Friday, May 31, 2013

May Monthly Challenge Blog Tour

I was delighted to find this painting Flower Vase in a Window Niche by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder for the May challenge. Why I chose this: The realism of the flowers and insects and shells in Bosschaert the Elder’s still life painting is remarkable. On the first look it seems like a pleasing arrangement of flowers, but on closer examination there is a very symbolic representation of the subject. The leaves on the flowers appear to be eaten. The petals are starting to fade. The flowers themselves are not ones that would be in bloom at the same time hinting to the transience of beauty and the passing of time. Including insects like caterpillars and butterflies hint at transformations, while flies and spiders hint at the inevitability of death. In the Flower Vase in a Window Niche, I like the arch of window and the view. The blue sky and puffs of clouds. In the distance there appears to be a castle in a pastoral setting. It is all very romantic, very lush, teeming with life and vibrancy while also showing a sensitivity to a fleeting moment in time.

All of the entries this month were so wonderful! From the color palette to the shapes of various flowers and the tiniest details, you really nailed this painting!

We will start out the tour with a new participant. Welcome DiLuna! Our painting challenged her to push her creative boundaries. She made a polymer clay pendant in the deep swirling colors of the flowers (above). There is even a hint of the bright blue sky. Wonderful entry! We look forward to seeing your designs in the future!

I always love hearing the stories of how the mother-daughter team of Beth & Evie McCord (above) come up with their designs. This month marks the return of the dynamic duo who work so well in tandem - this month they even strung the each half of the design together, making their bead choices on the fly! This bold bloom is hand sawn and enameled and makes quite the statement.

Picking up on the warm saturated tones of the painting, Just Beadey (above) found a home for some beads that she won in a previous monthly challenge! That is pure serendipity and this design is timeless.

I am totally crushing on this necklace from Backstory Beads (above). There is a lush quality to this that echoes the jam-packed vase of flowers in Bosschaert's still life. The colors blend so well with the subtle gradation, and the fringe makes me want to reach out and touch it! I also loved reading about the special memory that this painting evoked. Check it out!

Miss Angela Lund-Logan (above) got super inspired this month and created two great pieces inspired by the painting! Flowers take center stage with both of her creations. This one has the feel of the vase in those barrel beads and allow the beauty of that one solitary bloom to be extra special.

Learning about how a piece comes together is just as important to me as seeing the finished product. Miss Sarajo Wentling (above) gravitated to the finer details in the painting. She focused on the tiny bugs and insects and chose to turn the vase of flowers on it's head. You should go and read about her thought process at SJ Designs Jewelry.

A lot of thought went into this stunningly beautiful design by Jewels of Sayuri (above). She chose to use epoxy clay as her medium to create a bouquet of flowers in various stages of bloom. This necklace encircles the wearer with a ring of blooms. Ingenious styling! Welcome to the Art Bead Scene challenges. We look forward to your future participation!

This painting has a great many details in it that lend itself perfectly to a collage of components. That is what inspired Purple Fish Studios (above) while creating. The focal is a filigree wrapped piece of broken china! Each detail keeps my eye roaming over this pretty necklace and adds to the story of the whole.

Fulgorine (above) is busy being a new mommy so hasn't had as much time to play in our challenges, but we are so happy that she did for this month! A pendant she made b.b. (before baby) with a stylized flower in polymer clay embellished with sequins for a little pop of color really suited this month's painting inspiration well. We are happy to have your creative voice among us, Fulgorine. Go give that sweet baby a kiss on the head for letting you play!

I love it when a design can bring together a whole world full of art beads. That is exactly what the Beady Eyed Bunny (above) gives us. How wonderful that so many different artists are represented in this pretty bracelet!

So much richness and detail abound in this necklace by Gingko et Coquelicot (above). From the blooms and the bird to the leaves and the tiny hidden insects, this necklace is a feast for the eyes! And her blog name - literally Gingko & Poppy - is perfect for this challenge as well!

I enjoy seeing what element of the inspiration paintings will spark the creativity of our readers. Miss Mary Ellen of bee tree by m.e. (above) selected that frilly, showy bloom to bring to life. The details in her polymer clay focal are really remarkable.

Thank you to one and all for adding your special touch to this month's challenge inspiration. We look forward to seeing what you do with the June monthly challenge. Come back here on Tuesday, June 4 to see the reveal!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pantone's 2013 Fall Colors

Pantone released their 2013 Fall Color picks back at the beginning of February, but I've been sitting on this post for a couple months now. Mostly because I really loved the Spring Colors and I wanted to enjoy them for a while. And partly because I didn't want to think about fall yet.

