Thursday, August 29, 2013

BeadFest Bead Bounty!

I am so sad that BeadFest is over this year. I've really made some good beady friends over the past year that I only get to see in person at shows such as this, and I don't want to have to wait another year!

The other great thing about BeadFest is all of the beads!!! Last year I bought tons of crystals...a lot of which I still have. My style has changed to using almost exclusively artisan beads as the main components, and I'm also looking at making some more gemstone pieces. So that's what my bead stash consisted of this year!

First off, the gemstone hoard! I hit Dakota Stones--hard! They have great quality and good prices, plus they were super nice! I got a bunch of labradorite (my favorite), some cool hematite that looks like silver, pyrite, pink opal...and other good stuff!

My other bead purchases where made in Artisan Alley. I really wish I had bought more...thank goodness for the internet! ;)

XAZ Bead Co. Handmade Raku Feast!

Adorable earring components from Starry Road Studio!

 I made bought lots and lots of pretties from Firefly Design Studio, and Michelle is a sweetheart! I love her work and the colors she gets from her glazes!

Firefly Design Studios, take 1!

Sweet flowers from Firefly!

And yet more fun from Firefly Design Studios!
Then, I also was lucky enough to be included in the Art Bead Swap organized by the ever-lovely Diana of Suburban Girl Studio! I was paired up with the uber-talented Melinda Orr, who is a magician with metals!

This first pairing are patinaed and enameled, and are gorgeous! I know I will be hoarding these for a while as I let ideas swirl in my brain for creating something equally gorgeous with them!

Next, Melinda gave me an assortment of fun trinkets to play with, all of them awesome, along with some lengths of leather she had worked with!

Finally, I am in love with this last piece Melinda gifted me with. It is simply stunning and magical, and a photo can not do it justice. I'm still deciding if it wants to be a bracelet component, or a pendant...but whatever it turns into, it will be one of my personal pieces to treasure!

Now do you understand why I miss BeadFest already?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

BeadFest Silver Glass Class with Sara LaGrand!

I have wanted to take a lampworking class since...well, forever! Ok, not quite forever, but considering my first class where I learned to make beads was about 10 years ago, I was overdue. I needed something to help hone my skills, get the creative juices flowing and just give me a boost creatively. I've tried to get in to classes in my area and Rochester, and have always been turned down because they fill up immediately.

Cool pink and dark caramel bead! Super cool reactions around the edge of the lines!

So I was thrilled to see that BeadFest brought back lampwork classes, and that there was a class of high interest to me--Silver Glass. For those of you who don't know the behind-the-scences of the glass world, silver glass refers to specialized 104 COE glasses that have a high silver content. These glasses, when worked properly, give incredible iridescence, sheen, and pops of color you can't get with regular soda lime glass. The "worked properly" part is crucial--some are easy to master, while others are downright persnickity, and all of them cost around $80-$100 PER POUND. So this isn't a material you feel great just experimenting wildly with!

Top 2: Views of a Triton Bead; Bottom Left: Gold Fumed rose bead (the base started as off-white and turned pink!); Bottom Right: Cool reaction when silver glass is placed over a pale moss green transparent

The instructor was Sara Sally LaGrand. The name rung a very quiet bell--turns out she was President of the ISGB (International Society of Glass Beadmakers) a few years back, and has been working with glass for 17 years. I'd say she knows her stuff!

Sara was an incredibly patient and generous teacher. She showed us some very specific techniques to try, but also allowed us to experiment and play a bit. I learned so much just by watching her work in the flame that I was able to address some bad habits then and there.

My play bead: 2 different silver glass for the flower petals...Amazing range of colors with little effort!

My favorite bead is one only a mother could love, because, frankly, it's totally ridiculous! I'm not one into drawing...and we were attempting a bead with a fish "drawn" on the surface with glass. The thing on my bead? Not. A. Fish.

Not a fish. More like a newt in a bad toupee...

I started laughing when I picked up my beads, because the delightful little guy looks like some cartoonish representation of the fish that walked out of the primordial soup, trying to be a reptile! But I do love him, because he reminds me that there is delight in failure (and if you saw what we *had* been going for, you'd agree).

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Getting Ready for BeadFest!!

A lot of my beady peers are in overdrive mode getting ready for BeadFest Philiadelphia by cranking out loads of gorgeous beads to sell. Not this girl--I am relaxing (finally) and enjoying the rest of my summer--because I will be attending BeadFest as a happy shopper!

My overdrive time will come in late September and October as I realize I don't feel I have nearly enough inventory for the single show I am doing this year in November. But, I am sure you will see a panicked post about that in the fall.

For now, I *made* myself actually use the stash of artisan beads I picked up at last year's BeadFest. You, know, so I could buy *more* in good conscience! Here are some of the pieces I have created:


The above pair of earrings features truly unique and beautiful ceramic discs by Marsha Neal Studio. Am I in love with these, and had to force myself to list them in my Etsy!

These baby blues feature ceramic charms by Suburban Girl Studios. I love her clay! I paired them with some of my own hand enameled beads--perfect for jeans or a stunning blue dress!

Finally, I have been hoarding this stunning pendant by Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio (and, true confessions, I have another in a light blue, too)! Matched with some opal crystals and my hand enameled beads in the cobalt blue--so stunning, if I do say so myself!

Another confession: I still have some beads I am hoarding from some other artists. However, I don't think my conscience will interfere too much with my shopping experience this coming weekend...and remember, buying from artisans means you are helping the economy, so I expect my commendation from the President for aiding the economic recovery some time in September! ;)