What’s your favorite piece of jewelry for wearing?

We’d love for your voice to be a part of this space. Please click on the number in the Comments bubble in the upper right corner of this post and leave a comment with your answer!

I asked this same question of the beaded-jewelry superstar authors in Lark Jewelry & Beading’s Beadweaving Master Class series. We’re having a weekly Q-and-A with these six master teachers in a panel-style format on this blog each and every Monday. Enjoy, and whether you’re a jeweler, beader, general crafter, or just plain folk like me (as I’m frequently described), please do leave a comment with your own answer to each question!

Maggie Meister

Maggie Meister, author of the Fall 2011 book Maggie Meister’s Classical Elegance, of Norfolk, Virginia:

My grandmother’s ring. My aunt gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago, because she remembered how much I loved it as a little girl. It is a gold band with a beautiful star sapphire.

I also love a pin my uncle made for his sister a long time ago with three Ms in sterling silver. Until my aunt sent it to me, I had no idea my uncle had been a jeweler as a young man. I love these two pieces.

But I never leave the house without earrings on. I can be wearing the worst clothes and no makeup, but I will not leave without earrings—I just love them.

Sherry Serafini

Sherry Serafini, author of the Spring 2011 release Sherry Serafini’s Sensational Bead Embroidery, of Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania:

Truth is, I rarely wear jewelry. I’d rather create it and put it on someone else.

However, my favorite piece of mine is called Rocks. It is encrusted in my favorite Swarovski crystals and has one large vintage crystal. It is edgy and rock and roll, which I love. It’s named after a song by my favorite band, Aerosmith, who I create beadwork for when they’re touring.

Laura McCabe

Laura McCabe, author of Laura McCabe’s Embellished Beadweaving, of Old Mystic, Connecticut:

My favorite is my beetle wing choker—because it’s badass. It’s a spiked choker with intensely metallic green beetle wings. Everyone asks about it, and nobody quite understands the beetle wing part—somehow they can’t believe they’re real.

Continue reading...

Free Project: Kirigami Turkey

November 22, 2010, 08:26 am  Posted by Lark

Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s a Kirigami Turkey—one you won’t find elsewhere. If you enjoy making this turkey, please explore Hiroshi Hayakawa’s Kirigami Menagerie where you will find many other delightful creatures (and limericks). While working on the photography for this book I was able to get to know Mr. Hayakawa. He is a talented artist whose work goes far beyond his kirigami creatures. I wanted to share with you what an interesting and creative artist he is.

KP: Would you explain the difference between kirigami and origami?

HH: Kirigami literally means “cutting paper,” and origami means “folding paper.”

Traditionally kirigami is a two-dimensional project: You cut a shape out of a piece of paper with scissors.

Origami is a three-dimensional project made out of a piece of paper. Cutting is not a major component for origami.

In fact, some origami practitioners strive for producing intricate details without using any cutting at all. That’s the area where the ingenuity of the design and the skills of the artist are oftentimes appreciated.

KP: How did you become interested in kirigami? When did you start creating your own designs?

Continue reading...

Holiday Greetings in 3-D

November 22, 2010, 08:00 am  Posted by Lark

This week kicks off the beginning of the holiday season, a time of food, friends, festivities, and exchanging happy tidings. In this age of rampant digitalization, wouldn’t you be amazed to receive a handcrafted card? And to take this fantasy a step further, what if it were a free-standing, three-dimensional card—one that would serve both as greeting and holiday decoration? Wouldn’t that be something? Now just imagine the joyful expressions on the faces of family and friends if you were to make and send a card like that. Madness you say? Not at all. You can make this Holiday Tree Card quicker than you can say jolly old St. Nick.

Find this and other clever 3-D cards for all occasions in Pop-Up Cards and Other Greetings that Slide, Dangle & Move.


Free Project: Chunky Gold Net Necklace

November 19, 2010, 18:46 pm  Posted by Lark

Every Friday evening, I post a set of free project instructions.

