Sunday, August 31, 2014

August Component of the Month Reveal: hand painted leather feathers!

What fun it is to create a brand new jewelry component and then send it out all over the world and into the hands of talented jewelry artists to let them work their own magic, making it into something even more special… and then to finally see those creations! Yes, it's a happy day—today is my leather feather CoM reveal, at last!

Are you ready to see what new creations everyone has dreamed up?

Come join us in the blog hop!

Guest Artists

The AJE Team

Rebekah Payne

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Guest Blogger Lynnea Bennett: Beady Eyed in NYC

Guest blogger Lynnea describes her post-Bead Fest Philadelphia activities in NYC at wholesale shops. What better way to spend a few days since she was "in the neighborhood" anyway? -Jen


So what’s a jewelry artist to do after spending three days at Bead Fest?  Go shopping for more beads in NYC! Every time I am in Philadelphia a few of my beady eyed friends and I plan a bead binge in New York.  This one included my friends Heather, Rose, Lee Anne and Bobbi. We grabbed an empty suitcase and jumped on the train.

We had our plan of attack and a map:

Our first stop is always CJS Sales.  Who can resist 5000 square feet of beads and metal and chain? It is like an archeological dig for treasures.  It is wholesale only so bring a copy of your license to get in. You’ll get to meet employee of the month David...and you’ll understand why this is funny when you get there.  Be prepared to get dirty and climb mountains of boxes.  

Next on our list was York Beads.  If you love Czech glass this is the place to go.  No single strands here, you buy by the hank.  We also stopped at Beads World on Broadway.  They have chain and seed beads, semi precious stones and glass beads by the strand.  I got lucky and bought some chain from the clearance section. If you use ribbon in your work expect to spend some time at  M&J Trimming.   

Toho Beads would make a seed beader think they died and went to heaven.  All those tiny treasures in one place almost made me pull my bead loom out of retirement.

No trip would be complete without a trip to Metalliferous .  Anthony was happy to see us and answered all our questions, searched for anything we might need and somehow took care of other customers since the place was packed on a Monday afternoon.  

I think Rose got the best thing in the store when she got a hug from Anthony on our way out.  He also gave us a lead on a place to stop the next day.

Woke up the next day and tied on our walking shoes.  We had a train to catch at 2:00 so we had to make the best of the time we had left.  We went to Taj Company another wholesale only place. We couldn’t have asked for a better visit. They even passed out water since we were parched from all the walking.  The selection was great and they pointed out the sale areas and helped us search for anything we still thought we needed.  I got some beautiful strands there and can’t wait to create with them

I couldn’t go to NYC without stopping into Mood Fabrics.  

No we didn’t see Tim Gunn but we got to meet Joe who helped me with my purchases.

I got to have my own Project Runway moment since the clock was ticking and we had to get back to the bus.  We made it just in time and settled in to rest our weary feet and start to plan what to make with our bountiful stash.  If you ever get the chance to go to NYC to bead shop as Tim Gunn would say “Make It Work”!

Friday, August 29, 2014

September Component of the Month WINNERS!

Here are the winners of the September Component of the Month!!

Kari Asbury

Sarajo Wenting

Shirley Moore



3 Steps For Teaching A Successful Jewelry Class

At Bead Fest, this year, I had the opportunity to assist both Staci Smith in her class, "Painted Polymer Fossil Talisman" and Genea Crivello-Knable in her class, "Wooly Wire One-Oh-Fun"I also took a class from AJE team member, Jenny Davis-Reazor, called "Mixed Media Amulets".   
Genea's Wooly Wire Class!
I spent the last dozen or so years of my public school teaching career mentoring teachers and college students as we worked together to improve instructional practices.  What I learned from assisting in these two jewelry classes and being a student in Jenny's class, is that teaching is teaching, no matter what the topic. The same qualities of good instruction apply whether you are teaching a 4th grader to divide 3 digit numbers or whether your are showing how to create a bail using Wooly Wire.  The content changes, but most of the same instructional techniques apply.
Staci provided a variety of examples to help guide her students to their "destination".
 Here are my observations from these classes, which will help any teacher:
  • Follow this instructional sequence: "I do it.  We do it. You do it."  So what this means is that if I was teaching how to make an ear wire, I would gather the class around me, and do the first step or 2 of making an ear wire, while talking them through the process, as they observe, (I do it).  Next I'd send them back to their tables and once again talk them through it, while I demonstrated and they did each step with me (We do it.).  Later, if I sensed that they were ready, I'd let them make the other ear wire on their own, as I circulated and assisted those who were in need of extra help, (You-the student-do it.).  Whenever I saw this sequence at work in the 3 jewelry classes, I saw successful students.
  • Have plenty of examples available for students to use as guide posts.  If there is only one desired outcome, then all the examples should be the same, but place the examples on various student tables, so they can refer to them.  If there are a variety of possible outcomes, as in Staci's or Jenny's pendants, then offer a variety of examples for students to refer to.  Being able to see examples helps guide the process.  It's like having a destination on a map. If you don't have a clear, readily assessable destination, you'll be lost.
  • Break the process down into small steps. Remember your students have no, or limited experience, in this new technique. I can make an ear wire in about 1 minute, without giving it much thought.  But if I were to teach my neighbor how to make one, do you think she could do it if I explained the whole thing at once and then said, "OK, go for it!".  It takes practice, but you've got to learn to think like a beginner.  First my neighbor would have to learn to cut the wire, with flush cuts on each side.  Heck, she probably doesn't even know the term "flush cut".  So I'd have to back up and explain how each side of the cutter works and what a flush cut is and why it is important.  See what I mean about breaking down the steps?  So explain a little bit (how and why to make a flush cut), ask if anyone has any questions, have the students do it with guidance and then move on to the next step.  After a while you'll get a sense for how much info your class can take in at one time.
Jenny explains some of the basic properties of working with polymer clay, as the first step in our pendant making.
Jenny is a former public school teacher so she has lots of experience and training in teaching.   But Staci and Genea also had very successful, happy students, who were proud of their new creations! So you can be a jewelry, or jewelry component, teacher too!  If you have ever considered sharing your jewelry skills, you might find that these guidelines are helpful.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Report From the Road: Corning Museum of Glass

