Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fall Classes with Ovenfried Beads


It has been forever since I've been able to announce a cluster of classes.   My classes are taking place at Silk Road Textiles in Cincinnati.  Any signing up/registration has to take place through SRT, not me.  If you'd like to register for any of these, please contact them by calling 513-541-3700 or stopping in.  The address is 6106 Hamilton Avenue, 45224, for those of you who use GPS systems to find your way.  I limit my class sizes to about 5, so don't wait to register if you know you can take a class that interests you.

Please keep in mind that all of my classes require good manual dexterity in both hands.  People with advanced arthritis or other conditions that weaken the hands may have a difficult time conditioning stiff clay or pushing/pulling a thick needle through dense rope.  I'm not saying that these folks shouldn't take the class....I just want them to be aware that it could get uncomfortable and they could have difficulties.  This has occurred in past classes.

Fabric Coiled Bowls
See those Stacker bead buttons?  Scroll down...there's a class for those too.
Students will learn how to create a specific style of functional bowls using fabric and
rope. Good manual dexterity in both hands is necessary.  I was featured on HGTV's "That's Clever!" in 2007 making this bowl, so if a TV network thinks it's cool, it's probably worth signing up for.  The bowl you see above is a huge version of what you'll be making in a 3 hour class, but it gives you a good idea.

The lady behind the company Recyclabowls took my coiled bowl class and turned it into a business.  Even though her technique is similar, she has turned it into her own "thing".  In fact, her bowls are available for sale at Silk Road Textiles.

Class fee is $35, and students must purchase 3 cotton fat quarters from SRT.  The rope, hot glue, string and needles will be provided by me.

There are two separate dates.  It's not a two-part class.

09/20/2012  12pm-3pm
10/27/2012  10am-1pm


Polymer Clay Buttonmaking

These are some random buttons that I have made recently.
Yours will be unique...your own design.

Students will make handmade buttons using various techniques with polymer clay.  To alleviate stress and work on the student's part to gather the many tools and clay needed for this 4-hour workshop, I am including everything in the package, so the class fee reflects the added expense on my part.  I will cover some basic techniques in polymer clay (simple canes, marbling, stamping) and students will create their own buttons.
Note: If a student has polymer clay tools that they would like to use, like a favorite blade, pasta machine, stamp or even colors of clay, they are free to bring them, but the class fee won't change.
Class fee is $65.  There are two separate dates.  It's not a two-part class.

10/30/2012  9am-1pm
11/10/2012  1pm-5pm


Stacker Beads/Embellishments

Students will learn how to make Stacker beads, a polymer clay bead design that I perfected about 11 years ago.  Stacker beads make amazing embellishments, so even though Silk Road Textiles is not a bead/jewelry supply store, students can learn this technique to embellish their own fiber art pieces or make them into beads.  I will supply all the clay and tools needed.

Class fee is $65.  There are two separate dates.  It's not a two-part class.

11/06/2012  9am-1pm
12/01/2012  9am-1pm
Note:  If you do not live in Cincinnati, you can purchase a PDF version of my Stacker bead tutorial on Etsy.  It's $16 and I'll email it to you.

There are many other great fiber art classes being offered at Silk Road Textiles.  If you are interested in learning more, visit their website or "like" their Facebook page (or both) to find out more.  The full fall class schedule is going to be released very shortly. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Holy MACKERAL, This Girl is Busy

Hello fans!

First of all, this barrette and bracelet are starting at ridiculously low bids on eBay.  They are older pieces that I love but don't want to deconstruct. Starting bid is a SCANT $.99.  You can't even buy a candy bar for that.

Bid on this barrette here!  (Ends Sept 13)
Bid on this bracelet here! (Ends Sept 13)
So I want to apologize for not being a better blogger.  There are many things for me to talk about, but I just keep doing them and forget to (or choose not to) talk about them.  I guess it's part humility, but mostly part laziness.  When I look at people who ditch their dayjobs and make a living at their art/craft of choice, what I'm mostly seeing is good marketing, but I also recognize there is interest and demand for their work. 

Marketing is not my forte'.  For example, I don't even have a logo.  I used to have one, and I still have the original artwork, but it's a snail, for crying-out-loud.  Who the hell will look at a stylized snail (which happens to be inked on my left forearm...THAT's commitment) and think "Boy, this woman must have a LOT of skill and experience in polymer clay and beadwork!" I just happen to love snails.  And business cards.  I just recently received a box of 250 amazing cards from Vista Print that remind me of a) my favorite color brown, and b) a Dandy Warhols video that I just love...very artistically stimulating for me, and of course, brown and scroll-y.

