Sunday, December 5, 2010

Vernal Visions Challenge

We Mavens are happy to announce our next challenge!
The Vernal Visions Challenge is about Spring, the Spring Equinox, where day and night are equal and this encompasses so many cultures and celebrations that we've divided it up into five sections so we can give you as much inspiration as you will ever need.

Mikki : Aztec, Mayan and Native American celebrations
Aztec celebrations for the equinox are held at the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan where thousands of people flock to climb the pyramid.

"Nanauatzin became the sun god also known by the name, Tonatiuh. His image, depicted above, came to represent rebirth and continuity. During the spring equinox, March 21st, the ancient ruins of Teotihuacan are visited to honor the famous deity.  Visitors report an amazing light show of sun-filtered beauty as an equal balance of night and day is reached."

For Mayans it's Chichen Itza in central Yucatan...and here it's "Snakes on a Pyramid"  as people gather to see the amazing phenomenon of a 120ft rattlesnake creep down the staircase of the Temple of Kukulcan, also known as "El Castillo".   Referred to as "The Return of the Sun Serpent"...this is an amazing thing as it's all created by shadows from the pyramid itself.
Those Mayans were wicked smart!

Native Americans will celebrate the equinox with a drum circle, they will ask the Great Spirit for a healing for Mother Earth, and see it as a time for the Earth to awaken after the long winter, a time to plant new seeds for a new harvest.

Watch for Cindy's post on Tuesday about modern ways the Spring Equinox is celebrated.

How to Enter
All entries must be created especially for this challenge, must include seed beads and be majorly beadwoven or bead embroidered.  Entries should be your own original designs and not versions of someone else's published works.
The Exception
As teachers we understand that not everyone is at the stage of creating their own original designs so we are introducing a special category...the best adaptation of a Bead Maven Tutorial. This means you can work from one or more of our tutorials but you must change it or combine patterns....yes you may blend tutorials from more than one Maven.

Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed winners plus a prize for the best Bead Maven adaptation.
Send images of your entry/entries to before midnight on March 21st, 2011 with a bit about your entry...what inspired you and how you went about creating it, if you worked from our tutorials, which 100 words or less.
Note: Only two entries per person please.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Mikki's Favorite Things

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, we're all happy you are here.

In my last post I had mentioned my chart for beads per gram so I thought I would share that with you today aloong with some other tips about measuring and weighing beads for kits, for magazine articles, instructions and just for your own knowledge. There's nothing worse than running out of beads in the middle of a project and having to wait for an oline delivery to arrive. Also when you are buying patterns that give you a bead count this chart tells you how many grams you will need to buy.

You can buy gram scales from and if you make kits they are definitely a good investment. Do remember to check the weights of the beads though...some finishes weigh heavier than others. I usually weigh a gram and then count how many beads are in that gram...then make adjustments as necessary.

Another way to go is to forget the weight and do a count.....once you have your count of beads pop them into a tube and mark the tube with a 'fill to' line and label it with the letter of the bead as it appears in your pattern.
You can do this for each bead in your pattern so you have a quick measure.
Label the tube with the name of the kit and keep it safe so you'll have it when you need it....believe me, it saves a bunch of time.

A great tool for counting larger beads are the counting boards these come in sets of four for 3mm, 4mm, 6mm and 8mm beads.

Well...those are a few of my favorite things when it comes to kit making and prepping patterns for publication. Maybe you will be adding one or both of those to your list to Santa:)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tips on Organization From a Disorganized Beader

Sometimes when I try and think of things to write about I wonder what people will think because, what do I know? I'm relatively new to this bead weaving thing and many of you reading this will have years, even decades more experience than I.   But, as with my own blog, I try to remember that there are lots of people out there beginning beading, or beginning to sell their beading and struggling with the same hurdles I have over the last couple of years.  Encouraged by this thought I decided to write about organization....and anyone looking in my studio right now would definitely say "she's not qualified to do that!" But as I have spent the weekend organizing my beads I thought I'd share some things that help me.

