Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The handmade artists lament

I love beading ... have I ever told you that? No? Well I do LOL :) What I don't love is being told my work is not good enough, or that in certain sectors of my local community - told my stuff is too expensive. Do you seriously not realise how much work goes into handmade?

Now I have never been one to "blow my own trumpet", don't feel the need for it and will never do it. Over the years I have had doubts about my ability to do this craft that I love so much ... thought that I wasn't good enough. My sales record (which is low by the way) probably reflects that, but I do this for the love of the craft, not that I think I will make heaps of money from it. I'm forever thankful that I have so many beady friends who believe in me and encourage me to continue.

But what really gets my goat is when people judge my work sitting on a table or on my website, and then saying they can find better in such and such a shop for cheaper. Well whoopie doo for you, because you know something - its your loss!!!

I proudly source my beads from around the world - and where I can, I buy handmade ... direct from the maker. I'm a great believer in supporting other talented artists - not only here in Australia, but overseas as well. You will NOT find these beads being "mass produced". You will NOT find these beads in any $2 cheap shop that you may want to go to instead. These beads have been lovingly handmade by some of the best artisans our craft can give you. Another thing, when it comes to "mass produced" beads, the only ones you will find in my bead collection are the very gorgeous Swarovski Crystals - the BEST on the market, and the multitude of seed beads that I have in my collection. That's it!! That's what you get with my pieces - the best of handmade, and the best of the best when it comes to crystals.

I pride myself on my work, and I think the quality of my work reflects that. The reason it takes me hours to do say a beaded lace necklace, is because I meticulously sit there and sew on every bead. Then I sew through them again to make sure that none of those little suckers are going to go anywhere ... and you know what, for crystals, well I sew through them three times. That's what I do. That's why something that might look simple to you as just beads on a piece of lace, culminates in hours and hours of work for me. So forgive me if I add a little bit of that time into the price of my piece ... and believe me I don't have a huge hourly rate - in fact I'm sure my 13 year old son makes more of an hourly rate umpiring AFL than what I do when I'm beading.

Please, stop and think about what you are saying about a handmade artists work. We sit there for hours producing work that we are insanely proud of, and then to hear that its cheaper to go to a "mass produced" shop and get something ... well it breaks our heart. If you ask me - I would prefer a handmade article, whatever it may be, over anything "mass produced" any day. Why? Because I know the work, the pain, the sweat and tears that go into making handmade.


Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Battle of the Beadsmith - My Journey

You know, when I put my hand up for this challenge, never in my wildest dreams did I think I would get past the first round. The calibre of the bead artists I was up against was amazing ... these girls, and yes guys, are my absolute idols. They rock my world as far as beading goes. :) These are people I aspire to be as good as one day ... they are my inspiration.

The Beginning ...

It wasn't until a couple of weeks into the "production" time, that I actually sat down and tried to figure out what I was going to do. Lucky my trusty sketchbook is always at hand, because as an idea came into my head I would sketch it down. I ended up with five designs in the end ... mmmm which one do I go for? Finally after another couple of weeks I settled on one design, got out the cabs and beads I was going to use and there it sat for another couple of weeks. Then realisation set in ... I only had about another week or so till reveal. OMG get beading Maryanne!!!! LOL I pulled a couple of late and all-nighters to get it done, but it got done.

I was happy with my piece, the kids loved it - but then again, they are my biggest fans ... mmm my husband, well that was a different matter. Unfortunately he is in no way Arty, so to him I ruined it by putting the knotting on the side. That's his opinion and he's welcome to it, but it did rock my confidence when he said that. All these doubts came into my head, but I resisted the urge to rip the knotting off and do something else.

Reveal day ... Oh my bloody god (excuse my language) ... the pieces that were slowly being revealed were absolutely amazing. I drooled endlessly over all the gorgeous pieces appearing on my computer screen - so many gasps, whistles, oohs and aahhs were heard through the day/night. Surely there was no way in hell I was ever going to make it through the first round!!! First round pairings were posted, and I was up against English beader Jill Thomas and her beautiful piece "Lydia Of Thyatira". First round judging was hard - having to go through forty albums of pairings and pick just one out of each was agonising - seriously it was a case of einey meiney miney mo for some of them. Round one results popped up and I was shocked to learn that I'd made it through. In some strange way I was content to make it that far, and if I got voted out for round two it wouldn't matter ... I'd already surpassed my expectations.

