Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Beads...join us

So..... With all this design team talk, you might be curious what beads the team will be working with this month.
Here they are!  I fired this batch of beads over the weekend and on Monday the team members each picked a piece to work with.
They are all fired in a yummy metallic Bronze glaze.  I have been in LOVE with this glaze lately!
I am SO EXCITED to be able to see it in action on our reveal day. 
I added a bunch of these new pieces to the etsy shop last night....and some will go into my trunk shows in Oregon for May..... 
So.... here are the beads that the team will be working with.  They are all out in the mail service right now headed to their new owners.
 Our reveal day is the last Friday of April and I would like to invite YOU to join us! 
Maybe you have some Artisan Clay beads hanging around your beads stash just waiting for their moment to be worked with.... maybe you like to have a deadline, goal, challenge.....?   I invite you to use your Artisan Clay beads in a design this month, blog about it and on April 29th add your link to our reveal party! 

Make something or not, please join us for the fun at the end of the month!

feel free to contact me via my etsy shop or via email artisanclay (at) if you have any questions   ... :-)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Announcing the Artisan Clay Design Team!

I am so happy to announce the 2011 Artisan Clay Design Team!

The Design Team Members are

Marcie Abney

Shannon Chomanczuk

Susan Kennedy

Carol Dean Sharpe

Staci Louise Smith

Jen Velasquez

Our Designers will receive their Design Challenge Beads at the beginning of each month.
Look for our Design team reveal posts on the last Friday of the Month!

We also have some great Guest designers scheduled in the coming months.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Happy Day

First of all, I have to say how happy I am that my call for design partners has been so well received!

I thank you so much!  I wish I could take everyone, but I don't think I will be able to manage.  A friend had a great idea.  She suggested that I have a core team that I work with for a longer period of time and a guest member each month.  I like that idea because then more people are able to participate. 
What do you think?
I will make my final decisions this weekend and let everyone know at once.  I am SO EXCITED! 

As far as my part, I have already been inspired to glaze some new work and I hope to get it fired this weekend.  I drove to the clay store this morning.(DelVal)  I picked up 3 new clays.  Really I wanted one new clay and to stock up on "my" clay, but when I arrived, I was told that they are not going to be stocking Standard Supply brand clay.  So.... I came home with 3 new clays instead.  My potter's group is planning to have a custom clay mixed up from Ceramic Supply of NY and NJ... some 3000lbs of this saggar firing mixture will be delivered to my business.  I'm going to have to see if I can get "my" clay along with that order.

 So.... look for some different work from me in the next months as I try out the new clays.  Every clay works differently and will cause me to make beads that relate to how the clay moves, dries, fires.  So things should be different and exciting.  Different is good :-)

The future is so promising! Happy Day!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

An opportunity--and look what I made.

You can skip to the bottom colored area for the opportunity part--

I found my jewelry making desk last night.  
  It had been hiding behind a pile of half sorted Artisan Clay beads and bead trays that had gone out of control with dividing and combining and newly made additions and half finished projects and ideas to be kept for future reference.   I was nervous to get started, since it has been so long since I have made any finished jewelry.  What if I had forgotten how to make jewelry?  What is my style at this point in time?  And then there is  the stubborn part of my nature who simply cannot handle being like the crowd... What if ~gulp~  I end up making something that looks trendy?  I know, I'm a little bit weird, and there are tons of folks who do very well in life by being agreeable, but I am not those people.  Alas.... always searching out a challenge, always being difficult. 
-I'm not saying that I don't like the current trends or that popular styles aren't popular for a reason ;-)
-I'm not saying the things I made last night were the most inventive new jewelry pieces in all of the world or anything, I just always want to be sure to be the me I need to be, that's all :-)  I was experiencing a little nervous block.

So-- I did end up making a few new things.  I made a secret necklace for the Button Swap with 3 of the buttons that my partner Shannon Chomanczuk (For my Sweet Daughter)  sent me.

I made the chain necklace above with some of my new "porcelain chain link" beads.  It felt good to make.  Those beads have been sitting in limbo for quite a while, stewing in my brain.  So- now I made something with them and so now I can make more beads and let other people have a few :-) 
And I made a pair of earrings.  Now my Etsy shop is back to having an earring section once again.... (with 1 item in it) 

So I've made and sold what seems like a million beads these past months/year/decade.  I wonder what has become of them.  I want to see them in use.  I want to be inspired by the way you use them to make more! 