Bead Storage
These nifty little wheels are the perfect packaging for a lot of my kits but I also use them to store my 2.5mm, 3mm and 4mm Swarovskis, crystals and pearls. They come in packs of two...a large one and a small one, both with 13 compartments from FMG.  For travelling these are indispensible! I write the code for the bead on the side of the wheel...they take a fine point Sharpie very well.
I also have some clear plastic thin trays with dividers for the rest of my Swarovskis.

My Delicas live in tubes in Bead Towers, each has it's identifying number plus what I paid per gram for the beads. This saves a ton of time when you're trying to price a finished piece or kit. I also created a chart to tell me how many beads are in a gram....starting at 0.25g and going up in 0.25g increments up to 15 grams, as I tend to know how many beads rather than the weight. When I pack kits or give amounts in instructions I round up to the next 0.25g...if it's just a few beads shy of the next increment I go up two.  My larger packs of Delicas have their own box.

For my seed beads, by far the largest part of my bead collection, I try to keep one tube of each color on display in these trays , I have a few of them.
The rest get packed away in boxes and storage containers ready for refilling and the tubes get a sticker when I'm getting low on a specific color.
Again these are all marked with what I paid per gram.

I also use the same flip-top boxes as my fellow Maven, Linda....mostly because Kandra of Kandra's Beads packs some of her seed beads in them...but as Linda says they store a lot in a little space.

The rest of my bead collection is stored in storage boxes which are marked for what they contain, eg. "Fire-polished, Pearls, etc."
To keep my Fireline in check I have one of these neat little fishing line spool storage boxes. It holds the large spools (125yds) of Fireline and if you add a dowel  (there's a place for it) it also keeps all the smaller (50yd) spools in check too.
I label the holes with the weight of the Fireline coming through it. Look for it in the fishing section of your local Walmart or K-mart. If you want to measure how much Fireline or any other thread you are using you can buy a fishing line counter and run your thread through it...especially good if you pack thread for kits.

For travelling I have one of these fabulous Train Cases. Mine has three top drawers on each side which I use for projects and beads and then a deep bottom for my finished 'show & tell' pieces. They are in stores now as they make great Christmas gifts, I believe I got mine at Walmart.

Reading this back it makes me look really organized, and when I take the time to put things away after each project before starting the next....I am. However....the creative mind does not always like to clear up after itself before rushing into the next project so my studio constantly looks like a bomb hit it. Morganna my muse is da bomb!

I hope you will find something here to help you organize and that your organization lasts longer than mine.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Ask The Mavens

As the new issue of Beadwork arrives in subscriber's mailboxes I'm getting a lot of mail about my project, the Gothic Butterfly (Urchin Wings) bracelet. So I thought this might be a good time to talk a little about publishing.

One of the best ways to get your name out as a designer is to have your original designs published in one of the beading magazines and for bead weavers this usually means Bead & Button, Beadwork, or Perlen Posie...those are the ones I'm familiar with anyway. But how do you go about doing this?

First and foremost your design has to be original.
Then you need to check with the magazine you're submitting to and see what their themes are for the upcoming issues plus the deadlines for each issue, typically you'll be working six months out.
You may want to change the color of your design to fit in with a theme, possibly change out those 8/0 seed beads for some Swarovskis to be included in a 'sparkle-themed' issue.
Sometimes your design just won't be what they are looking for at that time and you won't have to let that deter you. Read what their themes are and maybe you'll be inspired to create something special.
Don't be surprised if they change the name of your project, so if you are attached to the name let them know up front....but don't be closed off to compromise.

Once you have sent your pictures to the magazine and the project has been accepted you will get a contract in the mail, you'll have to sign it and send it back and you will get your signed copy after that.
You will also get a list of things they need....the pattern with illustrations, the samples, a photo of you and a short bio.  Do not forget to mention your website, shop name, blog, etc. as these are the things that will get you business.
The next one I don't do so well practice what I preach, not what I (while putting together my Gothic Butterfly kits last night I realised I'd forgotten to order the rivolis..sheesh!)

Be prepared with bead kits for the project when your issue hits the newstands...some beaders prefer to work from kits and this is your time to sell some.  As the magazine publishes the pattern your rights to sell the pattern are suspended for the time of your contract....this can be from two months to a year! will only be selling the beads.
Plus if you wish to teach the project you will need to have lots of copies of your issue to give your students in place of instructions.
And, in my experience you may not have access to your samples for six months, or get paid for the same time...sometimes long after the magazine is arriving in subscriber's mailboxes.