As the pairings for round two were announced, my heart sank, I was up against a fellow Aussie Noel Wyres and her piece "Chaos". It didn't matter which one of us won - we both knew that an Aussie was going to be out of the runnings after this round .. and I hoped it would be me. Voting for round two was even harder than round one - I ummed and aahhed with so many of those pairings - it was heartbreaking to think that one of those pieces would not be returning. Round two results came out, not only did some of my favs not return, but alas Noel was the one to go in our battle :( *big sad face*. Sorry Noel :(

Now at this stage I hadn't told anyone in the household how far I'd gotten .. don't know why, just kept it to myself .. call it a defence mechanism if you will :). Anyway, the kids twigged one morning when I was on the BOTB page and one of them happened to be reading over my shoulder (which I hate by the way LOL). Soon all three knew, and then hubby. Geez a woman can't keep anything to herself!!! *rolling eyes*. Kids were happy, hubby well I think he was just stunned ... hehe slightly satisfying that was :)

When Steven announced the pairings for Round three, I knew in my heart that this was it .. my time was up ... and you know something, I was actually happy about it .. go figure!!. I was up against one of my favs in the competition, "Bright Summer" by Irina Chikineva ... and I'm happy to say that her piece was voted through. Well done Irina!!

Now this competition is by no means over ... there are still two or three rounds left. We are definately down the business end of things. There's just ten .. yes TEN pieces left ... all well deserving pieces .. the creme de la creme of the pieces. Personally, I feel very priveleged to have played with all of you these last couple of months. It's been an immense honour to have my piece amongst your works of art. You ARE my beading idols and you all ROCK!! Good luck to all finalists - you so deserve this!!

Thankyou Steven for the best joy ride ever ... I'm sooo looking forward to doing all this again next year. :)


Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Round 3 - BOTB

WOW this is getting so much harder to vote on. The pairings for Round 3 were announced last week, and you could almost hear a collective gasp when we all saw who we were up against. This Challenge is down to the "prickly" end now, and its getting harder and harder to choose which one you like best in the pairings ... especially if you like both of them equally. I uummed and aahhed over every battle - and I'm sure I changed my mind a dozen times when making the decision.

My worthy opponent for this round is the very accomplished bead artist from Russia, Irina Chikineva and her piece "Bright Summer". Both of us have used similar inspirations, feelings, and colours behind our pieces. Two green pieces up against eachother :).  This round is the only time I have chosen to vote in my own Battle. I abstained from doing that in the last two Battles. However this time I couldn't let this one pass ... Irina's piece is sooooo gorgeous, that I just had to give it that extra boost to get through .. and I hope I have. I bow down gracefully to her piece .. it is gorgeous, and I'm sure you will agree.

Good luck Irina :)

Irina Chikineva
Bright Summer

Friday, 10 August 2012

Round 2 results - Battle of the Beadsmith

Well BOTB leader Steven Weiss definately did it this time!! Round 2 saw me pitted against fellow Aussie Noel Wyres, and her gorgeous piece "Chaos" (pictured below). How could he do that? LOL

The results are out today, and happily or sadly, I don't know which one yet, "Evergreen" made it through to Round 3. It means there's one less Aussie in the mix now, sorry Noel ... but two other Aussies have survived the cut - Melissa Ingram with her piece "Arabesque Armour", and Lauren Macgregor with her piece "Belisama".

From 80, down to 40, and now we're left with 20. There is not one piece in this remaining 20 that I want to be up against ... the talent is amazing!!!

Congratulations to all those that made it through Round 2 ... commiserations to those that didn't ... and good luck to everyone for Round 3.

My beautiful opponents piece ~
"Chaos" by Noel Wyres

So who are the final 20?

