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Archive for December, 2013

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BEAD-WEAVE?

Posted by learntobead on December 26, 2013

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO “BEAD-WEAVE”?
(reposted from earlier this year)

gwynian-wine-detail2-medium

The answers to this question anticipate our strategies for how best to train and educate people. The answers imply our goals and preferences for how people learn, what they learn, in what order they learn things, and how they apply what they learn, and how we should measure success and accomplishment.

Over the 24 years I have been doing this, and I’m going to generalize here, all too often, I see people learning techniques, but not skills. I see people wed themselves to one or a limited set of techniques, to the exclusions of others. I see people who avoid learning higher level concepts which would assist them in coming up with new ideas for manipulating beads within a composition. Or they insist or pretend that there are no higher learnings — no theories, no concepts, no structures — beyond the simple step-by-step techniques they rehearse over and over again.

So obviously, part of the answer to me, of “What Does It Mean To Bead Weave”, goes beyond technique. I would want to switch the emphasis in our training programs, our magazines, our how-to-books, our online tutorials from a focus on specific techniques to a focus on specific skills that might span all or most techniques.

Such as, – managing thread tension – starting a stitch off anywhere – increasing and decreasing – coming to a point – making a curve line – making ruffles – creating and filling negative spaces – layering – evoking emotional responses – achieving symmetry and balance – making rapid and slow transitions – managing components and transitions from one to the next – connectivity and linkage – anticipating requirements for movement and drape – contemplating the bead and how it asserts its needs – color, light and shadow – managing function vs. aethetics

…among other skills.

To me, “bead-weaving” means to manage a process using beads as the medium, thread or other stringing material as canvas, within a particular composition such as a piece of jewelry.

What does “bead weaving” mean to you?

Warren

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USE OF ARMATURE

Posted by learntobead on December 26, 2013

USE OF ARMATURES IN BEADWORK
(reposted from earlier this year)

autumnsend

While I occasionally use armatures in my beadwork projects, I have a psychological aversion to them as somehow contaminating my beadwork, making it less pure, taking the sacred and making it profane. I think what I viscerally react to is how often, the way people use the armatures, makes the piece look more crafty or less finished.

Nevertheless, when you need your beadwork to hold a shape, what other things can you resort to?

What kinds of experiences do you have with armatures? What kinds of materials have you used, and which to you like to use best?

How do you marry the beadwork with the armature? Camouflage?

— Warren

About Armature

Armature is used to create and preserve shape within a piece. It is a type of “skeleton” or internal structure.

Your goals, as a bead artist and jewelry designer, are to select an appropriate material and size of the armature, so that it does not compete or detract from your finished piece. You do not want your piece to look or feel “crafty.” You want it to look and feel artistic and well-designed. You do not want your piece to feel weak, or somehow insufficient, given the wearer’s and the viewer’s expectations.

You do not want the essence of the armature’s materials in any way to work against the essence of the material(s) your beads are made of. Usually, but not always, this means hiding the armature inside the piece.

In making your selection of armature, you need to understand the design-relationships between those sections of the piece requiring armature, and why they require it.

One reason is to create or preserve a Shape. In Autumn’s End (pictured), Kathleen Lynam wanted to turn the somewhat soft, floppy and flimsy Ndebele tube into a solid, 3-dimensional, consistent tube.

A second reason to use an armature is to Pose. In Autumn’s End, she wanted the Ndebele tube to make a circle around a person’s wrist, and, once there, stay in form and place. Thus, our armature needs some degree of flexibility, but at the same time, it must be able to hold the pose, as well.

A third reason has to do with Action. She was concerned with Action, when a part of her piece had to be animated in some way. This is somewhat important with Autumn’s End, in that our wearer will have to pull open and push closed on the wristlet, to get it on and off, and to position it comfortably on the wrist..

There are many types of materials bead artists and jewelry designers use to make armatures. Sometimes this involves stuffing with cotton or fiber fill. It might involve using tin foil. Othertimes, we might use a toothpick, dowel, straw, tubing, wire, or metal rod. We can also create the armature using glue to create a solid or stiffened structure. We can also create our armature from sculpted clay, like polymer clay or metal clay or plastic wood.

Given the shape and pose requirements of Autumn’s End, her choices came down to plastic aquarium tubing, a thick-gauge wire, or plumber’s solder. The tubing would not have met her “pose” and “action” requirements anywhere near as well as the solder does. Nor would a thick gauge wire.

In this piece, she used the idea of “Armature” in a secondary way. She painted the flowers and leaves with acrylic floor wax. This stiffened the threads — what would be considered the canvas of the piece — so that these threads, too, turned into a type of armature preserving “shape” and “pose”.

