New Line of Hammered Metal Earrings and Pendants

I recently listed these new copper earrings on my BohemianIce etsy.  I am starting a new line of hammered metal earrings and pendants in copper, sterling silver and brass.  I really enjoy working with metal…the bending, twisting, hammering, wrapping….to me, it’s all fun.  This pair is made in a zigzag shape….these and most of my earwires are handmade (I have a few manufactured ones left, but I like making my own).  I wire wrapped Swarovski Crystal Rivoli’s on this pair and hammered the copper for texture and sparkle.

To get a better view of these earrings, click here  http://www.etsy.com/listing/70853479/contemporary-styled-copper-earrings-with

Anyone interested in special ordering or wholesale for shops, contact me at bohemianice@gmail.com

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Hand Beading Jewelry…enjoyable work…a bit of instruction

Hand beading jewelry is enjoyable work for me…maybe it’s not really work… it’s so enjoyable.  Doing this, of course, is part of my job as an artist, since I sell my jewelry at BohemianIce Etsy

This necklace, I just listed, is a Native American style beaded necklace.  I really first started with making the 1″ square beaded pendant by using waxed linen thread and using the square stitch on my selected beads.  I then used thin flexible jewelry wire to make the dangles that hang from the 1″ square…attaching them by using sterling silver crimp beads.

I then strung the 30″ necklace part on the same durable jewelry wire by adding various shape and color glass beads, paua shell beads, glass bugle beads, and large green glass bugle beads…finally attaching the pendant to the necklace using one of the large green bugle beads.

To see the listing on etsy and to get more information about this necklace, please check it out at this link  http://www.etsy.com/listing/43467236/native-american-style-hand-beaded

Having a Work Space is a Great Thing For Any Artist

Having a work space is a great thing for any artist….but, not everyone can afford dedicating a good portion of their “space” for use in their art or craft.  I have been blessed recently with moving all of my art paraphernalia, from the back room and from a bunch of nooks and crannies all around the house, to the nice sized middle room in my house.  My sweet husband, had a suggestion of moving around the rooms in our house, so that I could have a whole room to myself for painting, photography, jewelry making, and all the other artsy stuff I do.  After all, this is my life’s work….and I love it and it’s great having a place for all of my stuff.

It was a lot of work moving things around, but we got it done and I just love it.  I have a work table and my jewelry making table off in the corner near the two windows….outside the windows, we have huge rhododendrium outside covering the whole window but still letting light in….these stay green year round and have big beautiful pink blooms in the spring.  Our wood stove is in this room, so it has to stay, but it’ll be nice and cozy in there during the cold weather.

On the other side of the room, I have my two large cabinets to store a whole lot of things….it’s so nice to be able to find things again.  I actually know where everything is now.

As I said, it’s nice having a work space of your own, but not everyone can have one.  I know myself, there was a time where I had things stuffed into big tupperware containers jammed into corners.  I guess the biggest advantage to having your own art space is that you can start a project and leave the project for a while, without having to put everything away each time your take a break from it…..and knowing where you put things …having some sort of organization is wonderful.

First, if you don’t have your own room, the best thing to do is to try to organize everything into categories and separate with different storage containers.  Next, if you can spare even a small part of a room (that is out of the way of traffic) or even a closet, try using this smaller area the best that you can.  Once you get organized, it makes things easier and more enjoyable.

How the Sunflowers are done…art instruction and kind of an art supply review.

In this painting of sunflowers, I used “Arches” 140 lb. cold pressed paper and “Winsor & Newton” and “Grumbacher” watercolor paints.  In my opinion, Arches is the best and most professional art paper to use for most art projects.  It is durable and takes well to scrubbing and excessive water and brush lifting back of color.  If you’re a watercolor artist, you will probably understand what I am saying about the need of a good durable painting paper….actually, to get really specific, Arches is made of 100% cotton rag.  I’ve used many other papers, but I have to say that Arches is my favorite…and I’m really into using the watercolor blocks.  Arches also comes in 300 lb., which is nice and thick….I have a friend who uses nothing but that….and also comes in the usual hot pressed, rough, and what I prefer, cold pressed….and it’s available in sheets or blocks.  If you watch your art supplies sources, you can usually find Arches on sale frequently.  In all, I believe, it’s really worth using.  Now this,…just for the newbies to watercolor…I used to wonder this too, before I got really into watercolor painting, so don’t feel dumb….watercolor blocks are basically several sheets of “paper” kind of glued together on all sides, like a note pad might be on the top, forming a thick block of paper…you can only get to the top sheet to paint on, until you gently cut around the sides to remove that top paper.  So when you are painting, you are painting on a thick hard surface.  Ok…now on to the paints….

I’ve been using “Winsor & Newton” and “Grumbacher” watercolors for a while, and I’ve used others before, so I’ve got to say that I really like using these two professional brands.  They work beautifully….I love the product and the result that they produce.  Like the Arches, these too can be found on sale frequently if you watch your art supply sources. 

Now about using “quality” supplies….as an artist, I’ve found, that it’s worth a couple of extra dollars (and usually it is only a couple of extra dollars if you watch for sales) to buy and use the professional quality art supplies.  When you create something, you want it to turn out great and last forever, especially if you are selling your artistic creations….you want your customers to be very happy with their purchase.  I know that is important to me as an artist.  If you are just starting out and don’t want to make that investment yet, it’s understandable to use the less expensive products, but as soon as you get more serious about your art, it’s worth the investment in the long run….start out with one good paper (or canvas, or strand of gemstones, if you’re a jewelry artist, or any supply for whatever facet of art you’re in) and maybe the three basic primary colors of  paint (red, yellow, blue….you can mix your colors)….I know, I’ve been there!