But because creatives work several months in advance, and some of you might already be working on (or planning) fall pieces and shows, let's go ahead and talk about the fall colors.

Very simply put, I love them. Love them. Take a look:

Overall, they've got a cooler tone to them, but a few are still nice and saturated (my favorite kind of color). Compared to Fall 2012, I like these colors better. They're more saturated and closer to colors I personally favor, where Fall 2012 seemed a little dull to me. I'm also loving pretty much every shade, versus last fall, when I didn't immediately react to choices like Honey Gold or Rhapsody. What do you think about this year's picks?

What I'm especially loving are the quasi-neutrals they included: Linden Green, Deep Lichen Green, Turbulence, and Carafe. I had a feeling those four colors will be so beautiful next to any and all of the other fall colors, so I starting playing with those first.

And I think I'm right - those neutrals/quasi-neutrals look fantastic with pretty much anything they're paired with, which is great for color lovers like us since we can match up any other color to one of them and have it look good. Fall is usually when I start reaching for neutrals/quasi-neutrals more, so having more than one option is nice, too.

When I was playing with the swatches, I did have one surprise: I kept reaching for Vivacious a lot. I knew I'd be reaching for Samba and Koi, as those are deeper, richer versions of Poppy Red and Nectarine (which I'm a big fan of), and I love pretty much any blue, so Monaco Blue was a given. But Vivacious caught me off guard.

At first, I didn't think I'd like it much, but the more I look at it, the more I think it's beautiful. And it pairs really well with other colors, especially Deep Lichen Green, Turbulence, and Carafe. Those are my favorites to use with Vivacious because they really let it shine without taking anything away from it.

So while I obviously used Vivacious a lot, I also had fun pairing up the other colors, too (can you tell?). I can't get enough of the blue-gray Turbulence, or the gray-greenish Deep Lichen Green. If I had to pick a favorite neutral, it's a dark gray, so it's fun to have two shades to play around with.

Your turn: what's your favorite Fall 2013 color? Favorite pairing?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Featured Designer of the Week - Ann Schroeder

Each week 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 winner is Ann Schroeder. You can see her necklace here.

Here is what ABS editor Erin Siegel had to say about Ann Schroeder's design:

"When I looked at the pool of designs for this month, Ann's necklace pulled me in right away. A chic, stylish piece anyone would love to wear. When I took a closer look, I was drawn in even further. The hip floral pendant and mix of colors, materials and textures appealed to me. I adore each element chosen. It all flows together so nicely. I love the simple, modern composition of her design. It really allows each of the art beads to stand out and shine. Ann managed to incorporate several different artists beads and components in her necklace while achieving a cohesive, balanced, haromious design. That can be difficult to do! Ann makes it look effortless here. Wonderful. I love it."

Erin Siegel is a jewelry designer, beading instructor and co-author of the jewelry book, Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry: 50 Designs Using Leather, Ribbon and Cords. To find out more, visit her blog: Erin Siegel Jewelry

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Show Me Sunday - Animal Beads with Rebecca of Songbead

I'm back! Did you miss me? Or did you not notice, as Ms Tari did some pretty great Show Me posts whilst I was away?! I was road tripping (of a lifetime!) round California, what a fantastic time we had! I'm still a little sad to be home. 

I've been checking out the animal bead finds that were shared in my absence - some gorgeous finds all round! Here are some shares from last week:

Another firm favourite of mine is Sally of SoulSilver. We have exhibited at a couple of art fairs together and I always come home with a bead or two of hers! Here's one of her very sweet elephants. He looks like he's performing at the Big Top to me! 

And of course, I can never resist a bunny rabbit....another one of Sissy's gorgeous creations! In case you don't know, we have three that we share our house with :-)
Here's a couple of our wee furry babies:

You can't turn them into jewellery though.....
Florrie and Rufus!

And now for the Bead Blogger links. Have a great Sunday!

A Bead A Day 
Ever made a one of a kind, intricate piece of jewelry and wished you had a mini version for every day? Why not!? Lisa shares a new "every day" project. Jewelry Making 
Load up with three brand spanking new earring tutorials! 

Art Bead Scene 
Check out Leah C's gorgeous bracelet, inspired by this month's challenge piece! 

Beading Arts 
Wire Month continues on Beading Arts, which features a simple project to wire up some button earrings for yourself!

Resin Crafts Blog! 
Have you tried the new specialty film Jewelry Attitude? It transformed an old beaded necklace! 

