Monday, February 28, 2011

Featured Designer: Kim Peters of Singing Cat Studio

Each Monday the Art Bead Scene features the Designer of the Week. One of our editors picks her favorite from the Monthly Challenge entries. This week's featured designer is Kim Peters of Singing Cat Studio!

Here is what ABS editor, Erin Prais-Hintz had to say about this week's design:

"Having been a contributor to Art Bead Scene for a number of years before I jumped in as an editor, I can recall the anticipation I would have each week waiting for the Editor's Pick. I was even picked myself once, and it was a thrill! 

I am delighted to pass the Designer of the Week baton to Kim Peter's of Singing Cat Studio. 

I recently discovered her richly detailed polymer clay pieces and finished jewelry when making the Treasury inspired by this month's painting and fell in love. When I spied this cuff bracelet with its dreamy color palette and beautiful textures, I let out a deep sigh. I love the way this is simply photographed. The choice of the complimentary beads with the facets shaped like the lanterns seem to be filled with light as in the inspiration piece. The addition of the antique brass buttons lends a stylized floral theme to this piece. 

This bracelet is a lovely representation of all the beauty found in Sargent's painting. I adore it!"

To see more of Kim's beautiful polymer clay work, please visit her photostream here.

To see more work for sale, check out Kim's Etsy shop.

Watch for a new challenge for March out soon!

Erin Prais-Hintz writes about all things that inspire her at Treasures Found::Inspiration Is Everywhere. Her jewelry designs are one-of-a-kind made one-at-a-time. She collects quotes and dust and invites you to send her your favorite (quote - not dust!) to

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cindy's Favorites and Bead blogging links

Spring is 24 days away! How is that possible? There's still snow on the ground and it doesn't feel like it's getting closer to spring. What can I do to help you get into the spring mood? Daffodils and spring are synonymous to me and so this week, I'm sharing a few daffodil finds from Etsy to help you think spring....

A Bead A Day
Expressing her love for daisies, Lisa uses scrapbooking embellishments to make a quick and cheerful bracelet! Jewelry Making
Winter white can mean bitter cold or a beautiful double strand pearl and matte glass bracelet.

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene gets your creative juices flowing with a treasury inspired by the monthly challenge painting.

Beading Arts
Cyndi is wrapping up a month-long emphasis on education for jewelry and bead artists.

Beading & Books
Do you use buttons in your jewelry? Michelle is hosting a Button Swap. Sign up to get a partner, trade buttons, and create something!

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Do you use any sewing techniques in your jewelry? Come see what Cindy's sewn up!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
A fun find at an antique store uncovers new inspiration with some women's medicinal history and a crazy folk song

Lorelei's Blog: Inside the Studio
After a very busy couple of weeks, Lorelei finally has time to share some pictures from a recent trip to Spain!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Come and see what the amazing Kim Miles has been up to as Winter turns to Spring--You will love it!

The Bead Dreamer
Inspired by the poet Rumi and a gorgeous pendant from Green Girl Studios, Charlene creates a necklace using beads, fiber, a button - and of course - the pendant.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Want to win some FREE ImpressArt metal stamps from PJ Tool & Supply? Andrew hosts another Thursday Giveaway with a prize valued over $70!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Studio Saturday with Erin Prais-Hintz, Tesori Trovati Jewelry

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 weeks winner is Sweet Willow Designs! You have won ceramic bird pendant from Spirited Earth courtesy of Lori Anderson! Email Lori to claim your prize:

"Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing."
~Camille Pisarro 

There is something so magical about holding a bead in your hand created by an artist. 

To know that this bead, this component was lovingly made with the artist's two hands in a slow and deliberate process feels like being let in on a secret world. And I view it as my responsibility to put the bead in a delicate spotlight. Every piece of jewelry I have ever made tells a story, but when an artisan bead is included, that artist becomes part of the story. 

