Thursday, April 30, 2009

Time is Running Out

Nothing like a deadline to spur on a rush of creativity, right? I know some of my best work comes from working under pressure. Here are some fast approaching deadlines, don't miss out on the fun!
Art Bead Scene Monthly Challenge - deadline Midnight tonight!
Bead Star Contest - deadline May 1st
Win $50 in free beads from Humblebeads - deadline noon tomorrow (no creativity needed, only a good memory!)
Need some breathing room to let your muse settle? Soft Flex has a new design contest using their Trio color wire sets. You have until September 1st to enter the Flex Your Creativity Beading Contest. (Thanks Andrew)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Findings Worth Finding: Vintage Enamel Flowers

Hello spring, goodbye self-control:

Head on over to Sleeping Dog Studio's Etsy shop for these sets and many more! I know I couldn't resist a certain teal blue collection.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Waxing Poetic

Wear your heart on your sleeve or around your neck with these poetic art beads.
"To hold infinity in the palm of your hand" - William Blake

Heather Wynn's Like a Seashell Pendant
"he held her like a seashell and listened to her heart"

Jennifer Stumpf's Lao-tzu Silver Zen Pendant
"by letting go it all gets done" - Lao-tzu
Panopoly's Poem Pendant
"That fair perished summer long ago"

Green Girl Studios Shell Pendant
"Listen to me and not to them." - G. Stein

Monday, April 27, 2009

Featured Designer of the Week - Mary Harding

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 Mary Harding's intricately beaded necklace. I love that Mary focused on the wings of the Zephyrs and the flowered cloak. A beautiful mix of pearls, seed beads and stones set off Mary's unique flower beads. See more of Mary's work in her website.

Want to see your work featured on the Art Bead Scene? Our theme for the month of April is "The Birth of Venus" by Botticelli. The deadline to enter for the monthly prize is April 30th! Create something that combines the theme with art beads and then send in your submission for the April Challenge.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sunday with Cindy

Good morning, Sunday readers! I spent a little longer snoozing on a Sunday before getting up a checking out what's going on in the Beady News.....

Jean and The ABS Crew check out the contests going on and the big prizes you could win!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
There's a great giveaway prize to be had if you check out Soft Flex Company's Big Prize Giveaway! Jean has the low down on how to get in on it!

Art Bead Scene
Is time for your 15 minutes of fame? There's still time to be the next Bead Star and "bead famous!"

Every week, I like to highlight someone's work or a free project.

Remember ABS has the "Twelve Days of Christmas" free projects available to you everyday. My Rainbow Spiral Wind Chime is one of them - just the right thing to hang from your car mirror or in your window during the summer.

Barbe and Melanie show off new jewelry designs and Cyndi shares a step by step necklace project.

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Barbe makes a necklace with supplies from Alpha Stamps.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Mixing different kinds of mud with bug images, Melanie has fun in the dirt with new brown Lava Stone beads from Rings & Things.

Jewelry & Beading
Cyndi's written a tutorial on making a necklace with one of the new Swarovski discs from Artbeads!

Melissa and Tammy read and review two awesome books!

Strands of Beads
Melissa reviews Margot Potter's new book, Beyond the Bead. Jewelry Making
Be chic and make jewelry with some help from a new book: Chic Metal: Modern Metal Jewelry to Make at Home by Victoria Tillotson.

Leslie is in learning mode - see the techniques she's perusing...
Bead & Button Magazine
Leslie's keeping up the creativity--see what she's up to.

Jennifer is making her own stamps and Katie's ready for weddings and the summer!

Jennifer Jangles Blog
Jennifer gives a great source for getting your designs made into rubber stamps.

Katie's Beading Blog
Get ready for wedding season with Katie's beaded bridal necklace pattern. This necklace is the perfect accessory for brides, attendants, and guests alike!

That's the Beady Sunday News. Join me next week on the couch with a cup of coffee and we'll see what's going on in the bead and jewelry making world. (written by ABS Editor and glass beadmaker Cindy Gimbrone, newspaper and coffee addict.)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Studio Saturday - Fiesta!

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 Summer Studios. Congratulations! You have won a set of 4 buttons from Creative Impressions in Clay. Send us an e-mail with your address in the suggestion box and we will get it right out to you.

