Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Late Entry: Tangerine Tango

One of my new online jewelry designer friends missed the deadline to submit her entry in the Tangerine Tango creative colour challenge.  I told her to send it to me anyway and I'd post it.  After all, this was for fun and inspiration, not a contest.  You're all winners in my book.

Kashmira Patel hammered out some bead caps and added a small seed bead to the center to make the focal, and then added some other co-ordinating beads to dangle from them.  What an innovative idea!

Sadafulee...Always in Bloom

To check out all the rest of the Tangerine Tango entries, click here.  I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with for this months' challenge.  For more details on the Springtime Creative Colour Challenge, click here.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Springtime Creative Colour Challenge

I've decided to make the Creative Colour Challenge (or a challenge of some kind) a monthly event on my blog.  It was so much fun to see all the wonderful designs come in over the last three weeks and putting them all together to post.

This month your point of inspiration is this picture of goldfinches sitting on a fence surrounded by greenery and yellow flowers.  Pull out one or all of the colours and themes to highlight in your design.

Send me a photo of your piece, along with your Etsy shop, blog, Facebook page and/or website.  I will post them all to my blog on April 21st.  Please pass this along to any other jewelry making friends you have.  The more, the merrier.

Let's bring the beauty of this season into our creations!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tangerine Tango Reveal

A few weeks back, I sent out a challenge to jewelry designers to create a piece featuring the Pantone colour of the year, Tangerine Tango.  Quite a few people stepped up to the plate and submitted designs.  What a wonderful & diverse collection we have here.  Take a look below and be sure to visit all the blogs, websites and shops too.

Susan Kennedy used vintage copper filigree beads with orange enamel for her challenge design.  Paired with turquoise flower beads, these lovely earrings would be a lot of fun to wear.

Blog: www.suebeads.blogspot.com 
Etsy Shop: www.suebeads.etsy.com
ebay id:  sue_beads

This is 27" leather wrapped bracelet made by Jeannie Dukic has TWO of the Pantone colors in it, Tangerine Tango and Margarita.  The beads are her polymer clay Peeled Paint art beads. 

Jewelry By Jeannie 
Website:  http://www.jkdjewelry.com
Blog:  http://site.jkdjewelry.com/blog

Tangerine Tango enameled beads and pennies were used to make this sample necklace for a class that Lynnea Bennett is teaching in March on Torch Fired Enamels at Ally Beads.

Designs By Lynnea
Website: www.designsbylynnea.com
Blog: http://designsbylynnea.blogspot.com/
Handmade Artists’ Shop: http://handmadeartistsshop.com/shop/DesignsbyLynnea

A bright and happy necklace made by Alicia Marinache with bright orange Mother of Pearl beads, delicate freshwater pearls of the same tone, plus sterling silver chain & findings.

Website: http://www.allprettythings.ca
Blog: http://alicia-allprettythings.blogspot.com/
Artfire Shop: http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/studio/allprettythings

Cilla Watkins was trying to give her entry in the Tangerine Tango challenge a 1960’s flair.  I think she succeeded.  I should know, I lived through that era.

Tell Your Girlfriends – Beautiful Jewelry
Website: www.tellyourgirlfriends.com
Etsy Store: www.etsy.com/shop/tellyourgirlfriends

Shanti Johnson created this piece using her favourite colours, orange & turquoise.  These colours remind her of the sun rising over the ocean, and that she feels so blessed to be able to see every day.  This bracelet incorporates her love of nature too.

Sunshine Bliss Shoppe
Website: www.sunshinebliss.com
Etsy Store: www.sunshineblissstudio.etsy.com

Renetha Stanziano did not even realize it when constructing this set for another challenge that she was using the Pantone colour of the year.  Other people pointed it out to her later.  The aquamarine and crystal rondelles were provided and she added the orange beads to the mix.

