Thursday, December 18, 2014

Art Bead Palette :: CalypsoBeads

Summer Wine Lampwork Heart Bead

Is it bad to say that winter has pretty much just started, and I'm already over it? Not that I ever need a reason to dream of warm beaches, but Silke Buechler's shop, CalypsoBeads, absolutely fits into my daydreams right now.

To see more lampwork goodness, click on over to Silke's shop!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Perfect Pairings :: LaTouchables + HappyFallOut + BalelaCeramics + ErinsWindow

The quiet contemplative color palette of the challenge painting sets the mood for this month. But what I love about a neutral palette like this is that it forces you to play with the shapes, textures and scale. This long necklace with the cluster of ceramic beads mimics the arches of the cathedral. The soft hand-embroidered bead by Dawn of LaTouchables makes me think of the simple clothes of the people clustered in the cloister. The pop of orange seems a bit shocking, but it reminds me of the chandeliers lighting the way.
[Dawn's Etsy shop is currently on vacation, but definitely one to earmark for later!]
Featured Designer :: Dawn of LaTouchables
Featured Bead Artist :: HappyFallOut + BalelaCeramics + ErinsWindow
Just a friendly reminder... We have a slightly new format for uploading your pictures for consideration for the Perfect Pairings each Wednesday, as well as the Monthly Challenge Recap post. 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 link to your picture in Pinterest so that I have someplace to attribute the picture to! And don't forget to tell us about those art beads!
Deadline to get your pictures posted to the Pinterest boards for the creation of the Monthly Challenge Recap post is Monday, December 29th! Get them in early this month! Let's see what you created!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Art Bead Scene Editors Takes the Challenge

It's that time again, the ABS editors jump in and see what we can create based on the month's challenge. I'm going to share what I made here on the blog today. 

I don't know about you but December is a crazy time of year for me. Between working, selling, promoting, meeting deadlines and then trying to stuff Christmas celebrations in there too I sort of lose my mind. I have two blog hops this week, this one and on Thursday I'm hosting a Michael's Beading Challenge on my blog. (Play along!)

So I mention all this craziness because adding a blog hop or two during this time of year can actually help you out! You'll create new jewelry to either add to your shop, give as a gift or create something to wear to your upcoming festivities. 

Blog hops: helping multi-taskers check off their to-do list! 

So if you haven't seen this month's challenge, check it out here and make plans to enter this month.  I love the quiet, hushed tones of this panting and find the arches make my eyes travel down that corridor - you can almost here the chanting of the choirs. 

For my first piece I picked a focal that whispered of the shapes in the painting and reflected the muted colors used in the palette. I couldn't help but think of Emily Dickinson's poem, while I made this piece.  So my pendant reflects the cathedral that nature creates. I picked beads that had an ethereal feel in color and reflected some of the tiny bits of color in the painting. The gilded leaf and disk beads are Humblebeads and the ceramic bead is from Earthenwood Studio.

SOME keep the Sabbath going to church;
I keep it staying at home,
With a bobolink for a chorister,
And an orchard for a dome.
Some keep the Sabbath in surplice;        
I just wear my wings,
And instead of tolling the bell for church,
Our little sexton sings.
God preaches,—a noted clergyman,—
And the sermon is never long;        
So instead of getting to heaven at last,
I ’m going all along!

-Emily Dickinson

My second piece is a bit more of a literal interpretation with tiny pewter charms that look like the archways in the painting. These little gems are from Mamacita Beadworks. The polymer clay beads are Humblebeads. I kept the design simple with brass jump rings and black steel wire for contrast.

Look what Mary made!
I want you to run over to Mary Hardings' blog now and see the components she created inspired the challenge this month.

Look what Erin made!
Better late than never! Erin creates a new pendant, component or charm in her Simple Truths line each month inspired by the art we choose for the Art Bead Scene Monthly challenge. This month, Erin actually chose the painting we are using and it was the strong architectural lines that drew her to it. She created these Saenedam Doodle pendants with a domed polymer clay base in a very heavy antique silver bezel with a patchwork pattern of doodles in spaces that mimic the arches in the cathedral. Each one is different. These are on their way to the Simple Truths Sampler Club members for December, but there are a few extras of these limited edition pendants available.