It's party time in the Humblebeads Studio! For two weeks in April San Antonio pulls out the all the stops and celebrates our heritage and mixed culture with over 100 events during Fiesta. It's like a Tex-Mex Mardi Gras. Today is my favorite event, the King Williams Art Fair. I love arts & crafts shows, meeting the artists and seeing their work up close. This is one of the few in San Antonio with all hand-made goods. With Fiesta comes our summer season here in Texas. The dandelions are already waging war on my yard! So why fight them, here they are in all their glory. My dandelion beads are some of my favorites and ones I've been working with for some new summer and fall designs. They are a good fit for today too, they remind me of fireworks with their bursts of layered colors.

So my question today, what designs/symbols/motifs remind of you summer? Are you all about the shells when it comes to summer jewelry? Inspired by abundant gardens? I'd love to hear about it! Leave a comment to win one of my dandelion beads.

And speaking of winning free beads, I'm hosting a contest on my blog. Check it out to play along!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Branding & Your Business

Our focus this week has been copyrights, originality and creativity. I have one more thing to talk about that conscientious designers, especially those just starting their business, should consider. Everything you do online that relates to your business is a type of branding. Make sure that your online branding tells a story about your jewelry and that is doesn't step on the toes of designers you admire.

What does this mean?
Your shop - Make sure your website design or shop banner isn't a copy of something you've seen. It should reflect your work, inspiration, style and what customers can expect to see from you.

Your blog & your brand - there are only so many templates out there, so what ways can your blog stand out from the crowd? First, take care that your blog color choices and banner don't resemble another designer's, especially if you have similar styles in jewelry. You can make a custom banner with images of your creations or have a designer create something unique for you. There are many designers on etsy who do this for a small charge. Look up graphic designers or banners.

Photography - Search for props/backgrounds that are personal to you, that complement your style of jewelry. When searching through hundreds of photos on Etsy, your images should immediately conjure up your name. Do not style your photographs based on someone elses ideas, it's frustrating to the person that is being copied and doesn't help to set you apart from the crowd.

Your visual brand should carry over to all places online and off, keep it consistent and originally yours. Business cards, postcards, ads and your packaging should also reflect your brand.

Not sure you have a brand or what that means? Here are a few helpful links:

If you have felt a twinge of guilt this week, feeling maybe you have been a little too influenced, don't be discouraged. Use this as a time to reinvent yourself, dig deep into your own influences, take a closer look at what makes you an individual and celebrate that. Creativity is a vast ocean, you can never use it up or run out of it. Trust yourself.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Your Designs on Rubber Stamps

Since we are talking about copyrights this week, I thought t would be a perfect time to share a source with you. When I started designing and making my beads, I wanted to use stamps on them. Since rubber stamps are usually designed by other artists I couldn't use them on my beads to resell. I found a great place called Ready Stamps to turn my designs into rubber stamps. This way my work would be original and different from any one else's. That what we all really want isn't it?

So here what you do...
Draw up, by hand or computer, some stamps you would like. Send Ready Stamps a sheet of paper measuring 7" x 9" with all of your stamp designs on the sheet. It needs to be in black and white. Send them a check for 32.00 plus 5.00 shipping. In about a week you will get your stamps in the mail.

You can cut them apart and use them how they are or you can glue them to a wood or acrylic base. I am usually too excite to try them out to bother adhering them to anything. Here are some beads made with my Ready Stamps.

Oh, and the best part....Ready Stamps is a non profit group employing people with cerebral palsy.

Here's a link to the order form through Polymer Clay Express' website. It's all ready to print out and this form is specifically for artists.

Have fun!
Jennifer Heynen of Jangles

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Be Informed: Copyrights and Fair Use

There alot of confusion out in internet-land about copyrights and fair use among jewelry designers and beadmakers. So I'm providing links to articles I like to refer to when I start to feel confused.

Bead and Button's downloadable article on copyrights
A nice concise read on what copyright is and how it applies to jewelry making.

Margot's Manifesto on Copyrights
The honest opinion of a jewelry designer who earns her living from her work.

Crafts For You Please Stop
Bead patterns, jewelry tutorials, craft patterns should not be copied and shared with all your friends.

If you're kind of a geek/nerd like me and enjoy reading the bookish versions there's Copyrights and Fair Use on the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse.

Don't let copyrights and fair use stifle your creativity, use it to spur you on to more adventures! On my Lampwork Diva Blog, I tell my own creative story and how it spurs me on!

Let us know how you feel - leave us a comment!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Water Skimming Wings

Photo Courtesy RIVERTAY -

How do you know if something is original? There's an old saying, "you never step into the same river twice" - how can we know if we are dipping the same water from the stream that someone else has dipped before us?

It’s happened to me, I create something and I believe it’s unique to me. I will be looking on Etsy, or at websites or blogs on the internet, and I find out that someone else is already doing it, making it, and has been for quite a while.

