Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dada: Anti Art and Anti War

Occasionally, I'll buy a small book on an art movement and carry it around in my purse to read when I have a few spare minutes. Of late, I've been reading about Dada because of the recent trend of mixed media and collage. Dada art looked familiar but I quickly learned although Dada artists used collage, the movement was alot more than collage.

Above is a photo of some of the more well known artists. They look like they're having a good time, huh? Dada was an anti-war movement and arose out of the chaos of World War 1. I've participated in remembering a war that happened when my father was a small child and not understanding the horrors of it. But the Dadaists did and influenced Modern Art along the way.

Collage, Photo-Collage, painting, writing - all were a part of the anti-art of Dada. It was protest art and was designed to look radically different than any of the art that had come before.

Below is a photomontage entitled "Pretty Maiden" by Hannah Hoch. Photomontage, which according to Wikipedia is "the process (and result) of making a composite photograph by cutting and joining a number of other photographs."

We're used to seeing this kind of photo montage now but in the early 1900's, no one had ever seen anything like it. It was jarring and went against the expectations for art. It is a protest of the war, of the co-opting of art and all it stood for. Quite a statement at the time. Modern warfare and a senseless war had changed the art world.

I love the look of Dada and respect what it stood for. I created my own protest art with the "Big Mouth" prototype beads below that fit the concept of protest art but the beads I have on the workbench now don't fit the Dada style.

Since it's not Dada, I'm on to explore Surrealism.

Have you created a piece of art in the style of Dada? or another major art movement? Share and you may win free beads!

(Photo Links and Credits: Photo of the artists , Pretty Maiden by Hannah Hoch

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Bead in Search of an Art Movement

I told you last week, I am developing a new bead series but was wondering which art movement best described it. As a glass artist, my work is influenced by various art movements. If I had to describe a predominant style, it is Modern. I've even named one of my bead series Modern Folk Bird.

Often, I'm inspired by a pattern I've seen and want to recreate in glass. When I go to the torch, I first work on the technique to create . I've rarely recreated a pattern accurately and end up with something different. It may remind me of a specific style and that will send me off on a research project - determining exactly what art movement will describe the budding new bead series.

It becomes a bead in search of an art movement.

Modern and contemporary art is misunderstood but when you know the reasons and the ideas its trying to convey, it's so much more interesting and challenging. So I want to share some of the ideas and historical context behind Dadaism and Surrealism.

So read along with me and share your thoughts. I'm going to continue the free beads this week too. I need to clear out the studio to make room for the new bead series. Leave a comment and be entered in a drawing to win free beads.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sunday Photo

On my Sunday morning commute to work my shift as a video interprerer

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Surreal or Dada?

Remember this picture I took and showed you a couple of days ago of Art Alive at the Albright Knox Art Museum?

Well, I went into the studio yesterday and made a bead with a blue and brown color palette kind of like the above painting. It's a painting by Joan Miro but I don't know which one.

Is Miro Dada in style or is he a Surrealist?

I'm digressing...I created a bead that I like quite alot but it's Miro in flavor. So I'd like to know if I'm creating a Surrealist bead or a Dada bead.

I've got one more incarnation to make before I debut the series. Stay tuned....

Friday, March 27, 2009

Not Enough Hours and Free Bead winners

There aren't going to be enough hours in the day for me to get everything done I want to! So this is a quick fly by post because the kiln is warm and I have to dip some mandrels before I can melt some glass into beads and glass links today.

The winner for Wednesday's eye bead set is Katie! Congratulations, Katie! Send me your snail mail by clicking on my profile to get my email address.

Today, I'll be thinking Miro - but won't tell you why until tomorrow when I finish up Inspiration Week!

Pretty intense look on his face, huh? Looks like he doesn't have enough time in the day either!

(Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

What's Around You....Inspiration in a around the neighborhood

Inspiration is right in front of you sometimes - yesterday morning, I opened my front door to let me cat smell the spring air and I was greeted with a flood of pink, yellow and blue. I ran for the camera.

Yes, I live in the suburbs but if you're paying attention, you can catch a moment of spectacular beauty that's only supposed to happen elsewhere.

