Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Holidays!

A special treat to inspire you: Videos from Alexander McQueen's runway shows, including his recent exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Enjoy and have a wonderful and prosperous New Year!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Bead Crochet Snakes

I was fortunate this weekend to come across an old Turkish beaded snake....Measuring 5 feet in length, 1.5 - 2 inches in diameter, and crocheted in size 8 seed beads. It is a beautiful piece of art. It was made in 1919 and the side reads "Turkish Prisoners 1919". Curious about the origins of this style of work, I googled "Turkish bead snake" and came across a link to a website:

The author of the website, Adele Recklies, has written a book about the history of these snakes called Bead Crochet Snakes. Did you know that POWs wove these snakes to trade for food? Click on the title above to read more about these highly collectible items and to find links to more information.  Enjoy!

PS: Adele also offers her book on Etsy!

Monday, October 24, 2011

And the Winner is...

And the winner is for Beadweaver's Big Book Giveaway:  MarcaSmit!

MarcaSmit wins a copy each of  Nancy Zeller's Bead Tube Jewelry and Kalmbach's Big Book of Beading Patterns.  Congratulations MarcaSmit!

Stay tuned for more great Big Book Giveaways from Beadweaver!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Big Book Giveaway: Two More Beautiful Books!!!

Nancy Zeller's Bead Tube Jewelry is a delightful mix of styles, patterns and colors. When I first received this book I wondered just what a beader could do with bead tubes? Well, Nancy's put together an imaginative collection! There are over 30 fabulous projects in this book as well as an excellent discussion of how to read and weave even and odd count peyote patterns as well as brick stitch patterns. It's a very inclusive book and is perfect for the beginner as well as advanced beadweaver. It's a "must have" for every beaders home library.

Bead & Button's Big Book of Beading Patterns is a collection of many of the great patterns found in their bimonthly magazine. Included are designs in peyote stitch, right angle weave, square stitch, brick stitch, herringbone, and loomwork. The patterns include Animals, Geometric and Abstract Designs, Holidays, Mythological Creatures, Plant & Flowers, and Miscellaneous patterns (including the Mona Lisa!).  It really is a great collection - especially if you haven't been a regular subscriber to their magazine.

TWO Great Books, ONE Lucky Winner! 

How You Can Win:
1. If you're on my mailing list, you're automatically entered to win (yay!).
2. If you're not on my mailing list, you must subscribe (you can always unsubscribe later). Follow this link to sign up and enter: Beadweaver Mailing List
3. Be sure to check your email to confirm that you've signed up.
4. Deadline to enter is Midnight, October 22nd (Saturday!) 

For any questions about Beadweaver's Big Book Give-aways, please read the comments below for the FAQs. Good Luck!

Monday, October 17, 2011

And The Winner Is.....

Congratulations goes to ZK Beads!!!!! She wins the beautiful Heather Power's book: "Jewelry Designs From Nature: Woodlands, Gardens, Sea" and the Kalmbach Publisher's book: "Creative Chain Mail Jewelry"!!!

Thank you all for your interest in this book giveaway!!! Next up is Nancy Zeller's Bead Tube Jewelry and Bead and Button's Big Book of Beading Patterns!!!! (Stay tuned, info to follow!)

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Big Book Giveaway: Two Beautiful New Books

I have two great new books to give away to the readers of Beadweaver. The first title is from our very own beader, Heather Powers. It's called "Jewelry Designs From Nature: Woodlands, Gardens, Sea". It's a really beautiful book. Heather combines all kinds of beads and findings to create very organic, lovely, wearable items. There are thirty-two projects in all. I highly recommend this book for its instruction and inspiration.

The second is "Creative Chain Mail Jewelry" which combines works from over twenty artists that have been featured in Bead and Button and Art Jewelry magazines. Easy projects focus on opening and closing jump rings, stringing, and crimping, while the more advanced projects require soldering. This is a good book for all levels interested in the art of chain mail jewelry.

One lucky winner will receive BOTH BOOKS!