Last summer, I was honored to mount a solo exhibit at the Gallery Q where I show my work. I never thought that I would be able to fill a gallery space, but I did it. When seeking inspiration for the show, I had to look no further than the walls of the gallery. I asked the artists to collaborate with me: provide me with a new piece of art that I could use as the basis for my one-of-a-kind jewelry. But wait! I took those artworks and sent them to bead artists from around the world - many of whom I found right here on Art Bead Scene. I invited them to come play with me by creating beads and components in their unique medium inspired by the art. And inspired they were! I received dozens of beads in colors and shapes and sizes and styles that amazed me.

While pulling the show together, I had an epiphany.

{jewelry created as part of my solo exhibit "Inspired by..." featuring art beads by Kerry Bogert, Barbara Lewis, Sara Sally LeGrand, Cathy Collinson and Jennifer Heynen with painting by local artist Brenda Wenberg}

I could tell that the artists who were working with me to create the beads were really jazzed up by the experience... not only were they energized by the freedom that I gave them to create whatever they wanted, but also the thrill of seeing how I would bridge the divide between the artwork hanging on the wall and their beads. I wanted to experience what the bead artists were experiencing.

So last fall I embarked on a journey to develop my own line of jewelry.

{for my dear friend Kari who is starting new - 'every thing happens for a reason' paired with gunmetal chain, steel links and  humblebeads}
My focus was to create a line of jewelry components that I would sell in spring 2011. My plan included developing a cohesive idea; selecting different mediums to experiment with; conducting market research at shows, through the Gallery Q sales, and through my blog; seeking the feedback of trusted bead artist and designer friends; and culminating in creating jewelry with the components for sale as well as selling them individually.

My goal is to sell 100 of the pieces (either as finished jewelry or as components) by the end of May. And so far, I am off to a good start.

{a sweet little robin on a branch, 'fly high on love' on the back}
So, what is the concept and how did it come about?

If you know me, then you know I love words.

Combining my love of words and jewelry has been a dream of mine. I was inspired to create these pendants and charms, most of which feature a positive message, after reading a book by Patti Digh called "Four Word Self Help." This pithy little book is a great motivator. The idea intrigued me that you could distill the message down to just four words, so that it will manifest in your life. Ms. Digh even suggested writing it down and carrying it with you, and I thought about taking that power mantra one step further: why not wear it?

And 'simple truths' was born.

{some of the original 'simple truths' pendants... some sold, some coming to my Etsy shop soon}
 I like things that look old and worn, have a sense of wit and whimsy, and speak a deeper truth. I wanted to create components that I could use in my own jewelry, but also that others might want to put their own spin on. It would give me great pleasure to see what others would do with these!

Since I have never met an art bead that I didn't like, I wanted to be sure that whatever I created would work well with the art beads in my stash. So far I have paired these pendants with polymer clay, lampwork glass, metal, mixed media and ceramic. I am sure that I will find many more pleasing pairings.

And I have been asked to make all manner of custom pieces... and that is something near to my heart.

{'non m'oubliez pas' - do not forget me - custom order in remembrance of a life cut short by recent tragedy}
Each 'simple truths' pendant or charm is lovingly hand made by me using polymer clay set in bezels then detailed with multiple layers of paint and inks and buffed with Renaissance Wax. I love the mixed media feeling of these and they have a painterly quality that I adore. Some are one sided with just an image or a combination of words and image, some are double-sided so that you can choose which side is facing out. To hold the words close to your heart.

Each is different and no two are alike. I am not a machine, and I don't really have an interest in making dozens of the exact same charms. So I made the decision to hand craft each one individually. While I do carry around a little notebook that has ideas for the words, I am never sure what the image will look like until it is done. Perhaps it isn't the most efficient way of doing things, but that is okay. I like them organic, growing from the work of my two hands, and lovingly painted and sealed, waiting for good homes.

