Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Winners February Challenge "The Colors of Love"

Here are the results for the February Challenge “The Colors of Love”.  Thank you to the 11 members who created some truly gorgeous pieces!

 Team Vote 52 votes
1st Place: Bracelet with Roses – SpringColors with 11 votes (21.25%)
2nd Place: Bead Embroidery Brooch – BenitaStyleBG with 9 votes (17.31%)
3rd Place: tie The Colors of Love-Amethyst bead embroidered bracelet – JudesArt and Color of Love Heart Brooch – MaryTDesigns each with 7 votes (13.46%)

Public Blog Vote 137 votes
1st Place: Valentine’s DayNecklace – Svetush with 56 votes (41%)
2nd Place: Bead EmbroideryBrooch – BenitaStyleBG with 34 votes (25%)
3rd Place: Color of LoveHeart Brooch – MaryTDesigns with 13 votes (9%)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

January 2017 Challenge Entries for "Colors of Love"

Here are the entries for this month's "Colors of Love" challenge!  VOTING WILL BE OPEN FROM FEBRUARY 9TH UNTIL FEBRUARY 15.  Please choose your favorite entry from the images or links below, then select your choice in the blog poll that will appear on the right sidebar during the days that voting is open.

Click on the image mosaic or links below to learn more about each entry and see larger, detailed images of each piece. 

Image Map  

Monday, February 6, 2017

March 2017 "Greenery" Challenge

Evi Csizmadia Lajosne has proposed the theme of "Greenery" as it is the Pantone color of the year!
Check it out here:

"The spring buds burst, green plants slip out of the earth..."

The main color of your entry should be the color of the year (or very close!) and should be inspired by hopes for an early spring.

Make sure to have your entry listed in your Etsy shop by March 5, 2017 23:59 EST. Please refer to the Challenge Rules for details on what is allowed in Challenge entries and don't forget to include EBWC in the title and tags of your entry.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Shop Feature! Sarah Cryer, The Indecisive Beader

Sarah Cryer, owner of Etsy shop “Sarah Cryer Beadwork” is a London-
based beadwork artist whose part-time passion for beadweaving has yielded big-time results.
A busy wife and mother of two, who also works secularly, Sarah uses her spare time to design
and create impressive geometric-shaped wearable art pieces. It is evident that her spare time,
is time well spent because she has won more than one Etsy Beadweavers challenge.
Sarah’s skill in 3D sculptural beading along with her love and excitement for beadweaving,
pushes her to produce high-quality, innovative designs. 

Whether you purchase a finished piece or a tutorial from her Etsy shop you know exactly what you are getting
because her item descriptions are thorough, her designs are precise and beautifully
photographed, and her tutorials are fully illustrated, detailed and clear.
Sarah was kind enough to do a Q&A, learn more about her work below.

Q. How long have you been beadweaving and how did you get started?

Sarah Cryer: I’ve been beadweaving for around 8 years - prior to that I was stringing and
playing with polymer clay, but then I discovered beadweaving and was hooked.

Q. What do you love about beadweaving?

Sarah Cryer: I love the variety of textures and forms I can make, the fact that I can work on a
tray on my lap (important in a busy house) and I find the act of beadweaving very therapeutic.
Most of all though I do really, really love the beads themselves - the shapes, the finishes, the
sparkle and just in the infinite, tiny variety!

Q. What moved you to become an Etsy seller and then a member of the
Etsy Beadweavers Team?

Sarah Cryer: When I first started selling it was on Folksy - a UK based handmade
marketplace. I still sell there, and do well with my finished pieces, but when I moved into
tutorials Etsy was the obvious choice with its digital download service and international reach. I
already knew about the EBWT as an author friend (Sophia Bennett) discovered you when she
was writing a young adults book about fashion and beading, and shared you on Facebook, and
I’d been watching member’s designs for a while.

Q. Which Etsy Beadweavers Team challenges have you won?

Sarah Cryer: I was joint winner of the first challenge I entered, only days after joining the team,
with my ‘Inspired by Chihuly’ Nasturtium Ring.

That was a big boost, and it’s still one of my favourite pieces - it almost beaded itself (although attempts to recreate in 11s instead of tiny 15s have since failed). Not long afterwards I won the ‘Abstract’ challenge with a large winged peyote bangle inspired by Monet’s Water Lilies  - that was more of a surprise as the piece itself was a bit of a battle and wouldn’t work the way I wanted it to - I had to challenge myself to let go and just see where it went. I’ve not had time to enter more than a few challenges since then as I’ve either been focusing on other projects or couldn’t
get pieces to work.

However earlier this year I won the Stitch and Craft Beads Butterfly Challenge Professional category with my ‘Semele’s Cuff’which was a huge honour and pleasure, and I’m pushing myself to enter their challenge again next year, and also a couple of other competitions - they
pull me out of my comfort zone, force me to work to the highest standards, and often result in
pieces suitable for tutorials which is great.

