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The cover of Showcase 500 Art Necklaces, juried by Chunghi Choo

Among the many things art jewelry can do is tell a story … or hint at one and give rise to the imagination. The cover of Showcase 500 Art Necklaces, a June book, has released, and I wanted to share it with you promptly, as well as on the Lark Jewelry & Beading page on Facebook.

The cover piece, created by Andrea Williams of Bound Earth Jewelry Design, is titled Vinculum, a 2012 necklace made of found beach stones, reclaimed sterling silver, and resin. Andrea’s techniques were simply carving and fabrication. The piece was photographed by Mark Craig.

A vinculum is a bond or tie, and I found the jewelry and photography bold and evocative in obvious ways. We played with different cover possibilities, but this piece and photograph are the ones I wanted to make work from the start.

Inside the book, the piece runs with a full-page bleed (it runs off on all four sides). In that original photo, which I’ve included below, the model appears to be an African American male (although, of course, I’m actually unsure). When the piece was cropped for best fit on the cover, it became less pronounced whether the person pictured is male or female. We had differing opinions internally as to how that impacted the power of the image as we finalized the cover design. We’d love to hear your thoughts when you get the book.

The work in Showcase 500 Art Necklaces is incredibly varied. Juror Chunghi Choo selected art jewelry from 456 artists in a few more than 500 pieces and photographs, so the range of visions — as well as materials and techniques employed — is unusually diverse. I think it makes for a fantastic and challenging collection of contemporary work. It’s a June release, so you’ll get to decide for yourself soon enough!

You can download a PDF of the cover here, or copy the cover image above for web usages. If you’re so inclined, you’re welcome to share the cover image widely! And I hope you love the book. ~ Ray Hemachandra

 

Vinculum by Andrea Williams as it runs on page 21 of Showcase 500 Art Necklaces

 

 
 
 
 
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The Dragonfly Brooch and Pendant by Christina Orlikowsky, a project in Kristal Wick's book Foxy Epoxy

Saint Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and the dragonfly has lessons to teach us about love: Live in the moment. See clearly what’s important — what really matters most. Be able to change directions to serve the truest needs of both those you love and yourself in order to have happy, fulfilled, and complete lives.

The dragonfly is an unusual but powerful symbol of love, and Christina Orlikowsky‘s Dragonfly Brooch and Pendant — a project design from Kristal Wick‘s soon-to-be-released book Foxy Epoxy: 44 Great Epoxy Clay Projects with Serious Bling — is the perfect project to make for a loved one, whether a partner, friend, child, or parent.

To download the Dragonfly Brooch and Pendant project as a PDF from the book, click here.

Kristal herself designed many of the projects in Foxy Epoxy, and all rest were created by an all-star lineup of jewelry crafters who have incredible fun working with epoxy clay.

The designers include Christina Orlikowski, Katie Hacker, June Beach, Stephanie Dixon, Jean Campbell, Candie Cooper, Margot Potter, Andrew Thornton, Debbi Simon, Brenda Schweder, Katerina Ilieva, and Debra Saucier!

You can preorder the book on Amazon or BN.com. And please be sure to join Lark Jewelry & Beading on Facebook for pics of great jewelry, notifications about free projects and giveaways, and community news.

And, in case you’re having trouble reading that quote about the book on the thumbnail front cover, it’s from Marcia DeCoster: “Kristal has put together a definitive sourcebook for using epoxy clay with an extensive and diverse collection of projects and a talented group of designers.”

It receives similar praise on the back cover:

From Mark Montano: “This is a gem of a book! If you’re in need of inspiration and ideas for your epoxy clay creations, look no more. Foxy Epoxy features work by today’s top designers and is filled from cover to cover with ideas that will keep you creating until all hours. I promise!”

From Sherry Serafini: “I ADORE this book! I couldn’t put it down! Cover to cover I loved the projects, and the inspiration popped off the pages. I applaud Kristal and all the fabulous designers for taking this medium and making it classy, funky, and so much fun.”

We hope you’ll love Foxy Epoxy, too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
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Lark Jewelry & Beading has reached 10,000 fans on Facebook. We try to get the right mix of photos of breathtaking jewelry, industry news, and info about our books, and we’re grateful to you for being part of our community on this social-media forum.

