Friday, May 26, 2017

Perfect Pairings :: McEnroe Moments + Happy Fish Things + Kiyoi Design

Picasso is famous for his Cubist masterpieces featuring blocky faces of reclining nudes. These awesome clay components perfectly embody that style. The layers and the shapes of beads as well as the varied styles of the dangles punctuated by the tiny blue seeds makes this painting come to life. What fun to wear a masterpiece like these on your ears!

Featured Designer :: McEnroe Moments
Featured Bead Artists :: Happy Fish Things + Kiyoi Design

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 May 29th to get your pictures posted to the Pinterest boards for the creation of the Monthly Challenge Recap post for May 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.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Bead Table Wednesday - Disk Earring Project and Retreat Details

Hello and welcome to a late night Bead Table Wednesday. Today on my Facebook page I shared how to make these fun wire earrings. Watch the video below.

Resources mentioned in the video:

Humblebeads disk beads: Humblebeads VIP Party
Earring wires: Nunn Designs
Bead Cruise - registration is now open!
Adornments Retreat
I'm so excited to tell you about the retreat the Art Bead Scene and Vintaj are sponsoring this summer. Jess from Vintaj and I have worked hard to bring an amazing 3 day, bead-filled event! Instructors are Jess Italia Lincoln, Brenda Schweder, Erin Prais-Hintz and myself. 

Classes are a mixed media bonanza of wire, clay, metal, paint, ink, resin and more! Registration opens on Friday. Visit the website for complete details. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Bails and Beads

                                                      Handmade bail by Mary Harding

It was one of those "happy accidents" that lead to the making of this bail a few months ago.  I  had apparently made a toggle bar that was way too long and had for fun wrapped some copper wire around it and then left it to one side of my soldering station.  Weeks later I came upon it and thought it could be salvaged if I added two more loops --one on each side and completed the wire wrapping along the entire piece.  It took one of my talented customers buying it to clue me in that it could be a viable and desirable jewelry component.

Today  I am sharing several of these bails that I have made since. I have just added a few of all of them  to my Etsy shop, as well.
                                     Handmade jewelry stringing bails by MaryHarding

And now for a look at how some art beads will look on the bail:  I will begin with a Diane Hawkey pendant which I recently purchased from the Ceramic Art Bead Market on Facebook.  This is the first bead by Diane that I have ever owned and I am so taken with it.  I have admired her work for years and am so pleased to have one carefully packaged up in my bead stash.

                                            Ceramic art bead by Diane Hawkey

Next I tried out a bird bead by Gaea  also from my personal collection
                                                       Handmade art bead by  Gaea

I tried out a long bead from Something to Do Beads and it looks great in this rustic setting
                                    Handmade art bead from Something to Do Beads

And finally one of Claire Maunsell's pod beads

                             Handmade art bead by Claire Maunsell

I hope you enjoyed seeing how a handmade bail can be versatile enough to be used with a variety of art beads.
 Thanks so for stopping by today!!  See you again next month.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Inside the Studio: with Summer Wind Art

Hello everyone, since I am fairly new to the Art Bead Scene Blog I thought I would give you a little peek at the process I use to make my wood burned beads. A little known fact about my studio is that it is actually in my bedroom. It is one of the many joys of living in a two bedroom townhouse. Luckily, my husband built me an awesome desk to work at, and I have beautiful natural light coming in through my window. 
When I am going to design a bead, I almost always start in my sketchbook. I have been doodling and sketching since gradeschool and I find that it helps me work out designs without messing up wood pieces on experiments. The best time for me to sketch is during church. It is nice and quiet and I can relax and doodle without worrying about all the things at home that I need to be doing. If church isn't your cup of tea, car rides or nice comfy armchairs work just as well.   
I don't have any templates, so I sketch each wood bead by hand. Here is a before and after picture of one of my bee beads. 

I use a regular old wood burned to create my designs. As you can see by the scorched block I work on, it took quite a bit of practice to get the steady hand I needed to keep my lines straight and even. 

Wood burners can be tricky things, so I suggest if you try it, to always have a scrap piece of wood handy. 
 Some of my bird beads, half painted.

All these beads have been burned and are now ready for a quick sanding, and then paint! 

Fun fact: I have been using the same paint cups for the past 7 years!!! I love seeing all the color drips on it. 

  Here is the finished product, all painted and sealed with a couple coats of polyurethane.

