Saturday, November 22, 2014

Book Review: The Beader's Guide to Jewelry Design by Margie Deeb

 The Fundamentals of Jewelry Design for Bead Artists by Margie Deeb

Whether you are a seasoned bead designer, just beginning, or somewhere in the middle, I think you will find lots to love in Margie Deeb's newest book, The Fundamentals of Jewelry Design for Bead Artists.  Beautifully illustrated, full of explicit examples and dynamite practical information, this book seems to cover it all.
Let's start with the structure which follows the process of jewelry design itself.  Her chapters go as follows:
Focal Points & Emphasis
Jewelry and the Body
The Creative Journey

Within each chapter there are at least 12 subheadings ( with the exception of Color, Deeb's known specialty, and that one has 24)  that break down the subject into its important components with specific examples and opportunities for the reader to get involved in design decisions. And even better, each section ends with Challenge Yourself exercises that give you several ways of exploring each design concept further in your own work. Margie gives us specific "assignments" that will sharpen our skills in each learning area.  You are free to work your way through the book or pick out areas that you feel would be most helpful to you.

In addition to the challenges, there are many graphics through out the book that she gives us permission to copy, enlarge etc. for personal use.  For example, in the chapter Shape, she has drawings that we can practice seeing how a design would look by drawing it right on the human form.  In the chapter, Jewelry and the Body she includes 17 pages of images, drawings and charts of how jewelry and body shape interact .  These are an invaluable resource.

One of my favorite chapters is The Creative Journey.  Here Deeb addresses that universal "elephant in the room" fear and doubt, with specific, constructive suggestions.  She deepens the discussion with ideas for nurturing and encouraging our creativity by showing us how to structure  our creative process through her own examples and those she has gleaned from 8 other jewelry designers, many of whom you will know.

I hope I have given you enough information to see that The Beader's Guide to Jewelry Design can have an important place in your personal library.  You can purchase it directly from the publisher,  Lark Books, or online at  Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.

Thank you  for stopping by.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Inside the studio with Claire Lockwood

Welcome to Inside the Studio!

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 Connie W! 
You have won a beautiful lampwork lentil from Ema K.
Please send Ema an email with your information.


Things are kinda betwixt and between at the moment.  Since my last ITS post, that shed I showed you, is now inhabited by....

....Bertha! Bertha has a surprisingly big ol' belly. I did my first bisque firing last week. I imagined I had enough to fill her up but I was wrong.  I have another bisque firing 'scheduled' so I can fix oxides and underglazes on the pieces from the first firing.  Now I'm aware of just how much will fit inside, I'm busily trying to get enough greenware made up to pack out all the space there'll be in this second firing.  So, I have a lot of bisque and greenware beads on my hands and I thought I'd share a few here. I've been getting some seasonal, winter-y pieces made.

Igloos - charm/pendant and a bead version

A trio of terracotta robins waiting for their red breasts

Snowy white porcelain birds

A lone penguin.

Which brings me to polar bears.  Madeline Bunyan makes the most fabulous teeny lampwork polar bears. I always get some as Christmas appears on the horizon. This gang of five turned up at mine yesterday.

I do love polar bears and these are really are teeny.  I've tried making polar bear beads from polymer in the past; the results were always a bit lumpen.  Anyway, I thought I'd try making a little ceramic polar bear. I'm not very good at 'little' generally - not as good as I'd like to be, at least (see the quite large penguin above).  

I'm fairly pleased with it but there's a chance it'll be a run of one because it took me a fair old while to make it. The ears: argh! It would probably have been easier if I hadn't decided to make it whilst I had the porcelain out. A white earthenware would surely have made things easier.  That said, I have been loving the porcelain.  Here's a few less winter-y pieces that are waiting to be fired.

I can't stop making lily/seed/pod type forms.

(These are earthenware with one black stoneware sheep.)

And a few more bits and pieces that are in the works...

In other studio business, I had to have a bit of a tidy and a clear out to accommodate my ever growing glaze collection.  Accumulating the pile of mess below has been the work of several years.  

