Saturday, January 31, 2009

Studio Saturday-Out on a limb

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. Last weeks winner is Elaine Robitaille. Congratulations! You have won a mystery bead or button from Jennifer at Jangles. Send us an e-mail with your address and we will get it right out to you.

I went out on limb and created the tool shown above. This suggestion came from another vendor at a Wool Festival.
I know you are thinking, this woman's a nut job (true most days), that's a tool? This is an Orifice Hook for spinners (not the bike spinners). I photographed the hook on wool roving.

He's an explanation of what this tool does: Orifice hooks are used to thread the leader from the bobbin through the orifice on the flyer of the spinning wheel. Most wheels come with a fairly utilitarian hook, but spinners can choose from a wide range of handcrafted hooks.

I did a search for Orifice hooks and was so suprized at what is out there! Woodturned hooks, Lampworked beads and of course clay. Do a search and see what you come up with, especially on Etsy.
This is something different and fun to make with your art beads. There are collectors out there!

During my search I found this neat book on spinning.
I am trying to learn all the terminology of knitting and spinning for my customers. Wool roving was one I learned and bought lots of, because my daughter learned how to needle felt. It was so amusing watching my daughter and her 2 friends think it is so cool learning how to needle felt. It's good clean fun that requires no electricity! They were so funny to watch. A very talented, patient and equally amused woman (Esther Bechler) taught the girls.

My question for this Studio Saturday is:

What have you gone out on a limb and tried?
Was it a success, a failure or a one time deal?

Share your stories or just leave a comment. I would like to have others sitting out there on a limb with me!

Mine was a success and I will be making more for future Wool Festivals. Now off to make a Diz! Huh?

This weeks prize is two Swirl Heart Buttons in Rose. Just in time for Valentines Day!

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Trendy Bead - Flirt with Fibers

Add in the surprise of fiber beads to your spring jewelry creations for trendy mixed media designs. Pair them with your favorite art beads, mix in chunky pieces of stone or wood, throw in a generous amount of brass or gunmetal chain and filigree to spark your creativity. I love the icy hue of these satin cord knot beads from Yuki designs.

I spotted these cord covered o-rings in the new Rings & Things catalog. They would be fun as the dangle on a pair of earrings or used as connectors in a chain linked design.

Felt beads are easy to make, but you can also purchase them in great color combinations from Ornamentea. Add a whimsical touch by embellishing them with seed beads.
I'm also crazy for these crocheted beads. You can order them in your choice of colors from craftergirl. They are a great way to add visual interest to a design, without adding bulk or weight. I'd love to see these paired on a bracelet with lampwork and wood beads.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

An Art Button Succeeding!

When frozen out of my unheated glass studio, I keep creating to keep the inspiration flowing for when the studio thaws out. Curious about cashmere, I bought a few skeins of Debbie Bliss 100% Cashmere yarn on sale at Webs. I wanted to create a one of a kind piece so I made my own crochet pattern.

Such lovely yarn deserved something special. So I hunted around until I found the perfect finishing touch - a lovely artist made button called A Button Succeeding from Mamacita Beadworks on Etsy.

I'd say this lovely button has succeeded, wouldn't you?

Written by Cindy Gimbrone, glass beadmaker and yarn lover.

Let the Muse Play

Speaking of the winter blahs, here are two more contests to get your creative gears turning.

Scarlett Lanson, has put together a fun contest, entitled "Use the Muse". Participants purchase a kit that contains a beautiful color palette of beads and a secret "muse" bead. The contest is open to stringers & beadweavers. Kits need to be ordered by 2/28 with the deadline March 16th. Scarlett has put together some beautiful prizes filled with crystals and brass components. To read more about this creative challenge, visit Scarlett's website.
Eni Oken's Jewelry Lessons website is hosting a Valentine themed contest with a long list of prizes! The contest is open to any medium or technique, as long 80% is handmade by you. Wire-workers, beadmakers and metalsmiths are among the current contest entries. Hurry though, the deadline to submit your entry is February 1st!
And don't forget you only have a few more days to enter the Art Bead Scene's monthly challenge.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Valentine Open House Ideas

Need to break out of the winter sales slump? You still have time to plan a Valentine Open House! Here are some ideas to keep your costs down.

