Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Tis the Season

Ever since I was a kid, I have looked forward to making handmade ornaments each Christmas. It's something I didn't outgrow, nor do I think I ever will.  I wish I had pictures of all the ornaments I've made in the past, but alas, they are in a bin somewhere, pre-digital world.
I think my first ornaments were those salt dough ones.  The next year my mom let us paint ceramic ornaments, some of which I still have!  We made God's Eyes out of Popsicle sticks and yarn, and glitter pine cone ornaments galore! 
As I got older, I painted, glued, and beaded ornaments.  I think they got better (I hope).  This year I inherited a large box of stick pins, sequins and Styrofoam balls from my grandmother.  I have lots of beads and bought some ribbon......and we were off on an new ornament adventure.  My friend and her son came over, and we all hit the kitchen table with Christmas Music on, and made very sparkly, bright, crazy balls!

The kids each made like 5- but my friend and I only made one each- that's mine above, you can see why it took me all night!  It's a bit tacky, but it sure is festive!!!!
These are really simple to make.  Take a Styrofoam ball, make a ribbon loop and stick pin it to the ball, and then pin on ribbon, and beads and sequins to your hearts content!!!  I layered the pin, bead, sequin and sometimes another layer of bead sequin.  Easy and fun.  The youngest in our group were a couple 6 year olds, and they did good with the pins (and close adult supervision).  So it was nice everyone could handle it independently.

What I really wanted to say today, is that handmade touches people....and creating with those you love, well, there is just nothing more special.  My kids light up when I say craft time!  They live for it.  It's a way to express themselves, to make things they want, or want to give.......they love to see what others make, and share ideas, and help each other.  Handmade rocks, and I love sharing that experience with my kids. 
What kind of handmade ornaments were your favorite growing up or that you now make with your kids???

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Loving Leather

I'm not one to notice "trends"...but I notice what I like and lately I'm seeing more and more leather used in jewelry making.  I like gives a natural and kind of bohemian feel.

Michelle Verbeeck has some beautiful examples of leather jewelry at her website.
I love how she has incorporated words into her designs with and without metal.  Note to self:  learn how to do rivets!

Mary Jane first showed me leather bezels like this one from aosLeather on Etsy.  We're going to try it with cloisonnĂ© if I ever get a piece sent to her (Sorry Mary Jane for being a slow poke!)

Melinda Orr whose talent and eye for design is amazing also uses leather to advantage as you can see here:

There aren't many left it seems...but if you are lucky enough to live near a Tandy Leather store...stop in.  The variety of leather styles, colors, textures is amazing.  I won't get into the "correctness" of using leather.  It's not for everyone obviously.  But we can all admire beauty, no matter it's form.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Guest Post: Selena Wells

I'm excited to do a guest blog post! I'm not sure what to talk about, but since the topic is art beads and jewelry, I'll just talk about how and why I make my art beads and pendants.

I'm kind of a weirdo in polymer clay in some ways because so much of my stuff is monochrome or metallic. I've never really gotten into cane work, for instance; I'm hopeless. Polymer clay can do all this amazing color stuff, but for me, it's all about the texture.

 I aim to make things that look old and worn, like they have a history. Preferably a long, mysterious history.

I've always been obsessed with sculpting faces. I used to make cast cement garden sculptures of the Green Man, and I made the originals out of polymer clay. When I started needing to work smaller I started making jewelry-sized pieces.

I sculpt my original faces from Super Sculpey , and then make push molds from them, either from Super Sculpey or from a rubber mold-making compound. I fix up my little faces when I pull them out of the mold, so the detail is crisp, and so each one is a little different. Also because I am incapable of leaving well-enough alone. Sometimes I incise them with some decoration at this point, or embed a glass cab or bead. Then I bake them, and leave them in a yogurt container on my work table until I'm ready to decorate them. Yogurt containers being what passes for an organizational system in my studio.

I work improvisationally.  I sketch and doodle all the time, but almost never actually try to make a 3-D piece from a drawing. In fact, the less I try to control and aim what I'm doing, the better it works.  I just start wrapping clay around a face and see what it looks like, who it turns into. They do tend to be rather mystical and mythic looking folk.

I read a lot of archaeology, history, mythology, anthropology. I'm fascinated by human material culture, decorative traditions, and ritual from all places and times. I don't think about any of this stuff while I'm working, of course, but I'm sure it affects me. What I want is for my stuff to be familiar enough to people to be evocative without calling up any specific, particular real-life culture.
I like for the things I make to be a bit imperfect, hand-formed, and off-kilter, but still intricate and decorative.

I'm also fascinated by patterns and forms from the natural world (pine cones, jellyfish, honeycomb, micro-crystalline structures, tree bark) and by how human-made structures like cities and buildings resemble and relate to those patterns. You can think of a city as being as natural a structure in its own way as a termite mound or a beehive; full of repeating elements and forms which derive from the activities of the animals (us) that make and use them.

