Friday, April 28, 2006

Lascaux Inspired Artwork

Inspired by artwork found in the Lascaux Caves in France, Luann Udell has re-interpreted this art form into beautiful textiles and jewelry. She uses a variety of materials, including beads and polymer clay, to accentuate her visions. I especially like her earrings which can be found under her "Jewelry" section of her website. My favorite are the "faux" antler earrings - I am intrigued with scarification patterns and these beautiful earrings are great examples of this ancient practice. Click on the title above to see her textiles and be sure to check out her jewelry. Enjoy! (PS I've also listed her blog under "Beader's Blogs" - she's got some great information so be sure to check it out too!)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Create Your Own Needle Cushion

This is the perfect gift for your favorite beader! (or yourself) I found this fun project over at the Better Homes and Gardens website. It's a pin cushion made of felted wool and decorated with flowers and beads. What could be more useful and fun for Spring?
If you're like me, my workspace has beading needles stuck into fabric surfaces of the cloth I use to bead upon. I don't know why I don't use wooden needle holders, but I don't. I like my needles easily accessible and I typically have a variety of sizes I work with during a project. I also have a habit of impaling myself on the random needles. I think this is a perfect solution to those stuck needle woes....
Click on the title above to get to the project and enjoy. PS If you make one, please email me a photo and I'll post it on my blog!

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Painter's Keys

We all live under the same sky, but we don't all have the same horizon. (Konrad Adenauer)

If you find inspiration in the wisdom of great men and women, then you might like the website "The Painter's Keys". It contains a comprehensive list of famous art quotes which can be searched by author or content. I've included a link to the contents list in the title above. Perhaps you might find a quotation that is personally inspirational or helps to guide you through your next endeavor. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Free Bead Patterns

I've just added a new link category in the sidebar: Free Bead Patterns. Here you will find links to websites offering free patterns and tutorials, or links to websites that list these links. Have fun!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Print Your Own Fabric

Did you know that you can have your art printed on fabric? I didn't, but now I do! It's a great idea and I wonder what beadwork patterns would look like set in tiles on fabric. Hmmmm. Anyhow, I thought I'd share Colfax Cloth's website with everyone in case there are some quilters (or anyone who likes to sew) out there. Click on the title above to see examples; there's also a link to info on printing your own fabric. Have a great Thursday!

The New Micro-Macrame

I just received an email from Barry at Caravan Beads and he mentions Chris Buchanan's new book: "The All New Micro-Macrame: It's not 1970 anymore!". The projects use Barry's C-lon cord which is available through his online site. Chris has a free pdf on her site for one of the "microme" projects, which can be accessed here. Be sure to check out her gallery plus she sells kits too!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Shop Etsy

I found a great little site that specializes in original artisan works for sale. There are all kinds of categories and one that caught my attention was Emily Martin's paintings: The Black Apple. Emily also has a blog! Click on the title above to get to the home page of Etsy and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Kumihimo To Go at the Gem Faire

The last booth I wanted to mention from the Gem Faire was a business owned by Karen DeSousa who creates jewelry using kumihimo braiding. While I didn't buy any of her items - kumihimo supplies - I was intrigued with the process. Her booth was small but well organized and she was weaving a kumihimo strap while helping customers. I thought this was a great idea - demonstrating the method to promote the item. She also had examples of kumihimo necklaces in a display case, which were very beautiful. She has a website where you can purchase the supplies and also view her gallery. I've included the link to her website in the title above.

I've seen Kumihimo woven very intricately, for example take a look at the sophisticated process Richard Sutherland uses. I've also seen it woven with beads and a variety of threads as an accent for beadwork. A beautiful example of this is Giovanna Imperia's work. (Be sure to click on the "more" at the bottom of the page!). Diane Fitzgerald has written about this process and her article "Beaded Braided Boa" appeared in Beadwork magazine's October 2004 issue.

Kumihimo braiding is a traditional Japanese Art and can be used for a variety of projects. It's a great alternative to using satin cord or braided cording and it's a great way to create a matching neckpiece for a one of a kind beaded item. If you're interested in this process, Karen sells kits to get your started ($39.95).

