I received this e-mail from Fire Mountain Gems this morning and decided to share it here for the benefit of members who may not have received it and may find it of interest:
As the industry continues to evolve, we’ve been making changes to our website to reflect those changes: we’re in the middle of launching a new search tool to make finding product easier; our product lines continue to increase in breadth and depth; and navigation has been simplified so you find what you want, when you want.
If you find you need inspiration, why not visit our site, www.firemountaingems.com, to see all the resources and once again stimulate your creative impulses? There you will find
Over 2,000 more Gallery of Designs ideas — 14,000 in all — featuring other renowned artists and showcasing necklace, earring, and bracelet designs, accessories and home decor, using techniques from molding clay to metalsmithing, wire-wrapping to looming.
FREE Step-by-Step Beading Instructions
An improved and enhanced weekly newsletter (see an example here)
Your Events Directory — your premier source of information about beading classes, cruises and conferences across the USA and oceans blue, whether you’re giving or receiving
100+ Video How-To’s added in the past year
Updated Fashion Spotlight and PANTONE color forecasts to create pieces soon to be en vogue
An enhanced Ask the Experts section, answering your questions on techniques and care
Additionally, we offer 116,000 HOT jewelry-making products to make those ideas a reality.
One item remains constant: our commitment to customer service. As a Fire Mountain Gems and Beads customer, you are part of the world’s largest community of jewelry-making professionals. Come back and visit us, soon!
Preciosa Ornela presents the exclusive Czech two-hole Twin seed bead. Twin, a new seed bead from the PRECIOSA Traditional Czech Beads brand, offers much more creativity and possibilities.
The oval shape of the new two-hole seed bead has dimensions of 2.5 x 5 mm and it is available in two glass materials: crystal and black. The wide range of 80 currently available color finishes on the two-hole Twin beads will inspire you to make infinite color combinations like the ones which are already known from the existing seed bead color charts.
The current economy seems to have driven many jewelry makers to go for mass produced, imported beads. While they have their place, quality jewelry must start with quality beads.
I have become a “cyber friend” of a magnificient lampwork bead artist, Joan Prichard.
I asked if she would do a “Guest Artist” article for our organization. I am delighted that she accepted the opportunity to share her knowledge of beads with us.
Let me introduce Joan to you. Several of you may be acquainted with her if you subscribe to either Art Jewelry or The Flow magazines. She was featured as one of Flow Magazine’s Women of Glass for 2010 and her work was published in Art Jewelry’s January, 2011 edition.
The Quest for the Perfect Lampwork Bead
by Joan Prichard
First it’s important to understand the artistic process behind making a quality bead. While there is an abundance of inexpensive beads on the market, be aware that you do tend to get what you pay for.
Some of the more complex beads that have intricate designs, use foils, special reactive glasses or murrini may command a higher price due to the cost of materials as well as the skill level and time involved.
If you are buying a bead set, check to ensure the beads fit nicely against each other and that they are all basically a uniform size and shape. Often when a lamp worker uses a mold or press to shape the bead, the molten glass meeting the cold surface of the mold can create a pattern of ripples on the surface of the bead called chill marks. An experienced lampwork artist will “heat polish” these marks away with the heat of the flame.
Look for cracks especially around the bead hole, and also make sure the bead is free of nicks and burrs. Jagged edges around the bead hole can fray or even break beading materials. Also check the bead hole to ensure that all bead release has been removed.
Lampworkers use a coating of bead release on the mandrel. The release keeps the bead from sticking to the mandrel so that it can easily be removed. After the bead is cooled, the lamp worker should remove all traces of bead release. Otherwise, this substance can coat your stringing materials and flake onto clothing.
Evaluate the bead’s overall appearance. If it is round is it balanced? Granted, lampwork beads are handcrafted. However, the bead should be pleasing from all sides and the design should be symmetrical.
More experienced lampworkers tend to concentrate more on the finished elements of the bead such as a pleasing shape. Beginning lampworkers are more focused on the overall mechanics of operating the torch and are less focused on the finer details.
Ask if the bead has been annealed. Why is annealing important? The annealing process involves heating a bead in a kiln to a specific temperature and allowing the bead to slowly cool and relieve internal stresses. You are basically changing the internal structure of the glass to improve its durability. Glass beads that have not been annealed are more likely to crack or shatter when subjected to small temperature changes. Therefore, annealing is critical to their durability. It is an important sign of a quality bead that it has been annealed. And if you think about it, a reputable artist who has spent hours making a beautiful bead should want to improve the lifespan and durability of their miniature work of art.
