Tuesday, March 28, 2017

New Beads from Mary Harding Jewelry

                                                        Tall Beads by Mary Harding Jewely

For some time now I have been experimenting and making ceramic beads with the higher fire clay bodies of Porcelain and Stoneware.  Previously I pretty much only used earthenware ceramic clay which is also called a low fire clay.  The picture above features a porcelain bead on the far left the 2 stoneware beads.  I especially like making these beads in high fire clay.  They feel both ancient and extremely durable.  The ability to stamp and draw on all sides of a hollow beads is a skill I learned from the amazing polymer clay artist Claire Maunsell.  She is coming out with an ebook this Spring on surface treatments in polymer clay that you may want to be on the lookout for.  I know I will be. And  she has a great online class  HERE .
I have made a number of these hollow open bottom beads lately as seen below:
 I have been using some texture plates of my own which feature wood structure and plants.  I have also experimented with drawing on some of the details.  Some of the more intricate details are from a commercial stamp.
In this set I experimented with different  surface designs

                                                I especially like these shapes
                                                    More shape experimentation


For coloration, I have used an iron oxide wash
Iron oxide wash--I diluted it with some distilled water  and then painted it on each bead-- using a generous amount and let them dry.

Then I wiped some off with a wet sponge.  This is how they looked when I put them into the kiln for the Cone 5 firing.  They came out a rich deep dark chocolate brown.  See pictures above.

                          Notebook entry for this firing.  I have a small L&L Babydoll  kiln--which I love!!.          

One of the things I have been trying to do consistently is keep a record in a notebook of what I fire in each load and what glazes and process etc. that I used, as seen in the example above.  It is so hard to remember later on.
I also made a lot of hearts that will accompany packages when I send out my work to customers.
These are porcelain.
                                                         Small porcelain heart charms

Now that I have all of these tube beads...what am I going to do with them?   I am planning to  keep some for myself to make  jewelry with.  And some I am saving for the Featured Artisans Trunk Show April 24-April 28 on  the Facebook Group Artisans Create Together.
I am hoping I can come up with a beautiful design with them like Karin Grosset Grange in the necklace below
       Gorgeous  necklace by Karin Grosset Grange  featuring one of my long hollow beads
                                     My dream of how one of these beads might be used!!!

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  See you next month with a jewelry designer interview!!
Mary

Monday, March 27, 2017

Inspiration found in the "everyday"! Even in the bathroom!!??

Hello to all you wonderful Art Bead Scene readers!! Let  me explain my choice of title for this post before you have time to worry where this post is going!!

I love whales! I have had a couple opportunities to view them in their natural habitat, and I am awestruck by them!! Because of my fascination with whales, I tend to collect whale decor. My bathroom has a few whale items in it, one being this whale sculpture:



I think it is made of some type of melamine. I got it from Michael's. I thought it was wood when I bought it but with having kids, it has hit the floor more than once.  Wood would not shatter the way this guy has. I fear one more fall, and glue will no longer save my sweet whale!  I see this whale daily and have often been inspired by it. I have been wanting to make a bead size version sculpted out of ceramic clay. Here is what I came up with when I finally did.  He is hand sculpted from porcelain.



So YES!! INSPIRATION IS EVERYWHERE - even the bathroom! I also have a really cool rag style mat in my bathroom that inspires me as well.  I want to come up with a bead inspired by it, and I am sure I will!!

I am ever fascinated by the things artist find inspiration from, and what draws them to those things.  How is it that one artist can be drawn to, and inspired by something as simple as a gourd and others may not even give a gourd a second look? (I'm a totally gourd fanatic BTW) I truly appreciate the differences from one artist to another!!!

This leads me to tell you about a little something I am working on, and hope you might join me in!
I have just created a facebook group dedicated to everyday Inspiration! The group is called "inspiration in everyday". This group has been created as a means to share the everyday things we take inspiration from to use in jewelry! The group will have art bead focus. All creations shared here should include at least one handmade art bead or component. Art beads and components themselves also highly encouraged! This group is an opportunity to share our inspirations and encourage one another on the creative journey. 

Once a month, near the end of every month, I will have blog post that will focus on topics centered around inspiration. This will include interviews with artists, plus tips and ideas on finding inspiration! With this monthly post I will randomly choose one persons photo and inspiration from the facebook group to share here on the ABS blog. That same person will also win a little prize from me (hint: ceramic beads).  