{for my sister-in-law Mary who loves teal and brown, with the message 'life is grand' - can you see the humblebeads in there?}
Because I will make these in small batches, I plan to have updates from time to time. If you are interested in being included in a simple truths pendant update, head on over to my blog and fill out the Treasures Found Nation form in the sidebar. (I hate being spammed and I promise that I will only use that email to communicate with you about pendant updates or special subscriber only deals and discounts.)

{hoots - no words. just cute!}

In honor of my first Studio Saturday, I am giving away a 'simple truth' pendant of winner's choice. The random winner (posted on the next Studio Saturday post) can be from anywhere in the world and will have the choice of any 'simple truth' pendant listed in my Etsy shop (value up to $12)...OR...we will work together and I will create a custom 'simple truth' pendant just for you!

To win, all you need to do is leave a comment below to enter, and I have even provided some questions in case you can't think of anything to say (you don't have to answer them all!). Even 'hello' will do! But if you answer a question you will help me with the market research and I will be eternally grateful ;-).

Tell me what quote or phrase or word you would like to see on future pendants...

Tell me what images or motifs you would like to see...
Tell me what colors you would like to work with...
Tell me whose art beads you would pair with this pendant if you won... lampwork?  polymer?  ceramic?  metal?  etc...

 Enjoy the day!

Erin Prais-Hintz writes about all things that inspire her at Treasures Found::Inspiration Is Everywhere. Her jewelry designs are one-of-a-kind made one-at-a-time. She collects quotes and dust and invites you to send her your favorite (quote - not dust!) to

Friday, February 25, 2011

Urban Nest Necklace - Free Project

Inspired by a walk in Central Park, this necklace combines urban elements with earthy themes.  The necklace features birds, nests and trees stamped on resin beads, a Modern Forest Toggle and disk beads from Humblebeads, building connectors from Earthenwood Studios and a lampwork bead from Sea of Glass Beads.  Visit here for directions on stamping resin beads.

Modern Forest Toggle Clasp
9 12mm polymer clay disk beads
14mm lampwork disk bead
2 12mm faceted brecciated jasper beads
2 20mm ceramic building connectors
2 19mm resin beads
1 25mm resin bead
32mm copper ring
2" headpin
4mm copper spacer
14 2" copper eyepins
13 7.5mm copper jump rings
7" copper chain
3 8mm copper chain links

1. Create a wrapped loop dangle with the flat spacer and lampwork bead on the headpin.  Attach to the bottom loop of the toggle clasp with a jump ring.

2. Attach the 3 jump ring loops to the bar of the toggle.  Use links that open and close or use a small jump ring to attach the bar.

3. Create looped links with each of the beads, one bead per eyepin.

4. Attach one of the small resin beads to the copper link with jump rings (in photo 4)

5. Attach the beaded links and components, working from the right side to the left:
  • Attach jasper bead with jump ring to the 3 chain links. 
  • Use jump rings to attach the building connector.
  • Attach a disk bead to the jump rings on the building connector and copper ring.
  • Attach 3 disks beads and jasper bead together by opening and closing their loops.
  • Attach the chain to the last bead with a jump ring.
  • Attach a disk bead to the other side of the chain with a jump ring.
  • Attach 2 more disk beads together.
  • Attach a building connector to the disk beads with a jump ring.
  • Attach a small resin bead to the building connector with a jump ring.  Attach a disk bead to the resin bead.
  • Attach the large resin bead to the disk bead with a jump ring.
  • Attach another disk bead to the resin bead with a jump ring.
  • Attach the clasp to the disk bead with a jump ring.
Toggle & disk beads: Humblebeads
Lampwork glass: Sea of Glass
Ceramic connectors: Earthenwood Studios
Copper findings & stones: Rings & Things
Copper Ring: Bello Modo
Chain: Michael's

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Findings Worth Finding: Artistic Headpins

I love artist made headpins and have been working on several new projects using them.  I'm considering writing an ebook featuring them, what do you think?  There are so many ways to use these little gems!

