Snippets from a bead artist.



Ah yes!  Thirteen days left until our pieces are due to be sent in for judging by the esteemed Battle of the Beadsmith judges!  Who, me? Panic?  Not at all... much.  I have had such a block lately when it comes to this that it isn't even funny (or at least, not to me) and have scrapped my first choice of project because no MATTER what I did with it, it refused to talk to me.  Which just blew my mind, really, as it has been something I was looking forward to making for almost a year now.  After three weeks of staring at it grimly and two weeks of having it stare back even more grimly, I finally put it aside (after chopping it up and putting it into a pile in a baggie for later reference, or possibly to be thrown at something) and sulked for a few days.  I couldn't think of a thing - not one single lonesome idea came to my head.  At last I decided to make something small and easy, something I had done before successfully, to see if it would help.  I grabbed my gorgeous Beverly Ash Gilbert Golden Raspberry bead soup and... Ah-hah!  At least I was able to feel like I had accomplished a little bit, and it surely felt wonderful to have needle in hand again - I had literally been in tears when I spent five days Notbeading - I am not a happy person, or even much like myself at all, when I'm Notbeading. I must bead like sharks must swim, and am completely at a loss without it.   So now I had Rose, my little fringy and fun bracelet.

After Rose, or actually near the end of Rose, I had another idea - it didn't seem large or grand enough for BoB, but it was still an Idea, and so I set to work on it and tried realllllllly hard not to think about BoB at ALL.  During the time I made Between, I spent a lot of time thinking about my friend, Peter Sewell, who has recently passed away from an aggressive form of cancer.  Peter was a brilliant bead artist, and made the most lovely and architecturally sound pieces of beadwork, and had such an incredible sense of balance in his work.  I think that because of him, this piece came to be - I hardly ever work with straight lines and the kind of symmetry that Between has, and even more amazing, I did not once break a bead while making the peyote bits - I am positive Peter helped with that because I always break a bead while doing peyote stitch in the ditch, so thank you Peter - for your inspiring work, your fabulous sense of humor, and your help and love, everything you were to everyone who loved you back.

Between is named as it is because for me it embodied my dilemma - between wanting to bead and needing to make something for a specific reason - so in my head it is Between Want and Need.  I left it at Between because I hope that the viewer can fill in the blanks with their own version of what it is that's 'between.'  The awesome focal bead is by Amber Ballard of thatbeadgirl, and I highly encourage you to check out her website and her work... I have quite a collection of it, and drool over more of them almost every day.

I also wanted to plant a shameless self-promotion out here, hoping that you will all run right out and buy a copy of this book that features some of my work, and some INSANELY talented bead artists from around the globe - I can't wait to get this, not to see my things in print, but because it is sure to be one of the most inspiring and beautiful books this year.  Lark is also doing a giveaway on the book, where you could possibly grab yourself a signed (by Ray, the editor!) copy and be the very first one to have a copy!  Check out the book on Amazon HERE and if you like what you see, click on Like!

Last but not least, my very good friends David and Jo Tong have been able to open their store front on the web now, and it would be wonderful if you could take a second to stop by there and check it out.  If you do, and want to leave some feedback here on my blog, that would be awesome, as it's a brandy-new set up, and they would love to have some tips on how they could make it better for their customers.  They are also having their Grand Opening sale until June 30th with some products at 50% off and some at 25% off... check out their blog HERE for the discount codes and here's the link to the new store:  New England Beads.  :)

I am hoping, once I finish my BoB piece (cross your fingers for me that I finish in time!!) and my Beading For a Cure piece, that I will be able to work on a tutorial for my Juliet necklace/bracelet/earrings....


NEDbeads Reviews Metal Clay Fusion

I can't say enough good things about this book!  Gordon K. Uyehara and Lark have done an outstanding job with this, and although it isn't beady, this is incredibly inspiring visually, and once you start to reading about the claying process, it's enough to make you want to go buy some immediately just to try out his gorgeous projects.  (If I had the money to get all the tools and equipment necessary, I would have gone out to get them the day I received this book to review- honestly.)

In his introduction, Gordon says "...the projects presented here are easily adapted to the various clay types, and the designs are customizable.  I always design first, so you may notice that none of the projects are conceived around a technique.  Rather, the techniques are provided to fulfill a design goal."  When I have a design idea in my head, this is how I work as well, and this really touched home for me.  What follows throughout this book are incredible projects and astoundingly beautiful gallery images, both from the author's own work and guest works as well.   Shall I give you some examples?  LOOK at some of the projects in this book (there's even a BEAD in there)!!

 Bezeled Pendant 
 Tri Metal Hollow Bead
 Honu King Incense Burner
Poison Pill Ring

There are also several photos from a Facebook friend of mine, whose work I admire SO much; Liz Potter Hall is so talented.

 Inka Dinka Do

And works by an artist I am unfamiliar with, but whom I now want to seek out immediately; Holly Gage.