So, you say, does that mean I have to get up obnoxiously early to see anything beautiful in my neck of the woods?

No, I say. You can look in other places that have regular hours.

Like the Albright-Knox Art Museum near my home.

The Albright Knox is full of Modern and Contemporary Art - walking through take you on a tour of Contemporary art - full of color, inspiration while thought provoking. I go a couple times a year to take in the art and challenge myself to look at it in a new way.

What local places inspire you?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Free Bead Winners!

ACK! I put a publish time on my blog post last night before I added the winners of the free beads! If you've looked at the blog before 6 AM EST, it didn't have the winners added.

They were added at 5:48 am EST (ok, so don't razz me about being up so early! LOL!)

Winners - send me you snail mail address and I'll send out the beads to you tomorrow. You can get to my email address by clicking on my profile.


What Came Before....Kiffa and free bead winners

Ancient beads are amazing to me especially when you think of how they're made. I find much inspiration in them.

Kiffa beads are rare powder glass beads according to Wikipedia.

Kiffa beads inspire me to try more complicated design in my work.

Is there something that encourages you to do something more? Do something more complicated?

Before you comment, here are the winners from Monday and Tuesday:

Monday: Sharon

Tuesday: Tish


And today's giveaway beads are eye beads in keeping with the ancient theme of inspiration:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Inspiration Media: Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard

YouTube is the people's channel and it is full of junk and beauty. The Teen spends alot of time on YouTube but I go over occasionally. Last week, I went over and found this gem.

Are music videos inspiring to you? What's your favorite? Leave a comment and I'll put your name in a hat for a drawing for FREE BEADS! I'll announce Monday's and today's bead drawing winner tomorrow.

Here are the free giveaway beads for today:

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Week of Inspiration: Where I find it and get it and oh yeah, FREE BEADS!!

Officially it's spring. If you saw the countdown clock on the Today Show on Friday, you know it's here. Or maybe you don't need Matt and Meredith to tell you it's spring - you just know it.

Me, come March 1st, I decide it's spring. I know, I know, it may not look like spring outside come March 1st but I have to switch. Enough with the winter already, I have to have spring. So I do. I decided long ago March 1st was spring and so be it.

I'm looking around at the remnants of winter in my studio and things need freshening up. It's time for some inspiration. So this week, I'm going to show you where I find inspiration and give away some free beads. But let's start with a definition of inspiration.

Dictionary.com defines Inspiration as "stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity."

Bland definition don't you think? A definition for inspiration should be more flowery, more descriptive. Let me take a whack at how I'd describe it....

Inspiration is the feeling that comes over you when you visit the Grand Canyon where the colors are so vibrant they seem to pulse. You feel your heart pound and the air seems thick with ideas and jump from you drawing pencils to your sketchbook.

Whaddaya think? I'm not sure I've made alot of sense but that's how inspiration feels to me. Now, dear readers, I want you to try your hand at describing how you feel when you're inspired. It doesn't have to make sense, just write what you feel.

I'll take all the comment-ers names and put them in a hat for a drawing for free beads. Yes FREE BEADS! I'll post today's winner on Wednesday. Here are today's giveaway beads

Write your definition of inspiration and win free beads - can't get much better than that!

I look forward to reading your definition of inspiration!

(Photo credit: Me!)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday's Photo

Shhhh...don't let The Teen know I've scarfed up this picture from one of his friend's flickr...he wouldn't like it but he's sooo da#$@m cute I had to show it!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Dreaming of Corning....

I really really really really really really want to go to the Glass Art Conference in Corning this year. So I'm dreaming of Corning and trying to figure out the way to get the funds. I took this picture of a display of ancient beads at the Corning Museum of Glass while I was there a few years ago.

Is there a place you want to visit this year that you're dreaming of?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Deconstructed Watch - Not gluing the glue-ables

Remember I said the inspiration fairy visited me after I got the Rings & Things Goodie bag, right? Well here's another fabulous project I made with the Brass Square Frame....

The Deconstructed Watch

One of the great things about this project is it can be made for $10 or less. The cost for the brass frame is $6.70. If you have the tools already and you are hoarding junk, then you're not going to spend anymore than that.

