Saturday, March 31, 2012

Studio Saturday: Songbead

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

This week we visit the studio of
Rebecca Anderson of Songbeads

This week's winner is MANOLA MARIA! Congratulations! You have won an assortment of Skye Jewels wooden pendants. Send Marie an email with your address and she will get your prize out to you soon!

I was inspired by Marie's post last week - seeing her beautiful bijoux studio. I thought I would share with you where I work...

You were expecting a studio, right?! Or at least a table top in my house?


I bead all over the house; at cafes, at the pub, on trains, at friends' houses....Many a time, I have returned to a friend's house to be presented with a little pile of beads which I 'laid' on their sofa last time I was there. I do have a tiny designated 'bead table' which is designed for a laptop, but this is constantly heaped with beads, so not workable upon. {And currently, it also holds a bottle of body lotion, a nail varnish, hand cream, sticky tape, sunglasses....Not the table of someone with an orderly mind!}So I work on a little tray which I have lined with a cut out bead mat - small enough for me to take it out and about with me. We're having unseasonably warm weather at the moment here in the UK, and when this happens, we all immediately flock outside to beer gardens and parks! Above, you see me rushing out into the evening light to a local beer garden. It's part of a lovely family pub, so I am surrounded by post-workies like me, parents who have brought their kids straight from school for a quick treat in the sun, and families with babies. Lively and buzzing! Inspiring to me. 

Let's take a peek in my bag:

I have seven of those blue boxes, each one labelled 'copper', 'brass', 'sterling' etc. I even have one labelled 'MissFickleMedia and PatinaQueen'! My favourite little tub. The vinyl bag is full of antique copper and brass wire, and those pliers....yes, I am definitely guilty of abuse to pliers! They have their own little bag, but I am often guilty of chucking them in with everything else.

 And here's another box, larger from the bottom of the bag, filled with bits and bobs, and also the little plastic tray I made, lined with yellow bead mat (now grey from lots of oxidised wire sitting on it!). I am very occasionally guilty of treating my art beads with the same (dis)respect as my pliers, but I am generally much better at keeping them in their own separate big bead box, full of little compartments to protect them. That box stays at home! However, you will be able to spot Humblebeads, Bo Hulley, Chinook and DaisyChainExtra all sitting on the tray, waiting to be transformed. Plenty of wire, chain and cord, all slightly tangled.....

Sometimes I feel that this melange somewhat reflects my brain and the way it works, and that it would be nice to have my own designated space; a tiny studio, a shed or a spare room transformed to a Bead Parlour. To detangle all those chains and cords. But do you know, I don't think that is for me. I was brought up by a Mum who can not sit down without knitting needles in her hands. She knits in the garden, watching the tv; even on the bus! (You'll be pleased to know, I have yet to try this last one with beads.) It was the norm when I was growing up, to be around someone quietly getting on with knitting at any and every possible moment, and I guess she has passed that slightly obsessive creative gene onto me. I love that I can make my jewellery whilst watching the tv, sitting with my sweetheart and our house bunnies, carry on if friends come over (like my Mum, I can easily bead and carry on a conversation - it must be that female multi-tasking gene!), pack up in a few minutes and hit the road, complete with bead bag. It suits me and my personality. If I am lucky enough to have kids in the future, I dare say that may change, my Mum's wool being slightly more child-friendly than wire and pliers. But I am sure that things will return to the way they are now as soon as it is practical.

So, what did I come up with at The Woodstock yesterday? I had received this lovely package of antique copper poppy goodness from the lovely Jo of DaisyChainExtra, and have been working on a few ways of using her poppy charms and headpins. Jo makes beautiful artisan findings, and we have become good friends due to our both being regular Beads and Beyond contributors; I love seeing what she comes up with. These elements are relatively new to her shop, and I have found them to be very inspiring and also surprisingly versatile. Here are a few pieces that I came up with.

antique copper poppy charms with lampwork headpins from NadinArtGlass

sterling silver poppy headpins with hand forged antique copper links from MissFickleMedia

antique copper poppy headpins embellish antique copper earwires
And some good news: Jo is having a sale in her etsy shop, especially for ABS readers - just use the code ABS15 for 15% off up to the end of May. I plan on stocking up! 