Snap out of it, Jean! There's Beading to be done! 
Jean got a Beading Pal from Ezel Findings and wants you to know how GREAT it is! 

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton 
Have you heard about the Prayers For Richie Fundraiser? Andrew spotlights this very worthwhile cause created by Kathy Van Kleeck. 

Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer, currently living in Manchester, England. You can read more about her and her work at her blog, and see more of her jewellery at She also has a supplies shop at

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Studio Saturday with Erin Siegel

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's winner is Pam of Klassy Joolz! Congratulations, Pam! You have won your choice of a mushroom pendant or a pair of yellow tulip charms from Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati Jewelry!
  Send Erin PH an email with your address and she will get your prize out to you soon!
This week we visit the studio of
Erin Siegel of Erin Siegel Jewelry
 Here is my current studio space! 

I realized I've never ever shared my actual jewelry studio here on Studio Saturday! Mainly, that's because it is usually in such a disastrous state that I wouldn't wish to show anyone on a good day. Recently, I received a much needed reprieve when the grandparents took my 2 1/2 year old daughter, Nora off my hands for a weekend. What did I do with my rare freedom from motherly duties? I cleaned out my whole studio from top to bottom. Obviously, you can clearly see where my priorities lie. As soon as I get a moment to myself, I go straight to fixing up my studio! Oh, and deciding to take on that task was not that fun, mind you. There were huge boxes upon boxes of stuff piled up under the desk, items and paperwork that I had been avoiding dealing with for over a year and a mish-mash of beads and findings in every corner that had been thrown every which way. In my defense, I did have some help with the beads going everywhere part. There's a 2 1/2 year old cutie pie around here that loves to play with Mama's beads. ;) Even with all that work, there is plenty more I would love to do with my space, but at least it is clean, the top of the desk is clear and I can work in there once again. It was all well worth the effort. So, let me take you on a mini tour!

In the top picture above, you see my main work surface where I create my pieces. Here is where I keep some of my finished jewelry and favorite displays, a few bead storage units, my essential jewelry-making tools and some bead bowls and baskets. I love the colorful art piece on my wall. It makes me happy to look at it. I would love to hang more art on the walls soon!

My materials wall.

This wall is directly behind the desk and chair. The pegboard expands across almost the entire length of the wall. Over the years of making jewelry, I've learned I work most efficiently when I have my supplies out where I can see them all the time and can get to them quickly and easily. 
My pegboard wall holds materials and tools I use on a regular basis: metal gauge wire and beading wires, rulers and measuring tapes, scissors, hammer, metal and leather punches, bead stops and misc. tools, silk knotting cords, leather cords, suede lace, hemp, cotton and Irish waxed linen cord, silk cords, dupioni ribbon, sari ribbon and fibers, glass beads, gemstones and wood beads. 

I've had a few people ask me where I have acquired some of the items I have in my studio space. In case you are wondering, too, I have provided the following handy list of resources! I hope you enjoy the links and information. If you'd like to know about something that is not on this list, just ask me in the comments!

Clear-front Multi-Drawer storage unit: The Container Store
Small Ceramic and Metal bowls: Sur La Table
Handcrafted Driftwood Necklace and Bracelet Displays: Miss Fickle Media on Etsy
Woven Silk Easel Necklace stands: Fire Mountain Gems
Hemp Pedestal Necklace stands: Michaels Arts & Crafts Stores
Natural Linen Earring displays: Rio Grande   

White Pegboard, pegs, hooks and accessories:
Clear Plastic boxes for bead storage on pegboard: Fire Mountain Gems
Studios and organization is such an interesting topic for jewelry makers because anyone who works with beads knows the dilemma of bead storage and setting up a creative space that works. It is the bane of our existence! Isn't it? There seems to be no easy answer or solution for most of us. Ideally, I'd love to have absolutely every bead and finding visible at a glance. Just like when you walk into a bead shop, everything is out where you can see it!  

How about you?
How do you like to organize your work space? 
Do you have any tips or tricks you are willing to share? 
Know of any resources for great bead storage ideas?
Help us get organized! Please share in the comments! I'd love to hear your thoughts on studios and organization.
20-piece storage container from

Leave a comment answering any of the above questions and you will be entered for a chance to win this 20-piece, aluminum storage container from to organize your beads or findings!