Greek Goddess of Love - From the Goddess Collection 2010

This is also an extremely well-written book, with very specific information and many tips and tricks that Mr. Uyehara has learned through his own experience with the medium.  Even though I have never dabbled with metal clays at all, I found myself reading through the entire book, from his descriptions of the tools and equipment all the way through the projects.  Not only does he give us a comprehensive look at each type of metal clay (silver, copper, bronze) but he talks about the firing process and what happens to the compounds during the firing, Developing Your Designer's Eye, Thinking in Parts, and Artiquette (which comprises his thoughts on personal ethics within the artist community) before jumping into the projects.  I would feel very informed and ready to try things once I got to the projects area of the book.

I SO want to try this!  And even if you aren't interested in working with the clays at all, the photographs and text are so inspiring that I would recommend this book to beaders and other artists as well.  If you can't afford your own copy, I highly suggest finding a library that carries it so that you can Check This Out!!  If you do want to get your own copy, here is the LINK to Amazon.  :)


News and Ramblings...

Hi all!  I've made two new pieces that I think are a bit different than my normal style, and I have a new listing in my shop that I am very excited to share.

I have been asked to participate in the Battle of the Beadsmith (BOTB to most, B of B to me), a large single elimination tournament, which has been put together by Beadsmith Steven Weiss, to celebrate the art of beading, and to me, it's one huge party.  The group is fun and the works of the artists involved are just mind-blowing!!  I stop in every day to see what new wonders have been added to the photo albums.  I was going to blog some about the tournament, but so many folks who are involved already have that I feel it would be redundant.  I'm honored and excited to be involved, and if you'd like more information on it - or would like to see some incredible eye candy - please come check out the Facebook page HERE.  In the meantime, I'm working on a biggish project but I can't share any details or photos until the tournament reveal.  I think that some of the pressure to create might be getting to me, as I have been fighting with the piece almost constantly - I have always had issues with deadlines.  In order to move on and get to a place where I can work on my big project again, I went rummaging in my stash for something smaller to do.

My husband and I occasionally get the polymer clay out and play.  I have to wait until he feels like playing too, because conditioning the clay is just too much for my hands, and using the pasta maker to crank it to condition it does the same thing.  Thank goodness he likes clay!  Awhile back we were messing around with some face molds, and we came up with a cabochon that we both actually liked - as opposed to the 'playing' ones where we just sort of mushed some colors together to see what happened (mess - sludge - smudge are the results of those usually, but they're lots of fun).

Digging around the other day to try to find some inspiration, I ran across our cab again and decided to bead it up.  I think this particular face mold is very peaceful and dreamy looking, and we had added some gold foil and crystals to it, so I chose my matte gold 24kt plated delicas to dress it up - another unusual thing, as I hoard expensive seed beads as 'too nice to use.'  (A shout out to my friend Cynthia here, who blogged about using up her own 'too nice to use' beads at long last this year - and inspired me to get mine out!)  I had some 8mm rivolis that I had hidden away in Pacific Opal that I thought would look nice with the face, and grabbed those too.  Here is the result - Serene.

I was really happy with how Serene came out, and thought I was ready to go back to work on my B of B piece... nope.  A few hours worth of staring, a few more hours with maybe one line of beads stitched down... nothing.

A friend had asked me to put together a bead soup mix for her, as she was working on some freeform right angle weave and while I was putting hers together, I got mesmerized by the beads and decided I really wanted to try working on some freeform myself.  It had been awhile since I had tried it and maybe it would knock that muse off the block!!  My friend's palette was denim and silver; I decided I wanted to try denim and copper.   I threw in some sunstone, some lapis lazuli, crystals, freshwater pearls and came up with Coalesce.  (And almost ripped it up in frustration near the end; in fact, on FB it's known as The Doo Doo Piece, lol.)  It is 3.5" wide and 8" long.  It has an overlap for the closure however, with two rows of snaps to secure it - it can be worn at 6.5" or 7" and it looks odd laying out flat because the ends are wonky, but it looks quite nice ON!  

My final bit of news is - I'm offering Custom Bead Soup Mixes in my shop now!  I had several ladies ask me if I would make up bead soup mixes for them after the freeform bug bit my favorite online group of beaders, and then they suggested that I might offer them for sale.  The listing I've made is for approximately 15 grams of mixed beads, and it works like this; if you purchase the listing,  you convo me on Etsy or send me an email to let me know what palette you are looking for in your mix, and I will hand pick beads to make up the soup.  Each mix has a large variety of size 11s, 15s, 8s, bugles (or not, if you don't care for them), shaped seed beads (cubes, triangles, drops, etc), fire polish crystals, Swarovski crystals, freshwater pearls, glass and/or semi precious stones, and whatever I have on hand that looks like it belongs in there.  To me, this is a ton of fun.  I love playing around mixing beads together, and I think the mixes work wonderfully for both free form and bead embroidery (cuffs!!!!!!).  If you'd like to have me create one, here's the link to my shop, and I've posted a few photos below of some soups I have made for myself in the past.

I'm probably going to be a double fisted blogger this weekend, and hit you with a book review tomorrow or Sunday.  The book I'm going to review is wonderful and I really hope you'll take the time to read it and look at the scrumptious pictures - even if you don't work in the medium, you will be inspired by this artist, and the artists he has included in his book.  And that's all I'm sayin' for now!  ;)