Marica DeCoster Presents—Now Available!

February 11, 2014, 15:08 pm  Posted by Kevin Kopp


Marcia DeCoster interviews 30 leading beaders on inspiration and technique

Just published! Beadmaster Marcia DeCoster delivers page after page of inspiration by offering you the personal stories and latest creations from 30 leading jewelry designers in her latest, Marcia DeCoster Presents.


Through interviews conducted by Marcia, these artists open up about their beginnings, their successes, their muses and influences, their favorite materials, their membership in the worldwide beading community, and their future beading dreams.


In addition to the insight and innovation present in these discussions, this volume is filled with gorgeous color photos that showcase a number of the most beautiful pieces from each contributor.


The artists in this book represent an international roster of the best in the field:

Daeng Weaver, Miriam Shimon, Patrick Duggan, Kerrie Slade, Melissa Ingram, Beki Haley, Betty Stephan, Sian Nolan, Debi Keir-Nicholson, Nancy Dale, Martina Nagele, Helena Tan-Lim, Heather Kingsley-Heath, Elke Leonhardt-Rath, Riana Bootha Olckers, Cynthia Newcomer Daniel, Isabella Lam, Petra Tismer, Marsha Wiest-Hines, Christina Vandervlist, Linda L. Jones, Gabriella van Diepen, Idele Gilbert, Kinga Nichols, Susan Blessinger, Ann Braginsky, Heather Collin, Patrizia Tager, Zoya Gutina, Edgar Lopez
























And don’t forget the best-selling companion book in this Spotlight on Beading series, Suzanne Golden Presents



November 18, 2013, 09:23 am  Posted by Kevin Kopp

Candie Cooper and I have just finished working on her wonderful next book with Lark, Earringology: How to Make Dangles, Drops, Chandeliers & More. This follow-up to Candie’s previous offering, Necklaceology, will be available in June but can be pre-ordered now. I recently sat down with Candie to ask her a few questions on a range of topics.

Lark:  Candie, as you may not know, in a former life I used to catalog phone conversations for the National Security Agency. A couple of my former colleagues have informed me there was a unicorn sighting recently in north central Indiana where you live. What can you tell me about that?

Candie:  You did?!? That’s crazy. But yes! There was a unicorn sighting on Halloween weekend here in town. In my backyard actually! Ok, it was me. My husband got us horse and unicorn masks to wear for Halloween this year. They were creepy and fun and strange all at the same time. I made a special crystal rainbow necklace to wear with it. It was pretty fun!

Lark:  I see. A lot of horsing around, I imagine. So now that you’ve wrapped work on your latest writing effort, you must have all kinds of time on your hands, right? What are you up to when you’re not sleeping late and watching daytime TV?

Candie:  I actually do tune into Rachel Ray and listen while I work. I like her. But I’m onto the next series of projects, working on some top secret product development stuff (ask your NSA buddies about it), new book ideas, and filming craft videos for different craft companies. I’m also doing a lot of holiday projects for Plaid’s website, Paint Me Plaid.

Oh, and how did I almost forget  . . . I’ll be representing Beadalon and Jewelry Television to teach on a Country Music Cruise leaving from Fort Lauderdale in January.

Lark:  That’s a full agenda! Now, in all seriousness, tell me why you were excited to write a book telling your readers how to make beaded earrings. (By the way, they are all really pretty, and the instructions are easy to follow, the materials are readily available, and the photos in the book are fantabulous. But of course, in the spirit of full disclosure, I must make it clear that I work for the publisher—and also never really worked for the NSA, but as a running joke it’s a fun story to imagine.)

Candie:  Well, writing books is kind of like watching a good movie that you don’t want to end. I loved it when I was offered the opportunity to write Earringology, which is the sequel, so to speak, of Necklaceology. Plus, earrings are so instantly gratifying. Most anyone can make them in an evening, and that always feels good. I also had more techniques and new tools I wanted to share with people!

Lark:  It’s mid November. All thoughts turn to the coming holiday gift-giving season. What are a couple of the favorite items you’ve made in the past as gifts?

Candie:  I love making beaded beads into pendants and earrings with Swarovski crystals. They’re especially great around the holidays. In fact, here’s a link to my blog tutorial.

