Wednesday, July 30, 2008

September Challenge Theme - Complementary Contradictions

Smadar of Smadar's Treasures won our July challenge with her Roses in the Night Sky Cuff Bracelet . Her prize is the privilege of choosing the theme for the next challenge. Smadar has chosen a really interesting theme for the Etsy BeadWeavers September challenge:
Complementary Contradictions

What will the EBW team members create for this challenge? I can hardly wait to see! Let your imaginations run wild and see what you come up with...there is certainly lots of room for your unique creativity here!
Any style, any technique with a majority of beadweaving is welcome
ONE only entry per person
Must be created between July 31, 2008 and September 5th, 2008

Thank you, Smadar, for such a creative and inspiring theme. OK everyone, if you've already finished your entry for the August challenge (Art Deco - voting begins August 9th) then get beading on a Complementary Contradictions piece!

See our FAQ here for all of the details on the rules of our challenges.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ars longa, vita brevis

I sold an astonishing 29 pieces at a show last weekend (in spite of the scary thunderstorm that ended the second day of the show an hour early), and with another show this weekend, I decided I'd take today off from my real job and produce.

I beaded my butt off. (Sigh. Don't you wish you could really do that?) I started before 8 a.m. and just quit about half an hour ago, 7:15-ish. I stopped for lunch and dinner and ran a couple of errands. I'll subtract an hour and half for all that, and that still was nearly 10 hours of beading. And in that time I produced exactly two pairs of earrings, a bracelet and a pendant. (Wow! Just another 25 pieces to go between now and Friday! And tomorrow is Thursday.)

I suspect many beaders are like I am when it comes to pricing work -- clueless. Back when I was a freelance writer, I once asked a fellow freelancer how much to charge for, say, writing a press release. The answer was, "As much as you can ask while still keeping a straight face. And if they accept your price without a quibble, you didn't ask enough." Of course, writing is not beading (thank goodness -- I don't want anyone coming back to me with requests for revisions on my earrings!), and I don't think any of us want to have our customers haggle over prices. Nonetheless, when something doesn't sell, I always wonder if I've priced it too high.

So how does one decide how much to charge? I've read in various places that one should charge 2.5 times the cost of materials. That might work for silversmiths or furniture makers, but I think beadweavers are more like painters, in that regard. Does a painter weigh each dab of pigment he or she puts on the palette? My seed beads are like that. Even if I had the discipline to track the price of every tube of beads and record how many of each bead I use in a piece, I'd spend more time counting than creating. And if I had the mindset for that, I'd be an accountant, not an artist. (Before all the accountants rush to hit the "comment" link, let me add that I'm sure there are many artists who are accountants and vise versa. But I'm not that talented!)

Another pricing philosophy is that one should price pieces according to an hourly rate. This is a bit problematic for me, too. Since I have a day job, I rarely complete a piece in one sitting. And if I kept a record of how many minutes I spend on a piece, we're back to the "counting, not creating" problem. Today, however, turned out to be a good benchmark, since I was specifically focused on beading. Ten hours, four pieces. I didn't track how much time I spent on each piece, but if I assigned four hours each to the bracelet and pendant, and an hour to each pair of earrings, the prices I charge for these pieces are very close to the hourly rate I've set for myself.

Is my hourly rate too low? Probably -- but that's a whole 'nother issue. What is our time worth?

Article by Frances of bebop beads.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

EBW Team Midsummer Madness Sale!

Etsy Beadweavers present:

1st Ever EBW Team Midsummer Madness Sale!

Sale begins July 21st and runs thru to July 27th!

EBW Team members have gotten together to offer some special incentives for buying Handmade on Etsy.