I'm sure the big questions is about how much you get paid....well, it isn't that much (about $60 a page) and you can probably make more selling it yourself especially if the contract is for a year.

So.....if you do it you will make a name for yourself in the beading world, it will boost your business a little, it will boost your confidence a LOT and give you some well earned bragging rights :-)  I say go for it...especially if you intend on making a living with your beads. I'll be watching for your projects....good luck!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Flat Out Brilliant!

With Christmas just around the corner you might be looking for something to ask Santa for this year, besides beads, and if you don't have this brilliant tool it might be just what you can ask for. What is it? BeadTool4.

I've been doing a lot of new flatwork designs this past week and someone asked what 'flatwork' was. Linda says she thinks I coined the term but I have no idea.  When I talk about flatwork I mean flat stitches that have a pattern in them...the type of thing you can design on graph paper. It could be, and often is, peyote stitch but it definitely isn't limited to it and I've done some in brick stitch and herringbone.

To help me create flatwork, I use BeadTool4, a software program that does all the hard work of pattern writing for you....and one of the fabulous things about it is you don't even need to be artistic to create amazing patterns. The program allows you to import photos right into your graphs and converts them into the closest shades of Delicas and then tells you exactly how many of each color you will need.

If you prefer to draw your designs that option is available and very user friendly. I like to base some of my designs on my polymer beads, this is the bead I based my Tornado cuff on. For this design I actually sat down with graph paper (free printable graph paper is available at the Fire Mountain Gems) and pencil to work out the design, then transferred it to BeadTool which then gave me a graph chart and a word chart to create the cuff.

I highly recommend this program and it's under $50 which definitely makes it accessible.  It gives everyone the ability to create their own unique patterns or take their favorite photo and turn it into wearable art.  They also let you play with it before you buy case I haven't sold you on it :-)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ask The Mavens

This week a question was asked in the forums about how much time we spend on our businesses and what we do with that time.

If you have your own beading business and that's all your going to do to bring in income then the reality is you're going to be working a LOT. Expect to put more time in than your regular 40 hour a week job.....think two 40 hour a week jobs....but if it's something you love that won't be a problem.

Expect to have many irons in the fire because though what you love is playing with beads to make a living from it your going to have to do a lot of other things too.  If you just make beaded jewelry you will have to photograph it, write about it, price it correctly, find your market to sell it which could be opening and maintaining an online store or two or it could be presenting your work to a gallery or setting up shop/booth at arts fairs. 

If you do the solely online thing expect lots of competition and to stay visible you'll have to be active with Facebook or a blog or have some other kind of online presence.  Typically this isn't enough to bring in a decent income for the first few years....if you have had incredible success please tell us your secret :)

Now the other things you'll have to look at doing....and bear in mind all your work has to be your own original design:
  • Enter competitions to get your work and your name out there.
  • Submit patterns to beading doesn't pay much and your work will be with the magazine for eons (which means you can't sell it) but it does get your name out there.
  • Publish and sell your own patterns (you'll need to be able to either illustrate or do stage by stage photography for a good tutorial).

  • Teach (you need a bunch of patience for this one so don't even think about it if you can't imagine repeating "chase your tail" at least a hundred times a class :), hate untying knots, and don't want to see your design happens, you will smile and be encouraging!)
  • Kits...this takes financial investment which you might not be able to afford to do at the beginning. You also have to do the tutorial and be able to count/weigh all the beads into little baggies....sounds easy enough but it takes time.

