Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October Monthly Challenge Blog Tour

I had never heard of Kurt Schwitters before I started looking for suitable art for the upcoming challenges. I wanted to do something different, something sculptural, something outside our norm. When I stumbled upon "Revolving" I was struck by the geometry of this mixed media art piece. I loved the rich patina of the colors, sort of a verdigris and brass look. I could picture intersecting lines and earthy beads as well as enameled disks and wire. What you shared with us this month really lived up to my expectations and pushed the limits of my small imagination. I am very impressed!

I love what Ghie of Trinket Tales (above) creates with her polymer clay and two hands. This piece feels like a botanical industrial design. The swirly flowers bring out the geometry of circles and the handmade flowers lend a feminine touch to Schwitters masculine palette. This necklace is just a beautiful interpretation of the colors and patterns from a geometric translated to a more lush and romantic floral. And the asymmetry is really fresh and unexpected.

Lynda Moseley of SCDiva is always innovating with her polymer clay. I love the simplicity of her design. The arcing circles and the lines pair so well with the faux bois texture and dusty palette.

Taking to heart Schwitters use of found objects, Cece Cormier of The Beading Yogini, found a random piece of scrap metal in her stash and used that to etch a earthy design that looks as if it were something that has aged for decades. She translated a really cool tutorial for a bead and jump ring design into a playful element that evokes the movement of the challenge art.

I could totally live in this lovely design by Pam at Klassy Joolz (above).The deep and muted color palette of these beautiful glass beads and focal are so organic. And I love the subtle sheen of the metallic beads that reminds me of the found metal objects that Schwitters used.

Mary Ellen of Bee Tree by m.e.has us literally spinning with her design. The swirling colors in the lentils remind me of pinwheels blowing in the wind. She used a heavy gauge wire to bring to mind the circles from the inspiration art. I love hearing how her process works, and I am always amazed at how quickly inspiration will strike with her!

Tracy Stillman Designs (above) gives us a very simple yet powerful design. The gradated colors of the painting come through on the embossed and patinated brass rectangles. And those glass beads look so much like labradorite, my favorite stone!

Miss Lorelei Eurto rose to the challenge brilliantly this month with a piece that evokes movement like the fine interior of a watch. I love the strong color choices in her necklace. I admire anyone who can master yellow. And the way it is all connected is just so intriguing.

Welcome to Just Beadey! Not only have our awesome challenges coaxed her to come and play with us the past few months, but she started a blog so that she could be a part of our blog tour. So glad you are here! I love the mix of textures and the cool steely blues of your palette (above). The fibers are a nice touch and add to the mixed media flair of this challenge art.

Love the use of metal wire in this piece by Angela Lund-Logan. The earthy colors of the pendant really call to mind the main circle in the painting. And the use of the intertwined wire would make Kurt Schwitters happy!

Miss Renetha of Lamplight Crafts really took the use of found objects to heart. She repurposed the components from a belt into a wonderful pair of earrings including the addition of some great patina and lampwork beads. Great use of assemblage techniques, using what you have and modifying it to make it great!

Miss Theresa of Mackin Art (above) surfaced this month because the pull of this painting was too great! She brought in the lighter tones of the palette and mixed different bead weaving technique for her very cool necklace.! I think that focal bead looks like a float in the water. It looks very nautical and intertwined by these strong ropes. Such pretty colors! Cool and warm at the same time.


Thanks to all who were inspired by this special art piece this month.

Come back and visit for next month's artwork. I promise that it will be something unexpected again!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Holiday Fair Preparation

I'm at the start of my run of Holiday Fairs - I have 7 between now and Christmas, including two open house events - one in Edinburgh at my mum's house, and one at my home here in Manchester. (If you live in either of these areas, drop me an email - I'd love to welcome you to an open house event!) I have a monthly market which I take part in here in Manchester which is having a special Christmas event as well as it's usual monthly event, and I'm going down to London for a fair at Old Spitalfields Market on the 22nd December. I don't know about you, but that is often when I do my best Christmas shopping - when there's only days to go! I'm really excited to go down to England's capital city, somewhere I love to visit especially around Christmas time, as it's the first time I have exhibited down there. Hopefully the first time of many!