This is the opportunity part...
I would like to start a design team.  I would like you to be a member.  Artisan Clay Design team members will receive Artisan Clay beads for their use in their artwork.  I ask that you blog/(or otherwise share on social media) how you use them.   

Interested parties should contact me via email at artisanclay @ Please tell me why you would like to be an Artisan Clay design team member, your website links, and what types of my beads you like the most. 
I look forward to hearing from you and getting to know you better.

Monday, March 21, 2011

What's new?

Double sided Blue Burst Pendant/Connector
Things finally settled down around Artisan Clay land and I was able to get a few new beads listed in the etsy shop this evening.  
With such a busy spring, It feels like I've needed to square away a lot of details this week in order to keep it all running smoothly.  It seems like squaring things away has included tons of time emailing and phone calling and working out schedules with a lot of people.
I booked plane tickets for 6 to go to Kansas City for Easter weekend, and I booked a plane ticket for myself to run away to Oregon for a week in May.  It feels great to have that all settled.  I almost have all the arrangements made for my children while I am away. 
I still don't have a Oregon Trunk show lined up, but I am talking to someone.... I mailed beads out to Kansas City on Friday and I got word today that they have arrived. 
Blue and green Flattened oval
Some of you that know me on facebook might know that I have a Girl Scout troop for my 2 daughters.  This weekend we went on our first camping trip.  The girls are mostly in second grade and my younger daughter is in kindergarten.  It was crazy this week trying to figure out what I needed to do to get ready for a camping trip with 10 little girls....  Because I never would have thought that I would at this place in life, but I am.
I am trying very hard to do a lot for my daughters this year.  I have done fine art and bead shows since I was pregnant with my oldest and that made me very unavailable for them on the weekends.  This year I am trying very hard to do my work in a way that also lets me do things for them socially....

  I am really lucky to have been matched up with a wonderful lady as co-leader.   We are just there to build some positive happy little ladies and give them some tools for life :-)  and just let them be them :-)  And they are so freaking cute in their bunks keeping each other up at night and cleaning latrines and cooking for each other and roasting marshmallows.  It's been a real learning experience for me.  I am learning a lot about different personalities.  There are 2 girls who are always appearing right by my side.  My co leader is a therapist-- so that really helps!  I'm often asking her what to do with the kids emotional issues and she is so great for building them up.
We are taking the Girlies out next month for a 2 night camping trip.  This time it will be all the Girl scouts in our area at the camp at once.  There will be @250 ladies there and we are supposed to run an activity for all of them.... with the theme of Colombia....
And that is when I started emailing with my Zumba instructor trying to hire her to work all of that out for us......  It turns out there are a few traditional Colombian dances.... Because... what the heck are we to do with 250 kids running through an activity station in a day.  Yeah... I'm not really sure about that one.  I may be MIA around the end of April while I try to figure that out.
Side 2 of Bronze Pendant
Our troop was also asked to start seeds for a veggie garden that we are supposed to plant for our local food pantry... I don't know how that is going to work out either.  Wish me luck! and if you have any tips PLEASE let me know :-)   I have not had much success starting seeds indoors in the past.
So -- this explains why I have been a neglectful blogger these past months.  Planning trips and trunks shows and doing the things I can for my girls. 
I still haven't planted my early spring veggies in my own garden.  I did get a few potatoes in the ground and I moved my strawberries to a sunnier location, but I still need to figure out how to trellis my peas so that I can get them started.
So that's what's new!  Life!  Family! 
Do you plant any early veggies?  Which ones? 

Artisan Clay Etsy Shop Update Tonight!

I am going to be updating my shop this evening @ 7pm EST! Everything you see here and more will be in my shop by the end of the night! You can follow along on my Facebook fan page for first pick!
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Thursday, March 17, 2011

State of your Studio--a bit of the week

Friday--making beads... the kids were making hats.
Stamping the cards for the Bead Cruise beads
All sanded
Empty and headed to pick up my Trunk Show beads on Friday afternoon
Packing beads for Bead Boutique Kansas City, MO on Monday
I stalled out when I realized that I didn't have any more bubble wrap... Picked some up at the shop on Tuesday.
All packed up
Beads and Tally Sheet and tape and paper and it's all done :-)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Buttons-- A question?

