Wednesday, May 25, 2016

July 2016 Challenge "Mystical, Mythical and Magical Creatures"

Thanks to Shine Sturtz for our Challenge theme for July ... 
Thanks to skeeze;
“Mystical, Mythical and Magical Creatures” - take inspiration from folklore and fairy tales, witches and wizards, spells and potions, basilisks, dragons, griffins, pixies, fairies, elves, boggarts and more.
Important Note: Please keep copyright issues in mind if creating an entry using a movie, book, etc. as inspiration. Do not make copies of copyrighted creatures or use copyrighted images in your listings. Please note that even names may be copyrighted so be sure to check before starting your entry!
Please be sure to have your entry listed in your Etsy shop by July 5, 2016 23:59 EST and remember to include EBWC in the title and tags of your entry.
Kindly refer to the Challenge Rules in link below for details on what is allowed in Challenge entries to ensure that your entry is compliant.

 Some inspiration!
Thanks to terimakasih0;
Thanks to terimakasih0;

Thanks to PgmJanssen;

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Shop Feature!: Star*Art Jewelry

Meet Pamela Troutman, she has been beading since 2000 and is the passionate and caring owner of “Star*Art Jewelry”.   Star*Art Jewelry opened in 2006 and is an Etsy shop that specializes in custom and functional beaded jewelry while providing excellent customer service.

Pamela has a bachelor’s degree in Studio Art from the University of Mary Washington where she learned engraving, drawing and painting, but she did not want to be a starving artist so she minored in Cartography (map making) and served the Department of Defense (DOD) for 34 years, retiring in 2014.  While employed at the DOD Pamela made lanyards to hold the identification badge she wore.  Star*Art Jewelry was born when her co-workers noticed the colorful necklaces and began placing orders. 

How did you come up with your Etsy Shop name?

STAR*ART was born when my passion changed from running a Shelter That Adopted and Rescued (STAR) ferrets to making jewelry.  When I met my first husband, he wanted a ferret as a pet.  We got one from someone who did not want theirs anymore. Then we went to a pet shop and bought it a friend. Other people heard we had ferrets and word got around, and when people no longer wanted their ferrets, they gave them to us.  At about 8 ferrets I said, “We can’t keep them all” so I started a ferret rescue.  At that time, the local animal shelters would not accept ferrets.  After 9 years, and 1300 ferrets placed along the east coast, plus working towards research to approve a rabies vaccine, ferrets are now being accepted at the local animal shelters and I closed my rescue in the late 1990’s.

The year 2000 was a big year for me.  I remarried, and became an instant grandmother.  I looked for a creative outlet that would fit in my townhouse and my time schedule and beading was that outlet.  I started simple, just making beaded necklaces for my ID badge.  Co-workers started to ask for lanyards, and STAR*ART was born.  Why STAR*ART? Well, I didn’t want to change my e-mail address at the time (starferrets) so I incorporated my previous hobby name with my new passion.

You began your venture in jewelry making with bead stringing, how did you become interested in other types of jewelry making?

Through the Northern Virginia Bead Society (NVBS), I took a class from Sherry Serafini.  I was then hooked on bead embroidery.  My first embroidery design was for a NVBS Bead Challenge in 2008 – we were given a bag of beads and had to use them ALL. From these odds and ends in the bag I created “My Elephant”.  

How do you market your jewelry?
“Custom and Functional Beaded Jewelry for Work and Play” is the tag line for my lanyards, but I think it applies to my beadwork as well.  Unique, never repeated, simple and elegant.
I use Etsy as a web site – for customers who see something and then think about it later – they can come back and purchase it.  Other than custom lanyard orders, I rarely sell off Etsy.  Most of my sales are at church craft shows or at ART A La Carte Gallery and Gifts in Occoquan.
I do post on Facebook – a lot of people enjoy my posts on the progress of something I’m working on.  I do not blog, unless you count some of my “Show and Tell” processes on my Facebook page.

You describe your custom jewelry as functional and comfortable, what is your design process?
Many people don’t think about customization, but I love being able to feed the artist in me by taking their desires and make something JUST FOR THEM. It means more to the person who wears the jewelry if they had input, and the closest I had to dissatisfaction was one person who wanted brighter colors, so I exchanged the piece and she was very happy.  I’ve done running themed lanyards, animal themes, names of children… the possibilities are endless.

The functional applies to my beaded lanyards – when you remove the clip it looks like a necklace.  The comfortable applies to my beadwork – I don’t use crystals much because they are sharp. I am very particular about what touches the back of the neck – nothing pointed or rough. I mainly use large clasps or magnetic clasps so the necklaces are easy to put on and take off. I don’t make things too heavy. I do put every piece of jewelry on to see that it hangs well, is balanced and comfortable.

