July 23, 2014

Bead Table Wednesday

So this is how I started my morning: working on a few pendants to take with those bracelets from yesterday down to my local art center.

They teach yoga classes there and I have these lovely zen-inspired word beads that I made earlier this summer. I'm hoping these speak to those ladies who are there each week to unwind.

I had the pendants at Bead & Button, but just added them to my Etsy shop today.  Maybe you'd like to make necklace that speaks to you!

So what's on your bead table today? 
Share in the InLinkz tool below for Bead Table Wednesday or on Instagram by using #BeadTableWednesday

July 22, 2014

Designing Dilemma

So without any grand plan last night I sat down to make some new memory wire bracelets. I threw some colors into the bead spinner and away I spun in some zen-like beading trance. I needed a mental distraction for the evening. I think it's called procraftinating (that's procrastinating crafting). 

40+ bracelets later and my peanut seed bead stash almost depleted I started to formulate what to do with these awesome stacks of bracelet-y goodness. 

At first I thought I would make some tiny willow headpins to coordinate with them, but as I looked at my mountain of bracelets I realized they were the colors of the butterfly wings I had been creating last week. And so I whipped up some headpins to go with them.

And doing some further contemplation on what to do with 40 bracelets had me thinking of where I would sell them which led to a momentary dilemma. I would like to take some of them to our local Center for Arts where I have a collection of jewelry. 

I live in a small, conservative farming community that enjoys a crazy summer tourist season thanks to the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan. I've struggled with finding the right local venue and of course I could adjust what I make and throw on some tiny bead charms like the bracelet above, which would give me a lower price point and make them more sell-able. And it's a cute bracelet and all, but, meh...

It's hard to settle when I know adding these beauties to the bracelet will do some serious magic.

Wowzer, note to self: don't settle as a designer. Just don't!

Look at what I could have missed out on making if I had settled to make something just to sell them quickly. These are little works of art, these stand out, these are unique. These make my heart sing.

I will take some down to the local art center and work on marketing them there. But I will also sell them on my website where I can connect to those who are looking for something beyond the ordinary.  I just can't make things to fit the local market. I need to make things I love and then go out and find my market. My time is too limited to make things that are ho-hum.

July 16, 2014

Michael's Beading Challenge Blog Hop Reveal

So a few weeks ago I teamed up with my beady friend Lorelei Eurto for a Michael's Challenge Blog Hop.  Above are the beads we used for the challenge that I picked up from Michael's. We invited anyone who wanted to join in the fun to play along. Today we are sharing the results. I can't wait to see what everyone made!

This was my inspiration palette for the challenge. I really wanted to make a necklace to match the shirt in this photo.

My dear friend Erin made the pendant for me a few years ago, I have wanted to make myself a necklace with it since but just never made the time. Yeah for the blog hop, finally something crossed off my to-do list! 

I paired Erin's pendant up with the the pink beads knotted on teal waxed linen along with the window glass beads and white turquoise beads. The second strand of beads are looped together on steel wire and mixed with etched brass jump rings. That strand has Czech glass and those boho-inspired inlay beads. A Vintaj Arte Metal chain finishes the design with a simple toggle clasp.

A close up of Erin's pendant - she has the heart of a poet and includes the most beautiful sayings on her designs. You can see more of her work at Tesori Trovati

For the next necklace I pulled back the palette and selected only a few strands of the beads to work with for this design. The wood and ceramic beads from Micheal's Bead Gallery are mixed with a few of my new butterfly wing beads and an etched butterfly pendant. (Those were made for my retreat class projects.)

The necklace is knotted on brown waxed linen. I seem to always underestimate the linen to knot ratio and ended up having to redo one side when I realized I was going to run out of cord before I finished. This happens to me often. 

Both designs capture a great summer bohemian feel that I'm digging right now. I loved using the waxed linen and tried very hard to remember the knots that Erin Siegel showed me on last Bead Cruise. I'm still trying to perfect them! 

If you played along include your link using the InLinkz tool below. 

Have fun visiting the other participants today. 

If you are stopping by early in the morning, 
you might want to check back this afternoon or evening to see more links/blogs. 

Happy Hopping!

July 12, 2014

Inspired by Nature Fall Retreat 2014

Oh, hello.

Over the last few weeks I've been working on the projects for my Inspired by Nature Fall Retreat. It's my 4th one and I knew I wanted to do something with butterfly wings and feathers. It took a while to work it all out and I am so happy with the results and can not wait to share these fun projects with my students.

It's a weekend of mixed-media exploration with etching metal, playing with polymer clay, creating bezels, and creating our own findings like earwires and chain links. And finishing with a collection of jewelry by the end of the 3rd day. 

We will gather again in my hometown of South Haven on the sleepy shores of Lake Michigan. (Just two hours north of Chicago.) The retreat will be October 17th - 19th. We will be surrounded by woods near a river, with autumn's colors in full force.

The creative women who join me are always so encouraging and kind. They make fast friends and it's always a treat to see old friends returning again. We share wine, chocolate and beads! Life doesn't get much better.

We don't worry about labels or being purists. The ladies push ahead fearlessly knowing any mistakes can just be called 'organic' and they flourish and explore with the materials in front of them. 

I share my little bits of magic with clay, metal and wire. I love seeing when a student lights up with an idea of her own and goes off to do something even more amazing than I could have imagined. And those who are starting out, work up the courage to create without judging. The muse is welcomed and mistakes are part of the learning process.

In between the jewelry making we head outdoors, inspiration surrounds us. From the water lapping at the shore of the river, to the delicious field of raspberries across the street, to the chorus of birds singing and leaves whirling around - nature provides the background for us to unwind as the weekend progresses. 

Meals are shared and stories told as we bond over our creative adventure. Each woman here is a gift. 

When all the pieces fall together on the last day, we are sad to say goodbye. Some linger and we head out for one more field trip before we go off to our corners of the world again. We look outward and inward and find ourselves renewed as the forest recedes in the review mirrors.

Does that sound like a little bit of heaven to you? Click here for all the retreat details. 

July 11, 2014

Birds, Butterflies and Retreat Sneak Peek

It's 5 o'clock on Friday. It's been a week. Crazy. Busy. Not at the top of my game kind of week. But orders are going out the door. Deadlines are being met.  New ideas are churning.  But I'm tired today and should have something witty and awesome to say about these little birds, but I will let them and the poets do the talking instead.

"A bird doesn't sing a song because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song." - Maya Angelou

"Use what talent you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best."  - Author unknown

"Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings." - Victor Hugo

So what is this bit of amazing butterfly action about? Oh, just a little fantastic mixed media class I will be teaching at my Inspired by Nature Fall Retreat this year.  Mark the dates, this year it's going to be October 17-19th here in South Haven, MI.  I will only have 17 spots this time around so if you have been dreaming about attending for the last 3 years - don't miss out this year.  Tomorrow I will have the complete details on the blog and registration will open.  No early bird registration this year.  

"Just as the bird sings or the butterfly soars, because it is his natural characteristic, so the artist works." - Alma Gluck