For more of Selena's work, visit her Etsy Store!

Monday, November 26, 2012


MaryAnn Carroll
WINNERS: Please click the picture of the item that you won to be taken to the sponsor's shop. They will need a mailing address. Thank-you for participating in today's cyber sales!

Shannon Chomanscuk - enameled and lamp work beads -

Adrianne -  typewriter key earrings -

KayzKreationz - MYELELENTS bracelet -

Mary Anne - silk strands -

Skye - stoneware starfish pendant

Congrats to the winners! Enjoy ......

Today is loaded with all kinds of giveaways and great deals in the shops of independent artists. Please check out all the sales by simply clicking on the store of your choice from the links below. Buying a piece of art is something that will bring meaning for a lifetime. I still have family that talk about the first Christmas that I made them jewelry (seven holidays ago). I now either make all (most) of my gifts or I buy them from independent artists. It has become a family tradition.

Following that are the giveaways from our blog. So.... grab your cup of java and spend some time browsing the many shops.... (The links will close at 9 pm EST today.)

For more bargains and giveaways, check out the Beads of Clay for the clay artists who linked up offering sales.

Now, for our giveaways....

Please make sure to stop by each of our contributor's shops by clicking the links below the giveaway item (Feel free to leave up to five comments - one for each shop). Leave a comment letting us know something you liked. I will announce the winners between 8 pm and 9 pm EST tonight. Items and winners will be chosen randomly using I will only choose from entries that leave contact information. I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but not being able to locate a winner has happened more than once.

A large assortment of lamp work and enameled copper beads and headpins -

Jan Petek -

Earrings made from vintage typewriter keys -

Pam Farren -

A bracelet made from various materials including her very own MYELEMENTS -

Yvonne Irvin -

Ten 2mm silk strands (your choice of colors) -

Marsha Neal -

A stoneware starfish pendant -

Lisa Boucher -

Good luck!

And, as always, thank-you for supporting those who create handmade with handmade,


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Simple Gifts.....

I've been having a great deal of fun making simple charms lately. Paired with a hand-stamped charm.....

add beautiful special beads that are left over in your bead box from a well-loved strand of gemstones.....

wrapped together, they can make a heartfelt simple gift for the hostess, family, the neighbor, or special person that you want to spread a little handmade joy to this season.
Pairing with a simple chain, or even making the bail large enough so they'll be able to slide it on their own favorite necklace is a wonderful way to introduce others to the beauty of handmade jewelry.....

Add simple toggle clasps (or a large handmade clasp) to the bail so they can even be attached to zippers, handbags, or make a beautiful ornament to hang on the tree or in a special place all year round.....

Do you have any simple handmade art jewelry gifts that you like to make at the holidays? Let us know your favorite ideas in the comments below!

Please join Love My Art Jewelry tomorrow for a special sale of many of our members and other readers!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

reclaiming the spirit of the season


imagine cyber monday being used to support cottage industry - 

i smell change in the air!

i hope that by following this list & supporting cottage industry we can slowly change the face of what giving means... 

with our kids, modeling is surely everything - it takes time to reshape the idea of giving and receiving... to see the people behind the gift...

i work in shop that carries fair trade and locally made items - only ... and what i remind people of is a truism told to me by my grandmother - it's your dollar, you choose what to do with it - and when you shop this way you make a choice to support a small village, a cooperative, a non-profit.... it's all about the people -

but, wait - isn't that what it's all about anyway?

your dollar has power 

living intentionally has power -

think of what a difference you can make when you combine them -

Friday, November 23, 2012


                                                                                                           by Kelli Pope   
Black Friday!!!    It just sounds ominous, doesn't it?     (cue the eerie music.... Dunh-dunh-dunnnnnh!!!-   BLACK FRIDAY!)        IT'S BAA-AAAAAACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was an adult before I even knew what "black" Friday meant.  And good for the retailers that they do have a day, that just might turn their whole year around.  And good for the excited shoppers who just can't WAIT for this day to come  But, they'll just have to do it without me.   I decided long ago that nothing, nothing, nothing was cheap enough to endure the traffic, crowds, lines, craziness, etc, that IS black Friday.  

And this year, Black Friday creeped it's way backward into Thanksgiving!!!   OK, now, that's just too much!   It has it's VERY OWN DAY!   Leave Thanksgiving alone.  My husband's nieces left the party at 6:30 last night to go get in line at Toys R Us, which was going to open at 8pm.   5 hours later, they returned smiling.  

