Thursday, November 3, 2011

Sad News

I'm sorry to announce that we have decided to disband the Mavens.
Priorities of the members have changed and we feel that rather than keep replacing people we'll just go back to our individual blogs and stores.

We'll keep the links up to our stores and will put up links to our individual blogs where I'm sure we'll all be active in the areas we feel we need to be right now. The free tutorials will remain in the archives :)

We all thank you tremendously for the support, friendship and input and hope you will follow us all in our individual endeavors.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Maven Meld Winners

After a very tight judging session we have our winners
First place went to Susan Jaisle for a fabulously feminine necklace 
"Gothic Creek Canyon"

Second place went to Twyla Habrick for a superbly elegant choker 
"Desert Dreams"

Third place went to Debra Schwartz (DatzKatz) for an amazing blossom meld with a staggering amount of beadwork "Trellis at Serendipitous Tarouk Lagoon"

And Honorable Mention to Gerlinde Fromont who submitted two pieces, 
shown here "Twister"

Congratulations to all our winners and to everyone who submitted an entry. The entries were all fantastic and we enjoyed seeing what you all created from our made our job of judging incredibly tough!  We'd also like to thank all our wonderful sponsors, Artbeads, Pam from BelloModo, Melissa Vess, Sandy Spivey, Lea Avroch, Sheila Hoag, Linda Roberts, Marilyn Norman and Lyn Owen  who made our challenge so guys rock!

We love seeing what you do with our designs so we've decided to make the Maven Meld our annual contest! have almost a year to get your entries ready this time our yearly closing date for entries will be October 14th and as we're giving you plenty of time there will be no extensions :) Take a look at our original post for the meld or our website for rules and instructions for entering.

To give you a little help I've broken down our winning designs so you can see how they melded our tutorials. you know how a winning meld is created....get cracking!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

St Petersburg Chain

We recieved a request from Emily for a St. Petersburg tutorial and as Mikki had one on it is...enjoy!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Cubic Right Angle Weave Video Tutorial

Heather Collins (a former Maven) has graciously allowed us to keep this on the blog, which is great because it really is the best demo of CRAW out there.

Whenever I get a request for CRAW tutorials I always tell people to be sure to check out Heather's store as she has some great CRAW tuts.
If you want to see for yourself here's a handy link....


Watch as I show you how easy Cubic Right Angle Weave is!! I enjoyed making this visual tutorial to share with you and I am going to set about making the next one to start a ladder row the easy way. In the meantime, have a look see and practice this wonderful stitch.
~ Heather

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tips and Tricks Tuesday

For my tips and tricks I want to go back to some basics....
Thread & Needles.
There are a lot of threads out there for beadweaving and everyone has their I'm a Fireline gal and here are some of the reasons.

When I work up flatwork designs....peyote pattern cuffs...I want the quality of the Delicas to really show so I choose a 4lb Fireline.  Strong but not stiff it brings your beads together to make a fabric with a beautiful drape that just feels incredibly rich to wear.  Don't lose that drape by using too heavy a thread!

Everyday Strength
For work that has crystals involved or needs a tight tension I choose 6lb Fireline which gives me that extra strength against those sharp little blingy things and the confidence to pull tight when I need to.  When working with beads a bit larger/heavier than seed beads this is definitely the thread I trust.

Body & Toughness
Sometimes you need to use a thread that gives your work a bit more body and that is one of the fabulous things about Fireline, it comes in LOTS of weights.
You may have to stop by your local fishing store (or WallieWorld) to get the heavier weights but I would definitely advise it when working with netting. Netting is just lovely but having large holes means it's easier to get caught on things so I tend to go with a heavier thread when working in this stitch.
A heavier weight thread will also add body/stiffness to the piece you're working on, so if you need it to stand on it's own try 8, 10 or even a 20lb thread.

At last we have a needle that doesn't go Uri Geller when you've worked a couple of pieces. The new Tulip needles definitely stand up against even the most bend inducing designs. Yes, the finish does chip so you'll have to decide what is most important to you but for me I like to have them for the tricky jobs so that I don't have to change my needle fifteen times a project.  I still keep my trusty Pony needles by my side in three different sizes.
Why different sizes?  For those times when I need to go through a bead just one more time annd my needle won't quite make it....I dig out a finer needle and presto I didn't break the bead!  Nothing worse than breaking a bead within a design...that's when you'll hear a lot of beaders scream :)
And while I think about it....different lengths. You will always find a short needle on my bead board because while I like working with a long, 2+", needle when you get to the end of your thread you use a lot up weaving in with a long needle. So I change it out for a short 1 1/4" needle which makes weaving in short ends so much easier! 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Maven News

Changes, you may notice one of our Mavens has fled the nest, Good Quill Hunting has retired from the group to pursue all the new and exciting things that have happened to her since her move to Colorado. We all wish her every success, which we know will come her way, with her fabulous beadwork. We are sad to see her go but we totally understand the 'not enough hours in the day, too many directions' dilemma.

