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NEW FASHION JEWELRY – Understand “Quality” Issues Of These New Collectibles

Posted by learntobead on March 25, 2014

NEW FASHION JEWELRY

Now at Be Dazzled Beads
781 Thompson Lane, Ste 123 Nashville, TN 37204

At a recent Jewelry Show in Atlanta, Jayden and Warren discovered a rapidly evolving fashion trend towards reproduction vintage looks using new more recently available materials.   These particular new fashion trends were the looks and styles of the pieces everyone there was selling there.     A great selection and variety of these looks is now on display and for sale at Be Dazzled Beads.

necklace2-blog

It is important to understand, however, that, when purchasing fashion jewelry, there is more to consider than how a piece looks.   You need to understand something about the materials used and the overall construction.   Only in this way can you be sure that you are purchasing what we would call “collectible costume jewelry.”

The reproduction vintage looks are obvious — a reference to the stylish pieces of the 1930s, 40s, 50s and 60s, using modern materials and construction technologies.    Great colors.   Strong and soft colors.   Lots of faceting and sparkle.

The use of new materials includes higher end acrylics, new metallic composites, specialized glass and Chinese crystal.

These green components, in the piece shown above, are made out of Chinese crystal, not plastic.     To the naked eye, you might see a similar piece where the components are plastic, looking like but definitely not crystal.   The eye can deceive itself.   Simple test: click bead against a stiff surface or front teeth.   If crystal or glass, you will hear a sharp click; if plastic, you will hear a dull click.

These green components, in the piece shown above, are made out of Chinese crystal, not plastic. To the naked eye, you might see a similar piece where the components are plastic, looking like but definitely not crystal. The eye can deceive itself. Simple test: click bead against a stiff surface or front teeth. If crystal or glass, you will hear a sharp click; if plastic, you will hear a dull click.

 

 
These new fashion pieces should be considered “collectable” costume jewelry. But, again, it is important to understand what you are buying.   There are many lower quality copies – what we’d call “disposable jewelry” — you’ll find at discount stores and online. You want to be sure you are buying the quality we would call “collectible”.   The price will reflect whether the jewelry is “collectible” or “disposable.”

 

So, You Want Your Fashion Jewelry To Be Made With…

 

* Glass, Crystal and/or Advanced Plastics

Typically, you will find a mix of materials within you piece.   Materials you do not want would include enameled or colored ceramics or regular plastic or metalized plastic or plastic pearls.

 

* Advanced Plastics, if any components are plastic

Just like with things like wood or metal, there are many grades of quality among plastics.   The differences between advanced plastics and regular plastics can be as widely divergent as between metals like gold and aluminum.

The higher end plastics, even when up close, look very similar to the gemstones or crystals they are meant to resemble.   Jade plastic looks like real jade.   Plastic opals look like real opal. And so forth.

For high end costume jewelry, the “point-hardness” of these advanced plastics, that is, how easily the material can be scratched, will be much higher, thus less easily scratched, than cheaper plastics.

 

 

* Better metal composites and finishes, with more substance and realistic finishes

In these lines of jewelry, whether higher end or lower end, very little is real 100% metal these days.   The chains are composites.   The settings for the stones are composites.

In the metal-composite chains and settings used in the lower quality jewelry, at close inspection, you will find them to be cheap, flimsy and light-weight.   Moreover, the metallic finish-colors are off the mark and look somewhat fake. For example, the actual color that may be representing gold, when compared to other quality pieces, may not look like gold at all.

There may be rough spots that can get caught on clothing or scratch the skin.   In higher end pieces, manufacturers check their quality, to make sure there are no rough spots.

But always inspect your jewelry before you leave the store.   When purchasing any piece of costume jewelry, you should feel all over the piece to be sure there are no rough spots

 

* Better set stones

Stones are typically glued in.   If the setting does not have much surface area, the glue will not hold for very long.

