Tuesday, March 30, 2010

meet natalia garcia de leaniz

Natalia Garcia de Leaniz has been working with polymer clay since 2000. She loves the versatility of the medium and the freedom it offers as she works. Her work is primarily jewelery, often combined with silver.

As a dedicated “experimenter”, her home has been invaded by beads, textures, projects, experiments… her infectious passion and enthusiasm for polymer clay has spilled onto and into her husband, Daniel, who also works with clay and silver, when he has the time.

She is deeply interested in the development of the medium, and is a member of several international polymer guilds. This commitment led to the founding of A.P.E. (National Polymer Clay Association of Spain) that now numbers more than 150 active members!

During the last 5 years, she has organized several seminars and taught classes in Spain, UK, France and USA. This October, she and the Spanish Guild will hold their first Clay Carnival in Madrid!

Natalia has recently opened a shop in Madrid for polymer clay materials with the aim of bringing tools that are difficult to find in her country, Spain. Natalia also creates and sells specialized products for the medium.

Natalia’s work can be seen in many books including ‘Adapting quilt patterns to polymer clay’ by Sarajane Helm and Judith Skiner, ‘Bisutería’ by Elvira López del Prado, ‘The Art of Polymer Clay, Millefiori Techniques: Projects and Inspiration for Creative Canework’ by Donna Kato and ‘Edle Schmuck-Unikate & Accessoires aus Polymer-Clay’ by Bettina Welker.

Natalia and her wonderful husband, Dani, travel the world over attending polymer events such as Ravensdale, Synergy, and retreats. They're sort of our "Brangelina" only better! I've taught three times in Spain, each time the event was organized by Natalia and Dani. They're over-the-top kind, thoughtful and generous hosts - people who really would "give you the shirt off their backs". And that's no joke. They share their home and affection with an adorable, sweet, honey colored American Cocker Spaniel, Frodo.

I'm looking forward to seeing Natalia, Dani, Frodo and my friends, the A.P.E.S., again in October - CraftEdu faculty members, Judy Belcher, Leslie Blackford, Eva Ehmeier, Natalia and I will be 5 (of the 6) instructors at the Euro Clay Carnival Madrid. Oh boy, what a time that is going to be!


Monday, March 29, 2010

meet anne mitchell

Anne Mitchell

Anne started her creative career over 20 years ago as a professional lighting designer. Looking for another outlet for her artistic energies, Anne began teaching chain making and metal working approximately eight years ago for just pure enjoyment. During those years, Anne found that the creative outlet provided by teaching as well as a consistent demand for her classes was too alluring to deny. Leaving lighting behind in 2003, Anne is now a full-time designer, teacher, and author. Her classes always sell out at the Bead&Button Show. She is one of our most dynamic teachers always pushing the technical and artistic limits with her designs.

Anne's work is wonderful and she's an inspirational teacher, always encouraging her students to push further to excellence. We're very fortunate to have her on the CraftEdu team!


Friday, March 26, 2010

The one common denominator in all of my work is me so I thought that I would take a minute to tell you a little bit about my passion....I need to make things. Things out of fiber, glass, clay, metal, paper, no material is safe! My other need is to get whatever I am working on out of the second dimension and into the third. Color, form and texture are what make my heart sing.

This foray into the internet is a step along the way to broaden my audience in hopes of bringing joy in the form of an intimate object directly into your home from mine....what a concept! May you gather a fraction of the pleasure from viewing my work as I do in creating it. Thanks for your time, happy viewing. All good to you!

~ Gail

Flameworking, felting, beading, metal clay - Gail does it all and she does it all well. We are so fortunate to have this multi talented artist teaching at CraftEdu!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bead Crochet

Bead Crochet is one of my passions and every time I think I've reached the end of what you can do with it I find another avenue to try out. I'm Judith Bertoglio-Giffin and am honoured to be a part of CraftEdu.
I've been beading for more years than I care to admit to. In the 1990's I discovered bead crochet and have been asking myself, "I wonder what would happen if...?" ever since. This led to teaching, published patterns, two books, a how-to DVD and bead crochet design software. You can see examples of what I do at Bead Line Studios.
The materials are quite simple: thread, beads, a crochet hook and safety pin.

It's a highly portable technique. Once your beads are strung, throw everything into a hard cased sunglasses holder and you are good to go. The beads won't go wandering off and the pattern is already set (strung). All you need to do is slip-stitch the beads into a tube.

It's not an easy beading technique to pick up. My very first piece should have been a mile long as I crocheted, pulled out, crocheted and ripped back. There is something about adding beads to crochet work that makes one think you should have five hands. If you have faith and persistence it does click into place (literally).

It's the feel of the ropes that I fell in love with. They are so supple and you can create pieces that have no metal findings. I have over 10 years of teaching bead crochet experience that I hope to pass on to others.

