Saturday, August 10, 2013

How D'Ya Like Us Now?

Actually I don't have to ask that question because I've been getting lots of messages and e-mails that tell me you're thrilled with the line-up of too :)

We do have a winner in our guessing game....with a total of....just ONE correct.....that was tough, huh?   To be honest I had named the photos simply because I couldn't remember whose was whose and I knew!
So...the lucky person who got Aurelio correct is Deb Schwartzz!
She will receive a $25 gift certificate to my perfect timing for Doodads!

I am putting together a new free tutorial using Super Duos (as requested) and I hope to have it up check back.

Regular Maven posts will happen on Fridays and this Friday Valorie is up to bat and I know I'm looking forward to that.  Free tutorials will be the last Friday of the month and Valorie is first up on that one too.
I'm excited!

Also....I said I would do a giveaway to the most interesting question for the Mavens.....for me that was from Leanne Kirsch :

"Question for the new mavens...When you get an inspiration for a new idea, do you always sketch it out first or does it just 'happen' ? I am always curious as to what inspires a piece. Leanne"

Leanne....I need your e-mail so I can send you my very latest tutorial....isn't even in my store yet!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Introducing.....Mandi Ainsworth

Mandi is the only new Maven I have actually met in person. We met at Bead & Button in Milwaukee earlier this year and after spending some time talking to Mandi I felt she was in just the right place in her beading career to be a Maven so I invited her to join us.  I'm impressed that Mandi is already doing things like "Bead Circle" and obviously is not just a beader, designer and teacher but also an organizer, one who gives back to and cares about the bead community.
Mandi Ainsworth

What did you do before beading? And what brought beading into your life?
My grandma passed down her bead loom to me when I was 12 years old. Once I found beads, I lost interest in all other crafts. I began selling my work at an early age as well.
One summer, I decided to make some bead money by selling my strung seed bead jewelry. I lived by the lake, and the busiest day is the fourth of July. There was a little store that everyone would buy ice at on their way to the boat ramp, and the owner agreed to let me sell my jewelry in front of his store. With the date set and the agreement made, I started beading up a storm.

The big day came, and I laid out my jewelry on the walkway in front of the store. My sign read bracelets $1, necklaces $2, and leather keychains $5. I ended up making $76 that day, and I felt so rich! That was the day I knew I wanted to become a bead artist.
After graduating from Texas A&M, I lasted about a year in the corporate world before I quit to work part-time at a day job and part-time on my business. 
What is your comfort zone?
Projects where there is no set pattern, such as freeform peyote, bead embroidery, and intuitive beading.
What aspect of beading do you find most challenging?
Choosing colorways for my kits. I love color, and it’s hard to narrow it down sometimes and choose what people will like.
What would you most like to bead if you had the time and supplies?
Instead of yarn bombing, I would totally crystal bomb a tree or street light with all different sizes, shapes, and colors of Swarovski Elements using RAW. Something that would make people stop and smile.

Who, if anyone, has influenced your style of beading?
The late Melanie Doerman was a wonderful influence on me. I love the way she incorporated found objects and used mixed media supplies in her beadwork, and that is something I love to do as well. I feel blessed that I was able to take some classes from her.
If you could only use one bead weaving stitch which one would you choose and why?
If I only had peyote stitch and a copy of Contemporary Geometric Beadwork, I think I would be set for life!
Do you have a favorite place to buy beads and supplies?
I would like to give a shout out to my local bead stores for being awesome sources of support and encouragement. They offer to carry the supplies I use in my designs and classes, and will stay open late when I find that I’m out of One G! Val owner of Artful Bead in Carrollton, Lori owner of Wildbeads in Arlington, and Gerry owner of Bead Crazee in Tyler. Thank you, ladies!