This week’s post requires a little audience participation. Yes, yes, yes, you’ll get your free instructions for a jewelry project (the link’s down below), but first, won’t you vote on which project you want me to post next Friday? I mean, why should I get to dictate all the fun? Whichever one of these gets the most shout-outs is the one that goes up on the 26th.

Numbers are 1 to 9, from top to bottom and from left to right. Voting ends at 1 pm on Wednesday, November 24.

[poll id="13"]

And today’s free project is the Chunky Gold Net Necklace from the book Bead & Fiber Jewelry,

by Jane Olson-Phillips. Click here for the free PDF instructions.


Who Wears Your Jewelry?…Do You?

November 17, 2010, 17:01 pm  Posted by Lark Jewelry & Beading

Who Wears Your Jewelry?

A photo in the latest Anthropologie catalog and a television interview with Diane Keaton on CBS Sunday Morning triggered this week’s two-part ramble about inspiring, making, wearing, and promoting jewelry.

Anthropologie, always bold in its art direction choices and styling, included a set of necklaces modeled on, of all things, a llama. I am a big fan of the animal kingdom (I happen to be one, myself) and there is nothing I like more than a good laugh, but from a purely practical perspective, will this cheeky photo translate into increased necklace sales?

Dianne Keaton looked stunning (as always) in a super chunky silver chain. If I made jewelry, Diane Keaton just might have to be my muse. This revelation got me thinking, do real jewelers (not hypothetical ones, like myself) have a muse? A concrete vision of the person they are creating for, body and soul?

Continue reading...

The brain is a marvelous stash too, right? I recycled a lot of memories when I was working on Vintage Fashion Knitwear, just released last month. This fabulous coffee-table collectible book traces the development of hand- and machine-knits through the past 100 years and is heavily illustrated with delicious (and iconic) fashion photography. It’s a decadent indulgence; you can’t stop after just one page. I’ll share a few spreads in today’s post; if you find it irresistible, come back during Thanksgiving week for a great giveaway.

Continue reading...

First, I ask you:

What sources of inspiration do you draw upon in your artistic and jewelry designs?

We’d love for your voice to be a part of this space. Please click on the Comments bubble in the upper right of this post and leave a comment with your answer!

I asked the same question of our beading superstar authors in Lark Jewelry & Beading’s Beadweaving Master Class series. We’ll be doing weekly Q-and-A’s with these six master teachers in a panel-style format on this blog each Monday. Enjoy, and please do leave a comment with your own answer to each question!

Laura McCabe

Laura McCabe, author of Laura McCabe’s Embellished Beadweaving:

Historical costume, anthropology, archaeology, art, architecture (wow, that’s a lot of “A”s), and the weeds in my backyard.

Sherry Serafini

Sherry Serafini, author of the Spring 2011 release Sherry Serafini’s Sensational Bead Embroidery:

I have bead ADD. My inspiration one month can be totally different the next.

Shapes and colors fascinate me. Weird objects in embroidery challenge me to create a piece. I love using license plates and auto parts in my work.

I also love architecture and try to incorporate the strength and shape that I see in various forms of it.

Rachel Nelson-Smith

Rachel Nelson-Smith, author of the Fall 2011 release Rachel Nelson-Smith’s Bead Riffs:

I like order. I like color. And I like beads.

Those things primarily drive the designs. In the case of my work that is abstract and geometric in nature, spacing and placement is based on harmonious arrangement. I pay particular attention to contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity.

The same principles are more organically applied when working with beads from glass artists like Ronit Dagan, Wayne Robbins, and Patty Lakinsmith. It is a thrill to work collaboratively with another artist, because the actual outcome is a far cry from anything my brain could have projected on its own.

This spring there was a little bird outside the open studio skylights that sang minutes of song. He’d sing a repetitive line for 30 seconds, and I interpreted it into a pencil sketch. I have pages of sketches of his songs that will be translated to beadwork someday.

Diane Fitzgerald

Diane Fitzgerald, author of Diane Fitzgerald’s Shaped Beadwork:

In general, everything around me–and, more specifically, catalogs, paintings, flowers, architecture, and geometry–is food for inspiration.

