Wednesday, October 28, 2009


My first show displays were black & white, they were pretty cool, so I thought, but I didn't know anything. :o) In the fall of 2008, I did a few shows w/ Jennifer Ionta...her table is all coppers, golds & warm wood tones... my pieces looked incredible on it!! I asked her if she'd mind if I borrowed some of her elements & she didn't. If you look @ our tables side by side, you'd think we coordinated nicely, but they actually look nothing similar. The biggest difference is that she can set up & then pack her table up in less than 30 minutes.... my table, on the other hand, LOL, takes a minimum of 2 hours on both ends. I get so much crap from my lampworking friends (& others) for how long it takes me, but it doesn't matter to me...I like the look & it's really paid off. You won't believe the crowds it draws!

I took some pictures of my bead show table this past weekend. I really love this display. Photographed it looks really REALLY really obnoxiously busy, I don't think it's as busy in person & I can't tell you how many comments I get on it at each show I do. It's gradually morphed into this over the past year.

If you've seen my booth in person, tell me what you think of it....

Lots of pictures....
(click images to enlarge)
I look @ this picture & remember the trim that I bought to be sewn around the edge of the top fabric cover... it really needs it...
It's really hard to tell what's my table & what's behind me... kind of busy.

I definitely haven't nailed the best way to display my utensils, barware, pens & kaleidoscopes yet...

Notice my friend Brad Bernstein reflected in my mirror! LOL. (check out his website, he does beautiful work!)
One of the newest additions is this copper wire display that holds/displays earrings, chains & ribbons. Handmade, of course. It worked really well & looked so much better than the manufactured 3-tier display I was using before.
The little cream square dishes are from Pier 1... I have a gazillion of them & they're perfect for filling in spaces (can't have any blank spaces, you know?!) They make a really cool grid of squares & you can arrange them in tons of different ways.
Yes, my bead "trays" are wood photo collages (from Kohls)...I just wrapped the glass in fabric.

My new printer's drawer display worked out perfectly!!! I really loved it sitting upright the way it was (not my original intention)... I'm going to try to find some slim "picture lights" for it so it is well lit all the way across.

Here are a few birdhouses...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I am photographing some of my pieces today, It's been too long! I really need to get into the habit of photographing ALL of my pieces before I sell them, but I'm usually making pieces up till the last minute & then they're off to shows or the gallery or whatever.

Anyway... I THOUGHT I had written about my photography before, but I'm not finding the post, so here I am. :o)

I get alot of comments about my photography... everything from what camera I use to whether or not I have my beads professionally photographed. Wow...that one makes me happy! :o)

Photographing beads is not as easy as you'd think. I have a pretty good eye, so that helps, but I used to photograph my beads on a white background & then when I went to edit them, I would first try to make the background white again & it would usually completely wash out the colors in my beads. I never could figure that one out... so I eventually started just trying to get the colors of my beads right & then would PAINT the background around my beads white, trying to keep the shadowing right & all of that. Talk about a hassle & definitely not perfect.

Two things happened at about the same time in early 2008...
First, my local lampworking group took a little field trip up to Jeff Barber's place for a little photography lesson. He's a great teacher & had all sorts of great info & tips. The NUMBER ONE thing I learned from Jeff that I had no clue about was about the SPOT METER on my camera. (Read your camera's manual to find your spot meter) The spot meter reads ONLY the light on the subject, (aka my bead) & ignores the light around it, so that the light exposure on the bead is PERFECT every time. No more tweaking to get the coloring right after the fact, period. Jeff also photographs on a black background & his images are very rich looking, I figure that this might help my beads as well.

Jeff also recommends at least 5oook 30 watt daylight bulbs. This is what I use:
5400k 30 watt daylight photo compact fluorescent umbrella shaped spiral bulbs. I found them from this seller on eBay. Pricey, but worth it (actually, these are a really good price for these bulbs...2 for $20!). Photo bulbs make all the difference.

Coming away from Jeff's, my bead images almost instantly started looking 100% better. I was thrilled!!

The second person that I credit for improving my photo quality is
Lori Flanders of Isabel's Rose (Loriola on LE). She posted a photo tutorial in her blog that included her fabulous "spotlight" gradient/black background that makes it look like your beads are under a spotlight. It's brilliant & works like a charm. THANK YOU LORI! She certainly deserves all of the credit for this one.