Check out the fabulous beadwoven art jewelry specials at these participating shops:

Adina Halpern Designs 20% Off Everything

Adri 33 Select Items on Sale

Amber Leilani Free Shipping

A Rose By Name Free Shipping on Beadwoven Jewelry

Beadmatrix -10% First Item, -20% Second Item, -30% Third Item

Beadwork by Cindy Caraway 20% Off Pendants-- Excluding Archetypes

cigarboxbeads SALE Section

Cielo Design 15% Off Everything

Claire Creations Select Items on Sale

Clinkscales Arts 20% Off Select Items

Conlins Creations 20% Off Everything

Bead Diddy 15% Off Everything

Beadesigns by Dale Free Shipping + 10% Off Multiple Purchases

Beads and Blooms Free Shipping on Jewelry

Enchanted Beads 15% Off Everything

Far Frum Plain Jane 15% Off Everything

Fashions From E 15% Off All Beadwoven Jewelry

GrandmaMarilyns 15% Off Everything

High Desert Beadscapes Free pair of Cactus Bloom Earrings + Free

JoyFullyJewels SALE Section

Littlestone Design 20% Off All Bracelets

Lolos Free Shipping on Select Items, 15% Off Select Items

Misty Ridge Beads Free Shipping + Gift

Inspired Jewelry by Ann Burke SALE Section

Lynn Davy 10% Everything + Free Shipping

njema 15% Off Selected Items + Free Shipping Storewide On Multi-Item Purchases

Orly's BeadsHead 20% Off Everything + Free Shipping

Play'n With Beads Free Shipping

Salamander House Studio Free Shipping

SandFibers Gift with Every $20+ Purchase

Silver Dragon Creations Free Shipping

Smadars Treasure 10-15% Off Select Items

Strung Out Creations 20% Off All Beadwoven Items

thebeadedlily 20% Off All Beadwoven Jewelry

time2cre8 Free Shipping + Gift on All Orders Over $25

Unique You Everything on Sale + Free Shipping

Valhalla Forge Designs Free Shipping

Friday, July 18, 2008

Meet EBW Member Patrizia Tager

1. How did you get started with beadweaving?

As a little girl I was taught by one of our babysitter to make my own loom out of a shoe box and to weave beaded bracelets on it. I remember loving it but somehow it was pushed aside and forgotten. As I grew up I pursued different artistic avenues. I graduated with a B.A. Hons. In Fashion Design and went on to study photography, but eventually I became a desktop publisher. About 3 years ago, when my son turned one and started day care a few times a week, in desperate need to do something creative I took the opportunity of a few free hours a week to enrol myself in 4 basic beading classes at the local bead shop. That was the beginning of my obsession. The classes weren't enough, so I started buying beadweaving books and magazines and found myself discovering a whole new world that I did not even know existed.

2. What is your favorite part of beadweaving?

My favourite part of beadweaving... I don't have a favourite part, I love it all!!! From buying the beads, to choosing the colour scheme, to learning new techniques, to sitting for hours in complete solitude with my work which I find very meditative, to finally seeing my vision realised in front of me.

3. Please tell us one little known or unknown fact about yourself?

My other "obsession" is tattoos, I have 20 and would love more but am scared of running out of skin!

4. What inspires you?

I really get inspired by everything. I find myself drawn to ancient civilizations and their arts but I am equally moved by modern design and nature. Colours that fit my mood at a given time are also where I draw my inspiration from. I often design a piece simply because I feel like using a particular colour to recreate a particular mood. And last but not least, I get inspired by the beads themselves and the opportunity for freedom of creativity that this medium allows.

5. Do you have a favourite piece you created?

My favourite piece is almost always the one I'm working on. I have to fall in love with the piece as I'm making it, otherwise it would never get finished, but if I had to pick just one it would be the Eye of the Storm necklace which was my entry for the EBW Stormy Whether Challenge.

Triz was recently published for the first time in Flatwork by Nicole Campanella.

Nicole, says about the book:
"FlatWork" is a beautiful beading projects book. Full of inspirational gallery pieces of flatwork created by artists from around the world. You will be completely inspired to create all of the projects in this amazing book. Traditional projects such as, Rosette necklaces, Bolo with a surprise, Three Ring wristband, and Appliqué flower. Contemporary tiered, shelved, and textured Flatwork. I have also included my wire flatwork projects, to mention just a few. I show systematically how to work basic Flatwork to create amazing pieces of art.

