Findings in Focus :: An Interview with Michelle Mach

Findings in Focus :: An Interview with Michelle Mach


I recently reviewed Michelle MUF_COV300ach’s new book, Unusual Findings, in the latest issue of Bead Chat Magazine. I did really enjoy the designs and challenge to my own, sometimes conventional opinions about how findings ‘should’ be used.

I decided to see if Michelle might be up for a few questions so that we could all learn a bit more about what inspired her book, and why findings exactly? So of course I jumped right to it asking her ‘why a book on findings?’

“I’ve always been fascinated by findings,” Michelle tells me. “As an editor I saw over and over how the wrong clasp could torpedo a strong design and a fabulous one could elevate a ho-hum one.  Findings have tremendous power, but they don’t always get the same attention from designs as beads and pendants do.” That certainly spoke to me immediately. I am an admitted hoarder, and yes I do have a rather large stash of very pretty findings of which my most prized are my box slide clasps. I can’t bear to have them end up at the back of the neck … and so they sit.

Poet Laureate: is a necklace in Unexpected Findings that uses jump rings to attach two metal components and head pins to wire wrap pearls to the center of brass flowers.  It also shows how you can take one finding (such as a filigree link or connector) and by bending it, you can create a different finding (such as a pendant bail).

Poet Laureate: shown in Unexpected Findings uses jump rings to attach two metal components and head pins to wire wrap pearls to the center of brass flowers. It also shows how you can take one finding (such as a filigree link or connector) and by bending it, you create a different finding (such as a pendant bail).

But then Michelle said something that really got me thinking. “It always surprises me when I ask designers about a finding that doesn’t quite fit the piece and they’ll say that they used it because they had it lying around.  It’s admirable to want to use up materials your stash, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into a strong design.”

Ok, raise your hand. Who’s done this exact thing? I know I have, and actually my worst offense is earwires. I have a thing about making earrings. It isn’t so much designing the first earring; it is copying the second that I truly hate. I know hate is a strong word, but I like to design … not copy. And I inevitably don’t quite match it up to exactly the same wire wrap look, or length. So by the time I reach for the earwires I am truly quite done with the pattern. And thus, my snap decision of their design being close enough. For some great inspiration on earwires, Melinda Orr just did a great article on why you should consider designing your own. Perhaps I should start with creating the findings first for a change!

Silver Linings: shown in Unexpected Findings uses bead caps to form umbrella charms.  I've attached them to the clouds with spring-ring clasps, making it possible for you to change out the umbrella charms on a whim.

Silver Linings: shown in Unexpected Findings uses bead caps to form umbrella charms. I’ve attached them to the clouds with spring-ring clasps, making it possible for you to change out the umbrella charms on a whim.

Alright, so now we know why Michelle decided to write about findings, but why a whole book on the topic? Michelle writes for a broad array of magazines, why not just an article? “I’ve been publishing my designs in jewelry magazines since 2007.  Many magazines have specific themes and color palettes which challenge my creativity.  They also let me explore new techniques or experiment with new types of beads.  In contrast, writing a book gives you a chance to take one topic and delve deeply into it.  There are so many more findings on the market than there were five years ago that it seemed the perfect time to research them.  Plus, I’ve learned a lot about jewelry making over the years that I wanted to share with a wider audience.”

I asked Michelle about her inspiration, and mention a quote from her book where she notes making earrings with ring shanks. Ring shanks? I confessed to her the thought would never have crossed my mind. But Michelle seems to be one of those truly inspired designers who look at the world and the possibility of how she can create from what is simply sitting there in front of her.

“I believe that inspiration is everywhere. Sometimes I’ll be inspired by a specific bead or finding; other times inspiration will come from an outside source such as vibrant pillow at a home decor store. I especially like creating jewelry based on a book I’ve recently read or a movie I’ve seen. In many areas of my life, I look at objects (burnt out light bulbs, empty thread spools) and ask, how else could I use this? So it’s only natural that I do the same thing with jewelry findings.”

The Reveille necklace featuring copper cones as dangles was first published in the Winter 2007 issue of Stringing.  This was one of my first publications and the one I mention in the introduction to my book, Unexpected Findings.

Reveille: featuring copper cones as dangles first published in Stringing Winter 2007. This was one of my first publications, and I mention it in the introduction to my book, Unexpected Findings.

Ok so let’s ask the obvious question, aren’t findings a more expensive route to go when thinking about materials for designs? “For the book, I did a lot of sketching to try out different ways to use findings.  I wanted to use findings that were common and easy to find, but I also wanted to keep a budget in mind.  It would have been easy to make elaborate designs using findings — such as a necklace chain made entirely of pendant bails — but it’s just not practical for most designers to buy 100 bails at $5 each to make a necklace. When I was writing the book proposal, I looked at individual findings and brainstormed as many ideas for each one that I could.  When I had 100 ideas, I thought that I had enough to approach a publisher.” And that is what you will find in her book is a plethora of ideas to jump start your creative juices when trying to push your own design inspiration.

In my mind at this point I am imagining Michelle’s studio to look a bit like a ‘tinkerer’s workshop’ with bits and pieces tucked away in every crevice. And so I ask her ‘true confessions, what does your bead table look like?’