Maybe you've heard that Lesley Watt is here in the United States on a Great Bead Adventure. There are four phases to her adventure, and she is currently in Phase III. I have custody of her during this phase and we headed to the NY Finger Lakes region the morning after Bead Fest was over. 

Yesterday we headed to Corning Museum of Glass. I'm pretty sure this is my favorite museum ever. Including the Louvre (which is pretty freaking awesome). 

I'm going to share a few of the photos I took and maybe make a few comments about each one. Keep in mind the photos come nowhere close to doing these pieces justice. 

Innerland by Eric Hilton: This sculpture is based on the landscapes of Hilton's native Scotland. I couldn't get enough of this piece. I had to look at it from every possible angle. 

Lino Tagliapietra: Inspired by a nautilus shell. 

Jay Musler: A city skyline at sunset. 

William Morris: Petroglyphic Urn that is absolutely stunning. 

 Cargo Seed by Bertil Vallien: Inspired by Viking boat burials. these large boats address the theme of journey, memory and time. 

Mary Shaffer: I personally adore these pieces because it shows the properties of glass. When heated to molten, it can move, droop, sag, conform to a rigid object. My personal tools of the trade are heat and gravity. I am a tool minimalist. These hooks, which are found objects, have glass hanging from them like pieces of cloth. 

Damaged bone series by Michael Aschenbrenner: Having just broken my elbow a couple months ago,  and Lesley breaking her ankle late last year, we felt a strange affinity with these set bones. 

Grand Double Helix Diatreta by Seth Randal: We just liked this one. Lesley thinks I should make her a bead like this. It isn't happening anytime soon.  

Ancient Glass Formulas: If you can read this, you can find out the secret of ancient glass formulas. 

Glass from Ancient Egypt: Dragging spot heated glass lines to create a marbling effect is one of the first skills a new lampworker learns. And it's been used for thousands of years. Which is awesome. 

This next one is for our seed beading readers. This is crazypants amazing and made out of glass seed beads. 

Offhand wares: I thought this was interesting. The lily-pad pattern they refer to reminds me a bit of my Nightmare Insomnia ends. I included a photo of one of my beads after the vase for quick reference. 

Megaplanet by Josh Simpson: 100 pounds of AWESOME. I've seen his paperweights before, but never one of these giant orbs of amazing. Wow. 

Tiffany: Of course I had to show this amazing Tiffany window. So much of the detail is lost in this photo. See this in person! 

Ghost Walk under Infinite Darkness by Andrew K Erdos: This is one that has to be seen in person. 

While I took 100's of photos, I want to save some surprises for you to discover yourself. This trip has done more to rev up my creativity than anything else could. I almost wish I could be back in my studio today trying some new ideas. 

Have a great week! 

-Jen Cameron

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

BeadFest LOOT!

You all know this past weekend was BeadFest.  So I thought I would share a bit of what I love about it with you.

First these ladies!

From left to right Karen, Melissa, Sue, Diana, Lesley (front) me, (back) Linda, (front) Jennifer, (back) Jenny!

Yep some of our lovely members and even Lesley hopped the pond to join us!

There was tons of fun and shopping to be had and I know you want to see the eye candy I brought back with me.  Now you will see most of my loot comes from the members of this blog and that is because I not only love the ladies I love love love what they create and to see it all in person is unbelievable!

I loved being able to look at all of Lesley's goodies up close.  That is one of the best parts of Beadfest. She is still on holiday here in the states and I hope she loves the rest of her trip.

Lesley was kind enough to bring over these lovelies I wanted from Caroline.  Oh Oh OH I was more than thrilled to finally touch all of these!

Upper Left is a gorgeous flower donut from Diana which I totally drool over and already have a plan for.  Upper right is Karen's tribal bird that rocks my world and is sending me on a really cool inspirational journey.  The bunny oh the bunny is from Jenny. Every time I look at it am smile!

Now I have to tell you these have been in my wish list FOREVER!  I am in love with Genea's glass.  She makes the coolest beads in such awesome colors you have to check it out.

What can I say about Heather's beads?  Only that I am in love with them!!!!!

Jennifer oh Jennifer I swear she was thinking of me when she made these!


As soon as I saw both of these pieces Linda made I new they had to be mine!

These are so much fun and I got them from Aria Design Studio

Now I new I would love shopping with Meg!  She hand dyes bead backing!!!!!

I love these little chicklets and cabs from Sue!  I will be adding more to my stash when my budget comes back!

And last but certainly not least at all are these pieces from Staci!  No words can describe the joy I have with them!

So there you have it.  Additions to my stash.  I had such a blast visiting with everyone and fondling drooling seeing all their beautiful creations up close and personal!