Most days, my time is consumed with making beads for orders and I rarely get to play with them myself. I am trying to make designing more of a priority. I have to say, the more I design with my beads, the more ideas I get for new ones. Here are some of the pieces I was able to make this month.

Thanks for reading! Hope you all have a great time designing! 

-Ashley Bonney 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Perfect Pairings :: LaTouchables + GlassByLeese + SomethingToDoBeads + DonnaPerlinplim

I think I may have said this once or twice before, but I would dearly love to see the stash that Miss Dawn of LaTouchables has access to! Every single bead, from the largest to the smallest, is selected with such care and composed with a masterful eye for placement in every single thing I have seen her make. When I look at the Picasso painting for this month I am struck by the layers, the seemingly disjointed scraps of... paper? I am not sure... that make up the composition. The result is a bit chaotic and random, yet there is a great synchronicity in the placement of each pattern, each color, each line and dot. I think that is much the same with Miss Dawn's necklace. There is a great intention in every choice here, and although there is a variety of art bead artists and materials, there is a harmony all its own. 

Featured Designer :: LaTouchables
Featured Bead Artists ::
GlassbyLeese + SomethingToDoBeads + DonnaPerlinplim

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 May 29th to get your pictures posted to the Pinterest boards for the creation of the Monthly Challenge Recap post for May 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.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Artist Spotlight on Ashley Bonney of Summer Wind Art

I have recently discovered the beautiful wood beads created by Ashley Bonney of Summer Wind Art. I saw her work in action by other designers and I found her Etsy shop and had to buy a few pieces for myself.  I love sea life, so I chose a fun set of fish and the poppy garden bracelet topper just called my name!  Ashley gifted me the fun round bead.

Ashley is on Facebook and you can find her Etsy store here

I would like to share some of Ashley's bio with you.

"Ashley Bonney says she has always been artistically inclined, dating back to her time at Jefferson Forest High School. She also always connected with nature, and says the best times are often spent with family camping, hiking and kayaking in the mountains.  Now, she has combined these two loves in her jewelry line, Summer Wind Art.  After the birth of her son, Bonney, who had been teaching art at Rustburg High School, began crafting wearable art while working from home on graphic design projects for her aunt’s jewelry business.  Delicate flowers with hombre tinged petals; henna-style leaves and vines on stained wooden backgrounds. Whimsical owls with large round eyes tucked in textured plumes, and brightly scaled fish. Paint streaks reminiscent of watercolors, accentuated by the sharp, dark lines of burned wood."

Don't you just love the rustic feel of the wood burning technique along with the pop of color the paint adds?  I am a fan!

I would like to share a super easy bracelet design using a craft store short cut with the pre-made chain links that already has the lobster claw clasp attached.  Simply add the jump rings to the bracelet topper to the correct length needed to fit your wrist.  For a little extra style, I made a spiral headpin and put a ceramic bead I made along with a bead cap, crystal and spacer bead.

Thanks and I hope you will add some Summer Wind Art beads to your stash real soon!

Michelle from Firefly Design Studio

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Creative Slump Busters

It happens to us all, sometimes life takes over and our creativity seems to abandon us, it can feel like the hardest thing in the world to take a step back and into making, drawing, designing, or even just enjoying the process of choosing colours.
I want to share with you some ways you can kick start yourself and your creativity.

1.  Don’t force it,  if like me your creativity is tied into your sense of achievement and self value trying to force yourself out of a slump can only make the upset around one worse. Consider that perhaps your lack of creativity is your minds way of telling you to take a break, refill your cup/well of inspiration.

2. Do something different, read a book, visit a museum, visit and art gallery, try to find new things to inspire you, go to the beach and just enjoying being outdoors. Don’t be scared to sit still and just let the world spin around you, you might find yourself noticing tiny things as you sit, little details, often there is a lot of wonder to be found in those little things.

3. Spend some time reflecting on yourself, often a creative slump comes along with a need for change, try and work out what that change is, do you need to try something new or take your work in a new direction?

4. Spend some time with other creative people, it doesn’t need to be in the same field, I recently spent some time with a photographer friend, it helped me to see my work through the eyes of someone else, we had a great time bouncing ideas off each other.

5. Ease yourself back in gently, make something that comes easily to you, for me that might be spacer beads, or simple earrings.

6. Above all else, be kind to yourself, you are not a machine, your creative cup may well be drained and treating yourself kindly may be the first step to a refill!

