Saturday, January 31, 2015

January Monthly Challenge Recap

Fresh, vibrant and full of life. That is what I think of when I see this poster for the January Challenge. I also think of a future that is bright and filled with awesome things to discover. A fitting start to our new year and new creative paths.

Just click the picture above to start!
Art Bead Scene January 2015 Recap by Slidely Slideshow
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January 2015 Art Bead Scene Monthly Challenge Recap.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Inside the Studio with Mary Harding

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 to Karen L.
You have won a pair of Lustre, Frosted, Opal handwoven beads from Rebecca of Songbeads
Please send Rebecca an email with your information.

I am  pleased to open my studio to you on this cold but sunny winter day and share what I have been up to lately.

Hearts ready to be glazed.  This is a picture of the back of the hearts

A forest of heart ready to be glazed looking out my studio window into the winter snow

Like many others this time of year, I have been making hearts.

Close up of hand painted heart ready for the clear glaze

Metal Hearts  Solder Stamped

Ceramic Hearts -- Fronts of some of the ones in the first picture

A  Wire Wrought Heart

A Hand Cut Heart

A  Wire Heart

I have also been experimenting with Gelli Plate printing  on wet ceramic clay, as opposed to hand
painting the clay as in these pendants and earring charms below.   

Hand painted with glazes which makes for bright colors---earring charms

 Gelli Plate Printed  Earring Charms  One Firing  Light colors

So that is what I have been up to lately.  You can find the Ceramic Hearts and Small Metal Hearts  in my Etsy Shop  this morning

The Question and the Prize

Since it is so cold today, a weather question comes to mind.  What season do find inspires you to be most creative? and Why??  Leave a comment below and you will be entered to win a pair of ceramic hearts.  I find that winter inspires me the most, even though it is very cold where I live, because there are fewer distractions and more time for creating.  I look forward to reading your answers.
Thanks so much for stopping by.

Winter Sunrise

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Snow Day! + Free Day + Hearts

Woohoo! I felt like a kid. I got the word on Monday afternoon that work was canceled for Tuesday. It's a snow day! Immediately my brain got to spinning about ALL the things I could create with my free snow day.

Unfortunately I forgot about all the snow I would have to shovel. lol. It turns out that this snow storm, dubbed Blizzard 2015 by the local media, is going down in the history books. My little town was the jackpot town for this storm. Seriously! Up and down the eastern seaboard of the United States my little town went down in history as having the highest snow total. When all was said and done we had a total of 36 inches of snow! Thankfully it was a light and fluffy snow. None the less it required a lot of time and energy to shovel it away.

News worthy, a screenshot of the tele before the storm ended. It's not often that Boston news cares about what happens in Central Massachusetts.

I had to shovel my way out of the house. My two dogs were on my heels wondering why I couldn't shovel faster.

I was the only one in my house that had to get up and go to work today, the day after the storm. Something seemed wrong with that! This is my husbands' truck and my sons' car. Buried. Luckily my car gets to live in the garage.

It was not a total loss as far as beading goes. I did have some time at the end of the day which I put to good use by cleaning up my jewelry bench. It was in desperate need of organization.

The before photo. A bit difficult to find space to work.

The after photo. 
It feels good to have some space. I already have a project ready to work on. More on that in my next post. My husband and son, who share this office space have both commented on how good the space looks. Whoa! Since when do my guys care about organization? Now if only they would clean up their spaces.

I also made time to clean my new glass order. I received an order from Frantz Art Glass...this always makes me giddy. I didn't take a picture of all the new glass rods I received. I wish I had a photo to share with you. Rebecca got me thinking about the beautiful color Marsala with all her intriquing posts of this lovely Pantone color. I can't wait to try these new colors and see what beads I can come up with. 

I did have a litte torch time too. Of course with Valentine's Day around the corner I've been conjuring up some hearts. I love hearts. I collect them and I love to make them. For some reason I haven't made hearts in a long time. I collect hearts in all types of mediums. I see them in clouds, in trees, I covet paintings of hearts, even Dollar store felt hearts make my heart sing, I have some small quilted hearts and of course lampwork glass hearts. 

Today I share some of my own lampwork heart beads.

And these hearts have carmalized nicely with silvered glass stringer decorations.

I have learned over the years that some people love hearts and some people, quite honestly, can't stand them. So today I ask you, are you a heart person? Do you love them or don't care to work with them? Are you designing a special piece of jewelry for Valentines Day or are you rolling your eyes and saying not happening here? I love to know what you're thinking so please share your thoughts in  kind manner.

As always, thanks for visiting with me and stopping by ABS today. 

Ema Kilroy is a lampworker and metalsmith living and working in Central Massachusetts. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Perfect Pairings :: Divya + Jyothi

The bright and varied palette of colors in this month's challenge rev me up! And that is what attracted me to this necklace by Divya N of Jewels of Sayuri. The round shapes, the long tassel, the glowing purple orb... all evoke the playfulness and sense of movement in this challenge painting. 

The beads are from an artist in India named Jyothi. You can read an interview that Divya did with her on her blog.