How You Can Win:

1. If you're on my mailing list, you're automatically entered to win (yay!).
2. If you're not on my mailing list, you must subscribe (you can always unsubscribe later). Follow this link to sign up and enter: Beadweaver Mailing List
3. Be sure to check your email to confirm that you've signed up.
4. Deadline to enter is Midnight, October 16th (Sunday!)

For any questions about Beadweaver's Big Book Give-aways, please read the comments below for the FAQs. Good Luck!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Play On...

I come from a long history of women artists in my family: one of my grandmothers practiced the traditional crafts - she was a master quiltmaker when she wasn't busy working as a farmer. My other grandmother was more "formally" trained and designed clothing for Broadway as well as ceramic ware for department stores in New York City. She taught art in the public schools, developed community art programs, and sold her paintings in galleries. My mom was a professional singer and my aunt, a writer and graphic designer. It is not surprising then that growing up in this environment fostered a strong desire in me to create.

When I entered high school I'd already been exposed to the medium of clay - my first firing was when I was 5 years old. High School was the first time, however, that ceramics was offered as a course. I enrolled every semester. While my focus now is weaving and beadwork, I am frequently drawn to other disciplines - paper, glass, photography... I find my inspiration in the works of others. And one thing I find to be true: while the mediums may be different, we, as artists, share a common journey along the way.

Please enjoy this reprieve from your daily work as we venture into the world of "potting":

PLAY ON: Kick Wheels

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Another Africa

Beautiful Samburu warriors adorned with traditional beadwork make their way to New York City. Click on the title above!
Photo by Billy Kidd (you will be redirected to his site if you click on it).

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Armando's Steel Horizon

Sometimes brilliance takes a little getting used to.

I remember first seeing Armando's Steel Horizon while passing through Redding, California on my way to Mt. Shasta. I'd heard about the "metal trees" but didn't know what to look for. Cell phone towers? Christmas trees? One friend told me "Look for the palm trees along I-5" to which I replied "Seriously? You mean those cheap metal cutouts you can buy at CostCo?"

When you see his work for the first time, you might ask yourself "What's all the hype about?". Ahhh, but see it twice or see it at night and you will become a Believer.

I live in a place that boasts the first U.S. Santiago Calatrava architectural sculpture....otherwise known as the Sundial Bridge. Its massive steel structure is painted white and rises high above the treeline. The bridge is a pedestrian glass bridge - yes, glass and steel - and it's magnificent. So it's only fitting that amongst us lives an artist who works brilliantly with an acetylene torch.

Please enjoy the following video on his work and feel free to copy my post to your blog, iphone, twitter, and whatever else account you'd like to share it on. You can click on the title above to see Armando's website and other artworks. And if you live in the area, will you join me in meeting this artist on Saturday, September 10th when he opens up his home to host a fundraiser for the Cascade Theatre?


(PS - Yes, I know. No beads. But it's Art and it nourishes the Soul.)

Monday, June 06, 2011

Vote Now! Bead Dreams 2011: People's Choice Award

This year the Bead and Button show has opened their "People's Choice Award" to online voting. You can view all of the finalists in this year's Bead Dreams event by clicking on the title above. To see each entry up close, simply click on the image. (It's so exciting to see the entries online!) Be sure to cast your vote when you are done!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

New Scholarship For Beaders

Revere Academy Announces New Scholarship Contest for Beaders

The Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts is offering a new scholarship aimed at the beading community. The respected jewelry school is now offering a complete scholarship for any of its 3-day classes to the winner of its new contest for beaders. The winner will chose from dozens of classes offered each year in a wide range of subjects such as fabrication, stone setting, jewelry design, and more.

The new scholarship contest is open to anyone who makes beaded jewelry and would like to learn more about traditional jewelry making. The winner can select the class of their choice and receive full tuition plus airfare from anywhere in the U.S. as well as lodging in San Francisco, and kit fees. Applications ask for examples of your beaded jewelry along with a statement of why you want to attend the Revere Academy.

“This is a great opportunity for anyone who is passionate about making jewelry and would like to take their skills to the next level,” says the school’s director and founder, Alan Revere. “In just 3 days, the winner will learn an incredible amount from professionals who are eager to share their skills.”

