Beadfest Preview    Thursday, August 20, 2015

Visit me at Bead Fest this weekend at booth 559a! I can't wait to see what all the beadmakers in Artisan's Alley have created. That's the best place to start at the show. 
I'll have the new fall beads available online when I get back. Which is your favorite? 

Fall Finery    Saturday, August 15, 2015

Do you feel it? We've all seen the back-to-school promos and pencil-notebook-crayon-eraser-filled aisles. The cooler mornings and shorter days are a sure sign. We are even seeing hints of colors dappling the trees. No doubt about it, autumn is slowly creeping her way on to the landscape. 
And I'm super cool with that. If heaven were a season, it would be fall. So I took a few minutes to whip up some earrings to celebrate!
These long dangles feature Humblebeads disk beads in birch and leafy patterns. (Grab them at Bead Fest next week!) It's a little hard to see the bronze and copper glass o-beads that are working hard as spacers, but they are there! Czech glass leaves in a mustard yellow remind me of my favorite knitted scarf. 
Yep, I'm ready for sweater weather, autumn colors and everything pumpkin spice! How about you? 
Actual autumnal evidence from my front yard! 
Have a great weekend!!!

Inspired by Nature Fall Retreat    Monday, July 20, 2015

It's that time of year again! General registration for my fall retreat opens tonight at midnight EST.

I'm super excited about this year's projects, they are filled with color, texture and motifs inspired by treasures found on the forest floor. We'll play with polymer clay, copper and wire for three days of jewelry making bliss surrounded by the most beautiful woodland setting with a picturesque river as our backdrop.

This is my favorite event of the year, the one closest to my heart where I share my hometown and inspiration with my students. It's a small event will only 20 spaces open. My past retreat students get the chance to sign up early, so we are 1/2 full right now. 

If you have been pining to join me for one of my retreats this is the one not to miss! It's Halloween weekend in my sleepy hometown of South Haven, MI. You can read all the details here.

I'll leave you with a few photos of the class projects.

Psst...East coast friends, Andrew Thornton of Allegory Gallery is hosting a 2 day retreat where I will be teaching polymer and metal classes inspired by the waterfalls of Pennsylvania. That event will be the weekend of September 18th. We'll have details soon. (That's in Ligonier, PA)

The Editors Take the Art Bead Scene Challenge    Thursday, July 16, 2015

This amazing painting was painted by Dutch Renaissance painter Balthasar van der Ast in the 1600's! You can read all about our monthly challenge here. When I saw this painting I fell in love with that collection of shells. Shells were considered exotic to the growing upper class during the Renaissance, collected from tropical locations from merchants traveling the globe. The Dutch would paint still lives with flowers, insects and other mementos that would not only show off their wealth but had a deeper meaning that all the things of this world are temporary and transient. 

I decided this month to create beads for the challenge. One thing I loved about the painting was the play of pattern, color and shapes from one shell to the next and created small collections of headpins inspired by the shells and berries in the painting. 

These are one-of-a-kind sets and can be found on my website, here
Stop by the Art Bead Scene today to see what our other editors were inspired to create! 

AJE Firefly Challenge    Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Earlier this month the Art Jewelry Elements posted a challenge for summer inspired by Fireflies. I had to jump on it. I love these night time dancers that entertain us during hot and humid summer nights. The fields around my house light up with their display and I have fond memories of chasing fireflies as a kid growing up in the country. 
My first pendant is a simple design with one of my firefly charms, Czech glass, a feathery Humblebead disk and a brass colored dyed hematite. I worked the chain up with a series of large jump rings juxtaposed by a copper flower clasp.
My next piece is a bracelet that uses similar beads to match my pendant.
My final pendant I pulled out a bead I had been hording for years, years I tell you! Isn't that funny how you can fall in love with a bead but you have to wait until it really speaks to you before you take it out of the bead box. 
This pewter pendant is Mamacita Beadworks. I stacked a series of art beads on top of the pendant to suggest a summer night - a golden disk bead with tree branches wrapped around it. A lampwork bead from Sea of Glass that looks like a starry night. A ceramic bead from Earthenwood Studio that reminds of wood and the forests, along with a little wooden bead. And finally a tiny disk bead with wings wrapped around it. 
The best part of the firefly pendant - those squirmy little legs underneath! It reminds me of a character straight out of Tim Burton's James and Giant Peach.
Visit the other participants and see their firefly inspirations!

Guest Designers:
Melissa Trudinger -
Mary Detray -
Keren Panthaki -
Tammy Adams -
Veralynne Malone -
Terri Del Signore -
Heather Powers -

Bead Soup Mix Challenge Gallery    Saturday, June 27, 2015

A sea inspired bead soup bracelet by Despina featuring a Humblebeads urchin and starfish charm. Despina's dreamy mix of beads look fit for a mermaid!

Michelle was also inspired by a beachy bead soup mix with a Humblebeds bracelet connector as the focal. The copper really makes the teal green colors pop in this design.

Melanie picked a few teal shades of bead soup to create a bird and nest necklace. She mixed in some texture with knotted beads on cord to balance out the large oval chain. The focal bead features a Humblebeads nest and a ceramic bird by Kylie Parry. 

Julie gathered a fun and eclectic mix of bead soup, she used larger focal beads unifying the design with elongated beads. She used a Humblebeads long bead (that is almost vintage! I remember making it when I lived in Texas!) and transformed it into an awesome dragonfly with just a bit of wire - seriously clever! 

Debra gathered up a playful bead soup to accent a trio of Humblebeads nesting dolls. She used sari ribbon to complete the design.