Lamplight Crafts
Blog:  www.lamplightcrafts.blogspot.com

Lynne Bowland is not really thrilled with this piece she created.  We all make things that we don't like sometimes but have you ever noticed that everyone else thinks they're wonderful? 

Island Girl
Blog: http://islandgirlsinsights.blogspot.com/
Website: http://www.fireballbeeds.com
Etsy Shop: http://www.islandgirl.etsy.com

So, where is my creation, you ask?  That is a very good question.  I had a design idea all planned out but a series of complications worked against me and I was unable to get it done in time for the reveal.  And rather than hastily throwing together something that I was not happy with, I decided to let the artisans who submitted photos to rule the day.  Great work everyone!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Exploring the Design Process

What comes first, the chicken or the egg?  In jewelry design, do the beads inspire a design or does the inspiration or theme decide the beads you will use?  Or can it come from both directions?  Let's examine this process a bit from one starting point, for now.

Jessica Stoops recently entered a design contest in Jewelry Stringing, a popular magazine.  She won the Editor's Choice award.  Here is the piece she created.

The theme was already chosen, 'Fairy Tales', but what led her down the path she took to create the final piece?  She knew she wanted to make something unique and spent a lot of time thinking about the theme.  While brainstorming with a friend during a walk one day, she decided to base her piece on 'The Little Mermaid', a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale.

She began with the mermaid tail pendant by Gaea of Gaea Beads that is the focal point.  Next came the amazonite beads.  She loved how they looked with the pendant.  After choosing which parts of the story she wanted to highlight, she began looking for appropriate charms.  She searched online for the perfect ones, purchasing them on eBay and other sites.  She even found a mermaid clasp to tie the whole project together.

The necklace was coming along quite nicely.  She knew where she wanted to place each of the charms but she felt that there was still something missing.  A trip to her favourite bead shop came next and there she found the silver peanut beads. Jessica liked how the beads fit together and they added dimension to the piece. She knew the necklace was now complete and it went on to win the Editor's Choice award!

I want to thank Jessica for sharing her experience with me and helping me embrace the design process in a new way, to see how each step builds upon the one before it. 

To see more of her designs, check out her Etsy shop Joyful Gems & Stones.  To see more of Gaea's work go to her Etsy shop Gaea's Beads.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Value of a Sketchbook

I had this small scrap of paper in my wallet for ages.  You could tell how long it had been there by how crumpled and worn it looked.  I'd hastily scribbled some design ideas on it that I gleened when I was at a trade show 1 1/2 to 2 years ago. 

Every time I cleaned out my wallet of old receipts, business cards & expired coupons, I always tucked that scrap back in with my debit card.  I knew well enough not to throw it out 'cause I'd want it 'some day'.  This past Saturday was that day.

When planning the piece I'm making for my Tangerine Tango creative colour challenge, I knew that one of those designs was 'the one' I wanted to use.  At first though, that small scrap of paper eluded me.  I could not find it in the 'nice safe place' that I'd left it.  Suddenly,  I had a sinking feeling that I may have thrown it out in error!  'Please tell me that I'm not that stupid,' I said to myself.

I finally gave up looking for it.  I was only getting more frustrated and upset with myself but still was not finding it.  As often happens when I'm looking for something, as soon as I stop looking for it, it miraculously appears...typically right where I thought it should be in the first place.  At least I found it, right? 

Which brings me (finally) to the topic of this blog post....the value of a sketchbook.  I now see why it's a good idea to carry a small one with me wherever I go.  A sketchbook would not accidentally get thrown out or inadvertently get lost.  A sketchbook would keep design ideas or colour combinations I see or think of all in one place, easily accessible for future use.  A sketchbook would eliminate undue stress down the road.

I went to the store and purchased one tonight...a small one with a hard cover to protect the pages and one that will fit in my purse.  The drawings from that little scrap of paper are now on the first page.  I won't lose them again.  *smile*

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Coming Soon: New Book

Having just participated in my first Bead Soup Blog Party, I'm anxious for this one to come out.

