Camp Beadaholique Week 4: Cord, Cork and Climbing Rope

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Here we are — it’s week four of Camp Beadaholique and our last week of camp jewelry lessons! All month, we’ve brought you individualized overviews of rustic and outdoorsy jewelry styles including macrame, mixed media jewelry and kumihimo. Today, we’re continuing with another technique you might find at summer camp — cord and rope jewelry. This type of accessory relies on simple cutting and gluing methods, and lends itself well to a bold, natural look. Here’s your counselor this week, Beadaholique designer Kat Silvia, on why cotton cord especially appeals to her:

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“The most inspiring thing to me about summer camp is being in the great outdoors. Being surrounded by nature inspires me to work with natural textiles and materials. There is something that feels so organic and earthy about them. I am especially excited about our latest release of cotton cord. The colors are so vibrant and fun, perfect for summer. When we release something like this my first thought is to see how many combinations of cord and components I can use to make something fresh and new. For this project, I drew inspiration from my surroundings. Living in California, the great outdoors means heading to the beach! My little dolphin slider and colorful blue cord reminded me of something I used to find in a sundries shop by the water. I jazzed up my bracelet with a fun magnetic clasp for a quick and easy summertime project.”

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 2.49.55 PMFlat cord and cork are great materials to create sleek, streamlined bracelets that are easily personalized with stampings and metal slider beads. The Basket Woven Cork Bracelet, shown at left, connects colorful pieces of flat Regaliz cork with rivets and eyelets. You can put your name on the Name Plate Regaliz Cork Bracelet — perfect as a personal accessory or as a gift. In the Industrial Denim Bracelet, brass rivets and a textured plate echo the retro feel of well-worn jeans.

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 3.05.55 PMYou can create a variety of looks with round braided cork, too. This versatile cork cord can be dressed up with a Swarovski rivoli, as in our Red Braided Cork Bangle Kit, or given trendy, colorful flair with tassels, as in the Tribal Tassel Necklace. You can also thread memory wire through cork cord, forming a fun and easy wrap bracelet, like the Dancing Ladybug Bracelet, shown right, or the Green Braided Cork Wrap Bracelet Kit. And don’t forget that cork is a great unisex material and looks great in men’s jewelry, too — like the bold, masculine Ryder Bracelet.

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 3.06.38 PMWoven cotton and linen cord are wonderful materials for colorful, earthy fiber jewelry pieces that scream summer. The Summer in Bali Bracelet, left, uses bright rubber O-rings to reflect the hues of the cotton cord. The double-strand Cady Bracelet features a simple wrapped-thread focal that adds a chic touch to this boho design. For a more muted but still earthy look, Regaliz Corduroy is easy to work with and does the trick. Check out the Regaliz Dragonfly Two-Tone Bracelet for a pretty example with a sweet dangling charm.

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 3.07.08 PMOne last cut-and-glue material to talk about is climbing rope. This heavy-duty, durable cord makes a bold, natural statement that fits right in at camp and broadcasts your love of outdoor activities. The Tiffani Bracelet, right, makes use of a striking arrowhead clasp to create an instantly memorable campsite focal. And the Perri Bracelet shows how you can use climbing rope to create a sophisticated cuff bracelet that will take you from morning roll call to the mall.

 

That wraps up our last session of Camp Beadaholique! We hope you’ve had fun and learned something new about summer materials and stitches. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments, and thanks for reading!

Beading Table Wednesday: July 29, 2015

Welcome back to our design room for Beading Table Wednesday! Here are a few projects we have in the works:

Karlin BTWKarlin:

We’ve got a fun, bold new line of lucite chain and components called Tropical Punch by Dazzle-It! coming your way — and I’ve already started experimenting! I picked out this chain for its deep, wine color and have paired it with some unexpected products: black lava beads and a gold plated noodle bead focal. I think the outcome is striking and a fun way of mixing different styles. Be sure to stay tuned for the full line.

 

Rachel BTWRachel:

The bead embroidery lover in me gasped in delight when I saw these new patterned ultra suede sheets from Lillypilly Designs. The vibrantly-patterned faux-suede features several pretty design motifs, which would all look great as backing for bead embroidery, or for cutting fringe, gluing into bezels, or any other use you can think of. What would you do with this gorgeous material? Let us know!

