Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I'm signing off now to spend time with family until after Christmas, but would just like to say how grateful I feel for the love and support of my family and friends, and for many blessings that came my way this year. I hope that you and your families are safe, warm, and happy this holiday season, and that 2009 brings much good news to those who truly need some right now.
Monday, December 15, 2008
She and her sisters captivated me in their complex and elusive beauty. But elusive and shy they were, particularly in front of the camera, and with my still developing macro photography skills. Each photo bore two distinctive, obnoxious orbs of reflection, a sad result of my direct lighting during the picture session. I have been meaning to rig up a solution to this problem for some time, but haven't done it yet.
Working with the photos I have at this point, I decided to see what I might be able to grab in the way of a macro image in between the demon orbs, cropped from the high resolution bead image. As soon as I grabbed the macro image and the two shiny headlights were cast from the screen, I fell in love with this flirtatious piece of glass. My God, the detail, the color!
I think I'm in love. From a distance, the bead was somewhat dark and unassuming. But under the lights, she blossomed and revealed her true inner beauty. A world within worlds, a secret bead garden.
You never know what you might find when you crop your photos - it could be a pleasant surprise.
I think I'll call her Tease!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I just wanted to share what a wonderful time I had in a bead making class this weekend at Arrow Springs with the talented and friendly Andrea Guarino. Wow. She was warm, profuse with information and helpful feedback, and my head is swimming with everything she taught us. We used glass powders, learned how to fume and make her fabulous "moth wing" bead, her off mandrel heart, the stargazer bead, the galaxy bead, salmon egg bead, and many more.
All in all, it was a mind-expanding, incredibly glassy weekend, and my neurons are a-buzzing with excitement. Can you believe the blues, lavenders and greens in the ivory? Holy crap!
Thanks, Andrea for a very memorable experience. It was a total pleasure meeting you, and I hope I get to take a class with you again sometime.
And thanks to Craig and Donna and the team at Arrow Springs for tending to our every need, as usual. It's always fun coming to your place, even if I did have to carry my wallet home on a stretcher.
Friday, December 5, 2008
It's showtime again! I'll be at Bargetto Winery's Art in the Cellars event this weekend in Soquel, December 6 & 7 with loose beads (a first at this show), CD copies of my Big Fancy Bead Tutorial, and some exciting new work featuring metal and glass. If you're anywhere near the San Francisco Bay Area, it's definitely worth the drive to check out this festive show. My new Travelers' series of bracelets and earrings, in green. Until it was canceled, I was totally hooked on FX's "The Riches" (with Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver). These earrings remind me of something that Dahlia would wear - feminine, sexy, a little quirky, and rich with visual interest. Here is one of my new Traveler's bracelets, this one in warm corals and pinks. It features tons of my own lampwork beads, gemstones, Swarovski crystals, and freshwater pearls. My own handmade fine silver (adjustable) clasp completes the piece. My new Primitive Directions series features fine silver metal work and earthy, almost tribal feeling beads. If you've always wanted to know how to make a Big Fancy Bead like this one, check out my brand new PDF tutorial. In this 11 page tutorial with 26 great photos I show:
This year I'll have a DIY Bead Bar where you can select your very own glass bead, a cord or chain, and I'll make it into a custom pendant for you while you visit all the other fabulous artists at the show. The show goes from 11am - 5pm both days, and I'll be there with bells on, and some tasty treats.
Abundant with sterling chain, Bali beads, Swarovski crystals, my own squeezed lampwork beads, and turquoise gemstone beads.
I have a coordinating Traveler's bracelet for this with a handmade fine silver Da Vinci chain, lampwork beads, gemstones, and a handmade fine silver clasp.
If it makes it through the weekend show, look for it in my Etsy shop.
I've got variations on this earring style, plus necklaces with the same hammered fine silver metal components and African themed lampwork beads.
Come see them this weekend, or look for them soon in my Etsy shop.
And finally, for you Bead Artists...
How to make perfectly puckered large lentils using a press.
How to know when you have enough glass on the press.
How to make a raku twistie.
How to make a silvered ivory stringer loaded with silver.
How to apply a raku twistie to a BFB and make it pop with color.
How to decorate your BFB.
I'll be bringing CD copies of this tutorial to my show at Bargetto this weekend.
If you'd like to see more tutorials, please cast your vote to the right on what kind you'd like to see next.
My new Travelers' series of bracelets and earrings, in green. Until it was canceled, I was totally hooked on FX's "The Riches" (with Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver). These earrings remind me of something that Dahlia would wear - feminine, sexy, a little quirky, and rich with visual interest.
