Monday, June 30, 2008

Featured Designer of the Week - Jes *Junque Revival*

Each Monday we feature the Designer of the Week. One of our editors pick their favorite from the Monthly Challenge entries.

This week Cindy picked Jes Junque Revival's Peace necklace. Cindy noted, "It reminds me of the ephemera my mother would keep in her jewelry box. They were of Forget-me-nots in blue and green on a postcard or birthday card given to her from her grandmother when she was small. She treasured them as if they were precious jewelry. Forget-me-nots were always her favorite flowers."

Our theme for June is Pearls of Wisdom. Peace is a very wise wish for all of us!

You can view more work from Jes Junque Revival's work by visiting her website.

Today is the deadline to enter June's monthly challenge.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Owls and Something New for The Desperate ABS Neighborhood

Have you seen what's going on in the Desperate Artbeadscene Neighborhood? There's an owl flying over The Neighborhood while The Desperate ABS Editor tries something new.

The Neighbors think the barn owl is called Little Hoot - and as he flies over the neighborhood he makes his way out into the Bead Blogging World to see what else is going on..... Jewelry Making
Think outside the jewelry box and consider other crafting techniques for making jewelry! Crochet is just one example.

Art Bead Scene
Polyester Makes a Comeback in a surprising new way!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie reflects and gives thanks to everyone who helped her out at the Bead & Button Show

Jennifer Jangles Blog
Eye Candy, a few new designs from Jennifer Jangles

Jewelry & Beading
Just having returned from Italy, Cyndi was inspired by all the suppliers of beautiful Murano beads.

Katie's Beading Blog
Multiple strand necklaces are always in style. Read Katie's blog for tips.

Linda at Bead Style Magazine
Linda created a necklace for the Ornament Thursday blog group and wanted to share it with everyone!

Savvy Crafter
Rockin' Riveted Ring over on Candie's blog!

Snap out of it , Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean interviews the fabulous Margot Potter for Art Bead Scene!

Strands of Beads
Melissa discusses beautiful presentation boxes made from origami.

Did you know the Desperate ABS Neighbors open up their studios on Saturdays? Stop by and read Studio Saturdays to find out more about the Desperate Neighbors of the Art Bead Scene!

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!

(Photo credits: Seeing Stars photo of Desperate Housewives set.)

Trying Something New at Studio Saturday

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.

This week's winner is Soochal! Congratulations, Soochal! You're the winner of Melissa's word charm! Please send your postal address to the ABS Suggestion Box and Melissa will send your charm bead!

Today's Studio Tour is with Cindy Gimbrone, glass beadmaker. Let's see what's going on in her studio....

Hello from my studio! Before I get started, I want to say "Happy Birthday" to my nephew, Shane who I used to babysit when he was a baby. What an adorable baby he was and he's grown up to be a fine young man. Have some cake on me, Shane!

Now, on to today's studio tour. If you're a regular reader, you've been in my studio several times. So to mix things up a bit, I've decided, it's time to try something new! I took a class with Sally Prasch awhile ago on blowing glass at the torch and working with glass tubing. I've written about borosilicate glass on the Cindy Gimbrone blog. I bought a larger torch and ordered glass tubing.

In the class with Sally, I pulled a few points - "points" are glass tubes with the ends heated and pulled to a thing blow tube. You decorate the middle of the tube, heat it and blow through the small ends. It's time to make more points and practice, practice, practice.

So, that's what I'm doing today - setting up the bigger torch that I need to melt the tubing and cutting the 4 feet tubing to shorter lengths to make points.

That leads me to today's question. What new thing have you tried lately?

One random comment will win a two-chain glass link. I look forward to reading what you've tried that's new!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Trendy Bead - Earthy Owls

The Trendy Bead is a bi-monthly feature pairing up my favorite art beads with some fun Etsy finds.

This week it's back to the woods campers as we take a look at some fashionable owls and their compliments. I'm seeing owls everywhere and not only are they adorable and in a wide range of styles, they are the perfect talisman for those who seek wisdom. Are you a Ms. Green Bead? As we become more environmentally friendly, you'll find an increase in trends giving a nod to nature and materials that give homage to the planet, including beads made from more natural materials and recycled goods.

First up we have some artsy owls in a hand painted pendant by PrimOriginals. I'd pair these up with dreamy blue vintage glass from AngryNoodle and these funky little bungee cord beads by DancingStarBeads.

