July 30, 2010

Introducing the Jewelry Swap Participants: Amy Grass

Another really cool chick I've met through the jewelry swap is Amy Grass.  She does awesome things with seed beads.  Don't believe me?  Check out her blog.  I'm totally serious.  She's an awesome artist and a cool lady as well!  Now that I've had the chance to meet her and get to know a little about her, I want to pass the opportunity along to you.  Keep reading to learn a little bit about Amy and her beading journey!

Beadativity:  What is your name?
Amy:  Amy Grass

Beadativity:  When did you start designing and creating jewelry?
Amy:  The first beaded thing I ever saw was made by a friend of mine when we were 4. I took that strung necklace apart and put it back together at least a hundred times. At some point, I pillaged the beads and made new things with them. For most of my life I collected beads, and sorted beads, but rarely used beads. I got into seed beads about 10 years ago, and actually made things with them. I still have more than I'll likely ever use, but you know what they say, she who dies with the most beads...wins. 

Beadativity:  Why did you begin creating jewelry?
Amy:  I made the switch from collecting to creating in order to pay for my bad habits in college. Until then, the beads kinda lived in their bead boxes and were occasionally used in hemp necklaces of christmas ornaments.

Beadativity:  What is your favorite piece of jewelry you have ever created?
Amy:  Gonturan was my favorite, until I made Raspberry Magic.


Beadativity:  What is your favorite piece of jewelry you have seen?
Amy:  I really like Laura McCabe's work. The sculptural orbs featuring the doll's eyes are an especial favorite. But in terms of jewelry, probably Laura McCabe's Les Bijoux d'Eiffel.  

Beadativity:  What is your favorite jewelry making technique (beadweaving, wire wrapping, stringing, etc…)?
Amy:  Beadweaving, all the way. I pretend to dabble in wirework and other whatnot, but give me a tube of seed beads, and I'm happy, although I do enjoy a good ball of hemp, now and then.  

Beadativity:  Where does your inspiration for your pieces come from?
Amy:  usually the beads speak to me. I find a focal or a pretty tube and they tell me what they want to be ...

Beadativity:  Can my readers buy your jewelry? Where?
Amy:  Right now, I have an outdated website @ www.spyderjewels.4t.com and my blog. If they are interested in any pieces, they can send me an email, or comment on by blog.

Beadativity:  What do you like to do in your spare time?
Amy:  Working 60-70 hours a week leaves little free time, but in the time that I do have, beading and studying for my Professional Engineering certifitcation exam are the things that I do. I love math and things math related, so I do like studying.  

Beadativity:  Do you have any pets?
Amy: I have a red-eared slider (a turtle) named Larry. She is about 4 years old, and I've had her since she was a hatchling. (Pretty sure shedoesn't know she's a girl-neither did I until she had been Larry for over a year). She lives with my parents while I'm travelling for work.

Beadativity:  What is your favorite color?
Amy:  Kelly Green

Beadativity:  What is your favorite color to use in jewelry?
Amy:  I use all colors. (Even slime green and flourescent orange sometimes together!)

Beadativity:  What is one new technique that you would like to learn?
Amy:  I would like to learn bead crochet, but I don't crochet. I barely knit! I would like to have a better grasp or right-angle weave, however. I understand the basics, but I just never like using it, but it makes such cool stuff. I'm torn, to be honest.  

Beadativity:  Tell us one interesting fact about yourself.
Amy:  I love orange chicken from Panda Express. I could eat it with white rice and a Pepsi every day for the rest of my life.

This is just a little bit about Amy.  If you want to get to know her better, check out her blog!  I'd suggest following her so you can keep up with all the happenings in her life!

July 29, 2010

Introducing the Jewelry Swap Participants: Davinia

One great thing about organizing this jewelry swap is meeting some really cool people who are also involved in the jewelry business.  One of the new people I have met is Davinia.  She's a great jewelry designer who has recently started working with polymer clay (and you should definitely check out her polymer clay designs because they are as awesome as her completed jewelry!).  She is someone I might not have met otherwise since she is not from the United States.  Now that I have been lucky enough to meet her, I'll give you the chance to get to know a little bit about her!