My poor Hornsea hen, festooned with scraps of wire, ribbon, linen, gem tassels and lord knows what else. There was even a heap of Twizzlers from all my Lima Beads orders - see there, on the left of the picture.  Eventually, I managed to sort through it all ( / just sling a load of it in the bin) and get some order in place.

Now I have everything conveniently positioned next to me so I can grab it as I work. 

I have also found time to make some jewellery, here and there. Here's just a few pieces.

(ceramic spikes and connector - Scorched Earth; ceramic bird - me)

(blue bear bead - Jo Lucksted)

(polymer heart - Jetta Bug Jewelry; ceramic round - Golem Studios)

I think that is everything - which means it's giveaway time!  The prize on offer this week is...

Only joking! The prize is $20 of credit to spend in either my bead or my jewellery shop.

The question to answer is: who makes your favourite winter-y / seasonal art beads and what are they?  Comment below for the chance to win that $20 of credit!

Bye for now, Claire

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Art Bead Palette :: ZestyFrog

This week's art bead palette comes to us courtesy of ZestyFrog, a lovely ceramic bead shop run by Annica. In there, you can find all sorts of lovely ceramic beads in organic shapes and textures. That's definitely where Annica shines, in my opinion - all of her beads feel like little natural treasures.

For this palette, I chose Annica's organic medley bead set. The colors are fantastic and great for fall, what with the olive greens and mustard yellow. The possibilities for this bead set are incredible!

To see more, stop by Annica's shop! Which beads are your favorite?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Perfect Pairings :: Amanda Sagarin + Numinosity + Ragged Robyn

What I love about my pick for this week is that it is not literal at all.
There are so many elements to pick up on in this month's challenge painting, from the birds to the flower to the nest that it is hard to see past that. So it surprises and delights me to see that this is the painting deconstructed. The flamed and enameled matchstick pendants in these earrings really do call to mind the flower. The rugged discs make me think of all the tree bark and the nest. I think these earrings have a very unique look to them!

Featured Designer :: Amanda Sagarin

Featured Bead Artist :: Numinostiy + Ragged Robyn

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 Thursday, November 27th...Thanksgiving! Get them in early this month! Let's see what you created!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Amuse the Muse - Holiday Beads - with Rebecca of Songbead

It's Monday - it's time for your regular art beady eye candy post! Thanks to everyone for sharing your holiday bead finds - I love seeing what you stumble across during the week; finding new bead artists is always very exciting. Thanks to Liona, Colleen and Mary for this week's finds!

Odie Bell's Designs - Lampwork holly berry beads

Fire and Fibers - Snowman and Snowlady lampwork beads

Mick's Company - Hand-rolled paper beads 

Mary shared these lovely wee charms, new to her shop this week. Aren't they just gorgeous? 
Mary Harding Jewelry - Handmade Snowy Fir Tree Charms

State of Fusion - Lampwork beads in holiday colours

Midget Gem Beads - Poinsettia Christmas Beads 

Last but not least, and possibly my favourite of this week's finds - this beautifully icy heart bead. And Masque Beads are based just around the corner from me - they are also in Edinburgh! It's a small art beady world. 
Masque Beads - Sandblasted lampwork snowflake heart

Remember to share your holiday art bead finds in the comments below! 

And now for the BeadBlogger Links:

Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer; currently living in Edinburgh, capital of her native land. You can read more about her and her work at her blog, and see more of her jewellery at She also has a supplies shop at

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The ABS Editors Take the Challenge!

The Art Bead Scene editors have rose again to take the monthly challenge. We are having so much fun playing along every month we've decided to make this a regular feature. Take some time this month to enter the challenge for a chance to win some amazing prizes. 

And don't forget beadmakers, we have a category for you too and you could win a month of advertising on the ABS.

