Saturday, June 21, 2008

Second Place, Art Bead Awards

My set of faux cloisonne beads, Conchita, the Beauty of California, took the second place in polymer Clay Beads Category, Art bead Awards 2008. Works of all winners will be featured in November/December issue of issue of Step by Step Beads and on the Step by Step Beads website.

I love using my faux cloisonne beads as little canvas for wearable art. This set of beads was inspired by an unbelievable story of love between a Russian explorer, Nicholay Rezanov, and a daughter of the San-Francisco Governor, Maria de la Concepcion Marcella Arguello (Conchita, as she was called in the family), at the beginning of 19-th century. Coming from the opposite ends of the globe and from such different cultures, they found each other and fell in love. Being a Russian noble, Rezanov could not marry without the Russian Emperor's permission, for which he had to travel back to St.-Petersburg. Conchita promised to wait for him. She did not know that on his way through Siberia Rezanov fell terribly ill and died. Only many years later did she learned of his fate, but refused to believe it. She received many proposals from many admirers, but turned all of them down. Conchita had been waiting for Rezanov for three decades... When the news of his death were finally confirmed, she devoted herself to charity and teaching Indians.

This bead set is done using my faux cloisonne technique, with all details formed out of pieces of wire. The red swirl details were formed with wire as well; the wire was removed after baking the beads and the obtained impressions were back-filled with red polymer clay. This clay contained some glitter, hence the sparks you can see in the picture. After applying two layers of the resin, the beads were adorned with siam flat-back Swarovski crystals.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Web Site Update

I am very excited to finally unveil a new version of my web site. I had been working on it for a while, writing all the codes form a scratch, so I am very proud of the result. Please check it out:

I changed the appearance of the pages to hopefully make them look more professional. The swirls on both sides of each page are actual wire details from some of my faux cloisonne pendants and earrings. I also made all pages exactly the size of the screen, with a scroll bar added within some of the pages. I really like this lay out, because it keeps all the other elements of the page – all the buttons, the site title, some pictures, etc. - right in front of the viewer, making “scrollable” (is that even a word?) only the text on the page.

I suspect there may be some bugs that I will still need to work out with this version and will really appreciate if my visitors point them out to me.

This is a limited version for now. The visitors have access only to the main pages and all tutorials, but cannot buy my jewelry from the web site. I will add all the individual product pages in the future. For now, my necklaces, earrings, pendants, and beads can only be purchased through my Etsy store. All four of my project tutorials are available both from the web site and from my store on

Saturday, June 07, 2008

New Tutorial

I just finished the first tutorial in my new series “Miniature Sculpted Orchids”. I am planning to eventually have four tutorials, each for a different type of orchids. In this series, I will explain not only how to sculpt all these flowers, but also how to make different millefiori canes for leaves and different shapes of leaves, how to apply these sculpted details to different bases, such as polymer clay, shells, sea glass, and gems. I will also show you how to incorporate various embellishments in your designs, including beads, pearls, and semi-precious stones.

As always, this tutorial is very detailed and has lots of big full-color pictures showing every step (almost fifty in this one).

I am currently working on a thorough up-date of my web site (it's gonna be beautiful!), so I listed this tutorial in my Etsy shop only.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I am a Fire Mountain Gems Finalist!

My necklace, Les Fleurs De Fer (Iron Flowers), was chosen as one of the finalists in this year beading contest sponsored by Fire Mountain Gems. I received the notification yesterday. I am so excited!

This necklace is deliciously mono-chromatic, with lots of details in silver and gun metal tones. I sculpted the orchids and the leaves from black and silver polymer clays and enhanced the veins with silver acrylic paint. The necklace itself is constructed as a multi-string lariat, with flowers on one side, and the leaves serving as a counter-weight.

I now need to send the necklace to FMG for the final stage of the contest. Wish me luck!

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