I also love Beyond Beadery, Whimbeads, and York Beads!
What Mandi says about herself:
I’m a right-handed, Leo born in the year of the boar. I love coffee, sticky notes, and dancing in my studio when I take a break from beading. I live in Dallas, TX with my husband Cody and our lab mix Ruby.
My partner in crime is the fabulous bead artist, Ralonda Patterson. We travel to events together, bounce ideas off each other, and we are working on a collaboration we can teach together. I feel so grateful to have her in my life!
My favorite quote right now: “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

I wrote a cool eBook about how I create my beaded pens. You can download it for free by subscribing to my email newsletter at

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Introducing....... Twyla Harbick

Now this designer is rather special to me because having Twyla as a Maven completes a circle.  Twyla not only followed the Bead Maven's blog but also entered our last contest, Maven Meld, taking second place. I was so delighted when she answered my call for designers and it was an easy 'yes'.  It's great to see how she's grown as a designer in the last couple of years and I think everyone will enjoy getting to know......

Twyla Harbick

2nd Place Winner, Maven Meld 2011

What did you do before beading?

Before I took up beading full time, I worked part-time as a Bookkeeper for a Roofers Union.

What brought beading into my life?

One fine summer day a friend and I went to explore a new local beading store that had recently opened in our community, aptly named "The Bead Addiction", and they had a sign in the window that read; Beading Classes - Sign up Inside. I looked at my friend and said, "We could take a beading class together!" ...and my bead addiction was born. :)

What is your comfort zone?

My comfort zone centers around making pretty, feminine, and wearable jewelry using mostly Delica's, and smaller seed beads such as 15's. The smaller, the better I say. :) In my opinion, there is just something about smaller beads that tends toward feminism.

What aspect of beading do you find most challenging?

Is this a trick question? All of it! No, but seriously, I would probably say the most challenging aspect for me is in the creating of a new design. It is one thing to come up with an idea, but to transfer that idea onto paper or translate it into a reality with beads is often quite another thing. Some people are just naturally gifted that way. For myself, the process can be at times a 
little daunting.

What would you most likely bead if you had the time and the supplies?

I have always wanted to try my hand at bead embroidery and it would most likely involve some sort of mermaid motif.

Who if anyone, has influenced your style of beading?

Where do I begin? There are numerous talented, wonderful designers out there to choose from and I can't help but think that in some ways I am influenced by all of them...but if I had to choose just one or two, I would say probably Kelly Wiese and Lisa Kahn would be at the top of my list. I think both of these designers have a feminine and romantic style of beading that I am very drawn to.

If you could only use one bead weaving stitch which one would you choose and why? 

Well, this is a really tough question for me, because I have several go to stitches I really like; peyote, herringbone and RAW, to mention a few.... but to have to only pick one, I think it would have to be RAW.  For me, I think its probably a little more versatile than the other stitches and one is able to do so many different things with it. You can use it to make a smooth fabric base or you can embellish and create beaded layers which give way to many different textures and shapes depending on the size and style of beads that you choose.

Do you have a favorite place to buy beads and supplies?

I would always encourage anyone to buy from their local bead stores if at all possible. I personally do a lot of shopping online and buy from several different stores depending on what I am searching for. To name a few:
Fire Mountain Gems
Bello Modo
Fusion Beads
Shipwreck Beads

What Twyla says about herself:

I have been beading for about 3 years and call Springfield, Oregon my home. I am the mother of two grown children, one 9 month old granddaughter, and a wonderful kitty named Fox. 

Beading is my bliss and I enjoy creating new jewelry designs and tutorials for others to bead.  I also like to dabble in polymer clay and to create mixed media designs. I hope someday to have some of my designs and works published.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Introducing.....Neva Brown

The second of the Aussie contingent and another fellow Battler, Neva does some very cool pieces using bead embroidery and bead weaving. Neva was one of a small group of beaders who took me up on wanting a FB group for an honest critique and formed "BEad Honest" which she pretty much runs.  I'm thrilled to have her aboard the Mavens so, let's get to know....

Neva Brown

 What did you do before beading?

All my professional life I have been an Interior Designer and Graphic Designer, having had my own business since 1979. My work has taken me to most corners of the world to design, and all my work has come to me by word of mouth referrals. I have been very fortunate in this way. Whilst travelling to China, I came across and studied Feng Shui, and subsequently incorporated its principles in my interiors. In 2002 I set up a design School, teaching not only Design in various forms, Colour, and also Small Business Management as well as being business mentor to this day.