Beadativity:  What is your name?
Davinia:  Davinia.

Beadativity:  When did you start designing and creating jewelry?
Davinia:  About 2 years ago.

Beadativity:  Why did you begin creating jewelry?
Davinia:  I don’t really know to be honest. I’ve scrapbooked, made ATC’s, started making art journals with lot’s of mixed media and jewelry just progressed from there. I think I get bored easily and just want to keep trying new things, experimenting and stretching myself a bit.

Beadativity:  What is your favorite piece of jewelry you have ever created?
Davinia:  There’s a few.

I really like all the pieces I made using wallpaper and grungeboard. Actually now I come to think of it that’s probably where I started my jewelry making journey. I had to teach myself how to put the the pieces together using wire, stringing, beading etc.

This is one of the first polymer clay pieces I’ve used in a necklace which is a new favourite.

Beadativity:  What is your favorite piece of jewelry you have seen (you can send a picture or link if you want)?
Davinia:  Too many to choose from really, so many designers I admire.

Beadativity:  What is your favorite jewelry making technique (beadweaving, wire wrapping, stringing, etc…)?
Davinia:  Beadweaving I haven’t tried yet and I enjoy wire wrapping although it can be a little frustrating at times trying to get the wrap perfect. At present I’m playing with polymer clay in the hopes I can make a lot of my own components rather than buying ready made.

Beadativity:  Where does your inspiration for your pieces come from?
Davinia:  Everywhere, TV, stores, magazines, unusual colour combinations I may have seen somewhere.

Beadativity:  Can my readers buy your jewelry? Where?
Davinia:  Yes, I have an Artfire online store http://www.artfire.com/users/backpocketdesigns.  And I also have a blog http://deeznews-dee.blogspot.com/

Beadativity:  What do you like to do in your spare time?
Davinia:  Apart from making jewlery, I’m an avid reader. I work part time so not a huge amount of spare time.

Beadativity:  Do you have any pets?
Davinia:  No.

Beadativity:  What is your favorite color?
Davinia:  Almost any shade of green.

Beadativity:  What is your favorite color to use in jewelry?
Davinia:  It changes, at the moment I’m using lots’ of black and silver but I think I need to add more colour now that the southern spring and summer are fast approaching.

Beadativity:  What is one new technique that you would like to learn?
Davinia:  I would really love to learn metal smithing.

Beadativity:  Tell us one interesting fact about yourself.
Davinia:  I’ve never met another person named Davinia.

This is just a quick peek into a really awesome jewelry designer.  Definitely check out her blog and her store to find out more about her!

July 28, 2010

Introducing the Jewelry Swap Participants: Dawn Doucette

For those of you who follow my blog, the name Dawn Doucette is not a new one.  She's been mentioned and featured on my blog a bunch of times before.  However, in this post, I want to give you a chance to know her a little better.  Read on to learn how she got her start, what inspires her, and what she hopes to learn to do in the future.

Beadativity:  What is your name?
Dawn:  Dawn Doucette.

Beadativity:  When did you start designing and creating jewelry?
Dawn:  I've tinkered for years, but I really decided to pursue jewelry making as a business about 2 years ago.

Beadativity:  Why did you begin creating jewelry?
Dawn:  As a kid, I did not come from a creative family - quite the opposite, everything was black & white.  It was my future Mother-in-Law that encouraged me to be creative and as she said, "Surely sweetie, there's something you are really good at.  You just haven't discovered it yet."  Then, she needed a chain for her reading glasses... I beaded one for her and the rest is all history.  All of a sudden wire began calling my name and beads just couldn't resist coming to live at my house! :)

Beadativity:  What is your favorite piece of jewelry you have ever created
Dawn:  Favorite piece of jewelry ever... ohhh, that's so hard. Don't make me choose. It's really a toss-up between two.
First is a necklace I just made for my mom. The crystals and pearls came together with the hand-painted porcelain beads perfectly (and she loves it).