We are in the process of turning Autumn’s End into a kit for sale at Land of Odds and LearnToBead.net — not ready yet — , but you can see some images on our website.

http://www.learntobead.net/kits/beadweave/stitch/autumnsend/bw3PC01/autumnsend-about.htm

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SAYING GOOD BYE TO YOUR PIECE

Posted by learntobead on December 26, 2013

SAYING GOODBYE TO YOUR PIECE
(re-posted from earlier this year)

cgswarovskifull

I remember one of the first times I had to say Good-Bye to my piece, and it hit me hard. I had one of my pieces accepted as a Semi-Finalist entry for Swarovski’s Be Naturally Inspired Design Contest 2008.

The week I had to ship my piece to Swarovski — a piece I had worked on over 100 hours to make, that from concept to fruition has been many, many months, and a lot of trial and error. And they were going to keep it. I would not see it again.

I have to tell you, I got a little separation anxiety. Which made me think that this raises a good discussion question.

How do you say Good-Bye to your pieces?

I’ve sold a lot of pieces. Each one is special. I always give a name to each piece. Each piece has its own story. It’s own inspiration. And all of a sudden, its gone. Someone else has it.

So how do you say Good-Bye to your pieces?

Please share your thoughts.

Warren

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New Specials This Week at Land of Odds/Be Dazzled Beads

Posted by learntobead on December 26, 2013

Sales and Promotions at Land of Odds – Jewelry Design CenterLand of Odds/Be Dazzled Beads- What’s
On Sale

Land
of Odds – Be Dazzled Beads
   

Land of Odds
– Be Dazzled Beads

Sales and Promotions

SALE HAS BEGUN

Ends: Tues, 2/4/14

While supplies last / No Rainchecks

Live in Nashville?

Order ONLINE and Checkout and Select “WILL PICK UP AT BE
DAZZLED BEADS”

SAFETY
PINS

75%
off

PIN
BACKS


75% off

Our
Land of Odds…LEARN
TO BEAD
program is based on

The
Design Approach
:

– Focused on teaching how to make smart choices

– Developmentally-based, where you learn skills in an orderly
way, and understand how skills build upon each other

– Easy to follow

BEGIN
WITH OUR

ORIENTATION
CLASS

over 5 1/2 hours

of introductory video tutorials

for the beader and jewelry maker


At LAND OF
ODDS – BE DAZZLED BEADS
,

you may also purchase

Kits and Instructions
at all skill levels



Visit
our LearnToBead Blog


THE JEWELRY DESIGN DISCUSSION GROUP

Please join our new group on facebook at:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/jewelrydesign/


**********************

 

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Stock up on Czech Seedbeads — Magnetic Clasps Closeouts

Posted by learntobead on December 19, 2013

Sales and Promotions at Land of Odds – Jewelry Design CenterLand of Odds/Be Dazzled Beads-
What’s On Sale

Land of Odds – Be Dazzled Beads    

Land of Odds
– Be Dazzled Beads

Sales and Promotions

SALE HAS BEGUN
Ends: Tues, 1/28/14

While supplies last / No Rainchecks

Live in Nashville?
Order ONLINE and Checkout and Select “WILL PICK UP AT BE
DAZZLED BEADS”

CZECH
SEED BEADS

50
% off

MAGNETIC
CLASPS

 75% off

Our
Land of Odds…LEARN
TO BEAD
program is based on

The
Design Approach
:

– Focused on teaching how to make smart choices

– Developmentally-based, where you learn skills in an orderly
way, and understand how skills build upon each other

– Easy to follow

BEGIN
WITH OUR

ORIENTATION
CLASS

over 5 1/2 hours

of introductory video tutorials

for the beader and jewelry maker


At LAND OF
ODDS – BE DAZZLED BEADS
,

you may also purchase

Kits and Instructions
at all skill levels



Visit
our LearnToBead Blog


THE JEWELRY DESIGN DISCUSSION GROUP

Please join our new group on facebook at:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/jewelrydesign/


**********************

 

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Leave a Comment »

OUR 2013 ALL DOLLED UP CONTEST – Two Mermaids – What Do You Think?

Posted by learntobead on December 15, 2013

ALL DOLLED UP: BEADED ART DOLL COMPETITION
Fifth 2013

 

This year, we did not receive many entries. The Judges felt that there were not enough entries which met their criteria to hold a contest.

Two of the entries, however, were awarded Judges Honors with a $200.00 prize.

These two doll artists’ works are presented here.  (http://www.landofodds.com/store/alldolledup2013contest.htm )

It was interesting that both artists – one from California and the other from Texas —  both chose the “mermaid” to illustrate this year’s theme of Transformations.   Both artists, however, created their dolls using different technical methods and artistic goals.