This book is a great place to start: The Artists Way

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Night Owl Earring Maker

Seize The Night

"At the end of the day, I'm just getting started."  That's my life, and probably for most women, in one way or another. I'm a night owl by nature, but forced to live as an early bird, as my day job starts at 6:30 a.m. So, when I get home from work, my studio day just begins. Now, on the weekends, I'm more myself and stay up into the wee hours of the night. And, I know Whoooo the rest of you are because I see you posting on Facebook, too at 2 a.m. ! lol

I bought these sweet little etched copper charms from Gaea Handmade a few months ago,  I decided to make frames and add crystals to bring some color and night drama.

I formed frames using 18g wire and XL round mandrel pliers. Then, attaching the frames to the charms by making simple loops with my round nose pliers. Hammering the frames a bit for strength.

Using 26g wire I added crystals.  I chose a free form pattern and went in a direction that felt right.


  • Owl charms:
  • Crystals:
  • Wire:
  • Earwires:


  • Hammer
  • Round nose pliers
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • XL round mandrel pliers found at
  • Bench block

The Earring Whisperer and  her trusty studio cat, Luna, bid you a fine farewell until next month! xo - whoo, whoo, meow!

Monday, May 8, 2017

April Monthly Challenge Sponsors: Allegory Gallery & Mary Harding Jewelry

We have two very talented artists as our wonderful sponsor for the May Challenge. We will have 2 Lucky Winners this Month!

Allegory Gallery
Andrew is donating in everything pictured above valued at $95 Andrew Thornton of Allegory Gallery creates handmade jewelry, jewelry components and unique art at his studio in Ligonier, Pennsylvania

"We are a creative space that's one part bead store, one part jewelry boutique, one part fine art gallery, and one part gift shop. The aim of Allegory Gallery is to promote artisan craftspeople, inspire the community to explore their creativity, and act as a focal point for classes and artistic education in the area."

Andrew is donating in everything pictured above valued at $95 which is made up of freshwater pearls, recycled sari silk ribbon, vintage seed beads, Czech glass, a strand of labradorite, vintage plastic, polymer clay by me, waxed Irish linen, and a luxury bead blend, for the Jewelry Pinterest board winner. 

Visit Andrew on FacebookEtsyTwitterInstagramAndrew's Blog and Allegory Blog.
: :

Mary Harding Jewelry

Mary Harding is one of the editors here at Art Bead Scene. Mary creates wonderful pieces of nature from clay in her Canton, New York studio. Her clay components can be seen in many pieces of jewelry made by her and many other jewelry makers.
Mary's recent work involves gathering the timeless and enduring plants of the pastures of Northern New York and channeling them to create ceramic pendants, beads, buttons and toggle clasps, marks a fresh and imaginatively interpreted fusion of styles and material embodied in her colorful renderings of these resilient beauties. This direction has made it possible for her work to be included in the Folk Gallery of the Traditional Arts in Upstate New York museum in Canton, New York.
Mary is donating the a $50 gift certificate for the Monthly Recap winner.

Visit Mary at her Website, Blog, Etsy, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

Bowl of Fruit, Violin and Bottle by Pablo Picasso

Submit photos of your wonderful Jewelry creations using one or more Art Beads here. Submit photos of your wonderful Bead creations here.

This Month's art has many different elements that can be used for inspiration:  abstract images, fruit, violin bottloe, orange pink teal and neutral tan colors.

We can't wait to see where your creativity takes you with the art for this month's challenge! 

**IMPORTANT** Please remember to put MAY ABS in the title or tag of your submission(s).  Pinterest doesn't keep Pins in the order they are posted.

Provide us with the artist of the Art Beads used and we always love to know all the materials you used. 

***Art Beads MUST be used in your entry.***

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May Monthly Challenge

Bowl of Fruit, Violin and Bottle
Pablo Picasso
Oil On Canvas

About the Art
This painting is an example of the Cubist technique that was developed by Picasso and Braque in Paris before the First World War. Cubism moved away from the traditional realistic depiction of an object from a single viewpoint. Rather than attempt to create a three-dimensional likeness, objects were fragmented and seen from different angles, blurring the distinction between two- and three-dimensional representation. The two artists were influenced to some extent by Cézanne's method of breaking down all forms into basic geometric shapes.
Here, the fragmented forms of a table, a bowl of fruit, a bottle, a newspaper and a violin can be identified. The artist has used areas of strong flat colour, painted dots, bare canvas and grains of sand to suggest the presence of these objects. 
This combination is characteristic of Picasso's Synthetic Cubism, in which he put together, or 'synthesised', areas of colour and texture to evoke recognisable objects. The shapes and colours are skilfully balanced to maintain the appearance of flatness and they echo one another throughout to create a satisfying and harmonious whole.
—The National Gallery

About the Artist
Spanish expatriate Pablo Picasso was one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century, as well as the co-creator of Cubism.