About 7 weeks ago, a new fiber supply/art store in Cincinnati called Silk Road Textiles opened in College Hill.  I realize that I'm completely biased, BUT, I have to say that it's a pretty amazing place.  I'm lucky to work there, and will start teaching this month (September).   We carry all sorts of amazing yarn and fabric, and sell not only the work of 14 excellently skilled craftspeople from the Cincinnati area, but also jewelry and knit stitch markers from moi, Ovenfried Beads.  You can get a more thorough list of items sold at the store at their website if you click it above.  My favorite yarns there right now are Mountain Color, Berroco Remix, Rowan Tweed, Leilani Arts recycled sari silk, Berroco Lodge and of course, Noro Yarn.  Since I'm not sitting in the store looking around, I'm sure you can imagine that I'd come up with another dozen "favorite" items.  In any case, as a beginner (but not virgin) knitter, I'm seriously intrigued by what I see and feel, and am anxious to dig my fingers into some skeins I can call my own and create something awesome.  We also sell a ton of fabric, which I'm a little too lazy at this second to list.  You just have to go to the site.  OR, if you like to know what's happening as it happens (including classes, which will be announced VERY VERY soon), just "Like" us on our Facebook Page.

On one last note, as I'm sure I've about worn you out at this point..... I'll be participating in my first City Flea in Cincinnati on Saturday, September 15.  My friend from the Cincy Craft Cartel invited me as a guest artist, so I will have a large selection of earrings, bracelets and loose beads, with a more conservative selection of bead embroidery, buttons and necklaces. 

My next blog will feature a listing of all of the brick-and-mortar stores in Cincinnati that regularly sell my work.  I hope you will consider patronizing those stores.  They are run and staffed by hard-workin' folks just like you.  Stay tuned. If you just can't wait, go here.

I wish I had more pictures tonight.  Maybe next time.

Friday, June 15, 2012

To Knit or Not to Knit

Sometime during my twenties, or maybe early 30's, I asked my mom to teach me how to crochet.  She wasn't an obsessed crochet-er...she could do it, but rarely if ever, finished a project.  There were various zig-zag chunks of afghans in boxes.  So I knew she could do it.  Like her, I also have lots of unfinished projects.  Don't we all!

At the time, my creative world was about polymer clay, beads and fabric.  Before that, painting, drawing, writing.  Anything involving yarn didn't interest me.  None of my friends at the time were knitters or crocheters, so it didn't really cross my mind to try.

Anyway, mom and I sat down on the edge of my bed and she brought out a couple of crochet hooks and some yarn.  She was very clear in her instruction...she wasn't bad at explaining things, and she was very patient, except when I tried to do it myself.  My hands were all knarled up in a tense knot.  I just could not mimic the technique she was trying to show me.  After about 10 minutes of frustration, she stood up and said, "That's it!  I can't teach you how to do this!  Your hands are not doing what they need to do!  You should stick with the clay!"  (Or something like that).  Then she left the room, and from that moment forward, I was never EVER going to try to do ANYTHING with yarn.  Clay was my thing, always would be my thing, period.

Fast foward to the very present recent past.

So now I've been making polymer clay beads for 17 years this month.  I have a great stash of beads, a great stash of fabric, and all sorts of other things.  There's a really great rhythm going on in my creative world.  I can make beads, make jewelry, create bead embroidered items, whatever.  It is very hard for me to get bored around here.

My friend Terry is opening a new fabric and yarn store in Cincinnati called Silk Road Textiles.  YARN STORE?  You mean I have to help knitters and crocheters?  I don't know jack about it.  Fabric I can handle.  I have made a lot of things with fabric...mainly arty stuff.  I know fabric.  But, I have a lot of work to do.

So I decided it was time to go to an uncomfortable place in my mind.  I need to learn how to knit.  I said it.  I have to knit!  Time to face my fears and move forward.

My friend Carrie showed me in about 5 minutes how to do it...the basic knit stitch. Casting on was nothing. Knitting one row was nothing. But for some reason, I couldn't get past that first row. Was it really a lack of understanding the technique, or was it something else? I don't know, but I do know that even after I bought my first knitting needles and inexpensive yarn at Hobby Lobby and started to try it, I still put it down for several weeks.  Ovenfried Beads business had a major jump in business, and that was my priority at the time.

Then a couple of days ago, I decided, after meeting with a Rowan yarn rep for over 4 hours with Terry, (and a text from my friend Susan, who is the knitting queen), it was time to get to work.

