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"Art Bead Scene Blog" - 5 new articles

  1. When Inspiration Strikes...
  2. Amuse the Muse - Flower Beads
  3. Inside the Studio: Humblebeads
  4. Complimentary Components
  5. Perfect Pairings :: LaTouchables + TwoSistersDesignss
  6. More Recent Articles
  7. Search Art Bead Scene Blog
  8. Prior Mailing Archive

When Inspiration Strikes...

... you must follow her wherever She leads!

You might know that I do a little thing called Simple Truths. And I offer these Simple Truths in a Sampler Club. Over the course of the past few years of doing the Club it evolved into being about the Art Bead Scene. The purpose of the Simple Truths Sampler Club is threefold: (1) I want to push myself to come up with a new design each month; (2) I want to challenge myself to learn new-to-me techniques in polymer clay; and (3) I want use the inspiration artwork for the month to guide my creative endeavors. Basically, the members of the Club on any given month are fans of my work and must love surprises. That is not only a great honor, but a nerve-wracking proposition! I truly don't want to disappoint.

One my greatest disappointments is that I am not usually ready to go with the pieces to send to my Club members in the first week of the month. That has happened on occasion, but often I have to wait to clear my schedule to have a play date and then hope that Inspiration will come to play. Now I do get a bit of a heads up as an Editor to see what is coming... and I print off those inspiration artworks making notes about what I might do or what motifs grab my attention... and I even go about ordering supplies for things I think I might need (I am waaaayyy ahead of the game for October right about now)... I even seek out tutorials or books or online classes that might help me with my quest to learn. But that desire to learn and try new things often means that it takes me longer to fit it into my busy life than I think!

With every installment of the Simple Truths Sampler Club (participants sign up for 3-, 6-, 9- or 12- months at any time (and there is a limit of 20 in the Club at any given time - but I have never come close to filling it up), I send the piece with a full page synopsis of what I made, what inspired me about the artwork challenge, and a little bit of my process. Normally, that is reserved for my Club members, but at the risk of ruining the surprise for what is coming to them this month, I am going to share with you the letter that is on the way with the bead for the month along with some of my in process shots.

Simple Truths Sampler :: April 2015 

I have to admit that I didn't know much about Frida Kahlo before this month, just that she was a fiery Mexican artist who painted a lot of self-portraits in a hyper-realistic style. Oh, and she had those eyebrows. 

So on Saturday, I finally had a chance to sit down to devour this art. I sat with it. I put it as the background on my computer. I re-read Tari Sasser's post with the back story. I poured over every detail. Truthfully, there was so much going on in this painting that I think I was having a sensory overload! 

Layered leaves, transparent dragonflies and butterflies, the monkey, the cat about to pounce, the dead hummingbird dangling from the thorn necklace, the drops of blood, the infinity shaped knot in her hair... where to start? 

You know that I love quotes and words. So I turned to the prolific writings of Kahlo, who kept diaries throughout her short, tragic life. A few that stood out to me...

"Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly."

"I want to be inside your darkest everything."

"Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away."

"At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can."

(That last one is my favorite.)

But I still wasn't sure how to pull this all together. So I watched the 2002 movie with Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo. (It is a great film, totally transporting, evocative, tender and passionate.) What I kept coming back to was that Kahlo lived life deeply. She tasted every experience with a great hunger for more. She painted not because she needed to, but because she had to. Her body may have been broken, but her spirit soared. 

Looks like I am ready for the bonfire! ;-)
Her paintings are very raw, deeply personal and highly symbolic. That is when I remembered a tutorial that I had purchased from CraftArtEdu called Symbolic Beads by Aussie artist Debbie Crothers. I really enjoy her style and knew that these beads would be the perfect way to capture the meaning and beauty of Kahlo's style. 

Hard to see when everything is all in white. Sometimes the details won't even be clear to me until the next step!
It took me some time to get the first two beads done, as it was all just an experiment at this point. That is what I love about doing this Club, that you all trust me enough to let me be freely expressive in my miniature works of art! Part of this technique involves making a lot of molds. Thankfully, I had a lot already but it was a good excuse to make some more. I found some things that worked perfectly... a bunch of leaves, a tiny dragonfly, a hummingbird, a butterfly, and even some twigs that looks like those tangled thorns. 

Misshapen lumps of clay magically transform with antiquing. Now I can see the details! Time to hand paint each one.

I created the bead cores and then used the molds to create a multi-layered effect with the clay. Layers of patina, added color and sealed for durability. A true labor of love. Each bead is completely different and has either a hummingbird, butterfly or dragonfly on it along with leaves and flowers and twisted thorns in a soft matte finish. I think that Miss Frida would approve!

I call these beads 'Frida's Triumph', the first in a series of Symbol Beads. Click HERE for a link to purchase your own Limited Edition 'Frida's Triumph' Symbol Bead.

 Where is your INSPIRATION leading you today?


Amuse the Muse - Flower Beads

I'm filling in for Rebecca today as she is away from home and has found that, unexpectedly, she can't do her post. So, as I'm running a bit late, I'll just get on and get sharing more flower beads.

I hope there's something here that's caught your eye. Do keep sharing your favourite flower beads and I'm sure Rebecca will collect them all together when she gets back. 

Bye for now, Claire 

Beadbloggers Links

Heather gives us a peak into her studio while she's prepping for a trunk show at the same time she has to keep up with regular orders. How do you cope when you have too many deadlines?

Stop by and check out the fun projects that the participants of the Frenzied Motion Challenge made! 

Finally finished the Fish Extender Bags! I also show some of the gift ideas I have come up with.

“Hello.” Here’s a bright cheery butterfly spring card with die cut embellishments to brighten someone’s day. 

Cherie's playing with blue glass again! She's made some solar lights for the garden.

Cyndi has compiled a links list of her tutorials for little seed bead components that are endlessly useful in her work!

This video craft podcast is full of knitting, crochet, and beading! Take out your current craft project, and craft-along with the Crafty Princess.


Inside the Studio: Humblebeads

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'll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.

Congratulations to DivyaN!

You have won a $20 gift certificate to Ema K Designs.  
Send Ema an email to claim your gift certificate. 

Welcome to the Humblebeads Studio today. My studio is crazy disaster today as I have too many deadlines and projects on my plate at the moment. When that happens I tear through my studio like a hurricane. And then the mess spills over to the kitchen table and soon every flat surface in the house has a project going. 

I'm busy getting ready for trunk show this weekend and have been adding in custom orders and fun projects to round out my inventory. The believe and wish cuff started off as special orders. I can't always fit in a special order, but if it's something in line with what I already do and I'm looking to add new beads they are just the what I need. Of course, I use molds for these beads and have been whipping out little piles of them now! 

These bees have been enjoying flying off around the country. Gotta give props to the bees, we wouldn't be here without them! They started out inspired by a winter set that I did and I wanted to create a spring version and the bees replaced snowflakes - as they should!!!

Another custom order that fit nicely into my regular line of beads. The rings will be fun to work into different designs. Can't wait to see what jewelry designers do with them.

So I'm going to giveaway a $35 gift certificate to 

Your assignment, take a quick peek at and let me know what would be your wish from me if I was bead genie and could make any Humblebeads that you wished. Is there a type of bead you'd like to see me make or a variation of some kind that I haven't thought of yet. 

Leave a comment below, we will draw a winner next Friday. 

Complimentary Components

I'm always fascinated to see what other supplies designers mix in with their art beads. Today I thought I'd share the finds I made as I search for supplementary materials to use with your art beads when designing for this month's challenge.  I have some standard materials that I reach for: czech glass is usually at hand.  I get a lot from fellow editor, Rebecca's shop.

When I did my regular Etsy picks post earlier in the month, I struggled to find suitable monkey beads. Fortunately there are lots of cool vintage monkeys around the place.

I love vintage components nearly as much as I love art beads. Well, I might even love them both the same.

So cute in earrings! And look at these beauties:

How about some gemstones...

This black tourmaline has some edge to it; maybe you're more taken with the gauzy butterflies and dragonflies in Kahlo's painting.

And finally, a little more Czech glass:

Bye for now, Claire


Perfect Pairings :: LaTouchables + TwoSistersDesignss

I love the spirit of exploration and innovation that this experimental earring by Dawn of LaTouchables embodies. She describes how she used the top stem of a garlic plant, hand-drawn leaves forming lacy foliage along with a metal art bead that has a distinctive pattern on the top. Those thorns are real, from her rose bush, and make this appear slightly sinister. Perhaps not the most wearable piece of art, but art nonetheless!
And I think that Miss Frida would be proud!

Featured Designer :: Dawn of LaTouchables 
Featured Bead Artist :: TwoSistersDesignss 

Just a friendly reminder... We have a slightly new format for uploading your pictures for consideration for the Perfect Pairings each Wednesday, as well as the Monthly Challenge Recap post. 

We are now using Pinterest! You can find more details in this post about the exciting new changes, including a board devoted to art beads inspired by the monthly challenge! (Ooh! Look! More pretty beads to lust after!)

Pretty please make sure that you post a link in your Pinterest description so that I have someplace to attribute the picture to! And don't forget to tell us about those art beads!

Deadline to get your pictures posted to the Pinterest boards for the creation of the Monthly Challenge Recap post is April 28th!

TIP: If you upload your photo to pin it rather than pin it from your blog or shop, edit the pin (the little pencil button) and add your link as the source. Save your edits. This will allow us to click directly on your photo and go to your blog or shop to read more about your entry. 

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