I started making wings in polymer clay primary colors, to use as charms. One day I was on Etsy and saw someone else doing it, except all of her wings were black, no colors. I was shaking my head thinking I was being copied, when I realized hers were on Etsy several months earlier than I started making wing charms.

So, am I copying her by accident, when I didn’t know she was doing something similar? Are our wings different enough that I can comfortably keep making mine, now that I have discovered that someone else is making black wings and I'm making colored wings?

Some things are pretty easy to decide, and it’s not as tricky to answer the questions. If I saw a beadwoven necklace made by someone in a certain color combination and pattern, and I reproduced it exactly for my own sales, that’s not a puzzling head-scratcher, it’s definitely copying someone else. But what if that design was in a beadweaving magazine with a how-to for making it exactly – does that mean it’s available to be reproduced as-is and sold as my own design?

Carl Jung, the famous psychologist, coined a term known as Collective Unconscious, a part of the mind of a society or a people that’s a product of sharing ancestral experiences, separate and apart from the personal subconscious that belongs to each human being. He said, “The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity.”

The Collective Unconscious goes hand in hand with the concept of synchronicity – two or more events unrelated to each other, that occur spontaneously in a meaningful manner, but unlikely to occur together by chance.

Photo Courtesy Positiv:

I think of the Creativity of the Collective Unconscious as being the airwaves of creativity, available like a radio broadcast, to those willing to tune in and get the messages. So if, in our culture and society, we associate wings, and things with wings like birds and angels, as a good icon and something positive, is it so unlikely that two people will create charms, separate from one another but using wings as the image? No, not really.

Photo Courtesy of Positiv:

Certain images and symbols are going to reappear often, like spirals, heart shapes, circles. Creativity and spirituality are often two sides of the same coin, as we tap our minds and hearts for expressions to put into the fruits of our hands.

If there’s a key to being original and fresh in our creativity, I believe it’s looking inside our own experiences and framing our own words of expression and visions of the world. Carl Jung says it this way: “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”

Let us all hope for a vivid personal awakening, no one can express your individual special personal vision but you.

Make Visible What, Without You,
Might Perhaps
Never Have Been Seen.
Robert Bresson

Thoughts about Creativity and Originality posted by Lynn Davis - ExpeditionD - Wings Created by Me - Photos courtesy FLICKR

Featured Designer of the Week - Bijoux Jardin

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

This week Tari, of Creative Impressions in clay picked Birth of Venus by Sharon Palac of BijouxJardin. Tari noted, "I love the the the wire wrapping of this piece, along with the aqua and coral colors that mimic the water and fabric in the painting. I really like the 3 stick pearls and the direction they are strung, which represent the shell element in the painting." See more of Sharon's work in her Etsy shop.

Want to see your work featured on the Art Bead Scene? Our theme for the month of April is "The Birth of Venus" by Botticelli. The deadline to enter for the monthly prize is April 30th! Create something that combines the theme with art beads and then send in your submission for the April Challenge.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday with Cindy: Beadmaker Tip Alert and Carmi's Fiber Necklace

Good morning, Sunday readers! I've been perusing the blogs this morning and have a tip to share with you from my beadmaker's blog, I share insider tips only beadmakers may know about and I call them a BEADMAKER TIP ALERT! Here's a tip I shared last spring and one I happily share with you today. Glass beads purchased from craft stores aren't kiln annealed and could crack when you're wearing the beads.

Why should you care about kiln annealing? Kiln annealing strengthens glass by allowing the glass to cool very, very, very slowly. If properly done, it relieves any stress in the glass and the beads won't crack.

Below is a picture of a set of glass beads I purchased at a local craft store:

As a glass beadmaker, I know by where the crack is, that the bead has not been kiln annealed. A crack along the bead hole means the glass cooled too quickly. Glass cools too quickly when it hasn't been placed in a kiln.

So, when you're buying supplies to add to your creation, be wary of large, thick glass beads. A beader on a budget will invest her/his money wisely on quality artisan made glass focal bead and/or sets that are kiln annealed. Make sure to look for this phrase when buying handmade glass on the web or on Etsy.

So let's go to the beady news. Lots going on but I want to highlight Carmi's post and show a picture of her lovely fiber necklace:

Photo courtesy of Carmi, of course and here's her teaser and link for it:
Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi creates a punched fiber collage necklace.