Overall I would say the Gem Faire was quite a success from a customer's point of view. If you're interested in attending one of these faires, check out their online schedule. If you're interested in exhibiting at one of these shows, I would suggest contacting one of the exhibitor's to see what they thought about it. I hope you've enjoyed this mini-review and have a great Wednesday!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Style Bubble

I just added a new link under "Way Cool Art Blogs" called Style Bubble. It's a fun site with an inside look at fashion and what drives it. Check it out when you have time! Have a great Friday!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Sacramento Gem Faire

The Gem Faire was this weekend in Sacramento and I went with a few friends. There were gorgeous beads - semi-precious stones in every imaginable cut, lampwork, crystals, glass, findings, Tibetan beads, and even Kumihimo! We arrived early on Sunday and there weren't many people in the auditorium. After perusing a table of A+ quality stones near the entrance, I dashed off to give the faire a once-around. The show featured a wide variety of items and quality, but overall I'd say the quality was very good. The prices were competitive with other shows I've been to and certainly were better than what you might pay at a boutique or bead shop. Since we arrived on the last day, many items were marked down 20% or more. A wholesale license meant either you got a discount on the items or no sales tax.

I've not been to many shows, but what few shows I've been to I've found that after a while, one table blends into the next and one vendor's items can't be distinguished from another. At this show, however, there were a few vendors that stuck out for various reasons and this week I am going to feature them on my site with links to their webpages. I'll tell you what I liked best about their displays, their items, and their customer service. I'll also provide links to their upcoming shows - should they be at a show near you. So stay tuned!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Beading At The Beach

Bobbi Kirk from Newport, Oregon just launched her blog "Beading at the Beach" and shares with us some of her latest beadwork endeavors. What I really like about her work is the materials she uses. They complement her designs and give them a soft, classic appeal. I love her "Mermaid" - the colors and the beads remind me of the ocean- and her "Benu Bird" captures the asian aesthetic extremely well. I didn't know much about her until she posted her new blog. She has a website and on her website is her artist's statement. I think the following is a great characterization of her work (in her own words):

"My current work is exploring basic themes that seem to meet in each theme is the connection between people and nature - particularly watery nature, as manifested in oceans, bays, rivers, etc. Another is the nature of mortality, and the ways we have tried to protect ourselves from it throughout the ages. Although my pieces are not directly representational, they are intended to convey something of the respect and awe I feel for the natural environment I am a part of."

It's great to see her blogging so we can learn more about her and her work. Thanks for sharing your beautiful work Bobbi! Click on the title above to get to her blog and don't forget to subscribe to your favorite blogs through Bloglines. Enjoy your travels!
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Will Macs Finally Rule?!!

Macs & Windows...Windows & Macs. I was reading yesterday's paper this morning and on the front page was an article about Macs being able to boot up Windows. Apple has a new program called 'Boot Camp' which is being offered as a freeware (creatively called "public beta" - which means at some point they'll pull it) and installs all the necessary drivers to run Windows on a Mac. We all know this is old news (OLD, meaning we already knew about the cross-over abilities of the new Intel Macs). What's new news is that Apple is *finally* taking the initiative (MS is nowhere to be found on this one). Riding on the coat-tails of the iPod sensation, things just keep getting better and better. It's a brilliant strategy to win over new fans to Macintosh. Finally.

I love Macs. I've owned one for almost three years and I love it. I learned on a Mac - back in 1985 when they first came out. I fell in love with them but could never quite afford one since I was a starving student for years. All of my computers have been hand-me-downs. I'd take anyone's "old" computer because it was always better than mine. And they were all PCs. I remember groaning at these machines, hitting the monitors and saying "Why can't these run like a Mac - why do I have to program in DOS??!!!" ARGH! Then out came Windows (still not a Mac)...... Then I got a job. Then I paid off my student loans. Then I saved my money. Then I bought a Mac. Whohoooo!!!!! (Once a Mac lover, always a Mac lover).