I'm really excited and think this will be a really fun way to share and learn more about what others find inspiring.  I also hope it might give more reasons to seek out inspirations in our everyday lives! 
Oh, I so hope you will join me in my facebook group. I just started the group and I am a little lonely with just me, myself, and I;)  Did I mention I am going to giveaway my hand sculpted whale bead (pictured above) to one member. To be entered into the random draw all you need to do is click on join here and join the group. You will have to do so before Thursday for the draw because I will be drawing on Thursday for the winner! 

I will leave you with the dictionary definition on the word Inspiration:
Inspiration - (from the Latin word inspirare, meaning to "breathe into") refers to an unconscious burst of creativity in a literary, musical, or other artistic endeavor.

May you find inspiration in your everyday!

Terri Del Signore (artisticaos)

Friday, March 24, 2017

Perfect Pairings :: Ditzy Blue


I love it when a design comes together with things that I have long-forgotten and neglected in my stash. That is exactly the case for Ditsy Blue with this sweet springtime bracelet. She wonders why she ever had yellow seed beads in here stash...perhaps they were waiting for just this inspiration! I love the sweet little tweeter that she fashioned and the striking blue speckled eggs in the nest. The beaded beads perfectly mimic the flower clusters and the wood brings in the tree branches. Such a great combination of colors and textures!

Featured Designer + Bead Artist :: Ditsy Blue

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 post a link in your Pinterest description
so that I have someplace to attribute the picture! 
And don't forget to tell us about those art beads - providing links to bead makers is appreciated!

Deadline March 29th to get your pictures posted to the Pinterest boards for the creation of the Monthly Challenge Recap post for March 31st.
TIP: If you upload your photo rather than pin it from your blog or shop, edit the pin (the little pencil button) and add your link as the source. Save your edits. This will allow us to click directly on your photo and go to your blog or shop to read more about your entry. If you don't, I might not be able to access the photo to share it.



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Eyecatching Photography

As jewellery makers we often spend a great deal of time thinking about bead combinations, colour combinations, composition and design styles but when it comes to promoting our work it can be really hard to get the photos just right. I want to share with you some simple ideas that might help push your photography from good to great!

When we share our work online with a view to selling we lose the direct contact a customer has with a piece, they don’t have any tactile connection with our work so we have to create a visual connection and create that ‘want’ feeling. This makes the images we share all important, they need to communicate the story of the piece and make it desirable. 
Here are some bullet points to consider: 

  • The background of the photo is as important as the work, it should be in neutral tones and not distract from the work.
  • Any props should be appropriate to the jewellery, i.e Leaves for an antumnal feel, shells, small pebbles for a summery/beach feeling, soft coloured flowers for a romantic impression. Again these shouldn’t be distracting, if you are capable with your camera settings using depth of field can help props blur into the background slightly. 

The colours and props in this one are aimed for a spring time feel, pastel, peppermint, the twigs in the background are pussy willow in bud blurred using depth of field on my camera.

  • Often what people will connect with will be colour combinations so its really important that when you edit your photos you try and match the colours as accurately as possible. 
  • Consider how you are framing your jewellery, it doesn’t have to be straight on add and prop that allows you to hang earrings rather than laying them flat, or raise a section of a necklace to add visual interest. 

These earrings hang from two twigs from the garden, supported on two wooden blocks that are out of frame. 

When you are looking for a suitable background a great place to start looking is the hardware store, often you are allowed to take a small piece of wallpaper as a sample, these make 
great free backgrounds and often have interesting textures or patterns and come in a great range of colours. These are some I picked up recently. 

All neutral tones, some with texture, some flat. Avoid anything with sparkles or a shiny finish, they will reflect light and detract from your final image. 

I hope these give you some ideas for interesting photo backgrounds, why not share your own ideas in the comments section. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Earthy Spring Vibes with Summer Wind Art

Earthy Spring Vibes: 

By Ashley Bonney-Summer Wind


I have been playing around a lot lately with mixing different elements in my jewelry. When I was designing this piece, I wanted to have some fun bright elements, but I also wanted to keep it earthy. I found that adding leather cord to the end and some natural stone beads kept it nice and grounded. 





