Tuesday, April 30, 2013

April Monthly Challenge Blog Tour

This month we are treated to a lovely painting by Monet, one that I confess was new to me. I love the bright swath of chartreuse green and the little pops of orange. The blue skies with the fluffy gray and white clouds feel so light. So much to inspire us!

Colored resin fills the forms in this innovative abstract design by Moon and Seven Stars. I love the way the colored pigments pick up the palette in the painting and also the movement of the wind on the meadow.

Fickle Moon Beads gives us a sweet little hand painted polymer clay meadow with her earrings. We are so glad that you joined in the fun!

Jill Palumbo of Palumbo Jewelry captures the soft colors blending together in Monet's painting by creating this landscape in polymer clay. I love the story of the little glass bead highlighted in the piece.

Tracy Stillman Designs paired a fresh and lively pendant with some lovely beads on cord for her interpretation of Monet's meadow. I love how effortless this feels and how modern.

SaraJo Wentling of SJ Designs Jewelry reached deep into her memories of what spring is actually like as compared to the endless winter that we are both experiencing in the upper Midwest to pull together a multistrand necklace that feels like a field of blooming wildflowers. I think you need to do more of these multistrand pieces, Miss SaraJo!

Angela Lund-Logan proves that inspiration can come from the most unlikely of places, like one artist's natural interpretation connected to another artist. Here she shows us that the tree in this Klimt painting has a similar color and feature of Monet's proving that art can spring forth from art!

Bay Moon Design gives us a rustic spring with her lovely shades of green necklace. She is inspired by the gorgeous array of colors that Miss Brandi pulls in our monthly challenge painting palettes. Me, too! I can never get enough of the colors that she sees that I overlook.

We have a new friend in France! Miss Karin G of Ginkgo et Coquelicot made a sculpture to wear with her blend of art beads from around the world. The bright orange just draws me in and my eye travels around this fascinating necklace that is filled with so many surprises!

I love shopping in my own bead stash and finding the perfect bead. That is exactly what Miss Renetha of LampLight Crafts did. She brings us the swirling clouds in the sky with her beautiful lampwork pendant and lovely beadwork spiral.

Miss Carol of Terra Rustica Designs created this lush meadow inspired necklace with her own hand enameled components. The blend of colors evokes the rolling waves on the springtime landscape.

The wild and carefree meadow inspired Miss Mary Ellen of bee tree by m.e. to do her own impression of wild poppies. The bright orange centers ringed by the sharp chartreuse green ribbon and accented by the soft lavender is so special. Very inventive!

And finally, I actually managed to sneak in a little creative playtime myself and made this spring corsage bracelet called 'Bursting Forth' that sort of grew organically on my bead table. You can check it out at my blog, Treasures Found.
Erin Prais-Hintz invites you to go on a journey of inspiration at her blog Treasures Found :: Inspiration is Everywhere. You can view a gallery of her work at http://www.tesoritrovati.com/ or purchase her popular line of 'Simple Truths' in her Etsy shop.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Featured Designer of the Week - Tracy Stillman

Each week the Art Bead Scene features a Designer of the Week. One of our editors picks her favorite from the Monthly Challenge entries

This week's winner is Tracy Stillman You can read about Tracy's necklace here.

Here is what ABS editor Rebecca Anderson had to say about Tracy's design:

"Not only do I love Tracy's use of colour here - perfectly matching the shades from Monet's painting - but I love the way she has displayed and photographed it. She really shows off its natural sense of movement, and manages to showcase it as a long necklace without losing any of the detail. Gorgeous work, Tracy!"

Tomorrow will see the monthly tour. I can't wait to see what everyone has created! Click here for the monthly challenge details.

Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer, currently living in Manchester, England. You can read more about her and her work at her blog, songbeads.blogspot.com and see more of her jewellery at songbead.etsy.com. She also has a supplies shop at thecuriousbeadshop.etsy.com.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Show Me Sunday - Water Beads with Rebecca of Songbead

Happy Sunday everyone! We've a bit of a bumper post today - as an extension to Thursday's post, I'm showcasing a great number of British bead artists today and their water-themed beads. So without further ado, I will jump into it straight away. 

First up, our lovely shares from last week:

I just love the stunning blues of these glazes - very Mediterranean and summery! The teardrops are particularly lovely to me - the distribution of glaze really does look like paint in water, captured.

Lori shared these stunning lampworks with us. I adore the gorgeous colour here too - very watery! I love how the wave shapes on the outside of these naturally highlight and add depth to the delicate Pacific shade. Truly lovely.

 Next up, some gorgeous ceramics from Bo Hulley, a ceramic artist based on the Isle of Wight so very much surrounded by water on a daily basis. I am particularly excited by her clouds - what design potential with all of those holes. 

Bo and I also have a collaborative project in hand - we work together on unique ceramic and copper clasps. Here's one in my shop, Curious, right now:

Don't you just love this sweet wee seahorse?

Linda of Earthshine Beads (also from the beautiful Isle of Wight) has been creating these lovely shells - wouldn't they look great with Bo's shell buttons? I love the colours Linda has used here, some of my favourites - particularly the lovely Pacific Opal. 

Linda has also created this fun lampwork tab, featuring a cute beach hut! This would make a gorgeous, beach-y necklace. 

Here are more beach huts, this time from Pippa of Pips's Jewellery. These are such fun colours, and I love the rustic finish Pippa has given these. More fun, beach-y necklaces here! You could even make some pretty, interchangeable pendant necklaces with these - perfect for easy-to-wear summer jewellery.

Natalie of Grubbi is another UK ceramic artist, based in Liverpool - a mere hour away from me in Manchester. Here are some very cool and original pendants from her, featuring raindrops - something we know a lot about here in the North West of England! I love these slightly darkened glazes - they really capture the weather we frequently have in this part of the country. 

I love how Lesley Watt, bronze- clay artist, continually develops her work. As well as working with the naked bronze, she not only patinates some of her work with Liver of Sulphur, the natural kiln patina, but also uses coloured patina paints within her component work. How perfect is this turuoqise patina with the seahorse? 

I also love this cute fishy. He looks pretty cheeky to me! 

Angie of Bead Me Up Buttercup shared these beautiful pacific polymer clay bracelet bars. Yes, they are floral and palmy - reminiscent of tropical, beach-side flora....but just look at her colour inspiration! This very cool, vintage swimming pool. Those waters look pretty inviting....

And last, but certainly not least, lampwork glass artist Cecilia of Midget Gem Beads shared this beautiful lampwork heart, complete with a mini rock pool scene. Love the vibrant orange starfish here, and the swirling wave to one side.

She also shared these gorgeous tidal pendants! I love these - the colours, textures and depth pf these lovely pendants. I can see some really sophisticated pieces coming from these.

I hope you have found this month's water beads inspiring - I know I have. Many new artists, as well as familiar favourites. So inspiring to see such a range of styles, aesthetics materials. I love the beads that you share here, it is great to see what our readers are creating and I'd love to see more! 

Next month, I'd love you to share animal beads with us.....any animals, or beads relating to animals....leave your links in the comments below!

And now the Bead Blogger Links. Have a great Sunday!

What are YOU making for spring? Stop by A Bead A Day to share. 

Innovation and beads go together, and this new book reviews gives you the 411 all about it. 

Rebecca shares some handmade bead artists from her native shores of Britain with Art Bead Scene readers! 

Here's something that goes especially well with beads...chocolate whiskey fudge! 

Incorporating t-shirt yarn (tarn) with other fibers will result in some gorgeous necklaces if you use a kumihimo disk to braid them. 

Rubberstamps will get a new life in the jewelry studio if you work with Jewelry Clay! 

