please send your postal address to the ABS Suggestion Box to receive a Jangles Pendant from Jennifer at Jangles.
I love your buttons! I would like to know how to put buttons on my garments, but also be able to take them off easily. I want to wash my coats and sweaters without my art buttons attached so they won't get damaged.
Ima Button Freak
Today is your lucky day! I have a quick solution! Keep reading...
Thread your needle with your ribbon. From the back side of your garment, mine is a chenille coat, bring your needle through to the front of your garment.
Take the needle through both button holes then back through your garment to the inside.
Take your needle off of the ribbon and tie in a pretty bow.
Ta Da! You're done.
Now when you wear your coat open you see a pretty ribbon tied in a bow. When you need to wash your garment, untie bow take off the button & ribbon and wash.
You can easily re-attach your art button again after cleaning.
It takes maybe 2 minutes, tops.
If you're not into pretty bows try this.
Use 8" of ribbon threaded onto your needle for each button. Start on the outside of your garment. Take the needle through one of the buttonholes and garment, then back up through the garment and other buttonhole. Tie in a knot.
For more dimension add a bead on top of the button using the same directions as above, then tie off using an overhand knot.
Show the world how beautiful you can be using art buttons and ribbon!
Will the real "Ima Button Freak" please stand up?
Tell me why you are the real "Ima Button Freak."
You will win 2 Round Celtic Knot Buttons.
Choose from one of 4 colors, Cherry Red, Sea Mist Green, Caramel or Grape.Sincerely and Lovingly,
Tari aka "The Button Lady"
also aka "Ima Purple Freak"
Creative Impressions In Clay