Oh, and other beadwork projects as well. My other two passions are bead embroidery and freeform beadwork.

meet leslie blackford

I have been married for 21 years and I am a mother of 2 boys. I have always lived in either East Tennessee or Kentucky in very small towns and rural areas surrounded by woods, hills and an abundance of nature. Nature is one of my passions of life and one of the biggest inspirations in my work. I love to try to find ways of incorporating natural things into the clay like rocks, dirt, feathers, herbs, that kind of thing.

People tell me that I have the ability to express my raw emotions through my work. I never really set out to intentionally make things that mimicked what I was feeling but I look back at work I have done in the past and can see a vivid reflection of what was happening in my life at that time. I think that I use my work as a tool to "cope" with life in general. Usually when I am stressed or unsettled I get this huge urge to just feel clay in my hands . A lot of the time I don’t have any idea what I am going to make I just play around and see what comes out. Other times I will have a distinct idea stewing about in my head for months before I ever decide to actually make it.

Working with polymer clay has opened doors to many things people and places that I would never have experienced without it. I have truly enjoyed teaching polymer clay classes for the past seven years. Being a self taught artist, I find that I learn so much myself as I am instructing others in a class.

Leslie Blackford

What Leslie feels inside just flies out of her fingertips! It's as natural to her as breathing. Her work speaks. Her art comes directly from her heart and quite a wonderful heart it is.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

meet debbie tlach

I’m a muse on a mission .

To keep Debbie Tlach A.K.A. Artistgirl creating.

Most of the time it’s an amazingly easy gig.

Art makes her deliriously happy.

It’s in her blood, most of the time you can’t keep her away from her studio.

Every once in a while she’ll give me a devil of a time.

I’m up to the task of inspiration and I can be as stubborn as she is.

Debbie Tlach

Debbie is one of those artists who seems to do everything really well. I knew she could stamp, do polymer, but I never imagined that she paints, knits and hammers metal, too. All of which she will teach at CraftEdu! Lucky us, Artistgirl just can't help it, it's in her blood.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

meet marcia de coster

Her love for beautiful jewelry and a life long passion to create brought Marcia to beads in the early 1990’s. Marcia designs colorful and fun to wear jewelry and shares her designs through teaching and publications.

Marcia lives with her husband Mark in their San Diego Art Deco. Mark’s encouragement led Marcia to pursue her career as a fulltime bead artist.

Marcia teaches national and international workshops specializing in designs using right angle weave.

Her work has been published in Carol Wilcox Wells the Art and Elegance of Beadweaving and she was recently one of the showcased artist in Masters:Beadweaving. Marcia is also a 2009 ‘Designer of the Year’ in Beadwork magazine.

Marcia is the author of "Beaded Opulence" an adventure in off loom beading techniques!

Anyone who follows the world of Bead Art and its artists is familiar with the art and talent of Marcia deCoster. Marcia is a much in demand instructor and teachers the world over. We're so pleased to bring Marcia to you through CraftEdu.

Monday, March 22, 2010

meet loretta lam

Loretta Lam Biography

Loretta Lam is a Studio Jeweler whose work is found in fine art and craft galleries nationwide and at the northeast's finest craft shows.

Education: BFA, gold and silversmithing from SUNY New Paltz.

Awards: 2010 Double NICHE Award Finalist, 2008 NICHE Award Winner and Double Finalist, 2007 Bead Dreams Finalist.

Exhibitions: Craft Forms 2010, Wayne Art Center, Wayne PA., 2008 RAGS Wearable Art Show, Tacoma WA., Long Beach Island Foundation Show, 2007, Loveladies NJ. Teaching: Snow Farm Art Center, Williamsburg MA, Brookfield Craft Center, Brookfield Ct, Silvermine School of Art, New Canaan Ct.


Loretta is an accomplished, mature and successful working artist. Niche Awards aren't passed out like candy (some awards seem to be!) and Loretta's work merits that recognition and acclaim. CraftEdu is very fortunate to have her on our faculty. Now, the work of Loretta Lam.


Friday, March 19, 2010

meet louise little

For all their austerity, I find the deserts of the Western United States a beautiful wonderland of nature. The awesome uncluttered arid spaces are studded with some of the most beautiful flora on earth.

The colors range from muted earth tones to vibrant jewel like hues; and the desert at night sparkles like diamonds.

Art to me has always been an expression of colors and textures. I love Impressionist paintings. In 1997 I bought a lampworked bead from a glass artist and found a medium that allows me to bring the southwestern deserts to life in the form of art beads and ultimately jewelry.

My jewelry is all about color and texture found in the deserts of the southwest including those wonderful blooms. I add metals to the glass to get desert colors, and I incorporate hand fabricated metals that have been textured for tactile interest. Working with these materials and gaining inspiration from nature is very exciting. I like to put these elements together is a piece of jewelry that is somewhat abstract yet wearable.