“Whenever I wanted to say something, I said it the way I believed I should. Different themes inevitably require different methods of expression. This does not imply either evolution or progress; it is a matter of following the idea one wants to express and the way in which one wants to express it.”
—Pablo Picasso

Born in Málaga, Spain, in 1881, Pablo Picasso, became one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century and the creator (with Georges Braque) of Cubism. A Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist and stage designer, Picasso was considered radical in his work. After a long prolific career, he died on April 8, 1973, in Mougins, France. The enormous body of Picasso's work remains, however, and the legend lives on—a tribute to the vitality of the "disquieting" Spaniard with the "sombrepiercing" eyes who superstitiously believed that work would keep him alive. For nearly 80 of his 91 years, Picasso devoted himself to an artistic production that contributed significantly to—and paralleled the entire development of—modern art in the 20th century.
Our Sponsors
Please visit us tomorrow to see the prizes!

How to Enter the Monthly Challenge:
1. You need to have a Pinterest account. Go get one ASAP if you don't have one already. It's easy, fun and inspiring.

2. Email us at to get added to the monthly challenge board.

Subject: Monthly Challenge Board Request

You will be emailed an invite to the board within 48 hours. Accept the invite and you are ready to pin your entries.

3. Two ways to pin your entry to the board:

Pin your photo from the internet (on your blog, Etsy shop, etc.)

Add your photo directly from your computer

Create something using an art bead that fits within our monthly theme. We post the art to be used as your inspiration to create. This challenge is open to jewelry-makers, fiber artists, collage artist, etc. The art bead can be created by you or someone else. The challenge is to inspire those who use art beads and to see all the different ways art beads can be incorporated into your handiwork.

An Art Bead must be used in your piece to qualify for the monthly challenge.

***Beads strung on a chain, by themselves and beads simply added to wire or cord will not be accepted.***

Please add the tag or title MAY ABS to your photos. Include a short description, who created the art beads and a link to your blog, if you have one.

Deadline is May 30th
You may upload two entries per month.


• Beads Makers Pinterest Board - Art beads must be created by you and fit the Art Bead Scene's monthly challenge theme. They can be made for the challenge or ones you have made before. Two entries per month are allowed. 

One entry will be picked by the editors each month for a free month of advertising on the Art Bead Scene. Bead entries have to be pinned by the 30th of the month.

Beads only - do not post jewelry on this board. If a post doesn't fit the challenge it will be deleted.

Monthly Challenge Recap
• Please post at least one single shot of your creation on the Pinterest Board. This will be used to make a collage for the Monthly Challenge Gallery. Every creation will be added to the collage, regardless of a blog post. So everyone gets included!

Your entry must be on Pinterest 2 days BEFORE the recap to be included.

• Be sure to share with us the name of the art bead artist in the description of your photo so that if you are selected for the weekly Perfect Pairings on Friday, both you as the designer and the art bead artist can get the credit you both deserve!

• An Link Up button will be added to the bottom of the Monthly Challenge Recap post. Here you will be able to link up your blog post if you have one.  Be sure to hop around and see all the great inspiration and leave some comment love!

• The Monthly Challenge Recap with Blog Tour will be posted on May 31st.

Monthly Challenge Winners
• One prize winner will be selected at random from all pictures posted on the Pinterest board.

• One prize winner will be selected at random from all blog posts added to the hop for the Monthly Challenge Recap post. So if you want to be in the pool for the second prize, be sure to use the Link button at the bottom of the post to share your process and inspirations!

• Winners will be randomly chosen from all the qualifying entries on June 1st.

Perfect Pairings: Designer + Art Bead Artist
• Perfect Pairings focus on both the jewelry designer and the art bead artist. 

• Be sure to point out all the art bead artists in your work in the description of the photo on the Pinterest Board. Links to their website or shop are appreciated. That way we can all find new art beads to love!