I've been haunting the flea markets and buying up old watches and keys. That set me off to buy special watch tools because I couldn't take the watches apart. This project uses the watch parts I've been able to get from the my flea market finds combined with "stitching" the parts onto the brass picture frame.


Circular watch part approximately 29mm in diameter (to fit onto the brass frame)

Brass Frame #49-441-0
Approx. 30mm square brass picture-frame charms, 1.8-2.2mm inner diameter loop. 1.3-1.7mm thick. Fits 25mm image.

6 Glass dagger beads (14mm or so)

4 feet 28 gauge brass wire

1 6mm or 7mm jump ring


metal hole punch pliers
small files
steel bristle brush
wire straightener pliers
wire cutter (to cut the 28 gauge wire)


1. Cut four holes, one on each corner of the brass frame - on the flat metal not on the raised edge.

2. File the holes smooth so there are no rough edges.

3. Above filing will cause scratches in the smooth finish of the brass so use the steel brush to create a satin finish on the brass. Brush the brass frame with the steel brush in circular motions on the front and the back of the frame.

4. Cut the 4 feet of 28 gauge wire. Use the straightening pliers to take out any kinks in the wire.

5. Hold the circular watch part to the brass frame as you thread the wire ends through the two top holes.

6. Pull the left wire end to the opposite hole at the right hand side on the bottom of the frame. Pull it diagonally across the front of the circular watch part. Thread it through the right bottom hole to the back.

7. Pull the right wire end to the opposite hole at the left hand side on the bottom of the frame. Pull it diagonally across the front of the circular watch part. Thread it through the left bottom hole to the back.

8. The wire makes an "X" holding the circular watch part in place.

9. Pull the right bottom wire end over to the left bottom hole and thread through to the front.

10. Pull the left bottom wire end over to the right bottom hole and thread through to the front. You're "sewing" the watch part into place.

11. "Sew" across the front again pulling the left wire diagonally across the front to the right top hole and the right wire diagonally across the front to the left top hole.

12. Thread wire ends through the top holes and then cross to the opposite side and thread through the front.

13. Sew diagonally across the front on both sides and thread through to the back.

14. Now add 3 dagger beads to the wire on one side.

15. Make a circle with the dagger beads and hold them in place while you thread the end of the wire through to the front to the back. Secure the circle in place by threading back to front. Do the same for the other side.

16. Sew diagonally across the front and wind the end around the top ring two to three times. Do this with both ends. Trim the wire with your wire cutters.

17. Attach jump ring.

I managed not to glue any of the "glue-ables." I had alot of fun challenging myself and coming up with ways to use them in an unconventional way. Other than gluing, what might you have done with any of the glue-ables I showed you this week?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Copper Kisses for $4.00

It's the second installment of the Rings & Things goodie bag. Today it's my favorite - the antique copper plated bracelet. Here are the stats on it from the Rings & Things website:

Stock#: 40-337-7
7.2" disk-and-loop bracelet forms for gluing. Hammered oval loops.
1-11 cost $4.00

Today's "Copper Kisses" grew out of my new work with metal, glass and cold connections which is inspired by one of my favorite books.

I made the pads more bead like by doming them. I removed the pads and textured the surface by hammering a stamp several times. I created domed links between the ovals using a ball peen hammer and a doming block. The domed links were then re-attached.

It took about an hour to do each of the pads. The cost to make this is $4.00 assuming you have to tools to do it already.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day Review

Happy St. Patrick's Day! So I don't get pinched today, here's a review of beads I've made that have green in them!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Glue is not my BFF and free project

Ok, so last week, I posted about a new goodie bag I got from Rings & Things. Dave describes them as "glue-ables."

I don't like to glue glass because I don't trust the glue will hold. Glass is so smooth, there's never much for a glue to grab onto. And yes, I've tried every glue that people have recommended. Half of the findings fall off, pop off or any other kind of off you can think of. So glue is not my BFF.

So I took it as a challenge. I would do anything BUT glue.

I must have been struck by the inspiration fairy or something because I had a flood of ideas. Here is the first of three and the easiest to do - Color Explosion.