If you do all these things you may be able to make a living, if you do them realy, really well it might be a comfortable living.  Personally I work at least ten hours a day, seven days a week...sometimes more.  I figure my time gets split four ways:
  • 25% spent designing...this may be drawing, working in BeadTool4, or with actual beads in hand. Plus color planning which means spending time looking for the right beads....either online or at stores and shows.
  • 25% spent writing patterns and tutorials, planning classes, packing kits, writing announcements and creating displays and teaching.
  • 25% marketing...which includes maintaining two online stores, my own blog (The Beaded Carpet), my two days of blogging for the Mavens, keeping up with the Mavens forum, having a prescence on Facebook, working with galleries and bead shows.
  • 25% actual beading....working up designs in different colorways for the kits and patterns, creating original work for competitions and making things for my stores and the galleries.
Somewhere in there you have to make time to keep your books, do inventory and all that annoying stuff.  So, as you can see, it's a lot of work, some of it you will love, some of it you may hate.  To do it all you have to be good at multi-tasking and be what they call a 'self-starter'...because when you're your own boss there's no one to tell you what to do.
I think any of the Mavens will tell you "It ain't easy!" and they'd all probably tell you "I can't see myself doing anything else". So..if you're sure it's what you love and what you want to do my advice is don't jump right into it, go into it gradually...make a plan, set some goals and do it. Life's too short to not be doing something you love.

And this is Mikki signing off at 3:45 am....because I haven't had time before this to blog. Ahh....the realities :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Inside the Mavens

I don't think I'm the only Maven who wonders "Do I belong here? Am I good enough?" In fact, I know I'm not, because it's been voiced behind the scenes, one thing we Mavens seem to have in common is self-doubt, maybe me more than most because I only started bead weaving two years ago. I have times when I can hear a voice in my head saying "Who is this little upstart who thinks she knows about beading?"  "Why should she be a Maven?"

Well....I had this idea to bring a group of beading people together, people whose work I admire, I'd like to work with and learn from and surprisingly they all agreed. I'm known for my big dreams so I don't see this being limited to just the six of us....there are so many great instructors we'd all like to see join us but you have to get things going first or total chaos will set in.

The thing we all liked about the word "Maven" was the interpretation of being knowledgable but more importantly....sharing that knowledge as we are all determined to further and keep alive this wonderful artform.  I think something else we all believe is that we all have things to learn, and when you teach you learn as much from your students as they learn from you.

I was listening to some show about pilots and how many hours of flying they have to do to reach each level of professionalism and it got me thinking how many 'flight hours' have I logged with beading.

A sport pilot has to log 20 hours of flight time.
A private pilot has to log 40 hours.
A commercial pilot has to log between 190 and 250 hours.
An airline transport pilot has to log 1500 hours.

So I totalled it up, using a conservative estimate of 50 hours a week (cos I typically am doing something regarding beads at least 10 hours a day, seven days a week) and mulitiplied it by the 104 weeks I've been doing it.....5200 hours...eek! Wow...I could be flying a 747!!  :-)

I posed the question to the other Mavens and Nancy came back at me with 29,200...double eek!
Cindy and Linda couldn't even estimate because they've been doing it for so many years but I'm thinking a zero added to Nancy's number wouldn't be too far off.  Color me!

I was also curious about the hours it takes to get a degree (I'm English, so I didn't know) 64 credit hours for an Associates degree (dang I had to do two years of 40 hour weeks for my English one on top of a 'foundation year')  approx. 120 credit hours for a Bachelors, and an extra 35 for a Masters.  That's what Google told me anyhoo.

Of course it's not all about hours either because you could spend a lot of hours making the same thing in different colors and different beads, you have to have range and mastery of all the stitches. And you have to know you don't know everything because as soon as you think you do, someone will create something new. Thank goodness! Because I believe the Font of Knowledge is Fountain of Youth.

And you know doesn't get rid of the self doubt but it does make me feel a little better, that maybe I have learned a thing or two, that I do have something to offer the beading world. It gives me something to tell my students too...that you don't fly around the world on your second day.

It doesn't just relate to beading either, I think many of us don't give ourselves credit for what we know and have the demon of self doubt sitting on our shoulders telling us we're not good enough. And some of us have more real entities telling us or hinting to us the same thing.
So...if you're having one of those days take some time to really consider what knowledge you do have, total the hours of experience you may well be surprised at your knowledgeable, experienced little self .....and reward yourself with your favorite treat :)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ask The Mavens

The Jewelry Box
The question came up this week as to how to pack and present your jewelry, something I've struggled with too. Lots of trips to multitudes of stores hunting for just the right box for a large beaded necklace or a wide cuff.