For my family, I usually make everyone an ornament. This year it’s going to be stenciled burlap ornaments with everyone’s initials on them immersed in glass. Sounds weird, but trust me, they’re cool! Should I be worried any of them are going to see this?!

Lark:  Well, we want as many people as possible to see this blog, but I’ll talk to my buddies at the previously mentioned top secret government agency and have them monitor your family’s internet traffic. We won’t let them near larkcrafts.com.

Other than telling us to start making projects ten months ahead of time, what advice or thoughts can you offer about making your own gifts for the holidays?

Candie:  Mmmmmm, keep it simple. I’ve learned over the years that if I try to make everyone something really involved, it gets tedious and exhausting. Holidays are supposed to be fun! If I do make something tedious, it’s usually for my mom (because she is AWESOME). My second tip is to wrap your gift as pretty as possible (but still simple). The presentation is just as much part of the gift (at least for me it is). I love tying a sprig of evergreen onto packages with a lace ribbon.

Lark:  Speaking of gifts, we are offering up two sets of signed copies of Metalworking 101 for Beaders and Necklaceology. Just leave a comment on this post telling us about an piece of beaded jewelry or any handcrafted item you made as a gift for someone by Tuesday, November 26 at noon EST. We will choose two names at random from among all eligible comments and will announce the winner on Wednesday, November 27. (Click here for the official rules.)

Candie:  Woot!  Woot!  THAT is a great idea! I’m all for it.












Candie Cooper is the bestselling author of Metalworking 101 for Beaders and Necklaceology. In addition, she is a featured guest on the popular PBS series, “Beads, Baubles, and Jewels.” Currently working on product development for the jewelry industry, Candie also designs new products for craft companies and teaches creative beading workshops. Visit Candie’s website for the latest on what Candie’s been up to lately.



I recently had the opportunity to chat with beading author, teacher, and award-winning designer Kristal Wick to discuss her new book Metal Clay 101 for Beaders. Check out our earlier teaser post about the book here.

What do you find appealing about metal clay as a jewelry material?

I have always love the mixed metal look. Metal clay gives me the opportunity to create my own custom findings and charms in copper, bronze and even sterling silver — such a fashion forward look! I wear a lot of different jewelry styles from simple office wear (in my past life working in a cubicle farm) to outrageous over-the-top wearable art (teaching on a Swarovski cruise) and wanted to capture both ends of the spectrum for my beady peeps! No matter their style, they’ll find something exciting to create in my book to showcase their personal story because I believe that is truly the mission of handcrafted jewelry-to tell a story.

What is your favorite technique to use with metal clay?

Anything with beads! I love combining my love of metal clay with beads (particularly seed beads) since they are my addiction! I wanted to incorporate beads into my metal clay world so they’re equal partners. This book does just that! While I was pondering my initial book idea I did some research and found many of the metal clay books and techniques very challenging and intimidating. I decided to present some very simple techniques even the most basic beginners could succeed at; mix with their beaded jewelry and delight in this expression.

What do you hope readers will get from reading Metal Clay 101 for Beaders? 

I want my readers (particularly beaders) to just go for it. Dive into metal clay and eliminate any fear of trying something new. This is an exciting way to explore and introduce metal clay as your bead stash’s new BFF! Using copper and bronze clay to begin with then moving into silver clay presents a more cost effective way to explore this creative venture and you don’t have to worry about ruining an expensive piece of silver clay for your first project!


We are thrilled with the publication of our new book Paper Blooms. As you may have seen in our recent Inside Peek post, it is overflowing with creative and beautiful ideas for transforming paper into gorgeous floral designs. I recently had the opportunity to interview author, Jeffery Rudell, about his experiences on the book.

Q: When did you start working with paper, and paper flowers in particular? What attracted you to the craft?

A: I have been working with paper since 1970 when, as a second grader, I made myself a typewriter (I’d asked Santa for a real typewriter but he decided winter boots were a more suitable gift). The thing was made from an egg carton, a paper towel tube, some cardboard and a manilla file folder. I’ve been hooked ever since. Professionally, I’ve been designing paper props and window displays for the past fourteen years. Paper flowers grew out of a project I did with Tiffany & Company back in 2004. Flowers come in an inexhaustible range of shapes and colors so I never run out of things to make. Best of all, making them is fun and sharing them with others never fails to bring a smile to the face of whomever receives them.