Love you, GQH, <<group hug>>

So...then there were six....and what have the six been up to?

Watermelon Monimia pattern writing like crazy and gave up teaching her weekly beading class to concentrate on designing. She has a flatwork design for Perlen Posie in the works and is also working on finishing up all her 'volume' tutorials which are the things she originally planned for a book and they will be released this month. She also finally found time to enter the Etsy Beadweaver's Challenge for August, the theme ~ "Summer Juicy Fruit" with a Watermelon bracelet.

Nancy.... actually has a lot in the works, but most of them can't be revealed yet. At the moment, she's finishing a necklace, editing the Maven website and working on getting a few more tutorials going for her shop.

Cindy's Caribbean Sea thrilled to have her Caribbean Sea bracelet (re-named Filigree Fling) published in Creative Beading Volume 6. It's a beautiful book, with lots and lots of fun patterns in it. She has just finished up a wonderful meld, which was quite a lot of fun to do, and is already thinking about melding again. She has, regrettably, been very slow lately about writing new tutorials. She hopes to do better in the coming weeks, and get more projects out of her mind and into your hands!

Heather....What on earth have I been up to? I have just finished writing my Guinevere Necklace pattern, to compliment the G. Cuff that I listed earlier this month. It takes me what seems for ever to get my patterns finalized before I push that "list" button. That final commitment to sell a pattern can be somewhat daunting - you are exposing your self to the big wide world and when things are received positively, I know why I am doing this.... I love my "Job"!!!!!!
I now need to work on my growing list of new designs including a cuff fo
r Perlen to come up with something that will be easy to write as well as interesting to make and I would like to do a Meld as well.....Meld you ask? Well, stick around as we are all busy with something special and creative for you all to get your teeth into......we will keep you posted.

Callie's "Georgia" Necklace equally thrilled that her "Floral Inspirations" bracelet is also included in Creative Beading Volume 6! She's also working on two new tutorials (one of which, the "Georgia" necklace, will also be offered as a kit) and finishing up a couple of necklaces, as well, in addition to a Meld of her own!

Linda is pining for time to get back to some serious beadwork and has planned some embroidery projects. Meanwhile, she's working on her painted, beaded lace earrings and is about to list some whoppers and new styles on Artfire. Supplies are in the works - Painted lace pieces you can bead or incorporate in your own work. She's finishing up an order for The Moorings Gallery for their August Jewelry show & thrilled to be working towards a craft show in December, "Have Yourself a Gothic Little Christmas."

Something we're all working is....well, I can't tell you yet :)
But I can tell you it's something you will be able to do and there will be prizes! We're all busy working on our own examples and I can tell's lots of fun!! Keep watching this space :)

And I know everyone is pleased to know that we will be continuing the free check every other Friday for those.

And we hope everyone is having a great summer!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Wave Bracelet Tutorial

 So...these are lots of fun to make...change the beads up, use triangles, cubes, hexes, long as you go from small to large to small.   Tension is incredibly important and you might even want to switch to a heavier weight so you're confident about working tightly :) Enjoy...Mikki

Friday, April 22, 2011

Tubular Herringbone with Bugles

This could also be made as a bangle without the large beads but if you are making it with a clasp the stopper I use is a rubber earring back...great for holding things onto headpins until you're ready to finish. The working tube is just a cord or a dowel or a piece of tubing that is removed once you've finished beading. In this case it stops the headpin falling into the tube of herringbone :)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Fast Peyote 'Tennis' Bracelet

My bad....I didn't label the beads. So...the A bead is the #8 seed bead, B is the 3mm pearl, C is the #10 seed bead, and D is the 4mm fire-polish.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Mavens!

Though we've been a little quiet of late things have been going on behind the scenes and now we're happy to introduce two New Mavens :)

Heather Collin of DreamWeaversStudio on Artfire
Callie Mitchel of PeregrineBeader on Artfire

We are all so thrilled that these two fabulous beaders accepted our invitation and know you will love their work and them.  I'll let them each tell you about themselves.