Personally, I treasure this day off work, knowing that I can make jewelry all day long, and not have to go out.  And, if I MUST go shopping, I'll wait until tomorrow, Shop Local Saturday.  :)  Maybe there will be bargains, maybe not.  But I know there will be more unique, handmade items from which to choose.  

So, if you are one who excitedly perused the ads yesterday, plotting your shopping course for today, I know you are not reading this, but are out happily fighting the masses  (or are already home with your purchases, and napping!!)   I wish you good hunting and safe travel.    If you are scared of "BLACK FRIDAY"  (dunh- dunh- duhnnnnnhh!) like me, enjoy your lovely day off...Thanks for reading our blog..and thanks for shopping local and handmade! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

I wish you all a day filled with things to be thankful for.  I wish you warm food, smiles and laughter.  I wish you health and happiness.  I wish you a Thanksgiving that will leave you feeling full and satisfied.  May you all be blessed.
I just thought I'd take a minute to tell you about some things I am very thankful for.
I am thankful for my Mom.

She has always been there for me.  From rocking me when I was tired or scared as a child, to listening to my teen age heart breaks, to being there for me every step of the way as a mother myself.  She is the best mother and Gram anyone could ask for.  I could not do what I do without her.  If she is not helping with the kids, she is helping me at my shows.  So thankful for her.
I am thankful for my dad.

He is the best Pop any kids could ask for.  He is always finding fun and new activities to do with them.  He listens to them, gives them advice, and just loves them so much it radiates.  That makes me the luckiest daughter around!  Not to mention, he helps me out anytime I need it and listens anytime I need to talk.  (and I am not the only one blessed by his helpfulness- he is there for anyone who may need it)
I am thankful for in-laws that I love.  They are amazing, and have always been wonderful to me. I felt like family from day one.

I am thankful for my brother, sister in laws and my kids cousins!  Family family family- all of them.  Love them all, couldn't imagine being surrounded by better people (and thankful that most of us live pretty close to each other).
Thankful for my husband - who works so hard for our family.  He is the most dedicated, hard working, handsome guy I know. 

Photo by Chris Hill

My kids.  My little blessings.  I worry for them, teach them, and love them with all that I am.  they keep me laughing, and I am so proud of who they are as little humans.

I am thankful for health, as I pray friends who can no longer take that for granted each day.
I am thankful for a home that's warm, and in a good neighborhood, and has beautiful wildlife all around it.
I am thankful for art.  For the beauty that is inside people, and how it comes out in so many forms.  I am thankful that I get to work and play in the arts, and call it a job.  I love it. 
I am thankful for all of you.  The lovely people I have met online, whom I share so much in common with.
How did I get so blessed? 
Today let's be thankful, and thoughtful, of those who are not as blessed as us.  Let's say prayers, and lend a hand.  Let our thankfulness spill over.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Join In for our Cyber Monday Sale....

Okay.... After spending WAY too much time this am trying to figure out how to get a picture from photobucket into this post, I give up!

I am going to rerun the following instructions for Cyber Monday. Also, please check out the link for Beads of Clay located on the side bar. They, too, will be running a sale beginning this Friday and going through Cyber Monday. The members of Beads of Clay will also be offering giveaways. Check it out!

Please remember that it is not too late to donate for our group giveaway that will be happening at sale time on Cyber Monday.

Also, I would love to be able to tell you how to share the picture below on your own blogs. This, however, is what I spent too much time on and have to walk away from for now! I'm sure all of you have had some sort of computer frustration at some time. If you can figure out how to share this, please do. I may be back, but for now, I'm taking a break before my laptop finds itself on the other side of the room ;o)


If you can say "yes" to one of the two questions below, we would love for you to join in to promote the love of creating handmade with handmade.

1. Do you create handmade beads/components?
2. Do you create jewelry using all or mostly all handmade components (whether it is your own or from other artists)?

If you are interested in joining us for our 1 day CYBER MONDAY SALE, to not only create traffic to your shop, but also bring continued recognition to the concept of ~creating handmade with handmade~ please continue reading.


1. Use the inlinkz link below and type in the necessary information.

2. On the day of the actual sale and any days up to the sale, advertise this sale on Facebook, Twitter, your shop, blog, etc.

3. Your shop must include items that are mostly created with handmade. It does not have to be handmade that you create, but make sure that the artists are recognized in the item description.

4. If you do create items other than~handmade with handmade, please renew the items that meet the requirement on the sale day so that they appear first in your shop order.

5. If you are going to do what is listed in #4 above, please make note of that in your shop announcement since this is a sale promoting independent artists.

6. Use coupon codes ARTJEWELRY or ARTBEADS in the beginning of whatever percentage you want to take off. For example, I want to run a 20% off sale. I will use coupon code ARTBEADS20.

7. If you are selling from a site that does not have the coupon code option, please be creative when offering your discount.