Some days I have my background sheet sitting on a chair by my back window, some days I use my portable table top photo studio ($40 including shipping...great quality!). I just love easy to set up & so easy just to fold up & put away. (I use these lights AND lights w/ the bulbs I mentioned above) I also take most of my photographs from above my pieces while they're laying on the background, this studio is easy to tip backwards so that the sides & top seen below become 3 sides w/ no top so I can get in on top of my pieces w/ my camera.
I HAVE to mention, while talking about tabletop photo studios, that my first photo "tent" was a black one, like this...
this is a big DON'T!
...they're advertised to be "Great for products such as jewelry, watches, crystals & highly reflective objects" & that "white tents makes it easy for unwanted reflections". Hmmmmmmmmmm... just think about what kind of a reflection you're going to have on your highly reflective glass beads when your light is coming through a white rectangular window in your black tent?? Do I need to tell you?? It's kind of obvious. Okay, I'll tell you. You get oh-so natural RECTANGULAR reflections on your highly reflective glass beads. Need I say more? :o)

As far as my camera goes... it's an old one (2004... that's OLD as far as digital cameras go!)... Kodak EasyShare DX7590, 5-megapixel, 10x zoom. It's a great camera, really it is (obviously it is), I'd just like to update it someday soon!

Here's a progression of photographing a bead...from white background w/ no spot metering, to using the spot meter, to the black background.

White background, no spot meter, no tweaking.
I added a white border so you can see how it would look on a white background website.

White background, no spot meter, bead tweaking. See how background doesn't get white enough?
I added a white border so you can see how it would look on a white background website.

White background, no spot meter, tweaked the background to make it white. Bead color is off now. If it were a light bead it would be all washed out at this point

White background with spot meter, no tweaking. White background makes spot meter read too much light all over. Not horrible, but you lose the edge of the silver w/ the white background. Plus if this had been a light colored bead, the white background wouldn't have worked at all.

Black background with spot meter, no tweaking...

Black background with spot meter, no color tweaking whatsoever... just lightened it up very slightly. Nice. :o) Lighting could've been better to start with but these were just quick shots...
The one thing that used to frustrate me w/ this camera is that in MACRO mode (the "flower" mode), when I tried to get a close up picture by zooming in, it was ALWAYS fuzzy. I could not get a clear close up picture to save my life. What I eventually figured out was that in MACRO mode, you CAN'T use zoom (at least not w/ my camera). I can bring the camera super close to my subject (4" or so!) & get an ultra sharp picture in MACRO mode as long as I don't ZOOM.

SOMEDAY: A BASIC (very basic) lesson in Photoshopping...

Friday, October 23, 2009


Really quick post today... I'm getting packed up for the show, but took a quick picture of my new printer's drawer display... thought I'd show you, too.... I just put a few pieces up on it, so it's just a tease, you'll have to come to the show to see it full.... it'll be wonderful. :o)
(click images to enlarge)
Yes... I defaced it w/ small silver upholstery nail heads & lined each section in cork. Yes it's an antique & yes, I feel a little guilty, but it looks good, don't you think?? :o)

Don't forget.... print out coupon in blog post below for 20% off any one item & come see me!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


If you're in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area (aka. the Twin Cities) this weekend, come see me at the TWIN CITIES BEAD BAZAAR...October 24th & 25th, 10am - 5pm, $3 admission, good both days. It's at the Eisenhower Community Center, 1001 Highway 7 in Hopkins, Minnesota. It's a great show w/ awesome vendors.... not only many phenomenal handmade glass bead artists (like myself!!), but Beads, Findings, Silver, Beadwork kits, Vintage Glass & Swarovski, Ceramic Faces, Seed Beads, Findings, Vintage Jewelry, Vintage Cabs, Bali Silver, Bead Storage, Stone Beads & Cabs, Pearls, Czech Glass Beads
Trade Beads, Beading Supplies and much much more!! It's really a great show.

I will have not only a great array of my glass beads available, but also my copper electroformed glass acorns & birdhouses as well as some beautiful pendants, finished necklaces, bracelets & earrings, too! I might even have some of my glass handled utensils & bar ware. I also have handmade findings, like changeable bead holders that make it really fun to have a great collection of art glass beads that you can easily change at will into a pendant without having to make a commitment. :o)

I have handmade ornaments, too!

Print this coupon for a 20% discount on any one item at my booth
This will be my 2nd time having my own space at this show... the spring show was so fun & so successful for me, a great kick off for my first year of shows & this will be my final show of 2009. It's been an awesome year.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Just wanted to do a quick check-in...

I've been pretty busy getting ready for fall shows & traveling. Spent almost a week w/ some of my favorite glass friends in Chicago & St. Louis a few weeks ago (completely surprised the St. Louis ones... so much fun!!), will be hanging out in Des Moines this weekend & our local TWIN CITIES BEAD BAZAAR is coming up the following weekend (October 24th - 25th, come see me!)... then I'll be heading off to Austin, Texas to take an Andrea Guarino class with a few of my Chicago, Missouri & Minnesota glass friends... I'm SO EXCITED!!!

I've been torching a bunch lately & have an ice cream bucket full of beads waiting to be cleaned... I took a few pictures of them in the water for you... check them out, I think they're pretty yummy. :o)

(click images to enlarge)

Aren't they fabulous?? I can't help it, I'm completely excited about what I'm making these days....
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