Use for free invitations. You can upload a photo of your jewelry and use one of the seasonal theme backgrounds. Evite is free and tracks who has viewed your invitation. Don't forget to send a reminder 2 days before your event.

Display Ideas
Play up a sweet treats theme. Use cake plates, tiered dessert stands and heart shaped candy boxes to display your jewelry. Borrow them from friends/family if you don't have any in your stash.

Dollar Store
Check out your local dollar store for display props, decorations, tissue paper and bags for packaging.

Giveaways and Discounts
A 10-20% discount is enough incentive for your customers to drop by. Give away a few pairs of heart earrings or a bracelet as door prizes for those who attend.

Don't worry too much about what to serve and don't let this part of the open house eat away all your profits. Just serve chocolates! It's so fitting for the theme. If you buy a few heart shaped boxes of chocolates you can take the candy out of the boxes and serve them on pretty dishes.

Keep your Open House fun, simple, relaxing and focus on connecting with your customers. If you don't have space for an open house, ask a friend to host the event for you.
Bonus Idea
The heart shaped boxes of chocolates can be a fun way to sell earrings if you work outside the home. Empty the box of chocolates (Let's have a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy on what you do with the chocolates!) fill each little compartment with a pair of earrings and take the box with you. Offer the earrings at a special Valentine price. I did this for a few years when I was in college. Guys are not afraid to ask for a chocolate and that's your cue to say, "Oh, I'm sorry, this box is filled with earrings that I'm selling. Have you bought your girlfriend a Valentine's gift yet?" Sneaky, I know. Have a stash of earring cards and little gift bags to put your earrings in when they sell.

(Heart beads from Jangles)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Featured Designer fo the Week - Island Girl

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

This week Jennifer of Jangles picked Island Girl's Iris Necklace. Jennifer noted, "First of all the name Island Girl caught me, I love it and wish I were an island girl. But for the necklace it screams Van Gogh's Irises. That bead is beautiful!" To see more work by the Lynn Bowland visit Island Girl's Etsy shop.

Our theme this month is "Van Gogh's Irises!" The deadline to enter for the monthly prize is January 31st! Create something that combines the theme with art beads and then send in your submission for the January Challenge.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Giveaway in the Desperate ABS Neighborhood!

Our intrepid ABS Editor has been out and about looking for juicy stories for our readers and she's found the juiciest giveaway two streets over at Strands of Beads who has a great giveaway going on in honor of "SO"'s birthday. Here's a picture Desperate Editor snapped surreptitiously from the Strands Blog.

After you sneak on over to Strands site, make sure you take a nosey stroll around the ABS Neighborhood to see what all is going on there.... Jewelry Making
How are your 2009 jewelry resolutions going so far? Are you staying focused? Take this quick poll and see the results tabulated so far. .

Art Bead Scene
Have a few art bead pieces you'd like to enter in a contest? ABS has a list of the current competitions accepting entries.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi makes a fun denim ribbon corsage in under 30 minutes!

Carter Seibels for Divali Glass Jewelry
A double dose of Divali Glass Jewelry: The Winter Sale starts on Saturday! And Carter is now selling her loose beads on Bead Trust.

Jennifer Jangles Blog
Jennifer shows off her new packaging for some of her beads.

Jewelry & Beading
Jamee Jones shares her gorgeous Hawaii-inspired jewelry!

Snap Out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean flips for a jewelry book inspired by the Impressionists!

Strands of Beads
Melissa gets inspired by a quote from Pascal.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew talks about and shares a little bit about his obsession with opalescent glass. Get a sneak-peek at his horde!

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.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Studio Saturday with Jangles

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. Last weeks winner is Christine Damm Congratulations! You have one of Heather's floral beads. Send us an e-mail with your address and we will get it right out to you.

This week we are in the studio with Jennifer Heynen of Jangles.

