Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tamara Jumps Right Back on the Horse

Lately, I've been having a run of bad luck with craft shows. I've really only found one where I can turn a profit. Living in Wichita Falls limits me to choose shows that are within a reasonable driving distance or where I can bunk at a friend's home. I'm okay with that, it's just that I've always heard that GOOD shows west of the Mississippi are few and far between. I believe this, especially since western states are also a lot bigger in size than those in the East.

I have rotten luck at actually choosing shows. I had two duds this month, but nobody shops outside in 100 degree heat. I've come to the conclusion that I'm probably better off doing a local flop of a show than applying for anything on Zapp again. After this last weekend, I've turned into a skeptic. From now on, word of mouth only for me as well as improving my images for the places that repeatedly kick me out. If I can't make it after hiring a professional photographer, then I give up.

Concerning my artwork, I've come to the conclusion that my styles are way too varied. I need to focus on three to five lines of jewelry that will appeal to a wide range of customers and challenge myself to creatively work within those. The rest will be used as giveaways. Anybody have a favorite color? What follows is the first line of jewelry I will be focusing on:

If you've been reading this blog any time in the last week, you will know that I've been promoting my beaded washers like crazy! Today, Pearl from The Beading Gem's Journal featured my free tutorial on her blog! Her blog has been a constant source of inspiration for me. She hosts free giveaways, has multitudes of of free tutorials and tips from other jewelry makers, guest blog posts, and possesses the best name for a jewelry designer ever! I am honored to be part of her repertoire. If you've never visited, hop over and explore a world of information. :-)

Just so I don't wear anyone out with strictly beaded washers and rubber rings, I'd like to share another potential idea to use the technique. I'll start with a few photographs:

This is my Jasmine Fancy Headband, also the very first headband I've ever made. I intended it to double as a necklace, but the flower elements are too heavy and don't allow the piece to drape correctly. *shrug* Instead of washers, I used mother of pearl rings to achieve a slightly different effect. The thread used was green Spiderwire Stealth 6lb.

Here is my friend Hanna modeling the piece for me. She is also terribly afraid of wasps, which congregate around my apartment. This explains her nervous expression.

In the future I plan to use stone donuts, wooden rings, plastic rings, wavy washers, and anything else I can get my hands on. The sky is the limit! (Oh boy, the cliches are starting. *stop that*) Now it's your turn to get your creative gears turning and pick up those beads!

If anything you see here inspires you, I'd like to see your photos. Send them with a description to

Tune in next time for:

Tamara Spills Her Show Secrets


Found Object Frenzy!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lunchtime Update

I don't have a whole lot planned for the moment blog wise, but I'd like to think out loud for a bit. Yesterday, Kinga Nichols of Crimson Frog Designs featured my beaded washer pieces on her blog for the beaded hardware challenge she hosted. You can also see her beautiful designs at her Etsy store. Kinga had some very nice things to say about me. This just goes to show that most artists are very kind and generous. I am easily humbled by the sincerity of people. Thank you Kinga!

By request, I've been asked to blog about my craft show setup. I have a ton of pictures to show my step by step process for a one day show, as well as a lot of images of two day setups. I'm in the process of writing it.

I have a handful of cosplay commissions to finish. I'm a nerd and was told to find the other nerds in the world and make them stuff. At least my metalsmithing knowledge won't go to waste!

I'm planning out several commissioned and non commissioned magazine articles at the moment. Waiting for responses from editors is the hardest part.

Um, I'm kind of intimidated by writing PDF tutorials for sale. Does anybody have any advice on how to obtain programming for making PDF files?

I'm tempted just to draw diagrams by hand and scan them in to the computer. That's what I'm doing with my resume after all.

I finally finished my steampunk heart necklace and earrings! I'm going to wait to take pictures of it until I finish one commission at least. The necklace is my entry for the Operation Tackle That Bead Stash July Moodboard Challenge.

If you've read this far, then you have just been told almost everything that is looming on my sticky note wall of death. *insert evil laughter* It haunts my dreams, I swear. By telling people my plans publicly, I hope to accomplish my goals in a timely manner. Please feel free to egg me on and comment about what you would most like to see finished. Sorry no pictures today.

I'm off to make some lunch and then start working on some nerdy commissions! *8-I

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Free Tutorial for Beaded Washers

I've decided that I should share one of my washer designs since I've been obsessing over them recently. Mandy of Beads for Brains: 365 featured the project she made today from working off my basic pattern. Her necklace sure is a beauty!!!


· Delicas

· Size 8° seed beads

· Fireline

· Needle

· Scissors

· Washer (any size)

Step 1: Attaching the thread to a washer.

Make a loop with the tail of your thread using an overhand knot (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1

Make a lark’s head knot around a washer by passing the needle through the washer and then through the loop (Fig. 2). Pull tight.

Fig. 2

Step 2: First Round

String two Delicas. Pass the thread under the washer and back through the second Delica (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3

Using this brick stitch technique, continue adding one bead at a time until the washer is stitched with an even number of beads. Pass down through the first bead, under the washer, and back through the first bead. The first round is complete (Fig. 4).

Fig. 4

*Note: you can use either seed beads or accent beads for the first round. This creates variety among the pieces.

Step 3: Second Round

String one accent bead in a contrasting color from the first round. Pass down through the adjacent seed bead and up through the third (Fig. 5). Repeat around the washer. Weave the thread through the work and trim.

Fig. 5

And here's the finished washer! This is just one of many possibilities with this technique. Experiment and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Whose Got Balls?

Okay, I've been telling myself I wouldn't blog about anything else until I got this project done. Fail. Big time. BUT, it's almost done! Does that count? Anyway........this is a picture of six pachinko balls that have been beaded and then attached:

My adviser, Suguru Hiraide, gave me a handful of the little steel balls and told me to make something with them. So I did and returned for more. I started this sculpture? sphere? thingamawhitchit? last July and just yesterday started to work on the finishing stages. I had planned to enter it in the British Bead Awards and dramatically missed the deadline. Seems like I'll make it this time.

Geometric beadwork and I don't get along very well. AT ALL!!! That's why it takes me way too long to finish something that is strictly structured. Kudos go out to all of you who are well known for geometric beadwork. You are wonders. I absolutely love math, but my patience level wears out after a while. Here's the first half of my sphere:

And the second half:

Both halves are visible here. I had a golf ball supporting the structure, but I need something bigger to make it appear round. I'm thinking a stress ball would work perfectly and be very fitting.......

Right now, all I see is an amorphous blob.

It opens its gaping maw........hungry...........

This is as far as I've gotten. It's not finished yet, but will be a spectacular paper weight whenever I do finish it. *sigh* I just don't have it in me. What are your thoughts?

Tune in next time for:

Tamara Jumps Right Back on the Horse


Tamara Spills Her Show Secrets