Let's do some serious nesting with yet another hand painted owl pendant, this one is from
Binding Twine. And wouldn't this twig button from Creative Impressions in Clay be the perfect toggle clasp? I'd add in a little color with this collection of czech glass rondells from ZoeAndBruno.

Here we have a woodsy owl with green fluted glass beads from
ZoeAndBruno, paired with some awesome wood beads by EandEBungalow. They are on vacation, but bookmark their shop and run back after July 6th. Yep, I'd match these up with my barn owl with lots of my favorite brass chain. In fact, the longer the necklace the better this summer.

A modern owl for a modern girl. Start with Cindy Gimbrone's Bling Links and a quirky silver Night Owl pendant from MarMar. I'd toss in some of these glass rondells from BlueWaterStudio for a splash of color.

Go green! Green Girl Studios offers this whimsical owl pendant. Check out these beads made from the nut of the salwag palm tree offered by Terrestrial. Tie them together with some words of wisdom with Textured Message Sticks by Earthenwood Studios. You can order them in many different colors and phrases. We love jewelry that tells a story!

Speaking of stories, don't forget to leave a comment to last Studio Saturday's post to win one of Melissa Lee's word charms! And only 3 more days to enter our monthly challenge, someone will win an autographed copy of Lisa Kan's book, Bead Romantique and 2 strands of pearls.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ornament Thursday - Independence

This month's Ornament Thursday theme was a little tricky for me. I was pretty stumped. So I was making these poppy beads the other day and a random memory from my childhood jumped out at me.

When I was little girl, the local drug store sold these poppy pins next to the register. They fascinated me for some reason. I knew they had something to do with helping soldiers and I remember being thrilled when my grandma had one on her kitchen counter that I could touch and play with.

So I looked up what they were all about and the poppy pins were made by veterans after World War I and the proceeds went back to help them. They were inspired by a poem called "In Flanders Field," you can read about it here. They are more associated with Memorial Day, but they remind me of my childhood 4th of July celebrations, so that's how they came to be part of this month's Ornament Thursday theme.

Poppy Field Bracelet

Poppy Field Bead (Humblebeads)

Brass Chain (Hobby Lobby)

3 Brass Spacers

5 Copper seed beads (Charlene's Beads)

24mm filigree ring

15mm jump ring

4 8mm jump rings

Bead pod toggle bar

9 brass headpins

3 8mm flower bead caps

8mm aqua glass bead

8mm amazonite rondell

15mm silver foil glass bead

6mm crystal (ernite)

8mm smoky quartz bead

6mm faceted black glass

8mm faceted red glass

6 3-4mm pearls

Tools: Wire cutters, round and flat nose pliers

(Vintaj Brass from Bello Modo, all other beads from local bead shows)


1. Cut off the end of two headpins and make a loop at the end of each one with round nose pliers . On the first one, string on a brass spacer, poppy bead and a brass spacer, make a loop at the other end. On the second headpin string a beadcap, silver foil bead, bead cap, close with a loop. (You can press the bead cap on top of the glass bead to flatten it out to fit a little better.)

2. Cut chain to desired length. (I cut mine at 2".) Attach poppy bead to one side of the chain with an 8mm jump ring. At the end of the chain attach the filigree ring with a 15mm jump ring.

3. On the other side of the poppy bead attach the silver foil component with an 8mm jump ring. On the other end of the component attach the other chain length with an 8mm jump ring. Attach the toggle bar to the end of the chain with an 8mm jump ring.

4. Create the dangles using the rest of the beads and headpins. Attach to the jump rings next to the poppy bead. Add one dangle to the 15mm jump ring.

5. Fill up with toggle bar with pearls, close the pod with your thumb.

Bello Modo will be at the Whole Bead Show in Portland this weekend. Stop by and see their wonderful collection of Vintaj Brass, crystal, art beads from Green Girl Studios, Holly Gage, Marsha Neal, and a very nice selection of Humblebeads, including my birds and new sea urchins!

And now on to the other Ornament Thursday designers to see what inspiration and creativity they are sharing for this month's theme:

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Celebrate the Independent Spirit

Hurray for Red, White and Blue
Lisa takes a shot at teeny tiny beads for a change

Linda at BeadStyle Magazine
Childhood memories of Independence Day's past inspired this necklace.

Strands of Beads Melissa sees stars this month while considering the meaning of independence

What is America to Me? Michelle's favorite words on our country...