Here is one of my new Traveler's bracelets, this one in warm corals and pinks. It features tons of my own lampwork beads, gemstones, Swarovski crystals, and freshwater pearls. My own handmade fine silver (adjustable) clasp completes the piece.
My new Primitive Directions series features fine silver metal work and earthy, almost tribal feeling beads.
If you've always wanted to know how to make a Big Fancy Bead like this one, check out my brand new PDF tutorial. In this 11 page tutorial with 26 great photos I show:
I'll have all of this and then some at the show this weekend, so come on out! If you can't make it, keep an eye on my Etsy shop for my new work plus some end of the year special events.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Well, this tutorial thing has been a great experience so far. I really enjoyed creating it and putting it out there, and I'm starting to get some good feedback.
It's been a while since I taught anything. The last time was when I was active with the county Master Composters group, and taught composting workshops out in the community. I really got excited about the material, and enjoyed the chance to help people find a personal, convenient way to recycle the organic material in their lives. Who'd have thought the subject of decomposition could get a person so animated?
That excitement has been rekindled in the creation of my first bead making tutorial. Finding an succinct way of communicating an idea is a challenge that I enjoy rising up to meet. Taking pictures with one free hand while melting glass is a different story - I'll have to work on that. But this tutorial has been a great first step toward my goal to get back to teaching. I would like to teach some in-person classes in 2009, and I guess I can kind of count this as my first. Sort of.
So, all you readers out there who make beads - what kind of tutorial would you like me to do next? I've listed some of the bead styles I make in the poll to the right, but feel free to add any others in a comment to this post. I've got some of my own ideas, but I'd like to hear what you think.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I've wanted to teach beadmaking for some time now, and this is Step 1. I've been making beads for over 5 years, and wanted to share some of what I've learned over this time. This tutorial covers everything you need to know to make the bead shown above, and variations on this theme. It's aimed at the intermediate beadmaker, or a beginner who can handle a large-sized gather of glass on a mandrel.
It covers several preparatory steps - silvered commercial stringer (not the melted in kind), and raku twisties that PoP, and includes a number of tips including how to make a large pressed bead with puckered ends.
Check it out and let me know what you think!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Heidi of Jamnglass on Etsy. In case you haven't visited her shop, she sews and dyes the most incredible silk ribbons and cords, and makes lampwork beads and jewelry as well. Heidi is a member of the Lampwork Etc Street Team (LEST), and will celebrate her 1 year anniversary on Etsy later this month.
What I like about Heidi's work is its free spiritedness, the way it embraces color and designs that are easy to wear. I adore her bangle bracelets with curvy silver work, which she hammers herself, and adorns with her incredible borosilicate beads.
What parts of your childhood influenced your art?
I loved to play with finger paints. I loved to get my fingers in the paint and squish the colors together. I got a special thrill with a new box of crayons.
How long have you been dying cords, making glass beads, and making jewelry?
I started making glass beads about 8 years ago by chance. I went in to a stained glass shop looking to take a class to make a lamp and left with a Hot Head torch and a few glass rods. Jewelry making and then silk dyeing followed behind. Its funny how one craft leads us l to another one and they all seem to compliment each other.
When you make beads are you thinking about your cords? Do you think you make beads differently because of the fact that you also dye cords?
I don't think about anything when I am making beads. Working with the glass clears my head. I guess I feel I am in the moment and mesmerized by the glass. The glass tells me what it wants. I make a pendant that is reversible and the shape always comes out a bit different every time. I make ribbons to match the beads, so its the beads that inspire the ribbon colors. :)
From what do you draw the bulk of your inspiration?
I love to look at art magazines and glamour magazines. I keep a journal (off and on) where I will jot down bead sketches and color combinations. I cut clippings out of magazine for something that has caught my eye. If I am stuck sometimes just looking through these old journals will help spark a new direction.
Are there other artists that you consider to be your mentors?
I was a self taught artist for several years before I took my first class. I have a brother who died too young who has inspired me to follow my creative side. I feel from his death I learned that we need to live the life we dreamed about. I feel sometimes that he has encouraged me to try new things.
What artists do you admire?
So many wonderful bead artists inspire me: Kimberly Affleck, Smircich, Corina, and Doug Remschneider were the ones I admired when I was starting out.
What kind of satisfaction do you get from making dyed fiber that you just don’t get when making glass beads?