Leslie Strong, a beaded jewelry maker from Bellingham, WA summarized her experience at Revere by saying, “I started out working with beads but soon felt limited by what I could find in catalogs. As a designer, I wanted each element to be of high quality and fit my design. I needed to know at least the basics of fabrication. After a few Revere classes, I learned so much that the possibilities of what I can create are wider than ever before. And the jewelry I make is of greater value too.”

The application deadline is August 15, 2011 and the winner will be announced October 1, 2011. For more details and the link to the online application, visit

The Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts is a professional jewelry school located in downtown San Francisco's historic Phelan Building. Schedules, information and a free video tour are available upon request from the Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts, 760 Market Street, Suite 900, San Francisco, Ca 94102.  Tel: 415-391-4179 Web Site:  E-mail: Fax: 415-391-7570

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Selvedge - Lots to Like

Hi Everyone,
Sorry for the unexpected disappearance! I've been away helping a family member get through surgery and recovery, but I'm back now.  I have a few more books to give away but in the meantime, I wanted to share with you a magazine that I absolutely adore. It's called Selvedge Magazine and is produced in the U.K. It is the finest magazine I've come across in a very long time. The magazine itself is gorgeous - printed on heavy duty paper with beautiful photography and wonderful articles. It covers all things textile, although not much about beads or beadwork. However, I think its important as artists to expand our boundaries into areas we love and bring back our discoveries to our own work.

Selvedge magazine can be found on Facebook. As of this writing, 7169 people "Like" it. Selvedge is offering a free subscription to the 7500th person to like them on Facebook. So if you're at all interested, head on over to their FB page. I've included a direct link to them in the title above. Otherwise, if you're interested in learning and seeing more about Selvedge Magazine, you can click on the following link to find their home page. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

And The Winner of Tapestry Bead Crochet is...

And the winner of one copy of Ann Benson's Tapestry Bead Crochet  is:  beads@

(Note: I have a two "beads@" so check your email for the winning notification from beadweaver)


Next Up in Beadweaver's Big Book Giveaway is:  Nancy Zeller's Bead Tube Jewelry!
(Be sure to check back for details!)

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Beadweaver's Big Book Giveaway: Tapestry Bead Crochet

I received a copy of Tapestry Bead Crochet in the Fall from Lark Books to review. I've always wanted to learn bead crochet so you can imagine how excited I was to receive this book. I held onto it until I had time to sit down with crochet hook, thread, and beads in hand, and really use the book to learn the skill. I did that and here is what I think!

Ann Benson is a great teacher. She's known for her website BeadsEast where beaders can find all sorts of tutorials, patterns, and kits for beading. The first chapters in Tapestry Bead Crochet describe the tools necessary for bead crochet including the techniques and stitches required. I purchased a size 7, 8, and 9 steel crochet hook to learn with (size 10 seemed a bit too small for me!). I sat down with #10 crochet cotton and began hooking. It was a wonderful experience. Her diagrams were straightforward and easy to follow. Because I am an absolute beginner, I got a bit confused with crocheted tubes and the "step up" technique but found the bonus DVD extremely helpful in terms of understanding how to do it. 

The remainder of the book explores using bead crochet and patterns to create a variety of beautiful purses. After getting through the first chapters, I was excited to look through the patterns to see what I'd like to try. The very first pattern is a beautiful dragon purse. In the section on "Techniques" I found the information for reading patterns. She also takes care to note on her patterns which direction the threading of the beads should go. 

For flat crochet (not crochet in the round) the directions on how to read/thread your beads are located amidst the flat crochet pattern - "Listen Up Pouch". If you couple that with how to bead crochet "Back and Forth" from prior sections, you're set to go. (Note: you may also want to view her DVD to see how to crochet the beads on the front vs. the back of the fabric). 

The book comes with a bonus DVD that shows the various techniques used for purse construction. I found the DVD to be extremely useful. The DVD shows how to step up at the beginning of a new row, how to create a round "Hex" base, and how to read the patterns, in addition to the basic techniques. It also really helped me to understand the techniques involved and is indispensible to the book. 