But my holiday fair season is kicked off with The Handmade Show in Perth on the 4th November, about an hour away from my home town of Edinburgh. (If you are in the area, I do recommend coming along, absolutely stunning work will be available! And come and say hi if you are an ABS reader :-)). And it's a big event for me, so it's what I'm gearing up for now. You saw on my last Studio Saturday  that I've revamped my craft fair stand. I debuted it last Sunday, and it went down very well - the best local fair of the year! Every time you have a craft fair, it's always a good idea to think of tweaking your display, there are always small changes you can make to make your stand just that wee bit better. Here's a shot from the last week's market:

I've also set up taking card payments. Unfortunately, we don't have anything like Square over here, which many American friends have told me is a brilliant tool for taking cards. I am hoping we'll have something like that over here in the UK soon! We have a virtual terminal, which means customers can make card payments via an internet-enabled devise. So it could just be a smart phone, but we have it set up so that my phone can act as a WiFi hotspot for a laptop. We took our first card payment last weekend which was very exciting! 

But that's the 'backstage' technicalities. What about the jewellery itself - the fun bit?! Well, I've been going through what sold well at The Handmade Show last year, what's been selling well recently at my craft fairs this year, and what has gone down well online. My work has definitely developed, changed and moved on since last year, but it's still worth looking over exactly what the people of Perth liked last year! If you are returning to a jewellery fair, it's always worth checking through to see what your clientele liked. I'm trying to find a balance between unique, one-off pieces, and designs that I can make in multiples; small batches of easy to repeat designs. I try to use art beads in as many of my designs as possible - so I try and use beads that designers make in batches for these staple designs.

I have a couple of these designs sorted - like these simple ceramic house pendants using beads from Elukka. I use relatively fine chain, and as well as each tiny house being slightly different in due to the way they are made, I try and mix up what I suspend from each one. This means it's a simple design for me to create, but I keep that OOAK aspect to these pendants. 

Another design I can easily repeat are my bluebell earrings - but these don't need to be blue, I am working on pinkbells, peachbells, aquabells and everything in between!

You can see here are my earrings, half done. Again, they are similar and easy to recreate, but again each pair will be different - the Gardanne enamelled flowers are each slightly different and I use different gemstone briolettes for each pair. Both of these have been popular designs for me either online or at craft fairs so I want to make sure I am fully prepared with many of these. Here's a finished pair:

I'm sure there are a few other designs that I will come up with that are similar, in that I can produce many but keep them unique, something that I and my clientele really value. 

What staples do you create for fairs? Do you have any tips to share when you have a big run a fairs coming up? Share with us here on ABS!

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, October 29, 2012

Designer of the Week: Lorelei Eurto

Each week the Art Bead Scene features a Designer of the Week. One of our editors picks her favorite from the Monthly Challenge entries.

The Art Bead Scene Designer of the Week is Lorelei Eurto.

Here is what editor Gaea Cannaday had to say about Lorelei's necklace:

It was fun looking through all of this weeks beautiful challenge designs! For me, Lorelei's design wonderfully reflects the abstract shapes and moody colors of this months challenge art piece. Her lovely photos make it easy to enjoy!  

Gaea Cannaday is a mother and ceramic artist living in Ojai, California. You can see her work here... or here... Gaea Handmade Blog.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Show Me Sunday

