Thursday, April 14, 2011

And the winner is....

Happy to report that after letting the random number generator 'cast the die' for me, I have a winner for the Bead Chest certificate!  Number 5 in the comment list is none other that the lovely Malin de Koning, she of the super Swedish lessons and the maker of lovely jewelry!  Hope you can find something to suit you, Malin!

Also happy to say that the new Strata beads mentioned in last post are generating some interest, which is good, because I am enjoying the freedom of NOT hand forming everything for once and being able to put a cutter to good use.   The above two sets seem to be popular.  Square beads particularly are so reassuringly useful.  Now I can see a way to make them hollow ( and therefore lighter) and I freely admit that I have an obsession with this - but hey, it makes a necklace/bracelet more pleasant to wear and saves clay too!

My bicycle is calling me....

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Strata production

I'm really not very good at online shop managment.  I do have a fatal tendency to spend overly long periods of time working on one little thing (that's also a one-off, by the way) that isn't going to make heaps of money for me.  Not that that outcome was ever on the cards in the choice of artist as a career!  Remember the old matchbook cover advertisements 'Become an artist - make 10 -50 $ a week!'?   It spoke truth....oh , yes.

With this in mind and also the need to have some things in my shop that don't require new and individual listings every single time (could it be that I will actually get to use the relist function on Etsy and leave behind the hodge-podge of copy and paste?),  I've designed some beads that are a little less labour intensive than the hollow ones.  These are more along the lines of the 'meat and potato' spacer type of bead, rather than the focal type.  I like these as they are a great opportunity for trying out new surfaces without a huge commitment. 

I've fallen in love with cutters (great production tool) and recently purchased the entire set of Kemper cutters (55) carried by the Clay Factory  (owned by Marie Segal and her husband).  Just by the way, this is a great deal and saves a lot over buying the individual sets.  These will be amazing not only for my new line, but also for the tiled hollow beads!  I'm also going to buy this tutorial on Craftedu, on how to make your own minicutters - heck, it's only 12$ - see here!  What fun and a  great use for soft drink cans...

It started with just layering up cut pieces of polymer and realizing that I like the possibilities of the side edges as much as I liked the 'top' and 'bottom' sides of the resulting bead, which I covered with a transfer.  I also realized that I liked the beads when the layers were not stacked too neatly as this accentuated the 'strata' effect, particularly when distressed with various finishes.  And also, once made, the bead could be interestingly manipulated away from the cutter shape to be a little 'off'.  Which, naturally, made it a little more fun to my eye, as it shows some movement and gesture which always livens things up!  Once I got the other cutters, I tried some other shapes - some worked and some need work.

These were the originals which used a transfer created on Photoshop from some of my artwork.  Rocklike. Cubic...
 Then little drums..

Triangles, naturally...bird feet black and white, and transfers -

Not so sure about these transfers, it's harder than one would think to pick an image that looks good tranferred!  
Some black and whites with eyes, but not sure about the ovals - tricky shape, unless it's cleanly cut!
Teardrops with alcohol inks that morphed into commas...

Battered hearts, the only kind, really..

And my favourite ones so far (metallic, of course) because I really like the sides of these -

Yup, like all my work, more work required.   One wonders if it will all come together in a glorious whole at some future time. 
Some of these sets will be finding their way into my shop in the next couple of days, while I continue to work on new ones.  And new pods....

I'm holding my draw tommorow for the Bead Chest gift certificate - don't forget to enter by commenting HERE!  Bye all...

Friday, April 8, 2011

A gift certificate for you....

This has happened to me a few times lately and I guess it's a sign of something - increasing readership, I guess.  Some businesses have approached me with the idea of advertising or promoting on my blog.  It's all a bit weird as what they are selling has nothing to do with what I'm interested in or talking about, so I guess they are homing in on a certain demographic that they feel must be reading my blog.  After all, I make no pretence at youth myself - although in my head I feel young and full of ideas - funny, that!

Then last week, an online bead business called The Bead Chest asked me if I'd be interested in promoting their shop a little for a gift certificate.  Now, I make beads, and since I'm just starting this business, I try really hard not to buy beads - and this is despite the sore temptation that I experience in this area every day on Etsy.  There is so much beautiful work out there...but at this point, I'm better focusing on the task at hand:  that is, learning to make beads, learning to sell beads and learning to make jewelry with my beads/components.

But I did think about all of you out there in my weeny bead universe and I said 'Yes' to the gentleman who asked me - 'Yes, I'd like to do a giveaway on my blog and use your gift certificate!'.  And the lovely gentleman said, 'That's great!  So now I have a lovely 30$ gift certificate for The Bead Chest, and I went over to the store and found some wonderful images of  beads that are wonderful and classic.  Like looking through Lois Sherr Dubin's book 'The History of Beads'.

The Bead Chest carries a wide variety of trade beads, some modern, some older, and a wide selection of contemporary African beads.  The lovely gentleman (Isaac, by name) who dispensed the gift certificate told me: 

"Regarding our business, we are a small family-run business and have been selling beads for several decades. Our favorite part of being in the bead business is seeing what our customers are able to make out of the beads we sell. We are always impressed by their beautiful creations :) As far as acquiring the beads, we work with bead traders in Africa. We travel to Ghana regularly. We always do our best to ensure the beads are fair trade, and are committed to supporting developing communities and economies in Western Africa. We also focus on African beads because they tend to be more eco-friendly than beads that are mass-produced in China and India. We do not have a brick and mortar store, but we sell online 24/7, and have done gem & jewelry shows in the past."
If you click on any of the pictures, you'll go straight to their listings!
I am in love with these gorgeous red simple glass beads, and as an ex-glass person, I can tell you that reds like this are the Holy Grail for glass blowers!

These are probably made from old 45 records...
Beautiful bone beads..

You could do a lot of things with this brass filigree, just think of Gilder's paste...

Classic beads..

Given a chance, I would buy a ton of these snake beads, they are so beautiful and useful...

Well, there you have it!  If you'd like a chance to win a 30$ gift certificate from The Bead Chest, just comment on my blog about the first beads you ever really loved - something given to you, the first (momentous) bead purchase you made, the 'aha' moment from making something that really worked - anything at all!  I've been thinking a lot about my creative progression recently, so I 'd like to hear something about yours.

I'll be drawing for this next Wednesday, April 13!  Have a lovely spring weekend!