Monday, March 31, 2008

Suggest a Name and Win FREE Glass Links

Are you feeling literary today? I hope so because my jewelry designing colleague, Cyndi Lavin and I need your help. Remember the Collaboration I did with Elaine Ray and Beverly Herman? I loved the color combination so much, I sent a few to Cyndi along with a Glyph Series bead to see what a different designer would do with them.

Cyndi has designed a lovely necklace using the glass spirals and petroglyph beads but since we're like Kandinsky, neither she nor I know what to name it!

Do you?

I know my readers are happy to suggest names, you've done it before with the rings I post.

I'm upping the ante today - post a comment suggesting a name and you'll be entered into a drawing to win two aqua glass links!

You can post a name either here or on Cyndi Lavin's blog. Comments made from today, March 31st until Sunday, April 6th will be eligible. Winner will be announced on here and on Cyndi's blog on Monday, April 7th, 2008.

I look forward to seeing the suggested names! Good luck!


Sunday, March 30, 2008

Do I name like Kandinsky?

(Photo of Vassily Kandinsky from Wikipedia)

Kandinsky is one of my favorite painters. A couple of years ago, I went to the Guggenheim Museum and saw much of his work in person. One of the things that struck me about his paintings were the names - "Composition IV," "Improvisation," "Black Spot," and the one my husband loves the most, "Several Circles." None sound very creative do they? I'm pointing this out jokingly because I think after creating such lovely, intense work, he was tapped out of ideas for a name.

Why do I bring up Kandinsky and his titles? Like him, I'm "naminig-impaired." I have a hard time coming up with names for the art beads I make. Here's a good example...

Whee? What was I thinking? I was tapped out and didn't want to call them "Red and Pea Green beads" although that's what I was thinking.

I'm sure I'm wrong about Kandinsky's names, though. I'm sure his titles are intentionally vague or nondescript for a reason - it just feels like he wasn't very creative. So when I think I've come up with a particularly poor name for my beads, I think of Kandinsky and "Several Circles."

Friday, March 28, 2008

Mother Nature tests me....

Yep, that's what happens when you open your mouth or type it on your blog. Wasn't I telling you yesterday that I'm in Spring Mode? No March snowstorm could deter me from Spring mode? Yes, I was and Mother Nature saw what I had to say. She decided to test me by sending a nice fluffy inch or two of snow. Sorry, Mamma Nature, I'm not taking the bait - it's March and I'm so happy that the snow will have to leave that I can't stop creating! Spirals in 3 colors with a large bead hole for stringing on cord to a few strands of beading thread- happy happy happy! It's Spring in my studio despite what Mother Nature says!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Brooklyn's National Anthem Inspires OT!

When March comes around, I go into spring mode. It can snow, sleet and rain and it doesn't faze me in the least. It's spring. March is spring to me no matter how much snow may appear. Others will look at a spring snow storm and feel depressed. I gleefully rub my hands together and say, "BBAWWWHHHAAA your days are numbered snow! It's March! You'll be nothing but water in a few days!"

So, I'm in Spring Mode and along with that comes an old two line poem:

Spring has sprung, the grass has ris,
I wonder where the flowers is

Apparently my favorite spring time jingle is more familiarly known as The Brooklyn National Anthem and appeared in print around 1945. But regardless whose anthem it originally was, it's mine every spring.

Like the rhymes says, where is the flowers? Today, I've made my flowers sprout in glass. I used enamels to paint a flower onto the glass and fused it between two layers. Used a little blue Artistic Wire to mimic my spring sky and strung it on a rollo chain with anodized jump rings.

So now, check out what the OT Girlz have sprouted for today!

Alexa Westerfield - a.k.a. Swelldesigner
Now that's it's time for spring, ideas are "sprouting" all over the place. Alexa creates this eye-catching notebook to keep them in order.

Art Bead Scene
Some good karma is sprouting up at the Art Bead Scene with Heather's Lotus Flower Bracelet

Cindy Gimbrone
The Brooklyn National Anthem sprouts every year when Cindy's in Spring mode. See what it inspired this year!

Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Melanie giggles and remembers a furry friend, brings back an old mold, and sprouts up a beaded LOLhammy ceramic ornament.

Helen Bradley and Michelle Zimmerman at http design
It's spring and we're sprouting all sorts of wonderful art at http design. Michelle is toting her art to the market and Helen revisits a fun art school assignment for her inspiration.

Humblebeads celebrates spring with a Berry Good bracelet inspired by some juicy disk beads.

Jennifer Heynen of Jangles
Jennifer has come up with a cute little necklace to remind you of spring.

