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Archive for October, 2011

Ara Kuo

Posted by learntobead on October 25, 2011

Ara Kuo



Ara Kuo is a young jewelry artist from Taiwan.    She displays a very whimsical sense of design in her pieces.

Visit her website to see more of her pieces.

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Robert Ebendorf – Mixed Media

Posted by learntobead on October 25, 2011

Robert Ebendorf – Mixed Media Jewelry Artist


Robert Ebendorf uses unusual objects like soda pop tabs, crab claws, squirrel paws, silver spoons to create his unique and unconventional jewelry.

At Gallery Loupe, they have a retrospective of his pieces posted online.

It’s always fun to re-purpose things, and play with different media and materials.  However, it is often difficult to mix media and materials into a successful, satisfying piece of jewelry.



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Asagi Maeda – Art Jewelry

Posted by learntobead on October 25, 2011

Asagi Maeda – Art Jewelry




Asagi’s favorite motive is the Box, or the Box as container.    Often he creates little “scenes” and encases them in an acrylic box.   The box becomes a component in a larger piece of jewelry.

His works are what you would call “Amusing”.    And amusement is one of his primary goals.

Each piece has a story.    The story is told like a play on a stage.


His “box” motif represents something inside and something outside.     He tries to build the “emotions” or “theme” or “energy” within the confines of the box.    The viewer experiences these by experiencing the jewelry outside of his box.

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Daniel Porter Stevens – Metal Smith

Posted by learntobead on October 25, 2011

Daniel Porter Stevens – Metal Smith

I had recently read an article showcasing the work of Daniel Porter Stevens.    The reviewers were talking about his sense of “line”.

“Line” is an important jewelry design element — one of the most important things the designer needs to control.

Line establishes a “silhouette” — it delineates a part of the body above it and below it.

The curvature or straightness of the line evokes a wide range of feelings and emotions on the part of the viewer.

Sometimes the line is like an arrow pointing the viewer’s attention to one place over another.

Lines can be blurry or sharp.

Lines can be rigid, or the designer can somehow “break” the line.

Lines are important.


Visit Daniel’s website and look at his slide-shows of his jewelry.


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Creative Mentoring – Andrea Rosenfeld

Posted by learntobead on October 25, 2011

Creative Mentoring – Andrea Rosenfeld



I recently came across an article Andrea Rosenfeld had written about Creative Mentoring.   I thoroughly enjoyed the article, her extremely clear and accessible writing style, and was very interested in taking a little internet road trip to her website.

How do you take your passion and your art work to an audience?    I deal with this type of question from our students and customers almost every single day.

She offers many ideas and many services.     I suggest reading some of her articles are articles by “visiting creatives”  for special insights.



Articles to Grow By





Broadcast Louder helps Artists supercharge their creative business, starting them on the path to more visibility and more sales

Playing it Safe in Your Studio

Time Management Strategies That Play Nice

Marketing your Art Business using Retail and Wholesale Sneezers and Brand Advocates

10-Tips to Stay Organized and Increase Creativity

Are You Vibrating Yet? Here’s Why You Should Flip Your “ON” Switch

Are you an Expert or an Experimenter? Your sales strategy depends on your answer

Is Your Website Scaring People Away?

Visual Art Copyrighting Basics

Looking For Trade Show Stories For Upcoming Article (Interactive Article)

How to Create a Healthy Relationship With Money to Gain More

Dear Creative – DON’T do-it-yourself!

Should You Create Art or Create to Sell?

Court Your Stores

Dear Creative, Don’t Do It Yourself

Who is Your Customer, Who Are You?

Would You Dance? *how do you handle adversity?

Look Up! You’re Missing Life! 

Five Important Things to Know Before Doing a Store Show 

Collaboration is KEY to Artistic Growth 

Why We Need Art 

Tips a Jewelry Artist Can Use to Survive the Economy (or any Creative, for that matter) 



WordPress for Beginners

WordPress for the Savvy

WordPress: Who’s Sharing Your Content and Increase Blog Performance

Ready for wholesale? Find out with this MUST-HAVE Checklist

Grow Your Business Through Charitable Giving

Tips For Running a Successful Small Business Publicity Campaign

Why You Should Join Local Art Associations to Increase Your Art Business

How to Bounce Back from Disappointment and Manage Your Thoughts

Jewelry Artist’s Guide to Diamond Buying (Part One- Beginner)




Posted in business of craft, jewelry design, jewelry making | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Posted by learntobead on October 25, 2011

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder
Online International Jewelry Exhibit
55 artists

Cintra Harbach




Ginny Benton

This exhibit highlights jewelry made from materials other than gold, platinum or silver.    Many use found objects.    There are many “green” objects and materials.

