Egg Inspired Ceramics

April 09, 2012, 11:27 am  Posted by Craft Your Life Team

As I return from NCECA, it’s hard to get my mind off of all the fantastic pots and sculptures I saw while I was there. I am still having dreams where I’m wandering the galleries.

But it’s back to the east coast and back to the office for me. And since many folks in the office just celebrated the holiday weekend, I thought I’d help tie that in to ceramics. It might be a stretch, but I’m going to share some pots (handmade or otherwise) that get in the egg-hunt spirit.

At first, I was going to collect a gallery of handmade deviled egg plates–but there weren’t as many pictures of them as I hoped (note to self: take some pictures at the next southern craft fair I attend). So I expanded the search to both commercial ceramic work and handmade pots that either work with or evoke the egg. Click on the image below to head over to the Pinterest gallery, and send me links if you find ceramics for me to add to the gallery.


Easter Bunny Birthdays…What’s Your Favorite Holiday?

April 06, 2012, 06:00 am  Posted by Lark

Blowing out the candles on a bunny birthday cake



Today’s my birthday! When I was a little girl, I loved that my birthday was close to Easter (and sometimes fell on Easter). Apparently, my mother did, too, because every birthday cake for my first five or six years appears to have had an Easter bunny theme.

Another year, yet another bunny birthday cake

Bunnies played a large role in the holidays and celebrations of my childhood…even Halloween.

Guess who was a bunny for Halloween?

















So it only seems fitting that my newest book with Amanda Carestio, Heart-Felt Holidays, has an Easter bunny on the cover. If you are a last-minute crafter (like me), then you won’t be daunted at the thought of stitching up Cathy Gaubert’s cute little guy (or Dana Willard’s bunny bunting) two days before Easter. Just download the PDF here and grab your felt stash.

Meanwhile, Amanda and I had a good time matching fabulous project designers with our favorite holidays and celebrations for the book. We’re both big fans of Talk Like a Pirate Day, so getting Laura Howard to design a parrot brooch and pirate eyepatch for the book was near the top of our wishlist. And since we seem to be in a big baby year here at Lark Crafts, the baby shower projects are coming in handy. [poll id="24"]


Welcome to the Jungle by Betty Busby, Photo by Allen Mitchell

Art Quilt Portfolio: The Natural World is a feast for the eyes…and the fingers and the brain and the soul. This week we’re sharing a bit of the book with you: the work and words of featured artist Betty Busby. Scroll down to download this free section…in the meantime, here’s a little glimpse of what to expect, in the words of juror Martha Sielman.

Pay careful attention—there are dangers lurking in the depths of the natural worlds celebrated in Betty Busby’s work. Even long-dead raptors may suddenly awake to take a bite out of their portraits. Busby’s strong desire for clean lines and uncluttered design leads to crisp, careful edges, but the crocodiles, eels, and carnivorous dinosaurs she depicts seem likely to erupt into a more natural chaos at any moment. Eschewing fur-covered mammals, Busby focuses instead on invertebrates, fish, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. She finds their bodies more interesting and their lives more beautiful. Continual experiments with materials and techniques are part of Busby’s struggle to find the most effective way to communicate her passion for these often-ignored species of the animal kingdom. – Martha Sielman

Download a free section of the book here and read more about featured artist Betty Busby!


The licensed version of The Hunger Games mockingjay pin we're giving away

If you haven’t done so yet, read our interview with Dana Schneider, the jewelry designer who made the mockingjay pin that actress Jennifer Lawrence wears in the movie The Hunger Games. Dana has designed jewelry for more than 50 movies, television shows, and music videos.

We don’t have one of Dana’s exquisite pins she made for the movie to give away (only four exist), and we wouldn’t give it away if we did! But to celebrate the key role a piece of jewelry is playing in the most talked about movie of the season, we are giving away a licensed version of the mockingjay pin.

To enter for a chance to win, just leave a comment on this post by 9 p.m. EST on Wednesday, April 11. Any comment is fine, though we’d love to know your thoughts about The Hunger Games or to hear about a favorite piece of jewelry in a movie or television show.