What brought beading into your life?

I had been playing with beads from an early age, making ‘Surfie’ necklaces for
myself and my friends whilst at school. As I matured, I would design my own
jewellery and had a jeweller friend, make the pieces for me. Beads came back into my life around 2003 when my health took a downward turn, and after life saving surgery, I wanted something to do during my rehabilitation.

What is your comfort zone?

Comfort there really such a thing? I like using seedies of all sizes,I prefer 11’s and 15’s and also 18’s but really enjoy incorporating other things in my work. I guess I’m really comfortable creating collars with bead embroidery, once an image/design is firmly in my mind, it’s “All Systems Go!” I am also comfortable bead weaving, and really enjoy the challenge of a new design and technique.

What aspect of beading do you find most challenging?

Reading tutorials, or should I say deciphering tutorials. I simply can’t do it. Give me an engineer’s drawing any day. So I no longer try. I am now writing tutorials though, strange as that may seem.

What would you most like to bead if you had the time and supplies?

I would like to a complete jewellery line for a fashion runway show, collaborating with a couple of high end fashion designers. Or design the jewellery for a theatre production.

Who, if anyone, has influenced your style of beading?

Initially Sherry Serafini and Heidi Kummli, their collars were intriguing, so full of life and movement. Also Laura McCabe was an influence with her precise style and attention to detail and of course those ‘eyes’. 

If you could only use one bead weaving stitch which one would you choose and why?

Probably CRAW, it is a versatile stitch and lends itself to being very sculptural. You can create both delicate pieces on its own and also good bases for embellishing.

Do you have a favorite place to buy beads and supplies?

I primarily like to support local businesses, so my preferred supplier in Australia would be Cranberry. They have an amazing range of Miyuki, Matsuno and Toho seed beads as well as Czechs rounds and shapes. Not to mention all those little extras and unusual beads and gems. If I can’t get what I need from there, there are a couple of other places I frequent.

What Neva says about herself

As my friends know, I really don’t like talking about myself.... but if I need to say anything it would be that I am a very passionate person. I love to immerse myself in the task at hand and give it my all. I am a perfectionist, and won’t let things just be unless they are perfect. I love to be at one with nature and find my inspiration comes from my surroundings. I live just out of Sydney Australia, and enjoy escaping to the solitude and serenity of the country. My beading is not just a piece of art but often an insight into me, something I take joy in creating and pride in sharing. 

I am a mother of one amazing young man, and he is now engaged to a wonderful lady who also shares my passion for beads. I love to sit and bead with her, teach her new techniques and watch her soar in her creations. It’s very satisfying for me to know that I can help someone else develop their interest and watch her share what she has learnt from me with others. 

I am and have always been very health conscious, and attentive to what goes in my body. We, my husband and I love to grow our own food produce, and we have quite a lovely and extensive food garden which feeds us both, and sometimes our friends and neighbours’ quite well. I have been writing a cook book for quite a while now, developing my own recipes, and one day I will publish this, if only to leave it as a legacy to my son.

My long term goal for my jewellery journey would probably be to buy a small disused Church/Chapel and convert it into a gallery, to display and sell not only my work but also that of other aspiring artisans.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Introducing......Aurelio Castano second gentleman! If you haven't seen Aurelio's work yet you're in for a treat.  He makes some wonderfully colorful jewelry and some, let's say, quirky things.  Aurelio takes the mundane, such as a cigarette, and turns it into a beaded work of art that always manages to bring a smile to my face.  I think his work answers the question "what inspires you?" with a simple "everything!"

It's great to have Aurelio on board, I'm looking forward to learning more about how his mind let's get to know....

Aurelio Castano

 What did you do before beading? And what brought beading into your life?

I hold a degree on metal smith which I used in my career as jewelry designer. My metal work was a known traditional, edgy style which was published in the Art-Jewelry Magazine.
What brought be to beading was my inclination for tri-dimensional work and my passion for color which metal work tends to lack.

What is your comfort zone?

