Friday, December 31, 2010

Bead Star 2010

Shoot For The Stars!
I hope everyone enjoyed my interview with this year's Bead Star Erin Strother.  Did you like the photo of Erin vacuuming with her trophy and sash? 

I have to tell you, I am surrounded by fabulous women named "Erin".  My other extraordinary, inspiring friend is Erin Prais-Hintz.  She won 1st place in the Under $25 category.  Erin is an incredible designer so it was no surprise that she won the category.  What is really amazing is that the design was a collaboration between mother and her 3rd grade daughter.  Please visit Erin Prais-Hintz blog to read the heart touching story.  Leave a comment congratulating the "Tiny Dancer!"

Erin Prais-Hintz and her "Tiny Dancer"

Below are my designs that won prizes this year in Bead Star.  I would like to thank everyone who voted in the contest.  The magazine is packed full of beautiful designs.  Melanie Stafford did an amazing job on this issue.


How cool is this, Erin and I on the same page!
  
Happy New Year everyone!  Please be safe tonight.  I am going to Mr. Joe's Annual Poker Party!  What are you doing tonight?



Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Antique Tuesday

Georgian Mourning Jewelry

Each week I pick an interesting piece of antique jewelry from Adin Fine Antique Jewelry to share with you.  This week I am featuring this precious and highly emotional Georgian mourning ring.  

Circa 1792- Retail Value $4,532

Georgian Period spans between 1714 and 1837.  During this time there was great political upheaval during the reigns of four English Kings named George.  Mourning jewelry was common during this period.  People often made jewelry with a lock of hair from a loved one.


 We have seen the names and dates on tombstones but they rarely move us.  This little ring is not the most impressive piece at first  glance but turn it over.  Read the engraving and suddenly you are transported to a tragic moment 200 years ago…the inscription in the ring reads: 

W.A.
aged 4 Yrs
died 6 July
1792
G.R.A.
aged 4 Mo's
died 12 Dec
1792

 
Then take a look at the top of the ring again and know that the hair used is from two little children from the same family who died in the same year, 1792. One child of 4 years old and then 5 months later the baby of only 4 months old…….. 

It is an old saying that one is really dead when one is out of people's mind; perhaps it is a warming thought that these children still aren't out of the people's mind yet, not even after 200 years. 

I hope you enjoyed today's post.  If you have a child please give them a hug in honor of these two little souls who passed away 218 years ago.



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Exclusive Interview with Bead Star 2010 Winner Erin Strother

Erin Strother
Grand Prize Winner
 
In June of 2009 I meet one of my BBB (Best Beading Buddies) Erin Strother on the message boards of Beading Daily in a Bead Star forum.  On her post, she said, “Looking at all the incredible finalists, I’m worried none of my pieces will make it.” This marks the beginning of a beadiful friendship.  We chat through phone calls and emails sharing our triumphs and tragedies.  Not a week goes by that we do not connect.  I cannot tell you how thrilled I am that Erin is the 2010 Bead Star.  No one deserves this honor more than she.  

When I found out she won, I asked her if she would grant me an exclusive interview for my blog.  I hope you enjoy interview.


How did you start beading/making jewelry?
 I was looking through a big name jewelry catalog, and I really wanted some of the pieces, but they were soooo expensive. Most of what I liked were really simple designs, like a strand of faceted apatite rondelles with a coin pearl in the middle. I thought to myself, “It can’t be that hard to make something like this—this is the same basic thing as stringing macaroni necklaces, but with prettier macaroni! I just have to find a source for the beads and figure out how to get a clasp on it.” I got my hands on a Fire Mountain Gems catalog and it was all over.

How many years have you been beading/making jewelry?
It was either 2006 or 2007 when I started. I can never quite remember.

How many times have you been featured in Bead Star and what place did you come in?
 The first year (2008) was the first contest I ever entered. I got one piece in as a finalist in the glass category, and it took honorable mention. The second year (2009) I had 6 pieces that were finalists, and took 1st place in seed beads and honorable mention in metals. This year I had 7 pieces in the finals and took 1st in metals, 2nd in under $25, 3rd in hearts, and honorable mention in stones. And then the grand prize!

