Sunday, September 30, 2012

Blog Hop: AJE September Component of the Month

Back at the very beginning of the month I announced the 3 winners of the giveaway for the September Component of the Month.  It's finally time for the winners and participating AJE contributors to reveal what they made with these porcelain button charms.  Each participant was sent one charm in either copper patina or root beer glaze.

Let's see what they created!

Suburban Girl Studio
Linda's Bead Blog
My Bead Journey
Glass Addictions by Jen Cameron
Beads and Bread
Knot Just Macrame

Thank you to everyone who participated!

Diana P.
Suburban Girl Studio LLC

Saturday, September 29, 2012

New AJE Contributors

A couple weeks ago I put out a call for component makers and jewelry designers whose work contains a large percentage of handmade components. I received several emails and I want to thank everyone who inquired (and if I haven't thanked you personally in email yet, I apologize, and I will soon. It's been a crazy couple weeks but that is not a good excuse).

If you are interested in being a future AJE contributor or don't want to commit but would like the additional web presence, I highly encourage you to contact me (Jen) at jennifer.glassaddictions(at) about guest blogging opportunities.

In the meantime, I would like to introduce you to the new AJE contributors as you will start seeing them post this coming week. Please browse their blogs, get acquainted with them (if you aren't already). I am super excited to have a fresh infusion of insight and creativity that these lovely ladies will provide all of us.

AJE is going international with team member Lesley Watt. Lesley is also known as The Gossiping Goddess, and she creates gorgeous bronze components. I was super lucky paired with Lesley for the last bead soup blog party. She also designs jewelry using components in addition to other art beads.

Bronze leaf connectors by Lesley Watt 

Next up is mixed media artist and jewelry designer extraordinaire Jenny Davies-Reazor. Jenny creates these wonderful ceramic pendants with the majority of her inspiration comes from nature and mythology. 

Wise Owl Ceramic pendant by Jenny Davies-Reazor

Francesca Watson has taken to banging the heck out of metal and the results are nothing short of amazing in her jewelry designs. You will love her writing style and her photos. 

Fold formed ammonite necklace by Francesca Watson

Melissa Meman enamels beads and does a lot of wire and metal work in her jewelry designs. I love that she calls her line of enameled components "melismatic morsels"

Bracelet by Melissa Meman

Susan Kennedy is a fellow lampwork artist. I am in awe of her ability to get several beads of the same exact size and shape, which is definitely not in my skill set. 

Sparkle mini beads by Susan Kennedy

Last but not least is Linda Landig. Linda designs jewelry using a big dose of handmade components and I think you will adore her as much as we all do. She has several online shops, but I found these darling earrings in her etsy shop.
Copper Earrings by Linda Landig

Have a great weekend and see you back here tomorrow for the September component of the month reveal.

-Jen Cameron

Friday, September 28, 2012

Guest Blogger Marti Conrad on creating art with yard sale finds

We have a special treat for you today! Marti Conrad, who makes delightful and whimsical ceramic beads and findings invited all of us to watch her play in her studio while she creates a stoneware bead from an old earring she bought at a yard sale:

Oh, the wonderful world of blogging, you all make it look so easy and effortless! I, on the other hand, struggle to come up with an idea that I think others would find interesting, or at least interesting enough to read.

So, when Jennifer suggested showing you my process or do a tutorial, I thought of these beads that I've been wanting to try.  This is an unknown process for me, so hang on tight, here we go!

The first thing I do when I make beads is get my clay ready.  Clay has a memory and you have to get it ready and mess it up enough to keep it from trying to go back to its original shape and to keep it from warping much if you want a flat piece.  But with beads I just squish it a few times, roll it around between my hands into several shapes and then roll it on my slab roller into a flat piece.  

 This little earring has a great shape and texture, so I bought them to try to make beads with.  This bead is for sure a two or more step process, we shall see...   

    After I shaped it around the paintbrush handle, I let it dry. 


After drying, they have to be sanded.  

I wet sand and go over all the edges and harsh places, sponging them down and making them easier to glaze and not have any sharp places after firing.  


At this point, most people do a bisque fire.  But, I usually just glaze and fire.

Glazing is always interesting and much like beaders or collectors of any kind, I always want a new glaze or new's all about the glaze!  And, this is the hardest part for me, do I go with the usual and wonderful standbys, the ones you trust to turn out great every time, or do I dare experiment, possibly come up with something no one would buy because it's now the ugliest bead that you've ever seen?  It's always a wonder, what to glaze with!

And once that choice is made, the glaze on the pieces and edges carefully cleaned, the kiln is finally loaded.  Each piece has to be far enough away from the next one because you don't want them to stick together.  Then the ten or so hours it takes for the glaze fire and then the longer wait for the kiln to cool down so it can be opened and things checked on...


Well, thanks for going on this little journey with me, I hope you enjoyed it!

Thanks for letting hang out with you while you work in the studio, Marti! 

