I’ve spent this week getting ready for an art show I’ll be in this weekend.  It is the first formally juried art show I’ve ever been in and I want everything to be perfect (OK, I know that won”t happen!  I’ll settle for near-perfect.).  I’ve been in shows before where I just brought in some of my work to the show producer, who then just said yea or nay.  This time, however, there was a jury of several artists.  I submitted three digital photographs of my work and they had a points system for rank-ordering everyone’s submissions.  I got accepted!

The occasion called for a more elegant booth display than I’ve had in the past.  I wanted to raise the table up higher, so the jewelery would be close to eye level, so I bought bed lifts to put under the table legs.

Bed lifts to raise the table height.

Next I trashed the old white crushed velvet table cover and got a slinky black one. Thank heavens I brought a fabric savvy friend with me to JoAnns.  I was completely clueless about what to get.   Then, I designed new labels for my earring cards.  The labels identify my company, website and the materials which the earrings are made of.

Earring card labels.

I also  bought new jewelry display busts and nice gift boxes in which to put the purchased jewelry.

Necklace display busts and packaging.

I’ve been using the same design for my jewelry hang tags for about a year now, but my newer  jewelry didn’t have tags yet, so I made some more.  Each tag tells what types of beads are in that piece.  A friend of mine came over to my house today and helped me hole-punch and string them.  I think I’m perfectly ready now, or at least near-perfectly!

Hang tags.


Tiger Lily Love

Heather Powers, an internationally known polymer clay artist, designed the Tiger Lily focal bead in my newest bracelet.  This is one of the beads I purchased at the Puget Sound Bead Festival.  According to Heather’s website, her work is inspired, in part by “Birds, tree branches, leaves, flowers and sundries from the sea (which) reflect the beauty of nature…”  She states that she “ hope(s) to encourage others to grab hold of what captures their imagination and spirit.”  This is truly what happened to me as I developed my design for this bead.

Tiger Lily Bead by Heather Powers of Humble Beads

I love combining orange with turquoise so I laid out a bunch of turquoise beads as potential contenders for the honor of framing the Tiger Lily bead.  None of the bright, shiny beads looked  right with the rustic style of Heather’s bead.  Two 1.25 mm chunky turquoise nuggets were just right for the job.  I also picked out 2 flat, circular disks of turquoise.

I didn’t want to make the whole bracelet turquoise so I started rummaging around in my drawer of orange beads.  I found 2 hand-felted beads.  My sister-in-law had given me a bracelet that alternated the hand-felted beads with orange wooden rounds.  It was all orange and kind of boring.  I never wore it (sorry sis).  I took it apart and threw it in the “orange drawer”.  The felt beads were exactly what this bracelet needed to lift it out of the ordinary!  I then filled out the design with chocolate-colored porcelain beads and tortoise-shell colored glass discs between all the beads.  A silver clasp was too shiny, copper looked much better. It’s in my web shop now.

Tiger Lily Bracelet

This really turned out to be a mixed media bracelet:  Handmade polymer clay bead, hand-felted beads, turquoise, porcelain and glass. Mixed media jewelry is very on-trend right now.  What do you think?  Is it delightful, too busy, jumbled or fun?  Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Glass Galore

I’ve posted pictures of the art beads and gemstones I brought home from the Puget Sound Bead Festival, but that’s not all of my loot. I also purchased a lot of sterling silver and the work-horse of  beaded  jewelry:  pressed glass.  It is called pressed glass because the molten glass is poured into forms and the 2 halves are pressed together, resulting in a faint tell-tale seam around the edges.  Because the glass can be manufactured in huge quantities, it is usually less expensive than gemstones or art glass.  The most unusual shapes and vintage glass beads are more expensive.  Of course, it is exactly those unique shapes that I am after.  Can you find the prize beads in this display?

One of many such tables of glass beads at the PSBF

What’s a person to do?  Lee Anne and I were practically fondling the glass.  It was so cool, silky and wonderful!  I didn’t really need any pressed glass, so I just made three selections.

With great restraint, I only purchased 3 sets of pressed glass beads.