SO, now I'm totally addicted (spent many hours in the last 3 days knitting, but I don't have much to show for it, as you'll see below) and hope to someday actually make something well.  I'm not hurrying my expectations, though.  As I start kicking butt helping Terry get the store ready to open, I will have much less free time to just play.  But now I have something new to bring with me to the laundromat.  I don't plan on putting anything on Etsy until I'm about 60 and have been knitting for 20 years.  So for now, you'll just have to visit the store to see my progress.  :)

The following photos are the first swatches I made, in chronological order.  These were all made in the last 3-4 days.

But before I sign off, I just want to say that if there is anything you think you can't do, you will never know unless you really try it and commit to practicing it. 

First dinky piece with hole.  I pulled this off the needle before I knew how to cast off.
We'll see how long THIS lasts.

Another better attempt.
Sweetie is my captive audience. She really did sit like this while I was knitting yesterday.

Somehow, I was adding on without realizing it until my 12-15 starting stitches ended up almost 30.  With the help of my friend Shari and the Knitting for Dummies videos on Youtube, I learned how to keep the sides straight.
I had this fancy gradated yarn, but it's kind of rough, and even though I maintained 36 stitches for much of this piece, it's still a triangle.

This is much better.  Not sure how I maintained 15 stitches and had that "flap" on the end appear (believe me, I counted), but I have to say it's looking much better.  This piece is going to grow, as it's a yarn I can see well and is manageable to really practice with.  Maybe it will be my first scarf.  For me, of course.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Random Beauty of Mokume Gane

Yesterday I added 4 pairs of mokume gane earrings to my Etsy store, and wanted to point out a great example of how awesome the mokume gane technique is. 

In case you don't know....this is how it works, in basic terms:

1)  Select two or more colors of polymer clay.  High contrast works best.  (It can also be done with translucent clay and metal foil/leaf, but the steps I'm describing here involve just polymer clay.)

2)  Roll thin sheets of each one in a pasta machine.

3)  Stack them on top of each other, making sure the high contrast colors are next to each other.

4)  Roll that stack through the pasta machine.

5)  Cut the stack into a few equal in size as possible.  I usually do 3 pieces.  This will give me enough surface area to play with.  Stack them on top of each other.  Now you have a "loaf" of very thin striped colors.  Trim the scraggly edges and set them aside for future use.

6)  Grab some tools.  I use awls, floral tools, stamps, wavy blades, shaped cutters....anything to pierce those layers.

7)  Push the tools down through the loaf, penetrating as many layers of the loaf as possible.   As you create gaps, you can leave the gaps, or squeeze the sides of the loaf back toward the center to close them.

8)  Set the loaf aside for a few minutes to settle and cool off.  (Sticking it in the fridge helps, too.)

9)  NOW....this is the most fun part of all.  Grab a strong, clean tissue blade. (The ones marketed for polymer clay are the best.)

10)  Turn the loaf sideways so your solid "top and bottom" are now on the side.

11)  Begin slicing through the distorted layers, starting at the end where you used the piercing tools.  Try not to drool all over yourself as you peel away the amazing layers!

12)  Process as needed to achieve awesome miniature art/jewelry/whatever.
All four of these earrings were made from slices of the same loaf.  All 4 have the same colors as the others, in varying degree, in varying design. 
There are many great photo-enhanced mokume gane tutorials out there, if you are a visual learner.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

30 turns into 40

Today I increased my whole-store sale discount to 40%, through May 18.  Coupon code is "MOM40".  This discount applies to everything in my store, including these amazing brand new earrings that I just made the other day.  (Regular price is $65...can be yours for $39!)
There is an Etsy shop event today protesting Etsy's allowance of mass-produced items being sold as handmade.  Although I completely agree that Etsy should maintain it's insistence that items be handmade by the shop owner (except, of course, in the instance of vintage and supplies), I need to be open.

More information about the protest and the reasons behind it can be read here.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Cover that naked wrist, wench!

This bracelet below is a stretchy bracelet I made a while back that I just put in my Clearance section in my Etsy shop.  The little bumpy red Czech glass beads between the thin polymer disks match the reddish-pink perfectly.  That's why I used them.


This fiery bracelet is made from some beads that I made while toying around with my Stacker bead technique.  I love to make cylindrical beads.  LOVE IT!  And I LOVE to use red, orange and yellow together.  I'd do it all the time if I could.


