January 31, 2017

January Art Bead Scene Challenge

January is a long month in the state of Wisconsin, and this year it has felt even longer due to the many, many days without sunshine. I'm sure I'm not the only one who wonders if winter will ever give way to warmer, sunnier days.

Staying busy does help pass the time, and this month's Art Bead Scene challenge was just what I needed to fritter away some hours. Just look at the rich, warm tones in Egon Schiele's mixed media drawing titled, "Field of Flowers" - so much summery goodness - the perfect inspiration for midwinter blues.

I decided to make two art beads this month. The first one mimics the wandering flowers in the field, and the second embraces all those wonderful colors in an encased petal bead. 

This month I also decided to participate (for the first time ever) in the jewelry challenge. I have been working on my skills, and shopping for the art beads I wanted to use was so much fun! I chose a pottery cuff by Cindy Kovar of Captured Moments as the main focus of my bracelet. Then I used a Humblebeads, woodland bloom disc bead that had the perfect, coordinating flower design. Also included is one of my own lampwork beads, silk ribbon, Vintaj brass, Czech glass rondelles, a chunky citrine, and a few little wooden beads for good measure. I am really pleased with how it turned out.

This month's challenge was a real joy! 
Looking forward to what February will bring.


December 29, 2016

Photography Struggles and A Shop Update

For the past few weeks I have struggled to get pictures of my beads that I am satisfied with. I have taken (and re-taken) literally hundreds of photos. They are either too dark, or the sun is glaring on the glass. It has been a tough gig. If you want a good laugh, hop over to this blog and read another designers photography experience. I was right in that boat with her. It is exhausting......and I don't like it.
This morning I was looking for photography tips on one of my favorite blogs, Humblebeads, and I came to this post (from 2007!) I was totally falling into the camp of the washed out bead photos. I had read over and over to put your beads on a white background to let them stand out, but they didn't....the light never seemed right. Well, today I took Heather Power's advice and tried some backgound color and texture,and I am happy to report that my pictures have never looked better.

Old Picture - Washed Out & Boring


New Picture - Bright & Lively


Isn't that AMAZING! Same beads, same window, same iPad...HUGE difference!

And now for my shop update. I am so happy with how these rustic egg beads and organic headpins turned out. And the pictures? Perfect the FIRST time.....just some cropping and I was good to go - Hallelujah!


December 28, 2016

December Art Bead Scene Reveal

Today is the December ABS (Art Bead Scene) Challenge reveal. The inspiration for the challenge was a beautiful stained glass piece by Marc Chagall. I love the rich, vibrant colors of glass that Chagall used, and that is what I used as inspiration in creating my art bead. I love a challenge because it forces you to try something that isn't your usual style. Maybe it's just vibrant colors vs. muted or maybe it's a subject matter that you would never consider. Either way, stretching your mind, stretches your creativity, and that is always a good thing!


December 12, 2016

Grand Opening of Driftless Glass Studio

I am officially on Etsy....TODAY! I hope to add even more to my shop soon, but here is a sample of today's shop update. It feels so good to be back at the torch!