Q. You are a very busy working mom with a husband, how do you find time for

Sarah Cryer: My house is very dusty - that probably accounts for some of the time! Seriously
though, when you have young children you don’t go out much, so the evenings we previously
spent going to the ballet or the opera, or enjoying drinks or meals out are but a distant memory.
I work three days a week, with two at home with the youngest boy, and also sing so usually
have at least one evening away at rehearsals. Once the boys are in bed though I can bead on
the sofa, or work on patterns and kits, and although I don’t spend as much time as I would like
on it, and can’t really teach or do fairs, it seems like a good balance for now. My 3-day a week
job is as an IT Business Analyst for a leading UK department store, so I get lots of transferrable
digital and more importantly shop-keeping and process efficiency skills from there which help.

I’ve learned a lot over the last few years about how to streamline the business side to free up
more time, and next month my youngest will be in pre-school three hours a day, so I’m planning
to spend one three-hour chunk on pretending to be domesticated, and the other on beading or
dressmaking (my other, rarely managed love).

Q. Why do you call yourself the indecisive beader?

Sarah Cryer: When I was starting to blog I didn’t have the confidence to use my own name as
the title, so I wanted to come up with an interesting pseudonym. I’m hopeless at getting on with
a project - I can easily spend days just choosing the beads, starting, stopping, unpicking, pulling
more beads, and my husband jokes that I spend more time choosing beads than beading -
hence the name. At the moment I’m even worse than usual - I’m going through a period of
experimentation with new techniques and have a horrible desire for perfection (born of pre-
Christmas tiredness) which means that the three pieces I’m trying to do are all spending more
time having new sets of beads pulled or being completely re-worked, than they are on being

Q. How would you describe the type of jewelry you make?

Sarah Cryer: Bold but hopefully wearable, using a mix of off-loom techniques and beads.
Colour is incredibly important to me - I discovered the work of Kaffe Fassett in my teens and
have been working with bold, bonkers colours ever since - back then in patchwork, knitting and
needlepoint, and now in beads (which are even more fun as you have finish and shape as well
as colour to play with). I tend to tone that down a bit for my materials packs and finished pieces
that are for sale because not everyone shares my taste, but the pieces I make for myself do
tend to push the colour palette almost to the unwearable! I use Miyuki seeds and delicas, and
lots of Czech beads, although I’m largely resisting the shaped bead revolution for now, and I do
love crystals, although I tend to use them sparingly. My go to stitches are peyote and RAW,
plus that weird mix of netting & embellishment that so many use to build 3D structures - the
peyote is shaped, and comes from an early and continuing affinity with my friend Jean Power’s
amazing work, and the RAW and 3D work from Sabine Lippert and Marcia DeCoster - that
combination probably explains why my style is still a bit eclectic rather than focused, but I’m still
learning and enjoying the journey!

Q. What is your design process when creating/writing a tutorial?

Sarah Cryer: Only one of my current pieces was designed specifically as a tutorial, and that
was really an experiment to see if I could work in a focused way with that purpose in mind - I
managed it, but that one hasn’t sold well, and I think that is probably fair as it’s not as innovative
as my others, and I didn’t really enjoy the process. The successful tutorials such as the
Baroque Tape Measure Surround and Space Needle Case  were born
of pieces made as experiments in form, or technique, and often for competitions, where at some
point in the process or even years later I thought ‘yes, I could write this up, I think it might sell’.

As I don’t have lots of time I’m pretty strict now with what I do publish - the piece must be
individual rather than derivative, have been honed to provide the simplest technical beading
experience possible, and I need to be able to explain clearly in words and diagrams what I’ve
done. So that means at the moment that in my queue of ‘to write ups’ I’ve got several paused
because I can’t find a way to describe the 3D structure, another which is just too simple, and
another where the thread paths and order of steps needs some serious re-working before I’ll
consider publishing. So for now I’m concentrating on beading new work and hoping some of it
will end up being suitable - if it’s not, then I’ll still have some lovely beadwork at the end!

Q. What tips or advice can you share that has helped you run a successful Etsy

Sarah Cryer: Evolution not revolution - focus on the essentials at first and allow the peripherals
to evolve.
I would say the essentials are good product, very good photos to show how good your products
are, a simple look and feel, and engagement with your market. For me, a macro lense for our
SLR and a helpful patient husband sorted out the photography, to engage with customers I use
my blog and the associated Facebook page, and for good
product I have to rely on hard work and inspiration, and try to resist the temptation to list
everything I finish. Everything else - the business cards, packaging, paid marketing, etc is
pointless without those three essentials as no one will buy anything - you can evolve those as
you go along, gently trying out different options as you have sales to try them on, only then will
you understand how well you and your processes work. And I’ve probably also evolved to focus
my limited time on the things that sell - I’d love that to be finished work, but it’s not, it’s tutorials
and kits.