Louise Little

I met Louise at Synergy 2 - let me say, her work just knocked me out and I consider our meeting one of the highlights of the conference. Welcome, gentle Louise, it is so good to have you on our team.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

meet tamara honaman

Tamara Honaman has been making jewelry for over 15 years, working in a variety of media, including metal clay, wire, sheet metal, polymer clay, glass and beads. She is a certified Senior Art Clay and PMC Instructor, and teaches a wide range of jewelry-making techniques at national and international trade shows as well as on national television programs.

You can catch Tamara’s jewelry-making segments on the public television series “Beads, Baubles & Jewels,” the DIY program “Jewelry Making,” in videos available on the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads® website as well as in “Secrets to Art Clay Success,” a DVD devoted to projects using Art Clay. She creates and writes jewelry-making projects for books and international and national magazines.

Tamara is the founding editor of Step by Step Beads and Step by Step Wire. She currently works for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads as a resident expert jewelry designer – creating and authoring educational content for print, video and the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads website.

Tamara was born and raised in New Jersey and now lives in Collegeville, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania with her husband of 18 years and their two sons.

(And...Tammy is just about the nicest, kindest person you'll ever meet! D)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

meet sherry serafini

Our bead artists are amazing. They all make me want to give beading a try - although my attention span seems to be too short for beading of any kind (proven time and again!) But, every time I see the work of Sherry, Maggie, Marcia, Margie and Jean, I want to try off loom beading again.

I do believe Holly Golightly would gladly abandon her pearls for the beauty pictured above. The perfect little black dress, upswept hair, a tasteful tiara and you're the Belle of any Ball! Well, Sherry's work does take me to another place, another world. Rich, opulent, luscious, the work of Sherry Serafini.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

meet kim cavender

Kim Cavender is quite a talented polymer artist. She also loves rocks and natural forms. Anyone who has cruised a beach or trail with Kim knows, you're very likely to lose her as she wanders off and she's just as likely to have to pay excess baggage from the added weight of stones, pebbles, boulders and branches she will haul home.

But, all that has had its benefit. Look at her work! Very wonderful, Kim.

Friday, March 12, 2010

meet michele yamaguma

I own a Michele Yamaguma - three lovely fish kites waving in the wind. This was for "Boy's Day" - I have no boy, other than Vernon, but I didn't care, I love those fish and I love the piece.

Michele has the gift of taking bits of paper, bits of bamboo and threads, branches, adding some stamping and making Beautiful Things. I find her work very Zen-like, harmonious, calming - it draws you in and when you're in, you're very happy and content to be there. She creates worlds in which we'd like to live.

Like her wonderful art, Michele is centered, balanced. It took a little work to get Michele to join the team - she's very humble. I think it was sharing what she knows with students that ultimately led her to CraftEdu - that's a motive worth working for. That's very Michele Yamaguma, it's also very Zen.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

meet sylvie peraud

Maniguette! We first met in England at Helen Cox's Polymer Play Days in Nottingham. She was a student, leading a crew of French polymer enthusiasts - translating like mad. The next time we met was again in Nottingham, this time Sylvie was an instructor for, at the first event, it became very clear, "maniguette" was not only a gifted translator, she was also a very special artist. When the instructors are "oohing" and "ahhing" and nearly wrestling each other to the ground to get a certain black and white backfilled bracelet (Judy won) you know something is up.

Sylvie moves easily from primitive to retro, from organic to pure polymer - I know you'll love her work and her classes, too. I do!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

meet lilian chen

Lilian Chen is an artist working with wire. Wire and crystals (she's a Swarovski Crystalized Elements Ambassador). Her work is fluid, free, loose and quite unlike any wire work I've ever seen - it has a very high "wow" factor! Combining wire and crystal isn't easy - crystal is brittle and the wrong wire twist sends shards flying. But, Lilian clearly has "the touch". She's a master.

It doesn't end there though, Lilian is also an expert at Chinese knotting. Wire, beading, knotting, she does it all and she does it so well.

She's also a dynamo, another energizer bunny. I can't wait to see her classes - and how she does this incredible work. So, today, here is the Art of Lilian Chen.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

meet louise duhamel

It was a few years ago that Louise and I met - it was in Istanbul at The International Bead and Beadwork Conference. Let's say the conference itself needed better organizing but it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience one of the great cities of the world and meet artists like Louise. After it was done, we all wanted to return to Instanbul (was Constantinople).

Of all the instructors, I do believe Louise worked the hardest (at least in metal and clay, we seemed to be segregated from the bead ladies and gents) - she taught at least 4 (maybe 5?) full classes to students so happy to have the chance to learn from this talented artist and have the chance to get to know her, too, for she is quite simply one of the very nicest people around.