Thank you.

To celebrate, we’re giving away 33 of our most popular beading and jewelry how-to books. Since the last major giveaway we did focused on art jewelry, the list biases toward the beading books, alongside several popular jewelry titles we know everyone will love. And all the books are signed by their authors!

Thanks to everyone who entered our 33-book giveaway! It’s now closed, and we’ve contacted a lucky winner: congratulations to Cheryl Klosowski!

Though this giveaway has ended, you know us–we love giveaways–and we’ll host others in the future, so stay tuned!

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To enter this giveaway on Facebook, click here!

Here is the complete listing of books, which include some fantastic titles. I encourage you to look for them at your local bookstore or bead store, or on online stores:

Jill Wiseman’s Beautiful Beaded Ropes
Sabine Lippert’s Beaded Fantasies
Laura McCabe’s Embellished Beadweaving
Maggie Meister’s Classical Elegance
Diane Fitzgerald’s Shaped Beadwork
Japanese Beadwork with Sonoko Nozue
Rachel Nelson-Smith’s Bead Riffs
Marcia DeCoster’s Beaded Opulence
Sherry Serafini’s Sensational Bead Embroidery
Beading with Cabochons by Jamie Cloud Eakin
Dimensional Bead Embroidery by Jamie Cloud Eakin
Bugle Bead Bonanza by Jamie Cloud Eakin
I Can Right Angle Weave by Mabeline Gidez
I Can Herringbone by Melissa Grakowsky
Tapestry Bead Crochet by Ann Benson
Metalworking 101 for Beaders by Candie Cooper
Necklaceology by Candie Cooper
Diane Fitzgerald’s Favorite Beading Projects
Making Wire & Bead Jewelry by Janice Berkebile and Tracy Stanley
A Bounty of Bead & Wire Earrings by Nathalie Mornu
A Bounty of Bead & Wire Necklaces by Nathalie Mornu
A Bounty of Bead & Wire Bracelets by Nathalie Mornu
Creating Glass Beads by Jeri Warhaftig
Glass Bead Workshop by Jeri Warhaftig
30-Minute Bracelets by Marthe Le Van
30-Minute Earrings by Marthe Le Van
30-Minute Necklaces by Marthe Le Van
30-Minute Rings by Marthe Le Van
Metal Clay Origami Jewelry by Sara Jayne Cole
Bronze Metal Clay by Yvonne Padilla
Metal Clay Fusion by Gordon Uyehara
Heat, Color, Set & Fire by Mary Hettmansperger
Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk! by Kathy Sheldon

 
 
 
 
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We thank you for sharing this call for entries promptly with all appropriate colleagues, professional groups and associations, message boards, schools, students, and beadmaking communities:

Lark Jewelry & Beading seeks excellent photographs of original, contemporary beads in all materials to publish in a new juried, international collection in our 500 Series of books: Showcase 1000 Beads. This book is scheduled to be published in January 2014. The book will be juried by Kristina Logan.

We welcome and encourage submission of photographs of your handmade beads in all materials (glass, metal, polymer clay, metal clay, ceramics, paper, fiber, plastic, wood, stone, etc.) and design styles. All work must be made no earlier than 2010, and the more recent the work the better—we’d prefer to see your 2012 work over your 2011 work, and your 2011 work over your 2010 work.

We strongly prefer images of beads that have not been published previously, and please do NOT submit images of pieces that have been published in any Lark book. We can accept only high-quality digital images. Artists will receive full acknowledgment within the book and a complimentary copy. Artists retain copyright of their work. There is no entry fee.

All submissions must be submitted electronically through Juried Art Services. Note that there is no fee for using Juried Art Services. The entry page can be found at the following link: http://bit.ly/VTfT6E or, the full URL,  http://www.juriedartservices.com/index.php?content=event_info&event_id=614.

Entries must be submitted by February 14, 2013. We strongly encourage early entries.

All visuals submitted must represent work that is original in design. Please choose work that reflects the book’s concept. A maximum of four entries per artist is allowed, so please submit your best work. An entry may consist of no more than two visuals: an overall shot and one detail (or alternate view); the detail shots are not required. The primary images you submit should each be different designs. For example, do NOT submit four variations of very similar beads; instead, submit one bead from each of four series.