• From all the entries during the month, an editor will pick their favorite design to be featured every Friday here on the ABS, so get those entries in soon.

What is an Art Bead?
An art bead is a bead, charm, button or finding made by an independent artist. Art beads are the vision and handiwork of an individual artist. You can read more about art beads here.

***A bead that is handmade is not necessarily an art bead. Hill Tribe Silver, Kazuri ceramic beads or lampwork beads made in factories are examples of handmade beads that are not considered art beads.

Beaded beads, stamped metal pendants or wire-wrapped components are not considered art beads for our challenge.***

April Monthly Challenge Winners

Congratulations to the April Monthly Challenge winners! 
1 winner was chosen randomly from all the challenge entrants.
1 winner was chosen randomly from the Linked blog entries.
Winner of a month of advertising on ABS from the Monthly Challenge Bead category.
Our First lucky winner is Michelle McInroe/McInroe Moments.
She has won Ceramic Leaf components valued over $50 from Firefly Design Studio
Our Second lucky winner is Terry Gauthier/Terri's Blooming Ideas.
She has won Beautiful lampworked beads valued at over $50 from T-Beads.
Our Winner from the Bead Entries of the Monthly Challenge is Barbara Hanselman/BHClaysmith.
She has won a Month of Advertising here on Art Bead Scene
Please e-mail an image and link for your ad.

 A huge thank you to and our April Monthly Challenge sponsors!

( email address is acting wonky sometimes) with your information (Name and address) so your prizes may be sent to you.

A Big THANK YOU to everyone who entered this month! We were so fortunate to have so many beautiful entries and experience such creativity from our wonderful readers.

Visit us tomorrow to see what May's challenge brings.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

April Monthly Challenge Recap

Hello Art Bead Peeps!

Sorry for the delay in getting this recap up and running...April is a tough month for me with my daughter's dance recital showcase week including a jewelry fundraiser that I do for them. Yesterday was the opening of the show, but early (far too early, if you ask me!) I transported several dancers (including my own Tiny Dancer) down to UW-Madison to participate in a university panel discussion on the benefits of dance education. Then back for the opening of the show. Whirlwind!

This month's inspiration is Gauguin. His tropical color palette shimmers with movement and life. I swear I can feel the heat on my shoulders and the breeze rustling the leaves of the jungle. For our part we picked up on the florals, the birds and the hot summery palette. Let's see what you created!

Now it is your turn... if you wrote a post about your project or process we would like to know! Link below for a chance to win some great prizes!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Jewelry Designer Interview with Michelle McEnroe of McEnroe Moments

Dancing Bunnies Necklace by Michelle McEnroe of McEnroe Moments Art bead by 
Caroline Dewison of blueberribeads

It is my great pleasure today to introduce you to Jewelry Designer Michelle McEnroe, the artist and creator of  McEnroe Moments.  I have come to know Michelle through her work with some of my ceramic pendants. I sought out Michelle to interview because of her passion for art beads. Today you will see many pictures of her beautiful work and learn about her creative life.Hopefully you will be introduced to some, new to you, art bead artists, as well
I sent Michelle a list of questions which she kindly answered.  She suggested that the questions be grouped together into themes and answered them that way. .  I also asked to her to make up some questions of her own.  Which she also did.  What follows is our collaboration on this interview.

Mary Harding:  When did you get interested in beads and beading and how did it come about? 
 I see that you are a published jewelry designer. How did you get the courage up to submit designs to magazines? What magazines have you been published in?

Michelle McEnroe:Growing up, my mother was always room-mom and did crafts with my class. I did the same with my three kids when they were in elementary school. Often the projects used beads including pine cone Christmas trees with beads as ornaments, candy canes made with beads, and spiders made with beads. From 2000 to 2002, I had a beaded bobby pin business where I wired seed beads, crystals, and pearls onto bobby pins. Unfortunately, Etsy was not around then.
My development as a beadwork artist started as a way to spend creative time with my oldest daughter. Rachel was taking Saturday language lessons in Red Bank, New Jersey. While waiting for her, I would wander the shops nearby and found our first bead store. Then after class, we would spend hours staring at the rainbow selection of gemstones and then took our first beadwork class, a DNA bracelet.   
Later, we started looking for more classes and found Artful Beads Studio in Pennington, New Jersey, which was close to her high school. We took quite a few classes and enjoyed the environment of the people who came to bead. We grew in our abilities and started designing beadwork projects ourselves. Rachel was published in April/May 2011 by Quick & Easy Beadwork Magazine. It was her first time submitting. She had several pieces published before I decided that I should try it too.
                           One of  Michelle's first published pieces:   101 Bracelets Necklaces, Earrings Necklaces Magazine  2013    Focal Art Bead Lisa Kan