I can touch the fabric with my hands while dyeing. I pretty much had better never touch the glass while I am working with the colors. :)
Pastel Circus Hand Dyed Silk Cords in Jamnglass's Etsy shop
Which is your favorite style of dyed fiber to make, and why?
The watercolors are the most fun to make. I love to make the colors blend together.
What is your favorite style of bead to make?
My favorite style of bead to make is a lentil. I love to squash the glass. Currently my favorite thing to make is a round free form "flower" pendant. I love to be able to have the freedom to let the glass flow where it wants.
What is it that attracts you to borosilicate versus soft glass?
I love the surprise of borosilicate glass. I play a lot with silver colors and love how every time I open that kiln I never know what I will find. If the surprise is not a happy one boro glass can also be reworked as a base into something else. In soft glass you would have glass popping and exploding but with boro you can re-melt and start over!
What do you think are the top 3 contributors to your success on Etsy?
On Etsy you need good pictures: really good pictures. Its even more important to have good pictures of beads since there are so many glass artists on Etsy.
At first I spent a lot of time in the chat room talking to others and looking at their stores. Networking with a Etsy team group also helps sell items on Etsy.
If you could change one thing about Etsy, what would it be?
I would like to see all mass produced items totally separate on Etsy. Currently it seems a search will still pull up items that are not artisan one of a kind handmade items. This hurts the lampworker since some buyers think one of a kind artisan beads should be priced lower.
For other artists hoping to become successful in selling their work, what self-promotion activities do you most recommend?
Join a couple of online web sites with other bead makers. Do what you love and let it lead you in the direction you want to go.
If you had a whole free day ahead of you, and no orders to fill, what would you do?
I have been wanting to make a trip to Big Bear. Its so refreshing to be in the mountains. The pine trees are gorgeous and smell so pretty! Of course I can wait for snow! :)
Well Heidi, the Big Bear forecast looks like sunny, mild days for the near future, but I'm sure the snow will be arriving soon.
For my readers, do visit Jamnglass on Etsy, and check out her work. She's clearly doing what she loves, and it shows. I'm headed to her shop soon - I have a heart shaped focal bead that's just begging for some silk cording!
Friday, November 7, 2008
On October 9 I sold a bead in my Etsy shop that I had listed in the Lampwork Etc Street Team (LEST) "Tuff Enough to Wear Pink" challenge to raise money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure team. During October, I donated 100% of the proceeds from the sale of special pink items to Susan G. Komen.
It was not an ordinary sale, however. A talented artist named Heather Palleiko bought it, and intended to create a piece of jewelry to donate to the Avon Breast Cancer Foundation auction. She was paying it forward for Breast Cancer, and I was excited to be a part of her effort.
Heather is an amazing jewelry artist and I am completely flattered that she chose to incorporate one of my glass beads into her work, which I find fluid and organic and personally appealing. She quickly put together a stunning necklace, and blogged about the auction here. It's a good feeling to work with other artists like Heather and my LEST team mates to raise money and awareness for causes that need it. For a summary of the LEST team effort, see this post by Holly of Hollysfolly.
Here is some of the event information from Heather's blog - if you're in Connecticut around November 20, you should go! It sounds like a totally ritzy affair.
Manolis & Co. Productions Teams Up With Emme to Raise Money for the Avon Breast Cancer Foundation
WHAT: Fundraising Event for Avon Breast Cancer featuring: Guest speaker Emme, supermodel, TV personality, author, lecturer, clothing designer, women’s advocate and cancer survivor.
Master of ceremonies Gretchen Carlson, Fox News anchor and former Miss America
Performances by Lin & Rob Weintraub, Showtime & Opera.
Silent auction throughout the evening
WHERE: Miller Motorcars Ferrari
342 West Putnam Ave.
WHEN: Thursday, November 20th
Cocktails 6:00 – 10:00 p.m.
WHO: Hosted by Kristen Manolis of MCP (Manolis & Company Productions, LLC) and Lisa Stillerman
COST: $75.00 per person
Sunday, October 19, 2008
What goes around, comes around. I figured I was due for this again at some point.
Holly's Folly has tagged me on her blog, so it's time for me to come up with some random factoids.
Here's how the cyber-version of tag works;
1. Link to your tagger and list these rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by including links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs.
Seven things about me:
1. Oddly, while the sound of a Harley can sometimes irritate me, my favorite lawn and garden tool is my leaf blower. On blowing day you better hang on to something sturdy, or you're likely to go flying. Let's just say I'm thorough.