     I have been trying to collect an inventory of buttons these past few months.  I have been trying to make a few more in each firing.  I recently signed up for Michele Mach's Button Swap and found out that my partner is Shannon (ForMySweetDaughter)....

     I have a question for you-- I would love to know your opinion.  DO you think that I should add buttons to my trunk shows in Bead Shops?  Or should I keep them separate and offer them to knitting and sewing shops? 

Monday, March 7, 2011

And the Winners Are....

And the winners are....
Mimi!  and Carol Dean!   Thank you all SO MUCH for coming to the blog yesterday and all your wonderful comments...  I really love hearing from everyone.  Mimi-- Could you please email me with your address?  artisanclay @
 I think I am going to have to make some more of those flowers!  All the pieces I added to the etsy shop yesterday are already gone. 

Today I hope to get the rest of my Bead Cruise Sponsorship beads packed up and carded up and on their way to Heather Powers.  Here's a picture of @50 or so pieces bagged up to go.  I wonder if I can get my daughter to tape business cards onto the bags for me before she heads to kindergarten for the day.  ?

And then maybe get more beads ready for my next Trunk show and work on the kids room some more and, and, and.....    I see a lot of evening bead making in my future this week....

Mondays are always so busy while I try to finish up all of Artisan Clay's business from the weekend before I head to my office job with my brother for the week.
?Do you have a "busy studio day"?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Welcome to my Work, Studio, Home, Garden!

First things first! Welcome to my Blog! Welcome to my Studio, my home and my garden!
I am super happy to be participating in the Beads-of-Clay Blog hop again!
 Don't forget to stop by all the "live" blogs from 1-4pm today for their "live" giveaway 1/2 hour windows! A few of us are participating in the hop, but are not doing the "live" posting.... in these giveaways, you have a longer comment window in order to be entered to win. My giveaway winners will be announced on Monday.  We all have specials going on in our online shops for a limited time.

Use coupon Code BOCOPENSTUDIO gets you 25% off your order and special Spring Cleaning HANDMADE BEAD SURPRISES IN YOUR ORDER

Here is a little sample of some of the beads that I make.  I use mostly stoneware clay, but sometimes work in porcelain or whatever suits my mood...    This week I have been working on a few new pieces inspired by my friend and jewelry designer Staci Louise Smith.

and this leads me to Giveaway #1.....  Hot out of the kiln...
A lovely spring flower.  Comment on this post for a chance to win the piece shown here.
The kiln shed is a mess from a winter of working to load and unload the kiln, but the cold and my schedule chasing me out while leaving tools lie.  Mice have made their winter shelters and yard tools and summer toys are piled high.   
My Daughter Sonya (6) is almost finished painting her Enormous Fairy Statue.  We often work together.  She tells me that one day she will have a shop and sell my work.  That would be a lot of fun. 

And also still warm...

My second giveaway!   Again leave a comment below... leave one comment leave six comments... I don't care.  Let me know you came :-)
I have been feeling the Spring coming and I feel the pace of life changing.  My messy home has been driving me crazy and stubborn as I am, I have tried to find a way for everyone to better clean up after themselves.  I totally understand that I make HUGE messes in all the crazy things I do..... and that's more reason for everyone else to clean up after themselves, right?  Picking up after myself alone is a full time job!  ha!  So here's the improved system... See the different cube bins?  Everyone has one, even the dog. (Our dog Samson's box is turned around so that he can't open it with the handle-- because he was quite obsessive about doing just that) This replaces the large containers to the right which used to house all the winter hats, gloves etc.. for the entire family.  Maybe we can handle keeping track of personal property better than rooting through communal property?  Maybe?  I hope so.

  The kids and I are still working on their room.  My goal is to get rid of the toy box.  We have a place for dress up clothes, a place for each girl's jewelry and make up, a place for Lego's and barbies and horses... and we're still working on it.  I have to wait for more shelves to arrive at the store in order to finish the job.

