Learn To Bead

At Land of Odds / Be Dazzled Beads – Beads, Jewelry Findings, and More

Posts Tagged ‘jewelry making’

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

 

 

Advertisements

Posted in beads | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-PROMOTION

Posted by learntobead on August 21, 2013

THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-PROMOTION

wf-businesscard

If you are a jewelry designer who has ambitions to have your work publicized in books or magazines, or to be accepted into a juried show or exhibit, or to sell your things in a store or gallery, you need to be able to promote your work.     Often, I have found, creative-types can be shy when it comes to self-promotion and marketing.

What insights, from your own experiences, can you offer your fellow jewelry designers about self-promotion?

What kinds of things help you to overcome any fears about marketing your work?

How do you handle criticism and other rejection like getting the dreaded “No”?

From an article I wrote….

Jewelry designers often find a self-satisfaction in working intensely on a project, often in isolation or solitude.   But when it comes to tooting their own horns – this is not as easy or satisfying for them.   There is a discomfort here.     You might want to show your pieces to others, perhaps submitting them for review or a juried competition, or perhaps wanting a store or gallery to accept your pieces for sale.

Then humility kicks in.   Or perhaps a lack of confidence in yourself.   Or a fear of criticism.    Or a rejection.    Hearing: No, we don’t want your pieces.

We don’t want to appear desperate for a sale, or too eager for acceptance.

But, if you don’t believe in yourself and your products, no one will.      Your fantasy of striking out on your own will never materialize, if you don’t find it within yourself to do some self-promotion.

And the first step is understanding and recognizing that to promote yourself means promoting your value.

Your jewelry has VALUE to them, why….?     If something has value to someone, then they typically want to know about it.   Your jewelry has value to them because it solves a problem for them.   It might make them happier, more beautiful, more enriched, more satisfied, more powerful, more socially accepted, more understanding of construction or technique or art and aesthetics.    It might be better than other jewelry they see or wear or think about buying.

For a store or gallery, your jewelry might be more saleable, more attractive as displayed, better constructed, more artistic, more stylish or fashionable, a better fit with their customer base, with good price points.

You promote the value of your jewelry to your audience.   You do not have to brag.   You do not have to be shameless.   You do not have to do or say anything embarrassing.    Just speak the truth about value.   Share examples of your work and what you have done, not your ego.

And that brings up the second point – speakingPeople who are more comfortable speaking about themselves and their products tend to be more successful in their careers.

Products don’t sell themselves.   People need to be nudged.

This “speaking-about-themselves and their products” is a basic communication process.   This communication process is a process of sharing information.    You want to educate the right people, in the right way at the right time.    You want to speak about who you are, and what you make.   The values your jewelry has to offer them.    And how you would like to develop your relationship – whether designer/client or designer/retailer or designer/jury – so that you may both benefit.

Fundamentally self-promotion is about communication.   Communicators frame the narrative.   Communicators start the conversation.   They begin on favorable terms.    They would not say:  Would you like to see my jewelry?    Instead, they would say:  I have jewelry you are going to love.

And this brings up the third point – be relevant.

Know your audience, what their needs are, what their problems are that need solving.    You may have created the original piece to satisfying some personal yearning and desire.  But if you want someone to buy the piece, wear the piece or sell the piece, you need to anticipate why.   Why would they want to buy, wear, review or sell your piece of jewelry?

Do not assume they will figure all this out on their own.   You will need to help them along in this process.  You will need to communicate about the value your jewelry will have for them.   You will need to do some self-promotion.

The last point – inspire people to spread your message.

Your best marketing and promotion will be what is called “word-of-mouth”.   So you want to create supporters and fans and collaborators and colleagues.     And you want them to be inspired enough about you, your creativity and your jewelry, so that they tell others about you.     You inspire your current network of family and friends.   You might make a presentation or teach a class.  You might share images of your work on social media like FaceBook or Instagram or Twitter or Pinterest.     You want to regularly connect with people, so that you and your work are frequently in their thoughts.

There are many self-promotion strategies that you can do.   You don’t need to do everything at once.  You might try one or two ideas first, and do those, then pick a third, and so on.

Some Self-Promotion Strategies That Have Worked Well For Others

  1. Wear your jewelry all the time, and don’t be shy about saying you made it!
  2. Have attractive business cards  made, perhaps a brochure
  3. Have an active presence on social media, particularly FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+; participate in discussions; get people to click on those LIKE buttons (or similar thumbs-up registers) next to your images and your discussions
  4. Have a website, either as a “billboard”, or as a full-fledged e-commerce site
  5. Get your website listed in as many online directories and search engines as you can
  6. Generate a emailing list and use it regularly, such as sending out a newsletter; get into the habit of asking people if you can add them to your mailing list
  7. Collect testimonials about your work, and post them publicly
  8. Always speak and act passionately when discussing or showing your work
  9. Organize your own discussion groups on FaceBook and Google+, or begin a blog  (WORDPRESS is a good place to start a blog)
  10. Post video tutorials or videos showing you making things on YouTube
  11. Submit images of your pieces to bead, craft and jewelry magazines
  12. Teach courses, either locally, or as a connection with one of the many websites promoting teachers online, such as Betterfly.com or CraftArtEdu.com
  13. List yourself with websites that list custom jewelry makers for hire, such as Custommade.com
  14. If your jewelry has done well for a store, convince them to carry more of it and let it take up more display space
  15. Doing the occasional craft show, bazaar or flea market is also a good form of advertising and getting your message out to a large number of people you probably would never have met otherwise
  16. Create a good, rememberable image to use as your avatar, on such websites as FaceBook
  17. Follow up with customers and contacts, such as after a purchase, or after someone accepting to include you piece in a magazine, or sell their pieces in a shop.   Thank them.   Reinforce your personal brand with a short comment about the value of your pieces for them.
  18. Have a clear personal style that you can point to in your jewelry, and that you can speak about.
  19. Have a clear idea of what is called your “competitive advantage”.   What are those 5-10 things about you and your work that sets you apart from, and perhaps makes you better than, the competition.
  20. Search for companies or people that may want to see or buy your work.   Use directories on Yahoo and Google.   Use LinkedIn.com.    Search Twitter looking for people who are saying they need custom jewelry work done.
  21. Network with other jewelry designers, both in your local area, as well as online.   Ask for feedback on the self-promotional activities you are doing.  Have any of these worked well for them?   Are they doing other things you haven’t thought of?
  22. Get out of your studio and meet people in the flesh.
  23. Attend trade shows, networking events and charity events, or other types of places where your clients might also attend.
  24. Offer something – one time only — for free.    A free class, a free repair, a free pair of earrings.
  25. Publish or self-publish a book or book-on-CD, and promote that

Posted in business of craft | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT CHOOSING CLASPS?

Posted by learntobead on May 28, 2013

HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT CHOOSING CLASPS?

clasp7strand

The Jewelry Designer makes many choices when creating a piece of jewelry. Lots of things to manage and accomplish.

Probably the two most important choices, right up front, in creating a wearable art-piece that will be around for future generations are your:
(1) Stringing Material, and
(2) Clasp

 

When you work with so many customers in a store, and so many students in classes, you begin to see that people are not necessarily that great in selecting clasps. Many are in a clasps-rut — they use the same clasp over and over again. Others pick out clasps they find appealing, whether or not they would visually or functionally work with the piece they have made. Few people anticipate how they are going to attach the clasp to their beadwork, often resulting in an overly long, awkwardly connected clasp assembly. So, how to you go about choosing clasps?

 

From an article I had written…

 

Clasps always seem like they’ve been someone’s last thought. They should be the first thought. But many people get so excited creating their beadwork, that they forget about the clasp – until the last moment. You can tell when the jewelry maker hasn’t put much thought into their choice of clasp in many ways. Often, the clasp doesn’t look like it was meant to go with the bead work or general design. It might be out of proportion. It might be a different texture or sensibility. Its function – how you open and close it, while wearing your jewelry — might seem odd, perhaps unnatural. And not only does the choice of clasp seem as an after-thought, but how to attach to the bead work to that clasp seems un-thought out, as well.

So it’s not surprising, that when we were repairing jewelry on a regular basis, about 80% of the pieces to be fixed had broken at the clasp.

It is best to, in part, build your design around your clasp. If your piece has a centerpiece or focal point, then how does this link up to or coordinate with the clasp. At the least, when visualizing your beadwork, include an image of the clasp and how it is attached at both ends. The world is full of clasps. Not every clasp is a jeweler’s best friend. But it depends.

The clasp needs to visually fit with the beadwork. It needs to function as the artist intended. It needs to function in a way the wearer can relate to, use and handle. It needs to be appropriate for the piece and the context in which it is too be worn. It should not compete with the beadwork. It should complement it. Ideally, at least from a design perspective, your clasp should look and feel as if it were an integral part of the entire piece.

In a Gallery setting, if you are selling your jewelry there, you usually want a very functional, but not overwhelming, clasp. You are selling your beadwork, and you don’t want your clasp to compete with this.

In a Department Store, setting, however, often the clasp sells the piece. In this setting, choosing a clasp requires a different kind of logic, thinking and anticipation. Some clasp-types are “expected” to be a part of the piece – even if the particular choice of type would not be the best choice in the world.

The former owner of a local Tennessee pearl company was very frustrated with clasps. She sold a lot of finished pearl jewelry at very high prices, and had been using 14KT gold pearl and safety clasps. Her customers sent a lot of their pearl necklaces and bracelets back for repairs, because their clasps broke. And this company felt, because the prices of these pieces were very high, that they were obligated to replace the clasps and re-string these pearl-knotted pieces at no additional charge. 14KT clasps – particularly the pearl, safety and filigree box clasps — do not hold up well, because gold is a very soft metal.