Artist Profile: Kerrie Sue Miller

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Kerrie Sue Miller is another artist whose gorgeous micro-macramé jewelry stood out to us at the Bead & Button show in Milwaukee last month. We couldn’t pass by her table without drooling over her colorful, elaborate work! As part of Camp Beadaholique month, we’d like to share her designs with you.

Kerrie Sue MillerHow did you get interested in beading/jewelry making?

I love wearing bracelets but I have a small wrist. I got started making jewelry for the very practical reason that the bracelets I could buy were too big for me. I started out making simple hemp bracelets but it wasn’t long until I was completely hooked on macramé – I think because macramé allows you so much room to innovate.

flower_agate_lowresI’ve always liked the look of fiber and gemstones, so one of the first things I wanted to do was use macramé to showcase beautiful gemstone cabochons and coin beads inside a sturdy and streamlined fiber bezel. I worked on that for a long time and once I figured out how I wanted to do it, all kinds of design possibilities seemed to open up immediately. Now one of the greatest joys in life is getting a picture in my head of something fabulous with fiber and working to make it happen.

amazoniteTWIST_lowresWhat are your favorite materials to use in jewelry making?

It is hard to pick a favorite, but I tend to gravitate to 30mm round gemstone coin beads and cabochons. I use them in many of my bracelet designs because they are large enough to be noticed but small enough to be understated. I love to shop for gemstones, and I have found so many beautiful stones in the 30mm and 25mm sizes.

As for fiber I love the crisp feel of polyester cord in the 207 size (0.5mm diameter). This cord is typically used for upholstery and for sewing tents, outdoor furniture, sails, and things like that. I love it for macramé. It makes beautiful knots.

porcelain_jasper_lowresWho or what inspires your creative process?

I like looking at colors and patterns in plants. Just the other day I was noticing “pokeweed” on our farm, which has a beautiful magenta-colored stem and a kind of eggplant-colored berry, mixed of course with bright green leaves. I look at that and think about how I could use those three colors together in a bracelet design. I walk a lot on our farm through grassy areas and timbered areas and I find all kinds of beautiful goodies. Everything from intricately patterned mushrooms to plants that look like they were just made for macramé – like fiddlehead ferns, for instance.

tigereyeRIV_lowres (1)Is there somewhere people can see/purchase your work?

Yes, I have a website, interlacedesigns.com. I have a gallery there, some kits, and I make and sell my own unique kind of macramé board. I’m just getting started in the world of teaching, publications, and juried shows, so the best way to get in touch with me about teaching or purchasing is to contact me through my website. I love getting email!

Do you have any advice for those just getting into jewelry making?

If you get an idea for a great design, a beautiful object, or a better way to do something, make it happen. If it takes more than one or several tries, keep going. The day it finally works will come, and when it does it will feel great!

Miller

Thanks so much for sharing your work with us, and best of luck in future creative endeavors!

Camp Beadaholique Week 3: Kumihimo

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It’s week three of Camp Beadaholique, and you know what that means — another personalized overview of a jewelry making technique you might find at camp. So far we’ve covered macrame and mixed media jewelry, and this week we’re going back to braiding to talk about kumihimo. You might not have done kumihimo at camp as a kid, but this fun weaving method is gaining in popularity and its method and materials translate well to casual summer jewelry. You just grab a disc, some thread or cord, beads if you want them, and voila — a quick summer craft. Your counselor this week will be me (woohoo!), Beadaholique design assistant Rachel Zaimont. Come along as we enter the wonderful world of kumihimo:

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I attended summer camp for nearly a decade. But while friends of mine spent their days getting tanned on the kickball field, I spent mine mostly indoors… in the arts and crafts room, to be exact. I remember long afternoons working with metal crafts, ceramics, and even making our own candles. But I always came back to jewelry — lanyards, friendship bracelets, anything I could make with the materials lying around. It would be many more years until I learned about kumihimo, but this versatile braiding technique would have fit right in at camp. I love that you can make kumihimo jewelry with nearly any type of cord you have available, and the weaving process is almost Zen-like in its rhythm. For this bracelet, I used s-lon nylon cord and some of our new, dramatic dragon scale beads. There are so many different kumihimo looks you can achieve — let’s take a look at some of them.