Here are some of our suggestions.
  • Check out your local Tuesday Morning....around this time of year they carry some hard cardboard Christmas boxes around 8x11x1". If you don't want the Christmas look cover the box in a wrapping paper you do like.
  • Ross and TJ Maxx carry some book boxes...they look like a book but are a box...usually flock lined and if you can find the smaller sizes they are great for special pieces.
  • Consider candy boxes....dressed up with a pretty bow these can be fab!
  • My fave are these candy boxes from that close with a flip magnet and come in white and gold.
  • For small pieces the little gauze favor bags are great and nice to keep your jewelry in.
  • Check out Etsy and Artfire for handmade boxes, I get some darling little pillow boxes for my polymer beads from an Etsy seller and tie them up with some wrinkled ribbon from another Etsy seller...this is the karma handmade/sell handmade :)
  • Another box I love from PaperMart is the Polka Dot Box collection which have a size great for those bead embroidered cuffs.
  • Linda came up with the idea to use personal pizza boxes which could be dressed up to make a very original presentation box.
  • If you know someone with one of those scrapbooking die cut machines see if they can make you some boxes...there are a few styles available.
Hopefully this has given you some ideas and a couple of sources. Do remember the size and weight of the box if you're going to have to ship it as this can bite you in the profit! Try and get a gift box that fits into a flat rate box if you ship Priority Mail to avoid sticker shock.

Also box according to price, you don't want to put a $20 piece of jewelry in a $20 box or a $300 piece in a 50c box.  You should be building the price of your jewelry to include it's presentation box....I like to allow up to 5% for my presentation....which means for a $20 piece I won't be spending any more than a $1 on the box and wrappings.  And it gives me money to work with for the more expensive pieces.

It's great to recieve something you bought when it comes packed with love and care, it's something that's remembered and will get you repeat customers.
Well...I hope that helps a little because it is that time of year when the beading gets boxed up and on it's way to it's new home.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The $5 White Box

As I mentioned on Sunday I use a little white box when taking my photos and it helps a lot without costing a bundle. These are the instructions I put together for my bead society so they could make their own.
You can shine an angle poise lamp through the fabric on the top or just have it facing a window...experiment and see what works best for you.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ask The Mavens

The questions have come in about photographing jewelry.  If you're going to sell your jewelry or enter competitions it does not matter how gorgeous your work is if the photos don't do it justice.

So here are a few of our tips for taking good photographs.

Cindy's tip is:
To increase light, use white cardboard as a reflector; to add sparkle, a bit of tinfoil can be used to bounce light where you want it; to cut down on glare, or eliminate reflections in shiny bits, use black cardboard.
Nancy's tip is:
Photo shop is your FRIEND! Sometimes an edit or a crop can make a big difference.

Mikki's tips:
When I first had to take photos of my jewelry I thought "No problem", I'd had photography training at college so thought it would be a breeze.  Boy, was I wrong. My photos were ghastly!  I immediately searched online for any tips I could find, tried everything, and every combination until I was happy with the results.  Did it work?  Well...I started having my work published online and in magazines and I won a few, yes it did.

Lighting is key but also the layout is important.  Having something in the shot with the jewelry...hanging earrings on the rim of a glass, some flowers, shells, stones, etc can make it all so much more interesting.  However, if you are entering a competition be sure to read the rules because they will often request the jewelry be shot against a certain color background, usually white or grey, with nothing else visible.

Daylight shots are great, they bring out the true color but can be tricky. Try shooting in the shade on a bright day to avoid the glare of the sun. If you are lucky enough to have a window where the sun streams in set up your shot there....too much sun? try a sheer white fabric over the window to diffuse it.

I take most of my shots in a little white box that I made, and I have to say it works extremely well. I'll be giving the directions to make your own for under $5 in my blog post on Tuesday.

I also tweak my photos with MS Digital Pro....typically I'm adjusting the lighting a tad or cloning out something in the back ground I didn't see when taking the shot. Photos are great for reminding you that you forgot to trim a thread!

Just a little about photos....if you have a specific question head on over to our forum and ask....we'll do our best to answer.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Working the Curve

After Linda's post yesterday about escaping the box I thought I'd talk a little about freeform beadweaving which is one of the easiest ways to escape the box.