So, my question to you is, are you an out and about beader? Are you fantastically tidy and organised, or are you like me - scatty with the beads taking over? And where is the strangest place you have ever had occasion to bead?

Leave a comment answering any of these questions and you will be entered for a chance to win a pair of Jo's antique copper headpins and a pair of antique copper charms.

Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer and singer, currently living in Manchester, England. You can read more about beads and singing at her blog, and see more of her jewellery at

Friday, March 30, 2012

March Monthly Blog Tour

Is March going out like a lion or a lamb where you are? Here in Wisconsin we started out abnormally mild with temperatures in the upper 70s for the first half. But since the vernal equinox we have been back to the blustery days that usually mark this month. I can't say that I wish for the cold dreariness that we normally have, but I have to wonder what is up with all this crazy weather! I think that March will slink out less like the king of the animals and more like an alley cat yowling in the wind.

The painting inspiration for this month reminds me of how the weather should be. The skies should be overcast and gray with threatening tufts of clouds signaling cold biting wind. That is what I think of when I look at this picture.
{le moulin au poivre by vincent van gogh}

I have to admit that I had never seen this painting of Van Gogh's before. I love the whimsical windmills and the linear fenceposts, the bare branches no doubt shivering in the brisk wind and the gaily colored flags flapping at attention. As always, you gave us quite a varied interpretation of the monthly challenge...and we love that!

Cece Cormier of The Beading Yogini (above) created a sweet little double sided pendant with images from a vintage French primer teaching "when the sky is gray" on one side and a delightful windmill on the other. The pretty flash of blue in those labradorite really make me think of the blue that might be peeking behind those clouds. C'est la vie!

Jenna of Honey Bijou hung out with her Van Gogh finger puppet and crafted a very detailed pendant from multiple transfers onto polymer clay. Truly an amazing process!

Kim Idalski of Kimi's Jewelry from the Heart wanted to evoke the party like atmosphere that seems to be with those bright colors in the painting and made these special little ruffle beads that remind me of party balloons. This is one festive and fun piece of jewelry!

I really like the bohemian flair of the earrings from Donna Cruz (above) of Crazy Notions.These polymer clay earrings are made by Donna using filigree and other readily available pieces to create something truly unique and beautiful that call to mind the windmills dotting the landscape.

Neena Shilvock of Caprilicious Jewellery made a very organic looking necklace for her submission entitled "Midnight Tango." The petals or leaf shapes actually make me think of butterfly wings ready to fly. This is so very unique!

Katherine of Catherines Dreams picked up on the dots of color in this street scene from the vendors and the windmills and added those bright cheery colors as a foil to the more softer and muted background and sky colors.

Stefanie of Stefaniessammelsurium  (above) brightened up the gray skies with a multi-layered wrap bracelet that warms my heart to see it. I love the way she weaves the textures and the colors together, especially the frayed bits of sari silk. You can't help but be happy when you wear something like this!

You simply  must go and check out the polymer clay cane that  Lupe Meter  of Gem's PC Corner created in response to one of the palettes that Editor Brandi Hussey created for this month's challenge painting. I love that she was able to translate the palette into such an adorable piece of jewelry. The pinwheel is my favorite!

I am just blown away by the creativity that I see when I go to the Flickr site and read your blog posts. I am totally crushing on the amazing glass bead that Island Girl created with elements of the painting in it. That is talent, I tell you! The tree branches against the gray sky, the enameled pinwheel and even an enameled French flag - such great attention to detail in this necklace! Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

Miss Molly Alexander of Beautifully Broken Me (above) went the opposite direction of Miss Stefanie by focusing on the cool blues with the earthy hues. Isn't it cool how two totally different color schemes can come from one inspiration? I love the way that Molly wrapped the beads, so much more interesting. These special little details really raise this design up to art.

I really like the way that The Bead Junkie,  a.k.a. Tracy, thinks things through. She picked up on the couple walking arm in arm down the boulevard and created a love story for them represented in her pretty necklace. I would want to wear this pretty bauble all summer long it looks so light and fresh!