Kathy not only created a bead soup, she did a little double duty by recycling pieces from an older necklace that she wasn't crazy about. She used a Humblebeads peacock disk beads with a lotus focal from Jenny Davies-Reazor.

Alice created two pieces for the challenge! Her first piece with a turtle focal used a mix of Humblebeads disk beads to accent her pendant.

Her second pendant paired up a mix of Humblebeads from a Totem set with a word bead from Swoondimples. 

Anna Chase rounded up a bead soup of glass, ceramic and Humblebeads disk beads. I love the beaded part of the bracelet and the earthy colors are so compelling. 

Cory mixed two Humblebeads feathers with a few her polymer clay beads, Czech glass with accents of teal cord to tie it all together. Get it, tied together. Sorry. I like the addition of the beads on the cord to add in movement, texture and color to a design. 

Thank to everyone who played along with me this week! It was so much fun to see what you whipped up with your soup. We are some mighty fine bead soup cooks. Now, it's time for the winner - everyone's name went into the hat and I drew: 

That's Debra Beach! Congrats Debra - have fun shopping with your $50 gift certificate! 

Bohemian Bead Soup    Friday, June 26, 2015

Earlier this week I put out a challenge to create a bead soup mix piece of jewelry. How is it going? Almost done? You need to share your link with me by today to enter to win the $50 gift certificate. You can find the details here.

So this is the piece of jewelry I had in mind all weekend and couldn't wait to make! I wanted something that was bohemian inspired that featured my new Monarch beads. 

The beaded portion of the necklace - my soup - combines Czech glass, crystal, a few stones and copper beads knotted on green waxed linen. I wanted the necklace to feel like a butterfly garden, speckled with blooms and wings. The clasp is a pewter button from Green Girl Studios.

The pendant features a ceramic bead from White Clover Kiln, a lampwork beads from More Skye Jewels. At the bottom of the pendant the leaf headpin is from Nikki Thornburg and the drop is Genea Beads.
 Love making these Chrysalis beads! 
I could so see this necklace being worn by artist Vanessa Bell, she owned the famous Charleston home. A hot gathering place for artists, writers and other bohemian types known as the Bloomsbury Group. Vanessa Bell was a painter herself and created the most amazing home with fellow artist Duncan Grant. She is also the sister of Virginia Wolf. 
She'd wear the necklace with something like this: 
Photo credit: Tom Allen via We Are So Droee
While she painted this:
 Painting by Vanessa Bell
Hanging out in gorgeous rooms, lounging around with her artist friends in rooms like this - heated and intellectual conversations were a must, of course. 
Photo from the Charleston website
And while she read and illustrated books by her sister like this:
Photo via Little Augury
Yep, that's where I see this necklace! 
Don't forget to click on this link - right here - to share your bead soup creations. 

Bead Soup Mix Challenge    Monday, June 22, 2015

I don't know why, maybe I'm feeling whimsical or maybe it's because my bead stash is currently in a crazy jumble but I have had bead soup on the brain all weekend. I have a design floating around in my head but time is short this week. (How does that happen on Monday!)

So let's play together. Create a bead soup piece of jewelry with at least one Humblebead in the mix.

  • Post a comment below with a link to your creation by Friday. 
  • On Saturday I will draw a winner for a $50 gift certificate from Humblebeads. 
  • Link can be from your shop, blog, Facebook page, Instragram, Pinterest but it has to be a new creation and it has to your link. 
  • Make sure you leave an email if it's not in your profile. 

Grab those beads and let's create!!!

Here is a great blog post I wrote last year for my Mojo Challenge will all sorts of tips for creating a bead soup piece of jewelry.

And if you have a copy on your shelf pull out the Bead Soup book by my friend Lori Anderson. It's awesome and deserves a re-read. In fact I'm going to pull out my copy to read over again this week. (That's an Amazon affiliate link above.)

June Art Bead Scene Challenge    Saturday, June 20, 2015

This is the inspiration painting for this month's Art Bead Scene challenge. When I was looking for art for this year's challenge, I was wondering looking for women artist's to feature - we need all the credit we can get, right? I had seen Seraphine's work before but this piece just stopped me in my tracks. The colors are so vibrant and alive. I could make beads and jewelry for a month inspired by this painting and never run out of ideas. I love the abundance and overzealous feeling of the work, who isn't a little overtaken by the beauty of nature! 
Let's see what I came up with this month.
First up, I broke into my Bead & Button stash and pulled out some Diane Hawkey beads. Why don't I ever buy enough of her pieces, I always use them up to quick. I'm particularly in love with her branches, should have grabbed all her had. I paired them up with my leaves and birds. A little Czech glass and copper branches finish the design.
The same design with a slight twist, mixing in a few different pendants - the ceramic leaf from Lisa Peters, lampwork from Sea of Glass and enamel leaf from Gardanne Beads. I kept these simple with a bronze colored leather.
I made this piece for myself. That amazing electroplated leaf is something I picked up from an artist at a local show last summer. I can't find her card - why, Heather, why! I hope she returns this year. If I could take a class or teach myself a new skill it would be how to electroplate things from nature. Yummy!!!!
I also used the inspiration painting to put together a few kits that I'm offering in my Etsy shop.
So that's my ABS challenge pieces, are you working on one or have you finished a design? There is still plenty of time to enter. Stop by the Art Bead Scene to see what Mary Harding created for this month's challenge too.

Bead & Button Peek    Friday, June 5, 2015

A quick peek at booth 1208. Stop by to say hello! 

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