Thursday, November 20, 2008

Looking Forward

"Tortuga Verde" series focal bead, now in my Etsy shop. It's 100% for the sea turtles. Get yours now.

Well, this tutorial thing has been a great experience so far. I really enjoyed creating it and putting it out there, and I'm starting to get some good feedback.

It's been a while since I taught anything. The last time was when I was active with the county Master Composters group, and taught composting workshops out in the community. I really got excited about the material, and enjoyed the chance to help people find a personal, convenient way to recycle the organic material in their lives. Who'd have thought the subject of decomposition could get a person so animated?

That excitement has been rekindled in the creation of my first bead making tutorial. Finding an succinct way of communicating an idea is a challenge that I enjoy rising up to meet. Taking pictures with one free hand while melting glass is a different story - I'll have to work on that. But this tutorial has been a great first step toward my goal to get back to teaching. I would like to teach some in-person classes in 2009, and I guess I can kind of count this as my first. Sort of.

So, all you readers out there who make beads - what kind of tutorial would you like me to do next? I've listed some of the bead styles I make in the poll to the right, but feel free to add any others in a comment to this post. I've got some of my own ideas, but I'd like to hear what you think.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

BFB Tutorial

Wanna make this bead? Check out my very first tutorial, now in my Etsy shop.

I've wanted to teach beadmaking for some time now, and this is Step 1. I've been making beads for over 5 years, and wanted to share some of what I've learned over this time. This tutorial covers everything you need to know to make the bead shown above, and variations on this theme. It's aimed at the intermediate beadmaker, or a beginner who can handle a large-sized gather of glass on a mandrel.

It covers several preparatory steps - silvered commercial stringer (not the melted in kind), and raku twisties that PoP, and includes a number of tips including how to make a large pressed bead with puckered ends.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Meet the Artist: Heidi of Jamnglass

Jamn Party Lampwork Bangle Bracelet, in Jamn's Etsy Shop

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Heidi of Jamnglass on Etsy. In case you haven't visited her shop, she sews and dyes the most incredible silk ribbons and cords, and makes lampwork beads and jewelry as well. Heidi is a member of the Lampwork Etc Street Team (LEST), and will celebrate her 1 year anniversary on Etsy later this month.

What I like about Heidi's work is its free spiritedness, the way it embraces color and designs that are easy to wear. I adore her bangle bracelets with curvy silver work, which she hammers herself, and adorns with her incredible borosilicate beads.

What parts of your childhood influenced your art?

I loved to play with finger paints. I loved to get my fingers in the paint and squish the colors together. I got a special thrill with a new box of crayons.

How long have you been dying cords, making glass beads, and making jewelry?

I started making glass beads about 8 years ago by chance. I went in to a stained glass shop looking to take a class to make a lamp and left with a Hot Head torch and a few glass rods. Jewelry making and then silk dyeing followed behind. Its funny how one craft leads us l to another one and they all seem to compliment each other.

When you make beads are you thinking about your cords? Do you think you make beads differently because of the fact that you also dye cords?

I don't think about anything when I am making beads. Working with the glass clears my head. I guess I feel I am in the moment and mesmerized by the glass. The glass tells me what it wants. I make a pendant that is reversible and the shape always comes out a bit different every time. I make ribbons to match the beads, so its the beads that inspire the ribbon colors. :)

From what do you draw the bulk of your inspiration?

I love to look at art magazines and glamour magazines. I keep a journal (off and on) where I will jot down bead sketches and color combinations. I cut clippings out of magazine for something that has caught my eye. If I am stuck sometimes just looking through these old journals will help spark a new direction.

Are there other artists that you consider to be your mentors?

I was a self taught artist for several years before I took my first class. I have a brother who died too young who has inspired me to follow my creative side. I feel from his death I learned that we need to live the life we dreamed about. I feel sometimes that he has encouraged me to try new things.

What artists do you admire?

So many wonderful bead artists inspire me: Kimberly Affleck, Smircich, Corina, and Doug Remschneider were the ones I admired when I was starting out.

What kind of satisfaction do you get from making dyed fiber that you just don’t get when making glass beads?

I can touch the fabric with my hands while dyeing. I pretty much had better never touch the glass while I am working with the colors. :)

Pastel Circus Hand Dyed Silk Cords in Jamnglass's Etsy shop

Which is your favorite style of dyed fiber to make, and why?