Hi there, Well we have a bit of a theme running here with studio Saturdays. It's funny I was already working on my post for this week when I read Heather's studio post from last week. Heather is debating whether a wholesale line of jewelry would be right for her. I actually am working on my wholesale line as we speak. I will be at the Buyers Market of American craft for my sixth year in February. So I am in full gear getting my line together. I actually started out making jewelry to wholesale with my beads. This was eight years ago. After the first show customers kept wanting to buy my beads individually. I gave in a few years later and boy am I glad I did. I still really enjoy my line of jewelry and it's a lot of fun to work on throughout the year, but making beads is my real love. So this week I thought I would show you a little about my line and show you how I go about designing it. The picture above is a section of my work table, it is covered in jewelry and beads, they are all in various stages of being turned into jewelry.

I always go back and look at my jewelry orders throughout the year to see what sold the most. I make sure I keep my best sellers in my line from year to year. I like to have 3-5 styles of necklaces in my line. I try to make them different price points. A few high end show stopping designs and then some more practical every day kind of necklaces. I also like to have a smaller pendant type piece too. Once I get these 3-5 designs figured out and I am happy with how they look. I will expand on the color choices. I like to have 4-6 choices for each style necklace. In the photo below you can see here are five of my everyday necklaces.

Once the necklaces are designed, you must have coordinating bracelets and earrings. Whether you like to match or not, the stores and their customers will want matching. Stores like to have a nice coordinated group in their display. As you can see below, here are the bracelets I have designed to go with the necklaces above.

I have then made earrings to go with the necklaces also.

This is one of my smaller pendants, they also have matching earrings, but then they coordinate with the other bracelets and earrings for mixing and matching.

So you can probably see why my table is covered with jewelry. I need to keep everything out where I can see it. This way I know if I need one more pair of earrings or a necklace etc. It takes a lot of work to get a line going but once you have some good basics it's always fun to add new work. I make sure that 30-50 percent of my work is new at the show. Stores and Galleries like to have new and fresh inventory. This gets their customers excited.

Once my jewelry is designed, I have to photograph it and get it made into a catalog and line sheet. I will hand these out at the show and mail them out to previous customers. Oh and then there is the display, and shipping it all to the show, as you can see the to-do list is very long right now for the Buyer's Market....

This weeks question is do you have a consistent line or style of jewelry that you sell? Do you find it easier to work on variations of the same best-selling designs or do have to make something new each time you sit down?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Transforming Inspiration Into Design

I realize we may have thrown some of you for a loop with this month's design challenge. Since our new challenge themes for 2009 are all from art history I thought I'd share some thoughts on my creative process of transforming a painting into a jewelry design.
Inspired by the movement of the brushstrokes, I want to create a design with movement and texture. I would use lampwork disks by Blue Seraphim in the colors of the painting, wire-wrapped with silver to show off their swirls. To emphasis the feeling of a garden, I'd pair them with leafy green freshwater pearls. To finish the design I'd return to the theme of abundant texture and use one of Mamacita Beadworks floral inspired buttons as a clasp.

Zoom in on a detail of a painting for unexpected results. Not every design inspired by Van Gogh's Irises need to have irises, blue or purple! By taking a corner of the painting that you find visual appealing, you can come up with a striking design that is a little off the beaten path. For this necklace I focused on the upper right corner of Van Gogh's painting to explore a design using those lush greens and sunny yellows. For this design I'd use a ceramic pendant and connectors in green from Chinook Jewelry. I'd connect them together with hammered silver links from Prolifique. On each link I'd add dangles of yellow crystals that remind me of the flowers in the painting.

