Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December Monthly Challenge Recap

The painting for this month is a lot less about the color than it is about the form. I chose it for exactly that reason. But I have to say that I was quite surprised when I spied Miss Brandi's brilliant color palette. I really hadn't seen the patchwork floor or the hanging chandeliers until I saw what she presented to us. Proves that I need to look a little closer!

I loved seeing how this was translated by you. There were some really strong structural pieces created, as well as playing with the light and the dark and the soaring buttresses. Isn't it marvelous to see what so many different creative minds can do with the same inspiration? Please take a look at the following slideshow to see everyone's submissions for December.

Art Bead Scene December 2014 Monthly Challenge Recap by Slidely Slideshow

If that doesn't work, try this link:

Your turn!
Click the InLinz Link-up below to add your blog post to the hop!
Please add your exact URL to the blog hop for the
December 2014 Art Bead Scene Monthly Challenge Recap.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tutorial Tuesday: Adirondack Heritage Wrist Wrap Bracelet

Adirondack Heritage Wrist Wrap bracelet by Mary Harding

It is Tutorial Tuesday and today's wrist wrap features handmade toggle clasps and leather; and is inspired by a beautiful painting, by Judith Utter, of an Adirondack legend: the Adirondack Heritage Trout, a descendant of the original fish that colonized the Adirondacks after the last ice age.

Adirondack Heritage Brook Trout c. Judith Utter

You can read more about this fish and artist Judith Utter on my blog  AND you can enter my  giveaway to win one of my toggle clasp kits that celebrate this heritage "brookie" and its gradual return to the waters of the Adirondacks on my blog HERE.    

I tried to use just the colors I found in this painting when I made my toggle clasps.

Palette For Adirondack Heritage Leather Wrist Wrap  

I made a series of 18 toggle clasps including our sample clasp


Art Bead Toggle Clasp with large stringing hole and toggle bar hole
Leather Lace 1/8 inch wide by 58 inches long ( this yields at least a 4" tail on each stand)
or a vegan substitute like ultra micro fiber available on Etsy and bead stores.

Chain nose pliers to pull leather or micro fiber through the hole  in the toggle clasp (optional)


1.  I am using leather lace in a  medium brown color that measures about  58  inches long and is 1/8 inch wide. It is long enough to wrap around my wrist 3 times and leaves about a 4 inch tail.  I used a length 9 times longer than my 6 1/2 inch wrist. This formula takes into account the larks head  and the overhand knots you will be making, as well as, the 4 inch tails.  I purchased this leather from Michaels.   
Leather Lace 1/8 inch wide

2.  Once you determine the length of your leather, fold it in half making sure the cut ends are even.   Then string the toggle bar on the strand on your right.

toggle bar strung on the length of leather on your right

3.  Next you will make an overhand knot leaving about 4 inches, or less as suits you, for a tail.  Again make sure the ends of the leather are even before you tie the overhand knot. 

4.  Now find the center of the folded end of the leather lace and push it from back to front of the toggle clasp stringing hole. You will be making a Larks Head knot.

5.  Make the Larks Head Knot by bringing the knotted end of the leather through the loop you have made.  Then draw it tight.
Making the Larks head Knot

Adjust you knot until it looks like the one in the picture above.  

6.  Now wrap your leather lace around your wrist three  times, secure the bracelet by bringing the toggle bar through  the clasp.  Pull the knot and the tails through too.You can choose to leave  them out or tuck the tails back in. Use your index finger to align the the leather lace by running it under the leather until they even out and are smooth.  Enjoy your Adirondack Heritage Wrist Wrap Bracelet.

Adirondack Heritage Wrist Wrap Bracelet by Mary Harding

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Be sure to check out my blog to enter to win one of these toggle clasps.  Several are also in my Etsy shop.
Thanks so much for stopping by!!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Amuse the Muse Monday - Holiday Beads - with Rebecca of Songbead

Hello! I hope that whatever you've been up to this week, it's been smashing - whether you've feasted on turkey, nut roast (like me!), or something altogether different; whether you've celebrated Christmas, Winter Solstice or simply the end of the year, I hope that this final week of 2014 finds you in fine fettle. Here's a nice wee round of of holiday beads to finish of the year. 

One of my own favourite bead artists - Bo Hulley. Aren't these starry Christmas trees just lovely? 

These ceramic snowflakes are such a lovely green. I can actually see earrings made with these charms being worn all year round! From Fire and Fibers

How could you resist this face?! Super cute wee holiday deer, from Blue Blazes Lampwork

More sweet snowflake charms, from Bo Hulley

Another christmas tree, this time from Avenue Beads. I love the swirls - like the top of your favourite winter warmer drink! 