Please stop by Marti's links: 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

October Component of the Month Givaway!

Yep it is totally my turn and I am nervous as all get out!  Autumn is well upon us to I thought what better to offer than a sweet set of beaded beads in autumn colors with a little leaf for you all to play with.  

Aren't they pretty?  I will be giving 2 sets away to 2 lucky winners and I will also be offering a very limited quantity in my shop after I announce the giveaway winners.  They are beaded by me of course and the sets will be $15 for those who don't win and still want to play along.

How this challenge and blog hop will work (please read all the information below!):
  • I will be giving away 2 sets of beaded beads and a beaded leaf via random selection to those that leave comments below.
  • Please include your EMAIL address in your comment so that I can contact the winners ASAP.
  • Only leave a comment if you can commit to creating a finished piece and blogging within the time given.
  • Winners of the two beads will be announced on October 1st.
  • The winners will not choose which color  It will be a surprise!
  • This giveaway is open to US and Canadian participants due to a short turnaround time.
  • The blog reveal will be on October 30th (because Halloween is just too busy for me)
I hope you are all as excited as I am!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rings & Things Trunk Show-Hanover, NJ

Yesterday, my mom and I went over to the Rings & Things trunk show so I could load up on gemstones.  It's not like I NEED more gemstones but, know...
We got there around 12:30 and I began by going up and down each row just scanning to see what was available.
There are sooooo many tables and I usually end up spending about 2+ hours at the show.
What I love about Rings & Things (besides the wholesale show prices) is that each strand has a tag telling you what the item is, if it's dyed, its quality and where it originated from.
Loved this table of metal beads!  I found a few goodies on it that I had to have.
Pearls in an array of colors.
It can be overwhelming with all the choices so I usually just put whatever I like into my tray and sort through it at the end.  I sit down with my calculator and add up the cost and then begin culling until I have a selection (and price range) I'm happy with.
Here are the beads my mom purchased (I convinced her to buy, teehee).
Yummy gems I purchased.  I had to cull a lot to get down to this.
Some multi-color hemp and watch parts came home with me as well.

If you have never been to a Rings & Things trunk show it's a great opportunity to stock up on stones.  Check their show schedule to see if they will be coming to a city near you!

Diana P.
Suburban Girl Studio

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Price of Lampwork

A lampworking friend of mine was threatening to sell her torch yesterday. Why? Well...the answer is simple and it isn't. The simple part is that she hasn't had sales for a couple months and she needs the income.

The difficult part has to do with pricing. There are some lampworkers...and to be honest, other types of beadmakers, jewelry designers, and artisans in every medium, who are WAY undervaluing their work.

Places like Etsy are a great venue. However, each seller is competing with thousands of sellers in their category. Some sell to support themselves as their sole income. Some sell for fun. Most people fall somewhere in between. 

With so much competition, prices are dropping. With so many hobbyists trying to make a buck or two, prices are dropping. With people stressed out about not getting sales or views, prices are dropping. This hurts everyone. Especially those who aren't charging appropriately for their work. 

Let's do some simple math using this Nightmare Insomnia focal

nightmare insomnia jennifer cameron glass addictions

-Minimum torch time to create: 1 hour (often more)
-Amount of time to remove bead from mandrel and clean: at least 5 minutes
-Amount of time to photograph, edit photos, and list: 30 minutes (when everything goes exactly as planned)

So as you can see, I'm in it for a MINIMUM of 1 hour 35 minutes. At $35 for this focal, that comes out to about $23.33/hour salary. 

However, the times I gave are minimums. It usually takes more than that. My "salary" does not include cost of materials:

-Fine silver (99.9% silver) foil AND mesh was used in this bead
-electricity to run the oxygen concentrator, kiln, ventilation, lights, heat/AC, dremel, computer
-the gas to create the flame used to melt the glass
-cost to list the bead
-shipping materials
-free shipping if sent to the US or Canada
-business cards and inserts
-gas to drive to the Post Office if shipping out of United States
-wear and tear on expensive studio equipment

Listing all this here makes my $35 bead seem pretty darn inexpensive...

Even if someone is doing this for fun or to make a couple bucks here or there, the point is to make money. Not lose money. The fact is those who are selling their work at a negative value once time + cost of materials are taken into account, do not value their time, their money, or themselves enough to sell for an appropriate amount. 

This same lampworking friend mentioned a male family member telling her once that "any profession dominated by women will always be underpaid because women have no sense of the value of their time." 

That is just sad. If we don't value and protect our time and resources, no one else will either. 

Now go forth and show the world you value your time and work by pricing your creations appropriately!

-Jen Cameron

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Art Buzz - Collaboration Coolness!

I have been very fortunate to be able to follow the progress of my friends Genea of Genea Beads and Staci Louise of SLArtisanAccents over the last few months as they conjured up an amazing collaboration of epic proportions. The results are stunning. Check out their shops here and here.