The watercolors are the most fun to make. I love to make the colors blend together.

What is your favorite style of bead to make?

My favorite style of bead to make is a lentil. I love to squash the glass. Currently my favorite thing to make is a round free form "flower" pendant. I love to be able to have the freedom to let the glass flow where it wants.

What is it that attracts you to borosilicate versus soft glass?

I love the surprise of borosilicate glass. I play a lot with silver colors and love how every time I open that kiln I never know what I will find. If the surprise is not a happy one boro glass can also be reworked as a base into something else. In soft glass you would have glass popping and exploding but with boro you can re-melt and start over!

What do you think are the top 3 contributors to your success on Etsy?

On Etsy you need good pictures: really good pictures. Its even more important to have good pictures of beads since there are so many glass artists on Etsy.

At first I spent a lot of time in the chat room talking to others and looking at their stores. Networking with a Etsy team group also helps sell items on Etsy.

If you could change one thing about Etsy, what would it be?

I would like to see all mass produced items totally separate on Etsy. Currently it seems a search will still pull up items that are not artisan one of a kind handmade items. This hurts the lampworker since some buyers think one of a kind artisan beads should be priced lower.

For other artists hoping to become successful in selling their work, what self-promotion activities do you most recommend?

Join a couple of online web sites with other bead makers. Do what you love and let it lead you in the direction you want to go.

If you had a whole free day ahead of you, and no orders to fill, what would you do?

I have been wanting to make a trip to Big Bear. Its so refreshing to be in the mountains. The pine trees are gorgeous and smell so pretty! Of course I can wait for snow! :)

Well Heidi, the Big Bear forecast looks like sunny, mild days for the near future, but I'm sure the snow will be arriving soon.

For my readers, do visit Jamnglass on Etsy, and check out her work. She's clearly doing what she loves, and it shows. I'm headed to her shop soon - I have a heart shaped focal bead that's just begging for some silk cording!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Paying it Forward for Breast Cancer Research

"Wave of Strength" bead donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

On October 9 I sold a bead in my Etsy shop that I had listed in the Lampwork Etc Street Team (LEST) "Tuff Enough to Wear Pink" challenge to raise money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure team. During October, I donated 100% of the proceeds from the sale of special pink items to Susan G. Komen.

It was not an ordinary sale, however. A talented artist named Heather Palleiko bought it, and intended to create a piece of jewelry to donate to the Avon Breast Cancer Foundation auction. She was paying it forward for Breast Cancer, and I was excited to be a part of her effort.

Heather is an amazing jewelry artist and I am completely flattered that she chose to incorporate one of my glass beads into her work, which I find fluid and organic and personally appealing. She quickly put together a stunning necklace, and blogged about the auction here. It's a good feeling to work with other artists like Heather and my LEST team mates to raise money and awareness for causes that need it. For a summary of the LEST team effort, see this post by Holly of Hollysfolly.

"Hope" Necklace by H. Palleiko Designs, on auction for the Avon Breast Cancer Foundation on 20 November.

Here is some of the event information from Heather's blog - if you're in Connecticut around November 20, you should go! It sounds like a totally ritzy affair.

Manolis & Co. Productions Teams Up With Emme to Raise Money for the Avon Breast Cancer Foundation

WHAT: Fundraising Event for Avon Breast Cancer featuring: Guest speaker Emme, supermodel, TV personality, author, lecturer, clothing designer, women’s advocate and cancer survivor.

Master of ceremonies Gretchen Carlson, Fox News anchor and former Miss America

Performances by Lin & Rob Weintraub, Showtime & Opera.

Silent auction throughout the evening

WHERE: Miller Motorcars Ferrari

342 West Putnam Ave.

Greenwich, CT

WHEN: Thursday, November 20th

Cocktails 6:00 – 10:00 p.m.

WHO: Hosted by Kristen Manolis of MCP (Manolis & Company Productions, LLC) and Lisa Stillerman

COST: $75.00 per person

CONTACT: For questions or to purchase tickets:

Liz Tetu or Sarah Bamford

MCP (Manolis & Co. Productions, LLC)

(203) 340-2130 /


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