One winner will be selected at random and announced on the Lark Jewelry & Beading Facebook page on Monday, April 16. Click here for the official rules.

Go to Lark Jewelry & Beading Facebook page to see the announcement now!


[Please connect with Lark Jewelry & Beading on Facebook.]

Dana Schneider's 22-karat gold-plated sterling silver mockingjay pin for The Hunger Games movie


Today we talk with Dana Schneider, the jewelry designer who made the mockingjay pin that actress Jennifer Lawrence wears in the movie The Hunger Games. As you know if you’ve read the books or seen the movie, this pin (worn by main character Katniss Everdeen) is an especially important part of the story—a symbol of rebellion in a post-apocalyptic world.

When I found out I was going to interview Dana Schneider, the jewelry designer who made the mockingjay pin for The Hunger Games movie, I was excited. But I was also not sure what to expect from a woman who has made jewelry for more than 50 films and television shows (including Planet of the Apes, The Matrix sequels, and Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), designed what Cher has described as “her favorite ring,” and is friends with Marilyn Manson.

Within moments on the phone, I realized I was talking to one of the most engaged, confident, and also humble and generous artists I’ve ever met. She loves what she does and at the same time is very clear about just how hard her work is.

She is equally passionate discussing the magic of movie making, heavy metal music, women with charm bracelets jangling beside her at the symphony, and her own work in her studio and her Etsy jewelry shop.

Can you tell me a little about how you got started designing jewelry?

Dana Schneider

Jewelry artist Dana Schneider with a necklace she made for The Matrix Reloaded and a solid sterling silver piece she made for a Marilyn Manson video (Lynn Ischay/The Plain Dealer)

I learned basic jewelry-making skills as a child from my father, who was an engineer: how to cast, how to solder, how to use a pair of pliers. I’ve always just naturally been a craftsperson. I’ve also always been a movie fan.

When I attended the Rhode Island School of Design, I planned to focus on animation, but in my freshman year I decided to do sculpture instead—foundry work with heavy forged steel, cast bronze, and aluminum. Then when I graduated, I decided I didn’t want to have a career as a fine artist.

Why not?

I felt art was about communicating, and I knew that I was young and didn’t have a lot to say yet.

I got a job in the repair department at Tiffany & Co. in New York City. But I didn’t actually repair the jewelry—I did public relations for the repair department. And I learned how people use and abuse their jewelry, how they don’t want to think about chains breaking and pearls needing to be restrung—especially on pieces from Tiffany.

I realized that when people buy something, they want it to last, and I could understand that. I started my own jewelry business as soon as I left Tiffany, and I’ve been making jewelry ever since.

So how did you start designing jewelry for movies?

Continue reading...

Short and sweet: In honor of all the pop-up jewelry stores, well, popping up this spring, we’re doing a pop-up giveaway: 48-hours from now we’ll give away a set of 12 author-signed jewelry and beading books. Some of the books are brand new releases, some are older classics: all are wonderful.

They’re a mix of metalwork and beadweaving titles, because all the books hold ample inspiration and beauty for artists and jewelry designers of all types. If you already own some of them, of course the books make wonderful gifts for friends.

How can you enter for a chance to win the dozen books? Leave a comment on this blog post by 9 p.m. EST on Wednesday, April 4. The comment can be anything, but just to be different, why don’t you tell us what your favorite poem is? It’s a time to celebrate, after all: April is National Poetry Month and in spring, to paraphrase, the world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.

One winner will be selected at random and announced on Monday, April 9. Click here for the official rules. Thank you for being a part of the Lark Jewelry & Beading community, and please connect with Lark Jewelry & Beading on Facebook.

maggie (meister) and milly and molly and may …

While you’re waiting to see if you win, give yourself a reminder about getting your favorite books: pop over to your local bookstore or online and wishlist the books, just in case:


UPDATE: This giveaway is closed. Congratulations to Tessa E. Rickard-Carpenter of Hamtramck, Michigan, the randomly selected winner, and thank you to everyone who participated. I was truly delighted by the poems cited, recited, or created in your comments. Happy Poetry Month, everyone! ~ Ray



Artful Easter Eggs

April 02, 2012, 16:50 pm  Posted by Lark

Easter is almost here, and what is the first thing that comes to mind? Hunting! Well, Easter egg hunting, anyway! Remember when you were really little, and mom would dress you up in your nice clothes, you would go for the big family brunch at grandma’s house, and then it would be time for the annual Easter egg hunt in the backyard? Ohhh, what fun!!!

