Sunday, August 31, 2008

Prepping for the Bazaar-- Inventory, Display and Promo Materials

I finished tagging all my my big inventory yesterday and am just left with tiny things like nose rings and ear cuffs. But I do have a plan to tag them!


While I made more inventory (I thought I'd take around 10 each of my small Primitive Series designs to the Bazaar) sister mine busied herself with tent cards for displaying those tiny things and bookmarks to give away.
I told her what I had in mind and pulled out the blue cardstock, inks and stamps that Alison Whittington of paintandink designed for me.

I'm tickled pink with them! She did a bang up job didn't she? It was an incredible help.

She even wrote a promo code for online orders in some of the tent cards.


I have an order of business cards from Zazzle on the way too! Things are shaping up!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

EBW October Challenge Theme

The Etsy BeadWeavers blog announced GemsbyJules theme today:

Animal Instincts

Interesting theme. Right off the top of my head I'm thinking leopard, giraffe, tiger and snake patterns. And I'm pretty sure that none of that really calls to me.

I wish I had more teeth stashed somewhere. I like teeth.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Prepping for the Bazaar-- Price Tagging

Today I finished off that bead mix with a 17-coil cuff. I love making those really crazy, wild things! They only sell so-so because it takes as certain kind of gal to wear them. The women who wear them though, adore them! And of course they're always great for compliments.

Then I started price tagging everything that wasn't already tagged. I don't tag as a rule, but I did a few home parties earlier this year and some of my inventory is tagged from that.

I'm still struggling with a way to tag things in a practical, attractive and different fashion.

And even though I'm not actually pricing anything, just tagging it, it has me thinking about pricing. A few articles I've read recently have me thinking about pricing too, and I thought I'd share them with you!

MaryLou's Art [Ad]venture
How do you price your work?

Angela Fehr- painting simplicity
Don't Paint for Peanuts: How to Price Your Art Part 1
Don't Paint for Peanuts: How to Price Your Art Part 2

Artist, Emerging
More Thoughts on Pricing Your Work

Pricing Artwork

Hopefully I can finish this up tomorrow. Then I need to make some of my nose rings and other Primitive Series things. If it's a frequent seller, I generally make them to order. If it's not a make them one at a time anyway.

I got two notes today from customers who not only left nice feedback but took time to thank me personally and gush a bit too. That was awesome! Plus I had two inquiries about custom items and one inquiry about a home party. That all made me feel good.

On the stress front, I finally went to get my oil changed in my car. What can I say? It was an ordeal. But it's done. On to better things.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Prepping for the Bazaar-- Strands

Any beader with slack organization skills runs into a moment when their beading area is overrun by odds and ends that were left over, bead spills that haven't been restored to their proper containers, and mixes that never made it to finished pieces.When that happens many of us pick them up and string them, creating something very useful and very pretty. I generally augment my bead selection with Indian bead mixes. If they're long enough they can be warn so many different ways!
They're easy to make, can be done quickly and cheaply and at home parties always sell out.
Since I expect a larger turnout at the Savannah Market Bazaar than at any home party I spent part of my day making these Strand necklaces. 11 of them are done and I have beads for 2 or 3 more. I shouldn't sell out!
I've sold the one I listed on Etsy so I listed this one. Maybe it will be gone by Bazaar day!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More Cat Poetry-- Light and Fluffy

domestic panther
Originally uploaded by novon
Who can resist The Naming of Cats-- unless you don't like cats. I'm pretty sure you don't have to be a poetry aficionado to love this one as
I've loved it longer than I've loved poetry.
Here it is, if you've never read it. Read it aloud. It's more fun that way.

The Naming of Cats
The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
First of all, there's the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, or George or Bill Bailey -
All of them sensible everyday names.
There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter -
But all of them sensible everyday names.
But I tell you, a cat needs a name that's particular,
A name that's peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum -
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
But above and beyond there's still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover -
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
His ineffable effable
Deep and inscrutable singular Name.

I'm sure there are other collections that have inspired musicals somewhere in the world, but I don't know of any. I've seen Cats twice and it's an experience I can highly recommend.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Confessions and Craft Shows

I've talked a bit about phobias before and I've got a majorly personal one on the brain now. Social phobia. They also call it social anxiety disorder. One day I'll tell you why I prefer the former.

For those of you fortunate enough not to know what it is, I think of it as shyness to the 10th power. Just to give you an idea-- a general one-- we're all different so things vary by individual:

A shy person goes to the party, but doesn't dance. A social phobic stays home.
A shy person dreads her presentation on Monday. The social phobic calls in.
Social phobics are prone to depression, low self-esteem and panic attacks, they hate crowds, hate phones, hate moving, hate inconveniencing anyone, they rehash their own mistakes mercilessly, walk the long way to the post office so they don't have to speak to the neighbor, pray they can get home without having to speak to anyone, avoid eye contact with waiters and cashiers, dread their sister's wedding for months, think seriously about skipping their favorite aunt's funeral, don't speak to someone they met three months ago unless they're sure that person recognizes them first and they live like that from childhood on knowing that their fears are groundless and generally wondering what in the world is wrong with them.

I'm bringing all this up because this social phobic has applied for a spot in the Savannah Market Bazaar next month. And she's already sick about it.

It's been forever since I've done a show. I did a few when I was younger and on medication to control my issues. Eventually I went off the meds and on some herbal supplements and I stopped selling my jewelry except to friends and I had my jewelry in a gallery. A year and a half ago things got worse literally overnight. Things that were already difficult became impossible, things that were okay became difficult. I re-immersed myself in my art and worked another year before I quit my job. I went back on medication.

