Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bead Table Wednesday - Wafer Bead Inspiration

Today on Bead Table Wednesday I shared three projects using my new Gilded Bramble Wafer beads. I love this fun shape, I could design with them all day long! You can watch the video here:

Resources from the video:
Beads to Live By Trunk Show - Jackson, MI
Wafer Beads, disks & Kits: Humblebeads
Dark annealed steel wire: Ace Hardware or
Renaissance Wax:
Ceramic round beads: Firefly Design Studio 
Brass leaves, bead caps, bronze colored wire and buffing block: Vintaj or
Czech glass:
Sari and Chiffon Silk:

Earrings use 5" of 20 gauge wire per earring. Shown above are copper wire that has been antiqued with liver of sulfur. Below the wire is bronze colored wire by Parawire. 

 Use 6" of 20 gauge bronze colored wire to wrap the pendants and beads on this necklace design.

Wire sizes: Wreath - 20" 19 gauge steel wire. Wafer: 5" 20 gauge bronze colored wire. Tassel: 8" 26 gauge bronze colored wire.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Flatlay Fever

One of my biggest challenges for selling online has always been photography, making my photos eye-catching and beautiful whilst maintaining accurate colours and size references so that I don’t mislead any potential customers. 
Recently whilst chatting with a photographer friend I was introduced to the concept of Flatlay, anyone familiar with instagram with recognise this style easily, it lends its self so well to product photography for anything from clothing to cupcakes and is surprisingly easy to create. 

You will need the following:
  •  1 large sheet of white paper or card, or very lightly textured paper or card.
  •  Access to a large window where you will have good natural light. 
  • A decent camera. 
  • Various props to create the story or theme you are going for. 
I find it easier to set up your shot on the floor, one of the key things to a good flatlay is getting some height to take your photo, you are shooting straight down onto your work. 

A flatlay should tell a story, take a look at these examples and consider the story, what might the photographer want to communicate?
Coffee break! this photographer took a quick phone snap during a break. 

Its a great idea to include some of the tools you use to create your work, it shows your process and that your hand tools are an important part of the creation of your work. 

This is one of my personal favourites, it includes rods of glass used to create the floral beads, the book about wild flowers used for inspiration. 

The props you use should only be there to help frame the focus of your photo, consider setting your work out in a grid pattern or triangle, experiment with colour themes, asymmetry, storytelling and styling with what your jewellery might go with, scarves, tops etc. 

Stand a chair or small set of steps to get height and shoot straight down over the set up, remember the photos can be cropped when you are editing. 

Sally Sutherland is the creator of Soul Silver - Lampwork Beads and Jewellery, you can see her work on Facebook @soulsilversally  , instagram @soulsilverbeads  and twitter @soulsilversally

Monday, June 19, 2017

Summer Firefly Artbeads

It has always interested me how you can hand people the same exact subject matter and they will all interpret it a different way. Our personal experiences shape how we interpret the world, and in turn gives us a unique style and vision. I live in Virginia, and in the summertime our woods are full of wonderful fireflies (or lightening bugs if you prefer).  They are such a big part of what makes Summer magical, that I wanted to create some beads to celebrate them. These are some of the designs I came up with:
I used gold leaf to make it seem as if they were shining. If you are looking for some, I have some available in my Etsy shop:

Here are some beautiful earrings that Loralee Kolton made with them. I love the wonderful attention to detail she has. The way she carries the gold from the fireflies throughout the entire design is really great.

I also follow the wonderfully talented Kylie Parry on facebook. She was also working on some really great firefly jars! They aren't available yet, but look out for them in her future shop updates!
Kylie Parry

I came across these awesome works of art by Diane Hawkey. Loralee Kolton was lucky enough to snag them at bead and button, and they are really wonderful!

Diane Hawkey

Thanks for checking out all of my finds. I would also LOVE to hear about more artists making fireflies, or firefly jewelry:) 

Ashley Bonney: Summer Wind

Friday, June 16, 2017

Perfect Pairings :: McEnroe Moments + Pebble Dreams + Scorched Earth

Michelle of McEnroe moments is back at it again with some multi-layered earrings in deep gemstone shades of amethyst, aqua and plum. I like the use of the dark black findings that bring in a depth just like in our painting inspiration by Odilon Redon. These look like earrings that the stately woman in the painting might wear! 

Still lots of time to create for this month's challenge, so let's see what inspires YOU!

Featured Designer :: McEnroe Moments
Featured Bead Artists :: PebbleDreams + ScorchedEarth

We are now using Pinterest! 
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 June 28th to get your pictures posted to the Pinterest boards for the creation of the Monthly Challenge Recap post for June 30th.
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.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Bead Table Wednesday - Wire Flower Wreath Pendant

Today on Bead Table Wednesday I share some of my Bead & Button loot and a fun new project featuring wire wreaths embellished with glass leaves and flowers. Watch the video below.

Resources featured in the video:

Polymer clay leaves and disk beads: (There are a few kits on my website too!)

Glass leaves, flowers, wire and butterflies:

Raw brass chain and jump rings: Yadana Beads

Supplies used in the pendant:
30" 20 gauge Antique Bronze Parawire
Vintaj brass butterfly
Humblebeads leaf pendant and disk
4 Czech glass leaves and 4 flowers
25" raw brass chain
1 6mm brass jump ring
2 8mm brass jump ring

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Earring Whisperer - Heavenly Bodies

Same with the dark blue/gold, polymer pair. I tried many different sizes and shapes of crystals and different rings.  The challenge with this pair was the different length and sizes of the focal components. Asymmetrical designs are a favorite of mine, but each piece brings new challenges to solve.  The delicate "neck" of the teardrop shape need a light bead and also I wanted to cover the connector loops for a more cohesive look.

My suggestion is to hang on to ALL of your little bits and pieces from other projects, you never know when they will come in handy!


earring pair 1.

I hope you enjoy looking into the process as much as I do!

It's been a crazy wonderful week for me Attending Bead & Button!  I could use some serious sleep but that will never happen!  LOL  Hopefully I will have some new exciting things to show you all soon!

Many thanks for stopping by!  Meow

Loralee  xo

Monday, June 12, 2017

Art Bead Evolutions :: Bead & Button Show Recap

So last week I buzzed down to Milwaukee to commune with my bead peeps, so instead of a post about what I am making for the challenge, I thought I would share with you some of my experiences at the Bead & Button show.

I missed the Bead & Button show last year so I think I was making up for it (in a BIG way!). Starting Tuesday, I took four day-long classes and then spent the rest of the week shopping and sharing and otherwise soaking up the presence of a lot of my favorite Loralee + Martha, Andrew + William, Sarajo + Eric, Michelle + Diane, Marsha + Vlad.....

Me and my Beady Bestie, Heather Powers of Humblebeads. I love this girl so much! Notice how sparse the trays were...she brought 130 birds and sold at least 90 by the end of the show! So glad I snatched some goodies up to add to my collection of Humblebeads bowls and platters. Woot!
Tuesday I took class with Gail Crosman Moore. Sometimes I take classes with instructors I just want to be around, and this was one of those cases. I adore the unique materials that she manipulates and the way that she adds detail. She is also a color addict, like me, so I knew that we would hit it off. We spent the day making molds of various items and then worked with paper clay. I had never worked with that before and it is a really interesting medium. I must have been so engrossed in the process because I don't have a single picture of anything I made. You will have to trust me that it was way cool. I anticipate that I will be playing around more with this, maybe even for this month's Simple Truths Sampler, so stay tuned!

Next up I took a class with Julie Picarello of Yellow House Designs. Her work is so very recognizable. I can spot it a mile away! Her chosen technique is mokume gane. I have my own variations of this technique, but it was so nice to learn how she does it. I loved the color mixing that she taught, as that has always flummoxed me. Julie really broke that down and now I get it! She shared all her imprint tools and that prompted me to take a quick road trip to the American Science & Surplus to look for oddball things. Found some interesting stuff! I will need to find a way to make this more of my own look, but since I have done this before, I think that should be no problem. What I most loved about the class was really at the very end of the day, when she shared her finishing techniques. Her work feels like the softest satin, which makes it even more beautiful. Now I know what I need to do for some of my pieces that will really take them to the next level. I treated myself to her book and a pair of her earrings. More to come on this technique!

On Thursday I had a half-day class with Irina Miech of Eclectica. She is a wizard with precious metal clay (PMC). I have taken two other classes over the years in PMC, mostly ending in failure. You would think that with my years of experience with other clays that this would come easy. Not so much. But Miss Irina was such a wonderful teacher. We worked with molds again, this time with some more natural materials like leaves and twigs, and even set tiny CZ stones in our work. I plan to trek back to her store in Brookfield (west of Milwaukee) to take another class with her in the fall, because I really want to see if I can master this medium, or at least make it consistently in my own style. I am excited about that! Now I dearly want to try the bronze and copper clay versions.

Nature's Elements in Silver PMC with Irina Miech

Finally, I took Kitchen Table Soldering with Francesca Watson of the Makery. I have always adored her work so learning from her was a definite highlight. She is larger than life. Her laugh is booming, and her taste in music is fabulous! Her first words were that she was going to work us hard. And boy, did she ever. I barely had time to catch my breath! In the end, I am pretty happy with how my pendant turned out, and it makes me appreciate even more those that do this all the time. Amazing what you can do when you start with just a piece of silver wire and a stone. I don't know if I will be setting stones in the future, and her set up is a LOT more robust than what I could have at my kitchen table, but I have always wanted to make my own bezels for my clay creations, and I can take a lot of what I learned here and apply it to my own vision.

Kitchen Table Soldering with Francesca Watson
At the end of the week, I finally got to spend a little more time with my best friend Heather Powers. We were even able to have a wonderfully relaxing celebratory dinner complete with cocktails, just the two of us, to catch up and recharge. That was one of the best times all week! I told her that I wasn't really going to shop at the show...HA! Famous last words! Old habits die hard! I found myself going to my very favorite booths.... for stones, pearls, beads, components and of course, art beads. Now I need to get to the making! Here's a little tour of the goodies I found....without really looking...some of which would work well for this month's inspiration, don't you think?

Clockwise from top left: Beads Direct faceted rondelle gemstones (diamond blue silverite, AB peach moonstone, AB labradorite, AB blue fluorite, AB ruby moonstone, AB dendrite opal); hematite strands; glass hexagons, faceted drop bezels, fossilized orthoceras, carved mother of pearl; metal spacers, pearls.
Clockwise from left: buttery soft leather tassels; Vintaj blanks and new pewter bezels; bone and wood carved feathers, copper etched pendants, copper patina charms, beetle wings
Clockwise from top left: Green Girl Studios + Allegory Gallery; Humblebeads; Diane Hawkey + Firefly Design Studio; Anna Bronze + Aja Vaz of Wandering Spirit Designs; Bob Burkett from Tiger Tiger; Golem Design Studio.
Since I didn't get a chance to create my own art bead interpretation for the challenge yet (but these classes are pointing me in a direction!), I will share with you the necklace I made for the Halcraft Pretty Palettes challenge for May. I started that challenge over there as part of my years on the Halcraft Dream Team, and now that my time there has ended, I have passed the baton to Molly Schaller. She is continuing this great monthly challenge. The colors for May were brilliant greens and to that I added some light blue, deep raspberry and golden hematite nuggets. I had a pendant from our own Ashley Bonney of Summer Wind Art that was perfect for this month's painting, with the watercolor splashes and the touch of gold leave. I call this Meanderings.

What have you been up to so far this month? Are you working on something for the challenge? Can't wait to see how you interpret this month's painting!