January 31, 2011

Earthenwood Design Team Update!

I've got a quick Earthenwood Design Team update for you today!  Heather Powers of Humblebeads is working on a top secret project, but she can't show us just yet.  She was kind enough to take a picture of some of the ingredients for us, though!  Looks good, like colors and elements that I would put together!  In fact...

Check out the Bead Soup ingredients I sent to my partner Melissa Rediger!  I swear I assembled these beads and shipped them out before I saw Heather's grouping.  Great minds think alike, I guess!  How funny is it that we both paired a little Green Girl nest bead and Humblebeads?  Awesome!  I hope Melissa has fun working with these.

Next Monday I will show the next round of Design Team beads and will pick two now members to play along. Come back to see what is in store for February!


Melanie is an artist, blogger, writer, and ceramic beadmaker at Earthenwood Studio. Her beads and components can be found at her Etsy shop and her jewelry can be found in her Etsy Galleria. To comment on this post, visit the original post at the Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Blog.

January 30, 2011

Studio Tour Sunday: Bead Soup Ingredients




It's been another busy week with lots going on.  One of the fun things that happened is that I received my Bead Soup ingredients from Melissa Rediger of MJRbeads.  Melissa is a lampwork bead maker and she sent one of her beads along with some co-ordinating beads and findings, for me to play with.  The Bead Soup reveal isn't for a couple of weeks, so I have time, but I wanted to show you what she sent me.  Check out Melissa's website and blog and facebook fan page to learn more about her.
 
That's just one of the many things going on in my studio,  check out these links in this week's studio tour:


A Bead A Day
Lisa continues to hammer happy thoughts into wood jewelry pieces over at A Bead A Day Blog!  
 
About.com Jewelry Making
Sign up for this fun e-course themed around "love." Perfect for the up-coming Valentine's Day holiday. 
 
Art Bead Scene
Believe it or not, sometimes an Art Bead Scene editor just can't come up with the right words. 
 
Beading Arts
Cyndi put the finishing touches on her beaded postcards! 
 
Beads & Books
Michelle reviews a "top 20" list of craft tools from Martha Stewart and compares it to what's in her own studio. 
 
Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi creates a very soft and warm felted bead necklace. 
 
Cindy Gimbrone, The Lampwork Diva
Cindy has chosen one single word to keep her creative juices flowing. What do you think it is? 
 
Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Bang, bang, bang! Melanie makes another Response Saturday post featuring the loud sound of texturing hammers on metal. 
 
Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews Tammy Powley's amazing new book, The Complete Guide to Jewelry Making--what a thorough and terrific teaching guide and inspirational powerhouse for designers!  
 
The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
Can you feel it? Andrew is on the verge of many big projects with limitless possibilities ahead!

Melanie is an artist, blogger, writer, and ceramic beadmaker at Earthenwood Studio. Her beads and components can be found at her Etsy shop and her jewelry can be found in her Etsy Galleria. To comment on this post, visit the original post at the Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Blog.

January 29, 2011

Response Saturday: Enamel Spray Paint on Filigree

 Here is today's colorful Response Saturday sampling.  Filigree pieces that I spray painted with enamel paints!  What a great way to bring a little color to standard metal supplies.  I painted over silver, copper, gunmetal, and brass filigree pieces, with lots of different effects.  I think I like the top row, which has a layer of white spray paint under three transparent colors.
 Here are a few bigger pieces.  I am surprised how much I like the white.  I am not a big fan of white anything, but it makes it look really clean and antique.  I think the white filigree would be great with some of the pale crackled glazes I am playing with lately.
 To accomplish this week's experiment, I raided my brother's extensive spray paint collection that sits in my basement.  Nice, huh?
 I used all Testors enamel spray paints.  I guess they dry a little harder than other spray paints but they take longer to dry.  Not a big problem on such small items.  I think most of these paints were purchased in hobby stores, where they keep the mini car and model kits.  When you find them in that section, you can find some great metallic and transparent finishes.
 I made a colorful mess out in the sunroom on a cardboard ikea box!
I really love the filigree ghosts that were left on the cardboard.