Katie's Beading Blog
Create some spring flair of your own with this easy bead embroidery idea from Katie's book, Hip to Bead.

Kriss Cramer - Spring Is In The Air
Not much of a horticulturist? Me neither! But I love flowers and I enjoy growing these ones with some paper, paint, and rhinestones.

Linda Augsburg at Make It Mine magazine
Tea decided to join the fun this month. Check out her quilt blocks and Linda's purse.

Melissa J. Lee - Strands of Beads
What do Korean playing cards have to do with a sprouting spring? Check out Melissa's blog to find out.

Michelle McGee - S-P-R-O-U-T
Michelle just can't stop creating in green! A little wooden birdhouse becomes a beautiful palace!

Savvy Crafter
Candie shares some happy spring memories with a cheerful felty flower idea!

Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean tells a touching, poignant tale of some beads who help one another, and after a small amount of sturm and drang they get it together and help each other! In fact, they prettify whatever YOU choose! Go see! It's fun!

Spring is Sprouting for Joolz by Lisa
Even without a green thumb, Lisa managed to "grow" a garden of sorts this month.

Sprouting Up with Beading Help Web
Lynn Kvigne's used wire and a lentil bead to create a "sprouting" pendant for wire workers who want a bit of a challenge!

The Goddess ROCKS!
Inspired by a river rock shaped like an ancient goddess statue, Hali paints, melts crayons and adds glitter to create a sparkley celebration of Spring.

The Impatient Blogger
How does your garden grow? With metal mesh, Czech glass beads and vintage French images all in a row! Margot just returned from Paris where she discovered a treasure trove of vintage paper. This scanned and sized postcard image fit the theme of sprout perfectly and the necklace was in search of a new home...add some teal metal mesh bows and accents and voila...a design sprouts forth!

Vintage Girl Teams Up With Her Vintage Momma!
What does a gal do when she finds herself far from her crafting supplies? Why, she raids her mom's basement and then puts dear old mama to work! Stop by and you'll see why mom's basement is fertile ground for things that sprout!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Ornament Thursday is ready to sprout!

My Ornament Thursday project is ready to post! But it's only Wednesday so one more day to go before I can show it to you! Here's a peek, though, at the feature on the OT website...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Working with Glass Links: Beginner Design Idea

Here's a quick and easy way for beginners and seasoned jewelry makers to use my new Organic Glass Links. A sleek, modern design using classic black, silver and red with the glass link suspended from a satin cord. A couple of knots and it's ready to wear! Sign up for my newsletter and receive a free tutorial and special discounts for subscribers only.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Working with Glass Links

Last week, I debuted the Organic Glass Links - organic because the shape comes from the natural movement of the class in the flame - I don't use any tools or molds to form the links - I let the glass flow organically. When I create beads, I usually have an idea how to use them. I thought I'd show you one of the ways I thought you could use them. I pulled a couple of 15 to 18mm links out of the pile above - I chose two in shiny black. I made a set of earrings - I hand formed the earwires and used colored 1/2 inch jump rings to suspend them from the earwire - topped it off with an antique silver-dipped clay spacer and done. A nice beginner project. Sleek, organic and modern!

How would you use the glass links?

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I'm off today, sort of.....

I'm off today, sort of...I wrote a blog entry for Art Bead Scene today - As the Bead Turns - a post full of what's up in the jewelry/bead designing world. Take your cup of coffee over there and catch up!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Mix...

The kiln is warming up and it's about time for me to head out to the studio. I'll be making more doodles/glass links today. Along with those I make a few spirals playing around with different color combinations and shapes - an "even" spiral and one that peaks toward the center rather than the top.

Transparent amber is another good color to work with - it holds the heat of the flame, preventing the glass from cracking and doesn't blob out of shape. And it reminds me of maple syrup!

Time to make the beads! Enjoy your day! :-)

Friday, March 21, 2008

What could be better than that?

TGIF! The weather's getting warmer despite the occasional snow, I've got new Glass Links and Art Bead Scene will feature beadmaker Heather Powers on tomorrow's Studio Saturday! What could be better than that!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Doodling in Glass.... Organic Glass Links

I haven't worked "off mandrel" in awhile. "Off mandrel" is the same as "off hand" meaning that the heated glass is not wound around a stiff wire (mandrel) to create a beadhole. The hot glass is heated and formed free hand into its final shape. Off mandrel can be more challenging because you don't have the help of the mandrel to hold the glass - you have to create your shape and then eventually you'll need to hold it with a set of tweezers - making sure the glass doesn't crack as a result of touching the tool.

So, last week, I sat down at the torch with some new colors and played. I wanted a modern look, where the form and shape was the focus.

