Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Congratulations to our first Fashion Design Sponsor

Veronica Marziale
In 2014, BeadFX started a new venture in the sponsorship of a student in Ryerson University's Fashion Design Program. Veronica Marziale, a fourth-year student, contacted us to see about the possibilities of assisting her in the completion of her graduation collection which featured Swarovski sew-on crystals. We were happy to play a part!

On Wednesday, April 1, Veronica and her graduating class presented their collections at the 2015 Mass Exodus fashion show. BeadFX owner Margaret Yamanaka and I were proud to be sitting in the audience to witness Veronica's accomplishment.

The Soleluna collection was inspired by the Italian island of Capri, and the opulent lifestyle that it exudes. Capri is an island of fantasy and one in which people escape their ordinary lives to experience the beauty of nature, and nightlife. Soleluna is an Italian word which means sun and moon, and more commonly represents an Italian fairytale of sleeping beauty. The juxtaposition of night and day is reflected through the pale colored silks and rigid Swarovski crystals, which are beautiful under the light of the sun and even more beautiful under the light of the moon. The collection uses, delicate silks and lace with a strong emphasis on beading which give the collection a sense of luxury and make the wearer feel beautiful. 

Sketches of the Collections
Veronica's designs were classical and featured a muted colour palette of silk-based fabrics such as crepes,brocades and georgettes. 

The Garments

Congratulations Veronica! BeadFX will be looking at ways to expand this scholarship opportunity to include other fashion programs in the Greater Toronto Area.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Ask BeadFX: Differences in types of clay and classes in June?

from our question inbox: 
Hi there

Looking on your website at the various classes being offered in June, I see there are three different classes for clay - Art Clay Silver, Prometheus Metal Clay, and Hadar's Clay. What is the difference between the three types of clay and the classes offered? 
Clayly confused 

Dear Clayly

Hi there - good question!

All three types - Art Clay Silver, Prometheus, and Hadar's Clay - are 
"metal" clays - they are a very finely ground powdered metal, mixed with
 an organic binder. You work it and shape it like a pottery clay, 
rolling, wetting, drying, carving, etc. It is then fired to burn off the
 binders and leave you with a solid-metal finished piece. (The metal 
powder doesn't melt, the metal powder joins to itself in a process 
called "sintering" - but that was probably more technical than you 

These are 3 different brands, from 3 different manufacturers. 

Art Clay Silver is pure, precious silver clay - so that your finished 
piece is made of fine silver. It is one of the older brands of metal 
clay. The advantage is that your finished piece has the inherent value 
of the silver in it. The disadvantage is that it is expensive, which 
makes some students feel inhibited about working with it, and it is not 
the easiest to work with. 

Hadar's Clay comes as a powder, and you add water and mix it yourself. 
Some people find this fun, others are a little intimidated by this "roll
your own" approach. It is less expensive, however - as it does not 
contain silver - and does have a nice variety of metals. 

Prometheus is newish to market, and new to us, although not new to our 
instructor. It is a pre-mixed clay, and comes in only two colours, 
copper and bronze. It seems to be gaining a good following for being 
forgiving and easy to use and has very attractive pricing. 

Which you choose depends on what you want to do with it, but I would 
suggest that either the Hadar's or the Prometheus are a less expensive 
way to start. 

Hope that helps! 

Customized components for your jewellery designs

I am always searching for ways to create one-of-a-kind components to take my jewellery designs to the next level. Recently I discovered that I can put my pencil crayons to work and create some lovely focals to incorporate into my work. 

You can take any piece of metal (or paper clay) such as brass, copper or stainless steel and make it special. Here's a step by step overview:

1. Prepare the metal and create a "tooth" by rubbing your metal with fine steel wool or fine grit sandpaper. Clean the piece with soap and water. Dry it. 

This photo shows vintage brass stampings before prep. The black piece has been prepped and is coated with black gesso. 

2. Coat each piece with gesso. This product is found at art supply stores and is used to prep a canvas. White and black gesso offer great backgrounds for this project. 

These pieces were coated three times with gesso. The leaf still has a bit of orange coloured rust that can appear during the coating process. 

3. So the experts all say it is important to use Prismcolor pencils for colouring the metal. There is a higher wax content and they blend better in the next step. 

Here's my pencil crayons. They are expensive so use one of those 40% off coupons you know where when you decide to invest in them. I must use a lot of yellow!

Start colouring. There is no right or wrong here. Also you will see that, on stampings with lots of raised areas, your pencil crayon doesn't get down into the crevices. Don't worry. 

I coloured the whole piece yellow then orange in the centre and brown to finish the centre. 

4. Blend with mineral spirits or turpentine. Use a brush and keep it fairly dry. Too much liquid creates a big smear instead of a subtle blend. 

Here's a picture of stampings in various stages of colouring and blending. I usually blend once then go in and reapply colour then apply more mineral spirits to blend and so on until I'm satisfied. Use general colour principles such as complementary colours, apply dark to low areas and light colours to high areas to make them pop. Have fun. 

5. Some articles I've read suggest baking your piece in a toaster oven to set the colour. I've not tried that but maybe you want to. 

6. Depending on how I intend to use the piece, I will have made sure it was hole punched, etc. before I started working on it. If the back will be seen, I do the whole process on the back as well. Final step is to glaze the piece to set the finish. Any of these products will do the job: Diamond Glaze, ModPodge, clear nail polish. 

Here is a brass flower with gesso only and one that I coloured and incorporated into a bright and sunny bead embroidered medallion. 

Some flowers I finished and riveted to brass mesh and leather strap bracelets. 

Email me with questions or comments. Also, share pics if you try the technique. Have a great week and Happy Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 03, 2015

InspirationFX: What to Wear in my Blue Bel Air


Get your creative juices flowing

What to Wear in my Blue Bel Air

by: Lee Metsalo

Damned if I can locate it again, but this was inspired by picture of a 50’s turquoise  Bel Air, the colours, the lines in the upholstery.  The car is bigger than two of my kitchen, but I digress….
I haven’t done square stitch in a long time, and decided this would be the piece to try it with.  The bezel settings lend themselves to many mediums: I decided to try it with beads.  I stitched my piece together and finished the threads off.  Test fit your piece to the setting, make sure you can fit it in properly before applying the glue.  Put an even, not too thick layer of glue in the bezel setting.  Curve your beaded piece a little bit so the centre is higher than the edges.  Fit the edges in, line them up, then press the little hump down in the middle so it squishes in that way.  No curved up edges.  Let the glue dry, and then add the small eyepinned links and add your clasp  Do you have the turquoise poodle skirt to go with it?
Tools used: Needles,E6000, two pair flat pliers, cutters



Go to our components list for this project and to buy what you need!
Need some help with some of the techniques? Check our tips page.