Thursday, January 31, 2008

Tibetans and Beads

While reading about dZi, I came across these two pictures of Tibetans wearing great beads. I bet the gigantic beads in this first photo are coral, but I've never seen beads that big made out of anything before!

Kyipup, an offical, in New Year dress.
Lhasa: The Holy City by F. Spencer Chapman, 1938

This man is wearing dZi beads. He's at the palace of the Dalai Lama, celebrating the Dalai Lama's birthday:

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

dZi Beads

I've been fascinated by dZi beads lately. Here is a picture of an old agate dZi bead with "dragon skin":

DZi beads are usually made of agate or fossilized palm wood and found in Tibet and India. There are many new dZi beads being comercially manufactured today, but the real dZi beads are hundreds or thousands of years old and they are dug up out of the ground. There is a lot of mystery surrounding who or what entities made the beads, and how. The beads have patterns of lines and circles that symbolize different things from the Buddhist tradition. They are considered amulets that protect the wearer.

DZi beads like the one pictured above get scales or "dragon skin" from burning in a ritual fire. Hundreds of years ago, monks would take part in a ritual of tossing a bead into a fire and chanting over it all night. When the bead was removed from the fire in the morning, it had the scales. These dragon skin dZi beads are considered very special.

I love the simple geometric patterns of the dZi, and I'm fascinated by their different meanings. I've made a few dZi-inspired beads with lampworked glass this past week. Here is one I've made into a pendant for my boyfriend Steve who is a massage therapist. It's a "healer's dZi," so called because of the pattern of 5 "eyes" (circles) connected in a cross with a lightning bolt on the other side. These photos show both sides of the bead:
dZi bead necklace

dzi bead necklace

More information about dZi beads:

Monday, January 28, 2008


This bead was made using Terra glass and a little black, encased with clear. The Terra and black reacted with each other to make the patterns. I love the colors and the look of this bead! There's so much to see in it, too. One person saw an eye (I see several eyes!) and I also see ocean waves and a colorful star nebula. What it really reminds me of are the psychedelic oil and water designs that are projected on the walls at dance parties, if anyone knows what I'm talking about! This bead is in my Etsy shop right now:
Psychedelic Bead

Friday, January 25, 2008

Landscape Bead

This one reminds me of Sedona... the red rocks, sunset and starry sky. It's made with Terra, Terranova, and some odd-lot Vetrofond colors. It's in my Etsy shop right now:
Landscape Bead

Friday, January 18, 2008

Business Record-Keeping for Artists

Working at the business side of being an artist is oddly enough something I enjoy doing. For a long time now I've been trying to design an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of my sales and expenses, but I don't know enough about Excel to get it to do what I want it to. Last year I tried using QuickBooks and became completely frustrated.

Finally I've found a place to purchase spreadsheets that have been specifically designed for artists, particularly artists that sell on Etsy:
I've been using some of these spreadsheets and they're great. It's a huge relief to finally have a bookkeeping system that works, is easy to use and easy to understand.

So here's my little plug for this Etsy shop, JJMFinance! Here you can buy all kinds of spreadsheets that will help you stay organized if you sell on Etsy, eBay, at craft shows or anywhere. I got great customer service when I needed help using the worksheets, and the products are very reasonably priced, too.

Getting organized and smarter about my business is a great way to start the new year! Woo-hoo!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Terra Disc Beads

Double Helix Glassworks re-released Terra glass a few weeks ago, and here's one of the first sets I've made with my new batch:
Terra Disc Beads

I love this glass now that I'm able to get color from it. It took me a whole lot of practice, and just when I'd gotten the hang of it this past summer, the glass company stopped producing it. Aarrgh! I must say I'm so happy to have it back now!

These Terra disc beads are listed for sale in my Etsy shop.

More on Etsy

I've been loving the metallic disc beads lately, and continuing on that theme I now have some green Gaia discs up on Etsy:
Gaia Disc Beads
I've also got a sweet little set of encased Kronos beads:
Kronos Glass Beads
I would have more to show, but sales have been so brisk that I didn't even have time to post photos of some of the sets before they were sold! Thank you to all of my Etsy customers!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

New on Etsy

I've got some more metallic disc beads up on Etsy. These are made with a Double Helix test batch called K-108. The metallic quality of this glass is the most mirror-like I've seen yet from Double Helix, reflecting silver, gold, green and blue:

K-108 Disc Beads
This bead is called "Jovian Tempest" and it's the first in my series of Tempest beads. I have a few more that I've photographed and will post here soon. I love the glass reactions and swirls in this bead. It's a flat tabular shape. The glasses in the bead include Terra, Intense Black, K-102 and Silver Cinnamon:

Jovian Tempest Bead
You can click on the photos to go to the Etsy listings.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Terra Disc Beads

I've posted some Terra disc beads on Etsy. These have lots of color in the yellow/red/purple range. Click on the image to visit my shop listing and see more pictures.
I love this glass!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Kuler Kolor!

Do you love color or have a flair for art and interior design? I love to play with color - color combinations are the primary inspiration for my beads. I'm so happy to have discovered this website: On this site I can create my own color combinations and see what other people are coming up with. I can also download these swatches to my Adobe Photoshop program and use them as themes for websites or any designs that need a good color scheme.

Here are a couple of themes I've made, just goofing around:

"Mulberry" ... reminds me of being 10 years old, picking mulberries off the tree in summer:Kuler Mulberry Color Theme
"Azalea" ... homage to the beautiful azalea bush:
Kuler Azalea Color Theme
This is a set of beads I made a couple of months ago called "French Garden." After I made them, I went into Kuler and created a theme around them:

the beads:
French Garden Lampworked Beads
the Kuler theme "French Garden":
French Garden Kuler Color Theme
Visit the site and create some themes if you are so inspired.
Go there:
Have fun!

Metallic Blue Glass K-102

I'm just loving this test batch of glass from Double Helix called K-102. I found out it's a heavily silvered version of Kronos. I finished a couple of small sets with it the other day. They were up in my Etsy shop, but they've sold now. ;-)

K102 Disc Beads
K102 Spacer Beads

Thursday, January 3, 2008

"Water" Sets on Etsy

Happy New Year everyone!

I have two sets from my "Water/Elements" series on Etsy right now. These are some of my personal favorites. I love the way the blue "water" appears to move as the bead is turned.
Check 'em out - click on the images!

Water Bead Set No. 1Water Bead Set No. 2