And now it's your turn - carve out just a wee bit of time between sipping egg nog and wrapping presents and create something inspired by our challenge! Need some motivation? How about those two $50 art bead prizes? Check out our sponsors.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Inside the Studio with Erin Prais-Hintz

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. 

Congratulations Debra Gibson!
You have won one of Mary's new metal toggles.
Please send Mary an email with your information. 

This week we check in with Erin Prais-Hintz to see what is going on Inside the Studio.


I have been riding a whirlwind the last few months.

If you have been following me, you know that in September, quite out of the blue, I was offered an opportunity that I just couldn't refuse: film four hour-long videos for Interweave (F+W Media).

Since my creating time is relegated to the 9p-midnight hours for me, and September weekends were filled with football games, Homecoming plus a full three-day school fundraiser, I really had to work hard and fast to come up with the content. Not only did I have to come up with four completely different ideas, but I had to make prototypes... write outlines, intros and scripts... gather supplies and materials... make travel arrangements... create jewelry with the techniques... and practice, practice, practice. Needless to say, I had a lot of sleepless nights!

I told Jean Cox that I was not a technique based artist. Rather, I have wide breadth of knowledge. I didn't mean that to sound like I don't know anything, it is just that I feel like I would be hard-pressed to have any one technique something that I am known for. I work in metals and wire... I string and assemble... I create with clay and resin and mixed media. I consider myself more of a bricolage artist, a bricoleur.

bri·co·lage /brēkōˈläZH,ˌbrikə-/ noun
     : something constructed or created from a diverse range of available things.
     : origin : French "to tinker, to do odd jobs" 
So constructing from the diverse range of available things in my own studio and life, I ended up with these four ideas that evolved into these four videos:

Shimmering Garden: wire wrapped petal shaped beads form a sparkling garden of blooms to give your pieces a fresh take on a retro look.

Fabulous Facets: polymer clay, inks and patinas combine to make rough faceted handmade beads in an ombre color effect.

Flashes of Brilliance: paint, mica, glitter, stones and resin combine for truly unique faux gemstones and include a new on the scene UV resin that gives almost instant gratification!

Wire Doodles: create freeform links and connectors in dark annealed steel wire that can be used in a variety of ways in your jewelry using both the Now That's a Jig and your hand tools

Filming was everything you would imagine it to be... overwhelming... nerve-wracking... hard work... and even fun! Putting something on like this is definitely a challenge and there is a lot that has to be prepared and thought out. It certainly makes me appreciate those that take the time to teach and share their knowledge, whether in written tutorials, slideshow webinars or workshop settings. I think that there has become such an expectation that content is delivered free for the taking and people find it so easy to criticize the work without any regard for the person behind the class. After going through this, I will certainly remember how much time and effort goes into the classes and tutorials that I take and truly appreciate it. I can remember how great it felt to be done with the filming and have some time to drive into the surrounding mountains near Fort Collins, CO to take in the breathtaking views. It was just what I needed to decompress and reflect on all that transpired.

And then you wait.

Luckily, they are really on top of pushing the content to the website as soon as possible. Did you know that Interweave offers over 500 videos on their site They are completely professional and efficient and I feel so grateful for this experience. Plus, I really didn't have to wait all that long before the videos were starting to show up on their site. Ready in just about three weeks!

I wasn't sure if I would be able to deliver content that was worth flying me out to Colorado for the subscription service on The good news is that they liked my content so much that they decided to also offer them as either downloads or DVDs through the Now that is a true 'something good!'

There is also something new that I am finishing up...can you keep a secret? It's a kit! F+W Media asked me to be the first featured artist in the month of January and they asked me to make up a kit to go along with the Fabulous Facets video. Right now my dining room looks like the elves have taken over! Next week I will be sending off limited edition kits to Interweave/F+W Media in time for the January blitz. I am calling them Creativity To Go Kits and I think they will really enhance the learning experience of the DVD.

Can I let you in on another secret? I will be co-teaching a class at the Bead & Button Show in June 2015 with Brenda Schweder (inventor of the Now That's a Jig that I used in the Wire Doodles video) based on my AlphabetiQ necklace. So you know what I will be busy preparing in January!