Then our jewelry addiction took off. While traveling for college visits, we found bead stores everywhere we went. We took classes wherever we could, meeting amazing artists. In 2010, in Rochester, we happened to be visiting the same time as the ISGB (International Society of Glass Beadmakers). Our first real bead show.  Now, whenever I travel to somewhere new, a top criterion is always – where are the bead stores?
Etsy has been the most wonderful change to my creative life. I started buying beads in 2009 and started selling my own jewelry in 2013 through Etsy. I have met the most amazing people all over the world. In 2013, I started submitting my work for publication. 
One of Michelle's first earring designs published in Jewelry Stringing Magazine in 2013  Art beads and ceramic links by Starry Road Studio

 My jewelry has been published in Jewelry Stringing Magazine, Bead Trends, 101 Bracelets, Necklaces, and Earrings Magazine, Beadwork Magazine, Quick & Easy Beadwork Magazine, and Bead & Button Magazine, as well as online blogs. It was a special honor when I was the sole cover piece on the Jewelry Stringing Magazine Summer 2016 edition.   
Fruits of Summer Necklace  Cover of Jewelry Stringing Magazine Summer 2016 includes art beads from Ceramberries, Ghostlight Pottery, gaea, and Artybecca

Mary Harding:   I have noticed Michelle, that you often use art beads in your jewelry.
Who are your favorite bead makers and what is it in their work that appeals to you? 
Do you have a favorite medium when it comes to buying art beads?  

Michelle McEnroe: Art beads always introduce a special quality to a design.  The originality of your work is showcased in the ability to incorporate another artist’s work along with the supporting beads you select to design with.  Art beads always guide the color path of the jewelry design and therefore I usually start a project with my focal art bead or supporting art beads.  

I appreciate all forms of art beads.  Pottery free form and wheel, fire-torch enamel, lampwork glass, and stained glass are just a few of the crafts I have taken lessons in.  Having spent time in these mediums, I particularly can appreciate the level of time and difficulty it takes to turn out a beautiful art bead.  Fire-torch enamel is a prime example.  I have taken two classes in this medium and it really makes one appreciate the difficulty of producing such amazing effects.  

My favorite medium would have to be ceramic beads, all kinds of ceramic, from stoneware, earthenware, and raku pottery to porcelain.  The pottery wheel was a constant source of challenge for me for many years, and usually a continued stream of disappointment after I received my glazed result.  Therefore, I am in awe of the bead artists who develop such fine skills with glazing.

I have too many favorite bead makers to list and compliment them all, however I will note a special few and why.  
  • Claire Lockwood of somethingtodobeads would be at the top of my list.  I find her ability to continually change mediums and turn out original designs inspiring and I would love to meet her someday.  Her moth pendants are art beads that I cannot part with and are the art beads that I cherish the most.  
Necklace by Michelle McEnroe with Moth bead by Claire Lockwood of Somethingtodobeads

  • Mary Harding is another artist who I have a trouble parting with the art beads I buy; I want to keep all designs I create using her beautiful pendants.  Mary is the key example in my point about the use of glaze.  No one can touch her level of detail and color in each small piece of art work.
  • Desert Flower Necklace by Michelle McEnroe with art bead pendant by Mary Harding

  • Kylie Parry is an addiction of mine.  Her high quality and creative themes capture my imagination and creating with them comes so easily.  Also, as a mother and an artist, I am amazed and so jealous of her ability to live her life creating and traveling with young children.
  • Santa Fe Earrings art beads by Kylie Parry and Zolanna
  • Anna of zolanna is my new obsession.  Her boho bead creations with color and texture make her beads like candy to me. I cannot stop myself from buying them.
  • unique ceramic bead boho bead ceramic component for jewelry making handcrafted ceramic bead by  zolanna
  •                                      Art Bead by Anna of Zolanna

Mary Harding: What are some of the themes you see in your jewelry? 
Do you define yourself as making jewelry in a certain style?  
Do you find inspiration from jewelry from the past or particular eras or cultures?  
What colors do you like to work with best?