The shape comes from how the glass changed form from a solid to a liquid to a solid again like how rain becomes icicles and then will become water. It felt like I was doodling to create these glass links - ranging in size from 15mm to 24mm in diameter. The links are entitled "Organic Glass Links" but I think I'd prefer to call them Doodle Links. What would you call them?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Collaboration Design Numero Quattro

I'm a bad girl. Yup, I admit it. Why you ask? On a day like today, when we're excited about unveiling the Collaboration Exploration with Beverly Herman and Elaine Ray? Well, I'm bad because when I received the beads from Elaine, so many ideas ran through my head about how I could combine her beads with my spirals that I haven't really been able to settle on just one. You might remember my commitment issues with beads. I have a hard time committing lovely beads to just one design forever and ever.

I wonder if Elaine and Bev had a hard time committing? Maybe not - I'll be excited to see what they've done! A BIG THANK YOU to both of them for playing! This has been a blast! Thanks to Art Bead Scene for bringing us together!

Since I ran out of time before I was able to commit, I'm unveiling while still in the design process - today's design is number 4. Yup. I made 3 necklaces with this set of beads and took them apart to make this one. Design numero quattro! I'm still not satisfied with the design. Numero quattro is only a stepping stone to design number 5. But I ran out of time - we all agreed to post today.

So, this design is a whim - I wanted to try out the Cascade yarn I bought on a whim one day. The colors in the yarn are a bit brighter than the autumnal colors in the beads - a harbinger of warmer days to come. The yarn is 100% viscose so it's very soft (and impossible to knot). I love Elaine's off white oval beads, an unexpected surprise in the crocheted necklace. Since the necklace is full of such surprise and lightness, it's appropriate to call this Collaboration Necklace, "Whim."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Get ready for a Collaboration

Last month, I mentioned I was working on beads for a Collaboration Exploration this month with beadmaker Elaine Ray and designer, Beverly Herman. To pique your interest, I'm posting pictures of my previous collaborations and the beads I created for this month's Collaboration. I'll post links to my co-collaborators blogs and you can see what they've come up with. This is a surprise for all of us, we haven't shared our creations with one another yet - so it will be new for me too! I can't wait to see what Bev and Elaine have come up with!

Here's the Collaboration with Melanie of Earthenwood Studio and Jean Yates: Exuberance!

Here's the Totem Pendant I created this past fall with beadmaker/designer Bridgitte Tucker and designer Laura Bracken: Universal Truth

The set of beads and spirals I made for tomorrow's collaboration in autumnal colors - plum and steel gray-green. Make sure you stop by tomorrow to see the Collaboration!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Over the Rainbow....

I thought the video was appropriate since today's post is about Rainbows. Last week, I blogged about Alternative Styles, the inspiration behind the bead series "Heartz n Skullz." On my recent Studio Saturday on Art Bead Scene, I took you into my studio to show you a new spiral, The Rainbow Spiral or Spiraled Chakra Colors, both are the same prismatic colors of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. But the request for the chakra colors in a rainbow wasn't the first time I was asked to make a bead in those colors. A couple of years ago, I was making glass hands regularly. I had a request to make a hand in the chakra colors. My base color could be whatever I wanted - so if you read my blog, you know I love to work with yellow. This yellow is a pearly shampoo glass so I couldn't resist.

At my shows, I usually have glass hands among the beads, but don't have them on my website. I'm thinking of bringing them back to the website. Do you think I should?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Alternative Styles: Plug Ur Bud

Alternative Styles lends itself to amazing creativity in the beadmaking world. One of my beadmaking colleagues, Melanie of Earthenwood Studios took two full weeks in February to open her studio and show us her process towards creating her Steampunk line of beads. An in-depth look at what Steampunk is and great beads to boot! Surf on over there with a big cup of coffee so you can sit and enjoy the read!

Friday, March 14, 2008


(These beauties are available)
Here are some alternatives to the alternative week styles I've been blogging about this week. Art Bead Scene is one year old this week! ABS celebrates art beads of all media and inspires those who create with them. To add to the fun, ABS hosts a monthly challenge with free giveaways each month. Art Jewelry pieces are posted on the ABS Flickr group

Another alternative is Ornament Thursday - a group of awesome craft creators bringing you a new theme on the last Thursday of the month. Not just ornaments but crafts and jewelry to ornament your life all year!