Hopefully these few tips will make your venture into finding the perfect bead less stressful and more productive. No matter if you’re spending a small amount of money or large, you still should pursue quality beads. After all, you not only have money invested, but also your time in creating beautiful jewelry.
About the Artist
Joan Prichard’s love for glass started close to 20 years ago when she took a stained glass class in Columbia, SC. She later became intrigued with glass beads while attending the Glass Craft and Bead Expo in Las Vegas.
A demonstration by a glass artist at the show was her introduction to these delicate works of art and she began her own venture into crafting her own art glass beads. In 2008 she expanded her love for glass to enamels and began creating cloisonné as well as lampwork beads and jewelry. In 2010 she launched her online website for Sand and Surf Beads. Joan lives in Navarre, Florida with her precious kitty Havana.
Her work is published in Art Jewelry Magazines January 2011 Gallery and in The 2010 Flow’s Women in Glass.
Joan, thank you for sharing this information and your lovely work with us. If you would like to see more of Joan’s work, visit her here:
At our March meeting, our member, Gail May, had a nice surprise for us. She had been contacted by Jesse James Beads. They had provided her with strands of sample beads which were distibuted to the members who were present.
Jesse James Beads says, “Jesse James Beads is always on the cutting edge of fashion. We are forever following the fashion scene and buying new beads to keep our inventory trendy and up-to-date with the season’s hottest colors and styles. In fact, many of our beads are the same as ones found in designer jewelry in upscale department stores. Our products reflect the latest trends to assist our customers in creating trendy pieces of jewelry. We stay true to our motto: Jewelry-Grade Beads Make a Piece of Jewelry, Craft-Grade Beads make a Craft.
Not only to they stock high quality beads, their website is a depository of many features to help the beader. For example, they have pre-selected complimentary beads to coordinate with focals. Here is one example:
They have a “Beader’s Block” Section featuring ideas such as this for necklaces.
They offer a large variety of “sample” packs that range in cost from $2.50 to $20.00. These appear to be generous enough to complete a small project without having to invest in a large number of beads of different types.
There website is easy to navigate and loads quickly. I could probably be lost on it for hours! Check it out for yourself. Here is the link:
I am sure you will find many treasures to add to your bead stash!
The Omaha Beady Bunch would like to thank Jesse James Beads for the lovely beads given to us at our March meeting. We will post pictures of items made from them here at a later date and share them with you.
At our last monthly meeting, one of our members inquired as to where I purchase my Delicas. I have done a bit of research for on-line sources of Delica beads and would like to recommend this company.
The owner is one of my a cyber-friends. I do believe that it will difficult to find a better place for Delicas. Since the quality of all Delicas are the same, price becomes the major factor for me. The prices from Indian Dreams Trading Post are less than most other suppliers that I have found.
In addition to this website, they also have an Etsy store. If you are member of Etsy and prefer to buy there, the website address for that location is www.turquoisehorse.etsy.com.
Indian Dreams Trading Post is a terrific source for Delica beads (they stock over 1200 colors), Seed Beads, Triangle Beads, Gem Stone Beads, Drop Beads, Swarovski Crystal, Czech Beads, Pressed Glass Beads, Needles , Thread and beading supplies.
If you can’t find what you are looking, for just e-mail or phone them and they will do their best to help you!
Mailing Address is: Po Box 66 Terrebonne Or 97760
Order Phone Line # 541-504-7669
E-mail Address: email@example.com
While the usual purchase unit for Delica’s is 10 gm tubes, if you are doing a large project, they sell many colors in 50 gram lots. I have an order ready to purchase several beads that I use often in the 50 gram units. I will realize considerable savings by doing so and won’t be running out as often.
This is a quote from the owner: “We have been selling beads for 27 years. Once you buy a bead , its all over. You can never get to many.
The store also promotes the work of Molly Kubista. Molly does museum quality beadwork combined with Ledger art painting on hides as well as other beadwork. The photograph at the top of this post is a sample of her work. If you would like to see more of her work, go to:
www.mollymanyhorses.etsy.com It will be a real treat for you!
I hope you will check out this supplier for your beading needs. Happy Beading!