Thanks for joining me today. Happy creating and organizing!
Erin Siegel is a jewelry designer, beading instructor and co-author of the jewelry book, Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry: 50 Designs Using Leather, Ribbon and Cords. To find out more, visit her blog: Erin Siegel Jewelry.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Etsy Finds - May

Dutch artist Ambrosius Bosschaert was inspired by exotic flowers which became a national obsession during the 1600s. The May inspiration art piece "Vase with Flowers in a Window" was painted in 1620 and reflects the artists love of nature and his eye for detail. These etsy finds are wonderful inspiration...

The shops...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Bead Cruise 2014

It's that time of year again! Registration for Bead Cruise 2014 is now open.

Bead Cruise 2014 will set sail from Miami, Floridia for 7 nights of beads, friends and fun!  We'll sail on Royal Caribbean's Adventure of Seas to St. Maarten, Puerto Rico and Royal Caribbean's very own private island Labadee in Haiti.
Instructors include Kerry Bogert, Beverly Herman, Heather Powers and Leslie Frazier!  All the fun of a luxury cruise combined with a great bead retreat.  Join us for a week of bead classes, workshops, open beading sessions, a costume cocktail party, gift bags, door prizes, a bead bazaar and more! 

Visit for all the details and sign up at

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Art Bead Palette :: Beadfreaky

4 Handmade Stoneware Rustic Key Beads

7 Handmade Ceramic Buttons

5 Ceramic Link Beads

4 Handmade Ceramic Owl Beads

This month, we're visiting Beadfreaky, a gorgeous stoneware and porcelain bead shop run by artist Chris Hoffer. When I first stumbled across Chris' shop, I was smitten with her color choices. The earth tones she uses are so warm, and perfectly compliments the rustic style of her beads. I especially love the pop of blues, purples, and teals next to the warmer terracotta browns and creams.

I'm showing just a handful here, so stop by Beadfreaky to see the full range of beads Chris has created!

Which palette's your favorite? It's tough, but the last one is really working for me.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Featured Designer of the Week-Leah C.

Each week 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 winner is Leah C. You can see her bracelet here.
Here is what ABS editor Tari Sasser had to say about Leah C's design:

"I love all bright,rich and range of colors in the glass beads. The chain and cord give the bracelet additional texture. Great composition!"

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Show Me Sunday- Animal Beads

Happy Sunday!!!
This months theme is animal beads. Please share your great finds of Animal beads in the comment box.
Thank you for the fantastic links!
Bee and Flower cab from Blueberry Beads

Little Bunny Rabbit Bead by TreeWings Studio

Spotted Red Fish by glassbead

Teal Chameleon by glassbead

Red Horse by glassbead

What does blogging mean to you? Lisa's sharing her thoughts on the beauty of blogging, check it out! 

A new "frame" necklace tutorial up that incorporate some amazing mirror crytal beads.

Color Cord Mixes and a Free Bracelet Project
Are you looking for a place to start on a jewelry design to enter into our Art Bead Scene Monthly Challenges? Lorelei has been creating color cord combinations inspired by the art piece chosen by the Art Bead Scene team.

Cyndi has worked out an easy way to hang odd-shaped pieces from wire!

Making textured, coloured and rubberstamped pendants is a breeze with Jewelry Clay!

It it National Children's Book week! Jean has a giveaway on her blog for a children's book written by a famous author, Elizabeth King Gerlach, which Jean herself illustrated! Come over and sign up! It is adorable!

Using the Now That's a Jig!, Andrew made some fun earrings for a local musician!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Call for Submissions for Jewelry Designers

Would you like to see your jewelry in a magazine?  It's a great thrill to see your work on the bookshelves of your favorite bead shop or craft store!  Having publishing credits adds creditablity to designers who are starting to teach.  It's also great for promoting your business locally when you are published in a magazine, send out a press release to your local paper and a introduce them to your jewelry business.  Customers are impressed by when you display a few of your publications at your booth during markets and it lends a certain professionalism to your share your publishing credits on your website or blog. 

Using art beads in your submissions is the best compliment you can give to your favorite designers and offers a unique look to your jewelry - which is always a plus when submitting!

Stringing Magazine Winter Issue Editorial Guidelines

Bead Trends Editorial Calendar

Art Bead Scene - We'd love to feature our readers' projects!  If you'd like to submit a free project, send a sample photo and a short description of your piece.  We'll only accept projects that feature art beads. Email your proposals here

Humblebeads Quarterly - We are launching a quarterly e-booklet featuring projects with Humblebeads.  Check out my blog post for the exciting details.

The jewelry featured in this post were a few of my designs published in Easy Wire 2011