Catch up on the news for the B&B Show in June
Art Jewelry magazine
Demos and more planned for the Bead&Button Show 2009

Earthenwood has a sale going on:
Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Spring is here and Melanie announces a big springtime sale on her website, going on from now until Earth Day.

Jean is catching up on her reading:
Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews an excellent wire wrapping book, Beautiful Wire Jewelry for Beaders, by Irina Miech

Several projects and new designs:
Strands of Beads Melissa shows off a new necklace design inspired by Sir Thomas Wyatt's poem "Whoso List to Hunt"

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Taking advantage of's free shipping and fast, friendly service, Andrew attempts to capture the beauty of a Lord Byron poem with the new Crystallized - Swarovski Element Disk Pendants in his new necklace design, "Cloudless Climes".

Candie Cooper
Mother's Day is coming fast! Do you need a project idea? Candie and Katie have just the thing! Jewelry Making
Puzzle piece jewelry is perfect to make during the month of April since it happens to be autism awareness month. Here are a few projects to help you make your own puzzle piece jewelry.

Jewelry & Beading
Make a fiber and wire necklace that will slide right on with no clasp!

Barbe and ABS are working the business end:
Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Marketing Monday: Its all about word of mouth

Art Bead Scene
Worried about the economy? Take care of your bead business with these tips.

Are you enjoying your Sundays with Cindy? Leave a comment and let Cindy know what you think.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Studio Saturday-Happy, Happy!!

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 KatieN Congratulations! You have won a new pendant Jennifer at Jangles. Send us an e-mail with your address in the suggestion box and we will get it right out to you.

It's my Birthday! Besides that it is such a beautiful day today Sunny and 73º. I love spring! My favorite flower, the Tulip, is in bloom. They are just the perfect flower, simple and coloful!
It is the makings for a Happy, Happy day!
It's getting closer to Mothers Day and mom's like it when you make them gifts :)
Here is a project you can make for you mom or yourself. Flowers that last year round.

Supplies needed:
Felt :: 1" Button :: 3/4" Art Buttons :: Pattern :: 18 gauge wire
24 gauge wire :: Small pot

Make your pattern, I drew around the 1" button then added petals. Cut out the flower.

Cut 2" of 24 gauge wire, I used copper, any kind can be used. Center the 3/4" Art Button on the flower. Use a needle or piece of the 24 gauge and poke it through the button holes felt, wiggle it around to separate the fibers of the felt. Fold your 2" piece of wire lightly in half. From the back side of the flower, push the wire through the button holes to the top and twist once. Lay the wire down flat so it is out of the way. Putting the stamen wire in now keeps these 2 pieces together while adding the stem wire.

Cut 6" of 18 gauge wire. From the backside of the flower push the wire through one of the button holes. Approximately 1 3/4" through the flower, bend 90º, as you would when making a wire loop. Slide the long end of the wire up further from the top, enough so you can finish bending the wire to go back down through the other button hole. The wire will naturally want to curve and cross. Straighten a little as you go to make it easier to push it down through both holes. With your wire straigthened and through both button holes, slide the 1" button onto the wire and through both button holes. I used shell buttons because it's what I could find in my studio. Plastic would work also.

Wrap the short end of wire around the long piece of wire. Use your pliers to bend the tail of the wire into the stem.
Curl your stamen wire.
Repeat this as many times as you would like for your bouquet.

I used a small terra cotta pot for my flowers. A yogurt cup would work. Decorate the container. Put styrofoam, flower foam or in my case, clay (it was within reach in the studio), in the bottom of the pot. Place wood Excelsior, paper shred, easter grass, yarn, whatever you like on top. Arrange your flowers. Viola!! A gift your mother or yourself.

This weeks question:

What was your best birthday gift or suprize?

Leave a comment and you could win these four 3/4" buttons, so you can make your own bouquet.
Tari "Birthday Girl" of Creative Impressions In Clay.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Fit to Print - Beads 2009

In stores now, Beads 2009!
I love this special publication from Interweave Press and look forward to each year. Editor Danielle Fox pulls together an amazing collection of beads from our favorite artists, including a few from of our regular Art Bead Scene contributors. On the cover you'll find beads from Jangles, Earthenwood Studios and Humblebeads, along with projects in the magazine featuring our beads. Be sure to pick up this informative annual guide filled with trends, tips, projects and lots of eye candy!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bead Scoop - Mamacita Beadworks

It's no secret that Mamacita Beadworks is one of my all time favorite beadmakers. I have an ever-growing stash of her buttons that I love using in my designs. Here you can see her seaweed inspired button with my urchin, aren't they just the perfect pair?