The other would have to be this triple strand purple & turquoise necklace. The colors and textures turned out even more beautiful than I had thought originally! Other than that, anytime I get to create with Swarovski or pearls for wedding jewelry is always special.

Beadativity:  What is your favorite piece of jewelry you have seen?
Dawn:  There's not one specific piece. I've seen so many. I really admire glass artists that create lampwork glass beads. But for complete pieces, I just love the intricate wirework. The swirls and spirals just make me drool.

Beadativity:  What is your favorite jewelry making technique (beadweaving, wire wrapping, stringing, etc…)?
Dawn:  I create using different methods, but my most creative pieces have been wire crocheted. The possibilities are endless!

Beadativity:  Where does your inspiration for your pieces come from?
Dawn:  Oh everywhere! I can see a piece of artwork or a picture and it talks to me. Sometimes nature - flowers, butterflies and places inspire me. Inspiration is everywhere, you just have to be open to it!

Beadativity:  Can my readers buy your jewelry? Where? 
Dawn:  Yes, you can buy on my website: http://www.designsbydawnmarie.com or directly through my artfire store: http://www.artfire.com/users/dawnmd But for routine giggles and inspiration, my blog is a happenin' piece of real estate. http://designsbydawnmarie.blogspot.com

Beadativity:  What do you like to do in your spare time?
Dawn:  I love spending time with family. Golfing, reading and my favorite past time... a good afternoon nap!

Beadativity:  Do you have any pets?
Dawn:  Absolutely - we have two dogs and they truly are our kids. My little princess is Brandi, a Springer Spaniel and my son Cody, is an English Setter. They are best of friends!

Beadativity:  What is your favorite color?
Dawn:  Purple... hands down, always has been since I could say my colors as a little tot.

Beadativity:  What is your favorite color to use in jewelry?
Dawn:  For metal & wire, I'm fascinated with copper. When it comes to choosing beads I love working with purple (of course) and turquoise.

Beadativity:  What is one new technique that you would like to learn?
Dawn:  My bucket list for jewelry making includes just once, I'd love to play with fire. I admire the artists that create lampwork beads and I've always wanted to try it. Someday I'll get to... I just know I will.

Beadativity:  Tell us one interesting fact about yourself.
Dawn:  I love hugs! I hug everyone... it's just me. Sharing a hug always brightens someones day and then they can go forward and share a smile with somebody else!

This is just a peek into a really cool woman.  Check out her blog to get to know her a little better.  When you read her posts, you'll feel like one of her closest friends!  And definitely check out all of her beautiful jewelry.  She's an amazing artist.  Her Mother-in-Law was right that she is great at something (actually, I'm pretty sure she's good at many things) and it's definitely jewelry.

July 25, 2010

Help Beads of Courage Win a $25,000 Grant

My friend Dawn from Designs by Dawn Marie recently posted this blog about Beads of Courage.  It's a really great program and could really use your vote to win a grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project.  I couldn't provide the information in a better way, so I'm just re-posting Dawn's post.  Please read her words below and consider registering and voting to help Beads of Courage win one of the 10 grants!

A short time ago I posted about Beads of Courage, an organization I have known about for quite some time now. Beads of Courage helps children with cancer and other horrendous illnesses that are undergoing treatments. For each treatment the child goes through they are given a special bead to symbolize their courage and help tell their story. Some of those children have strands and strands of beads symbolizing hundreds of treatments - blood transfusions, chemotherapy, spinal taps... I can't even imagine.

Here's a story that our local news station ran about Beads of Courage and the Children's Hospital of WI some time ago. This was my first introduction to their incredible organization.

Please watch this video from WISN 12. I can't embed it, so you need to click the link to go to their website. (Right Click and Open in New Window) http://www.wisn.com/video/19300295/index.html

That story moved me more than I can even express. I felt for the families, I felt for the kids... and as someone that's grown up in a family with all sorts of health challenges I can empathize with all of them. I wanted to help. Right now, the Pepsi Refresh project is offering $25K to each of the 10 best ideas in the month of July. Beads of Courage is in the running... we're really close, but we aren't there yet. The ideas that are ahead of us are also really wonderful ideas -with really loyal voters. However, I believe that if you show a child love and compassion, they will grow up doing the same for soooo many more people.