Replacing clasps on a pearl-knotted piece is quite some job. You have to cut up the piece to free up each bead, and then you begin the knotting and finishing off processes again. It turns out, the 14KT clasps were not the only expensive part of the bracelets – making the knots between each pearl was the time-consuming and costly part. She desperately wanted to reduce the number of repairs. Her first idea was to replace the pearl and safety clasps with other styles which were sturdier. However, these pieces didn’t sell. People wanted the pearl and filigree clasps. The designs of these clasps were so traditional and so locked into their expectations for what pearl-knotted jewelry should look like, that they would not compromise.

Her second effort, she tried replacing the 14KT pearl and filigree clasps with gold-filled ones which were stronger, but this made her customers very angry – they wanted 14KT gold.

So, her final strategy, she returned to using 14KT gold, and doubled her prices. She built in the cost of one repair into the prices she charged. And only then could she present her happy face to her customers, and her somewhat-happy face to herself when she was in private.

 

 

Posted in bead weaving, jewelry making | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

HOW DO YOU PLAY WITH SHAPES?

Posted by learntobead on May 14, 2013

SHAPES — HOW DO YOU PLAY WITH SHAPES?

bw3nb01-amethystsage-show-2-strips-opening-up

How has “shape” entered into your design thinking, your design work, and your design frameworks?

Over the past few months, I’ve been intrigued with all the new shapes of seed beads coming out on the market. I’ve been trying, really struggling, with ideas for using them in compositions — pieces that have a lot of dimensionality to them, great interest, some levels of complexity. And I’ve been trying to mix the shapes within the same composition, things like long magatamas, superduos, mini fringe drops, peanuts, tila beads. … And of course, it’s always fun to think about ways to bead-weave beads into larger shapes.

 

gwynian-wine-detail2-medium

SHAPE

The shape of the bead and the orientation of its hole or holes is critical to the success of a piece. These are the “building blocks”. Connecting the blocks affects what the piece looks like, how light and shadow impact the aesthetic, how it moves, how it drapes and feels, and how it holds up in its entirety as a composition.

Around 2010, the various bead companies in Japan and The Czech Republic began introducing many new shapes of seed beads. I began experimenting with how to push these new shapes to their limits.

Then there are the shapes created by assembling beads into ever greater shapes.

Shape differs from the use of “line” or the use of “point”. Shapes serve to provide positioning, direction and orientation to the pieces, often better than lines and points.

Shapes are often the basis of many strategies for adding more dimensionality to your pieces. And you can embellish these shapes with other beads, or overlap shapes, to achieve even greater dimensional effects. You can combine different kinds of shapes.

The Designer must ask these kinds of questions, when using shapes:
How do we position each bead?
How do we link them?
How do we stack them or layer them?
When visual impact does each have, given which side or “face” is seen?
How do we use shape to create appealing textures and patterns?
How do we create “forms” and “themes” with them.

Playing with shapes can be both an encumbrance, as well as an opportunity for the designer.

How has the playing with shapes affected your work?

Posted in jewelry making | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Was Freedom Enough?

Posted by learntobead on November 14, 2011

Excerpt from column 
HOW TO BEAD A ROGUE ELEPHANT

WAS FREEDOM ENOUGH? 

I emancipated myself from my upwardly mobile position, after 18 years of progressively more responsible positions, having attained an annual salary the income taxes from which supported one whole government worker.

And what did that do for me?   Emancipation.  Over the next 20 plus years of starting all over again.  At the bottom.  Learning another trade.  Having no accumulated reputation or power or wherewithal to get ahead.  I had freed myself to make my own choices.  I  had painted myself into a picture of my own dreams.   To be an artist.  To make jewelry.  To play with beads.  And to make a living at it.

But what did I achieve, except for the very freedom itself to be free to make my own choices?  …

 Continue reading….

Posted in jewelry design, jewelry making | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The DESIGN PERSPECTIVE

Posted by learntobead on November 3, 2011

The DESIGN Perspective
On Beading and Jewelry Making

The DESIGN PERSPECTIVE is very focused on teaching beaders and jewelry makers how to make choices. Choices about what materials to include, and not to include. Choices about strategies and techniques of construction. Choices about mechanics. Choices about aesthetics. Choices about how best to evoke emotions.

These choices must also reflect an understanding of the bead and its related components, and how all these pieces, in conjunction with stringing materials, assert their needs. Their needs for color, light and shadow. Their needs for durability, flexibility, drape, movement and wearability. Their needs for social and psychological and cultural and contextual appropriateness, satisfaction, beauty, fashion, style, power and influence.

This DESIGN PERSPECTIVE contrasts with the more predominant Craft Approach, where the beader or jewelry maker merely follows a set of steps and ends up with something. Here, in this step-by-step approach, all the choices have been made for them.

And this DESIGN PERSPECTIVE also contrasts with another widespread approach – the Art Tradition – which focuses on achieving ideals of beauty, whether the jewelry is worn or not. Here the beader or jewelry maker learns to apply art theories learned by painters and sculptors, and assumed to apply equally to beads and jewelry, as well.

The Craft Approach and the Art Tradition ignore too much of the functional essence of jewelry. Because of this, they often steer the beader and jewelry maker in the wrong directions. Making the wrong choices. Exercising the wrong judgments. Applying the wrong tradeoffs between aesthetics and functionality.

The focus of the DESIGN PERSPECTIVE is strategic thinking. At the core of this thinking are a series of design principles and their applications. These principles provide the beader and jewelry maker with some clarity in a muddled world.

The belief here is that, since there are so many different kinds of information to be learned and applied, it is impossible to clearly integrate this information all at once. When learned haphazardly or randomly, it becomes too difficult or confusing to bring to bear all these kinds of things the beader or jewelry maker needs to do when designing and constructing a piece of jewelry. Thus, the beader and jewelry maker best learn all this related yet disparate information in a developmental order, based on some coherent grammer or set of rules of design. This is the DESIGN PERSPECTIVE.

So, we begin with a Core set of skills and concepts, and how these are interrelated and applied. Then we move on to a Second Set of skills and concepts, their interrelationships and applications, and identifying how they are related to the Core. And onward again to a Third Set of skills and concepts, their interrelationships and applications and relationship to the Second Set and the Core, and so forth.

In the DESIGN PERSPECTIVE, “Jewelry” is understood as Art, but is only Art as it is worn. It is not considered Art when sitting on a mannequin or easel. Because of this, the principles learned through Craft or Art are important, but not sufficient for learning good jewelry design and fashioning good jewelry.

Learning good jewelry design creates its own challenges. All jewelry functions in a 3-dimensional space, particularly sensitive to position, volume and scale. Jewelry must stand on its own as an object of art. But it must also exist as an object of art which interacts with people (and a person’s body), movement, personality, and quirks of the wearer, and of the viewer, as well as the environment and context. Jewelry serves many purposes, some aesthetic, some functional, some social and cultural, some psychological.

The focus of the DESIGN PERSPECTIVE is on the parts. How do you choose them? How should they be used, and not be used? How do you assemble them and combine them in such a way that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts? How do you create and build in support systems within your jewelry to enable that greater movement, more flexibility, better draping, longer durability? How do you best use all these parts, making them resonate and evoking that emotional response from your audience to your style, vision and creative hand that you so desire?

The beader and jewelry maker is seen as a multi-functional professional, similar to an architect who builds houses and an engineer who builds bridges. In all these cases, the professional must bring a lot of very different kinds of skills and abilities to bear, when constructing, whether house or bridge or jewelry. The professional has to be able to manage artistic design, functionality, and the interaction of the object with the person and that person’s environment.

Read: ABOUT GOOD JEWELRY DESIGN: Principles of Composition

Enter: The Ugly Necklace Contest – A Jewelry Design Competition With A Twist!

Posted in jewelry design | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Ceramics and Clay All Grown Up As Jewelry Medium

Posted by learntobead on July 28, 2011

Ceramics and Clay All Grown Up As Jewelry Medium

There have been some prominent exhibits and collections around the country highlighting the work of ceramics artists in jewelry.   Some of it is high-fired clay, some raku, some polymer clay and some metal clay.      It’s always very exciting to see how artists can achieve good jewelry design goals with new materials or new applications of materials.

Wearable Ceramics

One of the most prominent exhibits was called Wearable-Ceramics, at  Pewabic Pottery, in Detroit, Michigan.

From their promotional materials:

Wearable Ceramics: Jewelry from International Artists is a collaboration between Linda Ross Contemporary: Art + Projects and Tara Robinson, Curator of Ceramics, Pewabic Pottery. It brings together some of the finest established and emerging artists who are staking out new territories of design, transforming clay into jewelry often combined with found objects and other non-traditional materials. The show features a collection of intriguing and innovative brooches, necklaces, earrings and rings which demonstrate the bridge between ceramics and functional objects for the body; form and material. The tactile nature of ceramics creates a particularly visual language when translated into functional objects to wear – clay is fragile, yet direct contact with the body provides a personal resting place that is warm, protective and very intimate.

Sixteen established and emerging artists representing six countries are participating in the exhibition. The new generation of Dutch designers will be well represented in the show. True to their country’s reputation for producing outstanding craftsmen, they bring a unique international overview of avant-garde jewelry design to the mix. Likewise, artists from the U.S., Spain, Taiwan, Germany and Australia are all masters at technique and highly innovative makers who are staking out new territories of experimentation.