  One of my favorite spooky trends lately is the sugar skull image.  I love the mix of sweetness and creepiness, life and death imagery, with skulls and flowers in candy like colors.  This bead, part of a series of sugar skull lampwork beads by Linda Lawrence of Bella Bead Jewelry, is a great example of a colorful sugar skull bead.  Check out her Etsy shop to see more of her work.
Thank you to the commenters who left links so we could find these treasures to show off!
Show Me Harvest Beads! 
For November, we want to showcase beads, pendants, and components that remind us of the autumn harvest.  Let's see a cornucopia of fall colors, autumnal fruits and veggies and leaves, and a buffet of yummy visual treats to celebrate the change of season. Post your links in the comments here and I will select some of your ideas you leave on this post to highlight in another Show Me Sunday post. 
Here is what some of our beady friends have to show off this week: 
A Bead A Day
Halloween jewelry? Lisa's featuring a variety of great designs and designers leading up to Halloween. Jewelry Making
Tammy talks about making a fused glass color graph.
Art Bead Scene
Guest blogger Heidi Post shares a tutorial on building a fun and practical earring shadowbox display 
Beading Arts
Cyndi comes up with a quick and easy metal stamping project...with a surprise! 
Carmi's Art/Life World
Sometimes you just need to make yourself something with whimsy...hence my new Mickey and Minnie necklace! 
Resin Crafts!
This week Carmi turns some plastic rings into fabulous new beads! 
Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean is preparing ahead for "Frankenstorm" in the East by reminding people to be ready for the Kalmbach Bead Soup Party! For the detail, see Jean's blog!  

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

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Studio Saturday with Gaea Cannaday of Gaea Handmade

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.... Lois Moon
You have won a beautiful pair of earrings from Rebecca Anderson of Songbeads.
Send Rebecca an e-mail with your address and she will get it right out to you.

This week we visit the studio of Gaea Cannaday of Gaea Handmade.
It seems harder and harder to carve out creative time from a busy schedule. Raising children (learning disabilities and piles of homework!) and paying bills (why does the car always need attention when the bank account is so low?) seem to take president over lovingly pulling out all of my fun beads and jewelry design elements (sigh). My studio seems to be in a permanent state of disaster. This can sometimes work to my advantage and force me to focus on what is readily available and not go digging deeper into a avalanche inducing, teetering pile of supplies. With the ABS monthly art challenge as inspiration I grabbed what was at arms length and created a quick pair of earrings...

 How do you fit creativity into your day? 

Leave a comment for a chance to 
win a bead set and copper rings!

Gaea Cannaday is a mother and ceramic artist living in Ojai, California. You can see her work here... or here...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Call for Bracelets! 7,000 Bracelets for Hope

"To encircle the wrist of someone who is supporting a loved one battling rare and genetic disorders is such a small thing that can make a big difference."
— Erin Prais-Hintz, Tesori Trovati Jewelry, Stevens, Point, WI

The Global Genes project sponsors the fundraiser 7,000 Bracelets for Hope. Their mission is to put a blue bracelet (as in 'blue genes' - get it?) on every caregiver of someone dealing with a rare genetic disease.
You might recall that back in July we did a push for the 7,000 Bracelets for Hope project with our blue themed painting that month. Perhaps you have a blue bracelet waiting for a good home. Or maybe you have some blue beads that are screaming to be made into a blue bracelet to bring cheer to someone. I would like to encourage you to email Lisa James, Manager of Community Development for the Global Genes organization and offer her your help.

"On behalf of the Global Genes|RARE Project team, once again, we would like to thank everyone for their continued support of our 7,000 'Bracelets for Hope' program, many of you have recently contributed to help with our backlog of bracelet requests and we are working on promoting these donations through our 7K Blog on our website as well as our social media channels such as Facebook (with nearly 30,000 followers), Twitter and Pinterest.

"We have a current need of 40 bracelets and we would be so grateful if you are in a position to provide us with additional donations. Part of our program is to encourage the bracelet recipients to share their story and pictures with us so that we can post a blog on our website letting our contributors know the impact of their donation  - giving hope and support to a family afffected by rare disease. As this is an ongoing program we have immediate requests and requests coming in all year round.  We are grateful for any support.