Whoa! Get a pair of sunglasses, Mabel!!! I'm loving on that color!

So ya wanna know how to do it? Start with a bracelet blank, this is the one I used:

On the Rings & Things Website it is Stock#: 40-377-1
7.5" disk-and-loop bracelet forms for gluing. Oval loops.

The silver rounds for gluing looked like beads to me. They seemed to ask me to put a punch of color between the lovely long ovals and make them into beads.

So, I took out my stock of Ranger Inks, the Tim Holtz Adirondack Alcohol Inks, and a small paint brush and brushed the glue blanks with the inks.

There ya go!

If you buy all the things new, this project is about $15.00 but if you use a 40% off coupon at Michael's like I did for the inks, it's about $10.00 to make. So a goodie bag makes good and fits Beading on a Budget!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday's Photo

Wishing for warmer weather and the beaches of Lake Huron in Canada.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Glass Board Migration - Torchbugs

I've been around the block as far as the glass boards go. "Way back when" the only discussion board available to the glass beadmaker was the ISGB forum. I was a newbie and read it voraciously. After awhile some members decided it shouldn't be open to anyone to read, it should be open to members only. As a newbie, at the time, I wasn't a professional beadmaker. I couldn't afford the membership fee and afterall, it had been open, why close it now? The ISGB forum lost its friendly feeling and suddenly felt cold.

So I was forced to migrate over to WC! I went from a newbie to beginner to intermediate/advanced beadmaker while reading WC! over my morning coffee. WC! even had the beginnings of the Beads of Clay group on it for awhile - clay glazes are glass afterall.

Any board is an interesting social scene. Since tone of voice and facial expression is missing, I spent alot of time avoiding any controversy or expressing too much of an opinion. It's too easily misunderstood - besides the reason I read a board is for information not necessarily to get into a heated discussion about a subject. I wanted to know about ventilation, torches, properties of glass, colors, etc. I go to the group for information.

WC! is the place where I wrote my first glass tutorial - Fuse Your Glass Rod Shorts. Cool! So, WC! has a special place in my heart.

Not everyone reads a board for the same reason I do so there's lots of variety and expressing of opinions.

That open expression of opinions can cause a forum split, which it did from WC! to Lampworketc. I never knew what the uproar was but lots of people migrated over to LE. I guess some felt "stifled" on WC and a change that didn't allow any mention of suppliers in a thread.

I joined LE... but... because I had been making beads so long, the glass questions were no longer informative to me. I suppose if I wanted to talk off topic more, I'd be more active but it's difficult to ignore the nasty comments you can receive. You can be anonymous on a board and that can embolden people to say things they might not ever say in person. Boards have to set up politeness rules because the heat of the moment can make things get out of hand. If there aren't any politeness rules the board dies or people leave and start a new board.

So say hello to a new glass board - Torch Bugs. Torchbugs offers something I haven't see on any other board - Color Theory - full of inspirational color threads and all things color, it will make me visit daily.

Why do you go to discussion boards? For information? To chat?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another Goodie Bag has arrived!

Got another Goodie bag from Rings & Things the other day - this time the goodies are "glue-ables." There are a couple that are catching my eye and have my creative wheels spinning. Here's a quick picture and description from the Rings & Things website:

Stock#: 40-377-1
7.5" disk-and-loop bracelet forms for gluing. Oval loops. Length may vary +/- ¼". More details...
Color: White
Country: China
Page Number: Catalog Page 256
Note: The manufacturer states that this product is lead free.
California lead classification for this item: Class 2

Stock#: 40-337-7
7.2" disk-and-loop bracelet forms for gluing. Hammered oval loops. Length may vary +/- ¼". More details...
Color: Antiqued Copper Plated
Country: China
Page Number: Catalog Page 256
Note: The manufacturer states that this product is lead free.
California lead classification for this item: Class 2

Are you creative wheels spinning now?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Loopy Tuesday

I mentioned earlier that my organic glass links would make an appearance in Earrings, Earrings, Earrings edited by Barb Switzer, Editor of Simply Beads magazine. The book is out and not only are the Ivory Links on the cover, they're on page 82-83 in a set of earrings designed by Barb Switzer called "Loopy Tuesday"- a classic design using pearls, brass findings and chain. Just beautiful!

