Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bead Soup Bangle

Speaking of bead soup projects, here's a free tutorial I wrote for Consumer Crafts a while back, and it is also currently up at favecrafts....enjoy!

  • Bead Soup * (this one has tiger eye chips, pearls, copper beads, and blue seed beads)
  • (1) roll 24 ga. copper wire
  • Pre-made Cuff
  • Wire cutters
  1. Make a *bead soup by mixing miscellaneous beads ranging in size from 2 – 6 mm in colors that coordinate with copper wire.
  2. Wrap the entire cuff with 24 ga copper wire.
  3. Cut approx 2'  of 24 ga copper wire and anchor one end of the wire near the center of the cuff by wrapping it around the cuff a few times.
  4. String beads randomly, a few inches at a time and begin wrapping back and forth in a random pattern on the cuff. Take care not to let the wire pull the top and bottom of the cuff together.
  5. Keep wrapping and adding beads as desired. Add more wire when required. Stop when you are happy with the result. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sea Glass Scribble Collar

I have more idea's than time to create so when I can crank out something that looks like it took hours, but really evolved fairly quickly, I'm all over it! This technique involves annealing copper wire, "scribbling" with it around a neck mandrel and then hardening it with a rubber mallet. I have used this technique to make rings, cuffs and earrings as well. Lots of fun and no two are ever the same!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Kiln Fired Vs Torch Fired Enameling

I took 2 great enameling classes at Bead Fest Philly this weekend; a Kiln Fired Enamel Bangle class with Jean Van Brederode and Torch Fired Enameling with Steven James. Both were excelent instructors, knew their stuff and very generous in sharing tips, tools and techniques. All other things being equal; I evaluated the pro's and con's of the firing methods only and here is what I came up with;

Kiln Firing Pro's                             Kiln Firing Con's
Fast                                               Kiln is expensive
Efficient                                          ~and not very portable
Only size limitation
~is the size of the kiln                                      

Torch Firing Pro's                           Torch Firing Con's
Torch is relatively inexpensive          Labor intensive
If you like playing with fire,              Only small pieces can be torch fired
~you're in luck!                                          

A limited attention span and the desire for instant gratification being at the heart of most of my artwork, I have to say that I prefer working with the kiln. And a kiln with all the bells and whistles is not needed, it just has to hold a temp of 1500 degrees for 2 to 3 minutes.

Now where did I put that copper sheet.....

Monday, August 15, 2011

Who Doesn't Love Swarovski's?

I confess, I didn't....I thought they were a bit....ahem....pretentious but I've seen the light courtesy of my good friend Lilian Chen. What she can do with a few crystals and some wire is mind blowing. Check out her work as a Swarovski Ambassador if you want to see for yourself.

And so, newly inspired, I'm humming while I work....I'm in love, I'm in love, I'm in love, with a beautiful (crystal) bead! :-)
Inspired by Lilian Chen      

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bead Soup Blog Party

So I joined this group a few days ago and am signed up for my first ever bead soup blog party! The idea is that everyone gets a partner and we send each other beads, not just any beads, but pretty beads, beads that we would like to work with ourselves. The beads must include a focal and a pretty toggle, no lobsters and no junk. My favorite newest beads are these great copper components that I found at last weeks bead show so I am sending my partner a copper leaf focal and a matching toggle. Then I pulled a bunch of beads I thought might go nicely. What do you think? Is this a set of beads you would enjoy working with? I would....but then I'm a bit off the beaten path....:-)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pasadena Bead & Design Show 7/11

I was so privileged to spend a week in California with the WireKnitZ team; we had a blast checking out Olde Town Pasadena, the high light of which was an evening at a local Tapas Restaurant with a real live flamenco dancer accompanied by a super talented classical guitarist! Crossing it off my bucket list....

At the show itself, there were so many talented artists that my brain went into creative overload and lost it's ability to monitor credit card spending...sigh. But on the plus side, I came home with fabulous new beads for the shop, a Barbara Younge sweater and a great knit hat that makes me look like a 1940's gal. Can't wait for winter! :-)  Oh, and I almost forgot the rings...yes....more than one....but the most original designs I've ever seen!!!

Along with my friend Norma Melton who heads up our team, we were delighted to welcome Susan Blessinger, our newest WKZ rep on the west coast; a lovely lady and a total California gal! We also met Alejandra Aceves, who took to WKZ like a duck to water, check out the ring she made!

But the icing on the cake was spending some time with the super talented Lilian Chen, an original wire designer, if ever there was one. I took a class with her and now know how to "follow the curve". If you ever have a chance to take her class, jump on it! We are scheming getting her out here to Ohio to teach. Stay tuned for details....

So now that I've sufficiently recovered from jetlag, returned most of my emails and updated my blog, I think I'll call it a day!