Many are daunted about working without a pattern and shy away from freeform work but there are a few easy guidelines to make your freeform successful and open up this style of beading to you.

Firstly, work with a monotone palette.
Get together a selection of beads in different sizes and shape but all in shades of the same color. Things will be a lot easier if you don't have to think about color changes.

Secondly, know your curves.
Practice working on a strip of peyote, use large beads at one side and small beads at the other, try 8/0 and 11/0 sizes to begin with.  As you work you will see that the work willl curve towards the side with the samller beads. Now switch the sides for the beads, using small instead of large and large instead of small....this will make the work straighten up as it curves in the opposite direction.
Use one stitch.
On your first attempt stick to one you are very comfortable with.  Try breaking the work into columns, you can play with curves and even braid the columns, even twist columns before bringing them back together.  Once you have created a couple of freeform pieces using one stitch you will be much more confident about adding more stitches.

Go for it.
Don't second guess yourself the first time you try. Freeform work can be embellished, worked over with netting and added to allowing you lots of control to get the finished look you want.  There are no rules which means you can't make mistakes :) The more you do freeform work the better you will get at it so don't beat yourself up if your first attempt is not something you would wear....look at the lessons you learned in creating it.

There are tutorials out there that give you some techniques to incorporate into your work. They aren't patterns per se, but give you tips about changing sizes, changing stitches and adding embellishments.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ask The Mavens

It's Sunday once again and we had an interesting question from Sandy Spivey this week.

Do you use a software program for writing tutorials and if so which one?

Cindy (Jewelry Tales) "I use Photoshop."
Chris (GoodQuillHunting) "I use Paint Shop Pro X3, Powerpoint and Bead Tool 4"
Mikki (Mikki Ferrugiaro Designs) "I use Bead tool 4, CoreldrawX3, MS Digital  Pro10 and MS Office Publisher" 
Linda (WildWickedBeads) "I use beadtool, photos when necessary, and Paint Shop Pro for instructions and patterns."
Peter (Beadsage) "I don't use anything. I have a sketchbook and a lot of pencils." Nancy (NEDbeads) "I don't design? I used to, but it was all pencil and graph paper... sorry! Now I don't even sketch things, I just sort of go by ear and whatever happens to be in my head at the time... "

I think maybe we interpreted the question differently.
While I think most of us design without software when it comes to writing tutorials we all use some kind of software to either edit photos or write the words:)

As I haven't used anything except what I've listed I'll tell you a little about those.
This is an amazing program if you like to do flatwork. You can, and I have, design right with the program, you can import pictures and it will turn them in to picture charts, word charts and also tell you how many and what color Delicas you need.   This program literally saves me days of work.  It's also quite inexpensive.
GQH's Crazy Cat cuff (right) is something you'd create with this program.

This is a true graphics program. When I was looking for one I couldn't afford to pay a few hundred dollars so I went with this one for about $89 and I couldn't be more thrilled. It's very user friendly and I can draw the project from start to finish.  Though I have an Associates degree in Graphic Design I'm also old enough to have got that degree before computors were the only way to go...yes, I'm a dinosaur.  So I was starting from scratch and I haven't been too intimidated.

MS Digital Pro10
I bought this eons ago and it works fine for retouching, resizing and correcting photographs.  The clone tool is my friend :)  If you were to see what some of my photos look like before I edit them you wouldn't believe it. I got really good at using the clone tool after my divorce when my ex magically disappeared from many photographs <G>

MS Office Publisher
Once I have all my illustrations and photos done I put it all together with Publisher. I have a format for my tutorials so I can just add what I want and write it all up. I can import pictures and files from the other programs and turn them into PDFs.

Well, there you have it...a bit about software. It's just the bare bones and I would have loved to include more pictures but for some reason it wouldn't let me. it's as contrary as a muse.  If you have more specific questions head on over to our forum and we'll try and answer them for you.

Monday, October 11, 2010

"Ice Queen" Challenge

Yes....we're issuing a challenge!