 

QUESTION:
If you were a judge, which one of these entries would you have scored higher?
Visit the webpages and review their images, materials lists, and written stories.

 

CRYSTAL RECTOR
from Lomita, California
“Emergence”

CRYSTAL RECTOR  from Lomita, California “Emergence”

CRYSTAL RECTOR
from Lomita, California
“Emergence”

 

Yvette M. Lowry
from Dickinson, Texas
“Meredith”

Yvette M. Lowry from Dickinson, Texas “Meredith”

Yvette M. Lowry
from Dickinson, Texas
“Meredith”

 

 

Our ALL DOLLED UP Competition is structured , not  as a “beauty contest”, but more of a “design competition.”    The artist is asked, not only to design a doll, but to create a story – fictional, non-fictional or a mix of both – which illustrates the kinds of thinking and choices the artist made while creating the doll, its structure, its colors, and its artistic embellishment.

The judges evaluated all the entries in terms of:
1. INSIGHT: The Bead Artist’s inner awareness and powers of self-expression through sculptural beadwork

2. TECHNIQUE(S):Creativity of the artist in using various beading stitches, as well as creating the doll’s form.

3. VISUAL APPEAL: The overall visual appeal of the doll.

4. QUALITY OF WRITTEN STORY: How well the written short story enhances an appreciation of the Beaded Art Doll.

 

This year’s theme was: Transformations.   The written story had to begin with this sentence:

“As she turns towards me, her hands no longer seem familiar; her face, once recognizable, now unexpected; her aura, a palette of changed colors, I want to share, but can’t all at once. She is transforming, before my eyes, as if I wished it to happen, for whatever reason — fun, mundane or sinister — I’m not sure. But as she moves and evolves, a special insight occurs to me,  so I name her… “

 

 

Posted in beads, beadwork, Contests | Leave a Comment »

Another Land of Odds Deal on Spring Rings and Toggles!

Posted by learntobead on December 12, 2013

Land of Odds/Be Dazzled Beads- What’s
On Sale

Land
of Odds – Be Dazzled Beads
   

Land of Odds
– Be Dazzled Beads

Sales and Promotions

SALE HAS BEGUN
Ends: Tues, 1/21/14

While supplies last / No Rainchecks

Live in Nashville?
Order ONLINE and Checkout and Select “WILL PICK UP AT BE
DAZZLED BEADS”

SPRING RINGS

All styles, metal finishes

50
% off

PEWTER TOGGLE CLASPS

50% off

Our
Land of Odds…LEARN
TO BEAD
program is based on

The
Design Approach
:

– Focused on teaching how to make smart choices

– Developmentally-based, where you learn skills in an orderly
way, and understand how skills build upon each other

– Easy to follow

BEGIN
WITH OUR

ORIENTATION
CLASS

over 5 1/2 hours

of introductory video tutorials

for the beader and jewelry maker


At LAND OF
ODDS – BE DAZZLED BEADS
,

you may also purchase

Kits and Instructions
at all skill levels



Visit
our LearnToBead Blog


THE JEWELRY DESIGN DISCUSSION GROUP

Please join our new group on facebook at:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/jewelrydesign/


**********************

 

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Leave a Comment »

Grand Sale Items at Land of Odds

Posted by learntobead on December 5, 2013

Land of Odds/Be Dazzled Beads- What’s
On Sale

Land
of Odds – Be Dazzled Beads
   

Land of Odds
– Be Dazzled Beads

Sales and Promotions

SALE HAS BEGUN
Ends: Tues, 1/14/14

While supplies last / No Rainchecks

Live in Nashville?
Order ONLINE and Checkout and Select “WILL PICK UP AT BE
DAZZLED BEADS”

Metalized
Plastic Beads

All styles, metal finishes

50
% off

Czech
Glass

HEARTS

50%
off

Our
Land of Odds…LEARN
TO BEAD
program is based on

The
Design Approach
:

– Focused on teaching how to make smart choices

– Developmentally-based, where you learn skills in an orderly
way, and understand how skills build upon each other

– Easy to follow

BEGIN
WITH OUR

ORIENTATION
CLASS

over 5 1/2 hours

of introductory video tutorials

for the beader and jewelry maker


At LAND OF
ODDS – BE DAZZLED BEADS
,

you may also purchase

Kits and Instructions
at all skill levels



Visit
our LearnToBead Blog


THE JEWELRY DESIGN DISCUSSION GROUP

Please join our new group on facebook at:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/jewelrydesign/


**********************

 

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Leave a Comment »

Selling Through Online Craft Marketplaces

Posted by learntobead on December 4, 2013

SETTING UP YOUR BUSINESS
AT CRAFT MARKETPLACES ONLINE

etsy-website

I recently posted an article I had read about selling on Etsy (http://www.today.com/money/etsy-nomics-lets-sellers-stitch-together-living-new-pattern-2D11591368) .    There was a big response, so I thought I’d do a little more research.     I have been selling online with my own websites for almost 20 years now, but have not had much experience with selling through these online marketplaces.