Now, to the “Sunflowers”……I like to make my backgrounds by wetting the paper (this is why you need strong, durable paper/rag) in small sections and adding watered-down pastel paints to different areas and letting the color spread, but also guiding the color with my brush to control where I want it.  I keep doing small areas until I’ve covered the whole area….but, gently blending in one small area into another.  I use different colors where I want ultimately creating a diffused background…kind of what you get when you photograph flowers and you see the blur of the rest of the garden in the background.  After you get it the way you want, now it’s time to let it dry….and I mean, leave it alone for a while to really dry….this makes a big difference in your next step of adding your subject.

I want to interject something here, right now…..when you do watercolors, if you are at a point where you either cannot get something the way you want or you feel something is missing or not right or you’ve worked at it for a while and it’s frustrating you…..STOP and LET IT BE….walk away from it for a few hours…a day….when you go back to it, you may be very surprised at how it looks after it dried.  It’s amazing.  I can’t tell you how many times it’s surprised me.  You also may have a different perspective then and can complete your piece. 

Now it’s time for the actual subject, the sunflowers.  I collected several photo references of sunflowers (you can use your own photos, or ideas from magazines etc…) and slowly added in the outlines of my subjects (you can do this in whatever way works for you…like a light pencil drawing to guide you or you can lightly paint a faint outline of each by using a watered-down pale color that will blend into your final subject)…I find a real watered-down sepia works for many outlines.  After all of this preparation, it’s “paint away” time….of course in this painting I used MANY shades of yellows and browns….I find, I like using many shades usually, especially here in the petals of the flowers to create a luminous look.

I decided in this painting to make my sunflowers different in the centers and their position….when you paint, let your artistic flair loose….this is art, express yourself.  Everyone has a different style and way of doing things.  It’s important to enjoy yourself and be expressive…paint what you see, not what someone else tells you to see. 

If you or anyone you know may be interested in purchasing my painting, please click on the link below or contact me if you would be interested in prints or cards are anything else this starving artist is selling….thanks 😀

http://www.etsy.com/listing/50701813/original-watercolor-floral-painting

Promotion, Promotion, Promotion…..UGH!

I’m a fine artist….digital artist…..photographer…..jewelry artist…..gardener…..don’t you think that I have enough to do…..and then add in daughter, wife, friend….mother….Christian…and the list goes on.   I’m not trying to sound harsh or anything, but don’t you think I have enough to do besides being an advertiser, salesperson, blogger, small business data entry person…the list goes on…….I HATE PROMOTION!!! 

WELL,  now that I got THAT off my chest!!!!   It’s just so hard for people who aren’t salespeople, to be salespeople…..I want to sell my stuff, but it just gets crazy sometimes……create the item (the part I enjoy)….add it to your online store (not my favorite, but I’ll survive)….twitter it…..twitter it….twitter it again…..facebook it…..blog it…..and on and on…..the list seems so endless!   I’m just a shameless complainer 😀

Well, do a girl a favor and check out my stuff here Bohemian Ice Artisan Jewelry and here Alive With Color (art and photography…still adding to this one)…..thanks….that feels better 🙂

A Jewelry Artists Review – “Bead Stoppers”

I’ve decided that periodically, as I come across some item or tool that can help a fellow artist, I’m going to blog my opinion on that particular item or tool.  I’m not expecting everyone in the world to agree with my reviews, but it’ll just be my personal opinion on something that I feel works well or helps a creative person in what they do.  If it helps you, GREAT!  I’m glad to help someone. 

Today I’m going to tell you about the greatest little tool that a jewelry artist can have…they’re called “bead stoppers.”  These little spring-like things are great to use when you are a clutze like I am and you are stringing beads.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked on a necklace and had gotten it close to done and mistakenly dropped the wire and a thousand beads fall and scatter all over the floor.  What frustration!!! 

These little helpers are an essential tool for any jewelry artist….I would almost bet that anyone could come up with at least one use for these other than holding your beads on the wire.  I can think of one right now….as someone who paints, I can see using one to hold your photograph to your work area or easel.  They come in two sizes and several to a pack….see here  http://www.firemountaingems.com/details.asp?PN=H203873BS  and  http://www.firemountaingems.com/details.asp?PN=H203287BS  .  There is also a how-to video on the Fire Mountain website  http://www.firemountaingems.com/beading_howtos/beading_projects.asp?docid=9731  .   Watch this video, they tell you all about the different ways to use these tiny helpers.

Wholesale Beads and Jewelry Making Supplies – Fire Mountain Gems and Beads

Wholesale Beads and Jewelry Making Supplies – Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.

Whether you are a jewelry making novice, who makes jewelry for yourself, or a professional jewelry designer with a shop or small business, you will want to save money by purchasing your tools and supplies wholesale.  It’s amazing how much money you can save when buying wholesale.  In many instances, the way it is done is the more you buy, the more money you save.  For example, the above link is for Fire Mountain Gems, who has increments where if you buy 15 to 49 items, you get the first stage of a discount, and if you  buy 50 to 199 items, you get the next stage of a larger discount and so on.   I must say out of all the jewelry supply companies online, Fire Mountain Gems  is my favorite for one, saving money, two, huge variety of everything you need, and three, excellent shipping (reasonably priced).  They also offer free jewelry instruction and video tutorials.  They’re your one stop shop for everything you need to design and make jewelry.  They frequently have sales too.

Jewelry Supply Company would be my next favorite for their weekly sales and clearance items.  They also have discount levels.  I especially like the variety of pearls that they offer.  I have purchased pearls for wedding jewelry there.  Their items come packed very well and shipping is reasonably quick.  They have DIY projects and videos for free instruction. 

There are many other jewelry making companies online and most offer a free catalog and newletter.  It is good to sign up for these, as I feel you are continuously learning new techniques and the newsletter, especially, informs you of upcoming sales.