While it's not necessary to take a literal approach to interpreting a masterpiece into a jewelry, you may find just the right bead for such a design. Lampwork artist Hannah Rachel offers sculpted iris beads that are made to order. Could there be a more perfect bead for this challenge? I'd make a tassel of pearls, crystals and stones in greens to create the "stem" of the iris. To carry on with the bold and organic theme I'd use peacock stick pearls mixed with silver beads. A handcrafted clasp from Cathy Dailey's shop would compliment the shape of the pearls and the earthy feel of the design.
I hope this encourages you to pull our your art beads this weekend and enter our monthly challenge! You can view this month's entries on our Flickr group. Let the masters in art history inspire your sense of color, design and creativity!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Bead Biz- A Good Read

Last week, I gave a little tutorial on writing a business plan. I thought it might be helpful to mention a few of my favorite business books also. All three of these are easy to read and really helpful for the business of selling your creations. I had to pull one off my desk, one out of my night stand, and the other out of the living room. As you can see, I keep them around and use them whenever I am feeling like some inspiration, (on the business side of things that is), I get them out.

My favorite is Barbabra Brabec's book Make it Profitable! I have had this book for ever, it's great for helping with designing promotional materials, marketing, and just getting organized. It's an all around good craft business book.

Second is Wendy Rosen's Crafting As A Business. Wendy Rosen is the person behind the Buyers Market of American Craft that is held twice a year in Philadelphia. The Rosen Group has made it their business to help artists to succeed. I like this book because their are interviews with actual artists.

This is my most recent business book buy, Self Promotion for the Creative Person by Lee Silber. This is a fun book to read, he's got some good stories thrown in with some really great ideas.

It's cold outside... so get cozy with one of these craft business reads.

Written by Jennifer Heynen of Jangles.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Creative Risks - Color

Feeling a little stuck with the winter blah's lately? My advice - do something completely out of your norm. I was feeling like all of my designs were the same three colors, so when I spotted this strand of jade colored glass beads the idea of pairing them with red jumped right at me. Completely not me, but they have energized me to take some other creative color leaps.

Why does this necklace work?

1. They are complimentary colors on the color wheel. (Always a fun place to start for striking color combinations!)
2. We've seen this color combination before, think carved jade pendants with red silk tassels.
3. The asymmetrical design works because I've balanced the bold red Poppy bead with an equal amount of faceted red glass.

So take a chance on color this week, go for something unexpected. You never know what it might inspire. And if it's a color flop, well they are just beads and easy to restring. Being creative is simply a matter of taking risks!

This project will be included in my next newsletter. For complete supply list, sources and step-by-step directions be sure to sign up for the newsletter.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

$10 Tuesday - Garden Lantern Pendant

I may have cheated a little for this week's $10 Tuesday challenge. The focal bead for this week's project is one I went crazy and made a big bowl full of them one weekend. So they are on sale and because of that they fit the requirement for today's $10 Tuesday. Sometimes a bead artist will have an overstock of a bead or if you belong to their mailing list they have occasional customer appreciation sales, so make sure to sign up for your favorite bead artists' mailing lists!

Twilight Lily Focal Bead (
Gunmetal tassel
1 gunmetal 2" eye pin
2 copper 5mm flat spacers
18" gunmetal chain
(Finding from Rings & Things)
1. String a flat spacer, focal bead, and a flat spacer unto the eye pin. Trim wire if necessary to a 1/4", use round nose pliers to form a loop.
2. Attach tassel onto the bottom of the focal bead by opening the loop of the eye pin with flat nose pliers, string on tassel, close loop. String the pendant unto an 18" chain.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Featured Designer of the Week - Stories They Tell

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

This week I choose the Van Gogh inspired "Tramontane Necklace" by Stories They Tell. I love that the artist chose a color palette based on the painting. The beads are beautiful. The sparse pairing of the steel wire and chain echo the modern feel of the beads and accent the design perfectly. To see more work by the artist view the Stories They Tell flickr photostream.

Our theme this month is "Van Gogh's Irises!" You could be our featured designer next week! Create something that combines the theme with art beads and then send in your submission for the January Challenge.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Desperate ABS Neighborhood

Bringing you all the gossip going on in the Bead Blogging World.... Jewelry Making
Jazz up a necklace with a unique focal point or add it to a simple chain for an instant necklace. Pendants have lots of possibilities, and Tammy has some projects to get you started making them.