How did you find out you won the Bead Star competition?
 I didn’t find out until months after the competition was over. I assumed that the grand prize winner would have been notified a few weeks after the winners were announced. Since I didn’t hear anything, I just assumed I hadn’t won. I came home one day to find a message on my answering machine from Melanie Stafford, the editor of Bead Star. I only remember the first few words of the message—I totally went into shock-- I just stood there with my mouth open for about 15 minutes.

What was your reaction when you found out you won?
 I walked around in a daze, muttering “I won Bead Star” to myself for about 3 days. I’m sure everyone thought I was drunk or insane or something.

How long have you known that you were the winner?
 I found out right around Labor Day.

 Was it hard to keep the secret?
 It was horrible! You know me—I have such a big mouth. Can you even believe I didn’t blab it to everyone on the planet?


What inspired you to create the Athena Collar?
 I found these great metal components and I hadn’t seen anything done with them before, so I was hoping it would be something different and new. I wanted to make geometric components of connected elements that would repeat throughout the design. 

Did you sketch or pre-plan the design?
 When I plan too much, things tend to turn into a giant lop-sided mess. My best work happens more spontaneously. I knew the elements I wanted to use, but I did not plan it out—I just started putting pieces together until I had a finished component I liked. Then I figured out how to connect them together. 

What will you do with the Athena Collar when it is returned to you?
 I’m not sure. Its not the kind of thing you wear with shorts and flip flops, so I probably won’t be wearing it around every day. Maybe I’ll put it up for sale in my Etsy store and see if someone wants to give it a good home.

Who takes the photo for the Bead Star spread?
 My fabulous and talented husband George took the photo. He’s a professional photographer, so that was a no-brainer. 

What category do you think had the toughest competition this year?
 This year I think metals was the toughest, so I am really proud to have won that category. Last year I think it was glass.

Will you enter next year?
 Of course! Duh.

Do you have any tips for designers that want to enter the contest?
 Yes, I have a million tips, but if I tell them to everybody, then they will have a better chance of winning, which means I will have a less good chance of winning. ;-) Seriously, the best tips I can give anybody are (1) Design a piece that is unique. You will have a better chance of being selected as a finalist if your work stands out from the crowd. And (2) You need good photos! Do not use your cell phone to photograph your necklace lying on your kitchen table with a coffee mug and yesterday’s mail and your cat in the background! Don’t do it!!! I can’t use enough exclamation points here!!!

You are an accomplished, frequently published designer.  Do you have any advice for the jewelry maker who is just starting out?
 Subscribe to one of the many jewelry-making publications out there. Go to Barnes and Noble and spend some time looking through different magazines to find out which ones appeal to you the most. They all have lots of useful info about basic techniques, and plenty of great design ideas with instructions and where to buy materials to give you inspiration.

What are your favorite beading publications?
 Stringing and Step-by-Step Wire are my favorites. I also really like Belle Armoire Jewelry.

What technique or style do you want to learn or master?
I would love to learn more chain maille, and my wire skills definitely need improvement. My wire-work looks like a 5 year-old did it. I pretend that’s on purpose…

Now that you have won Bead Star, what are you going to do next?
I’m going to Disneyland, baby! I’ll be the one walking around muttering, “I won Bead Star” to myself.

  You can contact Erin at 
  
Are you entering Bead Star in 2011?  What is your favorite category? 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Antique Tuesday

Tips - How To Date Earrings

 Adin Fine Antique Jewelry
Circa 1830 - Retail Value $2,564

When dating a pair of vintage or antique earrings, the first clue that you will look at are the earring findings.  These findings can be dated and will indicate when the earrings were made.  

Please note that antique wires can break.  There are many pieces that have been updated/repaired.  The earrings can actually be older than the finding portrays.  If you have a similar situation you will need to refer to the motifs, materials and embellishments to date the piece.  Please look at ear clips below as an example.  The entire earring should be taken into account when dating a piece.
 
Fish hook or Sheppard Crook earring findings are the earliest type of ear wire.