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 8.29.28 AMOne of my favorite things about kumihimo is that it looks great beaded or un-beaded — the unadorned, woven braid makes for a casual, rustic aesthetic that really shows off the stitch as well as the cord you use. In the Saint Lucia Bracelet, left, Julie uses a hint of metallic gold soutache cord to add sparkle to this summery braid. The Neon Kumihimo Bracelet features Chinese knotting cord in eye-popping hues sure to give even the brightest swim suits at the pool a run for their money. Hemp cord is another natural, camp-like thread choice that works great in this weave.

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 8.53.59 AMWhen you start adding beads to kumihimo, the design possibilities really take off. A classic kumihimo look is the spiral, as in the Spiraling Beaded Kumihimo Bracelet. This look is easy to create by stringing different color beads, or differently shaped beads, on a few of your threads. Check out the Deluxe Beaded Kumihimo Bracelet Kit in Marsala, right, for an example of how pointy magatama beads add texture to a basic spiral. The Tanzie Beaded Kumihimo Necklace uses Czech glass lentil beads to a similar, striking effect.

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 8.48.41 AMAnother kumihimo style involves adding a focal section to your braid. In the Deluxe Beaded Kumihimo Bracelet Kit in Green, a focal cluster of Czech glass pip beads creates visual interest. The Deluxe Beaded Kumihimo Bracelet Kit in Black and Gold achieves a sleek, dressed-up silhouette with a spiral of Swarovski bicones creating a crystal focal. In the Blue Blooms Kumihimo Bracelet, Kat uses color blocking to create multiple focal sections. And don’t forget, you can add a European-style large hole focal bead to a kumihimo bracelet or necklace, as demonstrated in this handy video.

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 9.51.47 AMIf you’re just getting interested in kumihimo, our exclusive kumihimo jewelry kits are a beginner-friendly place to start. And if you’ve done kumihimo jewelry before and still have your disc and bobbins but are looking for more bracelet ideas, browse our new kumihimo refill kits, and deluxe kumihimo refill kits, which come with only the materials you need to create our exclusive designs, and a step by step video tutorial available on our site. These refill kits are convenient if you’re looking to give several kumihimo bracelets as gifts — the perfect farewell gesture at the end of summer camp!

There are so many more kumihimo options — long, luxurious wrap bracelets, for example, and flat braid kumihimo jewelry, either without or with beads. I hope you keep exploring this technique, even though our third camp session is coming to a close! Stay tuned for session four of Camp Beadaholique next week.

Announcing the Nunn Design Summer Giveaway Winner!

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Our Nunn Design Summer Giveaway has ended — thanks to everyone who participated by leaving a comment on our blog! And now, we’re excited to announce the winner. Congratulations to Debbie Carney, who will receive a nice selection of pieces from the Nunn Design Summer 2015 collection. We hope you make some fabulous jewelry with these pieces! Keep an eye on our blog for future giveaway announcements — we look forward to hearing from you all then.

Back Cover Ad in Create Jewelry Magazine!

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If you haven’t picked up your copy of the 2015 edition of Create Jewelry magazine yet, here’s a sneak peek at what you’ll find: Beadaholique is featured in a gorgeous back-page ad! Check out the back cover for a glimpse of a few of our hot new projects and exclusive kits, all styled by our designer Karlin Jones and shot by our photographer Alex Dash. Here’s Beadaholique president Sarah Diamond flipping through the issue (which also contains lots of other great stuff!). It never hurts to tastefully toot your own horn!

Artist Profile: Joan Babcock

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We met Joan Babcock at the Bead & Button show in Milwaukee last month, and we were so taken by her micro-macramé designs that we wanted to share them with you. In keeping with Camp Beadaholique month, here’s a look at the incredible creations of this longtime fiber artist and teacher, who has been making knotted jewelry since the 1980s, along with freestanding vessels, panels and thread paintings that are truly works of art.

Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 11.39.14 AMHow did you get interested in beading/jewelry making?

I learned to do macramé when I was a teenager and made necklaces out of wax linen and seashells. Many years later when I moved to Santa Fe, I saw some micro-macramé jewelry in a gallery and was inspired to start creating my own designs using fine cord and beads.

 

JB 4What are your favorite materials to use in jewelry making?

I love cords and fibers of all kinds. I create most of my pieces using 18 gauge nylon cord and glass, stone, or metal beads. I make rustic metal focal pieces and hammered wire components for some of my pieces. I’m fond of the warm tones of brass and copper because they complement my color palette.

Who or what inspires your creative process?