The bangle that Miss Sally Russick of The Studio Sublime created is a symphony of color and harmony. I love the playful use of color with the colorful wire wrapped beads and especially the different sizes and textures of the art beads that make up the focal. This is such a fun design!

Lucky Miss Rebecca of Songbead (above) has the good fortune to live in Europe just a hop, skip and a jump from France, and coincidentally she has just returned from a holiday exploring the beauty of the French countryside. Rebecca makes really pretty bracelets, and she pulled out a classic blue and red of the flag (and many other flags around the world as she points out!) for this piece that reminds me that sunnier days are just around the corner!

Vera of Designed by Vera tells us that she almost let this month slide by until she happened upon this perfect pin at a yard sale of a pair of riders on a bicycle built for two. So glad that you got inspired!

Kiwibeads picked up on the flags waving in the wind and took her strong palette from there. The bracelet looks fun and fresh and would be right at home strolling down the avenue on a spring day in France! Viva la France!

Miss Cilla of Tell Your Girlfriends really internalized every aspect of this painting, from the small size of the beads to represent the children, to the sari silk billowing in the breeze to represent the flags and the fine stripes on the etched jump rings calling to mind the slats on the fence to the swirl clasp nodding to the twirling windmills. Very lovely interpretation!

When I say that ABSer's creativity knows no bounds, I truly mean that! I am really amazed at what Jill Palumbo of Palumbo Jewlery created in response to this month's challenge painting. I know that it isn't jewelry, but she was inspired by one of Brandi's palettes to turn a tired rolling cart with glass shelves into a completely new work of art! She was inspired by the colors and the shapes, creating what she calls beads (those pod shapes are crafted from polymer clay!) to add dimension to the cart. You really should go and check it out!

Miss Malin of Beading by Malin De Koning treats us to a very patriotic design with her earrings of red, white and blue, like the French flag flapping in the breeze. These are playful and fun!

I love it when you can take a part of the painting and use that to create a focal. That is exactly what Pam of Klassy Joolz did. She created a resin pendant using just one of the brightly colored windmills as her muse. I love the blend of the soft and the hard in this piece with the sari silk and the hard metal and glass beads.

I actually got my own creative mojo going this month and created a pair of earrings inspired by the windmills in this painting. The best part about this design is that the windmills actually move! I wrote about this on our sister blog, Earrings Everyday, and we would love to have you join us over there for a dose daily inspiration.

I love the stories we create to go with our pieces. Miss Mary Ellen of bee tree by m.e. did just that. She envisioned that those two strolling through the streets of Montmarte are an older couple secure in their love and reliving their romance. Mary Ellen had this perfect cotton ribbon printed with French love letters that worked perfectly with her breezy creation.

Last but surely not least, Miss Sharyl of Sharyl's Jewelry snuck her post in at the last possible second! Her pretty necklace has all the colors of the painting but with a more modern twist. I love all the details that keep my eye moving on this necklace and wanting to see more!

Erin Prais-Hintz invites you to go on a journey of inspiration at her blog Treasures Found :: Inspiration is Everywhere. You can view a gallery of her work at or purchase her new line of 'Simple Truths' in her Etsy shop.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Jewelry Trends in Action

Yesterday I shared some spring and summer jewelry trends with you and here are a few examples of the trends paired with art beads.  Fibers, handcrafted buttons and bangles are on the top of my hit list!

First up a bracelet from Jean A. Wells that features a ceramic button and leather cord.

A large button can so easily become a pendant, put thread a silk ribbon through one of  the holes like this example from Designs by Lu.

Love this button necklace turned into a focal with leather as a decorative part of the construction from Lune Designs.

Linda Landig created these earrings with silk threads.  So fun and festive! (You can win a pair on her blog.)

A luscious silk ribbon adds texture and contrast to this copper and ceramic necklace from Staci Louise Design.

A bangle bracelet by Malin de Koning features art beads, natural elements and fibers brass bangle.

Karyn from Plus Size Bangles stacked wooden beads and polymer clay focals for ethnic inspired bangles.

Cindy Wimmer created a wire bangle with art beads and a handmade stamped metal focal have just a touch of sari rbbon.