The Bead Mavens would like to invite you to create your icy dream.  What would an Ice Queen wear? Crystals? Pearls? Gemstones? Or our favorite, Seed Beads?
We're not going to restrict you, you get to use whatever you like to create the most beautiful, original piece of icy wearable art that you can.

We will include our favorite six in a collection shown on Facebook and our favorite six from Artfire studios with us in our Ice Queen collection.

Even better there will be a prize for the best Ice Queen submitted.
We're still working on just what this will be....but think beads or gift certificates :)  Oh...and you get bragging rights...winner of the first Bead Maven Challenge!!!

Due date is noon, Sunday November 28th.
Send your images and a paragraph about your design to us at
You can also post pictures and chat about the challenge in the
Bead Mavens Forum
The winner and our favorites will be announced December 1st.
So....get beading!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ask The Mavens

Welcome to our first Sunday questiontime. With it being our first I chose the question, but we'd love to hear from you. If you have a bead related question, this is your chance to get your choice of up to six answers...can't guarantee we'll all agree or do everything the same way :)
You can go to our forum, post questions and we'll answer as many as we can.

Good Quill Hunting teaching at Bead Fiesta
 Q: Why do you teach? What do you like about teaching?

Cindy (Jewelry Tales)
"I teach because I like to see people learn things they want to know. It's fun to see that a-ha moment happen for someone. I also teach because I think it's important to pass on what I know; I don't want what I've created to die with me. I guess teaching is my stab at immortality. And, finally, the most selfish reason of all: when I teach someone something, they often spin it around and take it in a new direction that I would never have thought of going; then I have the chance to lob it back at them and go somewhere new myself. I love that synergy. "

Nancy (NEDbeads)
"Having just started out, I am still a little anxious on the teaching side of things, but so far it has been a LOT of fun. I had a wonderful time seeing someone who had never beaded before find their skills and have something really pretty by the end of class, and it brought back to me how it feels when you first find something that you fall in love with. I think it also helped me to 'see' beads again from a fresh new perspective, and have felt even more inspired because of it. "

Chris (Good Quill Hunting)
"The interaction with the students and seeing their progress throughout a class and knowing that I gave them a part of my passion and knowledge is very rewarding. I make sure that all my students completely understand what they are doing, so when they go home they can carry on. That in turn provides a 'safety net' in their ability and self confidence and building self esteem is key. I most enjoy when students email me their photos after they have finished. I love being able to give them a pat on the back for a job well done. I have been teaching for more than 4 years now and I really enjoy it! "

Peter (Beadsage)
"I teach because I firmly believe that anyone can do anything given the right tuition and direction. We as beadworkers are practicing an ancient art, it is our responsibility to preserve the old skills and develop new skills. When most of us started this there were few if any serious teachers, we were all self taught, which involved spending a lot of money we didn't need to, and making a lot of rubbish we didn't need to. Hopefully the help we offer will save our students both money and headaches!"

Linda (WildWickedBeads)
"I teach because I have never attended a class. Not ever. Therefore, I've had to learn from books, magazines, diagrams and written directions. I know all too well the agony of just not quite getting that one turn, or that one step that, were I shown it, I know would click into place like magic. I started to teach because no one else in my city does - and people were always asking to learn.
Once I began, I discovered that I loved it. I love watching people who doubt they have any creativity suddenly discover that their very own butterfingers can produce something beautiful.
Best of all are the moments when you see someone discover that they can stray from the directions and come up with something new.
I've learned from my students. And teaching has improved my drawn and written instructions, too!"

Mikki (MikkiFerrugiaroDesigns)
"I teach because someone asked me to. I wasn't sure what I would be asked to teach when I walked into our local craft store, I have always done lots of crafts, but when the studio manager saw the necklace I was wearing she knew exactly what I would teach.  It was a very happy accident because I hadn't discovered bead weaving at that point and it was through teaching and wanting to bring lots of techniques to my students that I fell in love with the weaving of seed beads.
I love to see the light bulb moment when students realise they can actually do this and when they cross the line and begin to design for themselves. I also share Cindy's desire to pass on what I know to keep the knowledge alive.

The Mavens and You
We have something brewing and we can't wait to share it with you...but we will...just for a day or two. So stay tuned, watch this spot and be first to know just what we have up our sleeves.