Q: How did you go about designing the flowers in Paper Blooms?

A: I designed these flowers much the same way as I design most of my work, I sat down with a stack of paper, a pair of scissors, and a glue gun, and I started experimenting with different ways I could achieve the shapes and textures I needed in order to capture the look and feel of real-world flowers. With a book of this sort, the designs needed to not only look like actual flowers but they also had to be easy to make. It was a process of trial and error…and I made a lot of errors. A few times I went so far as to take actual flowers — Daffodils are one example — and take them apart, petal by petal, leaf by leaf, using an X-acto knife and studied the way they were made.

Q: How difficult are the flowers in Paper Blooms to make?

A: My editor and I worked hard to make sure that all of the flowers were quite easy to make. The book begins with some very beautiful flowers that are super simple to make. The second section of the book takes advantage of simple circle and star-shaped paper punches that are readily available at craft stores. The final section of the book builds on the skills covered earlier in the book and while these projects can be a little more time-consuming, they still are not difficult to make. If a person can use a scissors, a craft knife, and a hot glue gun, they have all the necessary skills to make every one of the projects. As with most crafts, readers really need only two things: a little patience and a willingness to make a mistake or two along the way.

Q: Do you have any tips for beginners who have never made paper flowers before?

A: When it comes to most craft projects I find that beginners often worry about doing things “the right way.” However, when it comes to flowers, the key ingredient for making your flowers look real is to avoid perfection. Real flowers are crooked; their leaves are often bent in odd places; their petals are sometimes droopy. I always encourage beginners to celebrate any imperfections they happen to create since these will ultimately make their flowers look more like the real thing. Oh, and remember, flower stems are rarely perfectly straight; a curved or arching stem is the fastest way to add life to a paper flower.

Q: I know it’s hard to pick among so many beautiful options, but are there any flowers in Paper Blooms that stand out as personal favorites? Why?

A: Picking a favorite is nearly impossible since I’m in love with them all. However, I remember when we were making the book, I was working with a photographer who was taking a picture of a bouquet of carnations I’d made. He was arranging them in front of the camera and as he was doing so he bent down to inhale their scent. Everyone in the room just stopped what they were doing and looked at him for a moment. When he realized what he’d done he let out a laugh, a little embarrassed I think, and said, “They look so real I forgot that they were paper.” I will always treasure that moment.

Q: Where would you like to take your paper art and career now that your book has been published?

A: While I was writing Paper Blooms I had to set aside a long list of other projects and ideas. Now that the book has been published, I’ve gone back to my sketchbooks and begun working on some of those ideas that I’ve had on hold. I’m very excited by what I’m doing but I’ll have to wait and see where this work takes me. Maybe there will be another craft book in my future but for now, I’m just enjoying the process of taking a sheet of paper and seeing what I can turn it into.

Author photo credit: Virginia Sherwood

Crochet Boutique coverWith Shannon Quinn-Tucker, guest Needlearts blogger

Recently released, Crochet Boutique is filled with fun, trendy wearables and accessories that will take you through this fall and beyond! Here, author Rachael Oglesby shares her thoughts on modern crochet. Don’t forget to download a FREE PDF of Rachael’s Granny Square Cushion at the end of the interview.

Who would you say has been most influential in your life when it comes to crafting, and why? That would certainly be my mom. She’s the one who taught me to crochet to begin with! And it was my grandmother who taught her. I appreciate that I have this link to the women in my family that has made its way down to me.

How would you describe your aesthetic? What inspires you in creating your designs? I would describe my aesthetic as classic with a twist. I love simple, basic items you can wear repeatedly yet are updated in a way that gives them just a little something extra to make them special. It can be something as simple as a color that pops or a beautiful unique yarn.

Rachael OglesbyWhat was your favorite part of authoring Crochet Boutique? My favorite part was selecting the projects for the book and also working with my photographer and friend, Emily Ogden, to bring it all to life. I knew when I was first approached for the book that I wanted Emily on board, and I was ecstatic when she agreed. I also enjoyed fleshing out the initial direction for the book—thinking of my audience and deciding what it was exactly I wanted to accomplish and present.