Maggie Meister

Maggie Meister, author of the Fall 2011 release Maggie Meister’s Classical Elegance:

Architecture, ancient jewelry, and mosaic and rug patterns. I can spend hours and hours in a museum or at an archaeological site taking photos or sketching.

Marcia DeCoster

Marcia DeCoster, author of Marcia DeCoster’s Beaded Opulence:

I love looking through old costume jewelry books, but I am often as inspired by an idea that may have started out as a piece in an entirely different medium. A felted piece might inspire color choices, or a metal piece might inspire a shape.

Inspiration is everywhere. Be open to it and remember to record that brief glimpse of something you saw in your mind’s eye to help keep it accessible.

Now, go back and read earlier questions to our panel — and I invite you to answer them yourself in each post’s Comments section!

1. How did you get started beading?

2. What characteristics set beaders apart?

*Also read great recent Lark Jewelry & Beading interviews with leading creative beaders, jewelers, and metalsmiths—please leave comments and let us know what you think:

Sabine Lippert

Laura McCabe (with free project PDF)

Jamie Cloud Eakin (with bonus project PDF)

Carol Wilcox Wells

Cindy Thomas Pankopf

Joanna Gollberg

Mary Hettmansperger

Lisa Slovis Mandel

Nathalie Mornu (with two free project PDFs)

Our recent Blogger Profiles have featured Carol Dean Sharpe, Lorelei Eurto, and Andrew Thornton.


Art Quilts Giveaway!

November 12, 2010, 17:45 pm  Posted by Lark

Inspired after your trip to Quilt Market or after reading all the fabulous recaps online? We are, too! To celebrate art quilts and the spectacular 500 Art Quilts exhibit at Quilt Market/Festival in Houston, we’re hosting a little giveaway. For a chance to win a copy of 500 Art Quilts and Masters: Art Quilts, leave a comment on this post by Friday, November 19, at 9pm EST, and we’ll pick a random winner. Any comment will do but we’d love to hear about quilting artists who inspire you. Click here for the official rules.

Want to read more about the experience? Click here, here, or here.
Congratulations to Charq3, winner of the 500 Art Quilts and Masters Art Quilts giveaway! Thanks so much to everyone who commented and shared their quilt inspirations!


Free Beaded Jewelry Instructions: Neoclassical Necklace PDF

November 12, 2010, 17:36 pm  Posted by Lark

Every Friday evening, I post a set of free project instructions for you to enjoy.

Sometimes, simplicity is the way to go…

Click here for a free PDF of the instructions for Neoclassical Necklace, from the book Beading Vintage-Style Jewelry, written by Marty Stevens-Heebner and Christine Calla.

Check out a few other free project instructional PDFs recently posted on this blog:

Give a shout-out in the comments section to let us know which ones you’ve made and enjoyed!


Inspired by Etsy: thankfulness + warmth

November 11, 2010, 14:26 pm  Posted by Lark

Are you one of those people who can’t WAIT for Halloween to fly by so you can dive headfirst into the holiday season? Oh good, I am, too. Harvest! Thanksgiving! Family! Winter! Lights! Coziness! Gift-giving! It’s enough to give a girl the dizzies. (Or, in my case, a hand cramp, as this time of year propels me to make list after list of things to do, crafts to make, gifts to give to people, recipes to try…you know what I’m talking about.)

I also love how this time of year gets me to reflect on the people in my life and the goodness around me—the warmth and “thanks” part of Thanksgiving. Lots of folks on Etsy are creating amazing work that inspires thankfulness and warmth, and catches my gift-giving, list-making eye. Here are some great finds:

From left to right, top to bottom:

1. bluebicicletta

2. ekdGoodies

3. celapiu

4. Sydney Hale Co.

5. wendyjung

6. colorstorydesigns

7. knitalatte

8. raceytay

9. MaisyandAlice

10. irenesuchocki

11. RockyTopSoapShop

12. daisychestnut

13. mahleewan

14. f2images

15. kittygrrlz

16. drucillapettibone