Jill Morrison

Jewelry is defined as wearable art using a variety of materials.

Melanie West

You will see such materials as copper, brass and bronze.   Vinyl, velvet, machine components, bone, plastics, rubber, magnets, aluminum, wire, wood, plant seeds, pearls, and gemstones.

Shu Hsuan Tu

This exhibit shows a tremendous range of the possible.

Nancy Overmyer

You can see the full exhibit online.



Sarah Kelly


Louve and Don Coulson


Burcu Buyukunal


Wired Elements


Patricia Alvarez


Valerie Ostenak


Louise Gore Langton


Valerie Ostenak


Sheila Schwede






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SNAKES – Claire Kahn

Posted by learntobead on October 25, 2011


“Snakes” are popular jewelry themes and forms.

Claire Kahn

The undulating body form.
The sharp, threatening teeth.
The relationship to the Adam and Eve story.
The use of the snake in various cultural myths and mythologies.
The patterning of the skin.

Claire Kahn

The snake evokes something primal within us.    It has an aesthetic that we all recognize and share, perhaps sensuous, perhaps threatening, yet always steeped in beauty.


Claire Kahn

Many of our students and customers love making snakes.     Snake necklaces.  Snake bracelets.  Snake cuffs.  Snake rings.

Claire Kahn


Claire Kahn‘s work recently caught my eye.





Claire Kahn

Her website displays many beautiful, detailed images of her pieces.


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Cristobal Balenciaga

Posted by learntobead on October 25, 2011

Cristobal Balenciaga


Cristobal Balenciaga was a Spanish fashion designer who began selling fashion and accessories aroun 1919, but came into prominence in the 1950’s.   He’s known for building in very broad shoulders into jackets, blouses and gowns.    He also brought into fashion the Tunic Dress, and the high Empire Waist dress and gown.

He was a hands-on designer, making many of his own clothing, as well as jewelry.

He was considered one of the all-time great couturiers.    His pieces are very collectible.

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LOOT 2011

Posted by learntobead on October 25, 2011

LOOT 2011
Museum of Art & Design, New York City

Sarah Abrahmson

LOOT 2011 is Mad’s annual fund raising jewelry exhibition, which occurred last week.    Here are some of the pieces of jewelry that were for sale.

Sara Basch


Bona Ha


Danielle Gori-Montanelli




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SODAmore 2011: Contemporary Art Jewelry

Posted by learntobead on October 25, 2011

SODAmore Summer 2011: Contemporary Art Jewellery






SODA is a relatively new international jewelry exhibition held this past summer in Istanbul.   There are so many, many wonderful ideas and designs by over 70 artists.   Their main webpage shows many examples, as does Google Images.

Michihiro Sato

These selections are good places to explore for ideas about using different materials, components and arrangements.   You see the Creative.  You see the Unconventional.  You see Current Trends in Jewelry.

Sele Ozus


Zwetelina Alexieva


Ritsuko Oqura



Tanel Veenre



Nikolay Sardamov


Ozay Emert



Burcu Buyukunal


Ara Kuo





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Posted by learntobead on October 21, 2011


Images of our semifinalists entries posted on facebook
The Illustrative Beader: Beaded Tapestry Competition, 2011
Theme: Mystery Genre Book Covers


Auckland, New Zealand

“The Lovely Bones”
by Alice Sebold


Bryan, Texas

“Lizzie Borden”
by Elizabeth Engstrom


Westerville, Ohio

“Black Notice”
by Patricia Cornwell


O’Brien, Florida

“When Night Falls”
by Jenna Ryan

Voting online for the winner will begin around 11/7/2011 on the land of odds website —



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Posted by learntobead on October 12, 2011

5 Questions Every Jewelry Designer Should Have An Answer For

Before I begin any discussion, it is important to understand something about Empowerment.   Empowering — why do you think it is important to Empower the Jewelry Designer?    What kinds  of powers do we want the Jewelry Designer to have?   What kinds of things happen when the Jewelry Designer is not empowered?

It is important that the Jewelry Designer feel comfortable and confident in making choices.    These kinds of choices could be as simple as whether to finish a piece, or not.    Or whether to begin a second piece after finishing the first one.    The designer will make choices about how to draw someone’s attention to the piece, or present the piece to a larger audience.   She or he may decide to submit the piece to a magazine or contest.   She or he may want to sell the piece and market it.      The designer will make choices about how a piece might be worn, or who might wear it, or when it might be worn, in what context.