All three of my purchases were wonderful vintage German glass beads from Wynnwood Bead Gallery in Port Townsend, WA.  I had purchased two of the red beads when I was in Port Townsend about 2 months ago and ever since then, I wished I had bought more.  Lois, the owner of Wynnwood was a vendor at the Bead Festival and I quickly snapped up a whole strand of these remarkable red beads.  The light turquoise beads are sea shell shaped and have two holes apiece.  They will become part of a couple of two strand bracelets.  The darker turquoise beads appealed to me because of their unusual shape and the dappled green along the edges.  Now its time to get to work!

Art Beads: The Super Stars

What are Art Beads?  They are the super stars of many of my jewelry designs.  Taking center stage; they are original works of art by talented bead artists working in the diverse media of glass, ceramics, polymer clay, metals, and fabric.  I enjoy getting to know the artists who create these beads and when I hold an art bead in my hands, I feel the creative vision and passion of the person who made it.  When you possess jewelry with art beads; you possess treasure.  (If you are interested in learning more about art  beads; visit the Art Bead Scene Blog.)       

Art beads are obviously more expensive than mass-produced beads, so I had to shop carefully at the Puget Sound Bead Festival.  There was so much more that I could only dream about, but this is what reality would allow me to come home with:       

Art Beads purchased at the PSBF


The rust colored bead, (top, left) is a dandelion bead by polymer clay artist Heather Powers.  The long tube-shaped bead was created by Olympia, WA glass artist Scott Parrish.  It has the most gorgeous swirls of purple, green, and rust.  The ceramic dragon-fly pendant is from Raven’s Journey in Port Angeles, WA.  The brown and cream twisted rings are called pretzel beads and creating with them will be just as fun as munching on pretzels!  The pretzels, the blue shell and the leaf are all creations of Unicorn Beads.  What a joy it will be to create jewelry with these beads.  It is a collaborative process with the artist who made them.


My beading buddy, Lee Anne, and I had a BEAD-utiful time at the Pacific Northwest Bead Festival in Tacoma, WA yesterday.  Imagine a convention hall filled with over 100 vendors selling an amazing array of gemstones, art beads, sterling silver, gold, copper and brass clasps and beads, vintage and contemporary pressed glass beads and crystals.   Comfortable walking shoes are essential and you have to be prepared for sensory overload!  Having a budget also helps – hehe.  Its easy for the green to just slip through your fingers when you are only half way through the vendors!  I’ll share my plunder over the next 2 days!  Here are my new gemstone goodies:



Gemstone Goodies from the 2010 PNWBF

    At the top of the picture is a strand light green freshwater pearls. Gemstones are usually purchased on 16 inch strands of monofilament with a knot on either end. Perpendicular to the pearls is a shorter strand of  rectangular brioche agates.  These will probably become a bracelet at some point.  Directly below the pearls are some lovely faceted garnets.  I love garnets!  Laying right up against the garnets are roundelles of Brazilian Amazonite.  Such a luscious color!  Finally, my big splurge, are these fabulous graduated turquoise wafers.  I can hardly wait to design a necklace featuring some of those!  I also came home with glass, sterling silver and art beads.  I’ll share those tomorrow.

Straight From The Heart

It started like this:

Lampworked heart by Dan and Jenelle Caracas

Jenelle gave this lovely lampworked heart  to her mother for Mother’s Day, and shortly after we met, about a month ago, her mom asked me to design a necklace to go with it.  When I picked up the heart, yesterday, I knew immediately that it was crying out for amethysts and garnets!  I could hardly wait to get to work.

I found amethyst rounds and pretty faceted garnet tubes in my stash.  I added some small silver rounds and some Swarovski crystals for bling.

Amethysts, Garnets and Swarovski Crystals

Next I wired the pendant to a sterling silver bail and added a pretty little tassel at the end of the heart with more Swarovski crystals and a single garnet.

Pendant with Tassel

I finished the necklace with a sterling silver heart-shaped clasp, to echo the beautiful lampworked heart pendant.

Sterling Silver Clasp

I love doing custom work.  It gives me a chance to make something that is meaningful and special.  The whole time that I am designing, I have a specific person in my mind.  I hold an image of them, as well as of their jewelry.  It’s a deeply gratifying process for me .

Now, here’s the finished design.  I hope she likes it!