Nature nurtures and inspires me. I love elegant curving shapes like leaves and nautilus shells and I was inspired to make a series of necklaces based on scallop shells. I enjoy trying to interpret natural things such as coral and sea urchins using cord and knots. I’m greatly inspired by the work of other artisans. Their creativity makes me want to get in the studio and make something beautiful too!

JB 3Is there somewhere people can see/purchase your work?

Yes, my website is www.joanbabcock.com.

Do you have any advice for those just getting into jewelry-making?

Put a lot of time into developing your skills. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the materials along the way, even if it doesn’t work out all the time. Follow your own individual style and vision rather than catering to the marketplace. And make sure to document your work with good photographs.

Below, here are a few more photos of Joan’s creations for you to enjoy:

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Thank you, Joan, for sharing your work with us, and best of luck in your future endeavors!

Camp Beadaholique Week 2: Mixed Media

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Welcome to week two of Camp Beadaholique! Last week we talked about macrame and friendship bracelets, and this week we’re going to cover another summer camp mainstay — mixed media jewelry. If you attended camp as a kid, you might remember the feeling of excitement opening a giant box of craft supplies and figuring out what you had to work with for arts and crafts that summer. There’s a certain creative appeal to improvising with a little string, some glue, and whatever else you have lying around. Follow along while we recreate these memories with your counselor this week, Beadaholique designer and stylist Karlin Jones:

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“My favorite kind of campsite activity involves paint, clay and lots of glitter — that’s right, I’m all about mixed media! I love transforming simple components into elevated pieces by adding my own personal touch. Some of my much-loved techniques include Crystal Clay used to embed treasures found along the way, resin pieces featuring glitter and subtle ingredients made brighter using coloring agents such as Vintaj patina, Krylon leafing pens and Gilders Paste. Today’s earring project involves some new unique wood beads (coming soon!) given a mixed media twist with a fun blue patina ink, a bronze leafing pen and a trendy gold arrow for a playful, boho look. What’s your favorite mixed media technique? Share with us below!”

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 10.00.51 AMLet’s take a closer look at some of the techniques Karlin mentions. Clay is a common summer camp staple, and Crystal Clay is one of our favorite products because there’s so much you can do with it. You can create a marbled effect, as in our Blue Marbled Ring, left, which mimics the polymer clay crafts so many of us have made at camp. You can also set it into channel components and use it to capture crystal chatons and charms, like the Daphne Bangle, or create a freestanding focal charm, like the adorable Yummy Chocolate Chip Cookie Necklace.

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 8.55.18 AMResin is another super versatile medium that embodies the camp ethos — you can toss nearly anything you have on your craft table into a resin piece and it will be uniquely yours! Making a collage pendant with a Scrabble tile is fun, and it will hold resin, as in the Scrabble Tile Pendant Necklace, right. You can also fill a bezel with glitter and pour resin on top, like the Glittering Glacier Earrings. Another pretty resin look can be achieved by painting the inside of a bezel with patina before pouring your resin, creating an enamel effect, like the Sea Treasures Earrings. You can find oodles more tips and advice on our Resin 101 page. And if you want to get the resin look without the mess, you can always use a clear glass cabochon over a bezel for a simple and pretty project.

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 10.03.19 AMBack to patinas, though — we love using Vintaj patinas and leafing pens to add a splash of color to metal components or to bring out their highlights. A few dabs of teal patina give the La Boheme Necklace, left, extra oomph. The cute metal stamping design of the Peeking Owl Necklace is enhanced by patina, too. In the Jeweled Bee Bracelet, a thin layer of patina is painted on to give the focal a bright background. And a silver leafing pen highlights the raised pattern of the focal charm in the Dakota Necklace — a simple touch that adds a lot of eye-catching shine.

Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 8.57.51 AMFinally, what kind of mixed-media camp session would this be if we didn’t talk about glitter? Glitter is omnipresent at camp, and can be worked into any type of jewelry — mixed into resin, as in the Aqua Drop Earrings, or painted into a bezel with a bit of glue, as in the Barnegat Bay Necklace. You can also use Diamond Glaze to create permanent glitter glue that you can paint onto any surface. Check out the Emerald City Cuff, right, for a striking, geometric example of this technique.

That concludes our second session of Camp Beadaholique! Hope you’ve enjoyed our mixed media overview — join us again next week for session three.