In some pieces, the designs give the illusion of “prong-set” stones.   In the lower end, the prongs have very sharp points.   In the higher end, the prongs have smooth or balled-up tips.

necklace5

Things To Do To Increase Longevity Of Your New Fashion Jewelry

After purchasing your new pieces of Fashion Jewelry, you will have the option to do two things to make them more durable and lasting:

  1. If the piece has stones which have been glued in, and have open settings on the backs, apply some more glue to the backs of the settings, all along the edges.   Use a glue like E6000 or Beacon 527.   This will keep the stones from ever popping out.     Reason: The glue manufacturers typically use dries hard, with no flexibility.   If the pieces are accidently dropped or hit against something, the shock can make the stone pop away from the hard glue.

 

By reinforcing them with the E6000 or Beacon 527, these bonds dry like rubber and act like a shock absorber. Thus the stones are less likely to pop off.

Necklace with stones set in settings with open backs

Necklace with stones set in settings with open backs

 

Open back on set stones in necklace

Open back on set stones in necklace

 

2.  On all areas which have metal plated finishes and which will be touching the skin, apply two coats of clear nail polish to these surfaces.   This will preserve the plated finishes for a very long time, yet doesn’t affect the shine or sheen of the metal underneath it.

 

 

NOTE: This is very generalized advice.     Every person’s body oils and chemistry have different effects on the metal finishes.   A person may be able to wear a piece of costume jewelry for months and years and it may not disintegrate on them; another person might wear it for a few months, and the metal finishes deteriorate.

 

 

 
necklace3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cleaning

All jewelry has to be maintained and kept clean.   Follow this simple advice for keeping your new jewelry pieces clean and sparkling.

Periodically, give your jewelry a quick bath.   In a bowl, mix a very-little-amount of baby shampoo and cold water.   Immerse the whole piece of jewelry in this bath, just long enough to loosen any dirt.   Take it out.

Under cold water, rinse it off.   Take a paper towel or cloth, and dry the piece off.   NOTE: “Pat Dry” with the towel. Don’t “Rub”.

Then, you might take a hair dryer, setting it on the lowest setting, and keeping it 6-8” away from your piece, and blow dry.   DON’T LET YOUR PIECES GET TOO HOT.   An alternative strategy is to put your piece of jewelry in front of a small fan.

Dry both sides.   Leave your piece out in the open air over night, to be sure there is no moisture trapped in closed crevices.

Always remember that the side laying against the towel or cloth may still be more damp than the side facing up.     So, before storing your piece, check and be sure it is dry.

Store your piece flat in a zip lock plastic bag. Be sure to push the air out of bag before sealing bag. One simple way to do this is to insert a straw into the bag, and seal the top as close to the straw as you can get.   Suck out the air, remove the straw, and finish sealing the zip-lock bag closed.

Then lay your bagged up piece on flat surface. You do not want your piece to be jumbled into a pile.   You do not want to hang your jewelry on a stand.   The weight of the beads will stretch out the stringing material.

Put your pieces in a cool, dry place out of sunlight. Never store two pieces on top of each other without something to separate them.   Don’t pile up jewelry on top of other jewelry.

At a restaurant, if you drip gravy on your necklace, how do you clean it off? If it is something that has caked or dried on it, you may have to soak it in a solution of a very-little-amount of baby shampoo and cold water.   Use a q-tip to clean away the spotted areas.

 

Your Reproduction Vintage Pieces Should Be Around For 30, 40, even 50 years

Your goal is to have your reproduction vintage to be around 30, 40, 50 years from now.   It will keep its value.   These pieces should not be disposable.

Go to your antique stores, ask to see their vintage jewelry from the 1930s, 40s to 60s, and look and see at the availability, quantity and cost of high-end costume jewelry. This will give you an idea of what you’re getting with your investment.

In these older pieces, some were made from Lucite or other high-end plastics of the time.   And other pieces were copies crafted in regular plastic.   Lucite is a glass-like acrylic resin.   It has a resilience, a hardness, and a malleability which made it perfect for costume jewelry.   Regular plastic lacks the clarity and sparkle, yellows with age, and scratches much more easily.

 

 

Your new higher-end fashion jewelry – better made, more attractive, more appealing — will increase in value over the decades instead of ending up in the trash.