Cynthia Newcomer Daniel - USA
Miriam Cielo Shimon - Israel
Christian Rodriguez - USA
Ann Braginsky - Israel
Melissa Ingram - Australia
Helena Tang - Singapore
Lauren Macgregor - Australia
Ekaterina Kalinina - Russia
Betty Stephan - USA
Sue Horine - USA
Marsha Wiest Hines - USA
Sandra Dokter van Esveld - Netherlands
Kinga Nichols - USA
Heather Kingsley Heath - United Kingdom
Ella Des - Serbia/Belgrade
Julia Turova - Russia
Alla Maslennikova - Russia
Irina Chikineva - Russia
Mikki Ferrugiaro - USA
Me :) - Australia

Friday, 27 July 2012

Battle of the Beadsmith ... update

Well I'm very surprised at the outcome, but I'm happy to say my humble little piece has made it through round one. There was no dancing on tabletops, or shouting it out loud. Besides the fact my back probably wouldn't let me get on said tabletop LOL, one has to remember that where one person made it through, another did not.

There was, as some of us expected, some backlash against those that made it through. Cries of foul play and favouritism were heard all over the BOTB group page. Now I've stayed out of the kerfuffle that was BOTB the last couple of days because I didn't like what I was seeing as far as the comments go. There was no need for any of that. We all came into this competition knowing that we had a 50/50 chance of making it through to the next round ... complaining about it doesn't do anyone any good!!

I had consigned myself from the beginning that I was not going to make it through .. and was at peace with it. Now I've made it through, but I look at the calibre of the remaining artists and know that I have no hope in hell of making it through round two ... and I'm at peace with that. I participated in this competition for one reason only ... to have fun!! Yep have fun ... and I did. I made a piece that I'm totally in love with, and I'm happy with that. I've met some AMAZING artists ... drooled over pieces that I'm still trying to figure out how they did it - my keyboard and desk will need replacing by the time all this is over I'm sure of it LOL ... but more importantly, I've found the inspiration to keep doing what I'm doing.

This competition has opened up a whole new world of beading and inspiration for me. I can only hope to one day be as good as all of you. You all rock my world!!!!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Battle of the Beadsmith

It started with a sketch ...

and then grew from there. My original sketch didn't incorporate the leaves and flowers - they were added in later when I changed what theme I was going to do. In my original design I was going to make it more water based, and have this beautiful cascading fringe and a multitude of bead strands to represent a waterfall. Somehow, at the time, part of me thought this was all too hard, so I changed it to the floral design you see above.

From a sketch to the gluing of cabs ... gorgeously scrumptious dichroic cabs by Glass Artist Lyn Owen of Silvermoonlyn ... the blue/green fern like colours coming from these cabs also lent themselves to a more "plant" based design than my original water design.

and then the fun began ... first the bezelling of the cabs, then the subtle placement of the flowers and leaves, and the freshwater pearls - in my original "water" design - stayed in. I love pearls, what can I say :)

then some bling with a Swarovski winding vine ...

and finally the teeny tiny beadies came out to play ...

and even more tiny beadies  ... lots of two bead fringes enveloping the floral display

till there was no more to do ... but to back it and do the edging.

It was then that I faced a dilemma ... what to do with the other side of the necklace? My original design was out the window, what do I do? I turned to my bookcase for inspiration. That inspiration was a book on Celtic and Asian knots that I've had sitting there in my bookcase for ages. I fell in love with the figure 8 knot, and I knew it would fit in with my piece ... and so the other side of my necklace came to life. To carry on the theme of the piece, flowers and leaves were added to the knotting.

My piece was finished!! The Battle within myself was complete - I had finished it .. with a couple of days to spare. The stress of not getting it done was finally lifted off my shoulders. aaaaahhhh that feels good :)

Now its time for the "good" photos :)

Hope you enjoyed my little journey.

If you want to see some jawdroppingly gorgeous beadwork, then you need to check out all the wonderful entries from all over the world on the Facebook "Battle of the Beadsmith" group page ...!/groups/274053372682035/ . Believe me, they are jawdropping!!!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Beading Babes - Four leaf clover bracelet

I've joined this lovely little group of "Beading Babes", and this is the first project that I've managed to find time to participate in. We were given the choice of two patterns - could make both if we wanted - and I decided to make the very beautiful Four Leaf Clover cuff by Helena Tang Lim.