Jean uses DIY videos (see a cool example of one) to help her learn jewelry techniques, but long ago the best way to learn was from an expert teacher like Eni Oken. See jean's Wabi Sabi ring inspired by Eni! 

The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton 
Using glow-in-the-dark polymer clay, Andrew creates some unique floral-themed pendants! 

Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer, currently living in Manchester, England. You can read more about her and her work at her blog, songbeads.blogspot.com and see more of her jewellery at songbead.etsy.com. She also has a supplies shop at thecuriousbeadshop.etsy.com.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Studio Saturday with Rebecca of Songbead and The Curious Bead Shop

Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.
This weeks winner is Susanm, Congratulations! You have won a Lotus Button from Tari. 
Send Tari an email with your email address and she will get it right out to you.

This week we visit the studio of Rebecca Anderson of Songbead and The Curious Bead Shop.

I've had a busy time of it lately - flitting between my two shops. I love both of them and am excited about where both my jewellery AND my supplies shops are heading, but I do find I can only really focus on one or the other on any given day. I've been going backwards and forward this week so I thought I'd share what has been going on in both of my little corners of the internet these past few weeks! If you read my own blog, you'll know some of my goings on already......

It's long been an ambition of mine to create a jewellery collection or two. All the advise you read online about running a successful jewellery business suggests that this is a really important aspect of this. It makes things more cohesive, and if you want to approach shops and potential stockists, it gives a clearer message. The problem for me, and many others I am sure, is that working with handmade beads and components, often the items we work with are one of a kind. Not so easy to create a collection based around this! 

However, there are some pieces you design that I really feel 'I could develop and take this idea further'. One such is my popular Gardenia bracelet:

around which I have excitedly begun to design The Gardenia Collection this week. Beginning with this lovely, subtle yet colourful palette, I have created both a necklace and earrings, and have plans to take this further!

All will be available in a Made-to-Order section of my shop very soon. I am also excited to explore further colour palettes in these designs....I feel there is lots of scope here. This is something to build on over the coming weeks and months. I am very excited about this side of my jewellery - I won't be giving up my custom, bespoke and one-of-a-kind items, of course. After all, what could be more lovely than wearing a unique piece of handmade art? But I am also excited to go down this avenue as well. Collections of jewellery that I can present to the world, with the real stamp of 'me' upon them. I can't wait to see where this all goes!

As for The Curious Bead Shop, there have been exciting goings on there too! I love coming up with new ideas and projects for each of my wee shops :-) In Curious, it has been the launch of my own handmade copper findings. The primary range available are my Deco Rose Findings. These sprung from my work with the Brit Pack Beaders a few months ago. I chose this painting by Scottish artist Margaret MacDonald as our inspiration piece:

(c) The Hunterian, University of Glasgow 2012 

You may know Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Scottish architect, designer and artist, and one of the Glasgow Four, of which Margaret MacDonald was also a part. I adore her work and return to it often for inspiration. 

As part of my Brit Pack Beaders challenge, I had to send out clasps to the rest of the team....and I chose to make my own, based upon the swirling roses within this piece. Here's what those clasps eventually grew up to become:

Rich, sumptuous copper findings with my swirling rose designs on each. I particularly love the ear wires:

Sweet, simple and oh-so-easy to use. I love the rich patina that you can achieve with copper too. So delicious and mysterious!

I have also been doing some collaborative work with my friend Teresa of Bo Hulley Beads. She makes the most beautiful ceramic beads and components - if you are not already familiar with her work, do go and check it out! We have been working on a series of clasps together. Here are just a few that are or were available in Curious these past few days! 

These are all button clasps, made specially to work with my Deco Rose clasps. Bo also makes connectors which are a lovely alternative to these buttons:

Don't you just love the gorgeous colours that Bo glazes with? I think they work perfectly with my patinated copper! Bo and I share a passion for colour and I love working with another artist in another medium to come up with these lovely components.

This week, I am giving away a pack of my Deco Rose copper findings, worth £14/$22! To be in with the chance to win, leave a comment below, answering one of the questions I pose you.....