Some works of artists featured:

Rian de Jong. eft to right: Porcelain Necklace: gold luster, copper, tombac | Brooch: bone china, copper, garnets | Brooch: bone china, copper | Brooch: bone china, copper

Iris Eichenberg. Brooch: porcelain, coin and bone

Maria Hees. Necklace: foam, porcelain, rubber

Peter Hoogeboom. “Shaoxing Peony”, Brooch: porcelain, silver, lacquer, nylon, steel

Jet Mous. Necklace: porcelain w/luster and patina

Pauline Wietz. Limonges Eggs | Materials: Porcelain, ceramic transfers | photo credit: Ron Zijlstra

Shu-lin Wu. “Mokume Olive”, Necklace: carved porcelain, steel wire and silver

Shu-lin Wu. Mokume Game series. By hollowing out motifs in the colored porcelain, I achieved a layered polychromatic effect.

Shu-lin Wu. Earrings

Gaby Wandscher. Necklace: porcelain, pearls

David Eliot. Necklace: Vitreous porcelain beads, metal oxide pigments, sterling silver clasp

Evert Nijland. “Rococo,” 2010, Necklace: porcelain, hand-woven linen

For & Forlano. Brooch: polymer clay, metal, colored oxides

Featured Artists:
Sebastian Buescher
Pilar Cotter Nunez
Rian de Jong
Iris Eichenberg
David Elliot
Ford & Forlano
Caroline Gore
Maria Hees
Peter Hoogeboom
Jet Mous
Evert Nijland
Karin Seufert
Andrea Wagner
Gaby Wandscher
Pauline Wiertz
Shu-lin Wu

A Bit of Clay On The Skin

Another exhibit, running through september 2011, is this new ceramics jewelry show at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City.

Some of the works on display here:

Peter Hoojeboorn. Collar

Ceramics always have great eye-appeal.  They are very alluring.   They can have stark colors, or unusual colorations and color blendings.   They can be almost unnervingly smooth, or have many different kinds of textures — all drawing the viewer to want to touch.   Ceramics can be modelled or cast, and are very versatile.

It is fascinating to see the many ways ceramics are used in jewelry.  In some cases, they are used to mimic traditional jewelry materials and forms.  In other cases, they are a material cast against type.

In the thousands of years between Egyptian faience and today, ceramics, for the most part, have not played a major role in jewelry.   People found the material too close to the earth, too humble to use to convey wealth and elegance.    But this is changing.

Gesine Hacklenberg

Gesine Hacklenberg

Gesine Hacklenberg

Marie Pendaries

Marie Pendaries

Wearable Ceramics Gallery

This online  Gallery showcases sculptural jewelry by Canadian artist Erika Ferrarin.   Some of her pieces:

Posted in jewelry design | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Grape Cluster Earrings

Posted by learntobead on December 4, 2010

Grape Cluster Earrings

This is a good 2nd project for beginner earring makers, after making simple dangles using head pins.     Instead of head pins as the “skeleton”, you would use a piece of cable chain as the “skeleton”.

Here are simple instructions how:

http://www.ehow.com/how_5591811_make-grape-cluster-earrings.html

 

 

Use your imagination.     You can make these into necklaces.   You can make them bushier, or more spare.    You can leave part of the chain showing, and dangle only from the end, or dangle intermittently up the chain.

 

 

Posted in jewelry making | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

THE DESIGNERS’ GAZETTE, Fall 2010

Posted by learntobead on November 10, 2010

Read the current issue of:

THE DESIGNERS GAZETTE
Fall, 2010

http://www.warrenfeldjewelry.com/pdf/fg111510/fall2010pdf.pdf

Posted in jewelry design | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

The “Educated” Beader

Posted by learntobead on July 17, 2009

The EDUCATED Beader
What Do We Mean By This?

 

What does it mean to be an “Educated” beader?      Exactly what would it have been that you would have learned or learned to do, to earn the label “educated”?   

 

What would be expected of this “Educated” beader?

 

What kinds of choices would be expect this “Educated” beader to be able to make?

 

 

 

If we do a Google search online for our educated beader, what would we find?

 

 

Educate you about the essential tools and techniques                  
– Bead Unique Magazine

promote socially responsible retailing
– South African cooperative MonkeyBiz

 educate more people about the art of beading
– Wikipedia

 We educate our customers from the very first purchase and continue to do so as needs and level of experience progress.
– Calebs Lighthouse

inform and educate beaders of the beauty and versatility of beads
– beadingtimes.com

Educate yourself about bead finishes and types
– the Illustrated Bead Bible

 

 

We get a lot of generalities and platitudes, but we don’t get a more specific, detailed, enlightened idea of who we want to called an “educated beader” and who we do not.   

Is it someone who beads a lot?   Learned specific skills?   Can do specific things?   Has knowledge of certain terms?  

Is the beader who has taken 15 beading classes more educated than the beader who has only taken 3?

Is the beader who can do peyote more educated than the beader who can do right angle weave?

Is the person who knows the differences between lobster claws, toggle clasps, slide clasps and doorknocker clasps more educated than the person who cannot?

 

We need answers to questions like these, if we are to be able to define what we should teach and how we should teach it.

 

 

What do you think?   Please add your comments to the discussion.

Posted in Learn To Bead | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

GO VOTE – 2009 7th Annual The Ugly Necklace Contest

Posted by learntobead on May 27, 2009

PRESS RELEASE –5/27/09
TOPIC:  THE UGLY NECKLACE CONTEST 2009
uglynecklace header

Semi-Finalists Announced – Voting Begins!
7th Annual 2009 The Ugly Necklace Contest
– A Jewelry Design Competition With A Twist
May 27, 2009 thru July 15, 2009

 

 VOTE HERE

Six Jewelry Artists from around the world have been selected as Semi-Finalists of The 7th Annual 2009 The Ugly Necklace Contest – A Jewelry Design Competition With A Twist, by a panel of four judges from The Center for Beadwork & Jewelry Arts and Land of Odds. Voting begins On-Line on May 27th, thru July 15th for the Winner and Runner Up Grand Prize: $992.93 shopping spree on Land of Odds web-site (www.landofodds.com ) Runner Up Prize: $399.07 shopping spree on Land of Odds web-site.

 

 

OUR SIX SEMI-FINALISTS

 


Lori-Ann Scott
Spokane, Washington
“Sweet”

Deborah Eve Rubin
Rockville, Maryland
“Ode To An Ugly Necklace”

Jolynn Casto
Logan, Ohio
“Four Season’s Necklace”

Sarah Allison
Gresham, Oregon
“Walk In My Garden”

Juli Brown
Wells, Minnesota
“Coffin Nail Necklace”

Lynn Margaret Davy
Wimborne, Dorset, United Kingdom
“The Story of My Beading Life”

 

 

LAND OF ODDS
Attention: Warren Feld
www.landofodds.com
718 Thompson Lane, Ste 123, Nashville, TN 37204
Phone: 615-292-0610; Fax: 615-460-7001
Email: warren@landofodds.com

Synopsis:

It’s not easy to do Ugly!

So the many jewelry designers from across America and around the Globe who entered our 7th Annual 2009 The Ugly Necklace Contest, found this contest especially challenging. After all, your brain is pre-wired to avoid and reject things which are ugly. Think of snakes and spiders. And even if you start your necklace with a bunch of ugly pieces, once you organize them into a circle, the very nature of an ordered round form makes it difficult to achieve Ugly. Yes, “Ugly” is easier said than done.

Who will win? We need the public’s help to influence our panel of judges.

Does our Minnesota entry make even lung cancer look pretty? Or does our entry from Ohio give the four seasons a bad name? Surely, our Oregon entry didn’t mean to step on and crush all the flowers in her garden. Nor did our entry from Washington intentionally put down anyone with a sweet tooth or an obsessed passion for the fork. From Maryland comes this perplexing challenge: can Trash be Ugly? We would assume so, until we try to make a necklace from it. And from England, another kind of trash – bead project trash – comes to signify what ugly things happen when you don’t finish what you started.

Our respected judges evaluated these creatively-designed pieces in terms of hideousness, use of materials and clasp, the number of jewelry design principles violated, and the designer’s artistic control. Extra points were awarded for artists’ use of smaller beads, because it’s much more difficult to do Ugly with these.
Now it’s time for America and the World to help finalize the decision about which of these 6 semi-finalists’ Ugly Necklaces to vote for. The winner will truly be an exceptional jewelry designer. The losers….well….this isn’t a contest where you really can “lose”.

Come see these and the other semi-finalists’ pieces at www.landofodds.com, and vote your choice for the Ugliest Necklace, 2009.
And if you are in the Nashville, Tennessee area, please stop by The Open Windows Gallery (fine art jewelry) at Be Dazzled Beads, where the 6 semi-finalists’ Ugly Necklaces are on display through September 15, 2009.

 

ABOUT UGLY NECKLACES

The UGLY NECKLACE CONTEST (www.landofodds.com/store/uglynecklace.htm) is a jewelry design contest with a twist. The contest presents a challenge not often tackled — at least intentionally. The contest draws the jewelry designer into an alternative universe where beautiful artists create ugly necklaces. It’s not easy to do.

“Ugly” is more involved than simple surface treatment. It is not just laying out a bunch of ugly parts into a circle. It turns out that “Ugly” is something more than that. “Ugly” is the result of the interplay among Designer, Wearer, and Viewer. “Ugly” is very much a result of how a necklace is designed and constructed. “Ugly” is something the viewer actively tries to avoid and move away from. “Ugly” has deep-rooted psychological, cognitive, perceptual, sociological and anthropological functions and purposes.