Kristi Bowman worked up a great summer bangle with one of her copper urchins and stones.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

2012 Summer Jewelry Trends

I sent this out to my newsletter list yesterday but thought you might enjoy reading it too.

With the renewal of spring comes a new surge of creativity!  If you are looking ahead to summer shows, gifts for Mother's Days, graduations or just a jump on summer's hottest trends, I have the scoop for you!

1. Mother's Day Gift Ideas - nests are the perfect focals for jewelry for mom.  Mix them with wire nests, tiny bird charms and brass branches.  Nests Charms & Pendants

2. Give mom flowers that won't fade! My dogwood blossom beads were molded from a antique spoon that belongs to my grandmother.  It's filled with sentiment.  Dogwood Pendants

3. Butterflies are the perfect symbol for grads as they begin their metamorphosis into adulthood.  Butterflies Pendants and Kits

4. Owls are another awesome gift for those graduating. Whether it's from kindergarten, middle school or high school, owls are as popular as ever!  Pair them up tiny charms and chain for simple designs that will be a hit.  Owl Beads, Charms & Pendants

5. Summer trends start with the sea, be it a shell, starfish or coral - designers are taking their cues from the deep.  Sea Inspired Beads

6. Bracelets piled on high are still a hot trend for the season.  Add a charm to bangles or on the end of a memory wire bracelet.  Check out my tutorial here and charms here.

7. Feathers, Southwestern and tribal influences with a strong lean towards geometric designs are as hot as the summer sun.  Add jewelry with this geo tribal flare to jeans and a patterned top for a simple nod to this trend. Feather charms & Pendants.

8. Bright pops of color and color blocking are paired with crisp whites for a fresh spring and summer look.  Or try pairing them with neutrals like grays, tans or nudes for a sophisticated take on this youthful trend.  Hibiscus Pendants.

9. Textures and fibers are everywhere in jewelry this season.  Add it in as an accent or use it as the workhorse of a design and hang your favorite pendant from a soft, dyed silk ribbon.  Sari Silk Ribbons.

Place a $50 order from my Etsy shop and receive a free egg bead! No code or note needed.  All qualifying orders from now until Friday 3/31, will automatically have the egg added to their order.  Humblebeads on Etsy

If you'd like to sign up for my weekly newsletter, click here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Square Knot Bracelet Tutorial

Knotting techniques and using fibre in jewellery are all the rage at the moment and you may well have used some sari silk, cord or ribbon in your jewellery. It can add a relaxed vibe; a softness and bountiful colour possibilities! It also allows a piece of jewellery to be made entirely without the use of metal, which could be important if designing for someone who has an intolerance (although I have used a copper clasp, you could easily replace this with clasp of a different material, or even a knotted closure). I have long taught knotting classes at my local bead shop, and fellow ABS editor Erin Siegel along with Lorelei Eurto have an exciting book coming out soon - Bohemian Inspired Jewelry, for which I personally can't wait! These ladies are both so talented and I am looking forward to seeing their beautiful fibre led designs.

One of the oldest knotting techniques is macrame, originally used by sailors I believe. I thought I'd offer up a tutorial using the classic macrame knot, the square knot.

**If you are not sure about a lark's head knot, check out my blog tomorrow**

{I accidentally jumped from step 5 to step 7.  There isn't a missing step, I just left the number 6 out by mistake! Oops.}

***Can you see the cord coming over itself on the LH side, where I have drawn with green pen? This means the following half-knot must start with a LH loop. Similarly, if this bit of cord was on the R, I would begin the next knot with a RH loop. I find it useful to check this if I have to put my work down whilst knotting.***

I finish off the silk cord by tying a bow, and then double knotting it. 

Have a look at some other bracelets using the same technique.

Beading by Malin de Koning
Malin has used cord to knot and shows how beads of different shapes and sizes can be combined using square knots. Check out her blog for many more square knotted pieces.

Erin Siegel
This photograph really whets my appetite for Bohemian Inspired Jewelry - just look at those beautiful colours and contrasting textures! Erin shows how even a thicker ribbon can be used for knotting.

Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer and singer, currently living in Manchester, England. You can read more about beads and singing at her blog, and see more of her jewellery at

Monday, March 26, 2012

Designer Of The Week - The Bead Therapist

Each Monday the Art Bead Scene features a Designer of the Week.
One of our editors picks her favorite from the Monthly Challenge entries.
This week's featured designer is....
Laura of "The Bead Therapist"
Here is what ABS contributor, Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp said about  The Bead Therapist's necklace:
 "The composition of this necklace is like a symphony! Built of many simple parts to form a complex and magical finished piece. The clincher for me was the fabulous wind mills that she found in two different places and match so well, as if they were made for each other. Perfect musical genius!"
You can find Laura DeMoya on her blog "The Bead Therapist"


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Link Library with Melanie

 ooh, it's an exciting time!  Things are starting to bloom as we enter springtime.  I am obsessed with jewelry that features leaves and nests and trees and other springy motifs, like this free project that Heather Powers created for Art Bead Scene from our archives.   

The gorgeous Almond Branch Necklace project can be found by clicking here!

See what is springing up this week in the studios of some of our beady friends:

  A Bead A Day
Oh, for the love of buttons!! If you love buttons stop by A Bead A Day to spread the love and obsess a little! Jewelry Making
Tammy pulls out a previous interview of a jewelry designer who makes jewelry for celebrities.

Art Bead Scene
Gaea finds beady inspiration in the sights of her hometown of Ojai

Beading Arts
Cyndi has gotten inspired by Spring Fever! Has that ever happened to you? Do you have some work you'd like to share?

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie creates a new necklace kit design, buzzing with flying creatures and blooming with leaves and trees to celebrate spring

Snap Out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean has to solve a very big bead problem and gets some help from an extremely inspirational (ahem) source!  

Melanie Brooks is the ceramic beadmaker behind Earthenwood Studio, who blogs from her Metro Detroit, Michigan home.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Studio Saturday - Skye Jewels

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

This week we visit the studio of
Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp of Skye Jewels

This week's winner is CRAFTYHOPE! Congratulations! You have won win a ceramic pendant and bead bundle from Gaea Handmade! Send Gaea an Email with your address and she will get your prize out to you soon!

I have been asked so often to see my studio, I figured this was the perfect time and the perfect place!
So Here it is!
 I can't begin to tell you how hard it was to get this photo, getting the angle right and the placement for the camera... The space is what you might call "small" or "petite" lol but you get the idea.
 This room has dual purpose. I am first and foremost a jewelry designer and I am also an avid scrapbooker. At least I used to be... funny how beads have taken over my life and left little time to create with paper.
I spend about a week getting clean enough for pictures! Now it will be a challenge to keep it usable so I don't end up working like this...
Yup! You are seeing this right! When I run out of room on my work benches I end up working on the floor. I can't help it! I NEED to be surrounded by beads to be able to fully feel the inspiration take over! Those are my knees...ouch! I am getting too old to work like this. Maybe someday I will have a better space to work in.

Where do you end up working that is out of the ordinary? Do your beads take over and push you out of your studio or are you a meticulous artisan?
Leave a comment answering any of these questions and you will be entered for a chance to win an assortment of Skye Jewels wooden pendants selected especially for you, for your jewelry designs!

Photo Credits for the studio photos go to Angela Durocher

Thanks for stopping by...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Fit to Print Magazine Review: Step by Step Wire Jewelry

Step by Step Wire Jewelry really stepped it up for this art bead packed issue!  Ronna Sarvas Weltman interviewed bead artists and designer, including myself, for a great article on Art Beads & Components.   Along with the article there is an art bead Artisan Showcase that has me drooling!  You'll see some of our favorites, including beads from our contributors and new artists that are a great discovery.

Kerry Bogert has a new feature that I'm looking forward to seeing more of called Kerry Bogert's Color Canvas.  Kerry takes a very inspirational photo, creates a palette and a piece of jewelry.  Love this, it really adds something unique to the magazine.

There are great wire projects for all skill levels including an awesome pair of earrings from Marsha Neal and they even have some chain maille projects that have me reaching for my jump rings.  (And I'm so not a chain maille girl!)

You can find this magazine in stores now or go for instant gratification and download it right now.