Circa 1750 - Retail Value $4,799

Kidney wires are very popular today and have been traced back to the 1870's. 


Circa 1880 - Retail Value $296

Lever Back Pierced Earrings date to circa 1880.  This type of finding features a fish hook style wire with a little lever that secures the earring. 

Circa 1880 - Retail Value - $427 

Threaded studs are circa 1890's.  The threaded studs still used today have a smaller diameter and the nut is usually lighter in weight. 
 New Example

Screw backs came on the scene around 1909.  They reached their peak in popularity in the 1950's.  Although they are still used today, it is uncommon to see this type of finding on new pieces. 

 Circa 1950 example

 Ear Clips date back to the 1930's.  The first patient was in 1934. Clips were extremely popular in the 1950's and 1960's.  They are still are used today and come in many styles.  

The set of earrings shown below is a classic example of an antique pair of earrings (circa 1850) that have been altered.  The clip finding  dates to the 1930's.  Therefore, someone has repaired/replaced the fish hooks with ear clips after 1930.  Please take this fact into account when you are dating a piece. 

Circa 1850 - Retail Value $2,169

 
Adin Fine Antique Jewelry has been kind enough to allow me the use of their photos and information from their web site.  Please be sure to stop by their site.  They have phenomenal antique jewelry.

If you are in need of a great book regarding antique jewelry C. Jeanenne Bell's "Old Jewelry" is the best!

Let me know what you think of "Antique Tuesday".  Is this subject something you would be interested in reading about?  Did you find the information helpful?


Monday, December 20, 2010

Etsy Treasury

An Affaire To Remember

Heartsabustin just found out that she is going to be in the Spring 2011 issue of Jewelry Affaire Magazine.  To celebrate, she featured myself and some of the other talented ladies who have appeared in the magazine's past issues.  She also included a few of her personal favorites from Etsy.  

If you get a chance check out her treasury "An Affaire To Remember."

Are you ready for Christmas?  I still have a few loose ends to wrap up (Ha, wrap up).

Friday, December 17, 2010

Santa Baby

Hurry Down the Chimney Tonight

I love primitive folk art.  Vintage or  recently crafted, I find the rudimentary elements of a piece extremely charming.   



These four Jolly fellas were created by me about 10 years ago. 


One day when I was antique shopping I came across four vintage Santa chocolate molds.  I decided to buy the molds and use them to create my Santa's.  The molds are a perfect for Paper Mache' Clay.  


The clay takes about one week to dry.  After the drying period they are painted, antiqued and sprayed with matte varnished to seal the pieces.  I then brushed white glue in specific areas and added the Icy Flake Diamond Dust.


Have you ever created any special holiday decorations?  If so, what have you crafted?  I would love to read all about it. 


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

All Wired Up



Wire-crafted jewelry is truly an art.  The Phoenicians are the first civilization credited with creating jewelry from wire some 5000 years ago.  There are many examples of wire jewelry in ancient Rome, Greece, and Egypt.  Pieces have been found in the tombs of the Pharaohs.  Very few special tools are required to turn wire into a piece of jewelry you would be proud to wear or sell.  The artist bends, twists, and cuts the wire to create a beautiful piece of jewelry that is literally held together by a "string" of wire.  I prefer to use wire in my jewelry designs because is is sturdy:  There is little fear of breakage and the pieces never have to be restrung.  When I design on of these pieces, I feel as if I am creating heirloom jewelry for the future.


 
My second set of stepped out photos.  
 

 


I am really excited about Jodi Bombardier new book Weave, Wrap, Coil: Creating Artisan Wire Jewelry.  Have any of you purchased Jodi's book yet?  It is on my Santa list.  I can't wait to see her techniques in this book. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Birds Of A Feather

Art Clay Silver
Birdhouses
My flight to create birdhouses started a couple of years ago when I took an introductory class into Art Clay Silver.  I played around with it for a few months, then I lost interest.  Over Christmas break 2009, while making gingerbread houses with my children, I wondered if I could take this technique and create a birdhouse out of ACS.  Winter turned into spring, and I ended up wandering through a bead shop in Palm Springs, California.  As fate would have it, gleaming in the case was a tiny ACS birdhouse.  "Who made this fabulous creation?" I had asked the clerk.  She told me that the owner had bought the piece at a bead show back East, but she didn't know the artist's name.  After examining the piece, I knew I had to try out my "gingerbread theory."  Here is my salute to that unknown artist living somewhere on the East Coast.  She/he inspired me to create my own line of ACS bird houses.  Thank you whoever you are.  You're proof that birds of a feather really do flock together.  