Etsy has been good to me and I find Internet anonymity to be a godsend. But my dwindling bank account demands further action. So it's a Bazaar. Mother mine and sister mine have both promised to go with me. Social phobics do better when they have 'safe' people around them. I have lots of inventory and a few weeks to make more. I still have my tent and table.

I need to tag what's not tagged with prices and I want to make some freebies, little thebeadedlily bookmarks. I'm already obsessing about things like what time we have to leave and food and whether I should take seats. There will be some Etsy people there from the newly formed Savannah Etsy Team. I'll have to meet them. I want to meet them, and I don't.

I should make more nose rings. Savannah is the home of SCAD-- Savannah College of Art and Design. World-renowned for art, locally renowned for folks who dress a bit out of the ordinary. I've relished each time someone asked if I was a SCAD student.

So with this hanging over my head like Madame le Guillotine I couldn't blog about anything else. And despite the fact that this is all intensely personal and has to do with beading about as much the guillotine has to do with white horses as I suspect you'll get to hear all about it again.

Monday, August 25, 2008

BAO Item of the Week August 25 - August 31

I picked my hana-bi cuff this week and simply offered a free gift.

There are several killer items in the mosaic and most of them have some sort of special offer attached so feel free to look!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Prototype, Treasury and Thanks!

First I'd like to introduce my new prototype pendant.
Straightforwardly, it's a ring of peyote stitch in aqua and ceylon pearl white. It's an inch long (2.5cm) not quite an inch wide (2cm) and 1/4 of an inch deep (.5cm).
Not so straightforwardly, it's the first of what may be a series. I may make rings and bracelets out of these little things. It's not quite freeform, but it's not from a pattern either and each one will be different, some larger or wider and some more slender and/or smaller. Different colors.
Different stringing materials.
It's not a flower and it's not an anemone, but it's more than a ring. It's not a bubble and it's too organic to be mod. If you have any brilliant naming ideas, I'm open.
Secondly, I have new BAO treasury please click here to see it closer.
Lastly I wanted to thank the folks who featured my work in their treasuries this week by sharing one of their items with you!

Thanks again all!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Desires and Decisions

It's an obsession and there's nothing like an obsession to make you sympathetic to sticker shock.

It's always a little distressing to have someone pick up a one of a kind cuff that has $50 worth of materials and 15 hours of work in it and say in utter disbelief, "$300?" It's almost painful.

And then you get a yen for something wonderful and the more you think about it the better and more important it seems and so you go shopping.

For me, right now, something wonderful is a journal. I have journals for various things, but none for my work. Ideas just float in and out of my head till I can realize them or until I lose them. I've reached a point where I need to keep track of them and I'm ready to do it. But I can't just stick these ideas in $2.00 pad from Target's Clearance aisle, can I? I need something suitable and inspirational that will last forever! I need something worthy.

So I go shopping for a handbound journal. It can't be 4" by 5"! I need room! 8" by 6" is more like it. It can't have 20 pages. I need room! 300 should hold me awhile. And it has to sing to me. And have you priced them lately? $200 is midrange for something like that! It's paper and cowhide. Sticker shock.

And then you think of everyone who picks up tiny glass beads and silver and stares unbelievably at the price. And as sure as that cuff is worth every cent, so more than likely, is the journal. But my funds are by no means unlimited and it's a mental shift to view a book as worth more than say, $50.

So maybe just go back to a handbound journal.

inabinddesign's gorgeous Golden Rod and Cream Handbound Journal is in my price range, $30 when you add shipping. It's 8" x 5 1/4", with 200 pages. But it's not leather.

MyHandboundBooks Distressed Golden Suede Leather Journal is leather. 320 pages and it is about 8" X 5½". $51

But I prefer the color of moonbindery's Grey suede leather journal, but it's small-- only 4 3/4” x 6” and I can't tell how many pages it has. $50

Same issue there as with Kreativlink's On the Beach Journal 4 1/2" x 6", 240 pages. $52

lapaperie's Handbound Leather Journal
looks perfect and it's 5½" x 7", 320 pages. $62

But I don't know about spending $62, especially when I'd have to rob Peter to pay Paul and Peter may just come after me with a vengeance later.

I'm very bad at decision making too. Perhaps this calls for Alchemy, which of course, has it's own issues. I want it now.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I'm a Geek . . . Sort Of

This was something I just discovered this morning, so bear with me.

When I decided I was a geek I also decided to look it up. One can't go around calling oneself something on assumed knowledge, can one? Not wisely anyway.

I found this: Unabridged (v 1.1)
geek Slang.
1. a peculiar or otherwise dislikable person, esp. one who is perceived to be overly intellectual.
2. a computer expert or enthusiast (a term of pride as self-reference, but often considered offensive when used by outsiders.)
3. a carnival performer who performs sensationally morbid or disgusting acts, as biting off the head of a live chicken.
[Origin: 1915- 20; prob. var. of geck (mainly Scots)fool

1st, I'm talking about definition 1 here. A computer is a tool, nothing more, and I like my chicken fried, thanks.

2nd, we're not talking about the dislikable part either, though I do love how it specifies perceived to be overly intellectual. I'm not any smarter than most of us, which is to say, I'm not always a complete idiot. People frequently claim to think I'm smart. It puts pressure on me and makes me nervous and my protestations come accross as some sort of false modesty. Which, annoyingly enough, seems to make them think I'm more likable than I really am, grrrrr.

My theory is that it's because I'm not a huge talker and so I don't reveal my intellectual short-comings as often as most. And I'm a reader, which some people tend to think makes you smart. It doesn't. It makes you educated and there's a difference.

So we're left with the peculiar part of the definition. To illustrate peculiarity, I love SF and given enough time can likely name 4/5ths of the SF shows that have been on TV since the mid '80s. Max Headroom, The Flash, Invasion, The Lone Gunmen, Alf-- you get the idea, right?