As research into color and design has shown, your eye and brain compensate for imbalances in color or in the positioning of pieces and objects – they try to correct and harmonize them. They try to neutralize anything out of place or not quite right. You are pre-wired to subconsciously avoid anything that is disorienting, disturbing or distracting. Your mind and eye won’t let you go here. This is considered part of the fear response, where your brain actively attempts to avoid things like snakes and spiders…. and ugly necklaces.

This means that jewelry designers, if they are to create beautiful, wearable art, have to be more deeply involved with their pieces beyond “surface”. Or their pieces will be less successful, thus less beautiful, thus more disturbing or distracting or disorienting, thus more Ugly.

Luckily, for the jewelry designer, we are pre-wired to avoid these negative things. This makes it easier to end up with pieces that look good. Beauty, in some sense, then, is very intuitive. On the other hand, it makes it more difficult to end up with pieces that look bad. You see, Ugly goes against our nature. It’s hard to do.

The Ugly Necklace Contest is one of the many programs at The Center for Beadwork & Jewelry Arts in Nashville, Tennessee, that encourage beadwork and jewelry makers to test their design skills, have fun, and learn some fundamentals about jewelry design in the process.

Call for Entries – 8th Annual 2010 The Ugly Necklace Contest
A Jewelry Design Competition With A Twist

Read the Contest Rules at www.landofodds.com/store/uglynecklace.htm . Entries accepted between 9/15/09 and 3/15/10.
To add your name to our email list associated with The Ugly Necklace Contest, send an email to: oddsian@landofodds.com
and Write “Ugly Necklace Email List” in the subject line.


Sponsors:
Land of Odds www.landofodds.com,
Phone: 615-292-0610; Email :warren@landofodds.com
Land of Odds provides bead and jewelry making artists with virtually all their beads, supplies, books and jewelry findings needs, with over 30,000 products. Retail/Discounts/Wholesale.

Be Dazzled Beads www.bedazzledbeads.com
Center for Beadwork & Jewelry Arts www.landofodds.com/beadschool
Open Windows Gallery – Fine Art Jewelry www.landofodds.com/store/openwindowgallery.htm
Learn To Bead…At Land of Odds Blog blog.landofodds.com

Other Programs at Land of Odds:
ALL DOLLED UP: Beaded Art Doll Competition
www.landofodds.com/store/alldolledup.htm

Jewelry Design Workshops in Cortona, Italy, with Toscana Americana
www.landofodds.com/store/toscananarrativesynopsis.htm

 


Posted in Contests, jewelry design | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What’s Showing In the Galleries

Posted by learntobead on May 21, 2009

Jewelry artists are often, perhaps most often, inspired by nature.   Inspiration could mean imitating forms, transposing reality, or utilizing natural materials.   

These three artists are inspired by nature in very different ways.

 

Sally Grant, Edinburgh
try to capture the vibrancy, transience and intricate patterns found in the natural world in my jewellery. Nature does not stand still – it is a joy to capture a moment in time with my camera and transfer this image forever onto silver by the technique, photoetching.

gallery052009sallygrant1

Ulrike Hamm is an artist from Berlin who makes jewelry from parchment

gallery052009ulrikehamm1

gallery052009ulrikehamm2

gallery052009ulrikehamm3

Sabine Lang
Loops, circles and soap bubbles

gallery052009sabinelang1

gallery052009sabinelang2

Posted in jewelry design | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

2009 The Ugly Necklace Contest SemiFinalists

Posted by learntobead on April 7, 2009

2009 The Ugly Necklace Contest SemiFinalists
have been announced

The Ugly Necklace Contest

In early May, images of their necklaces will be posted online at Land of Odds.   Along with these images, each contestant also had to submit a list of materials and write a poem.    These too will be posted.   Voting will begin at the end of May.  Stay tuned for announcements.

 

The 6 SemiFinalists Are:

 

Lynn Margaret Davy
Dorset, England
The Story of My Beading Life…

ugly7davywear

 

Jolynn Casto
Logan, Ohio
Four Seasons Necklace

ugly7castowear

Sarah Allison
Gresham, Oregon
Walk In My Garden

ugly7allisonwear1

Lori-Ann Scott
Spokane, Washington
Sweet

ugly7scottwear

Juli Brown
Wells, Minnesota
Coffin Nail Necklace!

ugly7brownwear

Deborah Eve Rubin
Rockville, Maryland
Ode To An Ugly Necklace

ugly7rubinwear

 

 

Entries for the 8th Annual The Ugly Necklace Contest 2010- A Jewelry Design Competition With A Twist – will be accepted beginning September 1, 2009.  Deadline: March 15th, 2010.

Posted in Contests, jewelry design | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Selling Your Jewelry In Recessionary Times

Posted by learntobead on March 30, 2009

Selling Your Jewelry
In Recessionary Times

With a financial crisis in full swing, it has become more difficult to sell your jewelry. Fewer stores, fewer customers, fewer craft shows. At the same time, the costs of all the supplies – beads, stringing materials, jewelry findings – have been increasing at much faster rates than inflation. This adds to the problem.