And for all these choices, the Jewelry Designer might need to overcome a sense of fear, or boredom, or resistance.  The Designer might need to overcome anxiety, a sense of giving up, having jeweler’s block, feeling unchallenged, even laziness.

We want the Jewelry Designer to be empowered to be able to make the necessary choices, in the face of everything that might slow him or her down, or prevent any kind of progress toward a satisfactory end.

And there are other powers we want the Jewelry Designer to have.   We want the designer to be primed to learn more, and be aware of more.  We want our Designer to make smart choices about construction.

We want our Designer to be empowered to better able handle contingencies — to fix problems and make substitutions, as the needs arise.

Our Designer should be empowered to be better able to create an aura of resonance resonating from the piece of jewelry, perhaps giving an edge to it.    The Designer wants to evoke an emotional response from the audience.    This is accomplished by the choices the Designer makes to better use color or a more controlled use of line or a better and more frequent use of forms, themes and components, or a better mixing of materials.

One more critical power we want our Designer to have.   We want the Designer to be better able to have the jewelry reflect the artist’s hand and style.

The successful Jewelry Designer should be very empowered.

The empowered Jewelry Designer should have answers to 5 critical questions.    These have to do with:
1) Art vs. Craft?
2) How To Decide What To Create?
3) What Materials Work Well Together?
4) How To Evoke Emotional Responses To Their Work?
5) When Is Enough Enough?

Let’s start with the first question.
Question 1:  Should BEADWORK and JEWELRY MAKING be considered ART or CRAFT?
What do you think is going on here — why the distinction between Art and Craft, particularly as it applies to jewelry design and beading?     Why is this distinction important?   How does this distinction affect what we do as jewelry designers?

The Jewelry Designer confronts a world that is unsure whether jewelry is “craft” or “art”.    When defined as “craft”, jewelry is seen as something that anyone can do — no special powers are needed to be a Jewelry Designer.   As “craft”, there is somewhat of a pejorative meaning — it’s looked down upon, thought of as something less than art.    But as “craft”, we recognize the interplay of the artist’s hand with the piece and the story-telling underlying it.   We honor the technical prowess.    People love to bring art into their personal worlds, and the craftsperson offers them functional objects that have artistic sensibilities.

When defined as “art”, jewelry is seen as something which transcends itself and its design.   It evokes an emotional response from the viewer.   It has more of a sense of clarity of purpose and choice, a sense of presence.    Functionality should play no role at all, or as a compromise, merely be supplemental.

The Jewelry Designer must be clear on why his or her work should be categorized as “art” or “craft”, or as both as “art” and “craft”.

The Art World accepts jewelry as art from an aesthetic point of view.   It sees jewelry as a subset of painting or sculpture.   It judges its success as if it were sitting on an easel or perched on a mannequin.   It teaches the Jewelry Designer that the only important choices to make are ones associated with art theories.     The Art World often exhibits so much disdain for Craft, that it ignores functional considerations entirely.

With jewelry, ignoring function — durability, movement, flow, drape, structural integrity, context, psychology, sociology, anthropology, sexuality — can lead to disaster.    Jewelry should be judged as art, but only as it is worn.    The choices the Jewelry Artist needs to make are much broader than art, and all choices are equally as critical.

The more appropriate skills involved here are ones of design, where aesthetics are balanced with function, and where conflicts between art and craft are resolved in a satisfactory way, but sometimes to the detriment of aesthetics.

The Jewelry Designer should be very aware of how she or he has applied themselves to their work.   This brings up the next question.

QUESTION 2:  How do you decide what you want to create?    
What kinds of things do you do to translate your passions and inspirations into jewelry?   What is your creative process?  How is it organized?   How do you know it’s working best for you?

Applying yourself creatively can be fun at times, but scary at others.    It is work.   There is an element of risk.  You might not like what you end up doing.   Your friends might not like it.  Nor your family.   You might not finish it.  Or you might do it wrong.

It always will seem easier to go with someone else’s project, already proven to be liked and tested — because it’s been published, and passed around, and done over and over again by many different people.

Sometimes it seems insurmountable, after finishing one project, to decide what to do next.

The Jewelry Designer needs to be confident and comfortable making creative choices.    So, some advice here.

Set no boundaries and set no rules.

Be free.   Go with the flow.   Don’t conform to expectations.


Pretend you’re a kid again.    Have fun.  Get the giggles.


Take the time to do a lot of What If’s and Variations On A Theme and Trial and Error.

Keep Good Records

Make good notes and sketches of what seems to work, and what seems to not work.