Alexa Westerfield a.k.a. Swelldesigner Craft some red, white, and blue drink charms from vintage wartime posters. They'll make a big bang at your 4th of July cookout!

Michelle's take on Independence Over at http design, Michelle has sculpted a piece which gives a different perspective on independence.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Interview with Margot Potter

Interview with Margot Potter, artist, designer, writer, and crafter extraordinaire,
by Jean Yates, guest editor for Art Bead Scene, June 2008

Margot Potter, the Impatient Beader™, has us all in a whirl with the new directions in which she has been heading this year! It is sort of mind blowing, as you will see.

Of course her charming and funny persona continues to appear both onscreen and in print. In this interview, we will hear more about that! There is a lot to look forward to from Margot in the upcoming months as she unveils whole new aspects to her already incredible accomplishments. This marvel of a woman doesn't just climb every mountain and ford every stream, she IS following her rainbow, until she finds her dream. It isn't always easy, yet Margot never gives up. Her art as well as her attitude is an inspiration which reflect that.

Not only the fantastic and world renowned Impatient Beader™ these days, she is also the incredible and marvelous Impatient (yet extremely adept and ingenious) Impatient Crafter™!
So let's hear more about everything and get up to date with Margot Potter!
Margot! I have been hearing about all sorts of exciting new things going on, with you at the epicenter! I do know for a fact that you have switched over from our jewelry making group to the sister crafting group: Crafty Bloggers. Are you excited about a new direction which can be described in any specific way yet? May we know a little bit about what is going on?

"Well this is a good year for me in terms of growth. I do think that my new focus is a natural progression to anyone who has read my books. I’ve been expanding outward from center since I started this career. I just realized this year that I’d crossed a threshold and my work was far more complex than the moniker “beader” implied. I’m doing a lot of collage, mixed media, altered arts, general crafting and integrating it all into my jewelry design and also a potpourri of other projects. So I’ve decided to re-brand myself as The Impatient Crafter™, still keeping jewelry making as my core but integrating these other elements into the mix. I have two new books coming out next winter. One is a gorgeous book about architectural exposed wire jewelry designs with fellow Beadalon Design Team Members Katie Hacker and Fernando DaSilva. The other is a mixed media jewelry technique book of which I am extremely proud called Beyond the Bead. In this book I show the reader how to make their own beads and components out of a variety of unexpected materials and it’s been a ton of work but absolutely worth it. I’m really stretching my wings and it means I’m taking risks. My hope is that the risks will pay off, but that remains to be seen!"
You authored three mind bending, totally fun books as "The Impatient Beader™”: The Impatient Beader, The Impatient Beader Gets Inspired, and Sparkletastic, a trilogy considered classic at this point! They are fun, they are witty, and they are also flat out good jewelry and craft design books. They even helped The Bead Women of Denver, a group of global refugees who had been displaced from their own countries to learn to laugh and stay stalwart in their time of despair.

"Yes, well, The Bead Women actually found me and I could not be more delighted. Sharon McCreary, a true shero, who is a volunteer helping refugee women in Denver assimilate into our culture had a stash of bead books she shared with the women when they asked about making jewelry. Crafting was a familiar thing for them and of course creativity is a universal language. For whatever reason, the images in my books really spoke to them. They couldn’t read the words, so it was all about the pictures. Sharon posted an image of a woman holding my first book smiling on the Jewelry Making Site. Tammy Powley contacted me about it and we arranged some manufacturer support and more books to be sent to them. They are now selling their designs and it’s such a touching story to see how powerful this has been for them and for the younger teen aged women in their group. Women in many countries aren’t used to making or having their own money. The things these women from Somalia, Sudan and Darfur and the Middle East have survived are to me, unfathomable. I’m a real believer in the power of the creative to change lives."
Here is a link for The Bead Women:The Bead Women

Let's go onward now to what is happening for you as we look at your career today. Would it be accurate to say you are now planning a career change or does it just seem that way? Is it more just a natural progression in which you are involved, following your heart?

"I think it’s more of a natural progression. It’s very symbiotic. I’ve always been creative and as a kid I painted, made sculptures out of clay and quilting techniques, sketched, wrote poetry, created t-shirts and altered clothing, sang and performed in backyard plays...creative folks tend to be restless and multi-faceted. I can’t do the same thing over and over again or I get bored silly. I am definitely following my heart, something I started doing seriously five years ago, once I stopped trying to force life to bend to my will and began allowing for things to unfold, everything shifted. Since then, I have been mindful of paying attention to the road signs, particularly the ones off of the beaten path. It’s really a journey and I’m a big believer in throwing on your trusty pith helmet and grabbing your scythe and braving the wilderness. It makes for a far more interesting adventure."