But peculiarity is, like beauty, in the eye of the beholder and being from a family of SF nuts that doesn't strike me as too strange. There are people who have it worse than me. I'm not a action figure collector and I'm not sure how Takei is actually pronouced.

So this post. Well, this morning as I drink my coffee (1st cup) I check my email and the EBW forum post and then I scan the rest of the titles for anything that catches my eye. And there it is in Techniques and Materials, 'Pirates and Ninjas are so ... June.' Eh?

So I read it. momerath assesses 'geekery trends: Pirates and ninjas are waning. Zombies, however, are still going strong, with a possible surge in robots.'
There follows a discussion of what's in and out. Octopi and owls debut. Some amusing asides about goats. I fret.

Why must people always be told what they like? What they'll wear? Why must the fashion industry change standards quarterly?

Here's a peculiarity. I mostly ignore what's in, except to avoid it like the plague, even if I like it. If I like it, I'll wait till it goes out before I wear it. How weird is that?

Then in steps today's heroine AlteredStatesClothin, who says, "What's "in" in terms of geekery, will always depend on who you're talking to. Geeks (like me) hold tight to their faves."

Ah ha! Now that's truth! The world trends. Sellers tend to trend with them. Geeks don't trend so much. That's what makes them geeks. Sort of.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

New Primitive Series Additions

Since I finished my latest beadwork project I decided to work up some of the wirework ideas floating around in my head.

The large thick spiral is a septum piece. Very bold and tribal. I got the idea from an African bone piece I saw in a picture. This one is smaller than that one is. But what does one do when ones eats?

The little horseshoe like piece could go in any piercing. I'll probably sell them by the pair too. They're so cute and perfect for leaving in all the time. It's also an adaption of a much thicker and larger ancient ethnic design.

The hoops are just a new version of my basic hoops, with three little handformed and hammered rings.

The other earrings are similar to the large septum spiral in basic design, but are much lighter and more delicate.

I've got a couple more ideas for hoops I'll probably work up tomorrow. I'll list all this too.

And an orange tube of Delicas that were absconded by cat months ago reappeared and a project that has been on hold since they disappeared can now go forward.

Life is good.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Challenge Entry: Links Cuff

The new EBW Challenge theme is Complementary Contradictions.

My first thoughts were for black/white, yin/yang type things, then art/artifice which brought me to art/science and that sounded fun!

I'd been saving up some green june bug wing covers for a special project and I found a piece of citrine rough and a great fish vertebrae for science. The art link would be a lampwork bead that looked great with the rest of my collection.

I tried working it in RAW, but I don't like Delicas in RAW. I like seed beads, but the Delicas shape and corners give RAW a boxy look.

So I decided to do freeform and I remembered a project I'd seen recently in Bead&Button magazine by Linda Rettich. She made a beautiful sea fan like necklace and the basic technique seemed viable for other projects!

So I started something similar, not sure how similar because I can't find my magazine, but I think hers was more flowing, softer and less dense.

In Valerie Hector's The Art of Beadwork she says that the more senses you involve the better and she suggests incorporating movement. So I made the abacus type element (which also clinks a bit) and made the lampwork bead a swinging, dangling clasp instead of my usual solid stationary one.

The one element that troubled me was a crystal bead that I incorporated early in the design. It wasn't planned, it just hopped in there. So I gathered some other bits but it was never the right time or place to put them in. I eventually gave it up and thought of the crystal as a little rogue bead. As I finished this today I realized it wasn't rogue at all. Science and art are both very much about clarity, and what could represent clarity better than crystal? It's just ironic that that was the last piece that was clear to me!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

BAO Items of the week 8-18 - 8-24 and a few thank yous

My BAO Item of the Week is my fish stories cuff. Purchase that this week and get a free ear cuff of your choice. Check out the rest of the BAO Items and offers here. Most of these beauties come with free shipping or a little gift. Also I want to thank all of the lovely Etsians with smashing good taste that included my work in their treasuries this week. Here are some of their items!

mistflowerstudio is currently buying on Etsy but has plans to offer her art later!

lillyella's Nouveau Lily and Pearls Necklace is a piece to build an outfit around!MAKUstudio's fabulous cabochon reveals her love for clay and raku!
triz's Purple Flower Necklace is just one example of her opulent beadwork.
njema does beadwork and wonderfully rustic pottery like this Green Cauldron Ceramic Goblet.ClinkscalesArts shows her colors off in this Woven Herringbone Bracelet. jenjensirene shares her love for the unusual in this LUNAR LAKE shot.

Thanks to you all again!

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Nature of Kerrie Slade

This is another in my series of EBW/BAO treasuries. This one is for Kerrie Slade who is inspired by nature-- specifically flowers and butterflies.
Looking for garden/ nature themed items I searched EBW to get enchantedbeads' Flower Earrings, ThreeFatesDesign's Tiger Lily on Black cuff and playnwithbeads' Green Fringed Necklace.
A search for flowers was overwhelming, but butterflies arrange by price offered gypsyeyesjewelry's Queen Alexandra Birdwing Butterfly Pin and Ameera's Blue Skies.
Kerrie's favorite shops provided pugsinspace's beachscape 2, villadesign's Gerber Daisies and maiaart's Quiet Moth.
It was a refreshing and soothing piece to put together and I thought the colors mixed well. See it here for a bit.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Focus On: Jan Huling

If you've been folowing my blog a few days ago I ran a post on bugs as materials with the spotlight on the marvelous Forgiven.

When I contacted Jan to let her know how much I loved her piece she was so sweet that that I mustered up boldness to ask if she'd like to be featured on my blog. She said yes, and here she is!

