Studio Musings

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Interview with Cynthia Machata of Artisan Whimsy

cover page of March/April 2014 issue of Artisan Whimsy emagazine
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of corresponding with Cynthia Machata, Lead Editor for Artisan Whimsy: A Creative Bead Chat, asking about my work with freeform peyote, self-publishing, teaching and more. 

Artisan Whimsy is the brainchild of Melinda Orr, with the goal of 'bringing the handmade beading/jewelry community together in a place where newbie or skilled artisans could share and learn'.  The free online magazine definitely lives up to it's vision.

The content of these online magazines is more fluid than the mainstream publications we all already know and love.  A single issue may combine artist interviews (such as the one featuring yours truly, starting on page 78 in case you're curious), sneak peaks into artists' studios, lots of gorgeous eye candy for inspiration, and a variety of short tips and tutorials, including tips and techniques for beading, wirework, manipulating photos, improving one's blog and running a craft-based business.  They can even include embedded video tutorials. 

Interested in writing an article?  Consider submitting your idea!
 A little peak inside (I think the layout and design is lovely): 

In parting, I'll also add a shout out to Creative Spark, another free glossi edited by Hope Smitherman and produced by ZnetShows.  Especially if you have a love for crystals or sea glass. 

Do you have a favorite online beading magazine?  I'd love to hear. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Join me for beading fun at Fusion Beads

Teaching workshops is one of my absolute favorite things.  I love the creative synergy that in-person workshops engender, where everyone in the class becomes an additional source of inspiration.  It's nice getting out of the studio and sharing what I love with other beady folks.  And I have two of my favorite workshops coming up in the next few weeks. 

Interested in creating your own Fancy Fish Friend?

Fancy Fish workshop at Fusion Beads in Seattle, Saturday, March 29th
Fancy Fish workshop at Fusion Beads in Seattle, Saturday, March 29th
These little guys are the top selling pattern in my Etsy shop, and I'll be teaching them at Fusion Beads on Saturday, March 29th.  Need to come up with

Or how about some freeform fun while creating your own Personal Planet?

Personal Planets freeform peyote beaded beads, Saturday April 12th
Personal Planets freeform peyote beaded beads, Saturday April 12th

These freeform beaded beads are a great introduction to freeform peyote, and a thoroughly fun way to play with color.  Best yet, they are quick!  Especially compared to most other freeform peyote.  Join me on Saturday, April 12th, again at Fusion Beads.

Download Fusion Bead's full spring schedule by clicking this link.  Call or stop by to signup, 206-782-4595 from 10am-7pm PST.

Three Fancy Fish by Gabby Guset, Vala Richmond and Jade Chan
Fancy Fish by Gabby Guset, Vala Richmond and Jade Chan from my last workshop

Friday, March 14, 2014

Would you like to see your work in print?

Would you like to see one of your freeform peyote beading pieces in a book?  I'm still accepting submissions for inclusion in my upcoming book, Explorations in Freeform Peyote Beading.

What I'm looking for are original designs, high-quality photos and a wide range of styles.  The predominant beading style of all work submitted for consideration must be freeform peyote, though pieces may include other beading styles, stitches and media.  Works may be jewelry, accessories or small sculptural pieces.  This is open to all artists both within the United States and abroad.

The deadline is March 31st 2014, which is fast approaching.

I'm looking for both finished pieces and for artists willing to show a peak into their process.  Here's the skinny:

Finished Works
I need finished pieces to help showcase the breadth and depth of the medium and to help illustrate specific design and construction techniques.  I'm looking for both Rock Star stand-out pieces and good solid samples of freeform peyote design. 

If I use your work, the caption will include the your name (and your photographer’s name, if different) and the title of your piece.  I will also include your name and the title of your piece in an index of photographs, with a link/URL to your website, blog or estore (limit one URL).  In addition, each artist will receive a digital copy of the completed book.

Share Your Process & Become a Featured Artist
My goal here is to show how other artists tackle the construction and design process.  Besides photographs of the finished piece, I'm also looking for several process photos illustrating the key points in helping someone else understand what you are doing.  A photograph of your source of inspiration or any design sketches is also welcome.  Include some written commentary explaining your process and process photos (2-3 paragraphs). 

If you are chosen as one of my featured artists, you will receive a print copy of the finished book and a $50 token of appreciation for your contribution. 

Interested in Submitting a Piece?  
Read through the general guidelines below

Please use my Submission Form!   I am not trying to be contrary here, but it helps insure that I receive all of the information I need and keeps all of the information in one place so I don't accidentally lose track of what you have submitted.

Due to upload limitations, the maximum file size for each image is 3MB, with a maximum of three images per entry.  You may submit up to two Call for Entry applications if you would like to submit more than three images. Please let me know if you have larger or other versions of your photographs available. 

General Guidelines
Copyright:  Only submit work for which you are wholely responsible for both the design and construction.  If your work was inspired by the work of another artist, please include the name of the artist and their work, explaining how it acted as your inspiration.

Works submitted for consideration should be relatively new, produced within the past three years, preferably that has not been published in any other print format, to avoid potential licensing infringements.  If your work has been reproduced in another book or magazine, you must let me know where as there may be copyright/licensing issues involved.  If your work has appeared on a blog or other digital format, please let me know this as well (including URLs where available) and whether it was that particular photograph that was used for the site.

Licensing: If your work is accepted into this project, you agree not to publish your work in any other format (including your personal blog and social media pages) until the publication date of the book, or December 31, 2014 if the book has not yet been released.  You retain all rights to your photograph and to the original work.  You grant Karen Williams and Skunk Hill Studio the right to reproduce photographs of your work in print and digital formats, including publicity materials (websites, press releases, blog posts, postcards, etc) related to the book.

Image Format & Sizes:  Images may be submitted as .JPG or .PNG.  Minimum file size (1500x2000pixels), Maximum file size 3MB (3072KB).  If your image is selected for inclusion, I may contact you to see if it is available in a larger format.

Photography Tips:
Backgrounds: Keep the background simple and appropriate for the piece.  Neutral backgrounds - white or black - work really well so long as they read as white or black in the photograph (whites that look yellow are hard to correct without losing color details in the piece, for instance).  More detailed backgrounds can also work, so long as they help tell the story of the piece without overwhelming it.  A fantastic guide to taking great photos is The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos by Heidi Adnum (I wrote a more detailed review here).

Color:  Make sure the photo is as close to true color as possible!  If you are submitting multiple shots of the same piece, make sure that the colors remain consistent between photos.

Focus:  I can't stress this one enough!  The focal point of your photograph must be crystal clear.  I want people to be able to see individual beads.  If you're photographing a larger work, such as a necklace, the entire piece may not be in focus due to depth of field issues.  This is okay so long as the most important part of your piece is in crystal focus. 

Process photos - it's extremely important that these be on a solid, neutral background (white, grey, cream or black).   I take process photos on my bead mat which has a very fine texture - that's fine so long as it comes across as subtle texture and not wear.  It's okay to have stray beads mat, so long as they don't interfere with the viewers ability to see the photo's focus.   Watch out for stray pet fur, lint and other stray bits though. 

In taking process photos, try to come up with the key points in helping someone else understand what you are doing.

Any questions?  Let me know!  I look forward to hearing from you.