Overall I liked this book. Ann Benson does a wonderful job of presenting a wide variety of bead crocheted patterns to create purses. And many of the purse styles are based on old antique beaded purses. Her patterns are beautiful and there is a wealth of knowledge in this book regarding purse construction. If you have some experience with bead crochet then you'll love this book. If you're a novice, like I am, then you will definitely want to watch the included DVD to understand the techniques and basics of purse construction before you get started on a project.

How You Can Win A Copy

I have one copy to give away. Here's how you can win it:
How To Enter:
1. If you're on my mailing list, you're automatically entered to win (yay!).
2. If you're not yet on my mailing list, you must subscribe (you can always unsubscribe later). Follow this link to sign up and enter: Beadweaver Mailing List
3. Be sure to check your email to confirm that you've signed up.
4. Deadline to enter is Midnight, April 4th (Monday next week!) - That's 5 days from now!
For any questions about Beadweaver's Big Book Give-aways, please read the comments below for the FAQs. Good Luck!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

And The Winner is.... Beading Across America

And the winner of one copy of Beading Across America is:  deborah@

(Note: I have a few deborah's so check your email for the winning notification)


Next Up in Beadweaver's Big Book Giveaway is: Ann Benson's Tapestry Bead Crochet by Lark Books
(Be sure to check your email tomorrow for details!)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spring Into Spring with Beadweaver's Big Book Give-Away!

Great New Books for Beadweaver's SPRING Big Book Giveaway!

I've got some great new books to share with the readers of Beadweaver. These are *mostly* bead weaving books (Yay!). There are 7 titles in all, so stay tuned! Up first - and no small feat - is Beading Across America edited by Paulette Baron, Amy Katz, and Sherry Serafini and featuring works from 30 artists across the U.S.

Beading Across America: Jewelry Inspirations from Coast to Coast.

Beading Across America features a compilation of a large variety of artist's styles and designs brought together in one place. The only other recent, novel beading book* that presents individual artist's works along with detailed instructions for completion is Valerie Hector's The Art of Beadwork. The difference with this book is that the work has a very strict contemporary focus: the artists are currently very active in the U.S. beading community, the work presented has a very popular focus, and the projects are mostly beginner and intermediate level projects.

The projects presented run the gamut from very simple such as Jeannette Shanigan's Moose Forget-Me-Not Pin, to the complex - Louise Hill's gorgeous Paradise Pendant. I was very excited to see Laura McCabe's Eiffel Tower Ring (Partly because of the French theme, partly because I love that design!) and to see the many well known artists presented in this book. Among them: Diane Hyde, Heidi Kummli, Louise Hill, Sherri Haab - just to name a few. Many popular techniques used in off-loom weaving can be found amongst the projects - or at least a variation of them. The graphics are great and the step by step instructions are detailed enough to guide most beaders through the projects to completion - that's quite a feat when you consider that there are 30 individual artisan pieces! While some projects may appear to be familiar to viewers, the vast majority of them were newly designed for this book.

Also included in this book is a brief bio about each artist and a comment the artist has written pertaining to the project at hand. It adds a personal touch to their work and gives us a glimpse inside their lives as bead artists.

I think this is a "Must Have" addition to any bead weaving library.  It's full of little treasures :)

How You Can Win A Copy
I have one copy to give away. Here's how you can win it:

How To Enter:
1. If you're on my mailing list, you're automatically entered to win (yay!).
2. If you're not yet on my mailing list, you must subscribe (you can always unsubscribe later). Follow this link to sign up and enter: Beadweaver Mailing List
3. Be sure to check your email to confirm that you've signed up.
4. Deadline to enter is Midnight, March 28th (Monday next week!) - That's 5 days from now!
For any questions about Beadweaver's Big Book Give-aways, please read the comments below for the FAQs. Good Luck!
*excludes books that are compilations of already printed projects. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Yokoo's Inspiration

