Friday, July 22, 2016

Interview with Betty Cox of UniqueandMacabre

Step into the world of Betty Cox and her Etsy shop, “UniqueandMacabre”, open since 2012, and you will certainly feel like a kid in a candy store.  The beautiful colors and the intricate textures of her work both invite and excite the eye.  While the nature of some of Betty’s art pieces may shock and disturb the squeamish, the macabre themes are very interesting and thought-provoking.   Her pieces do what art should do; they inspire, and evoke conversation.  As you browse through her shop, Betty’s creative use of contrasts and her attention to detail, grabs you and holds you until you have viewed every single listing.  

Betty was an artist at a young age and then music took over.  She is a trained Cellist with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Performance but it was a summer job as a nurse’s aide that led her to become a Registered Nurse, then later she obtained a Master’s degree in science / maternal child/ midwifery from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  She is currently practicing as a Certified Nurse Midwife in San Diego at Kaiser Permanente.
Betty started her venture in jewelry making by stringing beads, then creating polymer clay beads and resin jewelry.  Later she was inspired by a good friend, who created lamp work beads and made beautiful jewelry using seed beads.  Betty’s first seed beaded piece of jewelry was a Carol Wells
 “Cha Cha” bracelet!  She loved figuring out the colors, stones, gems and textures, it took her about 4 months to complete because she wasn't used to working with tiny beads!!!     
Betty has been beading for about 7 years and she joined the Etsy BeadWeavers Team because she was inspired by, and had respect for all of the spectacular bead artists on the team.  It was also important to her that she could be as unique as she wanted but still accepted by the team.
She markets her jewelry primarily through her Etsy shop, but also word of mouth, local shows, teams, and contests!   

You are a certified Nurse Midwife and a former musician, which one of those professions fueled your interest in the macabre? The artistic/musician side most likely influences my creations.  The macabre in my creations is probably fueled by my childhood.  I’m fascinated with things that are a bit scary and things that aren't real, such as dinosaurs, monsters and " things that go bump in the night" 

 What is your design process when creating a new piece?
 I base my creations on a focal piece. I glue them to stiff material I usually have either a pendant, brooch or bracelet in mind and proceed to select colors, textures.  I use a white marker for lines that flow around the focal piece, then I start creating and my pieces generally evolve.  

How are you able to balance color, texture, and the macabre in your pieces? 
 I do love to mix the beautiful with the macabre.   I love color and texture so my pieces that include daggers, stones, drops give it more character in my eyes.  I think of my work like a painter or sculpture so I try to include the macabre along with beauty in mind

Is there a story behind the frequent use of “eyeballs” in your work?
There is no story behind my eyes but they often develop as I create.  Even I'm surprised when I'm in the middle of creating and by the outcome!!!  

 Which bead artists inspire you?
I’m inspired by Sherry Serafini, Heidi Kumili and Laura McCabe.  I was fascinated by their unique, colorful styles! The prosthetic glass eyes that Laura used were fascinating to me and couldn't wait to find some!  

Who is your customer?
My customer is often one that either loves the unique, kind of weird or different style.  I once had a customer that wanted 14 custom pieces.    

What has been the most challenging part of owning an Etsy shop?
The most challenging part of owning an Etsy shop is keeping up with posts of other artist’s work.   I'm often distracted throughout the day because I want to see and like everything!!  I also want to keep myself busy creating my own work to keep my viewers and customers interested.

What are your tips or advice on maintaining an Etsy shop?
Tips and advice to maintaining my Etsy shop, is to look every day and like other artist’s work, because the feedback I get on my own work inspires me.  Look at what sells and what doesn't and think of how your work stands out from the rest.  My best advice is don't be afraid to explore something different.

The work of Betty Cox is proof that beauty is in the “eyeball” of the beholder.
To see all of Betty’s beautiful creations please visit her shop at:

To see more of Betty’s beautiful work, visit the links below.

Monday, July 18, 2016

July 2016 'Mystical, Mythical and Magical Creatures' Challenge Results

Congratulations to the winner of both the team and public votes Svetoslava Todorova of LuckyDesignCrafts!

Legend of The Unicorn Necklace-EBWC


Legend of the Unicorn Necklace - LuckyDesignCrafts - 12 votes (19.4%)

Hippogriff Eagle – OfYourLove – 9 votes (14.5%)
Dragon on a Wire – Beadditz – 8 votes (12.9%)
Legend of the Unicorn Necklace– LuckyDesignCrafts – 64 votes (27.7%)
In Honor of Argus The Watcher – tattooedraven – 45 votes (19.5%)
Hippogriff Eagle – OfYourLove – 27 votes (11.7%)

Well done to the winners and all who participated and thanks to everyone who voted!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Entries for July's "Mystical, Mythical and Magical Creatures" Challenge

Here are the entries for this month's "Mystical, Mythical and Magical Creatures" challenge!  VOTING WILL BE OPEN FROM JULY 9TH UNTIL JUNE 15.  Please choose your favorite entry from the images or links below, then select your choice in the blog poll that will appear on the right sidebar during the days that voting is open.

Click on the image mosaic or links below to learn more about each entry and see larger, detailed images of each piece. 


Image Map

Saturday, July 2, 2016

August 2016 Challenge: Rainbows

Thanks once again to Shine Sturz for our August Challenge theme. She says:
“There was a massive storm here last week and as it moved east there was the most incredible bright set of double rainbows stretching the full arc from one side of the horizon to the other! Designs should have every color: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple.”
Please be sure to have your entry listed in your Etsy shop by August 5, 2016 23:59 EST and remember to include EBWC in the title and tags of your entry. Kindly refer to the Challenge Rules for details on what is allowed in Challenge entries to ensure that your entry is compliant.