Michelle McEnroe: Unlike many jewelry designers, I do not have a particular style nor do I focus on a particular medium.  I make jewelry due to my constant desire to create.  My mood at that time often guides the project I am working on.   I have attempted almost every hobby that involves color.  Although I may gravitate to certain color themes (like purples with greens), I enjoy all colors and combinations of them.  Jewelry and color reflects one’s moods.  Different people express themselves uniquely.  Even some jewelry that I may not personally wear, like minimalist jewelry, I do create and sell, because wearing some jewelry to express oneself is better than none, and I appreciate those that support jewelry artists.  An empty neckline or ears is a tragedy.  Everyone should decorate themselves with the added layer of expression and color, no matter what style.  
I find inspiration everywhere.  I often start with the art bead to begin a jewelry design; however, my jewelry often builds itself based upon the colors I want to work with.  Besides art beads, one of my favorite type of beads is vintage glass beads, especially milk glass and Givre glass beads.  Hunting for vintage glass beads is like a treasure hunt.  I especially admire the work of Miriam Haskell.  The glass beads of the 1920s through the 1960s, and the use of bead clusters and flowers often plays a role in my designs.
Besides my family and jewelry, a significant part of my life has been my pets.  Many bead artists have heard me ask – Can you make a bunny?  If a bunny bead exists, I have probably bought multiple colors and styles of it.  One of my favorite bunny bead suppliers is Caroline Dewison of blueberribeads.
Necklace by McEnroe Moments Art Bead Pendant by RoundRabbit

Necklace Design McEnroe Moments  Art Bead Pendant by Caroline Dewison of  blueberribeads
 I found Nancy Schindler Adams of Round Rabbit by searching the internet for bunny beads.  Pendants from these two artists fill my personal jewelry collection that I wear often.  I also have 13 guinea pigs, and have cherished guinea pigs my whole life.  However, I understand that surprisingly many people do not know what a guinea pig is or they seem harder to represent in beads.  However, Jessica Counts of Sweet Birch 
Designs  and Leah Curtis of BeadyEyedBunny have both created wonderful guinea pig and bunny beads for me.
beads by Leah Curtis of BeadyEyedBunny

Guinea pig and Bunny beads by Jessica Counts of Sweet Birch Designs.

Emily Kline of nymphandnectar has also created custom art beads for me.  Fire torch enamel is a current craze in earring design, and the market is saturated with such creations.  Last fall I asked if she could create pieces in the shape of bunnies and cats.  I have been drawing a cartoon cat the same way since elementary school, a sleeping cat with the arms tucked and the tail curled against the body.  I sent her a drawing and my image magically appeared into beautiful art beads.  

Kitty earrings based on a drawing by Michelle rendered by Emily Kline
One of my favorite necklaces from my personal collection incorporates all of the above; this necklace has a lavender bunny pendant by blueberribeads, all possible shades of my favorite color purple, and clusters of flowers and beads.  Another favorite personal jewelry design also incorporates a pendant by blueberribeads; the pendant has two bunnies, the color theme is mauve and pale green, and the flower dangles are more like vines with the use of waxed Irish linen cord.
Necklace Design by McEnroe Moments Art Bead Pendant blueberribeads
Mary Harding: Do you have a dedicated studio or do you work around the home? Can you describe your work space?

Michele McEnroe:I have never had an actual studio.  In New Jersey, the work space was the living room floor or the dining room table.  The more space that was available, the more spread out the projects would become.  Holiday times are a favorite of mine, because all my children are home and also because my daughter Rachel and I would cover every possible area with beads.  Our creativity takes off in every possible direction as we fill the floor so that no one can walk into the room.

When we moved to Texas, I wanted the studio area to not always be in plain view, so my beading room became one with Rachel’s room when she is home.  In 2016, we adopted our third bunny, Tiny Tim, who is not yet ready to mingle with the others in the pet room, so Tiny Tim now shares my work space.  When I am working and he is out of his cage, he guards me at the little white gate.  He is my constant beading companion.
Tiny Tim Michelle's constant beading companion

Thank you so much Michelle for sharing your beading and creative life with us. It has been great to learn about your design ideas and bead passions. I look forward to seeing more of your designs in the future. I am sure out readers will be visiting your Etsy Shop to see more of your work.

Post by Mary Harding