Mini collage pendant and necklace copyright 2008 Margot Potter

What happened to make you want to change?

"From the second The Impatient Beader™ book on, I was exploring mixed media jewelry techniques. I was using decoupage and metal, rubber stamps and pigments, embroidery thread and’s really easy to see my work expanding if you thumb through my books and my magazine work. Then I met Robin Beam in Tucson serendipitously and she invited me to Ranger U, which literally changed my life. Suddenly I had a whole new toy box I simply had to explore. This is another perfect example of allowing for the possibilities, Robin wandered into my classroom and we started talking and it all unfolded from there. Now she is a treasured friend and mentor. That was a road sign and I paid attention."

He loves me, he loves me not. Mini collage pendant with vintage French beads and Swarovski Crystal copyright 2008 Margot Potter

How will your business activities change? Is it something we may know?

"Well, I’m still figuring that out. I intend to start selling things at retail first via Etsy and then through my website. I’m a skootch reticent because this whole journey started with my husband and I having a gallery where we sold sterling silver Indonesian jewelry, vintage clothing, beads funky global fair trade handicrafts and my finished jewelry. It was a tough row to hoe, to the degree that we lost everything and had to start over. Basically, we were playing to the wrong audience and we realized that as we progressed. What we should have done was build a website, we had amazing stuff. After that I couldn’t figure out how to make selling jewelry at retail pay enough to be more than a hobby. People don’t get the part where your design eye is worth money; they think they can make the same thing. Maybe they can, but surely not the way you did it and they’d probably not come up with that ingenious design. That’s worth something, only competition with cheap goods from overseas makes it hard. So...the plan is to create and sell one-of-a-kind jewelry items with some of my new hand crafted elements and rare and interesting beads, sell my own hand crafted beads and pendants and to also sell vintage and new mixed media supplies. Then the big plan is to license product."

Now I really need to get the true story on this! I love these hysterical videos you are making! I have to tell you, Margot, they are worth watching over and over! Nobody does this better than you and your "trusty crew"! I love them, as does everyone else and I have actually been learning from them as well! What a winning combo. Please give us the links to them: how can the readers of ABS see them? People, you have to see these videos! And if you have already seen them, see them again! Whoo hoo! You know how fun they are!

"All along I have known that the video element would be the catapult for my brand. I’m (like you Jean) a trained actress and a vocalist and I am very comfortable on camera. I have a quirky sense of humor and I knew if I did how-to videos, they’d be funny and informative. My books are funny, which is why I think people like them. The whole original concept of “The Impatient” craft books was that they be about making crafting appealing for the Average Jane and easy for her to fit into the spaces in between. I want her to have a firm grasp of good technique, but to be able to make things that look more complicated than they actually are. I wanted to empower her and not make her feel inadequate. I want the books to be as fun to read as the projects are fun to recreate. So of course, the videos follow this same formula. I think that most crafting videos are dull as dirt. It’s not enough to have a cool looking set or editing or host, it has to be “infotaining.” Making crafting fun to watch is a challenge and I know as we progress it’s going to become harder to keep innovating concepts, but this is a real labor of love. This is the real core of where I’ve been heading and we’re having a blast as a family working on these together. My daughter is the best thing about every video and my husband is quickly becoming Martin Scorcese."

Here’s the link to my YouTube Channel where you can see the videos:

Margot, to totally change horses here, I would like to ask a serious question.
Do you feel that a person needs to draw the line in sharing information in order to assist other artists? How do you decide when and where that line should be drawn? This is something I have a really hard time with! I need advice from the pro! Thanks!

"I think there comes a point where you have to ask yourself what it would have been worth to you if you’d not had to work for any of what you achieved, if everything had been handed to you by someone else who did the hard work. People do not appreciate what they get for free, they generally then expect more. There’s a Buddhist saying I love, “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” We all have to do the work, it’s part of the deal. It’s absolutely crucial to pay it forward and I think you and I do that all of the time with advice we share freely in our blogs and in a myriad of other ways privately and personally. That being said, it’s also okay to say, “No. I’ve worked hard for this and you need to do the same.” It’s not our job to do the work for other people; we’ve both got plenty of our own.