Friday, June 24, 2016

May & June Challenge Winner Interview: SunShine Sturtz- OfYourLove

See all the beautiful original submissions!

May & June

Check out Sunshine's Shop here

Congratulations on winning the May and June challenges. Your bracelet and necklaces were a wonderful realization of the themes.

I see you have a fondness for the whimsical in your jewelry. How do you come up with your designs?

My designs are almost always inspired by my components. I love components!! I rarely set out with very much of a plan other than a few key components laid out then it grows from there. This can sometimes backfire because sometimes I get many hours put in in and then I will want to do something else that wont work because of bad planning. This does however push me to get creative sometimes: "how can I make this work without taking it apart."

I love your May challenge piece, it interpreted the theme beautifully in a way that wasn't overdone. The energy of the gemstones make it seem magical. I found a few rough gemstones in Colorado when I was there years ago. Do you ever use found stones or objects in your work?

I have a collection of found objects, I have a collection of all kinds of things that I see as "beading components" that I will "use someday" :-)

Your jewelry is bold, colorful and fanciful, and carries well over distance. do you have a theatrical background, or other training in the arts?

I don't have any "training" in any of the arts. I was in a few shows during my first attempt at college. I love theater, and I would get into it again if I had the time and/or there was community theater where I live.

The materials and style of jewelry sometimes encourage a first hand look. Do you have any other outlet like galleries or craft shows that allow people to see your work in person, and possibly drive sales to your Etsy shop as well?

I am a terrible sales person! Once in a while I bring out my dog related pieces to a dog show, but I rarely even attempt to sell things. I am not a very good business woman! I would rather invest the time in making more things. As a result though, I don't sell much. My next step in that kind of growth is to learn better photography.

Do you have a favorite stitch to use or type of jewelry to make?

I am addicted to Bead embroidery now. There are no rules. I can use any components, any beads, and it is very forgiving... there are no "mistakes"

How long have you been making jewelry, and is it your main focus in crafts or life?

I started playing with beads when I was about 12. I had recently acquired a step sister who was about my age, and she taught me the basic brick stitch earrings she had learned. Then for my birthday she and my step mom gave me my first little red toolbox with my first needles, and pliers and a few beads. But I only discovered BE about 5 years ago and that was the game changer. I wouldn't even say jewelry is my main focus with beads. I like to make "bead paintings" and I have big ambitions of making something sculptural soon! It's not my MAIN focus in life... It is probably tied with Newfoundlands. (hence some Newfy pieces in my beadwork.)

What are some of the challenges and joys you have faced with respect to your jewelry making and Etsy shop sales?

I barely have any sales in my etsy shop. Actually, the only reason I even opened one was to participate in the challenges. I think I have only had 6 sales since opening. But again, I am bad at marketing. The challenge has been to not worry about sales, and trying to make something that someone might buy. When I am driven by sales, I just get depressed that my stuff isn't selling, I tell myself "nobody likes my stuff." Instead, I just make things that _I_ like to make. that I WANT To make... if it sells, cool, if not, it is just added to MY collection. :)

Who is your favorite artist, be it in beads, painting or even music?

I am lucky to live near, and consider myself to be friends with two of the BEST bead artists in the universe: Kinga Nichols, and Heidi Kummli. Heidi was my first B.E. teacher, I am amazed by everything she makes. She has a knack for finding really unique components. I was honored to be invited to her first Shaman Bead Workshop, at her house which was amazing!! A very small group (5 I think) and two days spent up at Heidi's house in the most beautiful location!! (to me anyway, because I am a 'Mountain Kid') I met Kinga shortly after taking up BE, and I saw that she lived in the same town as me. at first I was intimidated by her awesomeness! Her work is incredible! The colors!! The textures!!! the critters!!! Turned out she was also simply amazing as a person!!!

And my sister. She is my favorite artist. She can do anything. She often helps me with designs, has made several components for me when I can't find exactly what I want, she makes it for me!! She can draw better than I can, so she has often sketched out my bigger ideas for me to work with. She is actually my favorite person in general. :)

Is there anything else you would like to add or say to the EBW community?

Thank you all for being awesome!!! The people I have met in the bead community, the friends I have made in this community are all awesome! Nice! Supportive!!! It's a fantastic loving community!!! THANK YOU !!!

Monday, June 20, 2016

June 2016 'Cats' Challenge Results

Congratulations to the winner of both the team and public votes for the second challenge in a row, SunShine Sturtz!


Black Cat Silhouette Pendant- OfYourLove - 11 votes (23.9%)

Cat in the Handbag - STARARTjewelry – 6 votes (13%)
Tiger necklace – AnnaCohen – 5 votes (10.9%)
Black Cat Silhouette Pendant – OfYourLove – 30 votes (21.6%)
Black Cats Bracelet – Daidija – 29 votes (20.9%)
Tiger necklace – AnnaCohen – 19 votes (13.7%)

Well done to the winners and all who participated and thanks to everyone who voted!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Entries for June's "CATS" Challenge

Here are the entries for this month's "CATS" challenge!  VOTING WILL BE OPEN FROM JUNE  9TH UNTIL JUNE 15.  Please choose your favorite entry from the images or links below, then select your choice in the blog poll that will appear on the right sidebar during the days that voting is open.

Click on the image mosaic or links below to learn more about each entry and see larger, detailed images of each piece. 


Image Map