Last month, I posted a two part tutorial on ABS and here as part of Ornament Thursday. So if you're looking for a good alternative to the usual, check out ABS and OT!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Red, White and Black the Modern Punk Palate

Mix up the styles I've talked about today and you'll get a Punk-Goth counterculture attitutude in red, white and black. The Ramones with a dash of red - but it's a style all to itself. Not quite Victorian or Modern Goth, not quite punk but a bit of both. A category all it's own. Emily the Strange was created in the skater culture by Rob Reger - who is Emily? From her website:

Emily is anti-cool, a subculture of one, and a follower of no one but herself. She’s the anti-hero for the Do it Yourself movement. Her favorite phrase is “Get Lost!” - both an invitation to travel to unknown places and an instruction to “Take a hike!”

(Photo Credit: Emily the Strange by Buzz Parker published by Dark Horse

I like a girl with attitude.

Emily the Strange uses a single color combination red, white and black. A punk with attitude and a splash of color.

The red white and black theme is used most effectively by The White Stripes a two person band who hail from Detroit Michigan. I'm always amazed what they can come up with using such a limited palate of colors.

The Punk - Alternative red, white and black palate is reflected in the Heartz n Skullz series. When creating the series, the Pinz in my Heart beads led to the Goth Kidz beads and Goth Kidz were the jumping off point for the Skully Kidz - in the same way as my posts have gone this week - punk to goth to punk-goth red, white and black.

(Photo Credit: MTV website)

The White Stripes not only have surprising clothes in red, white an black but use it to stunning visual effect in their videos. Here's a perfect example in their video Seven Nation Army. Turn it up! Meg is awesome on the drums!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Alternative Style: Japanese Goth

Of all the alternative styles I've been researching for this series, there are the most stereotypes related to Goth. I was a little reluctant to write about Goth because of those stereotypes and because I'm a protective parent. My son and his friends are the local "Otaku" - enthusiastic Japanese Animation Fans or Anime. The girls in the Otaku are heavily into Gothic Lolita which is part of the Lolita fashion.

Above is the Gothic Lolita look and below is the Lolita fashion. The Gothic Lolita has lots of black with a punch of red, plaid, white.

(Photos above from Wikipedia)

Japanese Lolita fashion has its roots in the U.S. Victorian styles - during the 1800's the Victorian Gothic novel full of ghosts, mystery and monsters such as Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was popular fiction.

(Photo Credit: From Wikipedia Boris Karloff as Frankenstein)

The look of silent films starts influence the look of Victorian Goth - below is a picture of early Hollywood star Theda Bara.

So the teenagers who practically live in my house (I think they only come because I'll feed them! :-) wear the creepy cute fashion. They are the inspiration for the Goth Kid series - like the real kids, they're sweet with big hearts - and an edge that not everyone understands.

What was the edgiest style you ever wore?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Alternative Design Inspiration: Punk

Photo by Dijiddle

Alternative style - punk style is what today is about. Sunday I blogged about the tail end of the baby boom generation as a separate group - The Jones Generation. I think the Jones Generation had a particular attitude that fed into the emerging punk style of the late 1970's ala the Ramones and The Clash. It was pre-spiked hair and dog collars although Vivienne Westwood was making that popular in the UK. Punk was designed to shock. The style and music was stripped down - with a heavy dose of DIY. Chains, slogan t-shirts and customized blazers.

A straight A student in high school, I had an artsy side that came out in what I wore. I loved the rebellious nature of punk. I wasn't willing to drop out of school but I was willing to shock by wearing the style and listen to the music! I latched onto the customized blazer - I borrowed old pinstriped blazers from the back of my father's closet and customized it with vintage rhinestone pins, shoe clips and whatever else I could find. I could change it the look by changing the pins and buttons on it. Cool!

So the current trend in DIY and punk style is just as fun now as it was then. Punk style now is full of skulls, dyed hair, black with a punch of color, chains, hearts and plaid. Some call it punk, pop punk, hardcore punk, and there is even something called "Steampunk". There's lots of overlap with Goth style but I'm going to hold off on Goth until tomorrow. When I think of Millenium Punk, I think of this Blythe Doll from Etsy.

All of this is where the Heartz n Skullz and Industry series of beads come from. Slightly different in feel, they are inspired by the same punk aesthetic.

So, when designing with Punk inspired beads, you might want to turn up your old record player and listen to the Ramones. Here are the Ramones in Rock and Roll High School - Enjoy!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Let the Alternative Begin: Generation Jones

Today is the start of alternate styles week. You might wonder why I of all people would be into alternative style like punk and/or goth. All of us are effected by our place in time and generation. I'm from the baby boom generation - that long stretch of time when there was a huge increase in the birth rate. But the span of time is too long to be one distinct generation - I never felt like a boomer I was too young to be a hippie. I was barely in elementary school during the "summer of love." I never protested Viet Nam or knew anyone who dodged the draft and went to Canada. I've never belonged to the baby boomers. I had Spirograph and Gnip Gnop not Howdy Doody.

