When I first started using art beads, I went for lampwork. Lampwork was what an art bead meant to me. Over the past year or so, I've learned that (much as I still love handmade lampwork beads, and oh I do!),... there are many other art beads I love too: pottery, enamel, metal, cast metal, mixed media, and so on.
For oh-so-many months now, I've been particularly loving to work with pottery beads--from mud, to ceramics, to all sorts of clay--I love these beads, their unique colors, textures, and shapes. Just by talking with artisans, I've learned a bit about the process and the time it takes to make these beads, and it's so impressive to me!
Included are some of the first beads I bought from Marti Conrad.
Some I've ordered more than once!
I've used quite a few of them,
but also like to keep some on hand too!
One of my first-found and favorite bead artists in this medium is Marti Conrad of Marti's Buttons-n-Beads on Etsy. She sells beads that are made from stoneware clay and fit my designs so well. And she is constantly creating new designs. I no more place my order than she comes out with something else I want!
So I thought I would show you just a few of the purchases I've made from her shop, what I've made from some of her beads, and some of her newest items listed! We'll also hear from Marti herself! (There is so much to share, I promise it pays to read all the way through!)
Not long after I started buying beads from Marti, a custom order cometh our way... I admired her horse pendants and cuffs and thought I might know others who would also. Out of that came a custom order for 4 pieces of jewelry involving Marti's horse pendants and cuffs, along with her beads! (I found them a dream to design with and the customer was very happy!)
On the left is one of the bracelets made from one of her horse cuffs and 2 of her cone-shaped pottery beads. (I don't know why, but I think of these beads as "kernel" beads--like corn kernels! I've hinted I think these should be renamed to fit with my memory of their name!)
On the right is a pair of earrings I made to sell using her crater beads which I matched with copper snowflakes. In the end, I liked them so much I kept them for myself, and have been wearing them all season!
I mentioned I like to keep some of Marti's beads in my stash... here is most of my current batch.
A lovely fern pendant, another horse pendant, beads mostly in subtle, earthy tones, but you'll also find some cherry-like red and some coral cone-shaped beads among others. I also have some of Marti's buttons, which didn't make it into this photo.
Marti lives in a small town in rural West Virginia. I've often wondered how she started making beads, and so I asked and she was kind enough to share her story:
"I have done crafty things all my life as my mom started me out embroidering at the age of ten, crochet at 11 and then I started making polymer buttons and started in ceramic clay about eight years ago in order to have the fun money to buy vintage clothing buttons. My husband wanted me to collect buttons instead of dishes because they wouldn't take up too much room in the house...little did we know...lol.
Since then, I started in beads and making small jewelry components which opened the world to me. I have mailed pieces literally all over the world, Australia, Hong Kong, Europe, The Netherlands, Canada and all over the United States. The internet and online selling has really opened up my little world and I am so appreciative. It is so exciting to send my things here and there and see what people do with them. I thank you all!"
And thank YOU, Marti!
Now please join me for a look at some of my favorite beads currently in Marti's shop:
While I'm sitting around dreaming about using them, "our own" Jean A. Wells (don't you like how I claim people?!)...
who participated in our latest Challenge, has beat me to using them! (Click on Jean's name to link to a sample of her work using some of these beads!) They look fantastic! They come in a variety of colors and textures. I just must try some of those soon!
I have some of these beads in melon, and some round beads in this color and finish! How could I not love these?!
As well as her beads and horses, Marti has been making owl pendants way before there was an owl challenge!
They are cute beyond words!
Marti is an animal lover and you will find that reflected in her work. There are dog and cat paw prints, fish, turtles, and more!
You'll also find beads and pendants inspired by trees and ferns. (There's a sample fern in my stash photo above!)
And finally, another bit of nature headed our way soon...
Thank you to Marti for letting us take a peek into your shop, sharing your history and motivation for bead-making, and for all the wonderful beads you make and share with us!
Now, to the rest of you,
and her blog, where you'll find the "newest of the new" designs!
Oh what treats await you there!
P.S. I told you it would pay to read all the way through! In addition to learning more about Marti, we'll have a give-away!
Share this page on your blog, FB, or Twitter account,
then leave me a message you've done so with the link.
I'll draw a name and share a few beads
with the winner
from my lovely "Marti stash!"
Good luck to all!
Photographs from Marti's shop are used here by permission.
Photographs of completed projects were taken by Sharyl