I'm just like you, I LOVE TO BEAD! It is a wonderful way to relax and enjoy the creative process, that somehow takes over your life.

   I started beading stringing in March 2007 and it was not long before I realized that I wanted, no, needed a far greater challenge. I put the internet to good use, scouring the sites for tutorials on how to do it. My first stitch was Peyote - and I battled (I did not even realize I was working with 15'o seed beads), unpicked, persisted and finally got it right. I was so proud of that little sampler AND, I knew I had found what I was looking for. A PASSION WAS BORN!

   I entered my first local competition later that year and actually came in first! I was over the moon about it and had to then write the pattern for that piece for our local beading magazine....not that easy for a newbie on the beading block. But, I did it. Then I entered a National competition and came THIRD over all. I was equally ecstatic - I was competing against accomplished beaders and it was a huge boost to my confidence.

   I've subsequently had 6 patterns published in the Bead Book and have also, along with 2 other talented beaders, had a special edition Bead Weaving Patterns book published.

I am a lifelong artisan/craftsman and began learning the art of beadweaving five years ago.  My youngest daughter introduced me to beadwork.  She lived near a wonderful LBS and began bringing home gorgeous crystals, beads and findings.  As I watched her work, I became increasingly interested in this (then) mystifying craft.  She had a copy of Beadwork Creates Bracelets, and one evening I sat down and struggled to learn flat odd-count peyote stitch.  Though the learning curve was steep at first, I was truly hooked! I find it profoundly challenging and creative. I delight in using little bits of glass to recreate the forms and colors of the natural world and find inspiration for my designs in nature's wild and beautiful places. I think of my beadwork pieces as souvenirs - concrete reminders of joyful visits - but also as little road maps to new discoveries within the techniques and disciplines of beadwork.

   I bead mostly at home in Houston, Texas, but as my husband and I travel a good bit, I carry a little “portable studio” along with me wherever I go.  After all, inspiration is everywhere!

Now....head on over to their shops and see all their beautiful beadery :)
Our next post will be Friday when we will announce a special treat!
And I ain't April Foolin'!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Freebie Friday! I've been rather preoccupied this week and missed two of three deadlines I thought I'd share a project :)
This was written for the very beginner beader so it's a little lengthy.

Monday, March 14, 2011


A question in the forum recently was about confidence, how do you feel confident as a designer and teacher?

It set me thinking and while there's no simple answer to this one there are steps you can take to feel more confident about what you do.

I think we all, at times, feel like we have a snowball's chance in hell of creating something new especially if we're buying up every bead book and magazine out there...not to mention browsing every beader's photos on Facebook.  If you're doing that and want to create something of your own.....stop!  The brain stores everything you see and will regurgitate it giving you a design that may well be something you forgot you saw....and there is nothing more confidence deflating than thinking you've designed something new only to be told someone did it before.

Put the bead books down!
Figure out what sparks your creative you love period costume? Flowers? Architecture? Buttons? Fabric?
Make yourself an "Inspiration" book....fill a scrapbook with pictures of whatever gets your juices flowing. If you don't have a sketchbook...get one. Sketch your ideas, make notes about bead shapes and sizes.

What does that have to do with confidence?
Well...if you develop your design this way it gives you the confidence to know the design is yours and you can back it up.   It's amazing how good it feels to know exactly where your design came from...takes away all that second guessing.

Photograph your designs....just looking at pictures of your designs is like looking through fresh eyes. Post pictures to Facebook to see what others think.  Sometimes if you've been working on a design for a long time it can feel old to you and your enthusiasm for the piece may have waned in the time between inspiration and completion...that doesn't mean it isn't fabulous it just means you've seen too much of it.  You need fresh eyes and showing it to others will let you know the true lay of the land.

Don't compare yourself to others.
Sometimes we can erode our confidence by measuring ourselves against other how much they turn out, their range, etc. We all have our own individual style and work schedule.

If you're teaching the best confidence builder I've found is a good pattern. Writing instructions that are easy to follow will make your job easier and when you leave a class thinking "that was easy" or "that went well" your confidence will grow in leaps and bounds.  Also know the level your students work projects that stretch them but ones they can finish in a reasonable amount of time (they should be able to finish it or the component between classes). The more successful your students ae the more your confidence as a teacher will grow.

Knowing who you are as a designer, what your style is, knowing you have built your design from the ground up and that as a teacher you went into class well prepared are all things that should give you confidence.
Of course we are human and we all have our issues so confidence may desert us now and again...forgive yourself for that :)

And remember...have fun with it!