When I am adding leather cord, I like to take a long piece, fold it in half and then use a crimp end to secure it. I then add a lobster clasp and jump ring for the closure.



I really like using Vintaj Brass Findings because they age really well and are very easy to manipulate. You can see in the picture that I just linked the stone beads using eye pins and jump rings. I'll be sure to post the sizes at the end. 


The wood beads on this necklace were tricky, because one hole was very small and the other was larger. I find that wood beads do best when they are secured with twine or hemp. I have tried using eye pins in the past, but I experienced more movement than I like, so I switched to twine. In this case, because the smaller wood bead's hole was much smaller, I had to actually take the twine apart so I had a nice thin piece. I then just made a loop and the top and knotted between the beads and at the bottom. 



I hope you got a little inspiration from my post, I am always so inspired by all the ladies that post to Art Bead Scene. I have soooo much to learn, as far as techniques go, and I am so glad that we have so many talented artists here. Hope everyone has fun creating! 

Ashley Bonney
Summer Wind Art
https://www.etsy.com/shop/SummerWindArt 


Supplies:

Twine-I used Baker's Twine from Lima Beads
Leather Cording from Micheal's Craft Store
Stone Beads, any earthy color or shape
Wood Beads- Summer Wind Art

Findings:
Vintaj Natural Brass
CE20 - 9mm Crimp End
CL0003 - 12mm Classic Lobster Clasp
JR60 - 15mm Smooth 15ga Jump Ring
JR40 - 7.25mm Smooth 16ga Jump Ring
EP1 - 1in Eye Pin





Friday, March 17, 2017

Perfect Pairings :: Sarajo Wentling + Humblebeads


This flowering tree pendant looks like it was plucked right out of our painting this month. While I love birds and nests, I also love that this tree is in full radiant bloom and is the focal in this pretty necklace. Those soft milky blue beads feel like fluffy clouds on a breezy spring day. Ahhh....Spring! Come quick! Just three more days!


Featured Designer :: Sarajo Wentling
+
Featured Bead Artist :: Humblebeads

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 post a link in your Pinterest description
so that I have someplace to attribute the picture! 
And don't forget to tell us about those art beads - providing links to bead makers is appreciated!

Deadline March 29th to get your pictures posted to the Pinterest boards for the creation of the Monthly Challenge Recap post for March 31st.
TIP: If you upload your photo rather than pin it from your blog or shop, edit the pin (the little pencil button) and add your link as the source. Save your edits. This will allow us to click directly on your photo and go to your blog or shop to read more about your entry. If you don't, I might not be able to access the photo to share it.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Firefly Design Studio is hosting Another Designers Challenge!

The fourth designers challenge has been introduced on Facebook and it's all about Spring - daisies and butterflies!  Three kits are available to choose from in blue (however, now sold out) but yellow and pink are still available.  Every challenge has a guest artist that designs a component, and this round it is the fabulous Anne Gardanne with her enameled beauties.  What you receive from Anne is a surprise!  This is what is included in the kits with a link on how to purchase one for $20 -
https://www.etsy.com/listing/516035593/firefly-design-studio-designers?ref=shop_home_active_2
https://www.etsy.com/listing/516035881/firefly-design-studio-designers?ref=shop_home_active_1

* Design time from when you receive your kit through Friday, April 14th
* Post your design pictures on the group wall on Saturday, April 15th. One picture will be a group shot of a necklace, bracelet and earring pair. Then a separate close up picture of each, for 4 pictures total. (You must use everything in the kit with anything else you want from your personal bead stash).
* Every like and comment on every picture you post is a vote. The group is public so everyone can like your pictures, but only group members can comment. This is a Facebook thing, not mine 
:)

* Voting will end at midnight, Friday, April 21st
* A prize will be awarded for public vote of a bead embroidery design and a stringing design. Anne will also have the honor of awarding a prize for the most unique use of her component. Winners will be announced Saturday, April 22nd

Does this sound like something you'd like to do?  Then don't wait to buy your kit because they are only available through Sunday, March 19th.  3 yellow and 4 pink remain out of 30 total.  Make sure you join the Facebook group - both to see the designs and vote for your favorites by liking and commenting on the pictures when they are posted.  Here's the link for that -


Hope you'll join in the fun!

Michelle McCarthy
Firefly Design Studio
Ceramic Beads