"We would also appreciate you sharing this information with others - friends, family and those in your jewelry/craft community.  One of the ways we have received support is through Blog Hops.  If you would be willing to host a Blog-Hop in support of the 7K program or create a charity challenge with other artists or artist groups, we would be glad to promote this through our website and social media channels.  Please let me know as soon as possible.  Also,we would be glad to send you a tax deductible receipt for the full value of your donation, upon request.  
"As always, thank you for helping to give hope and support to families that are affected by rare disease by supporting the efforts of the Global Genes |RARE Project's 7000 'Bracelets for Hope'.
Check out their new website. So many of our faithful readers and contributors have quotes there (like mine above) as to why they support this cause. Plus there is a great list of jewelry designers and artists who have contributed in the past. Is your name in that list? It just does my heart good to see the names of so many that I admire all pulling together for this cause.

Perhaps you would like to host a blog hop on your site (or participate in the one that Sue Kennedy of SueBeads is hosting!), or maybe gather some friends and family and some blue beads and have a little crafting session to support the cause. I am on my way right now to South Haven, Michigan to be with my best friend Heather Powers and help her with the Inspired by Nature retreat. As part of my creative sessions, I plan to make as many blue bracelets as I can to donate. Whatever way you can help will be appreciated and will brighten the day of those who are struggling with rare genetic diseases in their family, giving hope and letting them know that there are people thinking of them.

There is a donation form on the right side of the 7,000 Bracelets for Hope web page. Lisa says that using this form is a great way for people to sign up to donate and to give information about themselves or their business so that we can promote them in connection with Art Bead Scene. You can find the donation form here:
 Send your donations of blue bracelets, preferably adjustable in size, to this address:
Global Genes Project
24701 La Plaza, Suite 201
Dana Point, CA, 92629 

Contact Lisa James with any questions.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Shadow Box Earring Display Tutorial: Guest Post from Heidi Post

We’re all looking for ways to improve or rework our craft show displays, aren’t we? I always enjoy reading about other peoples’ processes, and I’m honored to be able to share my latest project here with you. I already had plenty of great pieces to show my necklaces and bracelets, but I just couldn’t come up with an eye catching way to display my earrings, until now!
I started with an unfinished 10 x 15 wooden shadow box from Michael’s. It cost a mere $9.99. 

Next, I gathered the rest of the supplies, some of which I already had, some of which I bought. A combination stain & varnish, paint, Mod Podge, mini eye hooks, a roll of jute twine, and some small (but not mini) clothes pins. They’re about 1.25’ tall. You can get them at Michael’s as well.. 

The whole process took several days, due to drying times. I used two coats of stain on the outside, then two coats of paint plus one of Mod Podge on the inside. Of course you could spray paint the whole thing if you needed done more quickly.

Once everything was dry, I was able to screw in the little eye hooks. Depending on what size your earring cards are, you’ll need to measure where to place your hooks. Make sure to leave enough room at the top for the clothespins to fit and be accessible. I wound up putting them 1.5” and 8.5” from the top. Additionally, you’ll want to place your eye hooks toward the front of the box. The clothespins are easier to get to that way. After the hooks went in - no drilling, they just screwed right in by hand - I tied on some of the twine. I used square knots to tie it on, and it’s not in any danger of coming loose. Finally, I screwed some eye hooks on the inside of the door at the same height as the ones inside the box and again added some twine. Just be careful that they don’t bump into each other when the box is closed, or it won’t shut tight. Then you’re finished! All you have to do now is hang your earrings. 

The cards I already had my earrings on were too big to fit, so I had to trim them down. They still look just as cute, and I wrote the prices on the back. Now hang up with your earrings and voila! You’ve got a great new earring display! 

I hope some of you will give it a try. It was so easy and there are so many ways you could take it. Cover it with contact paper, old lace or other fabric or decoupage! Spray paint it. Stain the whole thing. Sand it down and make it look really rustic. I chose the colors I did so that it would match the necklace display I made awhile back. Good luck and have fun!

Heidi Post is an artist from New Orleans. She's been making art and jewelry her whole life, and started selling her jewelry several years ago. It began as the result of inheriting her grandmother's massive costume jewelry collection. She would reuse older pieces in new ways to create one of a kind designs. Soon after, she discovered the beauty of art beads and handmade components and began incorporating those into her pieces. You can find her work online at the following locations: