Last weekend, I learned a new skill. I was thrilled to get to take a class with Deb Brooks, who's company is From the Heart Creations. Deb is certified PMC teacher, and Julie hosted classes for beginners at the store! We had a great time and learned a wonderful new technique. Here are the designs from the first class:
My piece is the Steampunk design in the upper right corner. I can't believe I was able to create that the first time out! Shows how talented our teacher is! The other pieces are beautiful too, and I really love the piece beside mine, which was made on a printing stamp of a map of Nebraska counties. The one just below that moving clockwise was made with a rubber stamp, but then Julie carved the clay to match the edge cut on the design.
This was another class group, and Chris was in this class! His is the flaming piece on the right hand side. He even worked with Deb ahead of time to design the stamp image and carved it from polymer clay to make the impression for his pendant. All of the pieces are beautiful and while waiting for the kiln to fire, Julie and I taught the group about Crystal Clay (well Julie taught and I assisted). Have you had a chance to use Crystal Clay (it is a 2 part Epoxy clay which air dries in 24 hours)? Too fun and the possibilities are limitless!
Final pieces made. The top tree piece is for a multi strand bracelet and the matching bead is a double sided lentil bead wit a different tree on the other side. Very cool!
Chris and I are looking forward to playing with the PMC more in the future!
The full list of participants are at the end of my post. Thanks to Lori Anderson for hosting the blog hop.
In November, I signed up for Lori Anderson's latest Blog Hop and had every intention of making a piece to honor a friend. However, I have been sick pretty much since the signups and that has completely zapped my creativity and strength. So instead, my wonderful husband Chris, suggested I blog about the Memorial Pendant fundraiser we designed this fall. This was the original post from September.
After the devastating accident on September 5,
Chris and I were asked if we could design a memorial pendant for a
fundraiser for the families of the victims. To help the kids get
through the week during the funerals, the school came up with this
design and it was used on football helmets, volleyball &
softball jerseys, and cross country uniforms.
We used this as the premise for our design.
used 4 crosses from Tierracast and with them being graduated in size,
they hang together like the memorial design. We also wanted to
represent the individuals lost, so we designated each a special cross.
The individual cross photo shows which cross is for each person. Here is why we chose what we did:
Caroline, small and delicate since she was the youngest and smallest.
Dustin, Celtic because he was more artistic and a free spirit.
Travis, simple and rugged for a farming guy, a bit larger since he was older than Dustin.
Marla, floral since she loved gardening, about the same size as Travis's maybe a tiny bit bigger.
All the charms together represent the tragedy as a whole and all those that were involved.
The fundraiser was hugely successful, raising more than $1700 for the Family Memorial fund. I could not have done the project at all if my good friend Viv,(her shop isDragyn's Fyre on Etsy), had not helped me get a great price and the quantity of supplies I needed to put the pendants together. She was a huge help and I hope you will stop by and check out her shop. She has a huge selection of Tierracast and great prices too.
I also want to thank Pam Schwab, for asking us to design the jewelry for the project. She did most of the leg and phone work and that was a HUGE help.
Chris and I were overwhelmed with the response to the pendant demand. We werehonored to create a tribute to the victims of the accident. We sincerely hope the opportunity never presents itself again.
Yesterday, I was a guest blogger on Artisan Whimsy for the Jewelry Designers Blog Team. Here is the post in it's entirety. Not familiar with Artisan Whimsy, stop over through the link above and create your own page. There are lots of artistic groups for whatever your interest, and it is a wonderful way to connect to other artists!
One Bead is what started my life as a beader. My husband and daughter
gave me the bead for my birthday about ten years ago, and as I tell
people, "it is a slippery slope from the first bead to drowning in a
house full of beads"!
I chose this topic because as a "Bead Girl" working part time at
Julie's Xpression's (a local bead store in Hastings, NE), I often teach
beginning beaders the basics to beading.
Newbie Basic Beading Boot Camp:
If at all possible go to a bead store or find an experienced beader to help you get started.
This will help you avoid being overwhelmed by all of the choices
available and walk you through the basics. You can certainly learn what
you need to know on-line, but having someone teach you one on one is a
wonderful experience. I am a visual learner and it is far easier for me
to pick up a technique if someone is there to guide and correct me than
if I am trying to read about or watch a video on the technique.
Buy the best tools you can afford. The tools are
going to be with you for some time to come, so spend a bit more to get
the better products. The basics I advise starting with are: a crimping
tool, a round nose pliers, a flat or chain nose pliers (I prefer the
ones with no grooves on the nose so they don't mar your metals), and a
good pair of flush cutters for snipping. These are my mainstays. I
also use bail making pliers for nice rounded bends, but those can wait
until you are a more advanced beader.
Start with the best foundation materials you can afford. I use only SoftFlex
brand wire because I trust it to hold up to wear and tear. I use the
basic silver color because it really won't matter what color it is when
it is covered with beads and the .014 Diameter, 21 Strands, size. Yes,
it comes in other colors and sizes, but this is the one that will fit a
wide variety of beads and it is more widely available that some of the
other widths and colors. For 99% of my bead stringing projects I use
2x2 crimp tubes made of Sterling Silver. Yes, they come in other colors
(gold, antique brass, gunmetal, copper) and yes I do use them.
However, as a starting beader, go basic. Sterling crimps are extremely
durable and forgiving. They can be bent more than once or twice (which
helps when you are getting started) without falling apart. If you are
doing a beading project in a different color of metal, just add a
coordinating crimp cover to hide the sterling silver crimp.
When you are starting in beading, choose beads you like and that are of good quality.
Another of my favorite sayings is "Cheap beads make cheap jewelry".
Anyone can string beads together and call it jewelry. When you "design"
jewelry, you put thought and time into your project. You think about
the colors and sizes of your beads. I also consider the "comfort" of a
design. I am less likely to wear a piece of jewelry that is poking me.
Tidy the ends of your wire near the crimp so they are not sticking out
or have rough edges on them. I try to run my beading wire back through
two or three beads at the end of the length. Not only does this prevent
them from poking out, but it gives you an additional length of wire to
work with "if something goes wrong" and you have to tear things apart.
You can remove a crimp from a design if you do it carefully without
totally destroying the wire, and then you have a bit extra length to
correct the problem. I also make an effort to look back over my design
before I finish off that last crimp. I really get aggravated when I
have a project finished and I have one bead out of symmetry. Fine if it
is supposed to be asymmetrical, but if it is a "matchy, matchy" design
(sides mirroring each other), that one missing or additional bead can be
a "blight" to the effect you are working toward.
Finally, make jewelry that makes you happy. Start a
project with beads you like. I am EXTREMELY fond of crystals, and love
designs that have sparkle in them. However, if you like or love the
beads you are working with, a design will come together far easier than
it will if you are uncomfortable with your medium. I have made designs
with beads I hated, but it was an unpleasant experience and I don't like
to repeat those. If you are spending time doing a hobby that you love,
you don't want cursing and black clouds to mar the time you spend with
your craft. I find too, that if I love a design, others will too.
Granted not everyone shares my tastes, but that doesn't matter if the
jewelry makes me happy. I love to use beads that have a story to tell.
When my customers are in my booth, I can sell a piece of jewelry with
the story those beads tell. Not always, but it happens more often than
not. Regardless of my ramblings, stick with the beads you love and
others will love what you create.
And if not, it still makes you happy. That is the most important part of any design process.
I have tried to cover the basics and yes, I could go on and on and on
about beads and my philosophy behind designing. But this is not about
MY beading, this is about getting YOU started on your addiction beading.