One thing to consider is to offer your advice for pay as a personal consultant. If folks realize it’s going to cost them something they will take it seriously and either they’ll pony up or they’ll figure it out on their own. Either way you’ve created an exchange of energy and I think that’s very important."

Here we go again, to a completely different type of question, seeing as I have you here right at this moment, and I find you so fascinating:

If we were to look ahead, by way of a magic mirror, to a year from now, and we could actually see the Margot of June 2009, what would she be doing? How would she be different? What would still remain the same?

"I honestly have no idea. I’ve learned to live in the moment as I’ve gotten older after many, many visits from Chaos over the years. What do I visualize though? I visualize that in a year I’ve made this career pay us enough money that I’m not worried any longer about my student loans and our mortgage and my daughter’s college education and having to keep my “day job” to make ends meet. I want to continue doing what I love and enjoying what is real, which is the love of my family and friends. I visualize that I am still passionate about what I’m doing and it’s feeding me creatively. I visualize I have expanded my ability to love and become a more compassionate being and learned to let things ride a little more. To me, what matters isn’t so much what we achieve as how we love and are loved in return. I mean that in the great cosmic sense of unconditional love, which is the point of all of this. Most of what we concern ourselves with is drivel and pap. “What is essential is invisible to the eye.” Antoine du St. Exupery.

I hope that in some way, I’m helping other people, particularly women, give themselves permission to Create Without Filters™."

Thanks for the great insights, Margot!: Do you want to say anything special at this time to the ABS readers, all of whom know and love you, your blog and your books?

"I want to say, “Thank you! Thank you for supporting creativity and for spreading it around the world and growing good things. Thank you for supporting artists who do what they love every day because they can’t imagine another way of living. Thank you for buying my books and reading my blog and sending me amazingly inspirational emails about the ways creativity has changed your lives. Keep it up, you’re shifting the world for the better when you create.”

Oh! I almost forgot! To wind this up, I would like to add something you frequently end your blog entries with:

"Rock on with your bad selves!"

Hurray for Margot Potter! She is GREAT!

Glitterati Skull Earrings and Ring Copyright 2008 Margot Potter

Tres Chic Mixed Media Collage Purse copyright 2008 Margot Potter

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bead Scoop - Book 'Em

Call for Entries to Beadwork’s Beaded Book Exhibition
Beadwork announces their sixth international juried competition and exhibition: The Beaded Book! Alter a book, re-create a favorite character, bead a page of text, or make whatever your imagination can conjure up relating to beads and books. Show your passion for books and beads in one creative effort. Entry period: August 1-December 18, 2008. Read the complete rules. The winning entries will be published in a gallery in Beadwork magazine and the actual works will be exhibited at Bead Fest Santa Fe (March 12–15, 2009) and Bead Fest Philadelphia (August 20–23, 2009).

Here are a few of my current creations inspired by books:

Dandelion Wine Beads, take their namesake from Ray Bradbury's novel.

Bookplates are popping up as Secret Garden Pendants, an interesting mixed media creation after a little shopping in my local scrapbook store.

I'd love to see your jewelry or beads that have been inspired by books. Leave a link in the comments for a chance to be featured in an upcoming post.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Featured Designer of the Week - Lorelei Eurto

Each Monday we feature the Designer of the Week. One of our editors pick their favorite from the Monthly Challenge entries.

This week I picked Lorelei's Owl Pendant Necklace. There are so many great entries this month but this one just kept calling me back. I love the mix of teal with the punch of sunshine yellow. The open design with the chain and clasp give the necklace a light and airy quality.

Our theme for June is Pearls of Wisdom. Lorelei's necklace is a perfect example with the great Green Girl Studio owl and a beautiful strand of pearls.

You can view more work from Lorelei's work by visiting her blog.

Want to be the next featured designer? Enter our monthly challenge and you could be next!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Walk for Susan Komen Comes to Hysteria Lane

There's a neighbor from the town over visiting - Lisa Kan. She's come to the ABS Neighborhood because she knows that even though there's lots of drama on Hysteria Lane, there are big hearts. Lisa has a challenge she's working on and the Desperate ABS Neighbors want to help her - but let's let Lisa speak for herself:

When I embarked on this challenge, I actually thought I would have no problems raising the initial $2200 required to walk in November. As I proceed, I have come to truly see how hard it is to obtain and ask for donations. I persevere and will be walking with Sara Hardin of Softflex Company, even if I have to come up with the remainder $$ myself. Sara has already reached her goal, so it's my turn to step it up!