2. I buy one certain anti-aging facial cream just for the incredible fragrance.
3. I used to be a tom boy. Before I discovered beads.
4. As a child, I pierced my Barbie doll's ears and let her wear some groovy earrings. I guess they were copper as she got a bad case of Green Ear Lobe.
5. I make a mean Chicken Piccata, when you can tear me away from the torch. I love Jeff Smith's (Frugal Gourmet, remember him?) recipe.
6. I am having a TON of fun working on a top secret collaboration project with a wonderful jewelry artist friend for the ISGB's Convergence exhibition.
7. I LOVE the new e-Trade commercials with the little baby working his blackberry and talking about stock trading (while spitting up). Nearly makes me fall off the couch.
Now I have to tag 7 people. I hate this part. Here goes.
1. Nicole Valentine of NValentineStudio.
2. Susan Sheehan of SusanSheehan.
3. Jessica Harrah of JessicaSharrah (also on the Etsy Mud Team - go Mud!).
4. Tina T. of Tina T Polymer Clay.
5. Linda Jones of Wild Wicked Beads.
6. Laura Sparling of Beads By Laura.
7. Lene Piasecki of Profusion Art Glass.
Off to convey the good news to my tagees!
Or was it chirp? I'm giving Twitter a try, since it seems to be a good way to keep folks up to date in between (ahem) blog posts. I promise not to tell you when I'm taking out the trash, or having my breakfast, or any of that dull stuff, but I *will* let you know when I'm up to anything artistic, or remotely interesting. If you're on Twitter, and want to follow me, click the link to the right.
So, along those lines, here's the latest.
Getting busy for the holiday season, thinking ahead to December and the Bargetto Winery Art in the Cellars show. If you're even 50 miles from Santa Cruz, it's worth the drive - tons of great art and wine, and a wonderful ambiance. My inventory has taken a hit lately, and it's time to turn my raw materials into wearable art. Stay tuned for some classic favorite designs, some new twists, and some very exciting work.
Lately I've been making fine silver chain and other metal components (e.g. for cha-cha bracelets), flowers flowers flowers, and ruffled focal beads (if it isn't nailed down, I'll ruffle it). I've been tidying up a bit as well - check out my new CLEAN torch table! I'm not sure this is such a good idea, as I found lots of inspiration and serendipity in design from my clutter. It was hard to throw away all of those hair-thick stringers in unidentifiable colors, but I did save all the little 2" and under nubbins to use inside of opaque beads. Why not? We'll see if my muse is gone - I did have a few hours to work after cleaning the table tonight, and tomorrow's kiln opening will tell the story.
In tidying up I cleaned and put away at least 3 separate shipments of (nearly untouched) glass I've received in the last 6 months. I had to laugh when there were duplicate items in the different shipments - I order it, forget I ordered it, and order it again! Apparently I didn't need it as much as I thought I did.
Karolen's great ideas for earth friendly packaging.
Enjoy the spectacular fall weather, and make your plans for election day. Every vote counts.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
proceeds going to Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Well, one of my Think Pink / Tuff Enough beads has been featured in a Storque article on Etsy. Can you believe all the efforts going on to support this worthy cause? I was at Safeway today and asked if I'd like to make a donation to a Breast Cancer group as I was checking out. It's a good thing.
Got some new, really cool Nepalese silver beads (photo above) in my Etsy shop tonight. Get them while they last!
Oh yeah, got some new glass beads too!
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Check out the fantastic collection of pink items in my shop for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure benefit this month in my Etsy shop. 100% of proceeds from pink items will go to this wonderful organization. Feel free to shop unrelentingly, and feel good about it.
Get to Etsy, search using "LEST team tuff enough" to see what the Lampwork Etc Street Team is offering in their efforts to help this cause.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
If you are, your purchases of lampwork beads and jewelry from the Lampwork Etc Street Team (LEST) on Etsy could help in the fight against breast cancer. During the entire month of October a group of LEST artists are donating nearly 100% of the proceeds from sales of pink items to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation. You can purchase these fabulous artisan made lampwork beads and know that your purchase is helping the fight against breast cancer.
Here's how to find these items on Etsy. From the Etsy home page, type "LEST Team tuff enough" in the search box under the grey banner. Since this event runs through October, check shops frequently for new listings as the pink beads come pouring out of our kilns.
One final note - do remember to get yourself a mammogram!
Sunday, September 21, 2008
I hear a lot of fellow lampwork artists talking about cleaning up their work tables, and it makes me feel like I should do this more regularly. I admire artists who are orderly and neat, and have a place for everything. I really do, and secretly, I wish I were one of you.
But I'm not, so I decided to think about the role that disorder (from here on out known as "Serendipity") plays in my art. Could I be a neater person? If so, how would it affect my art? I'm starting to think that it might not be a great idea for me.
When I sit at my torch, many times I don't have a plan. Sometimes, it takes lighting the torch and picking up a rod before I know where I'm going. Colors are often chosen by my mood, or by whim. Sure, there are designs that require advanced preparation, such as those using striped cane, murrini, etc., and I usually have that stuff lying around.
I have found that often my best work comes from using remnants from my Serendipitous table. My predominant style affords it, as I don't usually make clean, tidy graphic designs nor do I often make matched sets of beads. I'm not always able to recall what colors went into a leftover 1" length of twistie, so many times I'm forced to be a bit vague in my descriptions. I'm not being deliberately cagey, just honest. Making a bead can be like a treasure hunt. What can I find in my pile of Serendipity to add just the right finishing touch to my bead? Wow - a little 1/2" piece of encased goldstone - perfect! A tiny corner of foil that blew off my marver - just the thing!
Frugality is another reason I suspect that I don't just take the whisk broom and banish the Serendipity from my tabletop. I will use every bit of a rod until it's gone, using either my tweezers to hold it in the flame, or by attaching it to the end of a new rod. I know it doesn't cost much, but wastefulness comes hard to me. But seriously, do I really need to keep all of those rod ends that shocked in the flame, and sent little 1/4" chunks across my table? Probably not.
How does your studio style facilitate your art style?
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Today is the final day of my 1 year Etsyversary sale, so please come check it out. I've been listing new items all week, and there's plenty left.
Here is a new style of earrings just listed this morning - it's a fun new style that could easily be made with different beads. Are you following the FX series, "The Riches", with Eddie Izzard and Minnie Driver? I named them Travellers earrings because I can envision Minnie Driver wearing them as her character Dahlia.
Anybody know when the new season is going to begin? We're hungry for more!
Have a great day!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Just got a convo back from Ann, and she has chosen the "Riding the Storm Out" focal in honor of her family and friends in Galveston and Houston. Please check out Ann's Etsy shop of gorgeous custom jewelry.
Thanks to everyone who has helped me celebrate this happy occasion - I really appreciate your business and am honored to have your support of my artwork. Congratulations, Ann!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
My 1st Etsyversary sale is in full swing this week, and I'm thrilled to offer some new work in honor of the occasion. I've been thinking about this for a long time now, and have finally completed some rings made with PMC and my own lampwork beads, and they're included in my special sale. I'm thrilled with how they turned out, and can't wait to make more. In the future I will be playing with more band styles, and with patinas.
I've also listed some pretty cool new sterling silver beads, and they're on special too. Just remember - you need to be on my newsletter mailing list to participate in the sale. Just sign up in the box to the right, and you'll be good to go.
Oh yeah, more on the sale - for each purchase you make before 6pm PST on Wednesday, 9/17, you'll get one chance in the drawing for a free focal bead. The more you buy, the more chances you'll get. I'll do the drawing at 8pm PST.
The winner can choose 1 focal as their prize from among these:
See you at the sale!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
From Monday, Sept 15 - Saturday, Sept 20 everything in my shop will be on discount - 20% off of 1 item, 25% off of 2 items, and 30% off of 3 items. Here's the trick - you've got to be on my newsletter mailing list for this sale. You can sign up right here, over to the right.
I'm also going to have a drawing for some free stuff on September 17th - everyone who makes a purchase during the first three days of the sale will get one entry into this drawing for each item they purchase.
I've got new work and more new work coming up in the days leading up to the sale, so it's not your normal "clean out the basement" kinda deal. I just wanted to share the Etsy love with my wonderful customers, friends, and supporters who visit me at my shows.
It's been a really fun first year with Etsy, and I can't wait to see what the next year has in store. Thanks to everyone who has supported my art. I'll be sending some virtual champagne your way.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Here are a few of my better shots from this amazing collection. For more information about this trend setting glass artist visit his site
Friday, August 29, 2008
Even if the real ones in my garden are hanging by a thread, these freshly torched fantasy flowers in my Etsy shop make me feel good about fall's arrival. I was inspired to make something to go with Cyndie Smith's vine necklace, and went a little crazy.
Cyndie lets her customers choose whatever focal bead they would like on the necklace, so if you'd like it with one of my flower beads, just visit her shop and let her know.
Pick 'em while they're hot!