Learn from your successes and mistakes.   Figure out the Why did something work, and the Why Nots.

As you play and experiment and evaluate with all the parts, you will become more familiar with the characteristics of the materials.     This brings us to the third question.

QUESTION 3:  What kinds of MATERIALS work well together, and which ones do not?   
Why is this?

 The choice of materials, including beads, clasps and stringing materials, set the tone and chances of success for your piece.   These choices

…affect the Look
…affect the Drape
…affect the Feel
…relate to the Context

These choices involved such things as:
– Type of material(s)
– Thickness and other physical parameters of the parts, such as whether they have been stamped, fabricated or cast; interaction with sunlight, ultraviolet light, heat and cold; how the pieces have been finished off
– Cost of materials
– Durability of materials
– Compatibility of different types of materials
– Structural integrity and integration of materials, particularly in multi-media art jewelry or related pieces.

I always suggest using the highest quality materials your budget will allow.

When you try to mix different kinds of materials, the strengths and weaknesses of each material become more apparent.    Mixing different materials and achieving successful pairings is hard to do.    It is difficult to mix glass and gemstone.   It is difficult to mix glass and crystal.    Or glass and plastic.

There are textural issues.   There are color issues.   There are issues related to the reflection and refraction of light.   There are issues how one material changes the perception of another material, when put side by side — simultaneity effects.

Take, for example, mixing glass and gemstones.   Usually this doesn’t work.    When the eye/brain interacts with most glass, the light hits the surface of the material and is reflected back.   When the eye/brain interacts with most gemstone, the light both hits the surface as well as is drawn into the bead below the surface, and then reflected back.    Going from glass bead to gemstone bead can be very irritating for the eye/brain.   So as best as you can duplicate the eye/brain interaction with gemstone with the eye/brain interaction with glass, the more satisfying the mixture will become.     So you might use opalescent glass or color lined glass, which mimics the light/eye/brain interactions of gemstone.

Mixing media present another example.   Usually, when you mix media, say fibers and beads, you need to let one media predominate in your piece.   Each media has its own material properties and structural characteristics, and compete with one another.

The power to making creative choices about materials and their arrangements is a core skill of the Designer.   And this leads us to the next question.

Question 4:   Beyond applying basic techniques, how does the Jewelry Designer evoke an emotional response to their jewelry?
Beyond learning basic techniques, what kinds of choices does the successful jewelry designer need to make?
A related question:   Beaders and Jewelry Makers focus too often on Techniques and not often enough on Skills.   They learn techniques; they don’t learn skills.  How can we get away from focusing too much on Technique, and instead, focus more on Skill?
It is important to draw distinctions between Techniques and Skills.   What distinctions?   Why?   What kinds of skills do we bring, as Jewelry Designers, to our pieces, which make them Resonate?
What is Technique?   What is Skill?  What are your Skills?

An artistic and well-designed piece of jewelry should evoke an emotional response.   Techniques are necessary but not sufficient to get you there.    You need Skills.

The classic analogy comparing Techniques and Skills references cutting bread with a knife.
Technique: How to hold the knife relative to the bread in order to cut it.
Skill:  The force applied so that the bread gets cut successfully.

Skills are the kinds of things the Jewelry Designer applies which enhances his or her capacity to control for bad workmanship.     These include things like
– Judgment
– Presentation
– Care and dexterity
– Taking risks

So we can see our skillful Jewelry Designer choosing materials and colors.   Or marketing.    Or managing thread or string tension.    Color blending.    Mixing materials.   Developing variations on techniques.  Having a personal style.   Trying out something new.

Classic Art Theory holds, that if you need to talk too much about Technique underlying your piece, your piece is not art, it is craft.    And in our classes and discussion groups, the conversations are terribly concentrated on Technique as if there were nothing else to discuss.   I blame the bead magazines for ignoring the role of choice in writing instructions.   Everything is presented so mechanically.    But jewelry design is so much more.    And Jewelry Designers need to aim for the ‘so much more.’

It is this process of linking the technique to the materials that is “art”.   A successful process requires an understanding of the intrinsic values of the materials.    It requires an understanding of how to manipulate the materials to elicit a positive response from others.   It is expressive, intuitive and evokes emotions.   The critical focus is not on the techniques.   The critical focus is on the linking of technique and material to create something that others emotionally interactive with.

Creative engagement with materials.    Expressive.   Imaginative.    A sense of audience.

