Thursday, August 25, 2011

Treasures From Bead Fest.

I have returned from Bead Fest with knowledge in soldering, after taking a metalsmithing class with Kieu Pham Gray, and a bag full of treasures! The class with Kieu was very educational and entertaining. After getting over my anxiety of using a torch, I created this fun spiral link bracelet that Kieu designed. I am very excited about my new skill! I even bought a soldering kit that her shop Urban Beader was selling. I can't wait to create with it!

This is the bracelet I created in Kieu's class!

The rest of my time at Bead Fest was spent shopping! The one thing I regret is not starting at the back where the artisan vendors were. I started in the front and was left with little time to check out all the wonderful creations they were selling. Here are some of the lovely artisan treasures that I purchased...
top left: toggle clasp from Earthenwood Studio
top right: pewter pendant and toggle from Green Girl Studios (I love the owl and twig toggle)
bottom left to right: 
ceramic beads and pendants from Firefly Design Studio
creamic beads from Elaine Ray at Ornamentea
flameworked glass from Nitabeads

Once I made my way to the artisan area, I started out at Ornamentea where I met Tracy Thomasson and the Uber talented Elaine Ray. I am now absolutely addicted to her beads! I had a really wonderful time talking with both ladies. Bead people are so awesome!
Check out all those gorgeous ceramic beads! 

I also purchased a gorgeous toggle clasp from Melanie Brooks at Earthenwood Studio. I don't think I will be able to part with the clasp, so the design I create will have to be added to my personal collection!

A lot of her creations were sold out. Mental note for next time: start with the artisan vendors!

One of my favorite vendors is Clever Treasures. Treasures, I certainly found!

The last stop was Silver Silk. The only reason it ended up being the last stop was because I couldn't find their booth. I kept getting turned around in the square maze of vendors! Did anyone else have that problem? I normally have a good sense of direction, but not this Bead Fest. I blame it on the new location. That is my story and I am sticking to it! By the time I made it there, they were sold out of everything I wanted. But Becky gave me some samples of their gorgeous new burgundy and bronze knitted wire. Both have been added to my must buy list!

The awesome Becky Machinski cleaning up after a busy weekend of selling.

This year, I was drawn to teal, earth tones and beads that had a tribal characteristic to them. 
Here are some of the highlights...

recycled glass from African Beads
dyed faceted rectangle agate from Star's Clasps
dyed fire agate from Commercial Resources (NJ) Corp
pyrite from Chico Silver
panganto wood from Priscilla Marban 
agate from Commercial Resources (NJ) Corp
agate and antique soo chow jade from Bead Plus Silver 
giraffe pattern agate from Commercial Resources (NJ) Corp
porcelain cubes from Cherry Tree Beads 
trapezoid shaped wood from J&M Gems and Things
colored lava rock beads from Cherry Tree Beads

Some of my fun findings:
 decoupage pendants from Prascilla Marban
polyester link chain in gray and olive from Beadalon
knitted wire in bronze and burgundy from Silver Silk
brass leaf pendants from Sonoran Beads 
words and leaf pendants from Lipstick Ranch

Metal beauties:
Thai silver, brass, silver brass and brass heishi from Hands of the Hills
sterling silver plated copper chain and rhodium plated copper rectangle beads from Bead Palace
patterned chain from Primitive Earth Beads

Another year, another shopping trip gone by all too fast! But I am giddy with excitement over my new treasures!

Bead Soup Block Party Beads Have Arrived!

The extraordinarily talented Maria Clark of Sweet Willow Designs, my BSBP partner, sent me the most amazing bead soup! I am not a fan of texting shorthand, but OMG are they gorgeous! My eyes widened, my jaw dropped and ideas started spinning in my head as I opened the lovely pouch she mailed them in. I am so doing the Snoopy dance right now!

The focal and accent beads, two of which were used to create a really cool clasp, were all created by Maria. Wow! She also sent some really cool dyed serpentinite jasper rondelles, copper beads with a turquoise splash, oxidized copper round beads and a variety of bone beads too. What a gorgeous combination-turquoise and copper! It reminds me of summer changing to autumn.

Now, onto creating...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bead Fest Adventure.