Featured Designer :: Divya of Jewels of Sayuri
Featured Bead Artist :: Jyothi

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 post a link in your Pinterest description 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 TODAY, Wednesday, January 28th! I will be making up the recap shortly.
Let's start the new year off with a BANG!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tutorial Tuesday - Spring Birds Earrings

At this time of year, I weary a little of claims that Spring is just around the corner. Perhaps it's my dour perspective, but to my mind, Spring is far from just around the corner. It doesn't seem at all near! Still, there's no reason not to get ahead and make some Spring-y designs and that's what we have here.

The ceramic birds that I've used are from Blueberribeads, as you may well know. The wooden barrels are from Pyamtuning Crafts. Aside from your art beads, you'll need: three 20cm lengths of 4ply waxed linen in shades of green (I've used mint, sage and olive); four 4cm lengths of 1mm hemp, in khaki or something similarly neutral; a range of bead caps - around 5-6 for each earring; 12 mini czech glass bellflowers; 24 gauge antique copper wire; and, of course, a pair of ear wires.

To start, lay out your cords, with the short lengths of hemp at the centre point of the linen cords. Then take a generous length of your wire and bind them all, at the centre. Making a wrapped loop and wind the tail from your loop slightly down over the top of your cords where they have been folded.  

Next, string all your linen cords through the wooden barrel, leaving the short hemp lengths splayed out at the top. Take another piece of wire - around 8cm should do - and wrap it round the linen below the barrel to secure it in place.  Then, start to fray your hemp cord so you get a 'mop' of single strands.  Once you've unravelled all your hemp, select a bead cap that will sit tightly over the top of the hemp. You want something that will push your hemp so it falls downwards over the barrel. The cap I've used can be folded in to keep the hemp in place.

Start adding the rest of your bead caps, with the cup of the cap facing upwards, to form a nest. Then, add your bird. I've sat a little spacer in the top of the hole in the bird as it is fairly large and the wire is rather fine.  You may be tempted to use a thicker wire to give more rigidity but I found that 22 gauge wire was not flexible enough to grip the cords as tightly as is need. As the wire is quite fine, I've made a double wrapped loop above the bird to finish the top of the earring.  Next, turn your attention back to the hemp.

I've trimmed the ends of mine so that the lower half of the wooden barrel can be seen; it also gives a bit of a neater look. Next, attach your ear wire. The final step is to add your glass flowers. Thread one onto each of your linen cords and secure with a knot, fixing them at different positions on the cords. Finish by trimming your cords just below each knot.  Then, you just need to make your second earring.

Bye for now, Claire

Monday, January 26, 2015

Amuse the Muse - Marsala beads - with Rebecca of Songbead

Hello everyone, and happy Monday. It's the last week of Marsala - and that's because it's the last week of January! Yippee! I've found another lovely selection for you this week. Enjoy.

I hope you've been as inspired as I have by this year's colour of the year. See if you can challenge yourself to use it in some of your designs this week! 

Next month's theme is.......heart beads! No, not very original considering the month - but whether you choose to embrace loving your sweetheart, your friends or yourself next month, love isn't really a bad thing, is it? Especially not when it's in bead form. Leave your {he}art bead links in the comments below. 

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

Cherie Burbach

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

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Irish waxed linen macrame button loop clasp tutorial

Hello and happy Thursday everyone! Today, I'm bringing you a tutorial which I shared on my own blog last year. We are mid-January right now and for most of us that means chilliness, darkness and a long, long month post-Christmas. However, I'm sure I'm not the only one looking ahead to the warmer months (hurry up Spring!) and thinking of lighter, brighter and more playful styles and designs. For me, that very much means reaching for the Irish waxed linen cording, and some of my favourite art beads. I hope you enjoy this wee tutorial! 

I've always been a little unhappy with linen cord loops, worrying that they weren't quite sturdy enough, even covered with beads, to really work as a clasp. Last year, I had a brainwave whilst making a knotted bracelet - I had two really long tails left, and I came up with the idea of half-hitching one cord onto another to see what would happen. I am sure that many, many people have done this before me, and I'm certainly not claiming this as my own - but it was definitely a lightbulb moment for me! I thought I'd share what I did with you here. I've used 7ply Irish waxed linen cording in Lilac - 7ply is a great choice for bracelets (which need to stand up to a bit more rough and tumble than earrings or necklaces) because it's almost twice as thick as 4ply, but still goes through most beads with a little practice.

1. Finish knotting the main part of your bracelet, ending with two loooong cord ends. If you like, you can leave one much longer than the other so as not to waste too much. You do need a lot of cord to knot with for this! I'm not a measurer, but you may want to work out exactly how much cord you'll need after you've made a couple. My brain just doesn't work like that! 

2. Bring one cord (the working cord) over the other to make a u-shaped loop. 

3. Bring the working cord back through the loop. 

4. Pull snug to form a half-hitch knot. 

5. Repeat these half-hitch knots, using the same working cord, to form this spiralling rope. 

6. Tie the working cord around the base of the rope to form a loop. I tie a double knot and then added a few beads to the tails, crimping them on. 

7. Here's the finished bracelet! And another one with different cord/beads below:

Pressed glass, 7ply Irish waxed linen cord and Vintaj brass crimps from - 

 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