Of course there are critics who say this will kill Apple once and for all. I tend to differ. Why? For one simple reason. Because Bill Gates would never dream of offering a program to run OS on a PC. Even if he did, he'd be a day late and a dollar short. After all, it's all about consumer packaging as iPod so clearly has shown (Will U2 be their commercial spokesman? Or perhaps Dave Matthews?).

I can't think of a better example of "Karma" at work. :) And isn't "Boot Camp" just the most appropriate title? Go Apple! Have a great day.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Confused by Color?

I have a little secret site I'm going to share with you. It's called and is a great site, full of information for web designers on how to make your web pages beautiful. It's also a great site for beaders. Color choices can be a real challenge with beadwork. Ever get stuck in a color rut? I do. There is a program on this website called "color schemer". Color schemer generates colors in the most wonderful of ways and will get you out of those ruts.

So here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to tell you how to use the color schemer. First, I want you to click on the title above. That will navigate you away from this page. Then open a new window and come back to this page. Adjust the window sizes so they are side by side - so you can read my instructions and play with the schemer at the same time. Have you done it? Great.

Okay, first I want you to click on the color wheel- choose any color you want. Notice that the default is set for monochromatic (the boxes under the color wheel - called color generators). Next, I want you to go over to the colors on the right and click on "variations" located under the colors: pastel, dark pastel, light pastel, contrast, and pale. So now you have a feel for what the variations look like. Go back to default and leave it there.

Next, I want you to click on the generators: contrast, triad, tetrad, and analogic. Again, this gives you a feel for what these do. Notice when you get to tetrad a box shows up with "angle distance". Play with that - go far left, then far right and notice the color changes. Let's set it over to the far right, at "max". (Pretty exciting colors, huh?)

Notice that the colors generated are extremely contrasted. Notice also that at the top of each of the four colors generated, there are four boxes - each one a shade difference. The top left corner box is the color you originally chose. Of the four tiny boxes lining the top of this color - the tiny box on the left - the one that's slightly larger is the current color shown. Click on that box.

You will see a big square of color shades. Look very closely. You will see a tiny round dot signifying the color you chose. I want you to mouse over that dot and see what appears: it should read something like: S=100%, V=100% and the CMYK number. (The upper left corner is that button position). I want you to also notice that the grid is actually a grid of squares. If your dot is in the upper left corner, click on the dot and move it down three squares and over three squares. Your position should be S=85%, V=85%. I want you to do the same thing for the other three colors- so that they are all at the position "S=85%, V=85%" (Place all of your colors at the same position on the grid). What did you notice about doing this?

You should have noticed that you were placing your dot onto the same square on the grid for each different color - 3 down from the top and 3 over to the right. Now look at your color scheme - it's a little nicer - not so contrasted. (I'm counting the top left corner square as "0")

So what did we learn from this? Take a bead color that you like - this will be the main color of your beadwork design. Find the closest matching color on the main color wheel. Generate the scheme you want (contrast, tetrad, etc). Then generate the variation you want (pastel, etc). Hint: If you chose a pastel color, it's a good idea to choose a pastel variation. From there, play with the colors, keeping the positions all similar. You should generate a pleasing color combination with this. Then go to your stash of beads and find the closest matching colors!

Remember, color perception is relative. Your colors don't have to be an exact match to the color schemer generator - it is only a guide to help you with your color choices.

Now for the best part. Wellstyled designs has a program you can download for free - for personal use only. Find it HERE. Have fun!!!
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Sunday, April 02, 2006

Stardust Beads

I found a wonderful little website this morning. Stardust beads has a gallery which features a variety of beaded jewelry items. They remind me of Miriam Haskell's jewelry but with a Japanese style. They're made using filigree findings - flat plates that you can attach beadwork to. The gallery has only been updated through 2003 but I think it's still worth the trip there! I would describe this artist's work as "feminine and delicate". I really like the look of beadwork combined with chains and metal - it gives the beadwork a graceful "vintage" look, and hangs well when worn. A good example is "A Tiny Little Arrangement" and "Elegant Shine". My favorite is the "Petite Luxury for Forefinger" - I like the colors and the texture. Have fun!
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