And here's another winter bead that's perfect all year round - Heather's Winter Branches houses. I've shared this before, but I adore these gorgeous, atmospheric house beads. 

Here's wishing you a fantastic 2015 when it comes. Thanks to you all for your enthusiasm, passion and creativity throughout the year, and I hope you will continue to be a part of Art Bead Scene in 2015! Happy Hogmanay and a peaceful, joyful and creative New Year. 

Over to the BeadBlogger Links:

Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer; currently living in Edinburgh, capital of her native land. 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

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Art Bead Palette :: StudioMarcy

Christmas Bunny Rabbit Snow Globe by StudiMarcy

On behalf of the ABS team, I just wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Boxing Day! Thanks for all of your support this year!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Inside the Studio :: Creative Impressions In Clay

Welcome to Inside the Studio!

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.

Congratulations to Deb Fortin
You have won a Shimmering Garden or Fabulous Facets video
Please send Erin an e-mail with your information.

3D Star ornament
I have been trying to create an ornament for Christmas this year. I've been really busy the past few weeks, I haven't had much time. Above is what I came up with.

Cleaned up and drying
Usually I make a mold for all my designs. I tried something different. I used cookie cutters. Easy enough. But they were plain and boring. So I created the circle design on both sides of the both pieces of the star. It was fun and random. I like no rules!

Bisque fired
After they were cleaned up they were fired. The clay that looks grey above fires to white. A nice blank canvas.

 Glaze samples
I make glaze samples using the rejects. I am glad I tried 2 transparent colors. The yellow just didn't do it for me. It is far yellower in person!

 First color
This color is called Rich Rust. Glaze is brushed on. I really thought it had more red in it. As you can see in the first photo it leans more towards brown. I am so not a brown person!
Wiped off
The first color is rinsed off and is left in the recesses of the design. Next the transparent glaze is brushed on over the entire ornament.
I have to make more and tweak the pieces. The bottom piece is too wide when the two pieces are put together. I really can't live with that space. Unless I can get that problem worked out there won't be any ornaments to give as gifts this year.
The colors need to be changed also. Being a "Brighter is Better" color person, I'm having issues with this first color palette. 
I need to kick it in high gear to get all the problems worked out. 
I liked I could make this my own. 
Keeping my fingers crossed for the outcome.

 *Remember any button can be a pendant or jewelry component.*

My Question is: 
What special project or gifts are you making for gifts?
Have you taken something recently and made it your own?

Leave your answer to the question in the comments 
and you could win a $15 Gift Certificate.

Have a great day and a wonderful Christmas!!
Feeling Sassy as usual!
Tari Sasser

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Art Bead Palette :: CalypsoBeads

Summer Wine Lampwork Heart Bead

Is it bad to say that winter has pretty much just started, and I'm already over it? Not that I ever need a reason to dream of warm beaches, but Silke Buechler's shop, CalypsoBeads, absolutely fits into my daydreams right now.

To see more lampwork goodness, click on over to Silke's shop!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Perfect Pairings :: LaTouchables + HappyFallOut + BalelaCeramics + ErinsWindow

The quiet contemplative color palette of the challenge painting sets the mood for this month. But what I love about a neutral palette like this is that it forces you to play with the shapes, textures and scale. This long necklace with the cluster of ceramic beads mimics the arches of the cathedral. The soft hand-embroidered bead by Dawn of LaTouchables makes me think of the simple clothes of the people clustered in the cloister. The pop of orange seems a bit shocking, but it reminds me of the chandeliers lighting the way.
[Dawn's Etsy shop is currently on vacation, but definitely one to earmark for later!]
Featured Designer :: Dawn of LaTouchables
Featured Bead Artist :: HappyFallOut + BalelaCeramics + ErinsWindow
Just a friendly reminder... We have a slightly new format for uploading your pictures for consideration for the Perfect Pairings each Wednesday, as well as the Monthly Challenge Recap post. We are now using Pinterest! You can find more details in this post about the exciting new changes, including a board devoted to art beads inspired by the monthly challenge! (Ooh! Look! More pretty beads to lust after!) 
Pretty please make sure that you link to your picture in Pinterest so that I have someplace to attribute the picture to! And don't forget to tell us about those art beads!
Deadline to get your pictures posted to the Pinterest boards for the creation of the Monthly Challenge Recap post is Monday, December 29th! Get them in early this month! Let's see what you created!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Art Bead Scene Editors Takes the Challenge

It's that time again, the ABS editors jump in and see what we can create based on the month's challenge. I'm going to share what I made here on the blog today. 