 

 

 

 

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Check out the most recent special deals at Land of Odds/Be Dazzled Beads

Posted by learntobead on March 13, 2014

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

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Our
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DIMENSIONALITY: One Principle of Composition

Posted by learntobead on February 25, 2014

DIMENSIONALITY: One Principle of Composition

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Jewelry Design is the application of basic principles of artistic expression. One set of principles involves COMPOSITION.    In an article online – Good Jewelry Design (http://www.landofodds.com/store/goodjewelrydesign.htm ) – I describe 10 Principles of Composition.     Principles of Composition define what types of goals the good jewelry designer should achieve.   Discussion on these principles and their application focus on what elements in our pieces we , as jewelry designers, manipulate in order to achieve a principled, satisfactory outcome.

In this post, I focus on one in particular:   Dimensionality.

QUESTION:
What kinds of things have you manipulated within your piece(s) that helps you achieve a satisfying sense of dimensionality?

Conversely, where do you see failures in attempts to achieve “dimensionality”, and what kinds of wrong-way choices do you think the jewelry designer made, that might have led to this failure?    What better choices could the designer have made?

Share images, if you have them.

gjddimbb1

Dimensionality

Good Dimensionality  refers to the degree to which, whether the piece is flat or 3-dimensional, the placement of objects (and their attributes) is satisfying, and does not compete or conflict with the dimensionality of the piece as a whole.

Sometimes dimensionality is achieved through the positioning of masses of objects or planes of interconnected pieces, such as varying sizes/heights/lengths or layering or cut-aways, or varying positive and negative spaces.

Othertimes, dimensionality is achieved through color/texture optical effects, such as the use of glossy and matte beads in the same piece, or mixing darker/more intense colors with light/less intense colors.

gjddimbb2

How often have you seen something like a flat loomed bracelet and a button clasp, that sits so high on the bracelet, that it detracts from the 2-dimensional reason-for-being of the piece. Would a clasp, and a flatter clasp, at the end of the piece have worked better?

Glossy surfaces move toward the viewer, and matte ones recede.   Can you point to successful examples of this?

Achieving Good Dimensionality is considered, not only a desirable design goal, but a critical and important characteristic of contemporary jewelry.

This doesn’t mean we want to pile up bead up bead and layer upon layer.   It means we want to show how creative we can be to achieve something more satisfying than flat and more satisfying than one-dimensional.

We want to demonstrate more artistic control over line and plane.

gwynian-wine-detail2-medium

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BEAD SPILLS

Posted by learntobead on February 15, 2014

BEAD SPILLS

 QUESTION:
What was your initiation into that phenomenon called “Bead Spill”?

Share with our group your favorite BEAD SPILL story.    I’m sure you have many.

beadspill2

From an article I wrote…

“Yikes!” she screamed, shaking the ground, the store, the parking lot, in fact, the whole wide world, and I was, to everyone’s regret, caught in that earth-shattering scream.   I was carefully balancing twelve trays of loose beads, moving them to their new shelves when, behind my back, I heard that cry for help, that screech of fear, that siren of bead hell.

I instinctively turned.   It wasn’t something I thought out and planned rationally.   It wasn’t something that arose intuitively from my gut.   It was pure animal instinct.  Stimulus-Response.  Lust.  Fear.  Gluttony.  Raw Emotion.   I tried to juggle the twelve trays as they fled my nurturing hands and arms.   And I urgently called to the beads.   Which had been in the trays.   Which were now flying out of my hands.   As if to calm them, I said, “Beads, you won’t fall.”   You won’t get hurt.  You won’t leave the safety and sanctity of these trays.  Good beads.   Good, good beads.

And, for a brief moment, I thought I had saved all these little, little, beautiful, beautiful, very round, very round beads from a fate almost worse than death.   The trays were juggling and for a moment, I believed they had started to restack themselves.   They were home free.  One back on top of another on top of another….

If it weren’t for that scream and that deep primal instinct ripping my fear and anxiety from the depths of my soul, and the fact that it is hard to pivot wearing sneakers on a hard wood floor, juggle twelve trays of ever-more terrified loose glass beads, and respond to a lady in distress, the situation would have come to a pleasant end.

But alas, that was not to be.

With some shame, some guilt, much surprise and yes, a lot of embarrassment, this was to be my grand initiation into the phenomenon commonly known as The Bead Spill.   What a mess!

I know a lot of people have a fantasy where they are bathing in a tub of beads.   It’s sensuous.   Caressing.   You’re at one with the God of the Beads.

This wasn’t like that.   This was thousands of round objects falling and running and spreading every which way.    Along the walls, behind the legs of chairs and tables, under people’s feet.   In with the dust, the dog hairs, and previously spilled beads or beads that had mysteriously escaped their trays.

She should have said, “Shoo Fly!”   Not “Yikes!”.

I’ve never carried twelve trays of loose beads at once again.

Bead spills are not rare occurrences.   In fact, some people spill beads like other people drink water.

There are the people who like to carry big purses in small places.   These people are prone to sudden turns and distractions.  Guaranteed spills!

These people need to understand the interrelationships between space, lack of space and time.   Simple physics.   Bead spills have physics, and I’m sure could easily be considered a science.   Like, if you drop a bead, in what direction does it go?  How far does it go?  How fast does it travel?  Do red beads behave similarly as blue beads?   If someone dropped you from the top of a building, would you end up going in the same direction, and as far?   Probably not.  So what is it about beads that  makes things happen like dropping them off to the right, and finding them off to the left?  Bead spills do not have the same physics as pick-up-sticks.  That is for sure.  They have laws of gravity and mass and energy all of their own.

Then there are the people who are torn between their love of beads and their love for their pets.   It doesn’t matter if it’s a cat, a dog, a parrot or a fish.   Beads spill.  It could be a monkey or a ferret or even a Rogue Elephant.  Beads spill.  Sometimes it’s a dog AND a cat or a parrot AND a ferret.  Beads spill.

People need to understand that animals understand the situation.   Animals do not want to share their love – especially with beads.   Beads are beautiful, but don’t need water or food.   Beads are comforting to touch, but don’t need grooming.   Beads are glorious in their splendor, but will not bite.   It should come, then, as no surprise, that animals, when near any pile of beads, will instinctively have the urge to make them spill in ways you never thought of.    Animals spill beads, but for more selfish reasons than humans.

The strategies of animals are legend, and have been written down in a secret book – Bead Spill Techniques for Dogs and Cats.   You’ve seen these techniques in practice.   Your cat angling for attention, moves toward you to sit in your lap – of course, moves toward you over your tray of beads.   Your dog taking the pose to beg for treats while you’re moving your tray of beads from one end of the table to the other.  Your pet actually eating those particular beads you’re working with right now.   You catch them, but suddenly their tail goes swoof, and you are down on your hands and knees again picking up millions and millions of tiny, very small, eye-straining beads.    These animal-based-skills are very practiced and endless.   Animals do not like playing second fiddle to beads.    And if the pile of beads has been organized to accommodate the needs of a particular project, well, so much the better.    They score more bead spill points.

Picking up spilled beads is a familiar routine.   There’s nothing like dropping 14KT gold delica seed beads onto a gold shag carpet, getting on your hands and knees, and delving into product reclamation.   Picking up bead spills works better when set to jazzercise music, but no music will suffice as well.     Some people get crafty, and stretch a nylon stocking across the intake collection valve of a vacuum cleaner.   Other people, however, are just plain tired of picking up beads.   They let them stay where they fall.  On the floors.  In the couches.  In clothing, in boxes, in food, in pots and pans.

New beaders seem especially concerned and anal-compulsive about spilled beads.   They spot an errant bead, and rush to pick it up and place it in a container somewhere.   Seasoned beaders have learned to live with such minor nuisances as combing beads out of their hair.    They see a bead on the floor, and let it lay.

