A “Studio” for Lusk Studio

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Finally took the time to purge my craft room and focus it on beads. For years I’ve tried my hand at a lot of creative endeavors but now feel like I have found my niche in beadwork. So…time to consolidate and get rid of some old hobbies. I love working with metal but I just don’t have a well ventilated space so for now I’ve packed up my torches.

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It was also important to me to create a space for my daughter to paint. We cleared out a corner for her easel and I look forward to some fun, creative girls nights in what we are calling our “studio” which makes us feel way more serious than if we were creating in a craft room. So finally, Lusk Studio actually has a studio of sorts.

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Of course if you know me, you know I went thrifty. I found a body pillow cover for $2.50 that I made the valance and recovered the rolling office chair with. The arm chair I stole from my office and had previously recovered. I made the Ottoman out of a crate with a pillow on top that I then covered in fabric. It’s not crazy sturdy, but it’s fine as a footstool. I got all of the storage containers at the dollar store (except bead containers – those are the Elizabeth Ward organizers). Then to decorate, I found some vintage Vogue covers from the early 20th century and had UPS print them on glossy paper. I framed them in painted, distressed dollar store frames. Of course I already had the bookshelves and desk so really it was a cheap makeover. I think I spent under $20 total!

Anyway, I love seeing other people’s craft rooms so thought I’d share ours.

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“Vesuvius Descending” Beadweaving Challenge

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The April 2016 Etsy Bead Weavers Challenge theme is “Pompeii.” I thought about creating something that reflected the art of Pompeii but I kept getting hung up on the imagery of the volcano and the columns in ruins. Then, on a trip

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to my local bead shop, I found a lava stone cabochon and some hematite column shaped beads. I wanted the columns to look like they were toppling, but not be too literal. The fire at the top and orange beads at the bottom serve as splashes of lava. The focal is created with bead embroidery. The toggle clasp is hand beaded. Voting for the challenge should be between April 9-16. I’ll post a link then.

“Vesuvius Descending” Beadweaving Challenge

The April 2016 Etsy Bead Weavers Challenge theme is “Pompeii.” I thought about creating something that reflected the art of Pompeii but I kept getting hung up on the imagery of the volcano and the columns in ruins. Then, on a trip

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to my local bead shop, I found a lava stone cabochon and some hematite column shaped beads. I wanted the columns to look like they were toppling, but not be too literal. The fire at the top and orange beads at the bottom serve as splashes of lava. The focal is created with bead embroidery. The toggle clasp is hand beaded. Voting for the challenge should be between April 9-16. I’ll post a link then.

Exploring Clay

Over the years I have worked with ceramic cabochons and pendants that my husband graciously help me glaze and fire. About 5 years ago I started working some with polymer clay. Somehow it never felt quite right to me. It just always looked and felt plasticky. Even the more organic looking pieces I made still looked like plastic up close. Recently, through the wonderful educator, Youtube, I saw some videos on using translucent clay and liquid clay to create layers in the clay. This creates stone-like dimension. They create faux opals, fluorite and all kinds of semi transparent stones with inclusions.

When I can, I prefer to use real stones, but sometimes with my budget or my desire to use an obscure color, that isn’t possible. So…I started playing around with liquid polymer clay. I already had a pretty good background in other faux stone techniques thanks to Cindy Lietz’s Polymer Clay Tutor’s weekly posts (beadvideo.com – it’s a subscription service but so worth it, at least for basics).

And I love the result! I am working on a necklace that has ocean colors in it – aqua, blue, light green. Unfortunately, most of the stones in those hues are a bit pricey for large cabochons (Larimar, Aquamarine, etc). So I started out with a layer of liquid Sculpey in a teardrop mold. I cured it with a heat gun (just cured enough so I could put another layer). In the second layer I mixed in some seafoam green Pearl Ex powder, and Denim and Aqua alcohol inks. Cured that layer and then did two more. Then I baked it per directions to cure it completely. After baking, I wet sanded, buffed and glazed it. The result is this: a stone resembling fluorite and really cool inclusions that look like foam from the ocean. This photo doesn’t do it justice. Anyway, very excited about the possibility of being able to further customize my pieces. 🙂

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“Paint the Roses” Etsy Beadweavers Team Challenge – Sept 2015

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The Sept Challenge was to create  a bead woven work using black, white and only one other color. This was definitely a challenge for me because I tend to gravitate toward earthy, neutral palettes. Initially I played with yellow and turquoise as the accent color but I kept coming back to red.

As I worked in the stark black and white, I was reminded of Aunt Em and Uncle Henry’s black and white Kansas farm. The red seemed to be the pop of color from Oz. Maybe some poppies for Aunt Em? But not really poppy shaped.

Then, as I worked on the tila bead checkerboard patterned diamond, I started to think of Harlequin patterns in the Queen of Heart’s dress in Alice in Wonderland. The white and red beads reminded me of the starkness of the white roses with drops of red paint spilling off them.

As far as technical process, the focal is a round onyx surrounded by Superduos and seed beads and backed with ultrasuede. The diamond is made of tila beads, seed beads and daggers.

The rope is 18″ long and is stitched in 3 drop, zipped peyote. The toggle clasp is hand beaded and accented with tila and dagger beads.

Please visit our team blog, http://www.etsy-beadweavers.blogspot.com between the 9th and 15th and vote for “Paint the Roses.” Thanks! -Heidi

Branding and Packaging

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Since my day job is in advertising, the branding and packaging of my jewelry has been a fun project. I finally got to work on my own brand but I discovered that I am a horrible client. It’s so much harder to brand myself than it is other clients. I knew I wanted something elegant and neutral, something rustic yet modern. These are the broad strokes that made me spend hours sketching and sampling colors. I had to take a step back and deconstruct everything. But finally I arrived at the new logo and I’m very happy with it.

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After the logo, I knew I wanted a multifunctional business card. I designed a card that I have printed at an online printer (PS Print) and then cut apart myself to create two earring cards/business cards. On the front, it’s more decorative and I incorporated two barely perceptable dots that I can punch through if I’m using as earring cards. On the back I have more contact info.

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For packaging, I wanted something I could make myself and that I could adjust to the size of the piece. I found a pillow box making tool, which is cool for smaller pieces but not large enough for the collars. I kind of adapted that design and made it larger, using a template and scoring tool. I used kraft card stock. I found some terracotta colored washi tape to act as a ribbon and tacked a business card with a little sticky pearl accent. Of course I pack in plastic and padded envelope or box, but this is the pretty part.

I think it’s important to go that extra mile for customers–all a part of the experience.

Bohemian Beaded Buckle

buckle2This is my first beaded buckle and I will say the photo doesn’t do it justice (trying to get better at photographing my work). The salmon, coral and olive colors are so pretty and work well with the antique bronze color of the buckle. I actually was able to do this quickly since it’s pretty small (3×2) and requires no beaded backing or chain, etc. so the part of me that is driven by instant gratification was very happy.

I like this size belt buckle – I ordered it from Buckle Rage and it’s the perfect size for a woman. I wanted to do something that was natural, Bohemian (boho) and floral but abstract at the same time. I so wish the photo conveyed the colors and textures better. They look much more pink in the photo and in actuality the colors are more coral and salmon.

I will definitely be making more buckles – I have a larger silver one that I am thinking will go well with either blue or lavender stones that I have.

This buckle works with a lot of different styles – bohemian, western, casual upscale and I may end up keeping it for myself!!! Right now, though, it’s on Etsy if you want to take a look: https://www.etsy.com/listing/241194076/bohemian-beadwork-buckle-featuring?ref=shop_home_active_1

Petals of Pisgah Jasper Stone Beadwork Necklace and Earring Set

jasper pisgah petals necklace, beadworkLately I have been very inspired by the beautiful blooms and wildflowers that we discover during our hikes. In particular, I loved the mountain laurel, dogwoods and lilies that we saw on our hike at Mt Pisgah. I found this cabochon at Ernie’s Rock Shop in Brevard and fell in love with the colors. My photography isn’t great but in person you can see the coral, salmon and delicate mint color in the Leopardskin Jasper stone. It took me a while and many visits to my favorite bead store (A Better Bead & Craft) to find all of the correct hues to match including some perfect glass pearls and salmon colored superduos. Again, my photography is awful but the stones in the background are a color called “honeydew” and they match up very well to the light green color in the stone. As always, the necklace is backed with ultrasuede and has a beaded toggle clasp.

When I was beading this, I knew I wanted the actual chain to be very lacy but simple enough. The earrings I really kind of made as just a freebie to go along with the necklace. I just felt like some dangles were needed! I think it would also look fine with simple pearls.

I think this would be the perfect set for a wedding, garden party or other elegant affair. It’s a bit of a departure for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it 🙂

Click here to view the listing on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/241088943/petals-of-pisgah-bead-embroidered-jasper?ref=shop_home_active_2

Prosperity Sunset Necklace

prosperityThis leopardskin jasper and onyx necklace was inspired by the exquisite sunsets on Lake Murray in Prosperity, SC. Our family spent a week in this unique town. It’s not a rich town, but you soon realize that prosperity isn’t always monetary. It really was a special place where we found an abundance of rest and family time. I guess, you could say my soul prospered. The colors from the lake, the land and the sunset all play a part in this necklace.

The leopardskin jasper cabochon is joined by 4 onyx stones, glass pearls, tilas and seed beads to create natural, edgy, sophisticated necklace. The toggle is hand beaded and the necklace measures 19 inches long.

Portable Bead Studio

IMG_20150613_110043-02One of the reasons I started beading again, is that beading is such a portable art. At least in theory. When I was forging and soldering, I was pretty much chained to my bench, and hated to be away from my family. But I wasn’t quite sure how to make it portable, especially when there are so many beads, tools, threads and cabochons that I may need at any given moment 🙂

So I started with a portable bead board and really like the Bead Buddy bead mat that closes and snaps. It keeps everything together, although I will say the beads do slide around a bit but it’s good enough. Then I found a craft Continue reading