In a few hours I will be making my way to Bead Fest Philadelphia-woohoo! Three days of shopping and learning-what more could a bead addict, I mean jewelry artist ask for! I am finalizing my list of favorite vendors to visit. Any last minutes suggestions? What are some of your favorite vendors?

For those of you attending, have safe travels and a wonderful weekend in beadland!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bead Soup Block Party.

This is the first time I am participating in the Bead Soup Block Party, hosted by the ultra talented Lori Anderson. I am very excited about being paired up with Maria Clark of Sweet Willow Designs. She creates gorgeous jewelry with mixed media and polymer clay. I have been wanting to create with polymer clay for some time (bought all the materials, just need to get started) and think Maria will inspire me.

  I mailed out Maria's bead soup yesterday and hope she finds inspiration in the mix!

I am really looking forward to not only creating with the bead soup Maria sends me but also blog hopping and getting to know other artists in the beading community. I can't wait to see what everyone creates-what fun!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Beads of Clay Giveaway!

I recently started incorporating clay beads and pendants into my designs. I spotted this giveaway while blog surfing and had to share it! I would love to win these gorgeous ceramic treasures, wouldn't you? The artists that are sharing their creations are: Pam Cresswell, Elaine Ray, Dana Sieben, MaryAnn Carroll and Yolanda Miramontes. The drawing will be held on August 17th, so you still have some time left! You can enter and read more about it at Beads of Clay .

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Getting Ready For Bead Fest!

I am counting down the days to my favorite bead show - Bead Fest in Philadelphia! This year, I am taking a metalsmithing class with Kieu Pham Gray-very excited! Because the class is held during bazaar hours, it will mean less shopping time for beads and findings. So, I have made a list of everything I need/want with the vendor name attached. This list will be my first priority. Any time and money left over will be devoted to lovely treasures that inspire me. This is my plan and I am sticking to it... we'll see how well that works out. I will try my best to not get distracted by the thousands of gorgeous beads that will line my path. Hmmm, maybe I should come up with a slightly more realistic plan!

My cousin Holly, a jewelry artist from upstate New York, at Bead Fest 2009.

Anyone have some good strategies or tips for shopping at Bead Fest? If you would like to meet up at Bead Fest, send me a message. I'd love to get to know fellow artists in the beading community!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Support Your Local Bead Shop.

As summer starts to wind down, I can look to some of the jewelry I created as sweet reminders. Most of the pieces I designed this summer were inspired by the ocean. Mostly because it is a beautiful part of the earth. But also because we have had some extreme heat, even for Maryland's standards, and it has made me long for cool water!

My necklace, titled Ocean Breeze, was published in the August issue of Bead Trends!

This necklace is a special piece for me because I created it with supplies from two of my favorite bead shops!
 I am all for supporting local bead shops, whether or not they are in my home town.

The hemp cord is from The Twisted Bead in Edgewater, Maryland. The shop opened last fall and has been my local go to resource for beads and findings. They have a really wonderful selection! The owner, Michele Tango, is very friendly, knowledgeable and will order something for you if you don't see it in her shop. If you are ever in the Annapolis area, I highly recommend stopping here, you won't be disappointed!

The sea glass beads are from Dry Gulch Beads and Jewelry in Joplin, Missouri. While I have never been inside their actual store, I am a regular shopper on their website. They too have a wonderful selection, especially of findings! They also have a no minimum purchase requirement, so if you only need a clasp and two jump rings, then you can purchase just that. Although we have never met in person, the owner Jennifer Lavite offers personable, friendly customer service as though we were long time friends.

Support your local bead store!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Inspired By Lavender And Teal

While finishing up my summer collection, I was drawn to the teal glass discs made in Java, Indonesia from Happy Mango Beads, that were sitting on my work table. I thought they would look spectacular spaced apart on the silver 3-needle round knitted wire that I purchased from Silver Silk. Excited by my new design, I ordered more of the disc beads in lavender and created another necklace, using the same design concept.

That idea then inspired a 3-strand necklace using recycled coke bottle glass beads, also from Happy Mango Beads. The random spacing of the glass beads on the knitted wire really adds a unique element to it. My first idea was to have seven beads all together in the center of each strand, but then I started moving the beads around. The end result is visually interesting. It looks really beautiful on too!

I love that the materials used in these designs are made from recycled glass, supporting Fair Trade and manufactured locally (knitted wire).