Here's where I'm begging strongly asking that you help out Beads of Courage. We can vote daily... and it's only through July 31st. So 6 more days. We need to move up to #10 or Better to win one of the grants. It just takes a minute to register (which you only do once) then once a day log in and click "Vote for this idea." It's the only vote I cast because I really, really want BOC to move up.

Here's the website for the Pepsi Refresh Project. 

Please go vote, then tweet this and share it on your Facebook wall, and e-mail it to anybody that doesn't partake in social networking. If you belong to a group of like-minded people, ask them to do the same. It will really make a difference if we all can help in the last 6 days! Let's show the kids just how much we care!

Hope your week is spectacular!

July 22, 2010

Jewelry Swap Details

Well, it's been a week since my Who's Up For a Jewelry Swap post, and three people besides myself have signed up to take part in the jewelry swap!  Now, it is time to announce the jewelry making assignments.  So, (drumroll please) here are the assignments:
  • Marsspyder will design a piece of jewelry for me.
  • I will design a piece of jewelry for Davinia.
  • Davinia will design a piece of jewelry for Dawn.
  • Dawn will design a piece of jewelry for Marsspyder.
Please come up with a series of questions to ask the person for whom you are designing and send it to her over the next few days (you should be able to contact your assigned person through her profile).  Remember, you have two weeks to complete the piece of jewelry and put it in the mail.

As an aside, I'd love to send each of you a series of questions and post an interview with each of you over the next two weeks while the jewelry swap is going on!  I would also like to post the series of questions I ask and a picture of the piece I create based on the questions, at the end of the swap (after you receive the piece of course, Davinia... I definitely want it to be a surprise when you receive it).

I'm really excited about the jewelry swap and can't wait to see what everyone designs!!!  Have fun, and feel free to contact me if you have any questions!


July 20, 2010

Big Changes on the Horizon

You know how people ask "where do you see yourself in five years?"  Well, I asked myself the same question last year... and I didn't like where I was headed.  So, I decided to make some changes and try to change the direction of my life.  I can't give too many details right now, but in about a month all the changes I've been working to make will come together.  My life will go down a dramatically different path. 

I'm working to become the person I think I should have been becoming all along.  I want to make a difference in the world... and I don't think the person I am right now will make a difference.  However, the person I want to become may be able to make the world a better place for a much larger group of people than I will even meet in my lifetime.  I can't wait for the change to take effect... and I can't wait to be able to share all the details with you.  For now though, I hope you'll join with me in the excitement of becoming the person I want to be... even if it is about 10 years late ;)


July 18, 2010

Beachy Keen

My big project this weekend was a beach-themed necklace using some of the sea glass I collected while visiting my family in Maine.  I began by selecting the piece of seaglass I wanted to use from my stash.  I just loved the triangular shape of this piece of sea glass.   
After selecting the piece of sea glass and shells I wanted to include, I had to figure out how to include the seaglass in the necklace.  Since I found the sea glass myself, it didn't have a hole in it and I didn't want to try drilling it myself (I'd rather practice on unimportant pieces of glass before I work on something I'd hate to see break).  I started by trying to create a bezel for the glass, but I ended up making the bezel too small and it looked too heavy.  I really wanted something light and beachy.  I came up with this free-form-weaving net.  I thought it went with the whole beachy theme... like the glass is caught in a fishing net. 

My next challenge was figuring out how to incorporate the shells and really create the feeling of the ocean.  I selected my colors first.  I wanted to work from the dark blue of the deep ocean to the aquas and greens of shallow water and the reef.  I created mixtures of each color and faded them together.  Finally, I sprinkled some shells
throughout the mixture.  I then used a freeform beading technique to create a really substantial necklace to balance the size of the pendant.  I wasn't sure how the necklace would turn out, but in the end, it is my favorite piece I have created to date.  I think it really invokes a feeling of the beach.  It's really organic with all shapes and sizes of beads.  I accomplished what I wanted to even though I didn't know exactly where I was going when I started.  Everything came from the one piece of glass I found.
Happy Beading! 

