This blog is intended to document my journey into the world of handmade artisan lampwork beads.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Bead Soup Blog Party

WOW!!! Look what was in my mail box. The picture does not do this eclectic collection of beads justice. The color palette is very dreamy and very complete. All of the colors in the focal are covered in the accessory beads. There are kinds of beads in this assortment that I have never used before in a design. What a awesome challenge. I can't wait to sit down and play with all of the pieces to this wonderful puzzle. My bead partner has a style that is unique and I hope I can design a piece that will do her thoughtfulness justice. Thanks Amber Dawn for putting so much of yourself into this collection of beads.

I hope Amber likes my selection that I sent her half as much as I like mine.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


In regards to the Bead Soup Blog Party events, I have mailed my package to my partner Amber Dawn. We were supposed to mail this package by 1-28-11, believe it or not I was a day early. I am nervous about whether she will be pleased or perplexed. I tried to give her lots of options and ideas about the use of the focal. She likes vintage style and nature inspired themes. Putting this package together actually pushed my creative envelope, more than I think the creator of the blog party intended. I wanted to send items that she would like and be able to wear but be enough different from what she was used to. Hopefully I have achieved both. The color palette I chose makes me think of vintage items but the theme was definitely aimed at the natural world. I did take pictures but can't show them until I know that she has received them. I would not want to ruin the surprise. I can't wait to see what she has sent to me.

I have been trying to refine my cupcake skills. Since I am dieting they are all in glass. Maggie and Staci, I will leave the real ones to you. I have had several requests for them as earrings. That is kind of tough to get them to be exactly the same size, just in real life no two cupcakes are identical. Maybe that will be my excuse. I love the cake tester idea with the cupcake on top, just makes sense to me. I am also working on beads on antique keys and buttons at each torch session.

I just love handmade buttons out of different materials like wood, clay, glass. I called a yarn store in Lexington awhile back and she really was not interested in carrying glass buttons. She stated that they took up too much space and not enough mark up to justify the space. I thought it would be just the opposite. If you spent the time to hand knit a beautiful sweater, felt a purse etc, would you not want a beautiful button as the jewelry for the piece. I would not want just an average button on an item like that. How much space does a small basket full of buttons take?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mountian Heritage Artisans Guild

Monday evening I attended the organizational meeting for the MHAG here in London. Last year when I was looking to join a guild, I looked for a local group that would be helpful in growing my art and business venture. I found Sheltowee to be the closest and most organized for my purposes. Most local artist that I have talked to are members of several guilds. Generally they are a member of a local (smaller) guild and then become a member of one of the (larger) state or regional guilds. I decided to join this guild in addition to the Sheltowee and see where it takes me. They are really in the beginning stages of forming the guild. They have not even gotten the paperwork processed in order to open a bank account. Everything about this process is more complicated than it looks. It appears to be a very nice group of people. Lots of painters and woodworking individuals. More people attended than they expected which is a good sign. They will be having a jury process but they are very green as to the details this will encompass. Thank goodness I have been through this process with a group that had been doing it for a long time. It is a scary thing to put your work (heart and soul) out there for people to review. It is in everyone's best interest though to have high standards for membership. That is also hard because I am sure everyone thinks their art is of high quality or they would not do it. I hope that this group can make a go of it. This area has a lot of very talented individuals but no representation in the area.

They have a wonderful opportunity to put on a Art fair during the Redbud bike race that is held in London in April. The race starts and ends downtown at the Farmers Market which is next to the Community Center where the Art Fair will be held. They would have a captive audience of the families and friends of the racers since it is kind of hard to watch much of the race in between the start and finish. Having only done 1 1/2 Art Fairs, I do not have a lot experience in hosting one, but I have volunteered to serve on the committee. A lot needs to be done to pull this off. Since this will be the first official event, it would be nice if it would succeed. I see it as a learning and very critical part of the formation of the Guild.

Regarding the Bead Soup Party event, I am getting ready to send my items to my partner. Since I have never participated in anything like this, I am a bit nervous. I hope I am sending things she will like, be able to use, and enough of a selection. I have been watching what others have sent and it is making me more nervous instead of less nervous. I am glad it is not a life and death event.

I will post pictures of what I have sent after she receives her package. We are up to 16 snow days, if I am counting correctly. Sort of getting old, and it is only January. Well off to make some more beads.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Metal Stamp Giveaway

At Bead Party Blog hosts blog Pretty Things she is having a metal stamp giveaway. It is a real cute alphabet. Check it out. The giveaway idea seems to be very popular among bloggers. Generally you have to blog about the giveaway and then leave a comment on the blog that is hosting the giveaway. Requires a little effort but well worth it. These stamps can be used on metal, clay, wood etc. Danny bought me a book for Christmas that deals with Metal stamping and the design and techniques that go with them. I own several stamps currently and just needed some help thinking of ways to use them. I have one alphabet set currently from Harbor Freight, also a snowflake one and a cat paw. These have not been used to their full potential. Can't wait to design something using them.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Trying something a little new for me

I am trying something new --Cake testers. Maggie loves to bake cupcakes and various other delights. The cupcake one I think will make its way to NC. I made another one yesterday but it cracked so debating about trying to reheat. I never have tried it but it might be worth a try, it was chocolate cake area, light pink frosting and lavender sprinkles. I am getting better at them. I also worked on the focal bead for the Bead Soup Blog Party, I am still trying to think this one through.

Looks pretty good to have school tomorrow. We still have snow in the yard and driveway but roads look good. But they are talking more snow by the end of the week.

I don't think I have posted a picture of this bracelet that I made for a friend at Christmas. It is a bit of a stretch for me due to no beads matching and no distinct pattern.