Well, these are just parts, but it is something I have wanted to try for a long time.  I am sure they will be popping up in some designs soon!

Melanie is an artist, blogger, writer, and ceramic beadmaker at Earthenwood Studio. Her beads and components can be found at her Etsy shop and her jewelry can be found in her Etsy Galleria. To comment on this post, visit the original post at the Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Blog.

January 28, 2011

Woodland Storytime Necklace at Lima Beads

Here is another piece I made for the Lima Beads Design Gallery using one of my toggles that Lima just launched on their site and a fat little owl pendant along with a bunch of other fun stuff that I got from a recent Lima shopping spree.

I tried a few new things in this piece... I used chain and silk together, knotting it at 2" intervals for a great textured effect.  I don't think I have EVER knotted chain before, and it is pretty cool.  I ended that with a cone (see below for some step by step pictures of that technique).  And I used that awesome leafy dangle chain as a bail to dangle the owl from the toggle.  I don't know why that has never occurred to me to try!  I will be using all of these techniques again!
So here are some close ups of the cone ending.  At the end of the lengths of chain and silk (both doubled in half where they started at the clasp) I made the final knot with the silk and chain together. I used a piece of wire with a loop at the end to make an eyepin to connect to a link on each chain, close to the knot, and then trimmed the chain down so the last links are on the eyepin.
I stung a cone onto the wire, sliding it down to cover the eye of the pin and getting the knot as far into the cone as I could.
Then I simply made a wire wrapped loop at the top of the cone to finish it off.  This part attached to a jump ring to continue the length of the necklace.  You can use this same technique on both ends of a necklace with two cones, but this necklace only needed one because the silk and chain started at the clasp.


Melanie is an artist, blogger, writer, and ceramic beadmaker at Earthenwood Studio. Her beads and components can be found at her Etsy shop and her jewelry can be found in her Etsy Galleria. To comment on this post, visit the original post at the Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Blog.

January 27, 2011

Lumber and Bricks Bracelet and Lima Beads News

 Here is a bracelet design that came out of one of yesterday's Bead Table Wednesday piles.  I created it for the launch of my toggle clasps on the Lima Beads site today.  All of the supplies I used can be found there!  I am absolutely in love with those extra large textured gunmetal jump rings.  I have only seen those at Lima.  I am a little bit of a jump ring snob/junkie. Anyway, I wrote this little blurb about the bracelet:
 I was inspired by the color of the toggle clasp and I wanted to make a wide band bracelet. The pressed square beads worked perfectly with the spacer bars to give the bracelet width and flexibility. The mottled colors of the glass remind me of a brick walkway with the lumber inspired toggle and dark metal jump rings reminding me of a garden gate... maybe the walkway of some lush garden or quaint vacation spot.
 I posted this piece in the Lima Design Gallery.  I have my own page of designs there.  I had no idea they had such an amazing community of beaders there until one of my contacts suggested I upload a few designs.  Wow, I got a really nice warm welcoming!  Looks like a great place to chat with other beaders and share designs and ideas.
Check out Lima Beads for a whole line of Earthenwood toggles and components!


Melanie is an artist, blogger, writer, and ceramic beadmaker at Earthenwood Studio. Her beads and components can be found at her Etsy shop and her jewelry can be found in her Etsy Galleria. To comment on this post, visit the original post at the Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Blog.

January 26, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday

 Here is one of my pictures for Bead Table Wednesday.  A partially constructed necklace made with a wooden door pendant and lumber link, some cute little square brick beads, seed beads, and one of the brand new toggles from Tierracast's new line.  I have been eagerly awaiting these and am finally starting to see them pop up in the stores, so I jumped at the first chance to try them out.
The door pendant reminds me a bit of my hall closet door, which I discovered a couple of weeks ago had become home to carpenter ants.  I had trouble with the ants in the summer and thought I got rid of them, but they came back right after New Years.  Once we discovered the ants were IN the door, we took that thing off the hinges and took it outside so fast!  It got propped against the house under a gutter and it has been really interesting to watch as the ice takes over the mirror and drips off of the doorknob.

Here is the finished necklace!

Melanie is an artist, blogger, writer, and ceramic beadmaker at Earthenwood Studio. Her beads and components can be found at her Etsy shop and her jewelry can be found in her Etsy Galleria. To comment on this post, visit the original post at the Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Blog.

January 24, 2011

Earthenwood Design Team Update!

Wow, the Earthenwood Design Team has been busy this week!  The repeating theme appears to have been bracelets.  Today I have three bracelets to show you, and it is amazing how different each one is, considering they all have the same distinctive handmade toggle clasp and links.  First, above, is Lori Anderson's bracelet from her blog Pretty Things.  She paired the Lumber components with some great aqua beads that have such a great contrast to the earthiness of the ceramic.  I also like the cool wirework on the wooden bead that Lori did. Click on her link above to read about this piece and another great piece she made with one of my house pendants that challenged her usual color palette.

Next up, Erin Prais-Hintz at Tesori Trovati Jewelry - Treasures Found made this gorgeous bracelet full of wire wraps and really cool textures.  I love Erin's story behind the inspiration for this piece and the way she brought that story into the design of the bracelet.  I think the way she used the cording to make her own components is really unique and creative!  Erin also made another necklace, which you can see in the post in the link above.  It uses one of the new charms from an exciting line she is planning to launch.


Finally, Denise Yezbak Moore created this wonderful bracelet. This design has the same contrasting aqua color as Lori's bracelet, but just one bold pop of the color in the form of the egg charm.  Also, there is the texture of the knotted cord, which is similar to what Erin used.  But even with both of these similarities, this bracelet is so unique.


Thanks to Lori, Erin, and Denise for these great designs!  Check back next week for another Design Team update.

Melanie is an artist, blogger, writer, and ceramic beadmaker at Earthenwood Studio. Her beads and components can be found at her Etsy shop and her jewelry can be found in her Etsy Galleria. To comment on this post, visit the original post at the Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Blog.

January 23, 2011

Studio Tour Sunday: Full of Heart


  I was a pretty active blogger this past week, so you have seen most of what I have been up to.  Although, in addition to those things, I have also been up to my ears in heart pendants!  Valentine's day is on the way and I am feeling the love, that's for sure!  I have had to make bunches of the Everlasting Heartfire pendants for wholesale orders, I started making more of the crackle hearts above (get them in the Etsy shop), and have finally fine tuned the glazes for the Lock and Key hearts and got them listed on the website.  I have had a lot of sales in the Etsy shops so the upcoming week will be full of shipping.  I am also on quite a roll of stocking the website and am loving getting orders from it that I can pull from stock instead of making to order. Why didn't I do this sooner!? I plan to photograph a bunch of little sale bundles filled with odds and ends, so look for news about that soon, too.

That's what has been going on in my studio... Check out what has been going on in some of my blogger friends' studios:
A Bead A Day
Lisa's experimenting with alphabet stamps in wood. Please stop by to share your experiences with metal, wood or polymer clay stamping. 
 
About.com Jewelry Making
What do you get when you combine yarn, crystals, and metal? A very cool double strand bracelet! 
 
Beading Arts
Beaded objects don't always have to be wearable. How about some beaded postcards? 
 
Beads & Books
If you make a mistake with a piece of jewelry, do you throw it out, start over, or try to fix it? Michelle shares a mistake she made trying to create a pendant using copper, ink, and a gloss sealant. 
 
Carmi's Art/Life World
Carmi creates a special set of felted brooches for a Canadian company. 
 
Cindy Gimbrone Beads
Cindy shares a surprise she received during the holidays. 
 
Earthenwood Studio Chronicles
Ceramic pendants with cut-out holes receive a sparkly window treatment in this project using resin from Lima Studios 
 
Katie's Beading Blog
A simple idea for keeping the inspiration flowing. 
 
Snap out of it, Jean! There's beading to be done!
Using lovely design elements from Artbeads, Jean creates an evocative pair of winter earrings which remind her of seasons long past... 
 
The Writing and Art of Andrew Thornton
This week one lucky winner will take home a beaded brooch by Cenya AND score some Soft Flex flexible beading wire!

Melanie is an artist, blogger, writer, and ceramic beadmaker at Earthenwood Studio. Her beads and components can be found at her Etsy shop and her jewelry can be found in her Etsy Galleria. To comment on this post, visit the original post at the Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Blog.

January 22, 2011

Response Saturday: Hammers and Paint

 This week I didn't have a whole lot of time to play with new things.  I have been working on orders and filling up the website, and I spent some time playing around with designing jewelry.  But I did get to do a little bit of experimenting.  My goal was to use the various hammers I have to make some textures into metal and bring out the markings with paint.  Above are some of my first experiments with different hammers.  The two side ones did not feel very successful to me.  They are too subtle.  I guess they will make nice backgrounds when I add more to these, but hardly seemed worth the effort.  I do like the top and bottom cross hatched ones though.  I like how well the top one took the green paint and the bottom one has some nice contrast with the brass metal and a silvery paint. Those are worth exploring!  I felt like these were all too subtle, so I decided to play with some metal stamps next.
Again, pretty subtle.  And I had a hard time getting a solid stamping, so I just made leafy textures over the whole surface.  Kind of nice detailing, but I am not sure I am loving it.  I'll find something to do with these, though... they are good for layering.

After I applied the paint and wiped/sanded it off, I wanted to use something clear to seal the colors.  I used Diamond Glaze but am not happy with how shiny it is and the texture it left behind.  Does anyone have a recommendation for a wax or easy to apply sealant for just a little extra protection for metal?  I am tempted by Renaissance Wax but have never used it and would love to get a recommendation for it because it is a wee bit pricey for something I don't know about.  Or have you used something similar... any ideas?

Melanie is an artist, blogger, writer, and ceramic beadmaker at Earthenwood Studio. Her beads and components can be found at her Etsy shop and her jewelry can be found in her Etsy Galleria. To comment on this post, visit the original post at the Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Blog.

January 21, 2011

Lorelei's Fusion Beads Blog Hop

 Here is what I made for the Fusion Beads Blog Hop hosted by Lorelei Eurto!  She picked out several items from the Fusion Beads website and a bunch of designers are making things with those items... Today's blog hop shows all of those wonderful things!
 I chose this challenge because I really liked the colors and there were some things I had never worked with before.  First, the vintage lucite leaves were new to me.  The official blog hop color was out of stock, so I chose a similar color.  I really liked them... so lightweight and such pretty colors and shimmer!  I had also never worked with the teardrop seed bead shape.  I really like the way they string together and form an irregular, organic shape.  I doubled up my strands to exaggerate this effect even more.
Another material I haven't worked with in a while is real leather.  This is really fine quality Greek round leather in an olive green color.  I really like how stiff the leather is to begin with...it held its form when I made the knot and was easy to work with.  I think it will soften up with wear, which will be nice, but I liked the structure it provided in its fresh from the package state.
 
The ingredients also called for some great glass beads which I love and the Green Girl owl toggle (always a favorite).  I added a Green Girl woodland bead from my collection and an amber crackle heart and two round links of my own making.
 
Visit these blogs to see what other designers did with these ingredients:
 
http://lorelei1141.blogspot.com/
http://erinsiegeljewelry.blogspot.com/
http://beadingbymalindekoning.blogspot.com/
http://beadhappytoday.blogspot.com/
http://thebeaddreamer.com/blog
http://dreamsomedesigns.blogspot.com/
http://fryestyle.blogspot.com/
http://www.madmaggiedesigns.blogspot.com/
http://reginaswritings.blogspot.com/
http://www.mylifeunderthebus.typepad.com/
http://jennibead.blogspot.com/
http://maryhardingjewelrybeadblog.blogspot.com/
http://silverrosedesigns.blogspot.com/
http://lindalandig.wordpress.com/
http://fireflymyst.blogspot.com/
http://www.awishandacloud.blogspot.com/
http://spiritrattles.blogspot.com/
http://formysweetdaughter.blogspot.com/
http://songbeads.blogspot.com/
http://beautifullybrokenme.blogspot.com
http://threeredbeads.blogspot.com/
http://christinec3.blogspot.com/


Melanie is an artist, blogger, writer, and ceramic beadmaker at Earthenwood Studio. Her beads and components can be found at her Etsy shop and her jewelry can be found in her Etsy Galleria. To comment on this post, visit the original post at the Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Blog.

January 20, 2011

Resin Windows and Lima Studios Resin

Before the holidays, I was sent a sample of Lima Studios resin* available at Lima Beads.  I wanted to make some pieces for their gallery showing some ideas for combining some of the Earthenwood beads with window cut-outs that they have started to carry.  So I made these components above with the resin, which I mixed with a little ink for color and some Pearl Ex for shimmer and color.  I used contact paper to cover the hole, and set a small key or lock or watch part in the window before filling with the resin.  When the resin set up, I took the contact paper off to reveal a transparent window!  The back of the pendant where the contact paper was attached looked a little dull, so later on, I added just a little more clear resin to that, which shined it right up. The Lima resin was great to work with... very clear and nicely flowing.


I used the Escutcheon and the Oval Window (both beads that Lima Beads carries) to make this necklace.  I added some additional Earthenwood pieces, like the new Victorian Oval links and the little Clock Links, which are also new.  I also threw in some of my new Shimmer Keys and washers. I had a great time working with the resin and all of these new things!


*FTC compliance disclosure: the '*' items mentioned in this post credited to Lima Beads were provided as a promotional gift for review or design purposes.

Melanie is an artist, blogger, writer, and ceramic beadmaker at Earthenwood Studio. Her beads and components can be found at her Etsy shop and her jewelry can be found in her Etsy Galleria. To comment on this post, visit the original post at the Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Blog.

Funky Art Hearts at Lima Beads!


ooh, lookie!  Lima Beads just launched a bunch of fun and funky heart designs including some of my Everlasting Heartfire pendants and Lock and Key pendants!  Click on over to check it out, and while you are there, check out hearts from Gaea, Green Girl, and all the other fabulous artist beads. 

Melanie is an artist, blogger, writer, and ceramic beadmaker at Earthenwood Studio. Her beads and components can be found at her Etsy shop and her jewelry can be found in her Etsy Galleria. To comment on this post, visit the original post at the Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Blog.

January 19, 2011

Bead Table Wednesday

 oops, I almost forgot about Bead Table Wednesday!  I was so overwhelmed with my tax rant this morning!  I managed to finish my tax stuff and did some errands and then I spent a couple of hours playing around in the studio.  I did make a few things, but it didn't feel like a terribly successful session.  I learned things and found what didn't work, so that's something.
 I was playing with cutting windows out of brass pieces, painting brass, doming, and cold connecting. The hammering wasn't giving me the textures i was hoping for, so I might need to get into some stamps soon.
Oh, and I also played around with my newer camera.  I bought it for the Bead Cruise last year and intended for it to be the camera I carry around to events, but I really don't do that.  I use my Ipod for that.  I realized that if I end up getting a new laptop... a Mac... I will not be able to use the ancient camera that I use right now for my bead pics, so I better get used to this new one.  I am pretty pleased with the pic above, so I know it is possible...I just have to play around and remember how I did it!
 
Anyway, that's what is on my bead table today.  Check out the BTW Flickr group to see what everyone else is working on!

Melanie is an artist, blogger, writer, and ceramic beadmaker at Earthenwood Studio. Her beads and components can be found at her Etsy shop and her jewelry can be found in her Etsy Galleria. To comment on this post, visit the original post at the Earthenwood Studio Chronicles Blog.