Friday, October 24, 2014

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 Kristina
You have won  one rectangle-shaped 'Call Me Rosebud' pendant (retail value: $25) from Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati
Please send Erin an email with your information.

beads placed into a can for raku reduction 
Since we are still having some decent weather here in Northern New York, and I had gotten out my raku equipment to make Zombie jewelry with my grandchildren when they visited over Columbus Day weekend, I thought I would share with you some pictures of how I used my small kiln to raku some beads I made this week.  
The raku process requires the placement of red hot ware into a container ( for beads, like the one above) that has some combustibles that will catch on fire and once the lid is in place, will  deprive the clay of oxygen and turn  the unglazed areas black. The glazes will often develop an iridescent sheen.
Examples of selective glazing of my pieces for the raku firing

This toggle clasp  has an unglazed area around the orange which will be blackened by the reduction firing

This daisy only has color and clear glaze on the  petals

these birds have glazed areas and unglazed areas 

this maple leaf was left unglazed but glazed all around the leaf

Here is how they looked after the firing

Raku Fired Toggle Clasp

Raku Fired Daisy

Raku Fired Birds

Raku Fired Maple Leaf Pendant

I use a small metal rack to string my beads on for the firing so that I can get them out of the kiln easily when they are red hot. 

Beads on metal rack before the firing

I heat the kiln up to about 1800 degrees F. and then open the door and take out the red hot beads and place them in a Christmas popcorn container with combustibles. 

beads heated up to 1800 degrees F

popcorn container with beads and combustibles on fire

I usually throw in some wood shavings and sawdust right before I put on the lid.  Then  I wait about 10-15 minutes and  take them out and plunge the rack with the beads in a bucket of cold water.  That step seems to bring out the sheen on the glazes. 

raku fired beads drying in the dehydrator
After the beads have been in the cold water and cooled off, I scrub them with a brush and than put them in my dehydrator to dry.

Then they are ready to be used in jewelry.  Many of these beads are in my Etsy shop .  I hope you will stop by.

Raku bead firing is a very unpredictable process.  The colors of the glaze and the depth of blackness is not easy to control and has to do with many factors. Many experienced raku artists say that gray and overcast days with high humidity make the colors come out the best.  I love the excitement of the raku  process and the surprising results.  But I also know that sometimes I will be disappointed in the outcome.

Now for my question to you:  Do you like to be surprised by the results of what you do or would prefer a predictable outcome? or are you somewhere in between?   Please tell and leave a comment below.
I will give away a pair of raku beads from these firings from a randomly chosen comment left below.

Thanks so much for stopping by.

beads shortly after they were removed from the cold water
You can see the iridescence on the bead rack as well as the beads.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Art Bead Palette :: Margit Boehmer

Artisan Pendant

I came across the work of Margit Boehmer yesterday, and I just had to share it with you.

Everything about her work draws me in. From the geometric shapes and textures, to the unabashed use of bright colors. Margit is a color lover, too (which you know I love), and it shows in pretty much every polymer clay bead she creates. I'm especially a fan of her color combos, which are unusual and captivating.

Here's more:

Flower bead earring elements

Calypso beads

Spindle beads

Aren't they lovely? As always, there's far more than I can show here, so be sure to stop by Margit's Etsy shop.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Perfect Pairings :: Martha's Ruby Acorn + Artybecca + Dreams and Elements + Round Rabbit

This challenge painting is just tailor made for color blocking!
What drew my attention to this piece was the delicate balance that Martha has achieved with her color play. The white stars on the right are the same size as the beads on the left, that give the piece the visual weight. The fact that the bead on the left has a star on it, brings in what I call 'The Power of Three' to the piece: three stars in a triangular shape. This piece makes your eyes roam over it, as they would an autumn landscape, soaking in the colors and marveling at how they all work together so well.

Featured Designer :: Martha's Ruby Acorn

Featured Bead Artist :: Artybecca + Dreams and Elements + Round Rabbit
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!)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tutorial Tuesday - Collector Necklace

This tutorial is for a pretty simple but endlessly versatile necklace design.

(ceramic tablet drop - Something to do Beads; ceramic spike - Scorched Earth)

The ingredients here may look quite particular but you could work with any selection of harmonious materials you have to hand.  Here is what is essentially the same design but in a couple of different variations. 

The charms/pendants in the one on the left are, mostly, a chance selection of extras that Petra of Scorched Earth sent me, which happened to fall together on my desk. The pieces in right-hand piece were leftovers from a magazine project I did for Beads and Beyond (including more Scorched Earth!).  Just start by arranging your pieces in a fan on your mat. In this piece I've mixed my art beads with some rough and rugged semi-precious beads.

You'll need to be able to string all your items at the top so in some cases you may need to add a bail. A bit of wire will usually do the job.

Then all you do is start stringing. You'll want to use small beads (I've used 4mm glass rounds) so that you can control the distances between your pendant pieces with ease - and you won't always need the same number between each of your drops.  It's really a case of judging by eye.

Once you've added the focal pieces continue beading up the sides for a short way. I've included a stray gold bead to add interest and break up the bronze coloured rounds.

I then added on a couple of little rondelles to give a bit of punctuation. 

You might want to add a clasp at the side here, as I have in the other examples. Also, you may want to switch to even smaller beads and bead around the back of the necklace. However, in this case, I've opted for chain and a hook clasp at the back.  

I've used french wire on the connection points. It's my new favourite thing to use - I've never been entirely convinced by wire guardians.  

