Saturday, April 29, 2017

April Monthly Challenge Recap

Hello Art Bead Peeps!

Sorry for the delay in getting this recap up and running...April is a tough month for me with my daughter's dance recital showcase week including a jewelry fundraiser that I do for them. Yesterday was the opening of the show, but early (far too early, if you ask me!) I transported several dancers (including my own Tiny Dancer) down to UW-Madison to participate in a university panel discussion on the benefits of dance education. Then back for the opening of the show. Whirlwind!

This month's inspiration is Gauguin. His tropical color palette shimmers with movement and life. I swear I can feel the heat on my shoulders and the breeze rustling the leaves of the jungle. For our part we picked up on the florals, the birds and the hot summery palette. Let's see what you created!


Now it is your turn... if you wrote a post about your project or process we would like to know! Link below for a chance to win some great prizes!


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Jewelry Designer Interview with Michelle McEnroe of McEnroe Moments

                     
Dancing Bunnies Necklace by Michelle McEnroe of McEnroe Moments Art bead by 
Caroline Dewison of blueberribeads

It is my great pleasure today to introduce you to Jewelry Designer Michelle McEnroe, the artist and creator of  McEnroe Moments.  I have come to know Michelle through her work with some of my ceramic pendants. I sought out Michelle to interview because of her passion for art beads. Today you will see many pictures of her beautiful work and learn about her creative life.Hopefully you will be introduced to some, new to you, art bead artists, as well
I sent Michelle a list of questions which she kindly answered.  She suggested that the questions be grouped together into themes and answered them that way. .  I also asked to her to make up some questions of her own.  Which she also did.  What follows is our collaboration on this interview.

Mary Harding:  When did you get interested in beads and beading and how did it come about? 
 I see that you are a published jewelry designer. How did you get the courage up to submit designs to magazines? What magazines have you been published in?

Michelle McEnroe:Growing up, my mother was always room-mom and did crafts with my class. I did the same with my three kids when they were in elementary school. Often the projects used beads including pine cone Christmas trees with beads as ornaments, candy canes made with beads, and spiders made with beads. From 2000 to 2002, I had a beaded bobby pin business where I wired seed beads, crystals, and pearls onto bobby pins. Unfortunately, Etsy was not around then.
My development as a beadwork artist started as a way to spend creative time with my oldest daughter. Rachel was taking Saturday language lessons in Red Bank, New Jersey. While waiting for her, I would wander the shops nearby and found our first bead store. Then after class, we would spend hours staring at the rainbow selection of gemstones and then took our first beadwork class, a DNA bracelet.   
Later, we started looking for more classes and found Artful Beads Studio in Pennington, New Jersey, which was close to her high school. We took quite a few classes and enjoyed the environment of the people who came to bead. We grew in our abilities and started designing beadwork projects ourselves. Rachel was published in April/May 2011 by Quick & Easy Beadwork Magazine. It was her first time submitting. She had several pieces published before I decided that I should try it too.
                           One of  Michelle's first published pieces:   101 Bracelets Necklaces, Earrings Necklaces Magazine  2013    Focal Art Bead Lisa Kan

Then our jewelry addiction took off. While traveling for college visits, we found bead stores everywhere we went. We took classes wherever we could, meeting amazing artists. In 2010, in Rochester, we happened to be visiting the same time as the ISGB (International Society of Glass Beadmakers). Our first real bead show.  Now, whenever I travel to somewhere new, a top criterion is always – where are the bead stores?
Etsy has been the most wonderful change to my creative life. I started buying beads in 2009 and started selling my own jewelry in 2013 through Etsy. I have met the most amazing people all over the world. In 2013, I started submitting my work for publication. 
One of Michelle's first earring designs published in Jewelry Stringing Magazine in 2013  Art beads and ceramic links by Starry Road Studio

 My jewelry has been published in Jewelry Stringing Magazine, Bead Trends, 101 Bracelets, Necklaces, and Earrings Magazine, Beadwork Magazine, Quick & Easy Beadwork Magazine, and Bead & Button Magazine, as well as online blogs. It was a special honor when I was the sole cover piece on the Jewelry Stringing Magazine Summer 2016 edition.   
Fruits of Summer Necklace  Cover of Jewelry Stringing Magazine Summer 2016 includes art beads from Ceramberries, Ghostlight Pottery, gaea, and Artybecca


Mary Harding:   I have noticed Michelle, that you often use art beads in your jewelry.
Who are your favorite bead makers and what is it in their work that appeals to you? 
Do you have a favorite medium when it comes to buying art beads?  

Michelle McEnroe: Art beads always introduce a special quality to a design.  The originality of your work is showcased in the ability to incorporate another artist’s work along with the supporting beads you select to design with.  Art beads always guide the color path of the jewelry design and therefore I usually start a project with my focal art bead or supporting art beads.  

I appreciate all forms of art beads.  Pottery free form and wheel, fire-torch enamel, lampwork glass, and stained glass are just a few of the crafts I have taken lessons in.  Having spent time in these mediums, I particularly can appreciate the level of time and difficulty it takes to turn out a beautiful art bead.  Fire-torch enamel is a prime example.  I have taken two classes in this medium and it really makes one appreciate the difficulty of producing such amazing effects.  

My favorite medium would have to be ceramic beads, all kinds of ceramic, from stoneware, earthenware, and raku pottery to porcelain.  The pottery wheel was a constant source of challenge for me for many years, and usually a continued stream of disappointment after I received my glazed result.  Therefore, I am in awe of the bead artists who develop such fine skills with glazing.

I have too many favorite bead makers to list and compliment them all, however I will note a special few and why.  
  • Claire Lockwood of somethingtodobeads would be at the top of my list.  I find her ability to continually change mediums and turn out original designs inspiring and I would love to meet her someday.  Her moth pendants are art beads that I cannot part with and are the art beads that I cherish the most.  
Necklace by Michelle McEnroe with Moth bead by Claire Lockwood of Somethingtodobeads

  • Mary Harding is another artist who I have a trouble parting with the art beads I buy; I want to keep all designs I create using her beautiful pendants.  Mary is the key example in my point about the use of glaze.  No one can touch her level of detail and color in each small piece of art work.
  • Desert Flower Necklace by Michelle McEnroe with art bead pendant by Mary Harding

  • Kylie Parry is an addiction of mine.  Her high quality and creative themes capture my imagination and creating with them comes so easily.  Also, as a mother and an artist, I am amazed and so jealous of her ability to live her life creating and traveling with young children.
  • Santa Fe Earrings art beads by Kylie Parry and Zolanna
  • Anna of zolanna is my new obsession.  Her boho bead creations with color and texture make her beads like candy to me. I cannot stop myself from buying them.
  • unique ceramic bead boho bead ceramic component for jewelry making handcrafted ceramic bead by  zolanna
  •                                      Art Bead by Anna of Zolanna

Mary Harding: What are some of the themes you see in your jewelry? 
Do you define yourself as making jewelry in a certain style?  
Do you find inspiration from jewelry from the past or particular eras or cultures?  
What colors do you like to work with best?

Michelle McEnroe: Unlike many jewelry designers, I do not have a particular style nor do I focus on a particular medium.  I make jewelry due to my constant desire to create.  My mood at that time often guides the project I am working on.   I have attempted almost every hobby that involves color.  Although I may gravitate to certain color themes (like purples with greens), I enjoy all colors and combinations of them.  Jewelry and color reflects one’s moods.  Different people express themselves uniquely.  Even some jewelry that I may not personally wear, like minimalist jewelry, I do create and sell, because wearing some jewelry to express oneself is better than none, and I appreciate those that support jewelry artists.  An empty neckline or ears is a tragedy.  Everyone should decorate themselves with the added layer of expression and color, no matter what style.  
I find inspiration everywhere.  I often start with the art bead to begin a jewelry design; however, my jewelry often builds itself based upon the colors I want to work with.  Besides art beads, one of my favorite type of beads is vintage glass beads, especially milk glass and Givre glass beads.  Hunting for vintage glass beads is like a treasure hunt.  I especially admire the work of Miriam Haskell.  The glass beads of the 1920s through the 1960s, and the use of bead clusters and flowers often plays a role in my designs.
Besides my family and jewelry, a significant part of my life has been my pets.  Many bead artists have heard me ask – Can you make a bunny?  If a bunny bead exists, I have probably bought multiple colors and styles of it.  One of my favorite bunny bead suppliers is Caroline Dewison of blueberribeads.
Necklace by McEnroe Moments Art Bead Pendant by RoundRabbit

Necklace Design McEnroe Moments  Art Bead Pendant by Caroline Dewison of  blueberribeads
 I found Nancy Schindler Adams of Round Rabbit by searching the internet for bunny beads.  Pendants from these two artists fill my personal jewelry collection that I wear often.  I also have 13 guinea pigs, and have cherished guinea pigs my whole life.  However, I understand that surprisingly many people do not know what a guinea pig is or they seem harder to represent in beads.  However, Jessica Counts of Sweet Birch 
Designs  and Leah Curtis of BeadyEyedBunny have both created wonderful guinea pig and bunny beads for me.
beads by Leah Curtis of BeadyEyedBunny



Guinea pig and Bunny beads by Jessica Counts of Sweet Birch Designs.

Emily Kline of nymphandnectar has also created custom art beads for me.  Fire torch enamel is a current craze in earring design, and the market is saturated with such creations.  Last fall I asked if she could create pieces in the shape of bunnies and cats.  I have been drawing a cartoon cat the same way since elementary school, a sleeping cat with the arms tucked and the tail curled against the body.  I sent her a drawing and my image magically appeared into beautiful art beads.  

Kitty earrings based on a drawing by Michelle rendered by Emily Kline
One of my favorite necklaces from my personal collection incorporates all of the above; this necklace has a lavender bunny pendant by blueberribeads, all possible shades of my favorite color purple, and clusters of flowers and beads.  Another favorite personal jewelry design also incorporates a pendant by blueberribeads; the pendant has two bunnies, the color theme is mauve and pale green, and the flower dangles are more like vines with the use of waxed Irish linen cord.
Necklace Design by McEnroe Moments Art Bead Pendant blueberribeads
Mary Harding: Do you have a dedicated studio or do you work around the home? Can you describe your work space?

Michele McEnroe:I have never had an actual studio.  In New Jersey, the work space was the living room floor or the dining room table.  The more space that was available, the more spread out the projects would become.  Holiday times are a favorite of mine, because all my children are home and also because my daughter Rachel and I would cover every possible area with beads.  Our creativity takes off in every possible direction as we fill the floor so that no one can walk into the room.



When we moved to Texas, I wanted the studio area to not always be in plain view, so my beading room became one with Rachel’s room when she is home.  In 2016, we adopted our third bunny, Tiny Tim, who is not yet ready to mingle with the others in the pet room, so Tiny Tim now shares my work space.  When I am working and he is out of his cage, he guards me at the little white gate.  He is my constant beading companion.
Tiny Tim Michelle's constant beading companion

Thank you so much Michelle for sharing your beading and creative life with us. It has been great to learn about your design ideas and bead passions. I look forward to seeing more of your designs in the future. I am sure out readers will be visiting your Etsy Shop to see more of your work.

Post by Mary Harding
www.maryhardingjewelrybeadblog.blogspot.com


Monday, April 24, 2017

Tips for finding inspiration

Today I'd like to share some tips on finding inspiration,  BUT FIRST, I will announce the winner and monthly feature from "inspiration in everyday" facebook group. The winner for this past month, and creator of the beautiful necklace pictured here, is Sarajo Wentling!!

Here is the collage of what inspired the necklace:

Congratulations Sarajo!! Thanks so much for playing along and sharing your inspirations and beautiful necklaces. Another thank you for being a brave trailblazer as the first person to share in the group!! Your creativity and enthusiasm are much appreciated in this new and humble group!!  
Sarajo made the above necklace along with another one, both inspired by the Meadolaronk Botanical Gardens. You can read her full post about it on her blog at Sarajo's blog post.  Or check out her post on the "inspiration in everyday" facebook group here.
Sarajo your prize is two sets of my feather headpins in your choice of color. Let me know your address and color choices.

The photo below is a photo of the prize for the next random feature who posts on"inspiration everyday".  The winner will be selected at random from those who share their inspirations over the next 4 weeks. Winner will be featured here on the ABS blog and win this bead set. If you have not joined yet - come on over! Click here! Ceramic hand painted birdie bead set.



There is so much inspiration around us and so much to discover in the simple things in life!  In this post I plan to give some tips on ways to find inspiration in everyday.  In a future post I look forward to sharing some ways to act on inspiration!  Here are three different ideas/exercises you could try in order to help spark inspiration.  There are obviously many more ways to find inspiration, and sometimes it just finds you!  But for those times inspiration is not free flowing, here are some things to try. 

- Go for a walk in a place that is new to you
 New things, and new places can often easily spark new inspirations.  As you walk try to view everything you are seeing through the eyes of an artist. How? Pay attention to colors, shapes, textures, images, light, shadows, patterns and combinations. Take with you, a means to gather and collect findings. Maybe it's your camera to photograph these things. Maybe it's a sketchbook/journal  to sketch or write things down.  Or a purse or bag to collect bits of nature that speak to you.  Better yet, a combination of any or all of the above.  I know for me, having a place to put bits of the natural world I like to pick up (usually for pressing into fresh clay), is very important when I go walking in nature (often it's just my pocket).


-  Go for a walk in a place that is NOT new, instead, very familiar
  Look around you trying to see things from a different perspective. Try looking in different directions than usual. Look up. Look down. Bring your camera/phone for the purpose of taking photos from different angles.  You will likely notice things/details you may have missed before!  Slowdown and take in even the smallest details.  Fill your well with wonder and curiosity! The goal here is to look at old familiar things and places in a NEW way!


-  Look through books or magazines, either ones you own, or at/from your local library.
I know it's a less popular thing to do these days, but I still love to go to the library!!  Looking through magazines you own is the most fun because you can rip out pages to keep as inspirations!  It does not even matter if they are magazines or books that normally don't appeal to you, as long as they have lots of visuals. You are looking past the obvious for the purpose of this exercise. This mean looking at what is in the background of the images. Maybe it's the wallpaper pattern or color in an image, or maybe the text that stands out to you.  Be intentional about looking at things within the images that don't first jump out at you. Just take your time and take in as much as you can!

When you start gathering inspirations, try keeping them in one place.  If everything you collect and gather is in one place it will be much easier for you to find when want to refer to them!!
If you are looking for a way to boost your inspiration, I hope you might give one or all of these a try and see what you can come up with!  Maybe it could even lead you to share what inspired you with us at "inspiration in everyday" facebook group!! Wink, wink, nudge, nudge!!

Wishing you inspiration in "everyday"!!
Terri Del Signore


Friday, April 21, 2017

Perfect Pairings :: Michelle McEnroe + Ceramic Beads Art



This is a fun and funky design that features a beautiful ceramic bird pendant that captures my imagination. I like making designs like this because it is a great way to use up all those leftover bits you have lying around, and the colors work with a lot of different parts of any wardrobe. The way the brilliant blue dagger beads undulate reminds me of the way the colors in Gauguin's painting seem to shimmer and move, as they would through the haze of a hot summer day.