Bead Soup: 32 Projects Show What Happens When 26 Beaders Swap
By Lori Anderson (creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party)

About the book:

What happens when one energetic jewelry-making blogger and 26 talented beaders connect through social media and end up swapping their leftovers? You get a mélange of projects busting with every flavor imaginable.

Each designer was given a focal bead, a unique clasp, and coordinating beads, and was charged with creating a recipe for a dynamic piece of jewelry. Sample the distinctive taste of each artist through diverse projects that offer beaders simple techniques, full-color photos, and step-by-step instructions.

The book is being released in September, 2012 and will soon be available to pre-order at Amazon.   The publisher, Kalmbach Publishing Co., has it listed already for $19.95 US.  I can't wait to get my copy. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Learning Process: Asymmetrical Design

I recently created my first asymmetrical piece of jewelry for the bead soup blog party.  I wore the necklace when I went out on Saturday evening, and by doing so, discovered a few things about asymmetrical design that I would not have learned by just looking at it on the mannequin.

The outside strand kept flipping over the inside strand, as in the photo below....

After a while, the chain slid from it's uneven perch and ended up like this....

So what did I learn?  How will I modify it next time?

1. Weight distribution needs to be more even, not top or bottom heavy.
2. Heavier beads, if there are any, should be closer to the bottom.
3. More consistent bead size/weight might be the better option.
4. Even chain length, not longer on one side of the clasp than the other.
5. Overall shorter necklace length, so it doesn't sway so much when moving about.
6. Better connection of beads to jump ring, learn to use crimp beads properly.

I do plan to make more pieces in a similar styling, taking all the valuable lessons I've learned with me.  I can hardly wait to get started on the next one!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Organizing Your Beads & Bits

There has to be a better way to do this.  My current organizational system can be best described with one word....CHAOS. 

It's a conglomeration of relcosable bags, cardboard boxes, bowls, Tupperware, multi-compartment bead boxes and 35mm film containers.  They are in closets & drawers, on my desk, under my desk, in the spare room, in my bedroom, in my office, in Akrobins and portable file boxes.  And, understandably, I can never find what I want when I want it.

Now that I'm looking into purchasing a software package to help me keep track of completed pieces and pricing them, I realize how BAD my inventory & tracking system really is.   How am I ever going to back track the mess I have made into a coherent & cohesive system?  I have a daunting task ahead of me.

Other jewelry makers I've consulted seem to agree that sorting all your beads by colour works best, with a bin or box for each one.  Apparently, there are some good YouTube videos on bead organizing that someone suggested I should check out too.  I need all the help I can find, so I'll be watching those this week, for sure.

Moving forward though, I'm putting purchases directly onto a spreadsheet, with a breakdown of cost per bead, number of beads on the strand and where I bought them.  So, when I do get the software package it will be easy to plug all the information into it. 

I'm going to be organized in 2012, whether I like it or not.  *smile*

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bead Soup Blog Party - The Reveal

When my friend first saw the spectacular glass focal bead made by my partner, Fay, she commented that it looked like a caterpillar in a milk bottle.   As I looked at it again, with the fluorescent green & metallic blue colours, I thought it was more reminiscent of the Playskool Glo Worm™ whose body contained a battery-powered device that, when squeezed, would light up the toy's vinyl bottom creating a soft glow.

That most likely wasn’t Fay’s vision when she created the bead but that is the image that stuck in my mind and from that came the design idea.  I really felt that the focal bead needed to stand alone, showcased in a very simple and whimsical piece.  I purchased lime green and bright blue organza ribbon, plus large turquoise seed beads, and I used the beautiful hand forged sterling silver clasp for this piece.

This is the first time I ever used ribbon in a jewelry design.  I kind of like how it turned out.  It gives the piece an air of fantasy.