Crochet Boutique contains a variety of items, some of which people might find more typical of crochet projects (scarves and hats) and some they might find unusual (laptop sleeve). What was your favorite project in this book? The rainbow throw holds a special place in my heart since it’s inspired by a clouds and rainbow motif afghan my mother made in the early 80s. Her blanket is one of my earliest memories of crochet and I remember really loving that piece when she finished it. It’s one of the first pieces that left me wishing I could crochet my own, so my rainbow throw pattern is an homage to hers.

Who are some crochet artists whom you admire, and what is it about each that you find inspirational/exceptional? I am more inspired by the everyday at home crafter than I am by any of the big name artists I can think of. The DIY movement that has rapidly gained strength over the past few years has been empowering and therapeutic for many, myself included, and I believe the online community and the sharing of ideas has fostered that. It’s amazing to be able to share and talk about your craft with so many other crafters at any given moment, and I’ve made some wonderful friends over the past few years through such interactions.

granny square cushionGet inspired to create by downloading a free PDF of Rachael’s Granny Square Cushion! And don’t forget to check out Rachael’s Etsy shop at http://www.etsy.com/shop/softspoken or her blog, http://softspoken.blogspot.com/, for even more of her fabulous style!



Exciting News from The Makery: Artful E-Commerce in NC

September 18, 2012, 16:22 pm  Posted by Beth Sweet

Do you remember last spring when we shared an interview with the fantastic sister trio of The Makery? (Of course you remember them—they’re creative, whip-smart, talented, and all about handmade entrepreneurialism.)

photo of the Sister Team of The Makery

Well: their Kickstarter Campaign for a sales website supporting art and crafts in North Carolina was a success! The new site, aptly named The Makery, is about to launch, and we’re excited for their great news.

Let’s hear from them about upcoming enthusiasm for The Makery, first sales on their e-commerce site, and their “smoffice” success.

(Interview questions answered by Krista Anne of the Sister Team)


The Makery Logo

Since the beginning of your business plan, has the mission, shape, or message of The Makery evolved in any way? Will you remind happy readers about the current ambitions of The Makery?

Certainly! The Makery is helping people buy local and handmade, by hosting online flash sales on artisan goods every week. We’re a new platform for artists and customers to connect, discover, and engage in community supported commerce. The items we feature are a curated selection of the best NC craft; we’re excited about the art, apparel, accessories and homeware people are making right here at home.

There have been some small tweaks and changes as we figure out how to do this right, but the biggest lesson we’ve learned since starting out is how hard craftspeople are working. We’d like to recognize them not only has talented artists, but incredible entrepreneurs that have to wear so many hats to run their businesses. Seeing this makes us even more excited to do what we can to help them connect with new customers.

It also makes us passionate about educating up and comers, and creating a community around the craft movement. It can be a lonely profession, sometimes!


How does the Makery site operate? Do you have to register or become a member? How does buying and selling art/crafts on the site work?

Each week, we will feature four or more cool, local, and handmade items on the site. There will be a limited run of each item, and they will only be available for 48 hours. An email will go out alerting members when the sale goes live. And another great thing about the email – every week it will contain a coupon code so you can get a discount on whatever you want to buy!

Right now, you have to request an invitation to become a member. Once you’re ‘in,’ you receive our emails and gain access to the site.


The first sale is scheduled for September 25th (hooray!)—can you tell us what that means? Can people explore the site or become involved with The Makery before the 25th?

We will be going live with our first artists, sales, and emails on that date. Right now, you can go to www.themakeryproject.com to request an invitation, share the site with friends, and make sure you don’t miss out on our launch! And of course, be our friend on social media so we can keep you updated on the goings-on of The Makery.


You have emphasized the concept of “local” in the past, as well as in our previous fun interview with you. I’m curious: what has your experience been like blending the concept of “local” with the concept of “e-commerce”?

There is so much power in emerging technological trends. Sometimes it feels like the internet tide is going to wash us all away! But I think we’re called to see the ways in which it can advance the good things we believe in. For me and my sisters, it’s connecting our state with handmade goodness. Being an online business allows us to connect and communicate with people outside our immediate circle of friends and acquaintances, and reach a broader community that shares the same passions that we do. It also allows anyone to discover the things they want, regardless of mobility, time, or handmade shopping savvy.


How do you think The Makery benefits artists? Where should NC folks go to learn more about becoming involved with The Makery?

Selling on The Makery has very little front end investment for artists. There are no application fees, and you don’t have to have a huge stock in advance. All you need are some great pictures of your item, a design that is replicable , and the ability to sell wholesale.

We also get to highlight the artist with photos and a biography, so people can get to know the story behind the work. We hope it takes some of the ‘selling’ out of making. We will keep improving the artist side of The Makery as we gain feedback on what they want and need from us.

We’re always on the lookout for artists, they can reach us at ArtistLOVE@themakeryproject.com


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Gordon K. Uyehara at Bead&Button

Gordon K. Uyehara is a fabulous artist working in metal clay. He teaches, creates, interacts with the metal-clay community online, and inspires with his beautiful, elegant designs. He is the author of Metal Clay Fusion: Diverse Clays, Detailed Techniques, Artful Projects. Learn more about Gordon at his website www.honudream.com.


Why metal clay, Gordon? How did you discover this medium, and why is it such a good fit for you?

There was just something about it that set my imagination off. I could spend hours working with it and then when I wasn’t, my mind was still engaged to the point of obsession.


How do you describe your work and your aesthetic sensibility?

I’d describe my work as organic and nature-inspired, with sculpted features, in restrained refinement.

Artistically, it’s an ongoing process about observing the world around you and learning how to express yourself in every aspect of living.


Poison Pill Ring from Metal Clay Fusion

What are your hopes for the book Metal Clay Fusion? What do you want your readers to receive in practical and artistic terms?

I would like the book to inspire as many people as possible. I hope readers will try different techniques and that the book will help them discover their own artistic voice. And I always hope artists are thoughtful as they create.


What most impresses you about how metal clay is maturing as a medium today? And in which areas do you think growth is still most obviously needed?

I think the amount of experimentation people are willing to undertake is impressive.

Growth is needed in all areas. Having said that, it is proceeding just fine, under its own momentum.


Bronze, Silver & Pearl Pendant from Metal Clay Fusion

I’m not going to make you name your favorite metal clay artists, but would you name a few who you think are doing exciting new things, and say what it is about each that you find exceptional?

There are a lot of artists doing terrific work. As far as exciting new things, a few people come to mind:

Wanaree Tanner: youthful exuberance with a willingness to experiment, coupled with a keen aesthetic sense and natural talent

Hadar Jacobson: tireless innovator with super accessible projects

Samantha Braund: wild and beautiful shell-scapes (as they look to me) combined with wire-wrapping and stone setting

Lisa Lynn Barth: outstanding metal clay and leatherwork/knotting combinations


Speak to someone who has worked with other materials but not with metal clay: Please explain what you find most appealing about the medium.

I like that it is pliable and picks up deep texture effortlessly. Plus, it is easily sculpted. The entire transformative process is fun. It can be used in a myriad of ways.


Bronze Clay Mask Pendant from Metal Clay Fusion

Do you feel a community has developed in metal clay, with artists really knowing one another and the work intimately, offering ideas, feedback, and support? Or is that still nascent?

There is definitely a real community where ideas are shared freely. But it is also still very young. So it is both.


What do you do for fun, Gordon? And what are a few things that might surprise people about you?

Other than playing with clay, I like to relax outside in the sun, play guitar, and watch movies. It might surprise people that I have a mischievous side that I struggle to keep under wraps.


In what ways does your home state of Hawaii influence your work?

The flora and fauna definitely play a part—to what extent I do not know.


Bronze Asian Bell from Metal Clay Fusion

What’s next? Where do you see yourself going from here professionally? What are your biggest ambitions that you’re willing to share?

I’m not sure. The possibilities are endless, and you never know where you’ll end up. I’m just going to keep creating and see what life presents before me.


Thank you, Gordon!



The Gauge Circle with Suzann Thompson

July 06, 2012, 10:09 am  Posted by Amanda Carestio

Today Suzann shares her technique for checking stitch tension for crocheted flowers.plus its many other benefits!

Finally—A Gauge You Can Live With!

Knowing your stitch tension is important, but it seems silly to crochet a traditional 4 x 4-inch gauge swatch, to check stitch tension for a crocheted flower.  By the time you’re done with the swatch, you could have finished two or three flowers.

This thought nagged me as I began work on Crochet Garden.  The suggested tension for all the projects in the book is a “firm gauge,” no matter what yarn you use.  On the other hand, I realized that readers might appreciate knowing how their stitch tension compared with that of the sample flowers.

The flowers and motifs of Crochet Garden didn’t need to be an exact size, unlike a garment.  For a sweater or an afghan, one-half stitch per inch difference between your gauge and the published gauge can translate to several inches difference in the finished piece.

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We are so excited about the publication of our new book Mod Podge Rocks! Want to know more about the book? Check out our previous post highlighting some of the many rave reviews it’s been receiving from the blogosphere.

One of the elements that people love so much about the book is the author, popular blogger and craft personality Amy Anderson. I took some time recently to ask Amy some questions about her experience with Mod Podge, blogging, and authoring the book. You can read her responses below. Be sure to check back here for more great Mod Podge Rocks! posts–including free projects and a huge giveaway–in coming weeks.

Q: How long have you been crafting with Mod Podge?

A: “About five years now. I got the crash course by my friends in the PLAID design studio, and I’ve been hooked ever since. My first project was a disaster, but that didn’t stop me. I was determined to master the glue that everyone seemed to love so much. Now that I’m addicted, I totally know why they do!”

Q: Out of all the Mod Podge products do you have a favorite? What is your favorite from the new line of products launched this month?

A: “I love the Hard Coat formula the best, because I love using Mod Podge on furniture. It’s so satisfying to re-do a large item and make it look new again. Wait a second – it’s a tie between that and Dimensional Magic. My favorite from the new line of products is the Glitter Dimensional Magic. I’m so excited to make awesome jewelry. I will pimp out the glitter Dimensional Magic, especially during holiday time!”

Q: What is your favorite project in the book?

A: “That is tough, but I really love the children’s artwork bracelet by Candie Cooper. Children’s artwork is so special and that bracelet is such a great gift.”

Q: Do you have any advice for other bloggers out there considering taking the blog to book leap?

A: “Be ready to work hard! Doing a book is time consuming AND creatively consuming. But the end is well worth it. You just have to anticipate that you will be putting everything you have into the book for awhile, but there will be a huge reward at the end!”

Q: It’s clear from the initial coverage of the book that you are very well connected and beloved in the blogging community. What can you say about the influence on blogging in your own life?

A: “My life has completely changed because of blogging, both personally and professionally. Some of my best friends are bloggers, and we met online. I’m also working as a blogger and freelance writer full time now. I NEVER thought this would be my life. After I got my MBA, I expected to be working at a desk for the rest of my life. I know that I am meant to be doing this, and I am happy. It’s a great feeling.”

Keep up with Amy Anderson and her passion for all things Mod Podge on her blog Mod Podge Rocks!


We’re so, so (SO!) excited to announce the release of Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop for Quilters! If you’ve been inspired by this amazing e-magazine (and we have!), you’ll love the book. And some of our favorite bloggers have agreed to help us celebrate with a blog tour! Follow along for reviews and interviews with the Fat Quarterly team, as well as book giveaways and free block patterns sprinkled in along the way – but you’ll have to tag along to find them!

5/18 Kickoff at FatQuarterly.com and LarkCrafts.com – you’ve arrived!!
5/21 Lily Quilts
5/24 Handmade by Alissa
5/29 In Color Order
5/31 Comfort Stitching
6/4 Generation Q
6/7 Sew Mama Sew
6/12 Pat Sloan
6/14 WhipUp
6/18 Sarah Fielke’s The Last Piece
6/22 Fat Quarter Shop
6/26 Diary of a Quilter
6/28 Amy’s Creative Side
7/3 A La Mode Fabric
7/6 It’s Sew Kiki!
7/10 Craft Buds!
7/12 Craft Foxes
7/16 {sew} Allegorical
7/18 Wrap-up Party at Fat Quarterly.com!

Have you had a chance to peruse the book yet? Take a sneak peek here: Shape Workshop for Quilters sneak peek!