Featured Designer :: Michelle McEnroe
+
Featured Bead Artist :: Ceramic Beads Art

We are now using Pinterest! 
You can find more details in this post about the exciting new changes,
including a board devoted to art beads inspired by the monthly challenge!
(Ooh! Look! More pretty beads to lust after!)

Pretty please make sure that you post a link in your Pinterest description
so that I have someplace to attribute the picture! 
And don't forget to tell us about those art beads - providing links to bead makers is appreciated!

Deadline April 26th to get your pictures posted to the Pinterest boards for the creation of the Monthly Challenge Recap post for April 28th.
TIP: If you upload your photo rather than pin it from your blog or shop, edit the pin (the little pencil button) and add your link as the source. Save your edits. This will allow us to click directly on your photo and go to your blog or shop to read more about your entry. If you don't, I might not be able to access the photo to share it.


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Making a Ceramic and Silk Ribbon Bracelet

I am always trying to come up with new ideas on how my customers can use my ceramic pieces.  Out of pendants, beads, earring charms and bracelet toppers, I think the bracelet toppers hold the most mystery on designing with them.  I have been noticing how popular silk ribbon is and how it can add texture and color to a design, so I bought some!  I found a great store on Etsy called Color Kissed Silk and I purchased solid colors and multi colored ribbons.  I also had post cards printed up with easy directions for the wearer as well as my business name and information.  I sell jewelry at shows and galleries, so the bracelet and post card will slip into a cellophane wrapper to stay clean and neat.

This is what I started with:

The silk ribbon, my bracelet topper, 2 10mm sea sentiment beads from Michaels, and antique bronze metal toggle clasp, 10mm jump rings, 3mm spacer beads and head pins from Hobby Lobby.

Start by opening the jump rings and putting them through the bracelet topper holes.  Place a spacer bead, sea sentiment bead and spacer bead on each head pin and make a wire wrapped loop.  Put both of these on the front section of the large jump ring before closing it on the side that will not have the toggle clasp.  Before closing the other jump ring, put the round section of the toggle clasp through it, then close.  Tie one end of the silk ribbon around the jump ring with the bead dangles and tie the other end on the toggle bar.  Because the silk would not go through the small hole, I trimmed the stitching off the end and cut a 1" slice up the ribbon so I could get one half through and I tied it twice with knots.  Then I secured each knot with Hypo Cement.

This is the end result:


It is comfortable to wear and will fit all your customers by tying knots in the ribbon if you need to shorten the ribbon to make the toggle clasp close correctly.  I plan on making a nice amount of these for my upcoming shows.  I hope you will give it a try, too!

Michelle from Firefly Design Studio

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

From Inspiration to Bead

Like most creative people I rarely go anywhere without a camera, whether its the one on my phone or my canon, its basically an extension of me. I love taking snaps of colour combinations that inspire me, it might be a cushion in a shop, or a garden full of flowers. I have a long time obsession with things in a state of decay, rusted and patina’d with age and love to translate these into glass, recently I made some hollow beads and attempted some verdigris patterns on them.

This is my inspiration photo:

These are the beads that I made, I love the textures on these, and the variegation of colour. 
Because these beads are hollow I have been able to make them larger without the worry of them being too heavy. 

I think these beads would look lovely with one of these stunning birds from Heather at Humblebeads 

I love the industrial feel of these clasps from Rebecca at The Curious Bead Shop, I think they would go with the rustic feel of the beads brilliantly. 

What would you couple them with?



Thursday, April 13, 2017

I Took the Art Bead Scene Challenge!

I've been having fun creating beads inspired by this month's challenge inspiration. Gauguin's 
beautiful color palette was my starting point for the birds above. I mixed each of the colors in the palette and decorated my birds with island inspired flora. 

My second go-around with making beads for the challenge I went a little more off onto my own with colors but wanted to capture the same wild feel of the landscape.

How are you doing with the challenge? Have you pulled through your stash and started creating? Join in the fun. In case you missed the challenge here are the details. You can find my lentil and disk beads in my Etsy shop.