Jan creates museum quality collector's art, so prepare to be wowwed.

Profile: Jan Huling

Tell us about yourself. What makes you, you?
I’m a 50-something woman, happily married with a terrific 19 year old son. I’m a cheerful old hippie, originally from the Midwest, living in Hoboken, NJ which is just across the Hudson from Manhattan. I studied design in art school, KCAI, and have worked mostly freelance for the past too many years as a textile, dinnerware, giftware, paper goods, etcetera, designer. On my own time I make my own art and write the very occasional childrens’ book.

Do you see yourself as an artist or craftsman or both?
I do see myself as both an artist & craftsman, I’m very proud of both titles. I started off doing my beading as a craft, but have become more and more interested in it as art.

What made you want to be an artist and why beads?
I’ve always thought of myself as an artist, it’s all I ever really wanted to be. To pay the rent I work 2 dimensionally, designing things to be sculpted (figurines, etc.) and also painting surface design. So when it came to expressing myself for pleasure, I wanted to do something more tactile and intuitive. I love doing mosaics (breaking plates can be so cathartic!) and embroidery, but when I discovered beads, it just felt right to me.
It’s my sister’s fault that I became a beadist! Several years ago she was visiting from Seattle and showed me a pez dispenser that she’d beaded and I fell in love with it.

What's the most wonderful thing you've made? The oddest?
I wanted to try doing it, but wasn’t sure what to cover. Then I got an email out of the blue from my old college hippie band, they were planning a reunion and would be opening (at a private party) for Leon Russell! Wow! For those of you who are too young to know Leon, look him up, he’s great! Anyway, I played first chair kazoo in the Brattleboro Boogie-Woogie Band and Blues Ensemble a million years ago, so I decided to bead a kazoo for the gig. And that’s how I got started.

A few years ago I beaded a table which was displayed at the Jersey City Museum. It’s on my website if anyone would care to see it. I guess the weirdest thing I’ve ever beaded would be a matter of opinion.

How do you see your style and what makes it unique.
While other people also glue seed beads, I feel like I’m doing it differently than any one else. I like making patterns with the beads, so I string them myself. Most of what I’ve seen has been made by gluing prestrung beads from hanks, which I also do, but in conjunction with my patterns. Hmmm..I hope that makes sense!

What inspires you?
I’m inspired by everything, aren’t we all? But I must confess to a special fondness for the work of the Huichol indians of Mexico, I love Mexico in general and hope to move there in the not too distant future. I also love the art & culture of India and am thrilled to be making my first pilgramage this coming fall!

What scares you?
I’m scared of spiders. And of not taking advantage of opportunities and not following dreams. Just in case this really is the only life I’ll ever have, I want to live it to the fullest.

Tell us about your creative process.
I’m always looking around for forms that I want to cover and sometimes I get into themes like Toys or Birds or Music. I turn on my radio, plug in my air pen full of glue and jump in. I don’t plan the designs, I just let them happen and I’m really always happy with the results.

How did you get on Etsy and where else do you sell?
Again, my sister got me into Etsy. I haven’t sold anything on it yet and, quite honestly, I don’t really expect to. My stuff is really expensive, I know, and I mostly put in up on etsy in order to have it seen and get some feedback, and for that it’s really been a fantastic resource. I have sold a couple of pieces to a collector by word of mouth. I’ve shown in a couple of museums here in NJ and hope to show more and also to get into galleries.

Make a recommendation.
My favorite etsy store? Naturally my sister’s! Especially the Obama bracelets!

Tell us the answer to a question that we didn't ask, but should have. If you can't think of anything, tell us something random.
Right now I’m working on a big Kewpie doll which has been taking much too long. I’m hoping to finish it up this weekend. I’m also really excited about some one-dimensional work I’ve been doing based on the beaded patterns.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Art Deco Challenge Winner

The results are in for the latest EBW Challenge and GemsbyJules
Search Light Art Deco Bracelet received the most votes!

The cuff bracelet is done in peyote stitch and contains over 2000 size 11 Delica seed beads in a sea foam green, salmon pink, black and silver. Inspiration for the design came from posters with a "search light" look to them.

Runners up were:

Lost Treasures - BeadCatcher

Art Deco Collar - HighDesertBeadscapes

Latte at Hotel Mercedes - ThreeFatesDesign

Purple Graces - triz

A Salute To Art Deco - wMarlaine

My special mentions for the month goes to
ClinkscalesArts' Art Deco Earrings 30's geometric design! Fabulous!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sand Fibers Celebration Giveaway

If you're a Sand Fibers fan have I got some news for you! If you've never seen her work please look! It's fabulous!

Carol Dean Sharpe is coming up to her 300th Etsy sale and it celebrating by giving away 3 of her new Color Ribbon cuffs in custom colorways!

It's an incredible offer! Start a collection, buy a gift for a pal and reward yourself for your kindness, kill two birds with one stone if you have two occasions coming up . . . just think of the possibilities!
And then think of the possibilities in color-- and then go shop!
There's a few hours left to vote on the EBW Art Deco Challenge too. If you haven't seen it, do!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Unusual Materials

I just had to share elJan's Forgiven, again. I thought it was so marvelous a built a treasury around it.

Since it was mostly ignored and now expired I wanted more exposure for this pretty.

My biggest hope is that the bugs were already dead when they were decorated. I'm all about using dead stuff in art, but not if I have to kill it. I can wait till the bug's done with its body before I string it, or whatever.

One day I'll share my dead bug necklace. Suffice to say it's a real attention getter!