So my question for you is about your design process. Have you ever worked on a collection? Or do you stick to one of a kind, flitting from one idea to another? Do you have plans to explore a single design idea in the future and see where it develops? Or are you happy just to create whatever feels right to you? 

Leave a comment below to be in with the chance to win!

Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer, currently living in Manchester, England. You can read more about her and her work at her blog, songbeads.blogspot.com and see more of her jewellery at songbead.etsy.com. She also has a supplies shop at thecuriousbeadshop.etsy.com.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Spring on a String - A Spring Project

The Spring on a String necklace was inspired by the Claude Monet painting Walk in the Meadows at Argenteuil. Bright blue skies. Striking green and gold meadow. Spring at its finest...

Because there are no knots between the beads, the beads can float and move depending on your mood. 

Spring green ultra suede www.minordtails.etsy.com
Pewter nest bead from www.greengirlstudios.com
Floral pewter button from www.mamacitabeadworks.etsy.com
Ceramic beads and pendants from www.gaea.cc

Thursday, April 25, 2013

British Bead Artists with Rebecca of Songbead

As many of you know, unlike the rest of the Art Bead Scene team, I am not from North America, but in fact from Britain. Currently, I like in England, but I'm originally from Scotland, the country that makes up the top part of the UK. (What's the difference between the UK and the British Isles I hear some of you say? Well, the UK includes Northern Island, whereas Britain refers to the large island which makes up Scotland, England and Wales. Easy to get confused, I know but this means I am both Scottish AND British. My friend Lowri from Wales, is Welsh AND British. Whereas my friend Jill from Northern Ireland is just Irish. I definitely feel more Scottish than anything else though!)

Enough about geography and back to the beads! I've said it before, but one of the things I absolutely love about shopping online, and particularly in the giant hub that is etsy, is the ability to find individual bead artists from all over the world. I absolutely love that a single piece of jewellery can contain handmade elements from Scotland, Spain and Canada. 

But whilst I love this multi-cultural aspect of bead-buying, I also love (and I mean LOVE!) to support and buy from UK bead artists. And I love to discover new ones! I wanted to share some of my favourite and most recent UK bead artist discoveries with you. There are many, many more artists out there, so this list is certainly not a complete or definitive one.  But I do encourage you to go check out these talented artists' shops. They may be based in the UK, but they ALL ship internationally!

"Taking some time out of an academic career, I turned to making jewellery (hence the shop name!), prompted by my love of vintage jewellery - of all jewellery, in fact... In time, I also started making my own beads, which I sell separately and use in my own handmade jewellery."

Helen of Helen Jewellery

"Beautiful beads and jewellery handmade with hot glass, gold, silver, steel and enamel. I graduated from a degree in Jewellery and Metal Design recently, and developed a passion for working with hot glass. All of the beads are handmade in my Edinburgh studio. " 

Leah of Beady Eyed Bunny

"I am a handmade jewellery artist who specialises in wirework. But it doesn't stop there! I use a variety of materials in my one of a kind jewellery, from copper and cotton cord to handmade art beads, gemstones, and precious metals."

Helen of Helen Vanek Design

My name is Helen Vanek and I have been creating glass beads since 2009 in my garden studio.
By profession I am a research nurse involved in setting up and running clinical trials of new drugs and therapies for people with neurological diseases. My job is demanding and stressful and I find no better way to relax than melting glass."

"Hi, I'm Petra. Welcome to my new look shop! 
Here you can find my original, hand-sculpted, ceramic components.
I hope you enjoy them."

I hope you will take some time to visit these talented ladies' shops and check out their wares! Look out next month for more British bead artists - I'm excited to share them with you.

Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer, currently living in Manchester, England. You can read more about her and her work at her blog, songbeads.blogspot.com and see more of her jewellery at songbead.etsy.com. She also has a supplies shop at thecuriousbeadshop.etsy.com.