When we began CraftEdu, I knew we needed Louise for metal clay and beading. It's so nice working with you again, Louise! I think it's about time to begin planning for that trip back to Istanbul, too.

Monday, March 8, 2010

meet judy belcher

Judy Belcher is one of those rare artists in whom both the right and left brain function equally well. She was an accountant, she understands numbers (making her a killer at Blackjack!) She also understands art and the business of art, what it takes to be successful at it, she's also a master polymer artist - all of which makes Judy Belcher what we call, "the total package, plus". Judy is past president of the International Polymer Clay Association and organized the very first Synergy conference. She gets things done.

We've been friends for a long time now. Over the years, I've been impressed by her wisdom, she's even tempered and she sees the whole picture. Judy isn't one who makes the veritable mountain out of a mole hill. She's also very funny - one laughs quite a lot in the company of Ms. Judy.

CraftEdu wouldn't be what it is without Judy and her wise and honest counsel. It's so good to have such smart friends!

And now, please enjoy the Art of Judy Belcher.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Third colorway Descending Nights!

Man I love this one! That is so often the case that my very latest work is my favorite one.....This is Descending Nights for Beading by the Bay (next week!) and it is a pretty gunmetal metallic fire polish with just a touch of a pale pink bead, accented with purple haze.

It's always interesting to see which will be the most popular choice, the original purple iris with volcano paparadscha,

or the brandied olivine

or the newest gunmetal metallic with purple haze

....What's your guess?

And if you're thinking you'd like to make one of these, there is still time to join us! Next weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Maggie, Me and Jean and many of our longtime students and friends. It can't help but be a great time!

meet j. elizabeth gyles johnson

As a frustrated illustrator and animal lover, all I can say is "I wish I had drawn that!" Elizabeth has captured that "you're leaving town, again?" look that I have often seen on my two canine children.

We've all heard or said "I can't draw, I just can't" and you know, too many people actually believe that. Elizabeth has taught drawing and painting and mixed media collage for 20 years - taking students who began believing the "I can't" and ending with "I did".

I'm looking forward to her lessons and pulling out the old pencils and giving Doc and Zoey another try. With her help, I know I can do it.

Here, a glimpse of the Art of J. Elizabeth Gyles Johnson. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

meet carol blackburn

What can I say about a woman who dons headgear with upright, blinking, pom poms and a feather boa tied around her neck? It's Carol Blackburn! Carol is a small, warm package filled with tons of fun.

Before she discovered polymer clay, Carol worked in the textile industry, designing knitted fabrics. Once she found polymer, her 5 knitting machines were packed away and we are very glad she found us! What she brings from those years in the textile industry is her wonderful sense of color and pattern, infused in her polymer artwork.

Carol is English, lives in London and is the author of the best selling "Making Polymer Clay Beads". This must have addition to any polymer library has been published in 4 languages - English, German, French and Italian further testament to its great popularity.

Not only will Carol teach polymer clay, I've convinced (begged) her to teach us how to make tassels, too. Pretty exciting, I must say. Now, enjoy the art of Carol Blackburn.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

meet linda lum debono

The first thing I noticed about Linda Lum Debono was her smile. Warm and inviting - it says "girlfriend!" big time. I think her work expresses the same warmth and exuberance of the woman her self. Look at that fabric (which she designs) and you just know Spring must be right around the corner.

Linda not only designs fabric for Henry Glass, but she knits, she quilts, she even scrapbooks and she writes about it, too. We have much to learn from this versatile artist. Click on the thumbnail to see just what I'm talking about.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

meet Maggie Meister

Today we have another treat for you - the art of Maggie Meister. Maggie's work is breathtakingly beautiful (makes me want to find my beads and start!) She has looked back and brought forth her own incredible interpretations of the past. Beauty is timeless and the work of Maggie Meister is timeless in its beauty.

Throughout the building of CraftEdu, she has been spot on and ready to share her knowledge and inspired vision with all of you. I can't wait to watch and learn from this pioneer in the world of Bead Art. I know you'll feel the same after viewing the Art of Maggie Meister, too.

Monday, March 1, 2010

home again

Back from Baltimore and the Synergy 2 conference. It was terrific - and I think most came away with a renewed sense that the time for self expression is here. Like any medium, polymer clay has been through its phases - Technique Phase, where everyone wanted to know how to do a particular thing. Now, we're in Self Expression mode - time to put all that knowledge to work and say something about ourselves with it. Art from the Soul.

Today, I'm putting up Gordon Uyehara's Gallery presentation. Gordon's metal clay work is incredible, impressive and bold. He's quiet and gentle but speaks with a big voice in his work. I know you'll enjoy seeing his work as much as we enjoyed our time with Gordon himself.