Spring means gardening to me.  I grew the beans and potatoes picture last year and I will replant with them again this year.  I'll be outside planting peas and sugar snaps and snow peas and lettuce and bok choi and potatoes and onions the weekend after St Patricks Day.  I might not be able to wait that long to start planting onions.  And there is starting seeds inside as well.  Very soon indeed!   I love planting veggies! I plant my yard to the max and my mom and I have 2 community garden plots.  This year I will also be planting a garden that is grown for a local pantry.  I don't know where I am going to find the time, but I always do in the end.
I did a little experiment this winter... I planted and relocated a few things as I was cleaning out the garden for the winter.  I put a sheet of glass over the bed and I peeked in every once and a while to see what happened.  Even in the snow and not shoveling the snow off the glass for a week or more sometimes-- things still grew.  It was great to have these little babies out under the snow.... but a little rodent found them and moved into my little salad bar during the snow storms and ate quite a bit of what had grown bigger.  It was a fun experiment and new sprouts keep popping up even now.  I took the pictures here yesterday.
If everything goes well with the family today, then I will be listing the extra flowers pictured above in my etsy shop while we do our normal Sunday night routine.... PBS-- Nature and Masterpiece Theatre... I don't even know what they will be airing this evening, but I hope to be relaxing on the couch and listing on etsy by then :-)

Thanks for stopping by!  Thanks for your comments!  I don't always get back to everyone who comments, but I do really appreciate when you let me know what you think!

Saturday, March 5, 2011


SALE! It's Beads-of-Clay Open Studio Blog Hop time again! COUPON CODE BOCOPENSTUDIO gets you 25% off your order and special Spring Cleaning HANDMADE BEAD SURPRISES IN YOUR ORDER! ~Now through Sunday March 6th.~

I will also be posting my Open Studio Blog Giveaways and Spring themed posts on Sunday Morning. 2 Winners will be announced on Monday. Tons of great Ceramic Bead goodness will be going on by many of our Beads-of-clay members.

There will be new work added to the shop this weekend, but not til late afternoon on Saturday and mid-morning on Sunday..... There's actually a little bit of a bead shortage around Artisan Clay land... even though I keep making more, much of it is promised out already.

I did get the kiln loaded up yesterday and start to fire as soon as I can get the nerve to go outside in the dark cold of this end of winter-- so close to spring- morning ;-)
I have been packing up beads to head out to Heather Powers for her Bead Cruise at the end of the month-- WOW-- It's fun packing them up, but it looks like I only made 50 or so disc beads in my last firing... time to make some more :-)  
So....SALE and new work coming to the shop this weekend... then probably there will be less new work in the etsy shop for a time while I make things for trunk shows, and get my jewelry retailers restocked and I do a bit of traveling-- ok for me it is a lot of traveling :-)  4 trips before June-- how am I going to pull that off?  It should be fun.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Trunk Show EXTENDED! And Open Studio BLOG HOP SALE this weekend!

Philly folks!
  The Artisan Clay Trunk Show at The Bead Garden in Havertown has been extended for one more week! 

Get 'em while they're hot folks!  After this week my beads will be packed up in a big box heading to Kansas City, MO...   So, if you are in the Philly area... go to the Bead Garden... If you are in the North Kansas City area.... check back for more details about my next Trunk Show scheduled to begin around Mid-March....

And if you are nowhere near either of those areas..... come by this blog and my Etsy Shop this weekend and SHOP my BEADS OF CLAY OPEN STUDIO BLOG HOP SALE AND GIVEAWAY EXTRAVAGANZA!    ha!

If I'm really hardworking and I don't get dressed and don't stop for food ( for either myself or my children) than I might have some really fun experimental beads to share with you... on Sunday..... to giveaway.... maybe. 

And if I don't then I will still have a killer sale and great bead studio spring cleaning surprises in every order.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

SandFibers 5th Anniversary Giveaway!

Carol Dean has just celebrated her 5th Etsy Anniversary!  I am very thankful for that!
I met Carol through her work on Etsy and Flickr.
She is giving away this Gorgeous Necklace Featuring a handmade Cabochon by Kristie Roeder of Artisan Clay-- Hey that's me!

That's not all-- Carol is also giving away Gift Certificates to her Etsy Shop.
You can stop by Carol's Blog and enter to win one of the many prizes...... or not and leave me with better chances :-D