Many of your pieces have interesting and unusual pendants, how do you meet the challenge of keeping your jewelry affordable yet interesting?
I shop on eBay, thrift shops, and such places for things I can bezel or embroider around.  If you don’t mind waiting a month for delivery, there are lovely gemstone cabs on eBay for just a few dollars.  I do a lot of embroidery or bead weaving in front of the TV, so instead of counting the hours spent to make something, I count the number of fire line threads I pull from the box and base the price on that.  I work with a “two-arm” length.

What is the story behind your “Pay It Forward” listing?

I believe in helping out a good cause.  It is also a way to find a home for some pieces that I can’t bear to tear apart but no one seems to want to adopt for themselves.  I am proud of all the jewelry I make, but sometimes the right person has not come by to adopt my piece.  These orphans become donations, because every piece of jewelry deserves a person to wear it.

It is evident that you know great customer service is critical, what are the top three ways you ensure customer satisfaction?
Ask questions, give suggestions, and offer refunds or exchanges. For example, I have a person who saw a bead woven necklace in the...
...but wanted it in other colors to match her “Mother-Of-The-Bride” dress.  I wanted to know what she liked about it – the drape (Russian spiral is a softer drape than peyote), the sparkle, the pendant?  Then I told her I had pendants she could select from, but maybe she would prefer me to use a pin or heirloom piece she already owned.  She loved that idea.  We will be meeting in the middle of May so I can see the dress in person, match the beads, determine the length and weave, and see what she brings as a focal piece.  This will be a great opportunity for me to take timeline shots and post progress reports on Facebook.  Also, create a listing on Etsy showing an example of my custom made process for necklaces (versus lanyards).  I do not offer refunds or exchanges for custom made beaded pieces, but I do for everything else.

What has been the most difficult thing about starting a handmade business, and what has been the most rewarding?
The difficulty is getting the sales. There are so many jewelry makers on Etsy.  There are too many beautiful designs.  It is difficult to stand out, this is one of the reasons I wanted to join the EBW team – the monthly contests, even if I don’t enter every one, inspire me to create something outside my normal thought pattern.  I find the monthly challenges get my creative juices flowing.  Those contests are also bringing people to my Etsy store.  So far, no sales as a result, but the boost in views and likes might pay off one day.  Sales are okay at the gallery because people can pick up and try on my pieces, something you can’t do on-line.  I do not teach or have my own pattern line so I do not have name recognition; I specialize in one-of-a-kind pieces.  Finding that one-of-a-kind person is the challenge.  The most rewarding thing is the custom orders – few and far between, but ever so worth it.  I enjoy making people happy and I love to create what they cannot do for themselves. 
Pamela Troutman is proof that necessity is not only the mother of invention but she is also the inspiration for creativity.  

 This is where Pamela gets creative:  

One of Pamela’s beautiful pieces:

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

Thursday, May 19, 2016

May 2016 'Four Elements' Challenge Results

Congratulations to the winner of both the team and public votes SunShine Sturtz


Four Elements Cuff - OfYourLove - 22 votes (36.1%)

Wind and Fire Dancing - NinaSavovaArt - 11 votes (18%)
Four Elements Altar - BeadworkAndCoe - 10 votes (16.4%) 


Four Elements Cuff - OfYourLove - 90 votes (29.1%)
Wind and Fire Dancing - NinaSavovaArt - 83 votes (26.9%)
Serenity and Rose Quartz in the Air - SheWalksinCrystal - 45 votes (14.6%)

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

Monday, May 16, 2016

BIG REVEAL 7th Annual Spring Swap 2016

It is hard to believe that we are on our 7th year doing an annual spring swap between our Etsy Beadweavers members.  I remember my very first swap in 2009, it was an exciting new project to get to know our members a little better.   The chance to make something that might be out our your comfort zone either in technique or colour range.  I personally (ANGELQUECREATIONS) have participated in the swap every year since 2009 and have 7 beautiful swap items made for me by different members of our group.  All seven are perfect and I wear them all the time and get complements when ever I wear one of my team mates designs (I always tell them who made it for me and why....  its a great way to promote each others shops).  
This year we had an outstanding number of participates 23 the largest group ever and by far the easiest to manage.  Everyone did their part and completed the item for their swap partner, mailed it so that it arrived by the end of April and sent me (the organiser) photos of the completed swap so that the mosaic below could be produced by Ann of FrancescasFancy .
The swap was a circular giving and receiving such that the members participating made an item for one person in the group but received an item from a second person in the group
Below are the 23 participates and the items that they made for their partner, links to their shops are below the mosaic and you can see which member made and items for another member in this years participating Spring Swap Group.
I have to thank everyone that participated for keeping their swap items a secret until I could post the BIG REVEAL

5. Bestofbetsdesigns • designed for • wanderware

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Challenge this month was once again chosen by Sabina Vladimirova of Sabina Jewel who won for the second month running. 

A fun Challenge, close to the hearts of many of our members who have feline pets or simply love ...

"CATS - all kind of cats-lions, tigers, wild, animated, from books and fairy-tales..."