I have got some more practicing to be done and lots of ideas in my head.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bead Soup Blog Party

You may have noticed the gadget about Bead Soup Blog Party. This is the 3rd one hosted by Lori Anderson of Pretty Things blog. The sign up period lasted one week and resulted in 210 participants. We found out who are partner is today. I have been partnered with a very talented mixed media artist named Amber Dawn whose blog is titled Inventive Soul. Even the blog name is creative. From what I have read so far her current focus is Polymer clay. She has a Etsy store also by the name of Amber Dawn. I am a lucky blogger. The purpose of participating in this party is to meet new artists and grow creatively. I am really excited about preparing the surprise package for Amber. She is located in NY, so with out an activity like this we would never have been introduced. She is so talented in areas that I can only dream of. Hopefully she will be pleasantly surprised with what I send. Items are to be sent on January 28th and the party reveal is February 26th. Each participant sends a focal, clasp, and a selection of beads to go with them. It will be interesting to see how she will interpret my vision into her style. On the reveal day everyone will post pictures of the finished product. Then everyone ideally visits all 210 blogs to view the results. I think it took me several days last winter to look at all of them and there were less than a 100. Who knows how long it will take me this time. Can't wait.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Another Snow Day

Well right after I posted they called school off again. From the looks of our driveway, the back roads were probably bad. Danny had no trouble getting to work but the Mailman comes up our driveway to turn around and he had major trouble from the tracks in the snow. He even has 4 wheel drive but is in a pick up truck.

I am a big fan of Lampwork Etc forum. I try to read parts of it everyday. As I am not in touch with any artists in my media very often, it keeps me updated and inspired. There is a Lampwork artist by the name of Mary Noelker out of Louisville, KY. She makes beautiful beads and uses lots of antique keys. I have been making these for awhile now, but every once in awhile they get stuck and won't move on the key. She posted a most generous tip. She throws them in a tumbler with SS shot and they come out clean and moving free. So I threw several in the tumbler that were stuck. Most came free. But there was one lone key still stuck. Another artist (Mary Beth from Colorado ) suggested taking the key and tapping the top with a hammer on a wooden surface to vibrate it loose. I did this on the remaining key and loose it came. End of problem. I would not be artistically where I am without this forum. Best ever.

We live so far out in the rural part of Southeastern Kentucky that life without the internet and cable was so different. We have lived here for almost 26 years, so life was much different when we first moved here. We were lucky to have running water and electricity. This journey would have been a lot different then. We still can't get cell phone reception at the house, who knows when that will happen.

Here are some keys I have done lately.

This one is a key from a friend's mother-in-law's estate. I am making a necklace for her daughter. If we ever get back to school, maybe we can decide on the rest of the necklace (dangles, chain etc.) Hopefully she will enjoy wearing something new made out of something old.
This key is a little different configuration and the bead is a light denim color. It would be great with a pair of really comfortable jeans.

This one has a light pink bubble filled bead on it.

This has a very dark purple blue bead on it.This is one of the first ones I made into a necklace. I am fairly happy with it, although I think it needs a clasp. I took a silver chain and applied LOS to age it to match the key.
This key is fairly small and has a black with Silvered Ivory stripe.

I guess I have always loved old keys, hardware like square nails old bottles etc. My mother loved old things also. In my mom and dad's house above the couch she had framed on velvet old keys and a lock from a antique family trunk. It has always been one of my favorite things.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow Days

We are now on the 12th day of weather days this school year. Epic amounts of snow have fallen so far this winter. We are already above our average snowfall. So walking to the mail box (my only exercise during these times) with topper in tow, I happen to notice this last snow fall was sparkling just like sugar crystals. For Christmas presents this year I bought some frit called sugar frit. It is a crystal clear small grit size. I made several pair of these snowball earrings. I thought they would match lots of outfits even at other times of the year. Hope everyone is not too sick of the snow to wear them.

I have a tendency to gravitate to color combinations that are familiar and comfortable. I keep going back to this same bead lately. It is a teal/turquoise frit on a Dirty Martini background. It dawned on me today why. The afghan that has been in my den for a long time (made by my mother) is the same color combination. It definitely was thought provoking when I walked by the afghan and realized the similarity. What do you think?

The beads and the afghan are much prettier in person.

I ordered some new glass two weeks ago on sale. Due to everyone doing the same thing it took them a week to fill the order and then it always takes at least a week to arrive here ( in the middle of nowhere). Fed Ex is supposed to deliver today. Can't wait. Hopefully snowy roads will not prevent delivery.

So far school has not been canceled for tomorrow, but it really does not look good.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Great Camera

Same bead both sides. I love this combination but it only comes alive after being lightly etched. I think it bears revisiting in other forms.

We are on our ninth snow day this year and we are not going tomorrow either. Think I will make more beads. Not a lot of sunlight today to photograph any though.

But I took some pictures of the snowy landscape.

Friday, January 7, 2011

More Practice

I can not decide whether to sell these on Etsy or make jewelry out of them. It is a frit that Danny got me for Christmas on a periwinkle blue base. Even with a wonderful camera they are prettier in person.

This is a bracelet that I have been making with the Cat Paw Beads.
More Earrings

I may play some more today since we have our 8th snow day and it is only the first week of January.

Thanks for looking. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Earrings Photo's Might need Prop Help

Earrings require more than a marvelous camera. If they are not hanging perfectly even then they look defective. All of these earrings if hung even would look even. I think my glass rim is not working. Just that little bit of curve distorts the length. I guess I will have to come up with a better idea. Camera is great though. Thanks Dad and Danny.