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BEZELWORKS PENDANT Workshop by Warren Feld, 4/12-13/2014

Posted by learntobead on February 7, 2014

Center for Beadwork &  Jewelry Arts:  Workshops

CBJA

WORKSHOPS

Warren Feld

BEZELWORKS PENDANT

2-Day
Workshop

Sat/Sun, 4/12-13/2014,

10am-5pm, Sat

10am-4pm, Sun

(with a break for lunch)

Held at

Be Dazzled Beads

718 Thompson Lane, Ste 123

Nashville, TN 37204

FEES: $90.00 plus supplies[Optional Kit available for purchase from instructor.Olive Fire Agate, $135.00]

Registration
Deposit: $90.00

The instructional
fee does not cover the cost of supplies
.

You may register
in person at Be Dazzled Beads, or by phone with a credit card (615-292-0610),
or by mail with a check to 718 Thompson Lane, Ste 123, Nashville,
TN 37204

limited to 12 registrants

registration
by

March 24th, 2014

beadschool@
landofodds.com

615-292-0610

 

 

CENTER for BEADWORK & JEWELRY
ARTS
718 Thompson Lane, Ste 123
Nashville, Tennessee
37204
PHONE:  615-292-0610
FAX:
615-292-0610
www.landofodds.com
/beadschool/

beadschool@landofodds.com

Location,
Lodging,

Access by Car, Plane

Center For Beadwork & Jewelry Arts - beadworking and jewelry-making classes
Be Dazzled Beads and
The Center for Beadwork & Jewelry Artsin Nashvile, Tennessee

welcomes

Warren Feld

April 12-13, 2014

10am-5pm Sat (with break for lunch)

10am-4pm Sun (with break for lunch)

BezelWorks Pendant


Intermediate/Advanced Level

2 Days

Saturday – Sunday, April 12-13, 2014, 10am-5pm
(Sat), 10am-4pm (Sun)

(with a break for lunch)

FEES: $90.00 plus supplies

[Optional Kit available for puchase from instructor.

Olive
Fire Agate, $135.00
]

Registration
Deposit: $90.00

Registration by March
24th, 2014

BezelWorks Pendant


Guest Instructor:  Warren Feld

Intermediate/Advanced Level

Wear that mystical, bead-bezeled stone close to your heart!  Use tubular
peyote, circular peyote, and spirtal tube Ndebele stitches while
exploring design ideas about fringe, edge, bail, surface embellishment and strap.

 


The BezelWorks Pendant has a Center Piece, around which we create a
bezel or frame, then do some edge and surface embellishment. Attached
to this Center Piece is a bead woven butterfly bail. This piece
hangs from a bead woven strap. For the bead artist working from
an Art perspective, the frame, embellishment, bail, and strap should
be seen as supplemental to the center piece. But if working from
a Design Perspective, all these components should be seen more wholistically.

So, not only will we be creating a beautiful piece in this workshop.
We will also be discussing the implications for the choices we make
about each element or component for creating a successful and satisfying
piece. This includes our choices about managing the transition from
one element to the next.

The techniques we will be applying in this piece include:

– tubular peyote, open back bezel
– circular peyote
– fringe
– tubular spiral ndebele

Art or Design?

If jewelry is “art”, is the entire piece the art, or only
the center piece, or central focal part the art? Classical art theory
holds that the fringe, strap, edging, bail, and other similar parts
should supplement or support the center piece or focal center. This
theory holds that these jewelry structures are not art. They should
function like a frame to a painting, or a pedestal to a sculpture.

It is, however, often difficult to separate the jewelry’s anatomy like this, with
one part important and the other parts supplemental. This BezelWorks
Pendant project is, in part, designed to foster ideas, discussion
and debate about the roles of fringe, edge, strap, bail and surface
embellishment. Each of these is critical to the finished piece.

For each of these anatomical parts or extensions to our piece of jewelry, we
need to understand it in terms of:

– What it is, its purpose, its role

– What value it has to the piece

– How it makes the piece more or less satisfying

– What principles should regulate it

– Whether it is part of the art or not



Center Piece

The central project: A BezelWorks Pendant, with open-back peyote bezel. How
do we go about designing an aesthetically pleasing, well-functioning,
center piece? What functions does the center piece serve? How do
we make choices about size, design, proportions, placement?