Important Note: please keep copyright issues in mind if creating an entry using a movie, book, etc. as inspiration. Do not make copies of copyrighted creatures or use copyrighted images in your listings. Please note that even names may be copyrighted so be sure to check before starting your entry!

Please be sure to have your entry listed in your Etsy shop by June 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.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Entries for May's "The Four Elements" Challenge

Here are the entries for this month's "The Four Elements" challenge!  VOTING WILL BE OPEN FROM MAY 9TH UNTIL MAY 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

Monday, May 2, 2016

Interview with April Challenge 'Pompeii' Second Place Winner Edita Kricenaite of RebelSoulEK


 Make sure to also visit these links!
Edita Kricenaite’s Etsy shop:
Edita 's Facebook Page:
Edita’s Website:

Hello Edita,My name is Patti, interviewing you on behalf of the Etsy Beadweaver Team. Your Lava neckpiece is a wonderful mix of freeform and bead embroidery and a lovely interpretation of the theme. How do you design your pieces, do you draw them out first or just follow where the beads lead you?

Thank you for your nice words. I don't always use the same scheme. Sometimes I see my future works on dreams, sometimes I get a complete image in my mind and cant forget it till realization, sometimes I take interesting material in my hands and simply allow the flow of brainstorming, like a visionary I let the same material to tell its own story :).
I don't always do sketches, but noticed with the sketches I make fewer mistakes, less jewelries needs to be repaired. However work "on a flow" brings me much more fun and more unexpected decision. I can say that the method of creation is dictated by my mood.

Who is your favorite artist or bead artist, and why?

My favorite bead artist is Guzel Bakeeva (GBD). Her works are romantic and bold, modern but at the same time has that antique taste, and all of them are very artistic, original and unusual. Her shapes and color palettes are simply amazing. As I look at her works I feel that energy of maximum creative potentiality! I wish people looking at my work in similar way.

What are your favorite styles or stitches in beading, and your favorite materials to use?

My favorite style I can call "guns'n'roses". I mean I like romantic, slightly medieval style mixed with modern drama, freedom and a little drop of aggression. I don't like than my work seems to be too sweet. I love contrasts. Every time I seek to impress myself.
I usually choose bead embroidery, but also like bead weaving stitches (mostly herringbone or peyote). It’s hard to choose favorite materials, I like to use something new and something very shiny. I also like natural materials such as wood, semi-precious stones, copper, brass...

Do you listen to music or watch movies while you work on your beading?

I frequently watch movies, TV shows or listening to educational lectures. Very often my laptop is my worktable, and it is constantly covered with seed beads...

Is there a technique you are looking forward to learning more about?

I would like to insert more bead weaving element to my works. I think the most beautiful are mix technique works. For now I mostly use bead embroidery, because it is a less time consuming technique than bead weaving.

What do you like best about working with beads? What do you like least?

The most fascinating thing about beads is how very small seed beads can make a large object. Order out of chaos;). I also like to play with colors. Working with seed bead calms me, teaches patience, sometimes I feel when my mind falls into a trance. I love that state of being here and now. 
I like least ... when my embroidery thread ends! Each time this fact irritates me!!! I know it is stupid :D. I also hate when some very expensive beads accidentally spill on the floor... Well you know that feeling ...

What led you to working with beads? Do you have an arts background or training?

In Lithuania (my birthplace), we have a proverb, "The apple does not fall far from the tree." Meaning: Children Observe daily and - in Their Behavior - often follow the example of Their Parents. My mother embroiders pictures with seed beads. Previously I made fun of her hobby. It seemed a useless occupation and a waste of time. Then my own life turned so that I fallen in love with this hobby too.
After studies at Academy of Fine Arts (Bachelor of Architecture) I moved to another country (Italy). There I lived for a few years without a job and friends. At first I had to learn new foreign language, to make tons of new documents and adapt to the new way of life. It was a very difficult time for me with a lot of free (and boring) time! Then suddenly I found Bead weaving online courses and enrolled there. It changed my life. So far, my course teacher Vitalija Velyviene became one of my best friend and counselor in seed beads (and my own) life.

Italy is a beautiful country, and offers much to inspire, such as Pompeii. Is there another country you desire to visit, and why?

If only I could my entire life to dedicate to the trips and exploration of this world! Currently, I wish the most to see India, Japan and Australia. I like to travel to completely different environment where everything seems like a dream. I like to experience culture shock, because it makes me feel like a child, where the whole world is undiscovered miracle and full of opportunities! Such an inspiring feeling!

Is there anything else you would like to share with the EBW community?

I wish all members good luck, inspiration and lots of sales. 
I wish this lovely activity becomes the main job to every of them.
I wish each of them could unfold their uniqueness, sense of love and beauty. 
I believe our creativity could make this world a better place! So keep calm and don't stop beading :* .

Thank you so much. It is nice to learn about you and your methodology. I can't wait to see more of your bead work. Good luck with all your future endeavors.