And that's your necklace done!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Amuse the Muse - Buttons - with Tari of

We are inching closer and closer to Halloween. I see more people decorating for Halloween than ever before. The only items I make that would qualify for this holiday are my Oz pendants, which are buttons also and my Wicked Earrings.
Leave links to your favorite buttons in the comments!

These are the single sided Oz pendants that come hung on a simple cord with a pewter charm.

These are double sided Oz Pendants on a swivel bail (not shown) with pewter charms. 

Great shank back buttons from Lisa Peters Art.

Gaea Skull Beads/Buttons. Most ceramic artists can make any bead a button.

Round Rabbit Earrings in fall colors. Go to her Facebook page so you can see shop updates

Be sure to add the link to your favorite buttons in the comments!!
And now for the BeadBlogger Links. See you on next Monday!

Think it's okay to go crazy with sparkle? Lisa does too! Stop by A Bead A Day to see her latest find!

Carmi's Art/Life World
Fun saying in resin filled bottle caps will make you smile today.

Homemade Halloween Cupcake Topper
Make these darling Halloween cupcake toppers to delight the kids. Just grab the free printable and have fun.

Art Bead Scene 
Art Bead Scene Editors take the October Monthly Challenge using Milton Avery's painting Autumn as inspiration. 

Focus, Focus, Focus! 
Can there be too many works in progress for any crafter?

Beading Arts 
Learn how to make the very popular wrap-style bracelets that you see everywhere these days!

Taking a Fall Drive
Cherie uses the colors of fall as inspiration for some new pictures.

Tari makes Handmade Ceramic Buttons...Fun, Funky&Functional!
Uniquely different, every piece of art is an original.
Visit Tari's website, browse more than 20 Collections of Buttons.
Remember every button can be a Pendant or Jewelry Component!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Inside the Studio :: Erin Prais-Hintz, Tesori Trovati

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 haezz
You have won a $15 Gift Certificate from Tari at Clay Buttons
Please send Tari an e-mail with your information.

Every month I make a new limited edition Simple Truths component for the members of my Simple Truths Sampler Club. I use this as an excuse to play with the clay, experiment with new technique and learn something new. I also use this as my creative play time with the monthly challenges here on Art Bead Scene. 

I was extremely busy with a super-secret special trip to Colorado in September to film four hour-long videos on jewelry making techniques for Craft Daily (read all about it here!), so I missed my chance to make something in a timely fashion for the members. But I made sure to get the October piece done early and send them together, maybe too late for them to make something for September but I hope they liked the piece nonetheless.

I have to admit that I was quite stumped with the painting for September. It is a beautiful piece of art, and a few years ago, that would have been the only colors I would have used, but I embrace color in all it's glory now, and these muted tones were a bit sad to me. Still, I knew that I needed to come up with something related to the theme. It is not called a challenge for nothing!

I had to squint a bit to notice the roses and the colors were a bit dour to me. But I really do like this painting now that I have had a longer time to sit with it and absorb the details. I love the deco stylings of the figures and their porcelain skin. I adore the threads that are woven throughout with what look like little beads, pearls and sapphires, dotting the surface. And there is a fair bit of color... from the cream and golds to the bright blue, the sage green and the wine-stained roses.

The following is a little photo safari of my latest Simple Truth creation inspired by The White Rose and The Red Rose.

My instinct was to create something long and lean, like the ladies in the painting. 
Upon closer inspection, I started noticing the small swirl rose shapes, so I focused my attention there. 
{Swirls and curving shapes figure prominently in my work, I have come to find out, after filming in Colorado. ;-)}

Typically, I am using a pearl clay as my base, like a canvas for my painted art, but lately I have started to venture into using some colors, playing with mixing them and using more traditional polymer clay modeling techniques.
[Bad nail alert!]

 I just started picking up some clay that I had lying around and twirling it, never really sure what I was doing. 

And then I noticed that these twirls resembled teeny-tiny rosebuds.

As I mentioned, I like to experiment with this medium through these special limited edition pieces, so for this one I decided it should be more sculptural, as if those roses were popping off the page.

I made each rosebud by hand, and painstakingly placed it in just the right spot,

affixing it to a long and slender base in an antique bronze color to pull out that veil of antiquity that covers the inspiration.

Nothing ever goes to waste with clayers. 

These pieces were recycled into more roses, ensuring a natural mottling of color and texture.

The finished pendants were popped in the oven to bake.

 But something didn't seem right. The colors were too bright for the inspiration.

The finishing touch is that little hint of bronze on the edges of each petal,
applied by hand.

This picture reminds me of all the roses I used to save over the years,
including the only ones I have left and will not part with:
white roses, now crumpled like so many old newpapers, and yellowed with time, roses that I carried on my wedding day, 22 years ago on October 24, 1992, still wrapped in a vintage handkerchief from my grandmother.

When I was a baby, I was born premature, about 5 weeks. I was just about 5 pounds when I was born. 

I didn't learn this until I was in my teens, but my parents used to call me 'Rosebud' when I was a baby. That is such a comforting image, of my mother cradling my teeny body and naming me something so precious.  

So I am naming the rectangle 'Call Me Rosebud' and the heart shape 'Everything's Coming Up Roses.' They were a lot of work, but it was a true labor of love. 

These have been added to my website, in this rectangle as well as an elongated heart shape.

I will give away one rectangle-shaped 'Call Me Rosebud' pendant (retail value: $25) to one random commenter for the price of an answer to this quirky question: 

What nickname did you have as a child? {or as an adult?}
Has it stuck with you?
What is the story?
Do tell!