Read what Triz has to say about Flatwork. You can see more beautiful art jewelry pieces by Triz at Triz Designs on Etsy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

And The Winner Is....

There were 643 votes this month and 28. Roses in the Night Sky Cuff Bracelet by SmadarsTreasures received the most votes.

This is a free-form bracelet and is one-of-a-kind. It's beautifully textured and embellished with Czech seed beads and pewter roses. You'll want to take a closer look at it.

Runners up this month are:

13. Worlds Collide Necklace by ThePreciousBeads.

5. Midsummer Nights Dream - OOAK by triz.

24. Midnight in Summer - Abalone Paula shell - Funky blended blues by beaderjojo.

3. Necklace-Moonbeams by artzilla.

14. Love-in-Idleness by beaddiddy.

26. FAIRIES FLIGHT ON A MIDSUMMER'S NIGHT beadwoven necklace by caraway.

11. A Midsummer Nights Dream Necklace by CieloDesign.

12. A Midsummer Night Dream by Fivefootfury13.

18. Butterfly Landings by vanishingpearl.

Keep your eyes peeled for the entries for the August challenge. Lots of our beadweavers are already at work on their entries for 'Art Deco'. As you know, our winners prize is choosing a theme for the next challenge. So watch for the announcement of the September Challenge theme.

Many thanks to everyone who entered the July Challenge. And many thanks as well to everyone who voted!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Etsy BeadWeavers July Challenge

The entries are in and once again, they are simply stunning!

Voting begins on Wednesday, July 9th and ends midnight July 15th. Please show your appreciation for the efforts of these amazing artists by taking on the difficult task of voting for your favorite. (The ballot will be on the side bar at right.) The individual pieces are featured below the mosaic, and you can visit each entry for more information by following the link. Thank you!

July 08 Challenge

1. An Evenings Dream Necklace by WickedOakDesigns.

2. Come Play in the Moonlight by beadsandblooms.

3. Necklace-Moonbeams by artzilla.

4. Titania's Moonlight Cuff by Bruizerbeans.

5. Midsummer Nights Dream - OOAK by triz.

6. Midsummer Night's Dream Cellini Spiral Bracelet by myfairladyvt4.

7. all moonlight and dewdrops choker by thebeadedlily.

8. A Midsummer Night's Dream by RegalBeads.

9. Puck Peeking Thru The Vines by cigarboxbeads.

10. A Midsummer Night's Dream Necklace by njema.

11. A Midsummer Nights Dream Necklace by CieloDesign.

12. A Midsummer Night Dream by Fivefootfury13.

13. Worlds Collide Necklace by ThePreciousBeads.

14. Love-in-Idleness by beaddiddy.

15. Peaseblossom's Floral Fantasy - Beadwoven Floral Headband by SalamanderHouse.

16. Moonlight and Shadows Necklace by arosebyname.

17. Moonlight on the water by Chrisbeads.

18. Butterfly Landings by vanishingpearl.

19. Titania's Bower by farfrumplainjane.

20. Blue Midnight Dream.. by lolos.

21. Dreamy Summer Night by adinahalperndesigns.

22. Titania's Jewels by Emarah.

23. Midsummer Night's Dream by noeasybeads.

24. Midnight in Summer - Abalone Paula shell - Funky blended blues by beaderjojo.

25. sky blue lake with beautiul waterflowes and green plants around by beadshead.

26. FAIRIES FLIGHT ON A MIDSUMMER'S NIGHT beadwoven necklace by caraway.

27. A Midsummer Night's Dream - Love Elixir Necklace by enchantedbeads.

28. Roses in the Night Sky Cuff Bracelet by SmadarsTreasure.

29. Titiana Speaks to Bottom - Vintage Brass Pendant on Spiral Rope Necklace by time2cre8.

30. A Fairy Crown for Queen Titania by PFordCustomJewelry.

31. A FreeForm Dream Peyote Cuff by SandFibers.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Color, Color, Color: Three Books about Beads and Color

The Beader’s Guide to Color, by Margie Deeb (Watson-Guptill, 2004).
This book is a must-buy for any beader, but especially for beadweavers. The first section of the book covers color theory and design. Ms. Deeb’s explanation of color wheels is brief but very clear. The illustrations are excellent (as in the rest of the book). She then takes readers on a tour of colors, describing not only the physical properties of each color, but also the cultural aspects. Yellow, for example, “represents the sun and signifies enlightenment, wisdom, or divine power.”

The second part of the book is a discussion of theory-based color schemes. Now I finally know why cobalt blue and copper look so great together! She provides clear descriptions of monochromatic, analogous, complementary, split complimentary, analogous-complementary, basic triads, complementary and modified triads, tetrads, pure colors, tints, low-key, and high-key colors. And for each color scheme, there is a sample project with graph (if needed) and clear directions.

The third part of the book features “emotional and symbolic color schemes.” For example, there is a friendly Fire Dragon Purse. Finally, “Inspiration and Technique” provides a small gallery (more, please!) of beaded projects and instructions for stringing, off-loom, and on-loom weaving.

The photographs of sample designs are eye candy at its best, but don’t just look at the pictures. The text is fascinating. Best of all, Ms. Deeb provides sample palettes, AND she gives you the Delica numbers for them. This makes shopping a breeze. I just take my lists, and off I go.

As if Margie Deeb heard my plea for “more, please!” she has written a second book, The Beader’s Color Palette (Watson-Guptill, 2008). It’s another must-buy. I adored her first book, so I pre-ordered this one. I must say, she topped herself. The photos are wonderful, the projects gorgeous, the instructions clear (though the font for materials lists is a little small for middle-aged eyes), and the palettes amazing.

This book is divided into sections. The first, “The Elements,” draws inspiration from air, fire, water, and earth. The water-themed palettes are breath-taking to this Pisces woman. She provides little photos of the natural scene that inspired the palette along with a photo of the beaded piece. Without a good layout, the book’s design could have been crowded, but it is beautiful. Even the high quality paper the book is printed on is a wonderful touch (pun intended) for us tactilely oriented beaders.

The following sections of the book are devoted to “Artists’ Historical Palettes,” “Cultures of Our World,” “This Gorgeous Planet,” and Living Color.” Again there is an “Inspiration Gallery” at the end of the book and some information on techniques and beading basics. Wonderful features are Delica cross-reference and gemstone cross-reference indices. So where was that project with the red jasper? Page 131.

My favorite section of the book is the “Artists’ Historical Palettes.” An example of her approach here is to show a little sample of a William Morris wallpaper design and then build a beading palette on the colors in the design. Artists she has chosen range from Ancient Egypt to Medieval and Byzantine to Van Gogh, with lots of others featured. She probably could have produced a whole book on just color palettes from great art. I will do us all a favor and request that. More, please, Margie Deeb!

The third book of color is The Beader’s Color Mixing Directory by Sandra Wallace (Krause Publications, 2007). This book is another must-buy, but if your funds are limited, buy the Deeb books first. The first chapter does a great job of explaining color theory, and I like the way Ms. Wallace presents examples in little trays of beads with the color wheel beside the photo. One thing I miss is the Delica color codes provided in Ms. Deeb’s books.

You have to work a little harder to use this book if you want to duplicate projects exactly (but who does that?). For example, Project 5, a triadic spiral bracelet, gives five different color schemes for the project, but only the first option has the bead colors labeled A, B, C, D, E, and F. If you wanted to make the project according to the directions, “in the following order: one A, three B, one C,” etc. you would have to translate the colors into the alternate schemes yourself. It would not have been difficult to label them in the diagrams provided and would have been a nice touch because some of the colors are pretty close. Are the dark blue-green beads the triangle beads or seed beads?

But the book is still a very good book, and it will appeal to beadweavers. Most of the projects feature beadweaving. There are not detailed directions for most of the projects featured, but that is okay. Use the book to expand your own color schemes.

Reviews by Paula Ford of PFordCustomJewelry