I don't know about you but December is a crazy time of year for me. Between working, selling, promoting, meeting deadlines and then trying to stuff Christmas celebrations in there too I sort of lose my mind. I have two blog hops this week, this one and on Thursday I'm hosting a Michael's Beading Challenge on my blog. (Play along!)

So I mention all this craziness because adding a blog hop or two during this time of year can actually help you out! You'll create new jewelry to either add to your shop, give as a gift or create something to wear to your upcoming festivities. 

Blog hops: helping multi-taskers check off their to-do list! 

So if you haven't seen this month's challenge, check it out here and make plans to enter this month.  I love the quiet, hushed tones of this panting and find the arches make my eyes travel down that corridor - you can almost here the chanting of the choirs. 

For my first piece I picked a focal that whispered of the shapes in the painting and reflected the muted colors used in the palette. I couldn't help but think of Emily Dickinson's poem, while I made this piece.  So my pendant reflects the cathedral that nature creates. I picked beads that had an ethereal feel in color and reflected some of the tiny bits of color in the painting. The gilded leaf and disk beads are Humblebeads and the ceramic bead is from Earthenwood Studio.

SOME keep the Sabbath going to church;
I keep it staying at home,
With a bobolink for a chorister,
And an orchard for a dome.
Some keep the Sabbath in surplice;        
I just wear my wings,
And instead of tolling the bell for church,
Our little sexton sings.
God preaches,—a noted clergyman,—
And the sermon is never long;        
So instead of getting to heaven at last,
I ’m going all along!

-Emily Dickinson

My second piece is a bit more of a literal interpretation with tiny pewter charms that look like the archways in the painting. These little gems are from Mamacita Beadworks. The polymer clay beads are Humblebeads. I kept the design simple with brass jump rings and black steel wire for contrast.

Look what Mary made!
I want you to run over to Mary Hardings' blog now and see the components she created inspired the challenge this month.

Look what Erin made!
Better late than never! Erin creates a new pendant, component or charm in her Simple Truths line each month inspired by the art we choose for the Art Bead Scene Monthly challenge. This month, Erin actually chose the painting we are using and it was the strong architectural lines that drew her to it. She created these Saenedam Doodle pendants with a domed polymer clay base in a very heavy antique silver bezel with a patchwork pattern of doodles in spaces that mimic the arches in the cathedral. Each one is different. These are on their way to the Simple Truths Sampler Club members for December, but there are a few extras of these limited edition pendants available.

And now it's your turn - carve out just a wee bit of time between sipping egg nog and wrapping presents and create something inspired by our challenge! Need some motivation? How about those two $50 art bead prizes? Check out our sponsors.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Inside the Studio with Erin Prais-Hintz

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. 

Congratulations Debra Gibson!
You have won one of Mary's new metal toggles.
Please send Mary an email with your information. 

This week we check in with Erin Prais-Hintz to see what is going on Inside the Studio.


I have been riding a whirlwind the last few months.

If you have been following me, you know that in September, quite out of the blue, I was offered an opportunity that I just couldn't refuse: film four hour-long videos for Interweave (F+W Media).

Since my creating time is relegated to the 9p-midnight hours for me, and September weekends were filled with football games, Homecoming plus a full three-day school fundraiser, I really had to work hard and fast to come up with the content. Not only did I have to come up with four completely different ideas, but I had to make prototypes... write outlines, intros and scripts... gather supplies and materials... make travel arrangements... create jewelry with the techniques... and practice, practice, practice. Needless to say, I had a lot of sleepless nights!

I told Jean Cox that I was not a technique based artist. Rather, I have wide breadth of knowledge. I didn't mean that to sound like I don't know anything, it is just that I feel like I would be hard-pressed to have any one technique something that I am known for. I work in metals and wire... I string and assemble... I create with clay and resin and mixed media. I consider myself more of a bricolage artist, a bricoleur.

bri·co·lage /brēkōˈläZH,ˌbrikə-/ noun
     : something constructed or created from a diverse range of available things.
     : origin : French "to tinker, to do odd jobs" 
So constructing from the diverse range of available things in my own studio and life, I ended up with these four ideas that evolved into these four videos:

Shimmering Garden: wire wrapped petal shaped beads form a sparkling garden of blooms to give your pieces a fresh take on a retro look.

Fabulous Facets: polymer clay, inks and patinas combine to make rough faceted handmade beads in an ombre color effect.

Flashes of Brilliance: paint, mica, glitter, stones and resin combine for truly unique faux gemstones and include a new on the scene UV resin that gives almost instant gratification!