What is it about artists like Yokoo that I find so inspiring? I'm drawn to her work, her style, and her simple message. Translated to beadwork: It isn't about how many beads we can add to a piece but being satisfied that we've said enough.....Making our work visually strong while being mindful. A piece of art should stand on its own -and Yokoo's work stands alone. She has created a vision based on Love and it shows in everything she does. If you need a bit of inspiration today, take a moment to view this  fabulous film short on Etsy's Storque.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Playing With Paper

I'm constantly on the lookout for new ways of expression. As part of this journey, I thought I'd share some great finds with you. Today I found a wonderful feature on Etsy about a paper artist named Mandy Smith. Her house video "The Move" reminds me of Louise Hill's work with houses (soon to be featured in the upcoming book- Beading Across America). Mandy's also created paper sculptures for commercials (click on the title above to see it). Wow. Now if only we could clue in Big Media to beadwork as a viable commercial medium....!

The Move, Paper Animation from Mandy Smith on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 05, 2011


Don't know what to do with those old painted pictures on the wall? You can convert them to shopping bags. That's what this enterprising woman from Belgium does with flea market finds. Check them out by clicking on the title above. They're beautiful. Not to mention sturdy and a great way to re-use an old painting (sans value, of course!). Add a few beads or a splash of bead embroidery and my heart is stolen!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Paris Underground

I was caught today by an enticing photograph of skulls and femurs from the catacombs under the streets of Paris. To see a glimpse of Stephen Alvarez' photographic journey beneath the city, click on the title above. Or, watch this film short (hosted by NPR) of Stephen exploring the tunnels. Under Paris is the theme of this month's National Geographic:

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Jost Haas: Britain's Last Glass Eye Maker

Eyes have been used for ages as centerpieces in art and jewelry. A once popular style during the Georgian & Victorian eras,  this Victorian Eye Brooch from 1845 was known as "Lovers Eye Jewelry" and depicts an eye painted on ivory (Read more about Lovers Eye Jewelry on Antiques Road Show). Watch Britain's last glass eye maker create a prosthetic eye as he discusses this dying art.

The Glass Eye Maker from Tomas Leach on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Diane Hyde's Big Kit Sale!

I was visiting Diane's website - Designer's Findings - and saw that she's having a sale on a few of her kits and supplies. There are some gorgeous pieces - such as her Victorian Crazy Beaded Pendants. Click on the title above to see her sale inventory. Enjoy!

Friday, January 28, 2011

David Chatt's Community Crow Event Final Hours

David is down to the final hours of his fund raising event for his Big House project. As of this writing, he has only $224 to go! The event ends tomorrow night (Saturday, January 29th) at 11:59 pm - less than 38 hours from now... If you or anyone you know would like to contribute to this project, please do so by clicking on the title above.

Please join with us in supporting David. In order for him to obtain a matching grant, he must reach his goal by tomorrow night. If you donate $100, you will receive a beautiful hand made bead from him (a treasure!). So if you've been thinking about it, now's the time to act!

Click on the title above to go to David's fundraising page. Thank you!

Countdown Clock by

Saturday, January 01, 2011

David Chatt's Big House Project

Dear Beadweavers,

Will you join Louise Hill and myself in supporting David Chatt?

From Louise: "Most everyone in the bead world knowns who David Chatt is and knows of his fabulous beaded works. In 2008 he was awarded an artist in residence position at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. He built his own glass studio and has been spending his time learning and perfecting the skill of sand casting. This skill is now being applied to one single glass window with 200 separate pieces of glass depicting a crow on top of a nest of sticks. The window is located in Ballard Washington where David and his partner have converted a church into what is known as The Big House. For more information about this fabulous undertaking and to help  raise money CLICK HERE."

From Susan: "There's a matching fund connected to each donation made (Give A Little = Give A Lot). One dollar, fifty dollars........any and every amount helps. For donation levels of $25 and higher, David is offering some "perks" as an incentive.... If you have a blog, please share the love and re-post Louise's post.  Let's help David meet his $10,000 goal by January 29th!"

Louise and I have made a donation and hope you will join us in supporting this wonderful artist. You can click on the title above and it will take you to David's information page where you can learn more and contribute too.

Thank you for your interest and I wish you the very beady best for a prosperous new year,

Susan Mandel