Monday, December 17, 2012

Marti Conrad: Artisan Button and Bead Maker

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

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:

These new "Spindle Bead Caps" are delightful! 

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 love the shapes of these "Four Cone Shaped Handmade Beads."

I have some of these beads in melon, and some round beads in this color and finish!  How could I not love these?! 

BRAND NEW!  Aren't these "Turquoise Rose Beads" a lovely color, shape, and texture?!

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,
please visit Marti's Buttons-n-Beads shop on Etsy
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



Tanya said...

What a great spotlight! I love Marti's beads as well and it was nice to hear from her as well. You chose some great examples of her work .. At least one picture is sending me to her shop today. :)

Sharyl said...

So glad to hear it, Tanya! Hope you enjoy your shopping excursion! (I couldn't get through writing this without buying a couple of things also! ha!)

Sharyl said...

P.S. I failed to note, but the drawing for the Art Deco necklace and earrings will be done again. The winner did not come forward. Be looking for a new announcement!

Jessie said...

I love Marti's beads too and do agree with Tanya. I loved above all pieces and wanna say that your works is so beautiful and so is you. Getting this sort of thing for jewelry is really great and can change anything into beauty

Unknown said...

Just posted in the button group on Facebook! :)
Wonderful feature! Thank you!

KayzKreationz said...

What a great post. I had not seen her horse cuff. I love that. Will keep my fingers crossed to win some of her great beads. Thanks.

KayzKreationz said...

Just tweeted about your article.

KayzKreationz said...

Just posted on my facebook page.!/KayzKreationzGlassKreationz

Unknown said...

You know you are an enabler, right? Sadly, I couldn't find anything you pictured that I didn't like! :)
I've got to get a shop opened and start selling stuff, so I can buy stuff! (Sounds like an addiction,doesn't it) Sharing on FB now!

Sharyl said...

Oh yea, Shirley! That's how it begins, all right! lol!

Thanks to all helping to spread the word about Marti's beads! I have the prize ready to send as soon as we have the drawing! Will post winner Thursday, so there is still time!

Anonymous said...

Great post, Sharyl! I really enjoyed reading about Marti and seeing all the lovely beads. (Don't enter me in the drawing, I have won a few lately) - just wanted to say great job!

KayzKreationz said...

Just tweeted about the post and giveaway. I was so inspired about her interview, had to order one of her horse cuffs last night. Can't wait to get it, but hoping to win, too. LOL

Sharyl said...

Thanks, Lisa! (You are the luckiest, winning-est person I know! ha!) Sweet of you to sit one out every now and then, even though it's not at all necessary!

You, go, Kay! Really appreciate you sharing the post and news about Marti, and I know she appreciates it too!

Thanks to all for your support for our guest artisan!

Hope to have another feature up tomorrow! --Sharyl

Shai Williams said...

Thank you so much for introducing me to another bead designer. Just love Marti's beads.

Shai Williams said...

I shared on FB

Shai Williams said...

I tweeted

kmorgan said...

Thanks for sharing! I just love Marti's beads. They are unique and original. The earrings you made with the "corn" beads are fabulous! I will have to start following both of you. Will post this on my FB business page and personal page.

aneri_masi said...

This was such a delightful read :) Love those cone beads

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sharyl said...

Thanks to all who helped to spread the word! Your names will go into the bowl for the drawing.

I also must redo the drawing on the Art Deco pieces for the Artisan Whimsy sale event and give-away.

Maybe we'll just have a day of winner's listings Saturday!

As for now, I will end the submissions for this drawing, but hope you will continue to visit Marti's shop and share how wonderful her beads and buttons are! Thanks for participating!


Sharyl said...

Removed message from Despina from above and altered content to eliminate email address from public view:

Great presentation and beautiful work!! I'd so much love some of these lovelies!! Twitted: DESPINA on Marti Conrad: Artisan Button and Bead Maker