Art Bead Scene November Challenge

One of the highlights of my month is clicking over to the Art Bead Scene blog and checking out the entries inspired by that month’s art challenge. It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to participate, but who could resist the great fall colors in Martin Johnson Heade’s tropical landscape?

"Cattelya Orchid and Three Hummingbirds," color palette created by Brandi Hussey

I had the palette in mind on a trip to Austin earlier this month. A visit to my sister-in-law, Kathy, always includes a foray to local bead stores and I know I quite literally gasped out loud when I stepped into the charmingly named Lapis Lane Beads and discovered a strand of Nora Pero’s  polymer clay petals.  They perfectly captured the painting’s richest pinks. Focal beads found!

Deciding on a freeform, double spiral necklace, I began my design by creating a bead soup of the darker, muted colors on the right side of Brandi’s palette.

Wanting lots of texture to represent the lush forest, I included seed beads ranging from size 11’s through size 5’s, in matte, metallic and Picasso finishes. I tossed in some chunky rondelles, keishi pearls and black gold-plated copper nuggets and my soup was ready. My rope uses only the darker colors in Brandi’s palette until the center section, which bursts into pinks, amethyst, and deep gold, and, of course, those gorgeous petals.

I’ve made double spiral necklaces before, and while I love their organic look, they can prove to be a bit fussy to wear. Even stored in its own box, the larger, graduated loops that form the bottom of the design can flip over the smaller loops that form the base.  I don’t know how hectic your mornings are, but by the time I reach for an accessory, I’m already running late. There’s never time to sort out the loops, so I never wear the necklace. With this design, I incorporated some chain, woven into the base beads and the beads of each small top loop. Problem solved. The chain adds structure, and those bottom loops stay perfectly in place on their journey into and out of my jewelry drawer. It even spilled out ready-to-wear from my travel bag! This necklace I am definitely going to wear a lot!

To see more jewelry and art beads designed around this month’s painting, be sure to visit the ArtBeadScene blog on November 30th and follow the link-ups.


Big Show, Small Pieces

“Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small pieces.” I took that great advice from Henry Ford as my motto in preparing for my first-ever art show last weekend.

I aimed for a simple, streamlined booth, with contemporary displays, business cards and packaging.

I limited my offerings to three collections: botanical-themed lariats and earrings in Fall blues and burgundies; 100 earrings made the first 100 days of this year with proceeds to be donated to Doctors Without Borders; and one-of-a-kind necklaces grouped in Fall Brilliants and Neutrals.

My best decision was to enlist my sister, Janet, to work my booth with me! I would not have made it through the busy periods without her at the ready to record sales, make change and hand customers their perfectly wrapped packages. And she wore pink! (I read an article post-show citing statistics that booth attendance goes up significantly if you welcome your customers into your booth wearing any shade of pink.)

Making my financial goal for the show was a big win. But even more valuable was being able to connect with customers face to face, getting their feedback on my products, and testing out new design ideas. (My lariats were a hit, but my Clio earrings? They garnered no interest at all!)

Another amazing aspect of the show was the personal interaction with other artists on my aisle. What a talented group they were.
Jenny Pfanenstiel of Forme Millinery was exhibiting her one-of-a-kind couture hats in the booth right across from mine.

Justin Keibler, of Baz and Bea, exhibited his boutique's collection of classic and trendy custom-dyed ponchos and dresses. 

Gina Hirsch, Designer at July Moon, is an art show veteran who definitely knows great ways to create
height and visual interest. How cute are those repurposed men's dress shirts?

The question I was asked most often (by customers and other exhibitors) was how they could find me online. As this blog is my only online presence, I’m going to have to address those questions pronto. Deep breath. One small piece at a time. I’m starting today with this free Facebook Marketing course from Creative Live. Join me?