I don't think that there is such a thing as a “comfort zone” for me. There is nothing more rewarding for me than to experiment with new techniques, color and bead shapes.

What aspect of beading do you find most challenging?

I find that incorporating different materials and shapes into my design can be quite a challenge, but the result can sometimes be the most rewarding aspect of beading. Other times it is nothing more than a disaster, but therein lies the fun and the lesson.

What would you most like to bead if you had the time and supplies?

I don't know that there is a specific project that would like to bead. The fact is that all of my designs are inspired by the supplies I have collected over time. My beads are like little treasures I find while browsing through a store, sales, or shows. Bought because of their beauty rather than for a specific purpose. I have LOTS of little treasures! Of course when I need a specific one I can never find it so I go out and buy more. :-)

Who if anyone has influenced your style of beading?

Many years ago when I was a missionary in the Amazon jungle of Colombia I lived with the Coreguje and Witoto tribes who created the most colorful, wild, nature inspired jewelry. To this days the sight of such beauty has been a vast source of inspiration.

If you could only use one bead weaving stitch which one would you choose and why?

I knew there would be a difficult question. I could say that Peyote stitch. Why? Well it functionality lends itself to a vast array of possibilities. Now don't get me wrong, other stitches would be thrown in. I'm unfaithful like that.

Do you have a favorite place to buy beads and supplies. ?

Sure, If your store carries a bead that catches my eye that will be my favorite store of the day.

What Aurelio says about himself

Aurelio Castaño is an active artist in the tri-state area. His work has been showcased in a number of local and national exhibitions. Inspired by his Andean background and working in a number of media, Aurelio creates a wide array of visually stunning pieces which can be worn or displayed.

Aurelio holds a Certificate in Applied Arts and Associates in Visual arts from The Westchester Community College and went on to receive a Bachelors in Visual Arts from Empire State College.

His work can be found at the Mamaroneck Artist Guild in Larchmont and other prominent local galleries. He founded “Grupo Artisto”, an arts program for Westchester day laborers and their families.
His beading courses are offered year round at the Westchester Center for the Arts in White Plains, NY (formerly the Westchester Arts Workshop). He is available for private instruction.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Introducing.....Patrick Duggan

I was delighted when Patrick accepted my invitation to be a Maven, I have gotten to know him through FB and regular chats, love his work and personality.  The thing with Patrick...he really needs to write tutorials, people are crying out for them and I hope the Mavens will help him take the next step into becoming a full on tutorial writer. 

It's great to see more men beading too, it really is just engineering with beads.  Anyway.....lets get to know..

Patrick Duggan

What did I do before beading? And what brought beading into my life?

I have always enjoyed being creative and have tried knitting, crochet, tatting, macramé as a young man but gave that away when I ceased finishing pieces. I then went in search of other forms of expression and tried adult leisure classes in pottery, sculpture, drawing, leadlight.
About 7 years ago a friend returned from Bangkok with some braided men’s wristbands. I hoped he would give me one but no such luck. 
Then one morning I woke and thought “make your own”. That was my discovery of beading. I did macramé then went into stringing and it was not until I learnt how to make a spiral rope that I knew I had discovered my passion and I am still passionate about bead-weaving.

What is my comfort zone?

I love size 11 and 15 seed beads so I guess I am very comfortable with these sizes. I don’t use a lot of size 8, only occasionally, and very rarely use size 6s. The smaller the better for me.

What aspect of beading do I find most challenging?

I create my designs and don’t wear them. I am often challenged as to how long a creation should be. I have made a feature piece that I think should be worn on the chest only to be asked if it could be lengthened and worn long.
I do struggle with this often. 

What would I most like to bead if I had the time and supplies?

I have a theory that men like bling and few would wear it. I would like to make a series of beautifully beaded shapes/pieces – not necessarily jewellery - that could be framed.
That way they could enjoy the bling and it would be wall art. I will get some done one day.

Who, if anyone, has influenced your style of beading?