Important: Lark will only publish photos of entries containing images and text that are free of copyright or for which the artist (or approved institution) holds copyright.

 
 
 
 
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Ray of Light Bangle from Jill Wiseman's Beautiful Beaded Ropes

Often, to give you a sense of a book, we give you a “taste” of it by posting project PDFs from the book. We uploaded a wide assortment of such PDFs for your enjoyment throughout 2012.

Here, all in one place, is an assortment of them that have received the most enthusiastic response of one kind or another. Enjoy them. Share them. And please join Lark Jewelry & Beading on Facebook — and, just as importantly, add us to your Interest Lists so our posts show up in your Newsfeed. We wish you all good things in 2013!

From Janice Berkebile and Tracy Stanley’s Making Wire & Bead Jewelry:
Cascading Spirals Bracelet designed by Tracy Stanley
Wire Pod Pendant designed by Janice Berkebile

Orion Necklace from Necklaceology by Candie Cooper

From Mabeline Gidez’s I Can Right Angle Weave: A Comprehensive Workbook for Beaders:
Lotus Flower Necklace and Earrings
Egyptian Queen Collar 

From Melissa Grakowsky’s I Can Herringbone: A Comprehensive Workbook for Beaders:
Braided Bracelet
Athena Necklace

From Jill Wiseman’s Beautiful Beaded Ropes:
Ray of Light Bangle
French Quarter Lariat
Flirtation Bracelet
Bohemian Earrings 

From Kathy Sheldon’s Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk! Make Stylish Shrink Plastic Jewelry:
Not Your Grandmother’s Cameos designed by Tamara Berg
Blooming Flowers Bracelet designed by Cathe Holden
Origami Plane Earrings designed by Tonia Mo
Cat and Milk Brooch designed by Kathy Sheldon
Paper Plane Ride Necklace designed by Stasia Burrington

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

From Diane Fitzgerald’s Favorite Beading Projects:
Diamond Chain Bracelet
Fortune Teller Beads Necklace
Midnight Snowflakes Necklace 

From Candie Cooper’s Necklaceology: How to Make Chokers, Lariats, Ropes & More:
Orion Necklace
Safe Keeping Necklace
Peace Dreams Necklace

From Sabine Lippert’s Beaded Fantasies:
Purple Rope Necklace
Les Fleurs Necklace

From Japanese Beadwork with Sonoko Nozue:
Sonoko Wave Necklace
Crystal Rose Necklace

Sonoko Wave Necklace from Japanese Beadwork with Sonoko Nozue

From Mary Hettmansperger’s Heat, Color, Set & Fire:
Etched Copper Neckpiece
Liquid Enamel Necklace

 
 
 
 
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UPDATE 1/9/2013: Congratulations to Colleen White of Bradenton, Florida, the randomly selected winner of this giveaway. Our thanks to everyone who participated: thank you for being a part of our community! ~ Ray

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Well, it’s the holiday season, and I hope you’re feeling in the spirit—or at least whatever kind of good spirit is meaningful to you!

The spirit I’m feeling today is genuine gratitude for all the kind community you share with us throughout the year, and that makes me want to give something special to thank you.

So I’m doing a spur-of-the-moment giveaway, and a big one: a random selection of 15 of our 500 Series books old and new from Lark Jewelry & Beading, including two especially precious ones that are out of print. Here are the books in the set, stacked nicely in a pile by my desk (okay, honestly, that’s not my desk or anywhere close to it; my desk is covered in papers and a stack of books would tumble over very loudly):

Showcase 500 Rings
Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry
500 Necklaces
500 Pendants & Lockets
500 Metal Vessels
500 Judaica
500 Silver Jewelry Designs
500 Plastic Jewelry Designs
500 Brooches (out of print)
500 Bracelets
400 Polymer Clay Designs
500 Gemstone Jewels
1000 Glass Beads (being taken out of print with more than 38,000 copies sold lifetime, and we have now run out of stock in our warehouse)
1000 Rings
21st Century Jewelry: The Best of the 500 Series

How can you enter for a chance to win this fabulous set of 15 inspiring gift books? Leave a comment on this blog post by 9 p.m. EST on Wednesday, January 2. Any comment will do, but we’d love it if you’d write about something special: the most meaningful present you’ve ever given—and what made it so special.