Sometimes scraps make beautiful stripes.  This bracelet's beads were made from a pile of scraps that, when rolled into a long cane, was then twisted to get these great beads.  If you don't know how to get your beads the same length without wasting hours with a ruler (like I used to do), consider a Marxit.  It's one of the most important tools for beadmakers who make sets of beads. 


Ok, this bracelet, even though it's not red, orange and yellow, just really sings to me. It's too bad I don't have a "look" with jewelry....honestly, I rarely wear it unless you can barely notice it....but if I did, this bracelet would be part of my grown-up, nearing
middle age "artist look".


In any case, I could go on and on about stories about the bracelets I make.  I make a lot of them because more often than not, I only make enough beads in a set TO make a bracelet, and sometimes a pair of earrings to go with it.  This week I added 12 bracelets to my Polymer Clay Jewelry section on Etsy.  I'm also having a Mother's Day sale for all of us who want something nice but would like (or need) a deal.

My jewelry is already very affordable .... I don't have a big ego about my work and think that I need to charge a hundred dollars for something (Well, my Bead Embroidery work is another story.  But that stuff is on sale, too.)  ANYWAY, if you shop in my shop, and enter the promo coupon code "MOM30" at checkout where you're supposed to, you will get 30% off EVERYTHING you buy.  That includes my Stacker bead tutorials, which I can send to you via email as a PDF, or via "snail mail".  (If you get the snail mail version, I send two free Stacker Beads as an example to study.) I'm also extending the sale to May 18, because I know that there are folks like me who procrastinate.  We're all human.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Polymer Clay Extruder Class

So I've been working with polymer clay for some time now.  It will be 17 years this June.  I couldn't even start to try to count all the different designs/styles/techniques, because it's an ever-evolving process for me.  Some designs, like Stacker beads, are something I could make until the sun blows up.  But others are fleeting...I may get 5 beads of one design that I can never replicate.  That's one of the things I adore about polymer clay.

One tool that I have always associated with "playing" is the clay extruder.  It's like a large metal syringe that pushes clay through small, different-shaped holes.  It's kind of like the Play-Doh people with the holes on their bald skulls...and you press the dough through and voila'!  Hair!

With the clay extruder, there are many shapes that you can use in cane building or direct application.  The extruders have really helped me when it comes to experimenting and broadening my concepts of how to put the pieces together.  I could line up 10 beads in front of you, none of them would look alike, and they'd all be the result of using an extruder. 

ANYWAY, I'm teaching a class in Cincinnati...the first Extruder class for me...because I want to turn people on to this great tool.  I know I don't use it nearly enough.  Perhaps I'll learn something too!

The class is in the Karen Trimble-Shell Studio at the Brazee Street Studios in Oakley.  Date:  Sunday, April 22.  Time:  noon-4pm
There is a limit of 4 students.

REGISTRATION: Contact me directly via email at Cost of class is $65 plus $10 supply fee. Payment may be made by check (I will give you my address after you contact me) OR by Paypal to Students are not officially registered until payment is received by me.  Don't wait until the last minute! Register today!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Final Friday and a FREE PDF


After a long, soggy hike yesterday, I'm ready to just chill out in the studio and finish up some projects to have ready for this Friday.  I will be showing my work this Final Friday at the Pendleton Art Center in Cincinnati, which I have done dozens of times.  The only difference is that this time I will be doing a "Best Of..." show that will feature my very very very best work.  Normally I spend a few hours organizing little bowls of loose beads and buttons, but this time I'm sticking to my greatest jewelry I have.  People who visit Final Friday want to see and buy art that will appreciate in value, so that's what I'm going to give them!  Amazing bead embroidery, Stacker jewelry, big chunky colorful necklaces and bracelets, and some framed bead art is what's on the menu.  I will be located in my friend Nancy Gamon's studio on the 4th floor in studio 400-A.  It's a beautiful corner studio.  Nancy is an amazing fiber artist with a very distinct style to her work.  She makes multi-media wall collages, art quilts, altered clothing, scarves made out of all sorts of materials, and even some great fabric-wrapped furniture!  Come visit to buy or just look and chat.  6pm-10pm on Friday, March 30.  Click on the Pendleton's link above for directions if you've never been there and would like to go.  It's a really amazing building with even more amazing artists!
ALSO, now through April 7 I am offering a great deal on Etsy.  I will include a FREE Stacker bead tutorial PDF with any purchase over $50.  I will email it to you upon receipt of payment, and will then mail the loot you purchased.  You won't have to enter any promo codes or tell me you want will be automatically sent.  One of the greatest things about making Stacker beads is that you DON'T need a pasta machine, clay extruder, or any fancy tool to make them.  All you need is a blade and your hands.  This is a great project for those who want to make awesome-looking beads but not invest in a ton of "bells and whistles".  Not interested in buying any other items from my shop?  No problem...the PDF is available for $16.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Unemployed, but working like mad!

So as of today, I have not gone to a job in 7-1/2 weeks.  There is a job on the near horizon, but it's still in development and won't probably suck me in as a real, regular employee for about 3-4 more weeks.  I didn't expect this to last so with any renovations on an old building, you run into unexpected delays. 
This time off, which in my working career is totally unprecedented, has given me a chance to really dive into my art...specifically Bead Embroidery.  I've completed some complex bead embroidered pieces, started making buttons again, and have started using my loose polymer beads (normally set aside for shows) in finished jewelry.

My two recent favorite items have been brooches from my "Space Nugget" series I just started.  While claying with a friend, I started poking these little scrap balls of clay.  Then they turned into cabochons.  These are just so much fun to make, and I can use my favorite color pallettes.  I haven't started a third yet, but I can say that the picture to the left sold within a week.  The bottom one is in my Etsy store for $55.
I also finished a collaborative piece that my friend Heather and I worked on.  She hand-sculpts and builds wonderful characters and the small worlds they live in.  For a short time she created larger faces...still all hand-sculpted and painted.  She gives them to me and I mount and embroider beads around them.

At Halloween last year, she gave me some straight-up white skulls. One large and 3 small ones. Instead of making a few brooches like the others, I made a large flat piece and attached a 2-strand necklace.  It's pretty wicked.  It's my last BIG piece to finish, so now I have to start something else.  Don't ask me how many hours it took to make this, because I don't keep track.  It's $155.....and if you are REALLY interested in it (or anything in my store for that matter)....enter the promocode BLOG15 to get 15% off your order, which expires March 31.  Only readers of this blog will get this promo code.  In the meantime, I'm going to go get busy!  Thanks for checking this stuff out!

Friday, March 9, 2012

HALF OFF everything in my Etsy store

Hello Fans...

Surely this Over-the-Rhine piece, now framed,
has to be worth $98 to SOMEONE who loves
the neighborhood!  Come on, buy this!!  :)
I'm going to be honest with you ...  I'm halfway between jobs in the middle of 2 months of being unemployed, and I need money for April rent.  Everything in my Etsy store is 50% off.  That includes the Stacker Bead Tutorials, bead embroidery and Stacker jewelry

This not working thing is driving me crazy.  I can't wait til the new jobs starts up.  I'll be working for a new fine fabric/yarn shop in College Hill in Cincinnati.  Can't wait to get back into the creative retail community again!  Until then, it's Etsy sales and babysitting.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What's up?! Been a while.

Sheesh, it seemed like for months the "publish post" button couldn't get touched by my curser. I wanted to update the grand public with all the shows, classes, sales, and new items, but just couldn't! No matter what!
Well it works now.

So here's what's going on:

Saturday, March 24 I'm going to teach a 4 hour class (10am-2pm) on the basics of polymer clay beadmaking. We'll dabble in some fun techniques...students will get to use a pasta machine to flatten sheets. I'll bring all sorts of doo-dads and such. It's going to be in the Karen Trimble-Shell Studio at Brazee Street Studios in Oakley, Cincinnati, Ohio.  If you are interested in taking the class, email me so we can set up payment arrangements.  The class is $65 (due by March 22) and there's a $10 supply fee due day of class.  You have to pay me directly, not register through Brazee. 

On Etsy, I posted a monster of a beaded necklace that kind of took me by surprise. I joined the Etsy Bead Embroidery Guild a couple of weeks ago and was prompted to challenge myself with their Bead Fest theme: Filigree. The picture of the piece is up there near the top...if you are interested in seeing more, go straight to the Etsy page for it.

On Friday, March 30th I'm going to set up for Final Friday at the Pendleton Art Center in Cincinnati on the 4th floor in my friend Nancy Gamon's studio (400-b). Last month was pretty amazing....had an impromptu buy-one-get-one-free on the earrings and sold a lot.  A couple hundred artists have studios open once a month. Pretty sweet. I'm going to have the sale again.
If you would like to know more about sudden Etsy sales, classes, new work and whatnot, please "Like" my Ovenfried Beads page on Facebook. I'm pretty unpredictable and will often toss out some unbeatable deals or great announcements.
Thanks for coming back!