At the same time, it is getting more difficult to get your “message” to your “customer.” With things like blogs, facebook, my space, twitter, other interactive sites and social networks, people are organizing into ever-smaller market niches.   It’s too expensive and too time-consuming to get enough people to be aware of your business, that you can continue to make a living.

They are no longer reading the mainstream magazines and newspapers to get their primary sources of information, to the extent that they have in the past. They are not going to local craft shows or local stores as much, because they have an online world of Etsy and Ebay and 26 million jewelry sites listed on Google.

Perhaps these times and prospects can be reinterpreted as an opportunity to rethink how you approach your jewelry selling business. At the least, perhaps you can better secure your base during these times, in preparation for more growth and expansion as the financial crisis bottoms out, and then gradually improves.

It’s time to take a hard look at your “business model.” You have probably been operating as a one or two person operation. You, or both of you, do everything. You create the designs. You make the jewelry. You market and sell your jewelry. You wear many hats.

“Unbundling” is a strategy where you give up control of some business functions, and rely on the expertise of other companies or organized groups. One obvious thing is to rely on UPS or FedEX for your shipping needs.

I suggest you think about no-cost and low-cost ways to unbundle some of your marketing and promotion. One inexpensive and effective way is to get a regular group together of others who sell hand-crafted jewelry or other hand-crafted items.

As a group,

– develop and share mailing and emailing lists

– try to brand the group with an identify of having quality, affordable hand crafted items for sale

– have a major presence, even a controlling presence, at a local craft show

– generate a logo that everyone includes on their websites and their packaging

– set up your own blog and try to attract potential customers to your blog

– interlink your websites into a web-ring

– have regular discussions about business strategies

– approach suppliers as a group to bargain for group discounts

On one level, you give up some control in managing these aspects of your business. On another, however, you get to leverage the talents and time and resources of these other businesses. This might be the smartest way to continue to reach your customers, and continue surviving and thriving when things are tough, and the business environment keeps changing and evolving.

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

What Is Craft?

Posted by learntobead on March 27, 2009

This question comes up often:
What is Craft?

Is Craft Art?

Can Craft be Art?

In many circles “jewelry” is considered a craft.  In others, “jewelry” is art.

At the Victoria and Albert Museum in England, they have opened up their art collections to include those of craft.  Yet they continue to make a distinction between the two, as seems to be common across Europe.    Craft is what you do with your hands, and Art is what you do with your mind.

To celebrate a new partnership between the V&A and the Crafts Council, we asked leading figures in the craft world to tell us what the term craft means to them. We hope these comments will inspire you send us your views too, resulting in some healthy debate.”

[While you are visiting the V&A museum online, check out their jewellery collections — don’t you love the way the British spell jewelry!.]

va1

 

 

 

va2

 

I think in America, any distinctions between craft and art are starting to get very murky.    I guess we tend to be much more democratic about things.

I recently finished reading a book called SHARDS by Garth Clark on ceramic art.   Clark’s is a major voice for understanding craft as art.  But he decries the lack of leadership in the ceramics field in how ceramics are taught, and how ceramics are promoted.    He feels that ceramics relies too much on an industrial model — making the best toilets, and not enough on an art model — making objects that resonate from an artist’s personality, sensibilities, and social/cultural perspectives.

I wonder sometimes if there are not parallels in jewelry and beading to Clark’s assessments of ceramics.

Another book I’ve just begun is THINKING THROUGH CRAFT by Glenn Adamson.    He asks provocative questions about the marginalization of craft within modern art.   He advocates for visual artists to take a renewed look at craft to better understand the “working in media” craft techniques and theories which also underly the visual arts, but are too often ignored.

 And just in time for our blog discussion on craft vs. art, I received this announcement from the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, OR.

Community Conversations
Museum of Contemporary Craft, Pacific Northwest College of Art and panelists from Oregon’s creative community invite you to engage in a series of conversations about the anticipated integration of these two institutions. Explore the broader concepts relevant to creating a more vibrant and expanded organization that will strengthen its contribution to the cultural voice and economic vitality of the region. Conversations are moderated by Tim DuRoche, community program manager at Portland Center Stage.
 

Thursday, April 9, 6:30 pm
The Changing Dynamics of Craft and Design

Pacific Northwest College of Art, 1241 NW Johnson, Portland

Panelists
:
Andrew Wagner
, editor-in-chief, American Craft magazine
Namita Gupta Wiggers, curator, Museum of Contemporary Craft
JP Reuer, chair, MFA in applied craft and design, Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC) and PNCA

Karl Burkheimer
, head, OCAC wood department

What Does Craft Mean To You?   What Do You Think It Means To Others?
How Does This Affect Jewely Making, Beadwork and Jewelry Design?  
PLEASE POST YOUR VIEWS AND FEELINGS:

Posted in Art or Craft? | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »