Monday, November 24, 2014

Inspired By A Trip To The Desert

Yesterday I landed in Las Vegas.  My parents came and picked Colin and I up and drove us out to their home in Southern Utah.  We visit them once a year out there and I LOVE it!  I always come home from this trip filled with inspiration.  Let me show you why...
My parents live in the desert.  This is a short drive from their house.  

We usually go out for one or two hikes while we are there.  My parents took some rockhounding classes at their local community college and so we search for petrified wood, fossils and various stones.  
Sometimes we get lucky and find one!  You've probably noticed that spirals and fossils are a recurring theme in my work.
About 45 minutes away from their home is Springdale, Utah.  Springdale sits outside of Zion National Park.  Two of my favorite places are located in Springdale.  The first is The Worthington Gallery.  Located inside a historical home, this gallery is FILLED with amazing local pottery and art. I always select a few pieces to bring back with me.  
Also located in Springdale is this fabulous rock shop.  I go nuts in here every year.  Do I need more cabochons?  That's a ridiculous question!  Of course I do!
I created this ring using a septarian nodule cabochon I purchased from that shop.  The shop owner is  a lapidary. He uses septarian nodules local to Utah and a variety of other stones, including a few local jaspers.
And of course, if you drive through Springdale you end up in Zion National Park.  It's kind of hard to not be inspired by this place!  Look at those layers of color and all that texture!
And speaking of Zion, I'm heading out there today.  Going to stop at the rock shop first, then Worthington Gallery and then head into the park!  I wonder what kind of inspiration I'll come back with this time.

Happy Beading and Happy Thanksgiving!

Diana P.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Easy DIY Necklace Tutorial With Art Beads & Fiber

I have a necklace tutorial for you today that would make a fabulous holiday gift or an easy, yet distinctive accessory for yourself.

Here's what you'll need:
*28 inches (71 c.m.) of leather cord (more or less, depending on your preferred length)
*3 Speckled Nugget Beads (or similar beads with holes large enough to accommodate the leather cord
*1 package of Wooly Wire to coordinate with your beads
*12 inches (30.5 c.m.) 22 gauge wire
*2 medium channel beads
*2 small channel beads
*2 jump rings
*1 clasp
*Super Glue, or similar fast setting glue
*flat nose or half round pliers

1. Working off the roll of Wooly Wire, glue one end to the top of one of the channel beads, just below the "lip" of the bead.  Initially I made a small right angle in the Wooly Wire and glued it down, as in the picture below.  But as I proceeded with the other channel beads I tried gluing the Wooly Wire down without the bend and it didn't seem to make any difference.  So do whatever you prefer.
 2. When the glue dries, begin wrapping the Wooly Wire snugly around the channel bead.
3.Cut the Wooly Wire when you have filled the channel bead with your wraps.  Glue down the end of the wire.
4.  Follow the same procedure for the other three channel beads.  Sometimes there will be an especially thick portion of the Wooly Wire (as in the top right corner of the picture above).  If you wish, you can skip that part and just use the more even, thinner parts. On the other hand, you may prefer a more rustic, less even look, in which case, use the thick and thin portion both.
5. Insider Tip:  Although I'd love for you to feel a close creative bond with Wooly Wire, it is best not to develop an actual physical bond with it.  Be careful with Super Glue.  As you can see in the picture below I glued some of the Wooly Wire to my fingers.
 6.  String your beads onto the leather cord in the following order:  1 small channel bead, 1 Speckled Nugget Bead, 1 medium channel bead, 1 Speckled Nugget Bead,  1 Speckled Nugget Bead, 1 small channel bead.
7. Cut the 22 gauge wire in half.  Place one of the jump rings  about half an inch from one end of the leather cord and fold over the cord end.  Wrap the cord end with one of the pieces of 22 gauge wire.  Do the same on the other end of the leather cord.
8. Open one jump ring and slip on one half of the clasp.  Open the other jump ring and slip on the other half.

The "Boho Blue" necklace is available in my shop.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Make Your Own ~ Country Goldenrod Earrings

It's earring making time again! Seems these days, I only ever make jewelry for tutorials… but I do like the break from beadmaking once in a while!

The stars of these new earrings are a pair of lovely beaded beads from our very own Kristen Stevens—I love her beaded beads!

Come see how to make your own earrings…

Supplies you'll need:
- 22 bronze gauge wire
- 2 silver earwires
- 2 beaded beads
- 2 8mm silver beads
- 2 8mm round beads (I used turquoise howlite)
- 2 5mm round beads (turquoise howlite for these too)
- about 16 inches of ribbon or fabric

Tools you'll need:
- scissors
- tape measure
- wire cutters
- round-nose pliers
- flat-nose pliers
- bent-nose pliers

1. Cut two 16 inch lengths of 22 gauge wire. Put a silver bead on each wire and wrap the wire once around, leaving a 3 inch tail.

2. Place the beaded beads just above the wrapped wire.

3. Cut the fabric or ribbon into pairs of three lengths. I did two pairs 3 inches long and one pair 2 inches long. You can do these whatever length you want—just keep in mind that the longer they are, the more bulk you'll have on your finished earring and you made need a longer wire for the wire wrapping.

4. Take the long end of the wire and thread it through the fabric, folding as you go. Place the 8mm howlite bead just above the folded fabric.

5. Thread the other 3 inch length of fabric, add the 5mm beads, and the last length of fabric.

6. Scrunch everything down on top of the beaded beads and form a small wrapped loop.

7. Wrap the tail of the wrapped loop down over the top of the fabric and howlite beads to the beaded bead. Wrap tightly, adjusting the folds of the fabric as you wrap and trim any unruly fabric with scissors. Lastly, wrap that first tail of wire above the silver bead. Repeat with the other earring… add your earwires and you're done!! Enjoy!

Happy earring making!!

Rebekah Payne

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thoughts on Creating Art Jewelry for Men

I have always found it interesting that many jewelry makers find it difficult to design for men. I remember making a necklace and beaded hatband for my little brother's dress-up cowboy hat when we were kids, and made bracelets and rings for my dad, grandpa, and uncles. Maybe making jewelry for males at such an early age allowed me to not get sucked into the cultural and gender expectations of man-cessories. I don't really know!

Designing for men doesn't have to be intimidating, so today I'm going to share a few things that you'll want to think about, should you decide to experiment with creating jewelry for men. It's important to keep in mind that these are just guidelines – there are always going to be people that have different tastes or a specific request. However, I've found that if you keep these guidelines in mind while creating for men, you will have success more often than not.


It's just a fact of nature that men are larger, more heavily boned and muscled, than most women. Therefore it follows that you will need to design with larger beads and components, than if you were going to market the end result to a woman. Another thing I've discovered, is that many men who wear jewelry are not afraid to make a larger statement with their adornment. There is an inherent delicacy to smaller scale jewelry, and that is not something that most men want to be perceived as.

Don't forget to apply this larger scale to the findings that you use, partially to keep them in scale with the rest of the piece, and also because most men have large hands and fingers and will get very frustrated trying to fasten smaller clasps. I usually use a large toggle with nice bumps on the ends of the bar, or an S-hook style clasp. I try to avoid lobster claw styles in particular, because men usually keep their nails short and lobsters are definitely harder to operate with short nails and big fingers.


Because of cultural labels that have been attached to certain colors, most men will be more comfortable wearing darker colors. Earth-tones are a good choice, but any subdued colors will usually be met with approval. When inserting a saturated, or lighter, color, it helps if it is just used as an accent to the main color palette. This is especially helpful when you are making something for a man that has a specific favorite color. Consider pairing that color with black or dark brown, so the finished piece is not quite so bold with its color statement.

Texture & Shape

Unless you are designing for a very effeminate or flamboyant man, you probably want to avoid any beads that are shiny or sparkly – matte or comparatively dull finishes are more widely accepted. Metal and metallic beads are an exception, though copper, brass, and gunmetal are usually preferred over shiny bright gold and silver. When it comes to seed beadwork especially, texture and shape are huge factors. Its very easy for beadwork to become too fussy, frilly, or “wiggly” for a man to feel comfortable wearing. I usually stick to stiffer, more architectural beaded elements, skip the fringe, and keep the dangling parts that will exhibit motion to a minimum.

Personal Taste

In my opinion, the most important thing to consider when you're designing jewelry for a man is his own personal taste. Men vary as widely in their tastes as any other demographic. There's the polished dandy, like news anchor Brian Williams – he wears simple knotted leather bracelets. There's the flamboyant family man, like Johnny Depp – he can often be seen sporting prayer beads mixed with bracelets that his daughter made. Pharrell Williams is all over pop culture right now, and as questionable as his fashion choices might seem to some people, what I appreciate is that he has eschewed the typical music industry hip hop trend for over-sized bling. He wears jewelry that has spiritual or metaphysical meanings for him, and he's not afraid to pile it on.

I've made jewelry for lots of different men over the years. Most of the jewelry pictured here, I made for my significant other, Keven. We picked a few of his favorite pieces to share with you, and it also gave me a chance to ask him what he liked in particular about them. Keven prefers natural tones and textures, as evidenced by all of the stone, bone, and wood beads I've used in his necklaces. You can probably also tell that he likes mossy greens...serpentine, moss agate, and various jaspers are usually what I reach for. He likes focal components that are abstract or simple, with the exception being an affinity for turtles – one of his totem animals.

My friend Steve is an amazing ceramic artist and carver, and he occasionally branches out into making pendants and jewelry components. He is both a biker and very new-age spiritual, so the jewelry I've made for him runs the gamut from very organic to imposing and spiky, and above all his accessories must resonate with him on the spiritual level. He is also never without wide alligator leather cuffs, so I try to work in a larger scale than normal when making a piece for Steve. In the picture above, Steve made the crystal and driftwood focal in the necklace on the left, and the petrified wood disk focal in the necklace on the right.

My friend Bob is a New Mexico desert rat – not afraid to wear flamboyant western shirts, so I knew he would appreciate a bold necklace. I wanted this piece to reflect the desert, and also be a nod to the Native American jewelry artisans.

Don't feel like you're limited to necklaces and bracelets when designing for men. Lapel pins, cuff links, tie tacks, belt buckles, and hatbands are also good options. Do consider non traditional components, like bike chains, nuts, bolts, and washers. I am waiting for a piece of chainsaw chain from Keven's dad. That could definitely make for an interesting piece, don't you think? Above all, think outside your normal creative box – how can you work your style into a piece for a man? Is there already a man in your life that could be wearing your jewelry...but isn't because you haven't made any for him yet? I would love to see what you've made for men – do you feel it was successful, or are there more things you can work on? Please let me know in the comments if you would like to read more on this subject! I hope this post helps you in your creative endeavors.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Holidays Are Coming....

Christmas day is five weeks today. Eek - five is that all... surely not?! Despite the fact that it happens at the same time every year and we know it's coming it always seems to catch some of us by surprise. Well if you're one of those and you still need some inspiration for some Christmas makes there are plenty of bead and ornament goodies around and here's a little round up of some of my favourites...

Whimsical bulb and bird bead set from Gaea...

Adorable lampwork Robin focals from Izzy Beads...

Pretty  Poinsettias from Humble Beads...

I just love these original and inspirational ornaments from Second Surf which would also make great keepsake tags for your special gifts...

Fabulously detailed frosty holly beads from Donna Millard

For a more rustic feel how about this pretty cut out snowflake from Suburban Girl Beads...

I just love the icy winter feel of these Polymer Clay Queen Anne's Lace pendants from Tree wings Studio - you can almost hear the ground crackle underfoot...

Some more lovely holly leaves from Serena Smith Lampwork...

What's not to love about this adorable little beaded owl ornament from Meredith Dada...

A gorgeously rich and opulent lamp work focal from Sue Beads...

And because you can never have too much snow at Christmas another ceramic option from Linda Landig Jewellery...

So have fun with your Christmas bead shopping and I hope you're more organised than I am!

The Gossiping Goddess