Q. What other ways do you market your finished pieces and tutorials?

Sarah Cryer: I mainly use my blog and Facebook page . They cover my whole beading life - so everything I’m
making, including reviews of other beaders patterns & books, failures, UFOs, sewing, and life in
general rather than just being about the commercial side, which I hope makes them more
engaging for customers and friends. I also seem to get good conversions from the Etsy shop
updates feature, and good traffic through from Pinterest (SarahBeady) where I am a devoted
pinner of gorgeous pieces from other beaders (I try and remember to sneak in the odd pin of my
stuff and it seems to work). I’m also very lucky to have made friends, both in the flesh and
digitally, with some wonderful beaders both in London and across the world, and their support
on social media in particular has been hugely instrumental in getting some of my key pieces to a
wider audience, as well as being a lovely experience. Realistically though, that following is
largely composed of beaders, so whilst it works well for tutorials and kits, I’ve still not found a
really successful method for marketing finished work - I’d be interested in ideas and tips there!

Q. Have you made use of the EBW Instagram page?

Sarah Cryer: I’m very new to Instagram as The Indecisive Beader (a matter of weeks) so I’m
still feeling my way around a bit, but you’ll see me there soon!
Sarah Cryer may be “The Indecisive Beader”, but she is also proof that “it’s not how much time
you have to bead that matters, it's how you use the time you have to bead that makes the

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

January 2017 "Rising Star" Challenge Results

Congratulations to Lea Paličková who won both the team  vote with her stunning Galactica Neckalce!

 Team Vote
1st Place: 29.9% Galactica- LeelaBeads
2nd Place: 20.8% The Coral Reefs of Roatan - RebeccasWell
3rd Place: 14.6% Beaded Blue Wrist Cuff - STARARTjewelry
 Public Vote
1st Place: Strauss Evening Embroidery Necklace - SheWalksinCrystal 34%
2nd Place: Age of Materia - HumdrumAuguries 28%
3rd Place: Galactica - LeelaBeads 9%

Friday, January 6, 2017

January 2017 Challenge Entries for "Rising Star"

Here are the entries for this month's "Rising Star" challenge!  VOTING WILL BE OPEN FROM JANUARY 9TH UNTIL JANUARY 15.  Please choose your favorite entry from the images or links below, then select your choice in the blog poll that will appear on the right sidebar during the days that voting is open.

Click on the image mosaic or links below to learn more about each entry and see larger, detailed images of each piece. 

Image Map  

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Interview with November 2016 Challenge Winner Évi Csizmadia Lajosné of Vicus

Évi Csizmadia Lajosné of Vicus is the winner of both the public and team votes for the November 2016 Challenge 'November Guest'

What initially attracted you to beads as a medium?
Several years ago, I was about 8-9 years old when I began to explore the world of beads.

And, more specifically, how was your imagination drawn to bead weaving?
At the time, cross stitch embroideries were being made. It was a favorite magazine subject, where I saw at first bead jewelry making. I really liked one design and thought that I could make it. The first attempt was very well done and then on I liked the world of beads.

What was your route to becoming an artist?
I began simpler pieces, I always made jewelry that was complex and time-consuming. I learned on the Internet, bought samples, attended forums. I was looking for beaded groups on the Internet. I learned a lot, including new techniques.

Tell us a bit about your favorite techniques.
A new technique suddenly appeared in the bead embroidery magazine I read. I loved it, I knew right away that this is my thing. Hatvani Annie was the first one who displayed embroidered bead jewelry. His knowledge about using more about the bead embroidery spoke to me.
Using the Internet has opened the world of beading to me. I recognized all over the world various bead artists. I saw fantastic jewelry. Both inspired me to create my jewelry that is similar, but according to their my own plans.

Do you design the piece before starting? If not, what prep work do you do?

A small piece of jewelry does not always need a plan in advance. For a ring, pendant or something less, in the central part, I choose and find out on the fly how to include more beads. The bracelets and necklaces are planned more in advance, drawn on paper.

What currently inspires you?

I enjoy the diversity of new beads which have coming out lately. I love to try them. They offer a lot of new possibilities. But my big love is Swarovski stones and gemstones. I make a lot of jewelry that combines the two.

Who have been your major influences, and why?
Nowadays there are Russian artists with pieces that have a great impact on me.
I love it when my jewelry can be worn either in formal settings or on weekdays as well. I love the elegant, unique jewelry, or what was once seen that unique. I love it when the owner of the jewelry turns even more beautiful thanks to my pieces

What is your favorite thing about working with beads?

Not so long ago since I made pattern samples. A request was made at first by a beading magazine. There are also simpler designs that even beginners can feel free to make, but I make more complicated, more complex samples. The ease of patterns and beauty of the jewelry are equally important.