8. On CYBER MONDAY (November 26th, 7 am EST until 9 pm EST) provide a link back to this blog: on your blog or shop announcement, so that people can easily find their way back here to access other shops.

9. JUST ADDED: If you have a blog and want to add the inlinkz photo list for this sale to your post, click HERE to get the code.

Sound like fun?

How about adding even more fun?

If you would like an advertisement button on our blog for one month beginning Cyber Monday, please contact us (see sidebar for contact) with a picture and a description of your donation. I will need the shop you want the ad to link to as well as a description of the donation. This will be open to the first 10 people who would like to contact us. Ads will be listed in the order received.

This GIGANTIC giveaway that will begin on Cyber Monday (November 26th) at 7 am EST and end on the same day at 9 pm EST.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will do my best to clarify.

As always..... Thank-you for supporting those who create handmade with handmade,


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bead Candy

 I hope everyone has a great holiday! I have family issues so I am posting a post from my blog about some great beadmakers that everyone should know. I hope you enjoy!

 Here are some of MY favorite beadmakers that everyone should know. 

First is Kate Fowle. One of our historic beadmakers who blazed the trail for all of us. She is also drawn to nature, and many of her beads are pod like, and she was a major influence in my interpretation of pods. 

Barbara Becker Simon has always pushed the envelope for me. She has something new at her booth each year I see her. Not only are her beads killer but her jewelry design is spot on.

Harold Williams Cooney or Happy Harold is a beadmaking stud. He puts out an amazing amount of work and each piece is baller.
Since I am a cold working fool and love me a belt sander his cold working is drool worthy. My sister collected his work and when she bought a special piece Harold would write a note to  thank her for supporting him in his passion to create.

 Jim Jones is my hero. Probably one of my favorite bead artist ever
(and I tell him that every year, plus his wife Lani is not to shabby either!). He is another one of our historic beadmakers, at it for over 23 years. I would love to say he influences my work but my work doesn't even come close. Lately he has been doing Steampunk beads. They are beyond!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Look who's Strutting their Stuff!

Lots of beautiful components in the Flickr pool this week!

Big Wheel Bead in Tourquoise and Red
This beauty by Earthshine Lampwork reminds me of gazing into a kaleidocope!


I love how realistic this polymer clay skull is by our very own Staci!

I love all the variations in these skulls by Kalaya!

Are you ready to strut your stuff? Hop on over to our Flickr group to see how to enter!!! You could win some beautiful prizes from this month's sponsors!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

but do you consider light?

mary jane dodd

sun tunnels, utah - nancy holt

we know that there are elements of design - color, texture, shape - & principles - balance, unity, scale - (to name a few)... 

but do you consider the light? 

in your work itself?

in your photography?

everything you work with has qualities of translucency or opacity - explore them... the strength and solidness of metals and clay, the delicacy of gems, glass and resin...  you can find the balance... 

designing from the gut is a wonderful thing - your hands dance across different bits and bobs... but being aware of your choices and thinking about what they mean adds a dimension of intentionality to your work

and this can take it to another level completely - 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Elsa Freund and Art Smith: Modernist Jewelry Designers

I grew up in Arkansas, and during a visit home a few years ago, a very good friend told me about an artist that used to live in Eureka Springs.  Her name was Elsa Freund, and she was one of the early pioneers of the handcrafted jewelry movement.

When I am in need of inspiration, I like to look at her jewelry as well as another pioneer, Art Smith. Both of these artists stretched their imaginations and bucked what was easily accepted as it related to personal adornment.  These are two artists that I would have loved to hang out with. They really understood wire and metal...and their aesthetic was one that I resonate with strongly.

Frankly, they were way ahead of their time.

One of my all time favorite quotes about jewelry comes from Elsie Freund, where she says:

"There are two ways to approach jewelry making. One is to give a precious stone a proper setting. The other is to give something of no particular value a worth by making it a thing of beauty. Of the two methods, I prefer the latter."
I want to share some of these great artists work with you today, to inspire you and to give homage to the artists that came before the internet and magazine tutorials.  I have had a hard time finding a lot of info on Elsa, but here is a link to some photos of her work. She fired and glazed her own 'stones' and set them in wire in a modernist way.

Art Smith is another modernist jewelry whose particular style didn't change that much over the years he worked in jewelry. He states:
“A piece of jewelry is in a sense an object that is not complete in itself. Jewelry is a ‘what is it?’ until you relate it to the body. The body is a component in design just as air and space are.  Like line, form, and color, the body is a material to work with.  It is one of the basic inspirations in creating form.”  
I found a nice write up of his work here and some great examples of his work here.

Check out the other Modernist artists on the website is interesting to see what designers were doing decades it looks very much like what we are doing now.

Have a great weekend...I'll be back on Saturday!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...