Nunn Design Giveaway—2015 Summer Collection

2015SummerCollectionGiveawayNo time to submit a project to our Celebrate Summer Nunn Design Contest? Try your luck with our blog giveaway instead where all you need to do is leave a comment for a chance to win!

Starting now, you can enter for a chance to win pieces from the Nunn Design Summer Collection, just arrived from designer Becky Nunn. The collection features gorgeous new charms, lovely bezels, a variety of exciting open-frame pendants, tiny glass bottles and faceted ball chain. The lucky name drawn will receive a giveaway prize package valued at over $70.

20150701_125500To enter, just leave a comment on this blog post telling us what you like the most from the Nunn Design Summer Collection. The giveaway ends 4PM PT Tuesday, July 21st. At that time, we will choose one winner at random from all valid comments. Best of luck!

To see our entire selection of Nunn Design products, as well as project tutorials and expert how-to videos by Becky Nunn herself, visit our Nunn Design page. You’ll also find information about our separate design contest, featuring over $900 in prizes, and a special limited-time only sale on all Nunn Design products.

IMPORTANT: Only comment once per giveaway using your existing Disqus account, or simply comment as a guest with your name/nickname and a valid email address (enter an optional password if you would like to create a Disqus account). Please do not use your Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus account when commenting since these methods have been unreliable when contacting winners. You can only win one Beadaholique giveaway every 12 months. For a complete description of how to enter our giveaways, click here.

Announcing Swarovski Innovations Fall/Winter 2016-17 Pre-Season Launch!

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Swarovski is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year — happy birthday to our favorite Austrian crystal innovators! In honor of the occasion, Swarovski — long a forward-thinking influence on high fashion and popular style — is doing something a little different: drawing inspiration from its past.

The crystal mavens are commemorating their milestone with new crystal cut pendants and new pave pendants, each variations on just two themes. These fabulous new pendants are classy and understated, and we think you’ll love creating elegant jewelry pieces with them.

The first theme is the edelweiss flower, represented in one crystal cut style, and one pave metal style. When Swarovski was founded in 1895, the edelweiss flower served as its first company logo. Looking back on their beginnings, the Swarovski team says, “The edelweiss, the most precious flower of the Alps, was our company logo for almost a century. Like Swarovski itself, it stands for authenticity and tradition. Celebrating its 120th anniversary, Swarovski has developed the innovative Edelweiss cut to commemorate its rich cultural heritage.”

Edelweiss Pendants

Sentimental value aside, we just think the crystal pendant is beautiful! The Edelweiss pendant, available in 14mm, 18mm and 28mm sizes, features a lovely, faceted cut that reminds us quite a bit of a snowflake — making it a versatile piece for either floral spring jewelry, or wintry creations a few months up the road. We also love that this pendant also comes in frosted and AB frosted effects, adding to its seasonal appeal.

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 8.17.59 AMAs part of the new Edelweiss collection, we’re also carrying the lovely new Pave Edelweiss pendant. This beauty is available in 14mm, 20mm and 26mm sizes, and will be sure to add sparkle to your jewelry creations. We’re loving the White Opal/Crystal color combination of this pendant, and think the smallest size would make an adorable charm for a delicate necklace (layered, delicate necklaces are one of the hottest street trends right now)! These pave pendants pack a lot of oomph on their own, too, and would work equally well in a beaded crystal setting as on a simple chain.

Infinity PendantsThe second theme that Swarovski has chosen to explore in this release is the infinity symbol, as a stylish reference to Swarovski’s longevity. Of the Infinity cut crystal, Swarovski says, “The magic of crystal tells a story with no beginning and no end. As a tribute to its 120th anniversary, Swarovski celebrates its past, present, and future, all symbolized in the endlessly entwined knot of the Infinity cut.” This sleek, timeless piece can can be deeply meaningful on many different levels — a representation of love, hope and endurance. This pendant comes in one size, a petite 18mm, in a tantalizing array of colors and effects.

Pave InfinityLast but not least, Swarovski has created the Pave Infinity Pendant. This plated metal pendant features the classic infinity shape, adorned with a sash of pave crystals in two color combinations, Black Diamond/Crystal and Crystal Moonlight/White Opal. Available in 20mm and 26mm, these pendants are perfectly sized for necklaces, bracelets or earrings. We can’t wait to start playing with these!

We hope you’re as excited about this new crystal release as we are — let us know what you think in the comments!