Art Bead Scene
Do you have a book inside you but not sure you could work with an editor? Consider self publishing. Take a look at the lovely results from one beadmaker who did!

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Barbe reviews Junk to Jewelry & Vintage Redux books

Bead & Button Magazine
Ann Dee, editor of Bead&Button Magazine, invites beaders to enter the Bead Dreams competition.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi stuffs some yo yos to make a fabulously light necklace!

Carter Seibels for Divali Glass Jewelry
Carter looks back at Divali Glass Jewerlry designs come and gone, and sees the similarities in her creative style over time.

Jennifer Jangles Blog
Jennifer shows off what's new for Valentine's Day at Jangles.

Jewelry & Beading
Jennifer shows off what's new for Valentine's Day at Jangles.

Jewelry & Beading
Stamping and beads? The best of both worlds!

Katie's Beading Blog
Beads, Baubles & Jewels is back for its fifth year. This week Katie shares what's coming up in the new season. Check it out!

Strands of Beads
Give your found-object jewelry a new twist by using cute Japanese trinkets.

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, January 17, 2009

Studio Saturday - a big production

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.

Connie is this week's winner of one of Lynn Davis' beautiful hearts! I realised we forgot to pick a winner for the week before, so the winner of my set of disk beads is Shaiha. Please email your addresses and we'll ship those beads right out to you!
Welcome back to the Humblebeads Studio. I'm always glad to have you stop in! This week has been filled with jewelry designs and bead production. I have been enjoying working on new designs and while I have been working away I have been considering my business and where it has gone over the last 15 years.
I started out making jewelry. After I graduated from college, as a young mom, I would work part-time making jewelry and selling at markets, craft shows and art fairs. There were a few years that we did a small show 2-3 times a week from May until the end of November. About 7 years ago I started selling beads and soon that took over. I would do only a few shows a year and had a gallery that I worked with to sell my one-of-a-kind pieces. Now, I spend my jewelry designing time creating for publications and making beads is my full-time job. (I know, life is sweet!)

But lately I've been thinking of creating a line of jewelry for the wholesale market. It's a few months before I can give it any serious thought, but for some reason that has been on mind this week while I have been working away. I'm thinking simple pieces with art beads as the focus. Lots of chain and a few bead accents. I think I could find a nice little niche with my urchins in resort areas. And these pendants would work well in a variety of shops, couldn't you see them in a little botanical center gift shop? Lots to think about it.

So my question for you this week, are you strictly a one-of-kind design girl or does wholesale and production work sound like an exciting road to travel? Let me know your thoughts, the prize this week is one of my floral beads, it will be a surprise!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bead Theme: Iris

Just a friendly reminder that our theme this month is Van Gogh's Iris painting. Your design can be inspired the color palette, textures, motif, or Van Gogh himself. The theme is open to your interpretation. Here are a few picks that I found on Etsy:

Marquis Links by Jangles

Lime Disk Beads by Humblebeads

Monet Spring Garden Disk Beads by BlueSeraphim

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Jewelry and Bead Competitions

Start those pliers twirling and the beads flying, there are a quite a few competitions to enter this spring. Give it try, you just never know what might happen!

Your Design Rocks from Rings & Things - entries accepted 2/1 - 2/28

Bead Dreams from Bead & Button - deadline 4/6

Fire Mountain Gems' Beading Contest - deadline 4/15

Bead Star from Interweave Press - deadline 5/1

Bead Arts Award from Step by Step Beads - deadline 5/1

Know of any other contests? We'd love to hear about them!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Bead Biz-Creating A Business Plan

It's 2009!

Just barely and I don't know about you but this is the time of year I start thinking about my goal and aspirations for the year. Personally, I am a big list maker and goal follower. I believe you have to know where you're going to get there. If you don't have a business plan, now is the time to make one. If you're thinking, how do I get started, what do I need to know, oh my gosh I just make jewelry to sell every now and then, do I need one of these? Yes you need one and the good news is they are not hard to write.

The best part is, it's your business, so you can make your business plan as complicated or as uncomplicated as you want. So what do you need in this plan? Here we go….