We are walking 20 miles a day for three days straight. This will be right before Thanksgiving and I will be walking nearly THREE marathons back to back. I have walked 20+ miles in one day, while in NYC and know how truly exhausting it can be but three days? Never fear, even if I collapse in exhaustion, I will at least try to finish with Sara besides me. That is why I am doing this "after" all my shows. It will be the biggest challenge and endeavor I've attempted to date (much harder than writing a book!) but I'm going to go for it because you only live once.

Well my hope is that when you have an opportunity, please visit my blog page for the Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure to read why I am even taking this walk. If you know someone affected with Breast cancer, then know that Sara and I will be walking for them.

If you can give up a dinner out this year and help me get closer to my entry fee to walk it would be very MUCH appreciated. As an incentive, not that you need any, I am rewarding the top five donors a special gift after my walk to arrive before Christmas. One generous donor from Japan actually donated $750 which got me closer to my goal. I am just $615 shy of my goal so I am "almost" there. Thank you for any dollar amount you can donate. All my best to each and every one of you.

Good luck reaching your goal, Lisa!

Let's take a walk around the Bead Blogging World and see what everyone else is up to.... Jewelry Making
Tammy hearts jewelry making! Find a load of heart-themed jewelry projects along with a free e-course designed around the theme of love.

Art Bead Scene
Ahoy Mateys! Cap'n Heather Powers sails us to a new ABS Feature - The Trendy Bead! This week's trend is nautical - no swabbin' the deck required!

Barbe Saint John's Blog
Tool Love-How many pairs of wire cutters can one girl own, and whats the difference between them?

Bead Style Magazine
BeadStyle Senior Editor Naomi talks where her great finds from the Bead&Button Show will turn up next.

Jennifer Jangles Blog
Want to know where to buy ceramic supplies? Check out Jennifer's Blog.

Katie's Beading Blog
Check out Katie's new video clip from the public television show Beads, Baubles & Jewels!

Naughty Secretary Club
Get all caught up on the latest office gossip with the Naughty Secretary Club Newsletter.

Savvy Crafter
Candie's definitely been inspired by her Asian adventures---see a Fan-tastic necklace and some fabric she plans to make into a kimono shirt.

Strands of Beads
Melissa takes at look at Chinese character name stamps from a crafty point of view

Did you know the Desperate ABS Neighbors open up their studios on Saturdays? Stop by and read Studio Saturdays to find out more about the Desperate Neighbors of the Art Bead Scene!

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!

(Photo credits: Seeing Stars photo of Desperate Housewives set.)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Studio Saturday - Pearls of Wisdom Take Two

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.

This week's winner is Carlene - you've won one of Heather's Little Hoot Bead! Please email us your mailing address.

Today's Studio Guide is ABS guest editor Melissa J. Lee. Let's see what's going on in her studio right now.

I've been thinking a lot about little pearls of wisdom recently, very little pearls of one to three words. Creating a few word charms was on my list of things to do for the past six months, and I'm finally sitting down to make them. I love incorporating a bit of text into my jewelry design, mostly lines of poetry, or secret messages in binary code or in (that exotic language) Pig Latin. However, I wanted to try something even simpler and shorter - individual words and short phrases (in English), none of which are inspirational in the traditional sense, but which might be taken as celebrating certain aspects of a wearer's personality. The task of actually deciding what to say turned out to be more difficult and much more personal than I expected. Really, in the end, my choice of words probably says a great deal more about me, or what I aspire to be like, than anything else.

Here's part of a quote that will be familiar to any New Hampshire resident. If you put aside the license plate for a moment, though, I actually find these words to be kind of inspiring, as an exhortation to live the creative life. It may sound corny, but for me, right now, independence means having creative freedom.

I think as we grow older, we forget how to play (or simply don't have the time for it). I made these charms (intended for a bracelet and earring set) as a reminder that a little mischief can be a good thing, whether you're an adult or a child.

This link is part of a set of two and is still a work in progress - guess what the other link says? Unfortunately, I accidentally broke the "loves me" link while prepping it for the kiln. Yikes! Good thing I'm not superstitious (well, not much). As with the word charms above, I've been thinking about the importance of "childish things". The old children's game seemed like a good subject for a pair of lighthearted earrings, which is the use I envision for this set, once it's finished.

So my question for you is this: if you, too, incorporate words into your actual jewelry design, what words are you likely to use - words of love, words of hope, words of inspiration - and what do you think these words say about you? If you don't actually use words in your jewelry, what individual words inspire your jewelry design? What words move your creative spirit?