Originally I wanted to make a whole heap of these bracelets/cuffs in lots of different colourways, and I was going to mix it up as far as design goes ....  but life seriously got in the way. The colours I chose are the very beautiful, and elegant, grey and white. Using clear AB seedies, and a lovely smokey grey as the secondary seedie, I set about incorporating white and light grey Swaro pearls and alternating them. To fit in with the smokey grey I used a dark grey 8mm pearl for the clasp.

I absolutely adored making this cuff, and I really hope that I'll get more of a chance to make more of these very soon. Thankyou Karyn for organising these little challenges, and thankyou Helena for sharing your beautiful tutorials with us. oxoxox

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

"Battle of the Beadsmith"

Well all participants are named, judges have been selected, and this comp is ready to go. It is such an honour to be included in this International competition ... and to be put up against people who I consider to be "beading royalty" is daunting, but awe-inspiring. Now I just have to design something totally spectacular to enter :)

Below is an explanation of the competition taken from their FB page, and below that the list of participants and judges.

In an effort to create more awareness of some of the incredible bead artistry being executed by bead masters worldwide, I thought it would be fun to set up a beading "tournament" where original works can be viewed, shared, and celebrated both by the participants, and the beading public alike.

80 seed bead artists have been invited to participate in an elimination "tournament" to determine which piece of their original beadwork best captures the imagination of 119 of their fellow designers, specialty bead shop owners, and members of various beading magazine editorial staffs.

On May 14th, random artist pairings will be created, establishing a first round of competition, consisting of 40 artists vs. artist "contests". (For example, round one might have the work of Californian Linda Roberts paired up against the work of Vermont's Nancy Dale, and so on.)

Artists will then have Seven weeks from the announcement of the first round pairings to create, a single piece of original beadwork, and submit four photos best highlighting the works most important elements. The 78 competitors not involved in a particular round one "contest", plus 41 invited judges, will vote for the piece that best captures their imagination. A majority of at least 85 of the possible 119 total voters will be enough to determine a winner. All necklaces, bracelets, earring, brooches, headpieces, belts, handbags, or any other wearable adornments are acceptable for submission. The deadline for all of the submissions, by the artists, is July 10th, Tuesday

If an artist drops out of the competiton before 5 PM EST, on Thursday June 7th, a replacement artist will be sought to join the competition (though they are at an obvious time disadvantage). After the June 7th, the artist paired with the departed competitor will be declared a winner, and advance to round 2

The 40 winners of round one will be randomly paired again in one of 20 new "contests" in round 2 and the voting process will begin again.

The 10 winners of round two are again randomly paired in 5 new round 3 "contests" which after judging takes place will leave 5 remaining artists in the competition.

The public will then have a chance to vote for their favorite piece from the remaining 5 artists. The selected artist will recieve a pass straight through to the final round of competition.

Round 4 will be two "contests" to determine which two artists will compete in round 5 for the right to move to the championship round against the public's favorite piece.

The winner of the competition will be decided on by the 119 eligible voters......

Competitors can use almost any beads or materials, so long as the piece falls under the umbrella of beadweaving, or bead embroidery. Japanese seed beads***, Metal seed beads, Preciosa Czech seed beads, semi precious stones, Swarovski and Preciosa Crystal, fire polished glass, and individually created art glass and ceramic beads etc are all perfectly acceptable.

***As the Beadsmith has a relationship with the Miyuki Company of Japan, we have requested that competitors preferably use Miyuki Seed beads when using Japanese beads for this competition.

The Participants
2012 Battle Of The Beadsmith:

Patrick Duggan
Melissa Ingram
Joanne Browne
Neva Brown
Lauren Macgregor
Maryanne Villalba
Karyn Healey-White
Noel Wyres

Laurence Dethier

Ella Des

Jacquie Champion

Czech Republic:
Lea Palickova
Katka Vaclavikova
Marta Koudelova
Denisa Kangas
Iva Jar

Dominican Republic:
Edgar Lopez Disenos

Anneta Valious
Mouna Marini

Tamuna Lezhava

Elke Leonhardt Rath
Olga Haserodt

Annie Hatvani
Eva Dobos
Orsolya Füzesi
Ibolya Ingesné Barkóczi
Éva Csizmadia Lajosné
Katalin Budainé Nagy