Well, there are no more Easter eggs hunts for us grown ups, sadly (unless you have to hunt for the eggs your kids missed in your own backyard). But, we can still collect some great Easter eggs for ourselves. I’ve done some hunting on Etsy and had great success. There are hand painted eggs, wire eggs, paper eggs, crocheted eggs, clay eggs, glass eggs, so many eggs!!! See a few of my favorites below.

Easter eggs

From left to right: Handmade Easter Eggs by TheDixonConnection; Hand painted Green Pysanky Easter Eggs by UkrainianEasterEggs; Pink Easter Egg with Cherry Blossoms by ArtisanPost; Needle Felted Easter Egg by heartfeltpassion; Rainbow Easter Egg in Polymer Clay Filigree by StarlessClay; Traditional Slavic Carved and Wax Embossed Easter Eggs by EggstrArt

Now, it’s time for you to have your own artful Easter egg hunt. Happy hunting!





Etched Copper Neckpiece from the book Heat, Color, Set & Fire from Mary Hettmansperger

Heat, Color, Set & Fire: Surface Effects for Metal Jewelry is the brand new book from jeweler and teacher Mary Hettmansperger, known far and wide as Mary Hetts. The book has been dancing atop the jewelry book bestseller lists since it released from our warehouse a month ago, but it’s officially an April publication. (That’s just how publishing works; believe me, don’t try to make sense of it.)

In the book, Mary teaches readers how to add color and texture to metal jewelry using a wide variety of low-tech approaches, including patinas, enameling, keum boo, copper etching, fusing, weaving, texturing with tools, and more. Twenty-one projects bring to life Mary’s approach to jewelry and design.

To get a sense of some of the contents, we’re posting a second project PDF from the book: Click here to download a PDF of the Etched Copper Neckpiece.

Here’s the earlier content we’ve already posted, too:

Click here to get a PDF of the Liquid Enamel Necklace project and to see a few project designs from the book in that earlier blog post. You also can read an interview with Mary Hetts from a little while back with photos of some of her beautiful work.

Mary lives in Peru, Indiana, and she teaches classes across the United States. She’s also one of Lark Jewelry & Beading‘s most popular authors, with more than 65,000 books in print with her fabulous library of teachings for jewelers: Fabulous Woven Jewelry (2006), Wrap, Stitch, Fold & Rivet (2008), Mixed Metal Jewelry Workshop (2010), and now the brand new 2012 book Heat, Color, Set & Fire.

We hope you love the new book — and all of Mary’s offerings.


Here are a few resources for Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry contributors to use for promoting the book online, as well as printable materials for the “real world.”

Immediately below, click through to download PDFs of high-res printable materials; you can print them for your classes, to bring a stack to bead or gift shows or craft fairs, to laminate one and put it on a stand, to frame on your studio, business, or even living room wall, etc.

After that, you’ll see a series of ads for online usage: you can use these ads on your website or blog or even as your Facebook profile picture. You are also welcome to share this page’s URL with local or national media members covering your participation in the book so they can download the cover image. Be creative in your approach, and thank you for your participation in and enthusiastic support of Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry!

Printable Materials

Click here to download a printable full-page PDF of the “My work is in Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry” page



Click here to download a printable full-page PDF of the wonderful Publishers Weekly review of the book


Click here to download a printable, full-size PDF cover image of Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry


Click here to download a printable, full-size JPG cover image of Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry


Materials for Web usage

Copying images and handy URLs:
You can copy the images below (as well as, of course, a cover image above) for Web usage on your blog, website, or via social media sites. Please link the images to your local bead store or bookstore or to your preferred online bookseller. Here are bit.ly links for you to use, please, if you want to link to one of the main U.S. online booksellers:






Small Images for Web Usage




Large Images for Web Usage