Please leave your comments here. The winner from next week's random drawing will receive one of my word charms. Thanks!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Trendy Bead - Polyester Chain

After watching Katie Hacker's design idea video for using polyester chain, I found myself intrigued. Melanie reported on this chain earlier this year, and it seems to be cropping up more now.

Living in Texas, the summer heat and chain or heavy jewelry don't mix. I wonder how this chain would feel and look next to my favorite art beads.

The chain comes in brown, black, green and grey. I could see using a ceramic pendant like this green one from Chinook Jewelry paired up with wood and stones in earthy shades with the brown chain.

Or mix it up with my Spring Branch Lentil bead with the brown chain, sterling chain and with the same stone & wood combination.

Cindy just showed a project not too long ago with her bling rings, colorful jump rings and chain. I could see the polyester chain in black being thrown into the design for a modern feel.

And speaking of modern, there is something about this chain that lends itself to pop art. Couldn't you see it combined with some of these Round Circle beads from Jangles? Stir in some colorful glass beads as accents and it would be a bright and cheery summer-inspired mix.

Another fun and funky collection, Creative Impressions in Clay's new bead buttons would look great layered together with large silver rings and the black polyester chain.

Or tap into your old school roots and go punk by throwing in Earthenwood Studio's Memento Mori Hearts, the chain in black and lots of chunky silver chain. Rock on!

If you've used this chain, I'd love to see your designs!

Findings Worth Finding - Bronze Age

I was fortunate enough to have a booth next to a metal and clay artist at my last bead show. She had these amazing bronze clasps and pendants. Shame on me for not sharing them sooner! They have a very beautiful warm/silver tone to them. I also love that they are bronze and that somehow feels ancient to me and gives the jewelry an instant sense of history. While you are at the site, check out the lovely Flamin' Turtle Raku selection too.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Beadmaker Interview with Kim Miles

by Jean Yates, guest editor for ABS, June 2008

Kim Miles is a lampwork bead artist who currently lives in Taos, New Mexico. She and her husband Rick have lived there for 7 years. Kim's work, the way I imagine it, seems strongly affected by her surroundings, by the beauty of nature, by life as it unfolds around her, and by her inner "thinking and feeling world" as well. You never know what to expect from Kim when she throws open the doors each week to her website and Etsy bead shops!

red heart

For me, as a jewelry designer, this delightfully challenging variety which Kim offers has always been a great part of her appeal. I could collect and design with "Kim" beads until the cows (or goats! -- some of you may know Kim and Rick had goats last year!) come home!

I love her work for its extraordinary playfulness, for her phenomenal use of color and how she mixes it, for her unique imagination, and also for her ability to come up with incredibly massive focals. Some of these giant beads might be expensive if you want to look at it that way, but each will be well worth the money if you are a designer or collector. The reason is, if you are a true "Beadist" (a word coined by Kim) as well, you will recognize that what you are holding in your hand is a one of a kind piece of art work by Kim Miles, and now it belongs to you alone!


Kim Miles, Beadist

Hi Kim! As you know I am an avid collector of your beads. I also love to design with them. They make it so easy for me to look good! Because I love your beads so much, I have tons of them, and tons of questions for you, too! I hope you will be willing to share with Art Bead Scene, through this interview, some of your thoughts and your responses to the questions I ask.

I know that a lot of people already know how you got started, but would you mind telling again the story behind your business and also how long you have been creating your amazing beads?

Buddha Moon face bead

"I started making beads in 1996, in Seattle, after my husband, Rick, fired me from the family pizza shop. I'd been Pizza Queen there for four years, and because I wasn't happy in my work, I was also miserable to work with. I was sent out to "find something I'd enjoy", which was truly terrifying. But after a few weeks of flapping around in a panic, I met someone who made glass beads in her house, and that's when something clicked for me. I took a two hour beginner class, and then ran home to order a torch. Building a business was slow going. I spent the first five years learning little by little, and selling my early beads at farmers markets, crafts fairs, larger juried shows, and bead shows. It wasn't until 2001, soon after we'd moved to Taos, that Alice Korach asked me to do the commemorative bead for the next Bead & Button show."

B&B beads

Kim with her bowl of Bead and Button commemorative beads! That is a lot of beads! Wow!