Edge, Frame, Boundary, Line 

The Center Piece has a bezel, creating an interior edge encircling our stone. In
addition, the we weave a frame around the entire Center Piece, creating
an additional key edging component.

Edging is used to give a finished look to the piece. It might be used to hide threads.
It might be used to hide any irregularities in how beads line up
or are juxtaposed. An edging strategy is especially critical, however,
for creating, preserving, blurring, or otherwise affecting the boundary
line, line curvature, and/or silhouette of the center piece or the
piece of jewelry as a whole.

What role does the “border” of a piece play? Does it mark a beginning/ending?
How does it help the viewer appreciate the emotional content of the piece?

What kinds of positioning issues are associated with the placement on an edge,
boundary, border or line?


Fringe and Surface Embellishment

We weave Fringe Embellishment off our Frame. So what exactly is fringe, and what
can fringe be? How does the fringe make the piece more or less satisfying?
There are numerous possibilities.

 In good jewelry design, the Fringe and/or other Surface Embellishment would play
either a supporting, or a co-equal role, with the center piece.
It would not overwhelm or be overdone. It would seem as if the fringe
were organic part of the piece. It would not seem like an afterthought.
If it’s primary purpose is to hide flaws, no one should notice.
Too often, designers overdo the fringe.

Straps

The Center Piece hangs from a thin, twisted Ndebele tube Strap. What are the visual
and functional purposes of the strap? What should the strap look
like? How should the strap be connected to the piece? Where should
the strap be connected to the piece? To what extent is or should
the strap be as an integral part of the piece of jewelry as art?
How does the strap define a silhouette? How does the strap make
the piece more or less satisfying?

Bails

In our piece, a Bail is connected directly to the Center Piece, and the strap
moves through it. A bail changes the visual and artistic relationship
between the strap and the center piece. How might this be helpful,
and how not? The bail poses similar design challenges as the strap
— size, proportion, placement and attachment. However, it has to
succeed at one additional task — it has to control the visual,
aethestic and functional transitioning between the center piece
and the strap.

The Canvas

We have two things which serve as “Canvas”. The most obvious is the
stringing material. In this project, we use beading thread for some
parts, and a cable thread for others. The other part which serves
as “Canvas” are the woven beads which for the basis of
our Frame, and off of which we add Fringe.

The “canvas” in a piece of jewelry may be the stringing material, and how it
is worked off of. It might be another piece of beadwork, such as
a beaded base, off of which some center piece is developed. It might
be a core line of beads. It might be a piece of fabric or other
material. How does the canvas influence the interpretation of jewelry
as art? How should the canvas interact with the main piece and its
components? To what extent should it become part of the artwork
itself; and to what extent, not? Classic Art theory suggests that
the canvas should NOT be a part of the artwork at all.

What Techniques Students Need To Know Before The Workshop

The skill level required: Intermediate/Advanced. The student must be
comfortable with tubular peyote and the ndebele stitch.

Additional workshop information found here.

About Warren Feld

www.warrenfeldjewelry.com

Artist’s Statement: 

WARREN FELD
Jewelry Designer

Director, Center for Beadwork & Jewelry Arts and www.LearnToBead.net

For Warren Feld, Jewelry Designer, beading and jewelry making endeavors have been wonderful
adventures. These adventures, over the past 25 years, have taken Warren from the basics of bead stringing and bead weaving, to wire working and silver smithing, and onward to more complex jewelry
designs which build on the strengths of a full range of technical skills and experiences.

He, along with his partner Jayden Alfre Jones, opened a small bead shop in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, about 20 years ago, and called it Land of Odds. Over time, Land of Odds evolved from a bricks and mortar store into a successful internet business —www.landofodds.com
. In the late 1990s, James and Warren opened up another bricks and
mortar bead store — Be Dazzled Beads — in a trendy neighborhood of Nashville called
Berry Hill. Together both businesses supply beaders and jewelry artists with all the supplies and parts they need to make beautiful pieces of wearable art.