I've always known I wasn't the only one who felt like I was a Gen X-er instead but the media told me I wasn't. My website bio expresses some of my "not fitting my generation" feeling so what's a "I'm not a boomer to do?" Change your generation's moniker! Well, I didn't but someone had the brains to do just that! I'm not a boomer at all, I'm from Generation Jones. Cool - here's what Wikipedia says Generation Jones is:

In demographic terms, Generation Jones was part of the baby boom which ended in the early 1960s. However, the events stereotypically associated with generational discussion of Boomers, including protests over civil rights and the Vietnam war and the emergence of rock music took place while the members of Generation Jones were still children or early teenagers. Thus the early life experience of this group was more similar, in many respects, to that commonly imputed to Generation X.


Thank you for validating my instincts. I can now say I'm part of Generation Jones rather than I'm a boomer and quantifying it.

Instead of the Mamas and the Papas, I love The Clash and punk subculture with a DIY attitude. Yes, it's my generation that sets the stage for the work I create but it's not a boomer aesthetic, it's Generation Jones!

Let's begin Alternative Week with one of my favorite bands and songs, The Clash singing London Calling! Whoot!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Transparent Yellow Tips

Today is Studio Saturday over on Art Bead Scene. I'm the featured beadmaker and I always have waaayyyyyy tooo much to say! So I'm going to have a two parter - the general beadmaking insights over on ABS and the glass insights over here.

My tips on the glass color today won't be as detailed as Color Addiction, sorry no swatches (maybe add later) but a few tips for working with the glass in the Rainbow Spiral. Making the spiral shape wasn't going to be a problem, my concern was the transparent yellow. Yes, I've talked about loving the opaque yellow on my blog but the transparent yellow is another story! It's very finicky and if you get it too hot, it will go all cloudy on you.

Transparent yellow in the rod form is faintly yellow because it's a striking color, i.e., you bring out the yellow color in the flame. Therein lies the rub - if you strike it too hot, it goes cloudy. It will still be yellow, but it won't be transparent. Here are a few tips to keep it transparent:

Never heat the glass to a white hot. Heat it to an orange-red glow.

Avoid reheating as much as possible.

Encase the yellow in clear transparent as quickly as possible.

Once encased, you can re-heat and re-shape without cloudiness.

Transparent yellow is a great color as long as you treat it well. Just remember to "keep it cool" baby!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Unchain My Heart

I think I'm up before Margot is this morning so I'm probably unveiling this before she does. But I'm so excited that I have to show it now! The necklace is entitled, "Unchain My Heart." Margot has a run down on how she created it so check it out on her blog. If you missed last night's post, the necklace features one of my Pinz in my Heart focal beads. Squee!!

Thursday, March 06, 2008


I'm late in posting today. Wednesday night I had to stay up and watch the finale of Project Runway - especially since in a finale teaser I heard Christian say that his collection was "Romantic Goth." Perfect for my theme - alternative jewelry styles and segues nicely from my last post! So I just had to stay up past my bedtime to watch it! Even though Christian was the fan favorite, I didn't find him "fierce" until last night. His collection was one piece of art after another! Tim Gunn didn't love the ruffles at the neck, but I sure did!

I wouldn't be able to wear any of his clothes because I'm a real life sized girl - but it doesn't mean I don't love how it looks or how well these young ladies are wearing the clothes. Gorgeous! I think the "Romantic Goth" wasn't quite as edgey as Chris March but I'm sure Victoria Beckham will wear Christian's clothes well. Bravo, Christian, you WERE FIERCE!(Photos above from the Elle magazine website.)

I know another designer who is FIERCE - Margot Potter! She's created a new necklace entitled, "Unchain My Heart" that features a Pinz in my Heart focal bead made by moi! I'm posting a teaser tonight but tomorrow Margot will post the full necklace on her blog. Make sure you take a look - it's fierce!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Coming attractions....Alternative week

Do you watch Project Runway? Did you see Chris March's collection last week? It was soooo coool! He's made Goth fashion haute couture! Bravo, Chris! I feel like the timing is right to post more about the Heartz n Skullz series - specifically the Pinz in my Heart beadz. So, this week, I'll share with you the creative process for developing the series and what I'm doing to get them out there - including a post about the jewelry designer I'm working with.

Because I loved the skill it took to make this dress - I'm going to risk showing it to you here - it's Chris March's "black safety pin dress" check out the necklace! I'm enthralled with the skill - how cool is that?!? Photo credit from the Elle Magazine website