For the second piece, I used most of the other beads & components that Fay sent to me, along with some from my own stash, in a personal challenge piece.  In the past, my creations have always been symmetrical.  A set pattern laid out in a very orderly fashion.  So, I decided that I would step out of my comfort zone and create an asymmetrical piece for the Bead Soup Blog Hop.

I cut the chain so that different lengths would hang from either side of the lobster clasp at the back.  From there, I strung two strands of beads as you can see in the photo, one longer than the other.  There is no pattern, no regularity, no symmetry.  *smile*

To accomplish this, I loosely laid out the larger beads on my bead board, and as I strung them, I added the seed beads in random colour order.  I did not let my logical brain convince me to over-think the design.  Oh, and this is the first time I’ve ever used beading wire and crimp beads too.  I typically use nylon cord & clamshell tips for my creations.

Unfortunately, one of Fay’s lovely lampwork beads broke in half during transit to me.  Somehow the large black bicone beads escaped from the bead board when I wasn’t looking and did not end up in the final piece.  I already have an idea for another design that they will fit perfectly with though.  I’ll be using the satin cord for that one also.

Overall this has been a wonderful experience for me, once I got over my initial panic about whether I could do it or not.  I learned a few things, tried a couple of new techniques & materials, and met some creative people who have inspired me to new heights.

Please be sure to visit some of the other blogs and comment on their creative endeavours.

Hostess, Lori Anderson

Special Book Sneak Peeks, Cindy Wimmer
1.  Adlinah Kamsir (Singapore) and Hajer Waheed (Kingdom of Bahrain)
2. Adrienn Lukacs (Hungary) and Agata Grygiel (Poland)
3.  Agi Kiss (Hungary) and Carolien Muller-Genger (the Netherlands)
4.  Agnes Asztalos (Hungary) and B.R. Kuhlman
7.  Alicia Marinache (Canada) and Dita Basu
15.  Bonnie Coursolle (Canada) and Fay Wolfenden (Canada)
16.  Carmel McGinley (Australia) and Tracy Stillman (Australia)

21.  Cheryl Brown (Canada) and Diana Ptaszynski
22.  Christina Stofmeel (the Netherlands) and Eva Kovacs (Hungary)
24.  Cilla Watkins (Canada) and Elaine Robitaille (Canada)
25.  Sabrina Straub (Switzerland) and Kathy Combs
32.  Dee Elgie (UK) and Joanne Lockwood (UK)
33.  Dian Hierschel (Germany) and Eniko Fabian (Austria)
37.  Doris Stumpf (Germany) and Eszter Czibulyas (Hungary)
39.  Elke Leonhardt-Rath (Germany) and Marjolein Trewavas (UK)
40.  Ema Kilroy and Laurie Keefe-Cecere
41.  Erika Nooteboom (the Netherlands) and Giorgia Rossini (Italy)
43.  Evelyn Duberry (Canada) and Gaea Cannaday
45.  Ginger Bishop (military, Okinawa) and Martina Nagele (Germany)
48.  Helene Goldberg (Australia) and Karen Vincent
54.  Joanna Matuszczyk (Poland) and Julianna Kis (Hungary)
55.  Joanne Tinley (UK) and Michaela Pabeschitz (Austria)
65.  Kristina Johansson (Sweden) and Penny Neville (Canada)
66.  Krisztina Erlaki-Toth (Hungary) and Nicole Keller (Germany)
76.  Lori Finney (Canada) and Marie-Noel Voyer-Cramp (Canada)
78.  Marta Kaczerowska (Poland) and Milla Starchik (Canada)
83.  Michelle Jensen and Sandra Young (Canada)
92.  Rosa Maria Cuevas (Mexico) and Tejae Floyde
93.  Sabine Dittrich (Germany) and Sally Russick
95.  Shanti Johnson and Tracy Mok (Canada)
97.  Sonya Stille and Traci Zeller (Canada)
98.  Stefanie Teufel (Germany) and Tania Hagen (New Zealand)