In 2000, Warren founded The Center For Beadwork & Jewelry Arts (CBJA) — www.landofodds.com/beadschool. CBJA is an educational program, associated with Be Dazzled Beads in Nashville, for beaders and jewelry makers. The program approaches education from a Design Perspective. There is a strong focus here on skills development. There are requirements for sequencing the
student’s classes; that is, taking classes in a developmental order. There is a major emphasis on teaching how to make better choices when selecting beads, other parts and stringing materials, and how
to bring these altogether into a beautiful, yet functional piece of jewelry.

Location,
Lodging,

 

 

//
//

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COLORS: BLURRED TRANSITIONS or SHARP TRANSITIONS

Posted by learntobead on January 29, 2014

COLORS:  BLURRED TRANSITIONS  or SHARP TRANSITIONS

 

QUESTION:
Do you prefer the transitions between colors in your composition to be blurred, or to have sharp delineations?

 

 

 

The jewelry designer must be strategic in the placement of color within the piece.     The designer achieves balance and harmony, partly through the placement of colors.    The designer determines how colors are distributed within the piece, and what movement and rhythm and effect result.    And the designer determines what proportions of each color are used, where in the piece, and how.

 

Those of us who teach color theory try to come up with scientific and objective rules for choosing and using colors.    However, a lot of those choices, in reality, can be very subjective.

 

One subjective choice has to do with the transition from one color to the next.   Some people, like myself, prefer a blurring of colors at their boundaries.   Think: Impressionism.

flagblurry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other people prefer a sharp, clear, obvious boundary of colors at their boundaries.   Think: Realism.

flagsharp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which do you prefer – Blurred or Sharp?

 

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ADDICTED TO BEADS

Posted by learntobead on January 23, 2014

ADDICTED TO BEADS

CARD1b

 

 

 

 

 

QUESTION:
At what point did you realize you were addicted to beads?

 

People are always saying how addicting beads are.    They expressed surprise that the pull of beads was so strong.    They couldn’t stop buying and accumulating beads.    They couldn’t go anywhere without stopping at the local bead store for a bead fix.    They found themselves intentionally fooling or deceiving themselves about how many beads they actually had, or how much money they had spent on them.

 

Yes, beads are very addicting.   Even though your drawers are full, you never have enough.

 

We asked our students, customers and colleagues to complete this sentence:

 

I never knew how addicting this was until….

 

…My car automatically turned into the parking lot in front of the bead store.

 

…I was laying in bed looking at my ceiling tiles and realized they were done in a “Peyote” stitch pattern!

 

…I made my beaded fish in progress into a screen-saver.  It is all about the process, when will I finish?  who cares… I have this beautiful thing to handle and see as I work.  Such a pleasure! 

 

… I began hiding a stash of money to buy beads:   “It’s not like I’m sleeping around….I’m just buying beads.”

 

… I went shopping for clothes, but came back with only one bag – a bag of mixed beads.

 

…. I used 3 checks to pay for my order – one from a joint account with my husband, a second from an account in my name only, and a 3rd from my son’s account – luckily I had his checkbook in my purse.   So now, my husband will think that I’m only spending a little bit, I can fool myself, and my son doesn’t care one way or the other.

 

… I  converted my dining room to a bead room, and made my family eat in the den on TV trays.

 

… I found that despite my long and mostly constant love of fabric – I am after all a lifetime seamstress, having been comforted by the smell and color of fabric stores and the chush, chush, chushing of my mom’s Kenmore machine since first memories – could not resist the magnetic pull into the unknown.  There, standing at the front door of my local craft store with nothing on my mind or agenda but 2 yards of multi-colored backing fabric for a client’s project, I saw the front of my wobbly plastic basket steering to the Northwest (Fabric is definitely to the Southwest) with such abandon that the lovely glass shelves in the center front of the store were in danger!

 

…I turned to beads for solace and a quiet focus. I have been going through a very hard time trying to keep a very ailing relationship together and when I could have been stressed out and worrying, I spent the time quietly beading.  When I just wanted to go to bed and stay there for days, I was able to sit in my living room with my son and do bead work.  To him, I was being with him and calm; to me, I was hiding in my beadwork and being near him.  Beads have been my refuge.  I have even read where hand needle work is a stress reliever, I am a living testament to that!