Jewelry Design is an avocation which requires you to know a lot of things.   You need to know a lot about materials.   You need to know a lot about quality issues underlying these materials, and what happens to these materials over time.   You need to be mechanical and comfortable using tools to construct things.   You need to learn many basic techniques.   You need to understand physical mechanics and what happens to all these materials and pieces, when jewelry is worn.    You need to be familiar with art theories and their applications.   You need to understand people, their psychology, the dynamics of the groups they find themselves in, and their cultural rules which get them through the day.

The Jewelry Designer, when creating a piece of jewelry, has a lot to do, and has a lot of skills to bring to bear on the project.   And this leads to our 5th and last question.
QUESTION #5:  When Is Enough Enough?
How does the Jewelry Artist know when the piece is done?  Overdone?  Or Underdone?    How do you edit?

In the bead and jewelry arenas, you see piece after piece that is over-embellished, or gets too repetitive with the elements and materials.    If 5 fringe look good, 20 fringe would be better.   If 6 colors are appealing, 9 colors would be better.    If 6 repeats of a pattern looks good, 8 repeats would look better.

On the other hand, you often see pieces that can be described as  ‘not quite there’.    They need something else.   A tweak.   A change in arrangement.   Some additional material or color.   A better or smarter clasp and clasp assembly.     Pretty, but they don’t resonate.    They don’t sufficiently touch their audiences.

For every piece of jewelry there will be that point of Parsimony.    Where adding or subtracting one more piece will make the experiencing of the whole somewhat less than the sum of its parts.

To get to this point, the Jewelry Designer must exercise great skill and great technique.    The Designer must show restraint and control.

And to get to this point, the Jewelry Designer must have a point of view, and a clear understanding of the point she or he wants to make through this piece of jewelry.

In this way, the Jewelry Designer can show nuance.   The Jewelry Designer can most satisfactorily arrive at a design which makes the ordinary ‘noteworthy’.

And this concludes our discussion of 5 questions every Jewelry Designer should have answers for.   The Empowered Jewelry Designer will have these answers, though not every Designer will have the same answers, nor is there one best answer.    And it is unacceptable to avoid answering any of these 5 questions, for fear you might not like the answer.

Each Jewelry Designer needs to answer these kinds of questions for themselves, in a way that is satisfying and motivating.    The answers they come up with influence how they present themselves and their work to others.

These 5 questions, in effect, define the who and what and how a Jewelry Designer is, and how to empower them.  Jewelry Designers have definable sets of interrelated skills which can be taught, creatively applied, and further developed.  These skills can be used to create and enhance color, shape, texture, sensibility, perception, sensuousness and emotion.  They can be applied to bring meaning, cognition, culture, connectivity and wisdom to a situation.   They can be used to create the tangible from the intangible, and the object from nothingness.

The skills of combining materials of physical and/or aesthetic wealth into wearable art forms and adornment — this is Jewelry Making and Design.
Empowered Jewelry Designers

Creatively combine and manipulate

Materials and components

By applying interrelated skills, and

Exercising judgment how best to enhance experience and meaning

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Existence For The Jewelry Designer Is Befuddling

Posted by learntobead on October 11, 2011

Read the column How To Bead A Rogue Elephant


Existence for the jewelry designer is befuddling.

Making jewelry is such a happy endeavor.  But is the designer always happy?   It is so scary, risky, fraught with anxiety, difficult to decide, sometimes impossible to fully visualize.    Yes, you answer to yourself and your own sense of aesthetics and construction.   But yet, you make things for other people to wear, perhaps to buy, perhaps to display, perhaps to comment and evaluate and criticize and tear to shreds.    Or ‘like’ it on some level.

Befuddling.   Yes, indeed….


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Join Warren in On-Line Discussion Seminar

Posted by learntobead on October 9, 2011


Warren will be leading this discussion on Bead Chat/Facebook next Tuesday, 10/11, 10:00am central time (11:00am eastern time). Please join us.

5 Questions Every Jewelry Designer Should Have An Answer For!

Tuesday, October 11 · 10:00am-11:00am Central Timel (11:00am -12:00pm Eastern Time)
Bead Chat Room
Created By
Auntie’s Beads
For Bead Chat (hosted by Auntie’s Beads)

Warren Feld discusses these questions in the context of art vs. craft, passion and inspiration, materials and components, techniques vs. skills, and when is enough enough. There is not one best answer. These are the kinds of things each jewelry designer must define for themselves, in a way satisfying to them, but anticipating their audience’s needs, as well. Join us for live chat with Warren!

About Auntie’s Beads Bead Chat on Facebook
Ask to join if you are interested in group chat discussions about beading and jewelry making topics. Chat is ongoing and informal, but we also post event notices and host these online events via chat…

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