Welcome to My Studio

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I’ve been wanting to do a studio tour and finally have. I love studio tours and getting ideas from other artists. I mention this blog post from The Polymer Arts Blog (which I call The Polymer Studio because that’s the name of their magazine I get.) It talks about studios in a really helpful way and links to some fun studio tours.

I tried to do a nice intro, but then I couldn’t figure out how to turn the camera around. It did give me a funny post for Facebook!

I am by no means a videographer or a smooth talker, um, but here is a link to the tour. I can’t figure out how to embed it, even though I’ve done it once before. I hope you find it interesting and maybe get an idea for your own space!

Here are links to the artists that I mention in the video.

Cat lady picture is by Sara Pulver of 3crows

Holly Strope

Erin Prais-Hintz

Gaea

Peter Max

Signe Baumane

Heather Powers

Cynthia Thornton

Also find Cynthia here at Green Girl Studios

Find Andrew Thornton’s work (and other fabulous things) at Allegory Gallery 

Find Gina Chalfant (I’m sorry I pronounced her last name wrong!) at White Swan Studio

I should have re-listened to the Allegory Gallery podcast with Gina to get that name correct. But this gives me the chance to tell you that Allegory Gallery has a podcast featuring interesting interviews with artists. Check them out here.

Wendy Wallin Malinow

Diane Hawkey

I’ll give you a tip. Diane doesn’t post a lot on her site, but you can find some things in shops, at shows or sometimes when she does trunk shows on Facebook. I know as of this writing, Allegory Gallery has a really nice selection of her beads and pendants.

Jules Sontag

Staci Louise Smith

Stephanie Schroeder

Mary Harding

 

Of Birds and V-Necks

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I am back to making some simple necklaces with chain. Today I went looking for some items for the current Art Bead Scene Art Journey and got distracted by a wonderful bird connector by Sarah of Slate Studios Supply.

Back in February, I visited my sister and sister-in-love. My sister sent me home with a wonderful supply of v-neck cotton t-shirts (the holy grail for my sensitive skin). This has opened my thinking to what designs will look great framed by this neckline. This is the one I made today.

I just added some relatively delicate textured gunmetal chain, a few silver jump rings and a lobster clasp. In keeping with the simplicity of the necklace, I decided to put the clasp in the front to make it ultra easy to get on and off. It also adds a little shine to this fabulous muted bird. The texture, wingspan and touch of color gives me the feeling of a bird soaring in the sky on an early spring day. Ah, freedom!

Update to my previous few blog posts: I am happy to say I was able to put together a $230 donation for Madison Cat Project from my sales at the Artists for Animals Auction. Thanks to everyone who bid, commented, shared and purchased from me and the other artists. I’m so happy about being able to support this wonderful organization and help the cats. There will be another auction May 27 – June 2, 2019. I’m not sure if I will have things made for that one (you know I will show them here if I do) but I will for sure be visiting to see the wonderful things other artists have made.

Artists for Animals Fundraiser – Starts 4/29/19!

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This will be my last post before the Artists for Animals Auction starts! Come join the excitement to see which artists are participating, what they have made (it’s not just jewelry) and which animal charities they are supporting. You can bid or just enjoy following along. Tell your friends! Here are a few of the things I’ve made. 

I always end up making more than I think I will. I have a total of 17 items, so I hope I can raise a nice amount for my chosen charity, Madison Cat Project. If you read my earlier blog post, I had a colorful cat necklace I wasn’t entirely sure I was happy with. I did end up changing the design, and I love it now. See the redesign below. 

I’m looking forward to a great week ahead. Raising money for the kitties, the first of my local farmer’s markets, and some warm weather on the way. I also just bought tickets to a movie my sister’s girlfriend is in that I will get to see on Saturday: Wild Nights with Emily. Who knows what other wonderful things this week will bring! I hope there are wonderful things in store for you too.

Artists for Animals Auction 2019 – #2

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I haven’t been feeling as inspired as usual lately, so I was a little worried I wouldn’t have much for the Artists for Animals Auction. But this weekend I have been feeling really inspired and have made quite a number of things. I feel good about what I have now, and I think I will have a few more! Here are more things I made since my last post (yesterday!)

Fun, arty earrings with “shards” by Patty Way. (I can’t find a link for a shop or site for her. If you have one, let me know.)

Elegant bugs! Cute beetle charms from Miss Fickle Media with gold dagger dangles from Sondra’s Estate Beads Destash Depot

I love whimsical, so I couldn’t pass up these metalized plastic pineapple charms. So cute! I paired them with some polymer beads Andrew Thornton made in a class Heather Powers taught about her technique. 

These might be my favorite. Textured boho Vintaj rounds that started out bright silver. I used two colors of Vintaj patina and their reliefing block to get this weathered look and paired them with metal beads with ancient relic patina from Supply Your Soul.

Please visit the Artists for Animals page to bid starting April 29th. There will be many artists with a variety of items participating. Each artist supports their chosen charity. My proceeds will be donated to Madison Cat Project.

Artists for Animals Auction – 2019

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The Artists for Animals Auction is coming up again from April 29 – May 5, 2019. I am going to take part. But that’s not all! Artists have different schedules, and it’s never a bad time to help animals, so there will be another auction May 27 – June 2, 2019. But let’s focus on some things I’ve made for the first date.

You might have seen a few of the things before.

Guitar pick and vintage Japanese paper beads.

Miss Fickle Media black soot patina chain sections and pearls.

A variety of colored Czech glass and carved bone cat pendant. I’m toying with the idea of restringing this one. I might want to knot in between the beads. Although this hangs nicely on, it is somewhat stiff, and I might like to mix up the colors more. Let me know if you have an opinion.

SagaHus Components fiber and wire components with complementary beads. These are nice and long.

Large glass pearls and leaves from vintage chain colored with Vintaj Seafoam Pearl patina. 

Extra large glass pearls with steel hearts from vintage chain. I love how the leaves look in the above picture, but I think these look even cuter on. You can see some age patina on one heart. You  know I love a little grunge with my vintage. These pearls are larger than the ones above and a bit more of a champagne white.

My Elements ethereals with acrylic beads from vintage chain. With this picture, I see I might need to replace the vintage wire on the beads, but that’s easy. These are cute for those who like a smaller profile earring.

These are a favorite. They look so pretty on. Metalized plastic flower beads with faceted glass dangles. The metalized plastic looks like metal but keeps the weight down.

Please join us for the Artists for Animals Auction starting April 29, 2019. It’s easy to bid; the auction page is public, so just comment! Artists add items starting on April 29th and continue throughout the week. Each artist’s proceeds benefit their chosen charity. Mine will benefit Madison Cat Project.

Hope to see you there!

Chain Love

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I am currently smitten with chain. I just love a long necklace with one or a few great beads. It’s elegant and boho at the same time, and I like being able to use the pendant as a sort of fidget device during meetings at work.

For years I’ve been collecting interesting chain. I have a few places I love to get colored, vintage or other types of chain. Let me share those with you.

My Elements for colored chain in a variety of materials and Miss Fickle Media and Supply Your Soul for hand patina chain. For vintage chain: B‘Sue Boutiques Supplies, One Piece at a Time, You Are Not the Boss of Me, and Who Knows What. Right now, A Grain of Sand is having a half price sale to move out the vintage products (coupon code VINLOVE) including some great chain. Recently, I’ve gotten both vintage and colored chain from Sondra’s Estate Beads Destash.

The first necklace I made uses chain from A Grain of Sand called very vintage white. It is a shabby chic look I love. I used it with a Joan Miller kitty pendant on a hand patina hammered brass hoop from Miss Fickle Media (great stuff besides chain too!) I wanted to keep the blue patina at the bottom so that and the blue kitty eyes could play off each other, so I wire wrapped four labradorite beads on each side to be stoppers for the chain. That also helped bring in another design element and sparkle, and take up some of the negative space.

When ordering from Sondra Jackson, she always sends a little freebie goody bag. Oh my, this last time when I bought some black acrylic beaded rosary style chain, the freebie bag contained this fabulous faceted glass crystal.

Judging from the wire loop and the heaviness, it was probably a chandelier crystal. I used it with the rosary chain for a simple and really elegant necklace. The light weight of the acrylic chain balances out the heavy crystal to make a comfortable necklace.

It’s easy to make pretty necklaces when you have nice, interesting chain. I’m also looking forward to using patina on some of my more mundane chain to fancy it up.

The Bars

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I have had three gorgeous multi-holed bars by Nancy Adams of Round Rabbit for some years. (In fact, Nancy still makes handmade, but not beads. Great stuff; check out her shop.) I’ve tried to use them multiple times but have not been satisfied with my efforts. Until now.

I think the reason it worked this time is I unfussed the necklace. In the past I had tried to complicate it more. Being this boho, it’s already got enough going on. The two round ceramic beads above the bars are from Clayworks by Lisa Boucher. I also found this necklace to be the perfect use for a couple of heavily textured tube beads in my stash. I love it when something finds its perfect project. 

I used three strands of linen because I originally thought I would have braided sections. I left them longish at the back in case I wanted to bead them like the front dangles. 

I think I’ve finally found the right project for these bars. I have two boxes of Nancy Adams’ work. I went through them while looking for the bars, and oh my goodness, there is a boatload of gorgeous work in there. Some of the things literally made me gasp. It’s really difficult to use things like that because I’m afraid I won’t do them justice. However, the beauty is I can always take something apart and re-make it if I decide it doesn’t please me. I’m happy this one does. Bring on the spring tunics that this will complement very well!

 

Simple to Quiet the Muse

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The title of this post might seem odd; why would anyone want to quiet their muse? Because she’s too loud, that’s why. I don’t often feel uninspired, but sometimes I have too many ideas swirling in my head competing for attention. It can make me feel a bit stuck, like I can’t hit on one because too many are bouncing all around, like trying to play racquetball when you aren’t good at it.

When that happens, I go right for the simple. If I make something simple and/or clean up my workspace, that provides focus and quiets things down enough for me to think more creatively. Today I made a very simple, very lovely necklace. 

I’m very into colored chain lately, and I had the perfect color for this sweet little moon pendant by Gaea. I added a clasp from Miss Fickle Media (a freebie!) I’ve realized lately that my “short” necklaces aren’t quite short enough for some of my necklines, so I want a few simple, shorter necklaces that highlight the pendant. This fits the bill.

I always feel more settled once I’ve made a piece of jewelry. It’s like sorbet at a fancy meal. Palate cleansed. Now I’m ready for the next course.

Honey Do List – March 2019

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Sarajo Wentling of SJ Designs Jewelry posts a challenge each month. Her husband, Eric, takes wonderful photographs. He chooses one to inspire Sarajo’s jewelry designs. Sarajo shares it with us so we can play along. It’s called the Honey Do List.

Photo by Eric Wentling

When I saw the photo this month, I couldn’t believe that I had some beads that looked like they were made based on this picture! I got a small grouping of lampwork beads with colorful circles by Cathy Collison. I think they look just like they colorful wood pieces. I struggled, though, with making a necklace I liked. All the designs I thought of were too mundane or too overworked. So I changed my focus to a bracelet and remembered some wood slice beads by Rich Kibbons. Perfect!

Then I needed to figure out what could go with these beads that would hold their own but not compete. I found some vintage wavy chartreuse beads. I wanted a clasp that would also look like an intentional design element and not just a connection point, something I always struggle with in my designs. I remembered that I have some vintage lucite clasps in an appropriate color.

I’m really thrilled with how this turned out. Thanks so much to Sarajo and Eric for this great inspiration. These challenges are always fun and stretch my creativity. Visit Sarajo’s blog to check out what others made and see what is in store for the next challenge.

Madison Bead Show 2019

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This weekend was the Madison Art Glass & Bead Show. I am very lucky to have an annual bead show right here in the town where I live! When I go to shows, I’m generally all about the shopping, but not this year. I’m branching out in 2019. Not only did I buy the Challenge Bead for the show and enter the competition (more about that later) but I took a class.

Two things I’ve really wanted to learn are how to use a torch and how to solder. I barely understand the differences with different types of metal, fusing vs. soldering, etc. I AM SO GLAD I TOOK THIS CLASS. (Sorry for yelling, but it had to be done.) I understand things so much more clearly, and I’m not scared of the torch anymore. I also thought understanding timepoints – when something was ready but not overdone – would be much harder. It was so much more clear than I thought! Our goal in class was to make a fine silver ring and some fine silver balled headpins. The teacher was Shannon who owns a local bead store, Meant to Bead.

I also wanted to try the join again and just see what would happen if I were sort of “careless” and didn’t try to really shape something. I like the look of more organic rings I buy from others, so I made another larger “ring” to use in jewelry. 

It’s a little hard to show the texture on the rings, but this was a start to finish class. We learned safety and technical things. Then we started with a piece of wire and start to finish made items. I really loved how Shannon structured the class. She would give us the information, and then we could work at our own speed. That really worked for having a class open to students with all levels of experience. It gave me everything I had hoped to get from it. I’m excited to do more torch work at home. Here is my ring in action.

As I mentioned, I also entered the competition with the challenge bead. It is a gorgeous lampwork bead with copper end caps made by Walter Gross. The picture doesn’t show all the beautiful depths of this bead. Here are both sides.

Here is a (bad) picture of my entry in the case. Exciting!

Here is a little better picture of my entry.

I love how this turned out. It feels wonderful on. I made a copper chain tassel. The neck part is strung on waxed linen with Humblebeads disc beads, TierraCast coper wavy spacers that reference the lentil end caps, faceted lapis, seed beads and a copper clasp by Miss Fickle Media. There were a nice number of lovely entries. I did not win, but I had fun making this piece and seeing my work displayed.

I did do a little shopping. I always make sure to visit the Dakota Stones booth any time I have the chance. This time, they had some gorgeous large turquoise strands on sale. I was fondling some of the really large beads, but I know as much as I love the look, they are too heavy to be comfortable for me. So I bought two of the smaller (still decent sized) strands. I can always use them in separate pieces if they are too heavy. 

This next purchase makes me laugh. Before the show, I told myself not to buy any African beads. That tends to be my favorite, catches my eye first, and I just feel like I could branch out. I have so many I haven’t used! However, I was weak. 

These are from Taylors Falls Bead Store. They always have such a great selection of African beads and good prices. I could not resist.

I will definitely take more classes. I’ll update you on my adventures in using the torch. Quite a while ago, my dad gave me a small micro torch. I’m going to get that out and see how I like it. I wrote down the brand of torch I used (and liked) at the class, and can get that at Meant to Bead if the small one doesn’t have enough power, but maybe it will be just perfect. I really love the idea of making more of my own components to use in my jewelry.