I am not too sure I have been “influenced” by any one artist.
The first artist I was over the moon about was Marcia DeCoster. I bought her first book and devoured it. Laura McCabe’s technical skills and imagination inspire me. Eva Maria Kaiser’s beading I find incredibly intricate. Mikki Ferrugiaro’s sheer variety of creativity and output amazes me. 
I am a bead-weaver so I would say I am influenced by “weaving”.
I learn from what I see and I experiment a lot so many styles are in there.

If I could only use one bead weaving stitch which one would I choose and why?

It would have to be Cubic Right Angle Weave. It is an amazing building block and can create a myriad of shapes and lends itself to embellishment so well.

Do I have a favorite place to buy beads and supplies?

I buy from many different places and I am always looking for a bargain. My favourite seed beads are Czech so I search for reliable sources who have lots of great colours. There is a supplier in Melbourne called Cranberry that has a good selection of seed beads so I am slowly getting used to paying a bit more as I know I can get what I want fairly quickly and not have to wait for them to arrive from overseas.
A local store in Sydney, that is very close to my home. Popping over to pick up a crystal or gemstone is really convenient…..and dangerous as it is too easy to spend money!! 
They do not have a range of seed beads yet but are starting to import Miyuki, which will make it even more dangerous !!


I am 63 years of age and happily live alone in Sydney. I very much enjoy my artistic pursuits (beading), my home, my garden and I am set in my ways and wouldn’t inflict myself nor my habits upon anyone else. Too old to change as they say.
I am fortunate enough not to have to worry about earning from jewellery at this point in time so beading is for fun.
I am in semi-retirement working only two days a week in a job I have done for 31 years as a bookkeeper. I plan to finish working in the not too distant future and I will then make beading my livelihood.
One day I plan to write a book/books of my designs. Sharing how I do things is important I think, so that the art/skill doesn’t die with me.

Patrick is still in the process of setting up shop so we'll have his logo and link this week but if you want to see more right now here's a link to his personal blog.

I like to think of Patrick as a good friend and now you know a little of, not because I'm on his list of inspirations (check's in the mail, Patrick). I'm sure after seeing a little of his work you agree he needs to be writing tutorials and it's my goal to help him do that.

We aren't deciding a winner in our guessing game (see Saturday;s post) until everyone is introduced so there's still chance for you to snag that $25 gift certificate.

Next up......ha! as if I'm going to give it away ;) Tune in tomorrow.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Introducing........Valorie Clifton

I'd had a lot of e-mails and messages asking me to bring back the Mavens but it was something Valorie said that made me know I had to do it.  She told me she dreamed of one day being a Maven and then we were gone!

I looked into Valorie and her work and discovered she exactly fit the mold for what I had been thinking I would want if I did bring back the Mavens, so it's only fitting that I introduce her first.

As I know it's not easy to talk about yourself I put together some questions for the new Mavens to make it a bit, let's get to know 

Valorie Clifton

#3 in our guessing game

What did you do before beading? And what brought beading into your life?  

I’ve enjoyed arts and crafts my entire life!  I learned to crochet at the age of 7 and I obsessively tackled any sort of needlework I could find from that point on.  I started with crochet and from there progressed to embroidery, cross-stitching, plastic canvas, knitting, sewing (I used to sew doll clothes when I was young), quilting, weaving… you name it!  My primary medium until adulthood was fiber art.  

When I was a teenager I remember weaving hair barrettes using a homemade, cardboard bead loom.  I’d seen loom-work on a craft show and was determined to learn it.  I’ve always been innovative and I still create some of my own tools now.  In fact, I built wooden looms for my students last holiday season as gifts.  

I didn’t bead very long as a teenager but rather ventured off into fabric painting, scrapbooking, lacy doily making and various other crafts.  I decided to take up beading again in late 2009 and I’ve been beading ever since!  It’s become a passion and perhaps a bit of an obsession.  I fill all my spare time with beadwork.

What is your comfort zone?

Hmm…I’d have to say I’m most at home with greens and browns.  I adore earthy tones but I have to add a bit of “punch”.  I’ll use yellow with red “just because” or I’ll toss in purple with browns.  I’ve even thrown hot pink into a green piece just for kicks.  I don’t typically do monochromatic schemes.   I also treat metallics as neutrals and will regularly mix metals with any color I choose or with other metals.