Define what you make and sell. Describe in depth what you make. Maybe you make custom jewelry, or just earrings, maybe children’s jewelry. If you know what you make, then you can stay focused on those products and keep you business heading in a consistent direction. Also make sure you think about your competition. Make sure you are making something different than everyone else.

Marketing: Marketing is how you will sell your work. Will you travel to shows, will you have home parties, will you advertise in magazines? These are all things to think about. Maybe you want to expand where you sell your work or add a few more shows this year. Here’s where you
would want to brainstorm and then refine your plan.

Operations: This is how you work. Is this a part time job where you will devoted ten hours a week or is this a full time job? Based on your hours, you will then need to create goals like three necklaces a day. This way you can work out your production schedule. You'll need to know you have enough time to make everything you will need to sell.

Finances: You will need to make financial goals. Even if this jewelry business is just for fun. You obviously want to succeed so you have to create sales goals and keep track of if you are achieving them. It really is the only way to know if you are charging enough and if you are on
track to meet your goals.

Once you have brainstormed about these categories, you can write a paragraph about each section. At this point you might just have enough to be done. However, it might not hurt to make it official. If down the road you ever want to borrow money to expand your business, your banker will want to see a plan. Another reason to have a written plan, when you're feeling unmotivated or lost you can pull it out and read it. It will immediately remind you what you want to achieve.

For more information, about writing a business plan, you can visit:

Good luck following your goals in 2009!

Written by Jennifer Heynen of Jangles.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

$10 Tuesday - Woodland Leaf Earrings

Nothing chases the winter blues away like a new pair of earrings!

2 disk beads (Humblebeads)
2 Vintaj woodland leaf pendants
4 copper 5mm spacers
2 brass 10mm jump rings
2 brass eye pins
2 brass round loop ear wires

On the eyepin, string 1 spacer, disk bead and spacer. Trim wire to 1/4" and create a loop with round nose pliers. Attach top loop to the ear wire. Attach leaf with jump ring and to the bottom loop on the disk component. Repeat for other earring.
(Vintaj brass supplies from Bello Modo.)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Featured Designer of the Week - Every Heart Crafts

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

This week Lynn Davis picked Everyheartcrafts' Field of Flowers necklace. Lynn notes, "It's simple and isn't obviously based on Van Gogh's painting, but has the colors and the spirit, a nice interpretation without being too literal of a translation."

You can see more work of Erin's work on her blog.

Our theme this month is "Van Gogh's Irises!" You could be our featured designer next week! Create something that combines the theme with art beads and then send in your submission for the January Challenge.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Desperate ABS Neighborhood

Bringing you all the gossip going on in the Bead Blogging World.... Jewelry Making
Since many of us are trying to get our jewelry studios organized this year, Tammy collected some excellent ideas to help out jewelry designers and crafters of all kinds.

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene's January Challenge is Inspired by Irises. Enter a piece of jewelry and win free beads.

Art Jewelry Magazine
Jill's teaching at a retreat; check out the information.

Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi has a short demo using the new Sticky Back canvas.

Carter Seibels for Divali Glass Jewelry
Carter looks forward to the exciting year ahead and shares some photos from her time away from beads.

Jennifer Jangles Blog
Gather some New Years inspiration from the Jangles Blog.

Jewelry & Beading
Gather some New Years inspiration from the Jangles Blog.

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Book Review from Jean: Add some sparkle to your New Year with Crystal Chic, a super pretty book by Debbi Simon

Strands of Beads
Looking for new shopping opportunities? Melissa suggests visiting your local rock shop!

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew creates a buying guide of skull related beads and pendants.

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, January 10, 2009

Studio Saturday - I heart COLOR

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.

Hi, Happy New Year! If you see me out somewhere, shopping or picking up necessary supplies, try not to look at my hands. I am very hard on them when I'm in the studio, and this week it's been especially messy.

I'm having a lot of fun experimenting with color and shape. I didn't have anything particular in mind, the holidays, family visits and travel had kept me out of the studio for over a week. I guess the grey weather and the lack of nature's colors during this season must have triggered a color shortage.