Earrings, Earrings, Earrings is chock full of inspiring designs for the beginner and intermediate jewelrymaker. Clear step by step directions and photos for the fundamental steps in the projects are given at the start. Chapters entitled "Hoops & Posts," "Short Dangles," "Long Dangles," and "Sets" follow. Each project has a list of materials and written step by step directions. If you've forgotten how to make a wrapped loop, just flip to the beginning of the book to see detailed pictures and directions. I love the Loopy Tuesday, Egyptian Earrings, and Purple Passion projects. There are many artist made beads in the book and I'm happy to see the artist's name and listing in the buyer's guide.

The photo index in the back of the book is particularly helpful as is the exhaustive list or Buyer's Guide. If there's a project you want to make in the book, you'll find the supplies through these internet resources.

Earrings, Earrings, Earrings can be all things to all jewelrymakers - a learning text for the beginner and intermediate jewelrymaker and a resource for inspiration and unique artist made beads and supplies.

(Photo Credit of Earrings, Earrings, Earrings and Loopy Tuesday design courtesy of Annie's Attic.)

Monday, March 09, 2009

Rings and Things Goodies make Ellipsis

I mentioned my bag of goodies from Rings and Things a couple of weeks ago. You might wonder why I got a bag of goodies from them. I was invited to join in with Rings & Things as a blog partner. I get a package of goodies from them to use and share my opinion of the materials

What did you get you ask?

Steel cable chokers in a range of sizes and colors with magnetic and screw clasps. Since glass is substantial, I preferred the screw clasps so the necklace and beads remain securely on the cable.

My designs and free jewelry projects are often modern and clean in design to enhance the beauty of my handmade glass beads. The steel cable chokers have a contemporary style befitting my design sensibilities.

I looked through the different cable chokers and the blue choker caught my eye because it was the same shade of aqua blue as the glass bead headpins I made a few years ago.

(photo of cable choker courtesy of the R&T website.)

Several years ago, I prototyped transparent glass headpins on sterling silver wire. Confident in the design and the durability of the glass/metal combination, I was excited to finally use them in a design.

I'm calling this necklace, Ellipsis, an oblong shape remininscent of the form of the glass headpins.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Sunday's Photo

Taken at the Corning Museum of Glass. The Teen is in the background.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Dichroic Copper Foil How to

Lots of hubub in the glass beadmaking world on the new dichroic copper foil. Here's a hot to video on Dichroic Copper Foil from Coatings By Sandberg Inc. Looks easy enough but for some it's been disappointing. Apparently it can "shatter" off the copper foil as it did in these pictures taken by DeAnne of the Glass Zone

It still looks usable to me as frit but you know how I feel about frit. It's still worth a try - customers often ask for dichroic glass beads but I've always found it too fussy. The copper foiled dichroic isn't supposed to be but it definitely looks brittle.

Have you tried the dichroic copper foil? What's your opinion?

Monday, March 02, 2009

Business Smarts Creatively

I'm usually doing a few things at the same time. I wouldn't call it multi-tasking as it more of one thing leads to another. When I clean, I clean the sinks in the kitchen and bathrooms at the same time. So there are several rooms I'm working on at the same time. While I work on a necklace in progress, I'm also evaluating the business end of things. As a Mom and a sign language interpreter, I spend so much of my time for others, I can lose my own voice. It can be hard to find it sometimes.

I talked about vision boards in January. I like the idea of a visual, creative approach to business. In the bookstore a while back I picked up a copy of The Creative Entrepreneur by Lisa Sonora Beam. I've set up my creative business plan notebook with the set of questions. It's a plan you work on continuously but the approach is visual and well suited to the artist in me. I've struggled with alot of "outliney" style business plans only to leave them half finished. The Creative Entrepreneur shines a ray of hope in the direction of creative business plans.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Sunday's Photo: Green Butterfly

One of my favorite local places to go to is the Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. Just over the bridge, it's a nice respite from the winter snow.