Make quick and easy earrings using decorative headpins.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday

Here are a few photos from Bead Table Wednesday this morning.  Stop by and share what's on your bead table this week - anything goes!

New work from Mary Harding.

Glass "twisties" from my table
Glass stringers from Jennibead.

Bead Soup
Bead Soup Party Sneak Peek from Erin Prais-Hintz.

Bead Table Wednesday - 2/23/11
A special assistant is helping out Patty today from My Life Under the Bus.

What's on your table today?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Meet the Artist :: Atlantis Glass & Bead

"For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)

it's always ourselves we find in the sea."

- e.e. cummings

Allow me to introduce to you lampwork and metal bead artists Patti and Valentin Hernandez of Atlantis Glass and Bead.

ABS::What is your background? Did you take classes, get a degree, are you self-taught?

AGB:: We are a husband and wife team. Each of us have over 13 years experience in the glass industry, starting with neon tubing, sculpture, glass fusing and now lampwork bead making. We have full time been self-representing glass artists for almost 10 years now. For the most part we are self taught with many "Well that didn't work" moments that have brought us to where we are today.

ABS:: Your shop is named Atlantis Glass & Bead. Would you care to elaborate on what the meaning is behind this name?

AGB:: Our name Atlantis Glass & Bead came from a love of the ocean and the mystery surrounding the lost city. At the time we had no idea what our glass bead business could grow into, but we felt the name left us room to grow.

ABS:: There are a lot of romantic ideas about owning your own creative business. Do you do this work full time? What is the best part about being your own boss? What is the worst part?

AGB:: This is a full time job for both my husband Valentin and I. We are most thankful that we can work from home and be with our family all day!! Creating our own work schedule isn't too bad either. Although it is mostly predetermined with our 9 year old son's school schedule. Most rewarding is putting our blood sweat and tears into doing something that we love everyday, and the fact that people are willing to pay us for our creations!

Taking a day off can be super challenging. Being at home means we are "at work" all the time, and it is hard to turn off that work mode. If we want a day off we must plan it away from home... otherwise we end up working!
ABS:: Your beads are filled with rich color and dancing light. Can you describe what makes lampwork beads so special?

AGB:: Lampwork beads are tiny pieces of art. It is amazing how two people could take the same colors and use the same design and turn up with such different results. I find it quite special to know that the beads I created will long outlive my life here on earth. I often ponder who may hold the beads we make 200 years from now. These little pieces of glass we create are like our footprint here.

ABS:: Color is obviously key to what you do. Is there a color palette that you find yourself reaching for again and again? Are there certain colors that you stay away from?

AGB:: Cool colors are definitely my personal favorite, but I have a lot of fun mixing warm and cool together for a dramatic effect. One of my personal favorite color combos is and orange and blue. A lot of my designs are sprinkled with sparkles for that extra surprise in the sun. My husband is a fan of the warmer and neutral colors, so we seem to balance each other out well. We also each have our own distinct designs and we don't seem to cross over into each others territory often, making for a very well rounded array of bead designs.

ABS:: In addition to your sparkling glass treasures, you offer a stunning array of metal components with a very distinct style. How did that evolve from your glass bead making? How does working in that medium complement your glass work? What is the most popular seller?

AGB:: We began working with precious metals in early 2009 when we decided to line our beads with sterling we were pushed in that direction. The more comfortable we became working with metal we found it fun and exciting to explore new options for our creative outlet. It almost felt like making little beads, only of metal. It was exciting to actually be able to touch our work as we formed it..... something we had never been able to do with molten glass! It also gave us the option to create finished pieces of jewelry which had always been a hobby. Now we had the ability to actually make all the findings we could dream up in our allowing, of course. The best selling line of metal findings we offer seem to be our copper verdigris patina pieces. Each of them is unique in their coloring pattern and one of kind.
ABS:: I noticed that you also have a shop for finished jewelry pieces called Poseidon's Booty. Have you always sold your jewelry? What piece is your favorite?