One winner will be selected at random and announced on January 11, 2013. I encourage you to join us: Please “Like” the Lark Jewelry & Beading Facebook page to see photos of contemporary jewelry and beading work and to be alerted to free projects and giveaways on this blog. Click here for the official giveaway rules.

Good luck. And, of course, we here at Lark wish you and your family a holiday season and new year filled with kindness, joy, laughter, and grace.

 
 
 
 
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We need your help: We’re selecting the cover for the new Aimee Ray book, Aimee Ray’s Sweet & Simple Jewelry, due out in Spring 2013! We’re down to two candidates, and we want your help in finalizing our choices.

In this book, best-selling author Aimee Ray presents jewelry from 15 wonderful designers, representing all the hottest trends among crafters and on Etsy. In these projects, you’ll make your own molds to create flower cabochons and cameos; use polymer clay, epoxy clay, and paper clay; make projects with needle felting, cross-stitch, and of course embroidery; create fun beaded projects (including a wrapped bead bracelet) and jewelry that utilizes shrink plastic; and much more. The pieces are easy to make once you learn how, and of course the book teaches you!

Here’s the book’s official description, which hits the feel of the book much better than what I just typed: “Aimee Ray, the bestselling author of Doodle Stitching — along with top Etsy and indie designers — presents some of the most beautiful, on-trend jewelry projects ever. Designed for general crafters, jewelry makers, and Ray’s legion of fans, these stunning pieces feature a range of techniques, from Aimee’s popular embroidery on felt to tiny living terrariums in a necklace. Ray even includes the hot new trend of making and using molded cabochons! Filled with inspiring and innovative ideas, this is a book every crafter will want to own.”

We’ve narrowed the cover options down to two, and they’re really close for us. So we decided to let our crafting community weigh in! You’ll see the two middle images swapped up and down between the two covers below. Look at them one by one, and then let us ask you:

[poll id="25"]

 

Cover 1 for Aimee Ray's Sweet & Simple Jewelry

 

 

Cover 2 for Aimee Ray's Sweet & Simple Jewelry

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
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Cathe Holden's Blooming Flowers Bracelet in the book Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk!

Shrink! Shrank! Shrunk! Make Stylish Shrink Plastic Jewelry has been among best-selling books in crafts and jewelry for a few months now, and for good reason: The book is packed with 30 bright, fun projects that get the creative juices flowing, along with plenty of clear and easy-to-follow instructions from best-selling author Kathy Sheldon.

We’re pleased to present Cathe Holden’s Blooming Flowers Bracelet project as a PDF: download it by clicking here. (Please be sure to visit designer’s Cathe Holden’s blog Just Something I Made, too!) This project demonstrates yet another aspect of shrink plastic’s creative versatility: how to form the plastic while it’s still hot from the oven into different shapes and dimensions.

Intrigued? Then you’ll want to visit these earlier blog posts and peruse an assortment of project images from the book, as well as grab up these four downloadable projects:

 

Please join us by “Liking” the Lark Jewelry & Beading Facebook page right now for images of exciting contemporary jewelry and beadwork, giveaways of books and jewelry, and of course plenty more free projects from fantastic designers!

 
 
 
 
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This past week, Publishers Weekly named Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry among its 2012 Best Books of the Year.

Publishers Weekly is the trade magazine for the publishing industry — booksellers, librarians, publishers, authors, and agents — as well as a newsstand magazine in select outlets. The magazine has been published continuously since 1872. In its 2012 “Best Books” recognitions, PW named a total of 120 books across 13 categories (top 10, fiction, mystery/thriller, poetry, romance, SF/fantasy/horror, comics, nonfiction, children’s picture, children’s nonfiction, and lifestyle) as the best books of the year, out of the truly countless books published. Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry is one of just three 2012 art or craft books so distinguished. So, the recognition is significant.

I learned about the honor a few weeks ago now, and I’ve had some time to reflect upon what it means. First, I shared the notice with the Lark Jewelry & Beading staff and complementary Lark Books and Sterling Publishing (our parent company) staff. The recognition is a testament to the work they do year-round and each and every day. I was hired at Lark as a senior editor six years ago this month, and the professionals at this company then and the professionals at this company now are simply the very best. Working with them has enriched me personally and professionally, and enormously so. They deserve this honor.