Visit our blogs to see what we've created for the challenge:

(Rebecca's post will go up on Monday)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Artist Interview with Rejetta Sellers

Happy Saturday, all!  I don't usually do Saturday posts, the brief for which is fairly open. So, I decided that today I'd put together an interview with one of my favourite designers and beady friends.  Many of you will be familiar with Rejetta Sellers's wonderful work - her fabulously detailed and dinky polymer beads and her gorgeous jewellery designs, which regularly appear in Stringing magazine.  I'm always impressed by (and a little envious of) the way she brings together diverse elements, the ingenious methods of combining and connecting, and the harmony and balance she achieves in each piece. And her polymer beads are amongst my very favourites. She sells both in her Etsy shop.  So, anyway, over to Rejetta....

How did you get into beading and what was the first piece of jewellery you made?

I have always loved making things with my hands: cross-stitch, historic costumes, scrapbooking, etc. One day I spent extra time looking at everything my local craft store sold. There were some pretty beads on sale; lovely ball beads made up of maroon crystals. I strung them on a beading chain and my mother took the necklace off my neck and said I couldn’t have it back. Of course, I had to go buy more beads to make another one and I just never stopped buying beads.

What led you to start making polymer clay beads?

I found out I am a microcosm person. I like the tiny details in the world. With polymer clay I can manipulate, twist and sculpt on a tiny scale. And the biggest benefit with two young children is being able to leave a project, come back later, and it hasn’t dried out or become misshapen.

Do you have a favourite piece or pieces, be it jewellery or beads?

Details, details, details...I love my more detailed woodland animal beads that I make. In other bead artists I love the artful details, whether it is a crackle finish, texture, intriguing color combinations, or the shape of the bead.
For jewelry I am all over the place. I like every type of jewelry I see. I am mostly drawn to rustic, organic, free flowing designs. I enjoy jewelry designers who create with passion in their work. It is all such eye candy. I might challenge myself to venture into minimalist, romantic, Goth, phrase jewelry or bead weaving but I usually feel most comfortable stringing with beads, fiber and chain.

Do you have a favourite bead artist, and is there a jewellery designer who has particularly influenced your work?

I keep accumulating favourite bead artists and jewelry designers. I guess it is my thirst for unique pieces for my own work. For polymer beads it is Christi Friesen. She captured my attention with her techniques. She wasn’t doing polymer clay like I had seen before: caning, using molds, applying paint. She mixed the colors she wanted with the polymer and shaped it all by hand. And that is how I do my polymer pieces, too.

I wouldn’t even know where to start with a jewelry designer that is a favourite.  Each artist is different in design and materials used. I learn something new every time I look at other artist’s work. A few favourites: Slash Knots for a lovely boho style, Lorelei Eurto for her fearless use of colors and texture, Sparrow Salvage and My Selvaged Life for the post apocalyptic style that I am crazy about right now, Quisam for the feminine grunge look, and the romantic style is Tied Up Memories. The list really could go on and on...

Do you tend to plan your designs in your head or do you arrive at them by playing around with what you have in your stash?

I am very open to how I plan a jewelry design. Sometimes a design comes to mind and I dig through my beads to make it. I do a lot of sketches when I am travelling or can’t get to my stash of beads right away. But most of the time I will open my containers of beads and create a piece around one artisan bead.

What is your workspace like? 

I have seen other artist work spaces and mine is just as messy as the next persons! Sometimes ideas come so fast for a design, I may has 2-3(or more) jewelry designs in progress at any moment, a laptop fitted in there somewhere, new artisan beads that have arrived that are not put away yet, several blobs of polymer clay either left over from a project or halfway through a new design, and most wonderfully, my kid’s art work. And in amongst what others see as chaos I see a world of jewelry potential.

What is your favourite aspect of working with art beads?

Art beads are art. I am holding a tiny (remember I LOVE tiny) masterpiece in my hand. Some of my art beads have me so under their spell I don’t want to create with for fear I’ll have to let it go. Some whisper in my ear what jewelry design they want to become. And that whisper and need to horde happens to every person who buys an art bead. They are a fingerprint of the artist’s personality.

I really enjoyed finding out more about Rejetta's work and inspiration.  In very good news, this collection of winter-y lovelies are headed to Rejetta's shop today, Saturday, 15th November at 10am CST.  To keep up to date with all her latest designs and shop updates, be sure to follow her Facebook page.

Bye for now, Claire