I have found that many people get frustrated with these sites, in that sales can be minimal, or the numbers of people they are competing with seems daunting.  But I have found these same people not doing all the necessary “good business” tasks, such as some intensive and persistent marketing of their wares, and smart photo and text detail for their pieces.

Question:  WHAT KINDS OF EXPERIENCES HAVE YOU HAD, and WHAT KINDS OF TIPS CAN YOU OFFER?

 

 

Here’s some of the things I have found.

First, there are many, many online marketplaces to choose from.   Some let you set up your own website, and others show your merchandise as part of a larger marketplace.  Each has pros and cons.    Perhaps one lesson is:
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

My list of these sites include:

Etsy
Zibbet
Artfire
overstock.com/mainstreet revolution
tophatter (an auction site)
Ebay (an auction site)
storeny
luulla
bigcartel
meylah
madeitmyself
handmadeartists
createinventandsell
thecraftstar
rubylane
dawanda
copious
1000markets
silkfair
ecrafter
supermarkethq
goodsmiths
freecraftfair
folksy
notmassproduced
market.poppytalkhandmade
jewelrywonder
ave21
jewelspan
artflock
bonanza
lilyshop
icraft.ca (Canada)
shophandmade

The PROS for any site:
– low commission on sales
– good traffic
– ease of setting up your shop
– having a lot of control over how your shop looks; how customizable it is
– no monthly fees
– web host does a lot of promotion
– site has a good search function
– site has good statistics, and lets you easily track traffic and what has sold, at what price point, and when, for both of your specific merchandise, as well as for all merchants with similar merchandise

 

The CONS for any site:
– high commissions and/or fees
– when site is too big, may be difficult to get noticed
– host limits how you list and present your items
– host restricts your contact with your customers

 

Other types of questions to ask:

– Does site handle the billing and payments for you?
– What kind of marketing does the site do?
– Is it relatively easy to set up your site and keep it updated?
– Are there are limitations on the numbers of items you might list at one time?
– Are there any limitations on the number or size of photos you can include on your site?
– How and where will your items appear in a search listing on the host’s site?
– What payment methods/options are allowed?
– Does the site restrict items to “Handmade” only, and how is “Handmade” defined?   You do not want to compete with cheap, imported, machine made jewelry.
– How easy is it to contact customer service?  Do they provide a lot of easy-to-follow tutorials for setting up and managing your site?

Different types of fees that might be assessed:
1. Listing fee
2. Sales commissions, usually as a percent of sale
3. Renewal fees (when listings are time limited)
4. Monthly site maintenance fees

 

Some Tips and Advice:

(1) Your items should be different enough from others to set you apart, and get you remembered
(2) If your items are similar to others, you might consider competing on price
(3) Do NOT depend on the host to promote your site; you must actively – that means, almost every day – do things to promote your site.
(4) Don’t just list your items and let them sit there
(5) Excellent photos are a must
(6) Treat your online shop as a business, not a hobby
(7) Categorize and label your jewelry and jewelry lines; picture the words someone might type into a search bar in order to find this jewelry, and use those as key words in your labeling
(8) Let your passion shine

Many, many people you will be competing with do not necessarily have good business sense, particularly when it comes to pricing their jewelry.    People, in general, tend to underprice their pieces.   They go out of business quickly.   But while they’re in business, you are competing with them, and often you find it hard to compete on price.

This is a given.  That means you have to spend more energy on marketing your competitive advantages, in order to justify the prices you need to charge, in order to stay in business.   Some of this will come down to better presentation – more facts and great detailed images about your jewelry, and  more details about the how your jewelry will benefit your customer.   Better presentation equals more trust; more trust should translate into more sales.   Some more competitive advantages: your jewelry is better made; it uses better materials; your line of jewelry is broader; you have better customer care policies; your style is more unique; your jewelry supports as “cause”.

And many, many more people you will be competing with have very good business sense.    There are over 6 million items of jewelry on sale on Etsy at any one time – many by sharp, savvy artists.   To get seen, heard and responded to takes emphasizing your competitive advantages, as well as persistent, broadly targeted marketing.

 

Posted in business of craft | Tagged: | 2 Comments »