Three years ago, I moved from my work as a senior editor into a managerial role as a team lead, leading a group of editors and art designers to form the Lark Jewelry & Beading group. So now, having worked with the jewelry and beading communities for three years, I bring a perspective in looking at this recognition that reflects that experience.

It seems to me I’ve worked on a lot of books for a lot of outstanding art and craft communities to a fair amount of critical acclaim, including for these 20 or so books with my name attached to them and many, many others while working with very talented authors and editors. But this level of note is unprecedented for me … and it’s a beading book.

Or, more accurately, a gallery book of beading artwork — part of the 500 Series recently renamed, at least in its jewelry and beading incarnations, the Showcase 500 Series.

What this honor says to me is that contemporary beadwork has come fully of age as an artistic medium and can be recognized as both craft and — often — fine art. So, of course, what this recognition really does is honor the beading community itself, the many talented and devoted artists of which it’s comprised, those artists who were generous enough to submit their work for consideration in the book, and those whose work was ultimately selected to be included.

This week, we’re going to do some outreach beyond this blog sharing news of the award. But, for now, while my name is on the cover of the book — I conceived the idea, did artist outreach, juried the entries, and ordered the images in the book — that can get entirely overblown.

I’m indebted to and, more than anything, humbled and graced by the talent and generosity both of the beading community and of my wonderful coworkers, those who worked specifically on this book and those who make working at Lark so rewarding and enjoyable each day.

I thank you all.

Here is the original review for Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry that ran in the August 7, 2012, issue of Publishers Weekly:

Opening this gorgeous hunk of a book is like walking into a high-end jewelry gallery. There are 500 full-color photographs of beaded jewelry—necklaces, rings, bracelets, pins and earrings—created by 275 artists with beads, wire, filament, and fiber. Some of the artists are well-known to beaders, like Carol Wilcox Wells and Diane Fitzgerald, and some not-so-well-known, with their work published for the first time. This makes for a heady blend of inspiration, ideas, and expression. Editor Hemachandra selected the 500 beaded objects from submissions by 360 artists from 30 countries. To his credit, no single style—bead weaving, bead embroidery, bead stringing—gets short shrift. The photography is of high professional standards, no Instagram shots by amateurs posted to Facebook, and is also instructively illustrative of the beadwork, offering closeup shots that will help the aspiring bead worker reproduce some of the techniques. One quibble: it would have been nice to include the artists’ countries of origin just below the photo of their work instead of in the index, saving the reader a lot of flipping back and forth. A list of artists’ Web sites would have been nice, too. (Aug. 7)

You can ask for the book at your local bookstore, and it is also available on Amazon and BN.com.

 
 
 
 
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[I originally posted these four downloadable project PDFs on September 19, but these two books are doing so well now that they have released that I thought it'd be a nice idea to bring the post back today for everyone's attention. ~ Ray]

Books in the beautiful, brand new I Can series from Lark Jewelry & Beading offer comprehensive, illustration-rich courses in beadweaving stitches. These books (with the first two releasing officially in November 2012) are accessible for beginners but equally designed for experienced beaders looking for either a refresher class or simply a range of exquisite, inspiring projects from exquisite, inspiring teachers.

Mabeline Gidez

Melissa Grakowsky

We’ve started the series off with two of the best in the business: Mabeline Gidez authored I Can Right Angle Weave, and Melissa Grakowsky wrote I Can Herringbone. The authors made all the projects in the books — more than two dozen each — and the books include galleries of invited artists’ beadwork using the stitch.

As usual, I think the best way to give you a taste of the books is to give you part of the books! So here we go: Right here we’re making available from each book two downloadable project PDFs:

Braided Bracelet from Melissa Grakowsky's I Can Herringbone

 

Lotus Flower Necklace and Earrings from Mabeline Gidez's I Can Right Angle Weave

 

Athena Necklace from Melissa Grakowsky's I Can Herringbone

 

 

Egyptian Queen Collar from Mabeline Gidez's I Can Right Angle Weave

 

Please join Lark Jewelry & Beading on Facebook by clicking here. Thank you! You also can find many downloadable beading and jewelry projects (as well as projects in other disciplines) on the Lark blog right here.