Wire Doodles: create freeform links and connectors in dark annealed steel wire that can be used in a variety of ways in your jewelry using both the Now That's a Jig and your hand tools

Filming was everything you would imagine it to be... overwhelming... nerve-wracking... hard work... and even fun! Putting something on like this is definitely a challenge and there is a lot that has to be prepared and thought out. It certainly makes me appreciate those that take the time to teach and share their knowledge, whether in written tutorials, slideshow webinars or workshop settings. I think that there has become such an expectation that content is delivered free for the taking and people find it so easy to criticize the work without any regard for the person behind the class. After going through this, I will certainly remember how much time and effort goes into the classes and tutorials that I take and truly appreciate it. I can remember how great it felt to be done with the filming and have some time to drive into the surrounding mountains near Fort Collins, CO to take in the breathtaking views. It was just what I needed to decompress and reflect on all that transpired.

And then you wait.

Luckily, they are really on top of pushing the content to the website as soon as possible. Did you know that Interweave offers over 500 videos on their site They are completely professional and efficient and I feel so grateful for this experience. Plus, I really didn't have to wait all that long before the videos were starting to show up on their site. Ready in just about three weeks!

I wasn't sure if I would be able to deliver content that was worth flying me out to Colorado for the subscription service on The good news is that they liked my content so much that they decided to also offer them as either downloads or DVDs through the Now that is a true 'something good!'

There is also something new that I am finishing up...can you keep a secret? It's a kit! F+W Media asked me to be the first featured artist in the month of January and they asked me to make up a kit to go along with the Fabulous Facets video. Right now my dining room looks like the elves have taken over! Next week I will be sending off limited edition kits to Interweave/F+W Media in time for the January blitz. I am calling them Creativity To Go Kits and I think they will really enhance the learning experience of the DVD.

Can I let you in on another secret? I will be co-teaching a class at the Bead & Button Show in June 2015 with Brenda Schweder (inventor of the Now That's a Jig that I used in the Wire Doodles video) based on my AlphabetiQ necklace. So you know what I will be busy preparing in January!

December and January seem to be the time that I gobble up videos and make arrangements to take classes. This is the time that I start thinking of new techniques I would like to try, teachers I admire that I would like to meet, skills that I would like to develop. I actively set aside funds each year to take classes and buy resources that will help me learn something new. For myself, I have already bought a bunch of polymer clay tutorials (like this and this and this) and I am looking at taking some new wire and metal working classes (like this and this and this and this). So my question to you is this...

What new skill/technique are you looking to learn in 2015?
Please feel free to share links to those tutorials, classes and retreats that you are looking into
(I am always looking for more ways to learn!)

A random winner will have their choice of either the Shimmering Garden or Fabulous Facets video to kick start your creativity for the New Year! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Art Bead Palette :: JimenasTreasures

Handmade Copper-Fiber Bead

I am absolutely smitten with the fabric wrapped metal beads from Jana of JimenasTreasures. The soft textures remind me of a cozy sweater, and the bright colors feels so festive for the holiday season. Out of all of the lovely listings Jana offers, this one is my favorite. How about you?

To see more, click on over to JimenasTreasures!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Inviciti Pewter Charms and Pendants Giveaway

Thanks to some of my beady Facebook friends I recently discovered the Etsy shop of Inviciti. A husband and wife beadmaker and jewelry designer team that creates work that is "a synthesis of styles including tribal, primitive, mystical, Gothic, Victorian, all with a lived-in, timeworn aura."

Their ancient relic aesthetic fits so perfectly with our challenge theme this month so I just had to share their work with you.

The charms and pendants are lead-free pewter and they offer a line of religious icon resin pendants too. Their pewter comes in several different finishes with varying degrees of antiquing. 

I'll just let their photos do the talking and inspiring today...

Every piece in their shop could be used in as the art beads in our monthly challenge this round. I mean, just look at these charms and the painting below - you couldn't have asked for a better match!

"Choir of Sint-Bavokerk, Haarlem" 1635 by Pieter Jansz Saenedam

You can read about our Art Bead Scene Challenge here and I encourage you to enter. We know it's a busy time of year - but you have to make gifts anyway, so just let your challenge do some double duty this month!

This week we are giving away a $20 gift certificate provided by Inviciti to use in their bead shop!!! 

To enter share this post on any social media platform (Pin it, share it on Facebook or Twitter, etc.) and leave a comment letting us know you shared.

We'll draw one random winner on Saturday.

Now that you are back after sharing the challenge it's time for you to run off and discover all the amazing creativity you can find from Vincent and Nooma: