Inside the Studio with Gardanne Beads
Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process, or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you will leave comments! As an incentive, we offer a PRIZE each week to encourage you to use that keyboard and tell us what you think.
At the next Inside the Studio post a WINNER is chosen at random from all eligible entries.
Here are the results from the last Inside the Studio post.
Anvil Artifacts is the winner of a $20 gift certificate at Swoondimples!!!
Congratulations! Please contact Heather to claim your prize.
Hi from Gardanne Beads, since I just returned from Bead Fest this past weekend I thought I would take you on the road with me instead of in my studio.
I can't believe I have been exhibiting at the August Bead Fest for the past five years, along the way I have picked up some show and display tips that work for me.
First tip is to get one of those gel mats to stand on behind your booth, most of the floors at large venues are concrete. So good shoes are a must, but these gel mats definitely make for more comfortable legs and feet. Those are my feet on the right, can you guess whose pretty feet are on the left?
I would also recommend a 24" folding stool, if you need to sit you will still be at a comfortable eye level with your customers. I forgot mine on this trip and my legs were extra tired from all the standing.
When you run out of space on your table, instead of investing in a larger table go vertical.
I invested in some handmade display racks a couple years ago from a fellow ETSY seller called Moxie Metal,
they make a variety wonderful jewelry displays in all shapes and sizes.
My tip is not the metal display rack but the gauze fabric I have draped over the top rail of the display. I drape this fabric on the back of the display to act as a solid back drop for my beads and/or jewelry. By doing this I have eliminated the distraction of what is going on behind my display and the customer can focus on the beads.
If you are not familiar with bead shows, at the end of the show day everyone covers their items in the booths with fabric or plastic. I never did understand this practice, but everyone does it.
I did not plan on this added feature, but the first time I used the gauze fabric on my display racks I discovered that I could just flip the fabric over my items on the vertical display and they were covered for the night.
If you are selling jewelry components it is super important to have jewelry samples containing your beads so your customers have some inspiration on how to use your components.
I purchased these linen displays from Nile Corp
, they are very inexpensive so as they look tired just get new ones. My earrings made with earwires hook into the linen, for an easy display solution.
The linen necklace displays came with some paper stands so they could be used on the table top. I wanted to hang them on my vertical display, so I took off the stands and added the 3M clips
, intended for power cords, to clip them to the top of my display.
The last tip of the day is an apron with multiple pockets that was intended for my hips but is more functional tied to the back of my table. I keep all my bills in the separate pockets and it is easy to access when giving change. I never liked the cash boxes they would tip over when opened and I never felt to comfortable walking back to my car carrying a cash box.
Hope you have found these tips helpful. You will find that your display will evolve to meet your needs and also change depending on what type of show you are doing.
In the comment section tell me what your favorite tip was or maybe you have a favorite tip of your own you would like to share.
A winner will be selected at random from the comment section and will receive a $20 gift certificate to spend in my ETSY shop, Gardannebeads.etsy.com
Ceramic Beads by Melissa Gabelle
Today I am pleased to bring to you an interview with Melissa Gabelle, a ceramic bead artist from Australia.
I originally connected with Melissa on the Ceramic Art Bead Market
where we both sell out work. I was so impressed with her creations that I wanted to share them with you. Melissa graciously agreed. Our interview has been done by email as she lives in Verona on the South Coast of Australia. Melissa graciously sent beautiful photos and answered the questions that follow about her work.
So let's begin!!
Mary: How long have you been working with clay and how did you first get into it?
My first experience in clay was when I did a course in 1991 – 92 in ceramics. It was an excellent course that taught me all the fundamentals of ceramics, from throwing to glaze technology. From then on I was hooked. I just love making things with clay. I have been working in clay on and off for about 25 years, although I did have a break for a few years and worked as a web publisher in government.
Early Work Melissa Gabelle
Vessel by Melissa Gabelle
Mary: What lead you to start making beads?
Melissa: I first had experience making beads in a course where we made our own Egyptian paste and then made beads out of it. I would love to make Egyptian paste again. I was talking to a woman in my local town who owns a bead shop and she makes exquisite beaded jewellery. I was saying I would love to get back into ceramics, but I didn’t have a big enough space to set up all my equipment. She suggested I make her some ceramic beads. I though wow, what a great idea, little works of art, perfect. That is when I set myself up with a tiny studio and pulled my old kiln out of storage, presto beads!
Mary: How did you come up with your wonderful name for your business.
Melissa: Hmmm, that took a little while. I actually read the ETSY guidelines for naming a shop and they suggested something that was easy to remember. I love clay and my other love is chickens and birds. So The Clay Hen seemed like a great name for me. I am also into anything whimsical so it fitted my personality.
Clay Hens by Melissa Gabelle Icon for her shop The Clay Hen
Mary: Do you ever make jewelry with your beads?
Melissa: I do make some earrings from my beads for a local handmade shop and occasionally for exhibitions. I find I don’t have a lot of time to make jewellery as I am busy making beads! I also don’t enjoy working with metal much…too hard for me, I like the soft squishy nature of clay.
Earrings by Melissa Gabelle
Ceramic Earrings Melissa Gabelle
Mary: What other creative adventures are a part of your life—past and present?
Melissa: Wow, now that is a list. I still love print making (not that I have time lately).When I was at art school in my youth I studied etching for about 2 years, this is where I got a love of printmaking, I also really love lino printing. The whole process of designing and cutting the lino and the excitement of seeing the whole thing printed up is such a wonderful process. Knitting, crocheting, drawing, sculpture and ink drawings. I have also worked in web publishing/design. My biggest love and the thing I have been doing the longest is ceramics. I use to create quirky wheel thrown functional ware that I sold in galleries around NSW, Australia.
Ceramic Vessel by Melissa Gabelle of The Clay Hen
Mary: What is your workspace like?
I have one word to describe my workspace….tiny! It is a meagre 1.5 metres x 1.5 metres, just big enough to make beads and small sculptures. I am planning for a bigger workshop in the future. This will allow me to mix glazes, do some throwing (on the wheel), plaster work, teaching etc.
Studio Melissa Gabelle
Mary: Are there any ceramicists or bead makers that have inspired you.
Yes, many! With beads I just can’t go past Claire Lockwood’s
stuff, original, different and quirky, just love it. I also love Joan Miller’s work
, especially her whimsical robots and figurative porcelain and silver work, an amazing talent. There are quite a few potters I love so I will just list them!
Mary: I read in one of your write ups for the Ceramic Art Bead Market that you fire your beads in a solar powered kiln. Could you describe your set up and explain how this works.
Melissa: I have a small 2.4kw kiln, it was the smallest kiln from the manufacture. We have a 5.0kw solar system that feeds back into the grid. I fire on sunny days (which get lots of in Aus) and that means I don’t actually take any power from the grid. It comes straight from the solar panels. The left over power either goes into the grid and we get a small amount back from the power company or we can use it with our household appliances. I also use 100% recycled packaging for my cards, wrapping and postage material. I have even found 100% biodegradable sticky tape!
Solare Powered Kiln
Solar Powered Ceramic Kiln Loaded with bisque ware
Mary: I used to live in Southern California and noticed that most kilns were kept outside and that drying clay was much faster than here in the Northeast. I understand that you live in Australia. How does the climate there help and or hinder working with ceramics?
Melissa: My studio has the solar power inverter on the wall and that produces quite a bit of heat and with the hot summers it means my beads dry out quickly. I have a lot of experience in how you can dry clay quickly so I don’t tend to have too many problems; there is one exception….porcelain! So I just take the losses as a part of the process with porcelain. I never wrap or slow the process down.
Bisque beads still to be glazed by Melissa Gabelle
Mary: I like the colors and forms you use in your work. Could you tell us something about your color choices and forms. Inspirations? And without giving away any secrets, something about the glazes you use.
I am not sure how I come to my choices in terms of colour and form, it sort of happens organically. I love nature and I get a lot of inspiration from there. I did a couple of series that were inspired from pollen grains and diatoms as seen through a powerful microscope
Diatoms by Melissa Gabelle
Pollen Grains Drops by Melissa Gabelle
I live on a block of land with lots of bush and there are many creatures that visit us, I have been getting interested in bugs lately….you may have seen a few of my beetle and bee designs
Bee Earrings by Melissa Gabelle
I also love deco and nouveau design.
Deco Drops by Melissa Gabelle
Nouveau Drops by Melissa Gabelle
My daughter gives me ideas too! I would love to mix my own glazes again but as my studio space is limited I use a combination of commercial glazes, oxides, stains, slips and sand. I try to experiment all the time. I love doing different styles i.e. I don’t really stick to one style. I use terracotta, stoneware, earthenware and porcelain. I am also interested in raku….that will have to come later!
Mary: Besides making wonderful creative beads, what do you enjoy spending your time on?
Well to tell you the truth, there isn’t a lot of time left! I have started doing small sculptures, which I just love.
Bird Sculptures by Melissa Gabelle
Bird Sculpture by Melissa Gabelle
Bird Sculpture by Melissa Gabelle
I try to have weekends off, which I like to spend with my family. I also love gardening, swimming riding my bike, going to the beach and watching the seals and waves. Nature is just amazing and I just love watching creatures do their stuff.
To end our interview I am going to share a collage of earring drops by Melissa's beads.
Ceramic Drops by Melissa Gabelle
I hope you have enjoyed this journey to Australia to meet Melissa Gabelle. I have included some links where you can find her and keep up to date on what she s making.
Thank you again Melissa!!
Where you can find more of Melissa's work.
Thank you readers for stopping by today.
Cover Making Etched Metal Jewelry by Kristen Robinson and Ruth Rae
Maybe you missed this book when it came out like I did, or you have recently become interested in learning how to etch metal ? Or you like mixed media jewelry with a bohemian twist. In any of these cases, you will find Making Etched Metal Jewelry, Techniques and Projects, Step by Step
, by Kristen Robinson and Ruth Rae, a good introduction to the techniques of etching and the construction of many inspiring jewelry projects ( there are 17 to choose from.) Etching metal is almost magical and is a great way to give your handmade pieces a unique one of a kind look as you can see in the samples here from the cover of the book.
4 examples of projects in the book
The book begins with the specific techniques involved in etching metal. The authors have chosen to focus on the two most frequently used methods: etching with Ferric Chloride and etching with Muric Acid and Hydrogen Peroxide. Since both methods involve the use of chemicals that require special precautions in order to be used safely, I want to be sure to draw your attention to the safety guidelines that have been clearly stated on page 8. In addition, it is important to note that the methods discussed are only suitable for Brass, Copper and Nickel Silver.
Besides teaching how to etch metal, the book also addresses a number of metal working and beading techniques to help you make its many mixed media and bohemian style projects. You will find information on tools to use to, supplies needed, basic wire wrapping techniques for attaching beads to your work and specific instructions on how to use a circle cutter, dap a metal disk into a dome, how to use a jeweler's saw, and how to use 3 different kinds of patinas and more.
For me the strength of this book is the special ways that etching can personalize your jewelry. Using just a black Sharpie permanent marker you can write on metal and etch whatever words you want to have on your creation. No need to reverse the text and use a complicated procedure to get what you want to say on your piece.
Pre-Order / Etched Copper Curved Bars - Original Drawings on Copper - Made to Order by Gaea
You can use Stazone permanent black to ink up one of your own handmade rubber stamps or a commercial one to get an image on your metal and it will come out etched. And that Sharpie marker is also great for drawing on metal and designing your very own bead caps, tube beads, disks and pendants.
Circle disks stamped with Stazone ink and etched; Tube beads drawn on with permanent black Sharpie marker and etched. by MaryHardingJewelry
Another aspect of etching that I learned about in this book is making etched metal chain links. You will find several different handmade chain styles using etched links featured in the projects. What a great idea for enhancing your jewelry. I can't wait to try my hand at making some.
I hope you have found this look at Making Etched Metal Jewelry
helpful and intriguing. You can get it at your local bookstore or on Amazon
. The Amazon site allows you to have a "look inside" so you can see even more pictures and features of this publication. For more examples of jewelry using etched metal components, you can visit my Pinterest Board.
Thanks so much for stopping by today.