Saturday, January 3, 2015

OK, So It's Been a While!

Yes, life happens and blogs get put at the bottom of the list.  But I'm still here and am going to try to keep up with blogging a little better in 2015.  It's a New Year with new goals.

Mainly I want to share about my jewelry business which continues to be a big part of my life.  For the past year I've been concentrating on designing bracelets and took a good part of 2014 learning Adobe Illustrator so that I could write tutorials using diagrams to explain the process.  I'm happy with my progress and plan to continue on this pathway, expanding into necklace and earring tutorials.

I'm a member of the Beadsmith Inspiration Squad which keeps me learning about and designing with some of the new beads being manufactured.  So I'll be sharing some posts on all of these new beads and what I'm creating with them.  Here are a few things I've designed over the past few months.

Bezel and Chain using Half Tilas

Hex Pyramid Beads

New Duracoat Silverlined Delicas

African Turquoise SuperDuo Mix and Matubo 8/0 Seed Beads

African Turquoise SuperDuo Mix and O Beads

I have not yet written tutorials for any of the designs shown above, but I did just finish writing a tutorial for my "Night Out on the Town" necklace that uses the new Silver and Gold SuperDuo Mix.  I used beadweaving and stringing techniques in creating this necklace.

The tutorial can be purchased on either my Etsy site or my Artfire site.

Here's to a good 2015 for you all!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Thoughts on Competing

Do you ever enter contests where you are challenged to create something that will be compared to the creations of other brilliant artists?  I entered the Battle of the Beadsmith 2013 challenge this year in a rather na├»ve kind of way.  I thought I had a good attitude about it being an opportunity to grow as a bead artist, but in the back of my mind I was pretty certain I wouldn't make it very far - and that was perfectly OK with me. 
Perhaps it is the normal artist's self doubt that is ever present when creating.  Perhaps it's also a legitimate acceptance of reality of where I think I am as an artist.  Let's face it, when we are being compared to some of the world's best beading artists, it's a bit intimidating and it takes a good deal of persistence to continue on - knowing that we are going to face all kinds of emotions. 

What if "they" don't like my piece?   Can I take the rejection?  How will I handle it?   Please God, don't let me be embarrassed.

I would have been quite content to have ended the battle at Round 3, believing that I had created something I liked and that lots of other people liked - satisfied that I didn't embarrass myself in the eyes of the beading world.

To my amazement (as well as to the amazement of lots of other people) I won the Round 3 battle by the hair on my chinny chin chin!  This beautiful artistic creation called The Phoenix Collar by Helena Tang-Lim was my competition in Round 3.

 I think Helena's piece is incredibly beautiful and had my vote hands down.  To find out that it was a very close race and that I won was not only surprising, but also confusing.  I'm having to deal with some pretty strange emotions - like guilt, shame and sadness.  Very strange emotions for a "winner," huh?  Food for thought that perhaps I am more comfortable with "losing" than with "winning."  I know my self worth does not come from the outcome of these battles, but when there are comparisons going on, those feelings do come to mind and have to be dealt with.

I am more than aware that there were some beautiful pieces that were eliminated in each round, not because they weren't awesome and worthy, but simply because they were paired up with an equally awesome and worthy entry.  Part of moving on is simply due to the luck of the draw - a reminder to be humble.

I think it best to not question the outcomes or my abilities, but just to accept the results and go on to face the next battle and finish the race.  In Round 4, I am once again up against a formidable beading artist, Tamuna Lezhava who created this amazing piece called Treasure of Topkapi.

You can view all the remaining 24 entries in this facebook album created by Tamuna.  Just click on this link.  If you want to find out more about the Battle of the Beadsmith, join the  B.O.T.B. '13 Facebook group by clicking on this link.  Voting for your favorites will begin soon.

To those who have "fallen in battle" and to the remaining 24 battlers, I salute you all.  I encourage you to not grow faint and to be an encouragement to all.  We truly are all united by our love for beads and we can make a difference for good and beauty in our world.

Here are a couple photos of my entry called Crystal Volcano.

       Crystal Volcano - front                                 Crystal Volcano - back
Thank you to all the people who voted for me in the battles so far.  I appreciate your support more than I can say!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

B.O.T.B 2013

The Battle of the Beadsmith 2013 contest is well underway.  Round 1 battles have been fought and the survivors have moved on to Round 2.  Whew!  My Crystal Volcano necklace is a survivor.


Each round, participants are randomly paired, and then voting takes place.  The participants and specially invited judges, as well as the public are invited to vote for the piece they feel should move on to the next round.

There are three groups (A, B and C) and in Round 2, there are 16 pairings in each group.  Participants come from many different countries all around the world.  And what better way to introduce them than on Facebook.  If you'd like to see all of the wonderful creations, click HERE.  It will take you to the Group page and if you are not a member of the group, just request to become a member.  Then click on the "PHOTOS" button at the top of the page and you will see all of the beautiful and creative entries.

While the name uses the term "Battle" it is not the bloody and ferocious type.  It's a fun-loving, creative, worldwide expression of Bead Art.  It's just that only one Beading Queen can reign at the end.  Come join in the fun!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Taming the Long Magatamas

I love long magatama beads, but their wonky hole and odd shape can make them a bit difficult to use with the common beadweaving stitches.

The holes go through the beads at a slant so they don't sit all nice and neat like cylinder or seed beads.

But still, I wanted to use them and like a design challenge.  I found they play pretty nicely using the spiral stitch so I created a pair of earrings.

The long magatama beads are the white beads that spiral gently down around a center core of size 8 seed beads.

Somewhere along my beading journey, I learned a trick to tighten up a spiral stitch so that the beads don't hang all willy nilly.  I experimented with my earrings and discovered that with a small change, I could tighten up the magatamas and really show the spiral effect.

I've created a tutorial for the earrings as well as a matching bracelet and have now listed it in my Etsy shop.
I hope you'll give the long magatamas a try!  Happy Beading!