What aspect of beading do you find most challenging?

Getting a piece to the shape I want it to be.  Most times my projects lead me by the nose and tell me what they want to be (ha!) but when I’m trying to achieve a certain shape and it’s not cooperating, it’s definitely a challenge.

What would you most like to bead if you had the time and supplies?

I’ve seen several large collars and shoulder pieces lately.  I think I’d really love to create something huge and sparkly.

Who, if anyone, has influenced your style of beading?

Oh, that’s a tough one.  I admire so many beaders and I love to see their work.  However, I don’t like to be influenced by anyone when I’m in “design mode”.  I try to maintain my own aesthetic, which can sometimes backfire.  It seems that the pieces I love most don’t do as well as something I’ll create with clients in mind.   My interests range anywhere from the traditional, feminine, vintage look  to the minimalist, simple, modern feel.  I love vintage pieces and I collect vintage jewelry so sometimes I’ll lean toward a Victorian feel.  For metalwork I lean toward ancient, primitive styles.  It really depends upon my mood.  

I can’t honestly say I cater to any particular style with my tutorials; for me, personally, I prefer simple, unembellished, no “frou-frou” jewelry.

If you could only use one bead weaving stitch which one would you choose and why?

Oh, that’s easy: RAW. Other than loom-work, RAW was the first stitch I learned (specifically, double-needle cross-weave).  It’s so versatile and many of my projects incorporate Right Angle Weave.  I think it’s one I couldn't live without.

Do you have a favorite place to buy beads and supplies?

Absolutely!  I buy most of my supplies locally at the Danish Princess Beads and Jewelry, LLC in Milton, FL.  I buy all my SuperDuos, crystal Rivolis,  roundels, Miyuki size 15/0 and size 8/0 beads there.

For Czech seed beads, I’m a huge fan of Shipwreck Beads.  I love them and I buy many, many hanks of Preciosa seed beads, Preciosa 3mm druks (they have such a nice selection!) and Preciosa Fire Polished beads.  I’m a massive fan of Preciosa beads and I use them almost exclusively in my projects.

For Swarovski crystals, when I use them, I buy them from FMG. I like to buy them in bulk and their prices are reasonable. 

I love to buy my Toho beads, gemstone strands and hard-to-find beads at Artbeads.  They also have a great Clearance section where you can find some good deals on beads!

For gemstone chips I love Fusionbeads.  I like their softly rounded chips versus the sharp, jagged ones you can find elsewhere.

And what Valorie says about herself:

My family is the single most important thing to me and everything I do is dedicated to them.  I’m the extremely proud wife of my high school sweetheart, whom I met when I was 15.  We have been married for 21.5 years and we’re still going strong!  I’ve now spent more of my life with my husband than without and I couldn’t imagine life any other way.  I’m a very proud, work-at-home mother of 2 wonderful teens, ages 17 and 15.  Our kids fill us with joy and pride every day.  

I consider myself incredibly blessed!I come from an artistic family:  My mother is a very talented painter and my brother is an excellent wood-worker.  My mom is also a very quick study in bead work!  I've been teaching her for a while now and she’s amazing, as I knew she would be.

You may not know this about me, but I’m also an aspiring metalsmith.  Over the last few years I've fallen in love with copper and brass.  My passion with coppersmithing lies in metal forming using hammers, anvils and stakes.  I’m not interested in setting jewels with prong settings or making rings; I love the way metal moves when I hit it and I love the textures and patinas I can achieve.  I also create chainmaille from time to time.  I have a nice metalworking studio full of anything I’d need.  Sadly, it’s collected dust and my tools are needing some TLC since my tutorial business took off.  One day, after I’m “settled in” with the bead work, I’ll return to my beloved studio. 

You can find Valorie's store by clicking on her logo top right of this page :) you know Valorie a little and I'm sure you'll get to know her more in the next few months.   Don't forget to keep the questions coming....every question for our Mavens gets you entered in to a drawing for a $25 tutorial gift certificate to my store.

Excited to see who I introduce tomorrow???  Stay tuned!