AGB:: We opened a jewelry store "Poseidon's Booty" on ETSY soon after we began to work with metal. We were brimming with tons of ideas that we were so anxious to share. Most of the jewelry we offer are designs that I would wear or make for myself. My personal favorite piece is our Saturn necklace pendant. It is nearly an everyday staple for me. All the pieces we offer in our Titan collection have a similar feel with an oxidized finish and a sterling silver contrast... my favorites!!

ABS:: You have well over 5,000 sales on Etsy. How long have you been selling there? What is your best tip for success?

AGB:: Although we opened our ETSY store in 2006 we began seriously focusing on it's success in 2008. With daily listing and constantly adding new product we quickly began to see our efforts pay off. We had sold mainly on Ebay since the early 2000's. With the daily efforts of growing our business on ETSY we were able to shut down our Ebay store late last year which had been a goal of ours for some time. We also have our own personal website which we continue selling from, too. We are lucky to say we have not had to do much advertising with Facebook or Twitter, most of our business is based on return customers. We appreciate our customers.

ABS:: As a creative, I am sure that you are brimming with new ideas all the time. Any you care to share with us? What is next on the horizon for AtlantisGlassandBead?

AGB:: We always seem to have quite a few ideas on the back burner. Recently we have started to experiment with using glass enamels on metal. Fusing glass and metal together...what could be better? I can see a whole new line of colorful metal findings brewing!!!

Visit Atlantis Glass & Bead online: - The full Atlantis Glass & Bead collection in one place

AtlantisGlassAndBead on Etsy - Glass and metal that are meant to be together!

Poseidon's Booty on Etsy - Stunning finished jewelry!

Special Discount for ABS Readers!

Patti and Valentin have offered a 10% discount off any purchase in BOTH their Etsy shops (see links above) using the coupon code ABS10 through March 31st.

I am off to shop. How about you?

Erin Prais-Hintz writes about all things that inspire her at Treasures Found::Inspiration Is Everywhere. Her jewelry designs are one-of-a-kind made one-at-a-time. She collects quotes and dust and invites you to send her your favorite (quote - not dust!) to

Check out her brand spankin' new website at Tesori Trovati.

Monday, February 21, 2011

This Week's Featured Designer - Kiwiken

Each Monday the Art Bead Scene features a Designer of the Week. I'm thrilled to pick my favorite from the Monthly Challenge entries. Each person participating in this month's challenge is creating a piece based upon this photo by John Singer Sargent.

My choice this week is a gorgeous necklace by Kiwiken.

From her blog, she states:

"[The painting] ... It’s so… soft. Sweet. Girly. Romantic. And I just don’t have a hand for that stuff. But, I had to try. So I got some pinks and purples and a nice dark green, and sat down to make some “hidden magic”.  It was my first serious attempt at this technique."

I think she nailed it.  I love the romanticism of the necklace, with the little bit of complexity the polymer clay brings to the picture.  The flowers pick up upon the paintings motif without overdoing it.  What can I say?  I just love this necklace.
You can visit her blog by clicking here and her store by clicking here.

Want to see your work here next week?  Enter our monthly challenge for a chance to be featured!

Lori Anderson is a full-time jewelry designer residing in Maryland.  She writes the blog Pretty Things, and you can see her work at Lori Anderson Designs.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sundays with Cindy - Cindy's Weekly Favorite

Welcome Readers! I'm so excited to share a gorgeous piece of jewelry with you!

Photo Courtesy of Love My Art Jewelry

This lovely confection of art beads is by Lisa Godfrey of Lisalu Jewels and Bead Happy Blog. It features my Heart Mandala, Enamel Bead by SueBeads, Lampwork rondelles by JSavinaBeads, Ceramic Beads from Golem Studios and Hand Dyed Silk from Flame Kissed Art Glass. Lisa has made a symphony of colorful art beads! Bravo, Lisa!