 

…I saw seed beads in what I scooped out of my cat box!  I took my bead work and worked in the car on vacation. Every time I vacuum the sound of beads is heard. It seems every purse I clean out has some beads in it. I find beads on the back porch, when I sweep. It is a really tough decision, when I come to the off ramp which leads to the bead store and I really need to get home! I have more beads than projects for them!

 

…I gave up a Shoe Addiction for this…it better be worth it!

 

bdlogo1

 

 

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WHEN INSTRUCTIONS ARE BAD…

Posted by learntobead on January 4, 2014

WHEN INSTRUCTIONS ARE BAD…

I again find myself writing a set of instructions for a piece to appear in a bead magazine later this year.   It can be such a frustrating process for ME – the writer.    And that’s because I don’t want it to be a frustrating process for anyone else.   This is not easy to do.

Because this is for a magazine, I have to considerably stream-line my instructions and diagrams.    Often that means assuming the reader has some experience and understanding with certain techniques or certain materials.   Sometimes this means leaving out some things which are thought to be “obvious”.   And it means leaving out a lot of the “Why.”   With this particular project, I don’t have space to explain why I chose FireLine rather than regular beading thread, though this was a critical choice to the success of the piece.   I don’t have space to explain why I use peanut beads the way I do, though this too is critical for success.    You could not substitute another bead for the peanut beads because this particular shape plays an important structural role in the piece.   But no one reading the instructions will know this.   There is no room allowed for explaining why I changed the right angle weave thread-path from the traditional approach.    And I don’t have any space to detail all the inspirational factors and color theory choices which influenced my design.    If someone knew these, they probably could do more than merely re-make my piece.   They could make my piece their own.

Diagrams are often critical for understanding how to proceed.    Hopefully not in this case, but with other magazine articles, the editors have taken five or more separate diagrams and combined them into one.     Try following the thread paths and you get vertigo.     You get a searing headache.   You get Jackson Pollock’s version of bead weaving on a page.

 

It is difficult enough to write instructions without them getting edited down to 2 or 3 magazine pages.    Some pointers I’ve learned for writing, at least, better instructions:

1)      People learn in different ways.  Some can read the text.  Some need to look at a series of progressive images.   Others are great at following diagrams.   You need to be good at all three.

2)      Include a picture of the finished piece.

3)      Know how to begin the process.   Include more details, images and diagrams related to beginning the process.

4)      Write the steps logically and in order.

5)      Keep each Step “short and simple”, and manageable.

6)      Do not over-assume about your reader’s ability.

7)      More problems occur for the reader when moving from one step to another, than accomplishing the particular step itself.

8)      Provide encouragement along the way.

9)      Show milestones and ways for people to track their progress.

10)   Anticipate problems that might occur, or where your reader might get lost.

11)   Pretest your instructions.

12)   Clearly list all materials and tools needed.   If some materials might be difficult or too pricey for someone to acquire, list substitutes.

13)   If there are more than 7-10 steps to do, then categorize and group the steps into sets that are no longer than 7-10 steps.

14)   Provide informational warnings so that people will be able to figure out if they have done something incorrectly or have started down the wrong track.

 

 

Instructions are often some of the worst-written documents you can find.   Like me, you have probably had many infuriating experiences with badly written instructions.

The piece pictured was supposed to be a straight line of beadwork, to be connected into a consistently-sized tube.    Our local bead group was making this piece, and 10 of 11 of us did it wrong.    All our tubes started to look snake-like and crooked.       These instructions jumped from Step 1 to Step 4, back to Step 2, then over to Step 9.    They were full of contingencies – do Step 1 if such and such is happening, but Step 5 if something else is happening.    Almost each step had its own set of footnotes.    There were 25 Steps and only 2 diagrams summarizing all the steps, each illustrating about 15 separate thread paths.

 

 

bad-instructions-example

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PLEASE RESPOND AND POST:
A description of a bad experience you have had with a set of instructions.   If you can, identify where the writer went wrong.   Speculate what you think the writer could have done to improve your experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 »