December and January seem to be the time that I gobble up videos and make arrangements to take classes. This is the time that I start thinking of new techniques I would like to try, teachers I admire that I would like to meet, skills that I would like to develop. I actively set aside funds each year to take classes and buy resources that will help me learn something new. For myself, I have already bought a bunch of polymer clay tutorials (like this and this and this) and I am looking at taking some new wire and metal working classes (like this and this and this and this). So my question to you is this...

What new skill/technique are you looking to learn in 2015?
Please feel free to share links to those tutorials, classes and retreats that you are looking into
(I am always looking for more ways to learn!)

A random winner will have their choice of either the Shimmering Garden or Fabulous Facets video to kick start your creativity for the New Year! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Art Bead Palette :: JimenasTreasures

Handmade Copper-Fiber Bead

I am absolutely smitten with the fabric wrapped metal beads from Jana of JimenasTreasures. The soft textures remind me of a cozy sweater, and the bright colors feels so festive for the holiday season. Out of all of the lovely listings Jana offers, this one is my favorite. How about you?

To see more, click on over to JimenasTreasures!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Inviciti Pewter Charms and Pendants Giveaway

Thanks to some of my beady Facebook friends I recently discovered the Etsy shop of Inviciti. A husband and wife beadmaker and jewelry designer team that creates work that is "a synthesis of styles including tribal, primitive, mystical, Gothic, Victorian, all with a lived-in, timeworn aura."

Their ancient relic aesthetic fits so perfectly with our challenge theme this month so I just had to share their work with you.

The charms and pendants are lead-free pewter and they offer a line of religious icon resin pendants too. Their pewter comes in several different finishes with varying degrees of antiquing. 

I'll just let their photos do the talking and inspiring today...

Every piece in their shop could be used in as the art beads in our monthly challenge this round. I mean, just look at these charms and the painting below - you couldn't have asked for a better match!

"Choir of Sint-Bavokerk, Haarlem" 1635 by Pieter Jansz Saenedam

You can read about our Art Bead Scene Challenge here and I encourage you to enter. We know it's a busy time of year - but you have to make gifts anyway, so just let your challenge do some double duty this month!

This week we are giving away a $20 gift certificate provided by Inviciti to use in their bead shop!!! 

To enter share this post on any social media platform (Pin it, share it on Facebook or Twitter, etc.) and leave a comment letting us know you shared.

We'll draw one random winner on Saturday.

Now that you are back after sharing the challenge it's time for you to run off and discover all the amazing creativity you can find from Vincent and Nooma:

Monday, December 8, 2014

Amuse Your Muse with Rebecca of Songbead

Hello ABS-ers! It's December.....I'm pretty sure I say this every month, but how on earth did that happen? How did we (almost) reach the end of 2014? I'm really not sure! I feel like I had so many more goals and accomplishments to achieve before the year's out. Well, we've got three weeks I suppose - we can still squeeze some in! 

For one reason or another, last month's holiday bead theme got cut short. Sometimes it happens like that, depending on what dates the Mondays fall on. So I thought - it's December, it's chilly, we're heading towards the holidays - be that Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, or even just downtime spent with family and friends (you can't really beat that, can you?) - let's carry on with the holiday beadzzzzzz. 

TooAquarius - These wee snowmen are full of character. 

Gaialai - Very cute, and full of colour - these dreidels are fab.

Polyclay Day OK, so this one is a necklace - but how sweet are Polyclay Day's handmade snowflake beads? I love their simplicity.

Jettabug Jewelry  - I love the particular holiday shades that Jetta has selected. What a gorgeously rich crimson red!

Now for a wee bit of housekeeping. I realised the other day that no winner had been drawn for my last Inside the Studio post. Oh no! And I certainly do NOT want the lucky winner to miss out. So I did my own little draw (with the help of, and the lucky winner of two pairs of my handwoven beads is.......

Catherynne Henderson! Catherynne, email me to claim your prize and let me know which colours you'd like to receive. 

Don't forget to check out this week's Inside the Studio post for the chance to win one of Mary Harding's new silver metal toggle clasps.

And now for the BeadBlogger Links. Have a great week!