Let's check out what the bead bloggers have been up to, I'm sure excitement abounds this week!

A Bead A Day
A 1 minute jewelry project? Lisa shares a swarovski component that can be used to make a SPARKLY ring! Jewelry Making
For gemstone fanatics, earrings are the perfect way to enjoy fast projects that include all their favorite stones.

Art Bead Scene
Art Bead Scene loves a wall of beads. Stop by and see if you don't love it too!

Beading Arts
Have you heard of a hair fascinator? Come see what Cyndi put together with a handful of Swarovski crystals and a length of thin gauge wire!

Beading & Books
Michelle shares a behind-the-scenes look at her work doing technical edits on a jewelry magazine.

Carmi's Art/Life World
A new bronze pendant from inspired this new necklace from Carmi.

Cindy Gimbrone aka Lampwork Diva
Cindy shares her "DO" for the week. Come take a look!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie explores the old craft of paper quilling in an experiment combining the technique with resin for jewelry

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews a comforting and beautiful book for beaders which she herself has often turned to as a "bridge over troubled waters": Beading for the Soul, by Deborah Cannarella

The Bead Dreamer
Book Review: Steel Wire Jewelry. Love alternative materials and modern, whimsical jewelry design? This book is a must have. Project one is an earring wardrobe! Read the review in full.

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Andrew gets in touch with his inner "Calder" and hammers some wire with Kate McKinnon and Dustin Wedekind.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Studio Saturday with Lori Anderson

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 weeks winner is Carol of Dillman's Dallies! You have won a pair of  that awesome earring tree from Miss Fickle MediaPlease email Shannon with your address so she can ship that off to you.

And now we'll join Lori Anderson in her studio...

Today I'm going to give you a bit of a tour through my studio.  This might take a little bit, because I don't have ONE studio, but a lampwork studio, a work space, and an office.  All three handle distinctly different things, and I love them all for distinctly different reasons.

So grab a drink and a snack and settle in, why don't you?  

We'll start first with my work space -- the kitchen table.

(Click all the photos for a larger look).

I found a desk organizer from TJMaxx that is perfect for my tool caddy.  The drawer holds beading wire, files, and tools I use every day (I have a tool box, a large cookie jar, and a tray for the random tools that I use on occasion but still MUST have).  I use a self-healing cutting  mat and cover it with a Vellux beading pad (secured with clips) for my work surface.  I LOVE the blue mat because it has a ruler at the bottom.  Very handy.

To the left of the beading area is a wooden tray (a silverware tray from IKEA).  I keep a bunch of beading supplies in it that I need at hand for the day in this nifty little gadget.

Behind my chair is my bead cabinet, made by Collectors Cabinets.  LOVE this cabinet.  It holds a million beads so I'm not sure why there are a million and a half scattered all over my table, but... you know what it's like.

The top drawers hold a plastic tackle box easily with room at the front and sides for overage, and the bottom can hold either two tackle boxes or, as you can see by my system, a heck-ton of baggies.

I like working at my kitchen table for many reasons.  I can look outside through the double sliding doors (my lampwork studio is right in view), and since we have an open plan first floor, I can enjoy my family while I'm working on jewelry.  

Now on to the work horse of the Lori Anderson Designs operation -- the office.

Running a jewelry business is my full-time job.  I'm a single-person company, getting help only when my husband sets up and takes down my booth and tent at craft shows.  Most of the time, I'm sitting at this desk, writing blog articles, updating my web site, PhotoShopping pictures, writing invoices, entering receipts, organizing marketing plans, applying to shows, wrapping packages, etc. And etc.  And.... etc.

A quick tour.  On the left side : the pink metal lunch box holds pretty greeting cards as I like to send customers and colleagues snail mail from time to time.  Underneath, I store jewelry boxes (I'm running low, I see). A rack of file folders takes up the rest of the left side of the desk.  On the right side, on the printer, is my stack of marketing postcards and my Zentangle box.  Above the desk is my collection of Swarovski crystal snowflakes.