You know how some folks need a boost of light in the winter when the days are short? I guess I needed a boost of color. My hands and nails (oops! there's a streak on my wrist too!) are dabbed and dotted with color that isn't always coming off. It's been worth it, though. I've been creating some patterns, shapes and colors that are making my eyes smile and my heart sing.

Speaking of hearts, with the loving holiday in February coming up, I did make up a bunch of the shapes that speak to our hearts. It's a traditional shape with a long history, the little bumpy pointed heart shape.

I issued myself a color challenge, to see how many shades, tints and tones I could come up with using only the three primary colors and white. No black or brown.

So here are some photos of the colors that I'm mixing and using (and wearing on my hands in spots, at the moment) and I hope they perk up your post-holiday winter spirits the same way they have sparked up mine. And if you are the lucky winner, I'll send one to you! Have you used color to enhance your spirits, by painting a room or knitting a colorful scarf, and are you playing it safe with your color choices or have you broken out your color experience lately?

My question for you for this week's Studio Saturday is:

Do you prefer monotones, or complimentary colors mixed? Or just earth tones and neutrals? What's your favorite color family to see used in jewelry designs?

Leave your comment, one lucky winner will receive a heart tile bead from me.

Posted by Lynn Davis who's off now to soak her hands to get the paint off ...

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Trendy Bead - Color Reports

(Photo credit: givepeasachance)
I don't know about you, but I'm craving some serious color this winter! I want oranges, pinks, purple, lush greens - the brighter, the better. I'm loving these photos from Indian markets of fabric and pigments. Pair your bright color beads with neutrals in wood, metal, smokey quartz, and labadorite - think grey and browns accented by a pop of color. THE color for spring? Purple is still reigning but in the softer shades of lavender for this season.
Here are some current resources for color trends for Spring/Summer 2009:
Spring/Summer 2009 Forecast from Fire Mountain Gems.

(Photo credit: mynameisharsha)

Various color trend reports from Fashion Trendsetter for this season and beyond.

Download Pantone's Fashion Color Report of Spring 2009. Read about what is inspiring today's top designers.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bead Business: Self Publishing Your Secrets

So do you have a book inside you? Glass beadmaker and photographer, Val Cox did. Shown above working in her studio, Val has just self-published a luscious book entitled, Frit Secrets: A Flameworker's Guide to Using Reactive Glass Frits." Not only is Val the author but she's the photographer for her book - the photos of beads are to die for!

Believing that ABS readers may have a book just waiting to get out, I asked Val if she would share her experience in self-publishing. She graciously accepted. This is what Val had to say:

"The great thing about self-publishing is the total control. Control over the content, the number of pages, the photos, the final price and the time frame for completing it. I took nearly four years to research, write and photograph my "Frit Secrets" book. I suggest you don't take quite that long-it will make your family crazy.

One of scary parts of self-publishing is the need to pay the printing and binding costs yourself--up front. That's when it's smart to go with one of the many print-on-demand publishers, such as or where you can order only as many book as you need-and as few as a single copy.

I like Blurb because they provide a restrictive template design to work within, which becomes your best friend by the time you get to page 11. Trust me. Then within about a week of uploading your file, you receive in a mail, a beautifully bound book, or two or two hundred, to share with your friends and family. Maybe even sell a few."

Thanks for sharing with us, Val. All pictures are courtesy of Val Cox and if you're a glass beadmaker, you can read my review of her book on The Lampwork Diva Blog.

Written by Cindy Gimbrone, glass beadmaker, jewelry designer and newly energized frit lover.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Monthly Challenge Prizes

Here are a few good reasons to pull out your art beads and enter this month's challenge!
Visit Lisa's etsy shop for her current selection of Raku beads.

The winner of this month's challenge will also receive a set of Van Gogh inspired beads from

Starry Night Disk Bead Set (10)
Starry Night 6-Hole Spacer Bead
The deadline for the challenge is January 31st.