Remember my current project has the beetle wing coverings!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Material Input

This morning I woke up thinking about materials.
If you're a beadworker how much import does intrinsic value, time, skill, uniqueness and love involved have on your choice of materials?
Is something automatically more beautiful because the gems are grade A? Perhaps it depends on your personal sense of style and not just the depth of your pockets.
As a beadweaver I often choose beads at a mid-range price. I'm not shy about mixing less expensive Czech beads with more expensive Japanese beads to get the effect that I want. In my stringing I hardly ever go for the sparkle of well cut grade A gems or even crystals except for special commissions.
I recently had request for something like the sold bracelet in the picture. Actually, by the time I finished the only things that were the same were the amethyst and seed beads. The amethyst is what some would call poor quality. It's solid and the holes are well done so the beads should last forever, but the color! It doesn't have a clear purple color! In places it's downright grey in other places almost yellow, very quartzy. I love it. Both of my customers, the one that bought the original and the one that wanted something similar agreed that it's a lovely interesting look for amethyst.

The citrine is handcut, meaning it lacks the precision of a machine cut gem with it's sharp, perfect facets. A swift look at my shop will reveal a predilection for raw, earthy, primitive styles, so all this is within character for me.

It depends on what I'm going for, of course. If I really want sparkle I'll get Swarovski. But if I want a bead I can work with, I get what appeals.

There is a school of thought that suggests that the first beads in use by man were things that already had holes or things that were easily pierced, like seeds or feathers. That makes sense to me. It seems obvious. Children pick treasures up before they make their own.

At some point we graduated grandly to materials that took skill to work, but that would last longer.
Isn't the time and skill involved in creation of more value than the actual material?
Glass and clay are cheap, but put those humble materials in the hands of a master and look what treasures there are to be had!
Some evidence of early man's fascination with beads has been found in Russia.
In Valerie Hector's The Art of Beadwork, she points out that the more than 10,000 mammoth ivory beads buried with these children would have taken more than 3 years worth of 8 hour days to create. That's a lot of love.
Surely that love adds to the value of a piece of art, even if the materials are common.
I love, too, the unique. I love artist's beads. If you start with something no one else has, you'll end up with something no one else has. But then you can also start with the most typical of materials, think seed beads, and still end up with something no one else has. Thank God for that!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Complementary Contradictions

Complementary Contradictions is the next EBW theme.

Here's sneak peek at my project.

I was thinking 1st about a yin/yang thing and color contrasts. Then I thought of other contrasts, art and artifice, then art and science.

So I found a pretty lampwork bead or art and a piece of fishbone, a piece of citrine and a beetle wing for science.

I'm leaning toward a bracelet, probably freeform.

Check back for updates!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Bead Art Originals Items of the Week (8/11-8/17)

Most of these come with free shipping or a little gift.
Check here for details.

Voting is still open on the EBW Challenge! Vote here.

I hope to start my next project to day too.

Looks like Darcy is still running her special. Check out yesterday's post.

Kerrie Slade's Awareness fundraiser/contest begins today. Check out her blog for details or enter here.

This seems like a get out of my blog post! Links to everywhere! Oh well, there are days.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Jade Dog Sale!

There are few artists whose work I admire more than Darcy Horn's of The Jade Dog. It's hard to say why. She uses fabulous components and I love the semi-random earthy feel of her work. It's primitive in the best sense of the word and fabulous, stopping short of over-the-top.

I love the colors, textures and scale of her work.
Darcy is having a little sale. Free shipping and a free gift with every purchase useing Paypal.
Check out her shop and prepare to be amazed!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Voting Up On the Art Deco Challenge

Voting is up so settle in for a few minutes of viewing pleasure and pick your favorite beaded beauty!

These gorgeous works of art represent weeks worth of work and lot's of ingenuity! Kudos to the ladies of EBW!

I'm currently on the fence between two entries. I like to pick the entry I'd want to own and while there are several that I love, two really sing to me!

Get in there and vote!

August EBWC Mosaic

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Regal Shade of Green

And this one goes out to Kim of Regal Beads who loves green and elegant things and from the looks of her favorites-- earrings!
I've loved the A Midsummer Night's Dream Beadwoven Cuff in her shop since I laid eyes on it, so it was an easy pick.
From there I looked for beadwoven items in an EBW search. I was looking for any shade of green, but I wanted things with that certain flair! Enter the droolworthy OOAK Bead Embroidered Pendant NATIVE SPIRIT from caraway, the oh so cute Green beaded earrings from annabeads and the perfect little Salmonberry bracelet from LiciaBeads.
I found the awesome Wire Crochet Cuff by AlbinaRose and the Firefly Fairy by dreamasylum in Kim's favorites and BOXC's fabulous Lotea Flower, redwhisper's Tree Spirits and endlesswhimsy's Peek-a-boo in my favorites.
I'll take one of each please and so will Kim! See everything closer here for the next couple of days.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Tech Day

We have a houseguest who loves to hear herself talk. There are people in this world to whom I love to listen-- not many, but they're there. I like quiet soothing people, remember?

This houseguest is not one of them. Knowing this guest was coming, I bought an MP4 player-- a cheap one off eBay. If I'm forced to listen to something can I please choose what it is I must listen to? Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, etc? Happiness (and life and liberty) can take the form of audio books.

Specifically and currently, Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's 'Trilogy'

I, the child who never had a Walkman or boombox or CD player, whose experience with earphones is restricted to those on airplanes, purchased an MP4 player and expected to teach myself how to use it. (To this day, my car is without any player of any sort, though I have a radio.)

There was a manual. The manual was in English, technically, I suppose. It read like English, but I usually understand English well, as it's my first (and only fluent) language. I didn't understand the manual.

I tried to find a tutorial on transferring audio files from the computer to the MP4 player. I found nothing that helped.