The birdhouse can be found in the Winter Issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry Magazine.


My first set of stepped out photos.

I am thinking of selling one or two of the birdhouses in my Etsy shop.  I cannot part with all three!  Which one do you think I should keep?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Enter Sisterhood of The Traveling Bead Box on Cindy Wimmer's Blog!


Go To Cindy Wimmer's Blog
Enter To Win The
Sisterhood Of The Traveling Bead Box

Here is an excerpt from Cindy's Blog

For those of you that may be stopping and by and the “traveling bead box” is something foreign, I’d love to share with you a link to the original post!  It was fun to go back and see how this traveling phenomenon all began.  Beginning with a studio destash, Heather Powers set this creative Give Away in motion.  Heather boxed up all sorts of beads and placed them in a small flat-rate box, ready to travel around the U.S.  The box has grown and now warrants a medium flat rate box.   When the Sister received the box, she simply selected beads and then replaced them with beads from her own stash that were of comparable value. I was happy to join the Sisterhood as the 11th bead box recipient.  Here’s a look at where the box has been so far (thank you, Becky for compiling this):

1. ? The Founding Sister ? Heather Powers of Humble Beads- San Antonio, TX.
2. Mikki Ferrugiaro of MFD Beadwork Originals- UT.
3. Nancy Dale of NED Bead -Vermont.
4. Hanna Rosner of Good River Gallery- NM
5. Chris Neit of Good Quill Hunting-Maine
6. Sandy Spivey of Sandy’s Treasure- California
7. Katie Nelson of Katie’s Creations- TX
8. Kristie Roeder of Artisan Clay- PA
9. Lorelei Eurto of Lorelei Eurto Jewelry- New York State
10. Becky Caldwell of The Gritty Bird- North Carolina
11.  Cindy Wimmer of sweet bead studio - Virginia

Here is a glimpse of the beads that Cindy could not live without:
 

Please do not post comments here.  
You must go to Cindy's blog to enter! 
Deadline To Enter: Comments will be accepted until Wednesday, December 15th, at 6pm (eastern).

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Big News!

 A Jewelry Accord
50+ Innovative Styles Using Leather, Lace, Ribbon & Cords


 I am thrilled to announce that I have been selected as one of the contributors to Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel's new book "A Jewelry Accord".   Two other wonderful and talented ladies join me.  They are Mary Jane Dodd and Tracy Statler.  The book is due out Spring 2012.

We have a fabulous new blog dedicated to this  journey  called "Jewelry Accord".  Please take a look at the new blog and be sure to follow us. 


Below is the video announce that Lorelei and Erin made on the blog this morning.






ABOUT THE BOOK:
Title: A Jewelry Accord: 50+ Innovative Styles Using Leather, Lace, Ribbon; Cords
A fundamental jewelry-making instruction book with a focus on the use of alternative materials in beaded jewelry such as, leather cord, suede lace, waxed linen cord, cotton cord, silk cord, ribbons and other cords. This book teaches how to incorporate these materials into jewelry designs using basic jewelry-making techniques such as stringing, wire-wrapping, knotting and braiding.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bead Trends Magazine - December 2010

Joolz

 My December 2010 submission for Bead Trends Magazine is a vintage style set called "Joolz".  The set includes a necklace, bracelet and earrings featuring Vintaj Natural Brass.  


Surprisingly, this set is not named after anyone in particular.  I picked the name "Joolz" because of the rich gem tone colors.




Bead Trends magazine is published monthly.  They have a fabulous on-line edition of the magazine if you cannot locate the publication in your area. 



I would love to hear comments about the color combo.  Do you like it?  Is it too startling?  Let me know what you think.


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