Anastasia O'sarantseva

Ann Braginsky
Miriam Cielo Shimon

Eliana Maniero

Guzialia Reed

Sigifredo Contreras

Sandra Dokter van Esveld

Irina Chikineva
Nella Moskvichjova
Julia Turova
Alla Maslennikova
Olga Shumilova
Ekaterina Kalinina
Marina Nosova

Olga Petterson
Misan Tejre
Nausikaa Dahllof
Anna Lindell

Helena Tang

Alla Vizir
Katherine Gezey
Anna Bystryk

United Kingdom:
Heather Kingsley Heath
Jill Thomas
Lynn Davy

Linda Roberts
Sharayah Sheldon
Nancy Dale
Cynthia Newcomer Daniel
Marsha Wiest Hines
Carol Dean Sharpe
Christina Neit
Sue Horine
Alexandra Sydorenko
Betty Stephan
Callie Mitchell
Christian Rodriguez
Kinga Nichols
Mikki Ferrugiaro
Amy Katz
Kassie Inman
Dini Alves
Jennifer Chasalow VanBenschoten
Rosita Pisarchick
Roxan O'brien
Christine Boyer Maj
Kathy King
Susan Brackett
Hannah Rosner
Terri Richards
ARachel Nelson Smith
Ulyana Rakcheyeva Seryankina-USA

The Judges
2012 Battle Of The Beadsmith:

Kelly Nealon (Australian Beading Magazine Editor),

Jana Tarhala

Sabine Lippert
Claudia Schuman
Verena Greene-Christ (Perlen Poesie Magazine)

Smadar Grossman
Patrizia Tager

Kenj Katsuoka (Miyuki Company)

Marjon Donker-Netherlands ( Editor Polymer To Art Magazine)

Galina Pchelkina-Russia (Editor of Чудесные мгновения Magazine)

South Africa:
Heather Collin

Karin Nilsson

Cath Thomas

United Kingdom:
Kerrie Slade
Chloe Menage (Bead Magazine Editor)
Jean Power
Jo Lochhead
Juliet Browse

Maggie Roschyk
Adele Rogers Recklies
Diane Hyde
Jean Campbell
Zoya Gutina
Laura Boudloche Zeiner
Laura Andrews
Kathleen Mccabe-Elsey
Julia Gerlach-USA (Bead and Button Magazine Editor)
Diane Fitzgerald
Ana Garcia
Paulette Rosner Baron
Amy Blevins
Melinda Barta (Beadwork Magazine Editor)
Kandra Norsigian
Jamie Cloud Eakin
Pamela Hawkins (Bead Design Studio Magazine Editor)
Kate Bannister Tracton
Deb Moffet Hall (Bead- Patterns The Magazine & Quick Stitch Peyote Card
Barbara Conrad
Lea Avroch
MaryLou Holvenstot
Anna Elizabeth Draeger


Sunday, 15 January 2012

New for this week ...

Just some small things, but its beading nonetheless :) My resolution of doing some sort of beading every week has started off well :)

This one sold within a few hours of being put on Etsy, which I was so surprised with.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

New Year tidings to you all

Well here we are at another New Year ... they seem to be going by faster and faster these days.

We leave behind a year that has been fraught with
~ many ups and downs ~

Stock crashes

~ A world in turmoil ~

Egyptian uprising

~ Natural disasters that made us cry ~

Tsunami hits Japan

Christchurch Quake

Cyclone Yasi (Category 5) hits Far North Queensland

 ~ and miracles that have blessed our hearts ~

2 week old baby rescued ~ Turkish Quake

 Personally 2011 was stressful to say the least,
an emotional roller-coaster.
It also wasn't a very productive year as far as jewellery making goes ...
its amazing how "life in general" just got in the way.
The last few months of the year, however, were great,
and have given me hope that everything has righted itself
and we can look ahead to a wonderful year.

I'm grateful for the love and support of my wonderful husband ~ my best friend,
and my gorgeous children, who even though they made life
interesting throughout the year, are the absolute light of my life.

I wish you all a happy and safe New Year,
may you be blessed with lots of love.

~ Maryanne ~