Enter my favorite (and only) sister. My aunt bought her a Walkman, my dad a boombox and I a CD player. She has experience with earphones. She spent the day loading files onto my MP4 player while I sat and watched and tried to figure out what she was doing.

I did learn, incidentally, that I like Mozart, Shakira, the Goo Goo Dolls and the Eagles. I've never been in a position to choose music solely and completely for myself before. Sister mine found out that I didn't really like some of the artists we used to listen to together and I found out that just because I won't turn the station if it comes on did not mean I want it on my MP4 player.

Then sister mine found a bunch of trash on my computer to delete so as to speed it up. It took hours. All day really, so I did no actual beading, though I did clean up many a tube of Delicas and box of seedbeads and gave some thought to Complimentary Contradictions.

Sister mine also read my blog today, my entire blog, so maybe she'll read this entry tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Focus On: Alison Murray Whittington

I found Alison's shop while I was searching for a gift for a little boy. I thought sea monsters would appeal to him-- they appeal to me. Alison's are beautiful, as is all of her work, but more beautiful in person. I've enjoyed all of my purchase experiences with Alison and can vouch for her talents in custom design as well!

Alison Faye Murray Whittington

Tell us about yourself. What makes you, you?
I love the ocean and I love mountains. I like bright colors and light. I miss California every single day. I am a wanderer and a daydreamer. I am obsessively curious and will spend a great deal of time in the middle of the day researching subjects that have nothing to do with my life. I own a LOT of books. I am a haphazard nerd. I have an elastic sense of time. I think the meaning of life is joy.

What made you want to be an artist?
I couldn’t tell you exactly… I’ve always loved making art – I’ve always been a doodler, a drawer and a painter – and I’ve always WISHED I could be an artist, but I never wanted to be an artist, because I didn’t think it was something I COULD be. Does that make sense? It always seemed to me to be something other people – lucky people – got to do. When I realized I could do it too, if I wanted to, a whole new world opened up for me. I realized I was a “real” artist when my art supplies – the things I used to collect or buy or covet because I thought they were cool – transformed into tools I used on a daily basis and when I go to the store to buy more, it’s not only to feed my art supply addiction, but also because I actually need those things. It all sort of happened by accident – this is not the path I envisioned for myself ten years ago – but I count myself among the luckiest people in the world. I get to work for myself and I get to make things I love.

Why paint and ink?
It’s kind of a strange story: when I first considered going into business for myself, I picked the name Paint and Ink as a way of covering both art and writing. Then I wavered around a bit, and switched to Radiogirl Designs to work mostly on graphic design. It wasn’t for another year that I actually started making maps out of, well, paint and ink, and found my old name waiting patiently for me. Things have a funny way of working out just right. Of course, the “official” name of my shop is the Interimaginational Institute for Fantastical Exploration & Cartography. I have no idea where that came from, but I do love it. If it wasn't paint and ink what would it be?

My alter, alter ego, my other, not-so-secret identity, my second alias, is Radiogirl, and it was, actually, one of my first online usernames way back in the last century. If you add my confirmation name, Mary, in between my first and middle names, my initials become AMFM (W). Hence… Radiogirl. And radio has actually played a big role in my life, and, according to my mother, is largely responsible for my existence. But that’s a story for her to tell. But there are a lot of Radiogirls out there, these days, so it’s not as unique as it once was.

How do you see your style?
Whimsical, playful, adventure-inspiring, colorful.

What's the most wonderful thing you've made? The oddest?
I really, really, really love “The Sea of Laughter,” because the colors are so bright and joyful. But I’d most love to visit the Kingdom of Delight or the Realm of Good Cheer or the Land of Enchanted Vistas, or… well… I like all of my places! The oddest thing? Well, I once, at 13, glued toothpicks together on a piece of paper to form my uncle’s name. It was a Christmas present. I think kids today are much cooler at 13 than they were 20 years ago, but even so, I was embarrassingly dorky even by those standards.

What inspires you?
Everything. Seriously! But I am especially inspired by tall ships, fantasy novels and movies, old maps, books about pirates and nautical history, travel, great photography, memories of places I’ve been and the way they made me feel, people who believe in possibilities, and all the good things in life. And some of the bad things too. I turn them into good things by naming treasure map features after them… “Betrayal Bay”… “Mutiny Beach…” It’s my own special way of making the world a better place.

What scares you?
Losing my eyesight and not being able to paint anymore, and the thought of never actually writing that Great American Novel. At least I have written a novel, so the fear of never writing one at all has now been alleviated. But the novel was terrible and is in the cyber equivalent of a cardboard box in the attic, so now the next step is to write a good novel. One thing at a time, one thing at a time.

Tell us about your creative process.
My creative process is multi-faceted. I try to “fill the well,” so to speak, as much as possible. I read a lot of books, from fairy tales to pirate stories to coffee table books about the amazing places of the world. I carry around a notebook to write down great words that I think will fit well with my imaginary places (the last word I wrote down seems to be “dazzling”). I cut apart travel brochures and magazines and glue words and images into scrapbooks (this is fantastic, because it lets me put the magazines to good use and keeps me from hoarding them for years. At least some of them. I still have a good number of magazines that I’ve had for years. But I’ve started taking the scissors to National Geographic, and that, my friends, has been a big step for me in the anti-magazine-hoarding recovery process).When I actually sit down to draw the maps, I usually keep one or two of these scrapbooks at hand in case I get stuck or hit artists’ block, but usually, the places just flow from the pen. I’m hoping to start planning ahead a little more, though, because I don’t want to end up reusing too many words in my maps. Even when I do, I try to make sure they are different uses: like the Kingdom of Imagination vs. the Sea of Imagination. Some words are just too good to use only once.

How did you get on Etsy and where else do you sell?
I found Etsy at the beginning of 2006… through theblackapple. I was bloghopping through craft and art blogs, and I found her blog, which led me to Etsy, and after a month or so, I signed up. I had no idea that Etsy was still pretty new. I wasn’t making maps at the time, and my paintings weren’t all that good (although I still like them!), and I didn’t avidly pursue selling or actively participate on Etsy for a year. I listed my first map on my first Etsy anniversary. I also sell in person at art shows and sales, although I still consider myself a newbie at this. I have had some success at events, at least in getting people to come look at my artwork. I think it’s because I give them candy. Gold candy. Can’t offer people treasure maps if you’re not going to offer them treasure, now can you? My maps are also available at The Red Queen Gallery in Onancock, Virginia.

Describe your shop.
I think of my shop as a magical emporium / museum / institute / library / curiosity shop, where visitors find themselves transported to delightful and magical places as soon as they step in the door. And they can take a little of that wonder home with them, if they like. And I think of myself as a younger, female version of the absentminded explorer / professor / shopkeeper, constantly pushing my glasses up on my nose (even though I wear contacts), with wild hair flying all over the place and ink stains on my fingers. The last two are true, at least. And the absentminded part, too.

Make a recommendation.
A recommendation? What kind of recommendation? I could recommend lots of things! Hmmm… I think I will.

My Etsy recommendation: I just discovered this shop, and I’m hysterically in love! I want to buy them all:

My place to visit recommendation: Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic

My favorite restaurant recommendation: Tangerine, in Philadelphia

My musical recommendation (the greatest band you’ve never heard of): The Floating Men

Tell us the answer to a question that we didn't ask, but should have. If you can't think of anything, tell us something random.
Okay, random: I have traveled, specifically by air, a lot in my 33 years, and I’ve calculated that I have flown roughly 570,000 miles in my life. That’s enough to fly around the world almost 23 times. Sadly, I did not get frequent flier miles for most of that. But I can tell you that I like Virgin Atlantic the best of all the airlines.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I'm Done On Time!

I've been working on this thing almost non-stop for the past three days but it's in!
It's wild and I love it! It's kind of ancient Egyptian meets the 20's in Las Vegas.
I'm too tired to expound upon it though.
G' night!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Bits and I Need to be Beading

No deep thoughts today! Want deep thoughts? See yesterdays protest post!
Today I'm trying to finish my entry for the EBW Art Deco challenge. Might not make it this time which is sad because I haven't missed the deadline since I joined EBW in September.
In other news my Ocean of Storms cuff is my BAO Item of the Week. Buy it this week and get a free pair of handformed sterling silver hoops!
Be sure to check out the Bead Art Originals blog to see the Items of the Week being offered by other talented artists!
TotusMel announced the winner of her tatting challenge. I did get an honorable mentions which was exciting! She said she that while she 'felt the piece wasn't the best feature of the tatting, it was an amazing piece of art and it's softness and beauty are unmistakable.'
Visit her blog to see the winning entry. SkyIsland's piece was beautiful and I pegged it for a winner when I first saw it. She has some pretty lampwork in her shop too.
Lastly, if you've ever wanted to bead for charity or if you like to buy for charity please check out Kerrie Slade's blogpost about her Awareness Pins. The pattern will be available on Beading Daily beginning August 11th.
So I'm back to my Art Deco piece now. Have a great day!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Bits and I'd Rather be Beading

I went out into the wide world today.

Some friends had some out of town guests and they wanted me to go with them to do the trolley tour of Savannah's historic district and River Street.

If you've vacationed in Savannah you know exactly what I'm talking about. If not-- Savannah has a huge historic district and River Street is exactly that. It runs along the Savannah River.

Savannah is one of the USA's biggest ports and all of the big barges come down the River, laden, one assumes with porcelain thimbles and flipflops.

A few decades ago it was abandoned real estate. Now it's a huge tourist trap replete with restaurants, bars, candy stores, boutiques, galleries and souvenir shops. It's not my favorite place. When I go downtown, I go for tea at the Tearoom, which is quiet and cozy and soothing. I go with soothing people. I go early so I can get back early. No, I'm not as old as I sound right now.

A few things stood out at me today. The massive amounts of good resources devoted to generic junk at souvenir shops around the world, for one. Ubiquitously we have: porcelain thimbles, magnets with place names, keyrings with place names, tacky coffee mugs, food that does not under any circumstances belong in a jar, slogan teeshirts, flipflops, caps with place names, sorry sunglasses, jewelry made in Taiwan, China or India, disposable pens with place names and snowglobes. More specifically, though not exhaustively we have small resin pig statuettes decorated with glitter and pink feathers. People buy those? Really? Junk, junk and more junk.
It made me a little sad that people are so eager to buy junk.

Interestingly, at the galleries I was able to spot the art by locals and that purchased elsewhere mainly by price. I was admiring a series of wall tiles and then realized they were under $40 a piece. If the gallery takes half, that's $20 for the artist. Uh-uh. Looked around and saw the same tiles in three sizes and topping boxes-- the same exact pattern with no 'handpainted' differences, so I assume it was inked by machine.

The fabulous purple peyote necklace in the case was just under $500. It was made of different shades and the piece was woven of triangles grouped together. Lots of texture. Just gorgeous. Possibly one of a kind. I wondered if the artist had heard of Etsy.

Even the glasswork was different to me. The small colorful lampwork beaded bracelet in the case with the artists name prominently displayed looked much different to me that the dichroic 'art' jewelry pendants that were imported from somewhere or another.

I wouldn't bet I could spot them everytime, but that I saw any difference at all I attribute to my year on Etsy. That I was conscious of not only the tagged price, but how much the artist's cut may be I attribute to my year on Etsy. That I was frustrated at the way things were mixed together I attribute to my year on Etsy.