"That changed everything. Suddenly people knew who I was, and wanted my beads. Business has been good ever since. Now I'm able to do most of my sales online, but I kind of miss the more personal nature of shows, so I'm thinking about going back to doing one or two a year."

How do you get your inspiration? You have had through the years so many different styles! You blow me away!

"Everything in life is inspiring. I rarely feel stuck, and I think that's because I always allow myself to try anything that pops into my head. I know that as long as I let the inspiration flow, there will always be more. Creativity has limitless possibilities. When I need something new, I just sit down with a pile of glass and start playing. One thing leads to another, and it usually doesn't take long for something interesting to emerge. The key is to not force it, but to get out of the way and let it come through on its own."

Above, a favorite of mine, a Taos Window bead

A Wave bead

inspired from Mitzi painting
A Mitzi Painting inspired bead

Do you have any particular favorite styles, from the past or the present, which you would like to tell us about? Why are these your favorites?

"The Lotus would have to be my all time favorite. That bead has been evolving since the very beginning. I'll stop making it for a while, and then pick it back up to see where it wants to go next. As with everything else, I can't take credit for anything but letting the beads come through me. The Lotus beads, more than any of the others, seem to me to be channeled from some higher place. That sounds sort of woo-woo, I know. Maybe I've been living in Taos too long."

green lotus pendant

Lotus beads, a green and a purple. Layer upon layer of glass is involved--quite amazing--jean

What is a "Beadist", and what does it mean to you to be one? How did you come up with that term?

"An Artist makes art, but more than that, an Artist lives and breathes art. It's not a job that one goes to in the morning and forgets about in the evening. It's a way of life. A Beadist is the same thing, only it's all about beads and how they connect us to the world. For me, beads are not just how I make my living. I live with beads as part of my day to day life. After all this time, I continue to enjoy their company, and even more, I enjoy sharing them. And I really believe it when I say "beads for a better world". Beads have allowed me to be helpful to other people in ways I never imagined in the beginning. And I know that it's a big part of my job to send my beads out into the world where they can make people feel better. On my best days, I think the beads are more than just little blobs of glass. I think they hold something of a higher consciousness that can be sensed by the people who eventually own them."

Flaming Heart

Do you prefer making your beautiful, incredible and gigantic focals or the smaller, gem-like beads, like the "diamond cupcakes" or the hand made silver lined troll-sized "word beads" which you are also known for? Does it depend upon your mood?

"Let's face it. The economy has really put a squeeze on artists of all kinds. Selling creative work these days is a huge challenge, and it's doubly hard because for many of us, our costs keep going up, while sales go down. It's like working overtime and taking a cut in pay at a regular job. So, to adjust to that reality, and to keep a roof over my head, I pay close attention to what my customers seem to want. These days, smaller, less expensive beads are easier to sell than the large focal beads. So right now, those are what I'm concentrating on. I like a balance of making both, and it's important to me to keep stretching what I can do with the big beads. Their time will come again. But for now, I'm also enjoying the challenge of smaller beads that are still beautiful and interesting. The new Talking Beads are a lot of fun, and they sell well. A girl's gotta make a living, and it pays to be adaptable."

a lotus troll size bead

smaller bead, based upon the Lotus. It sure looks amazing in its way too!!!--jean (see next question I have for Kim)

Do you feel you can capture in a tiny bead the same beautiful impact you are able to convey in your eloquently and adeptly worked large beads? I love both sorts of your beads! Just wondering!

"No, I can't fit the same depth and life into a smaller bead. Physical space is limiting, and there's no way of putting as much into a small bead. With a large focal bead, the whole story is right there in one place. With the smaller beads, it's more about the sum of the parts. A whole strand of relatively simple beads packs at least as much punch as a single big bead. Sometimes more."

dancing people

Dancing people bead, larger focal, lotus influence

We would all love some photos of your studio where you create these wonders!
entrance to studio
studio 1
studio 2
(I want to live here--jean!)

You have two stores now, right? Wow! Great job! I don't know how you do it! May we have your contact info and your blog address? I love your blog, too, and read it faithfully!

Thank you for a lovely interview, Kim!

Kim's contact info, in her words. Go visit this amazing Beadist and remarkable person!

My Website: You can get to all the other links from there. I really enjoy the blogging. I've been writing since I was in high school. I even hoped to make a living at it at one point, but thankfully, beads stepped into that spot.

"My BeadShop":

"My Etsy Shop":

"My Blog":

note: all photos with a black background taken by Thomas Buckley. Thank you, Thomas!--Jean