Did you know that Mamacita Beadworks has a new website with her entire collection. Run on over to check it out. I'm especially digging the large assortment of nature-inspired charms, like this lotus one:

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Are you the next Bead Star?

There is still time to enter the Bead Star competition for 2009! You can read the rules here.

Tips for winning entries:
1. Follow the rules carefully! Stringing and wire work designs are the focus of this annual publication, so the entries must follow the guidelines.
2. Pick your strongest designs for each category. Not sure which ones are your best, ask a few of your friends or do a poll on your blog. Enter in more than one category.
3. Take the best photos you can, your entries are judged by the readers based on those photos.
4. Make sure your design is original.
5. Use unusual focal beads/materials.
6. Go for an over-the-top design that is beyond what you normally create. (Unless all your work is over-the-top!)
7. Have fun while creating and don't stress about coming up with a "winning" design!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Bead Biz - Finding Art & Craft Shows

Before you run off to find a market to sell your jewelry, take a moment to think about your customers. Are they busy mom's on the go, fashionistas, alternative artsy indie girls or no-nonsense business women? Each one of these women go to different types of shows. You'll need to put on your detective hat to find the right fit.

I can only offer you my experience and what I know. My customers are women in their 30's - 50's. They are usually married, work and have disposable income. They love handmade items and the arts in general. They support their local art museums and organizations. They collect handcrafted items. They aren't worried about trends, but see jewelry as an expression of their individuality. They love to give gifts that are meaningful and well thought-out.

My best shows are art fairs and shows that are hosted by arts organizations. I wouldn't do well at a country-craft type show. My customers aren't there. I do better in urban areas in larger cities. Knowing these things about my customers and where to find them helps me plan shows that have a greater chance of success for my style of jewelry.

Where to find shows?

*Ask other artists/crafters.

*Go to shows and see what events your favorite artists are doing.

*Get connected with the local art groups in your area.

*Find out if your state has an arts commission or council, here is a list of them.

*Network with guilds/societies in your area. We have a fiber arts guild & a bead society. Both put on shows for their members and announce upcoming shows in the community.

*CraftLister is a list of craft & art fairs.

*Looking for big shows? Sign up for Zapplication, most of the larger shows use this service.

In general, it's better to attend a show before you sign up for it, especially ones that charge higher fees. Stay away from 1st year shows, it's such a gamble. Exceptions would be organizations that you want to support.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Featured Designer of the Week - JKD Jewelry

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

This week Jennifer Heynen of Jangles picked JKDjewelry's Birth of Venus Necklace. Jennifer noted, "Jeannie's necklace is so close to the Birth of Venus painting, when I saw it right away I could see the connection, the colors, the shell, etc. I took a peak around her flickr photos and she's got some great designs." To see more of Jeannie's work visit her flickr photostream.

Want to see your work featured on the Art Bead Scene? Our theme for the month of April is "The Birth of Venus" by Botticelli. The deadline to enter for the monthly prize is April 30th! Create something that combines the theme with art beads and then send in your submission for the April Challenge.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Cindy's Free Project Sunday with Links

Along with the Beady News is a free project by Cindy Gimbrone. It's a fun pendant that recycles watch parts and uses sewing to create a trendy Steampunk flavor.

So take your Sunday paper with you and click on over toThe Deconstructed Watch Project: Materials and Step by Step!

Make sure once you're done there, you check out the rest of the Beady News from our intrepid Bead Bloggers.... Jewelry Making
Oy, may aching back! Tammy is de-stashing her jewelry and other craft supplies while on spring break. Here are de-stashing tips and places that need your jewelry supply orphans.

Art Bead Scene This month's challenge is Botticelli's Birth of Venus.

Barbe Saint John - New Jewelry from Forgotten Artifacts
Barbe talks about riveting & finding the right size drill bits.

Bead&Button magazine
Julia Gerlach talks about bead patterns and gifts.

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
A splendid night out at the Smart Shop metalsmithing studio's gallery crawl inspires Melanie

Jacket Corsage
Carmi sews a few hooked flowers and beads to create a jacket corsage.

Jewelry & Beading
Think that shell jewelry is just for kids? Take a look at Karen Sugarman's designs, and I guarantee you'll change your mind!

Katie's Beading Blog
Check Out Katie's Fun and Flowery Spring Inspiration!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
April is Austism Awareness Month. Express yourself creatively!

Strands of Beads
Melissa discusses the usefulness of the preliminary sketch in her design process

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
A new double-sided sugar skull pendant from Anne Choi, inspires Andrew to create this new bracelet.

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.