Now the disclaimer. I don't hate imports or jewelry from India, China and Taiwan. I like jewelry from India. I have some and want more. Once in awhile I wander into Pier 1 Imports, even though I don't like the way it smells.

My objection stems from knowing that most people will think that because things are displayed together they have equal value. If you like it fine. If you want it fine. Even tacky pig statuettes. But to buy it thinking that you're supporting an artist when you aren't isn't so great. Speaking as that artist of course.

I guess I just would like to live in a world where life and all the things in all of our lives were of the highest quality, where resources were spent on things worth spending it on and there was no waste, no deception and no taking advantage of anyone's ignorance.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Beading Book Reviews

9/10ths of the beadweavers of my acquaintance recommend Carol Huber Cypher's Mastering Beadwork. I was a bit ambivalent. I love bead books but try not to collect every one ever printed in English.

I subscribe to Bead&Button and Beadwork magazine, both of which focus on beadweaving. Even when I was strictly stringing I enjoyed those two which seemed to offer more than the eyecandy offered by Stringing or Step by Step Beads (which now has much more beadweaving than it used to). I even subscribed to the old Lapidary Journal, even though I don't do that sort of thing.

No, I'm not knocking stringing-- I do plenty of it, but I have an artist's independent soul and am past the point, if I was ever there exactly, where I want anyone to tell me how to string beads, thanks. Maybe I just love the mystery of 'things I can't do'.

Though I own quite a few bead books, the best of which is Robert Liu's Collectible Beads, none are beadweaving which is the most recently acquired skill in my jewelry making set.

As for my magazines, after I scan them, read the features and mark projects I may want to look at again you can find me laboring over Tips and Techniques or Basics as I try to wrap my mind around where the needle goes next in a stitch I'm trying to learn. Still with all the hoopla I really wondered if I needed this book.

Then Crafter's Choice sent a mailer that featured it and it would basically run me $7 if I added a few more books. $7 is unbeatable. The list price is $25. So I bit the bullet and bought the book along with Theresa Flores Geary's the illustrated bead bible, Juju Vail's The Beader's Handbook and Barbara Case's Making Jewelry with Gemstone Beads.

After looking through Mastering Beadwork I understand why Marlaine of Rainy Lane said it wasn't really for beginners. I wouldn't want to teach myself peyote from this-- please-- go get a few copies of Bead&Button and Beadwork and labor over Tips and Techniques or Basics.

I also understand why Carol Dean Sharpe of Sandfibers and Triz Tager of Triz Designs and others love the book!

Now that I've taught myself peyote, brick stitch, ladder stitch, right angle weave, square stitch, netting, herringbone and Ndebele (boy, I've been busy!) I'm so glad I have this book to help me go farther!

Just in the first section are awesome tips about bead mats, needles and their differences, keeping a journal, bead color consideration, and ergonomic tips. Then she has sections devoted to different types of beadwork. I can already tell that this book will be extremely useful as I better my craft.

As for the rest of the books I picked up, Geary's bead bible is the best of the lot. It's a nice little bead dictionary, a nice gift or addition to a bead lover's library. If you're a beginning beader the others may be of use.

If you're somewhat past the start of your beading journey save your bucks and pick up Creative Bead Weaving or The Art & Elegance of Beadweaving by Carol Wilcox Wells. They're the next books on my list.

Thoughts? Have a favorite or not so favorite book? Give us a heads up!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Focus On: Mink Hebert

A few months ago I got a yen for a bag. I don't do bags so it was quite a challenge for me to identify what I wanted and to stay in any sort of budget. Enter acajou, quirky, yet not too loud and with the addition of a custom pocket, perfect!
Mink impressed me with her professionalism as well, and I'd recommend her any time!
Love my bag, by the way!
Name: Mink Hebert
Tell us about yourself. What makes you, you?
I communicate through making things. I am interested in beauty and freedom~ creating for me is always an attempt to express that.
Do you see yourself as an artist or craftsman or both?
Both. I think of Acajou as craft because a bag's function outweighs the import of it's visual language. I also paint and consider that more "serious" art.
What made you want to be an artist?
I don't know that I ever made the conscious decision to be an artist. I have always been driven to create and I just think of it as play. It is a privilege and also a necessity.
Why bags?
Bags are fun to make... I like pushing the possibilities of with them because the form is basic and their purpose so commonplace.
How do you see your style?
Sophisticated yet childlike. Sometimes elegant, sometimes quirky.
What's the most wonderful thing you've made? The oddest?
One of the first Little Kite Handbags I made captures what I am trying to achieve- I still go back to it as a reference. The oddest? Some of the things that don't make it to my shop!
What inspires you?
Many things. I am inspired by Japanese, Scandinavian, and French design. Nature, children's books, the animal kingdom, anatomy, color, etc.
Tell us about your creative process.
I spend the most time putting fabrics together. Looking at how colors and textures work together or contrast. I have patterns I made that I use for construction of each style of bag. The fun part is working with the individual textiles to make a piece unique.
How did you get on Etsy and where else do you sell?
I found Etsy by chance almost two years ago and it took me a while to open shop. I also sell my bags in a boutique called, Tapestry, in Calgary, Canada and I am currently looking at other local venues to feature my designs.
Describe your shop.
Busy, cheerful!
Make a recommendation.
This is the first shop on Etsy that I hearted:
I love it...
Tell us the answer to a question that we didn't ask, but should have. If you can't think of anything, tell us something random.
What is next for Acajou? I am making dolls with the leftover scraps from my bags- I am excited because this is a way for me to keep from wasting fabric.