Next to the desk is my credenza filled with boring files and receipts, but it's topped with some interesting inspiration -- two very vintage typewriters.  I learned to type on a manual typewriter when I was eight and have been tested out on typing at a speed of 90-120 wpm. I started writing stories when I was six.  So when I look over at those typewriters, I get inspired.  I think, YES, even beyond making jewelry, there are other things I can do.

Next comes my photo staging area, which is relatively new since I put away my light tent and professional lamps.
I love this darned table.  Sometimes when I'm stumped or tired out or even sad, I can twirl around in my desk chair and just stare at this table. It's so full of STUFF!  

The shelf above holds a mix of modern and vintage -- a handmade doll by Vanessa Valencia, a pottery fish by a friend of mine in the craft show biz, a bottle collection, and an old camera.  On the table are old ledgers, fabric boxes, pieces of wood, another vintage typewriter (and next to it, a vintage tin toy typewriter), vases, bits and bobs, all things that I have bought, found, or been gifted that either will make a cool photo prop or just makes my studio feel pretty.  

Barely out of the picture in the bottom right, you can see my metal work table, where I can pound rivets and punch metal.  Cool table, inexpensively purchased at Harbor Freight (click here) for $28.  Expect to curse a little when putting it together, though, unless you were a bit more clever than either me or my husband!

I have a lot of beading books in my office bookcase, too. 
Now let's go outside to the lampwork studio!

The lampwork studio is very new (built last year) and I only torch a few months out of the year because I don't have enough hours in the day to keep up with making jewelry for the various shows and projects I have going on.  One day, that may change, but for now, it's where I run to when I need a zen moment.  There's nothing else you can think about when you're melting glass BUT the glass.  Start worrying about bills, the kids, or the number of cookies you ate before dinner, and you're liable to either burn yourself or your beads will rebel and look at you with reproachful eyes. ("Dear.  I know you can do better than THAT.")

Here's my studio being built.

I found an L-shaped desk (again, at IKEA) and I covered the top with ceramic tile to create a fire-proof surface.  Then, before the torch was even lit, the interior designer in me went to work.

There had to be a mural in one corner...

...and as you can see, the walls and part of the ceiling are painted in three different colors.  I added a chill-out space to relax and read up on how-to books and tutorials that I store in pretty boxes by the chair.  (What?  Doesn't every studio have a fake tree?).

My glass storage on my actual work bench is heavy-bottomed square glass vases from Pottery Barn.  For mass-glass storage, though, I needed something bigger, and one day, in an antique barn in Pennsylvania, I found it -- an old postal sorting bin made out of oak.  I BARELY got it to fit in the van, but after three men sweat and swore and shoved, we got it in with only a few splinters to show for it.  And it's perfect.

Those pink and purple curtains you see to the top right swing down and cover the whole shebang for dust protection, and also to cover the storage-of-stuff shelves that AREN'T pretty above the sorting bin.  That sorting bin?  It's five feet (at least) wide and four feet-ish tall.  Cooooool beans.

I hope you enjoyed your tour -- it was a long one, wasn't it?  But since my job is pretty much a 24/7 deal, I surround myself with pretty, interesting things no matter what room I happen to work in. I think it's important to find a way to make your space your own, whether it's a corner of the basement or a full-fledged studio space.  After all, the first thing a visitor to your realm will see is how it's decorated, and it should be a reflection of yourself.

Whether your studio is on your kitchen table or spread across your home, how have you made that space feel more creative?  Leave a comment for a chance to win this ceramic bird pendant by Spirited Earth

Now go out, create, and decorate!

Lori Anderson is a full-time jewelry designer residing in Maryland.  She writes the blog Pretty Things, and you can see her work at Lori Anderson Designs.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Fit To Print -- Wire Style 2

I'm absolutely THRILLED to be reviewing this book for you today!  I received a copy last week (it's available to everyone on March 1st) and I immediately devoured it.  

There are various levels of wire work in the book, and with 45 designs to choose from, you'll find something to love.  Earrings, bracelets, and necklaces are all made with a variety of metals and materials.  Not only will you love the tutorials, but you'll love discovering new bead artists in polymer clay, lampwork glass, and ceramic.  

Learn how to make this necklace in the book! Designer, Cindy Wimmer. Art Beads, Kerry Bogert.

The book also comes with a one-hour instructional DVD -- excellent for those that like to see someone making things in addition to reading instructions.  Even if you don't watch the DVD, you'll find tutorials easy to follow, and they'll provide jewelry designers with a great jumping-off point for creating their own unique designs.

Along with author Denise Peck, the contributors to Wire Style 2 offer their own unique style. (The contributors are Kerry Bogert, Jodi Bombardier, Jane Dickerson, Lorelei Eurto, Connie Fox, Lisa Niven Kelly, Donna Spadafore, and Cindy Wimmer.)

My recommendation?  Run, don't walk, to grab this book as soon as it hits the stands March 1st.  It's an inspiring jewelry design book you won't want to miss.

Lori Anderson is a full-time jewelry designer residing in Maryland.  She writes the blog Pretty Things, and you can see her work at Lori Anderson Designs.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jewelry Contests

Here are some upcoming contests - stretch those creative muscles, create something show-stopping and see what happens!

Rings & Things' Your Design Rocks Contest - Deadline February 28th

Bead Star - Deadline April 1st

Bead Dream Contest - Deadline April 4th

Halstead Grant - Deadline June 6th - Check out the awesome hints & tips for businesses that sell handmade jewelry.

And since most of these contests are based on the photos you send in, here are some articles on taking better photos.  You might also consider hiring a photographer who specializes in taking photos for juried shows and competitions.  If you are planning on selling at larger shows, this is a great investment.

Photography Guide Etsy
Photo Tips from the Crafts Report

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Being an Entrepreneur -- the Work-at-Home Edition

If you've ever wondered what it's like being a work-at-home entrepreneur, well, let me tell you. It's a lot more than simply shambling down the stairs in your pajamas with a cup of coffee and an endless day of joyful creating ahead of you.

If only.

Yesterday my plan was to spend all day tackling my To-Do list, which consisted mainly of updating my web site, making some jewelry for an upcoming show, and ordering some new booth displays.

However, the day ran like this:

1) Oversleep. I have an excuse. I was up until 2am the night before working.

2) Due to oversleeping, missed my window of good light for photographing new jewelry for the web site.

3) Make coffee. Leave coffee on the counter when the dryer dings. Forget I made coffee.

4) Sit down at the computer to order the booth displays. Remember I have to stick postcard stamps on a 10" stack of cards for the craft show.

5) Remember coffee. It's cold. Make it again.

6) Run upstairs to put on real clothes as Zack has just been invited to go play kick ball. Watch for a moment and remember why I hated grade school gym

7) Where the heck is that danged coffee.

8) Sit back down at the computer. My order for booth displays has timed out and I have to find everything all over again.  
9)  I check email and see I have three orders that need to be sent TODAY. Stop everything to pull orders, wrap, pack, and stamp.  Yell to whomever will listen to turn the television DOWN.
Beads by The Gritty Bird

10.) Say a Very Bad Word. It involves lack of coffee.

11) Open computer programs to work on web site. Notice that it is now 7:30pm.

12) Upload exactly two (2) pieces of jewelry before it's time to read to Zack.

13) Finally drink my coffee. It's 9pm.

14) Everyone goes to bed, and thanks to coffee, I am up until 4am making jewelry.

Woody Allen was right. "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans."

When Lori isn't searching for a Venti Starbucks Mocha, she's (trying) to create jewelry in her Easton, MD studio. She writes a blog, Pretty Things, and you can see her work at