July 15, 2010

Who's Up For a Jewelry Swap?

In April, I posted about a jewelry swap I did with my friend Dawn of Designs By Dawn Marie.  Well, I thought it might be fun to plan a bigger jewelry swap with more people.  Here's what I'm thinking...

I'll take names for the jewelry swap for one week.  If you're interested in participating, leave a comment on this post and I'll include you.  Feel free to send the information to any other jewelry artists you think might be interested.  All they need to do to be included is comment on this post.  You can also blog about this or provide information about it via other social media outlets if you think others would like to hear about it.  The more people who are involved, the better this event will be!

After taking names for a week, each person will be assigned one other person (you will not be paired up, so the person you are creating for will be different than the person who is creating for you).  You should send a series of questions to the person you are assigned (you can ask questions about jewelry -- what color do you like, what style do you like, etc... or you can ask questions to learn about your person's personality -- what do you like to do, what's your favorite book, etc...).  Based on the answers to your questions, you should design a custom piece for the person.  I think it will be really interesting to find out how others see us and what kind of jewelry they create based on questions they ask.

Each designer will have two weeks to create the custom piece and send it to the person he/she is assigned.  To make sure everyone receives an "equal" piece, we should set some limits for how much to spend in materials.  If you're interested in participating, please let me know how much you think is a good amount to spend/invest.

Have fun with this!  Be creative, and try to come up with something new and great for the swap.  Hopefully we'll all leave this event with a few new friends in the business and a whole lot of inspiration.

July 14, 2010

A New House, Internet, and Stuff!!!

It has been a long road, but I am finally getting settled in Miami!  Our adventure began at the end of April when we shipped most of our belongings from Guam.  At the end of May, we shipped the remainder of our belongings... and on June 1, we hopped a flight to Miami.  Okay, okay, so hopped a flight isn't trully accurate.  The travel time from Guam to the East Coast of the United States is about 24 hours including layovers... so, we dragged ourselves through the travel process (although we did have a 4 day layover in Hawaii to help with the trip).

Our adventure wasn't over when we arrived in Miami.  All of our housing options had fallen through, so we stayed in a hotel while looking for a new home.  That's right, we moved over 8,000 miles without having a place to live.  After 3 days of looking at homes, we put in an offer and hopped in a minivan to drive north to pick up our beautiful dog, Bailey.  On the trip, we heard back from the seller and had to do all the paperwork from a FedEx Office store.  We continued our trip north and stayed with my in-laws for about a week.  While there, we heard back from the inspection company... and had to re-negotiate on the house.

After a great week with my in-laws, the hubby, the puppy, and I headed to my home town to spend a weekend with my step-mom.  It was the first time I'd been back to NY since my dad's funeral.  It was a difficult trip, and I freaked out before and during the visit.  But, I made it through and I think I am better for it.  Hopefully, it will help me achieve closure.

After the weekend, we spent three days traveling back to Miami... and, by three days, I mean three looooong days of driving.  Upon arrival, we moved in to a hotel for 2 weeks (before we could close on our house).  After the hotel, we moved into our new house with a puppy an air mattress and a few clothes for about a week before our shipment arrived and our internet was installed.  Now, two of our shipments have arrived... we still have one shipment left... and my car still hasn't arrived yet.  However, we are partially unpacked and able to live a relatively normal life.  We still have lots of work ahead of us, but life is pretty good after a long time of being unsettled. 

If you were keeping count, we were unsettled for almost three months, stayed in seven hotels (one in Guam, one in Hawaii, one in Miami, one on the way up north, two on the way back to Miami, and another one in Miami), stayed with two family members, and slept on an air mattress for a week.  Having our own belongings, house, puppy, and ability to cook food... priceless.  While stressful, the entire process was totally worth it.  I love being back in the U.S., I love our house, and I really enjoy our new neighborhood.  I can't wait to see what South Florida life has in store for me!

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