“I have an old kitchen table in the basement where I do some of my work.  It’s usually cluttered and I often find myself working on a tiny corner that I’ve cleared off.  It’s hard to get everything put away completely because just looking at my beads and findings gives me new ideas that I want to try immediately.  I also do some design work on the sofa in front of the TV.  It’s comfortable, but it does mean that I’m constantly pulling jump rings out of the cushions!  I try to keep that area of the house cleaner than the basement, but if I’m on a deadline, all bets are off!”

At this point, I’m really starting to get a sense that I would love to spend an afternoon beading with Michelle. With all her jump rings in her cushions, and my rainbow of dropped beads in mine I think we could mix it up pretty famously.

Michelle also gave a shout out to a charity that she donates beads to, “I periodically clear out some of my old beads and send them to the Denver Refugee Women’s Craft Initiative

Breathe necklace: an example of jewelry that showcases my love of words.  Appeared in Creative Jewelry 2011.

Breathe: an example of jewelry that showcases my love of words. Appeared in Creative Jewelry 2011.

My next burning question was to ask how Michelle chose her selected designers in her book. It is always a mystery to me how to ‘get connected’ and be one of those people that publishers reach out to. “I spent a lot of time online finding potential designers.  I looked for ones that I thought could be innovative, work within specific guidelines (limited techniques, specific materials), meet short deadlines, write clear instructions, and take constructive criticism and make revisions to their projects if necessary.  It was a pretty tall order and I was thrilled with how they all met the challenge.  I wanted the designers to have a strong sense of their own style, but at the same time, I wanted a collection of projects that meshed well together.  The publisher had suggestions for designers, too, so it was definitely a collaborative process to make the final list.”

When I asked Michelle if there are places she visits to recharge her inspiration; she simply said “there are too many to count!” But then went on to say, “I belong to a bunch of groups on Facebook such as B’Sue Boutiques Creative Group and Creative Bead Chat, so I always have a good flow of creative designs to admire in my feed.  I’m editing a wire jewelry book right now that I find very inspiring. The designer’s doing things with wire I’ve never seen before.” She couldn’t tell us anything more about the book, only to look for it in 2015.

One last question before I finished up my interview. I took a peek at Michelle’s Etsy site to see what her pervasive style was, and not surprisingly words were an important design element. Yep, words. Clearly writing and expressing yourself through words is pretty important to Michelle. “I’ve always loved to write and considered myself a writer long before I discovered jewelry design.  (I’ve had essays and other short pieces published in more than a dozen anthologies.)  Words have a lot of power.  I gravitate towards bead artists such as Heather Wynn, Diane Hawkey, and Erin Prais-Hintz who use words on their bead and pendant designs.  Even if I don’t show words in my designs, my best ones tell some kind of story.  I’m like many designers in that while I may experiment a lot, at the end of the day, I always circle back to making the kind of jewelry that I myself would wear.”

Well said Michelle, well said. Make jewelry that you, yourself would love to wear. The rest will fall into place.

When is a shelf not just a shelf?

When is a shelf not just a shelf?


The longer I do shows, the more I change my booth displays and set up.  It is a never ending evolution.  When you first start you grab a few folding tables, a couple of table cloths and you go set up at  a show.  This was my very first show…

march 09

 It was an indoor event called Revenge of the Recessionistas.  They provided me with the table.  I had been selling stuff to friends and customers at the hair salon where I worked so this was the next step on my quest for world domination via jewelry!  I used stuff I already had and somehow even then knew to go up and varied levels and boy I packed a ton on that one table.

I then added some tables to my next few shows and my display evolved over the last few years….

278286_1887917353102_7608673_o 329316_2031339218559_1810376863_o

2011 photos


booth at butchertown

My most recent set up style

I get a lot of compliments on my booth design and layout, but I am really tired of the table covers and risers.  The covers are always wrinkled no matter how carefully I iron and pack them and to really go to the floor I’d need to add a border.  The other problem is that as I go up in the show system they get more and more particular about those tables.  Some insist on pedestals, glass cases etc.  I honestly could not see how to afford paying $200 per pedestal for Pro Panels.

Yes they look nice… but seriously… I am a starving artist.

Well I am about to show you  how to turn two plastic 5 shelf units into 5 pedestals.  You can go from this………

to fabulous for under $200.  This set is from Walmart but I got mine at my local grocery store.  They  vary in width, I went with an 18 inch set.  Then the fun begins!


photo by Debe VanderHeide

This is the naked shelf broken into a pedestal size unit.  Debe was lucky and scored her shelves from a Craigslist ad.  I am taking the bottom shelf off of each of the 2 units I purchased and adding pvc legs so I can make an extra 2 shelf pedestal from them.



photo by Debe VanderHeide




Here is the finished result set up at the first show she used them at.  Pretty impressive if you ask me!  She got a friend to sew the covers for her and added painted boards to the tops.


Some hints and tips… you will need at least 8 ft of fabric to go around each unit of shelves.  I know mine stand about 37 inches tall and I needed 4 yards of 60 inch wide fabric (and I still had a gap in the back) to cover 2 pedestals.  Velcro is your friend.  I added velcro to the sides of the tables and the covers. I purchased desk tops at IKEA, the Linnmon is the perfect size.  Other artists used boards they cut to fit.  I am also adding some nobs on the bottom of my shelves so if someone leans on them they won’t move around.  Kharisma added elastic to the back of hers to keep them tight.  And yes, she used the super professional staples to hold it on.  LOL!   You also get the shelves to keep your stuff off the ground.


photo by Kharisma Ryantori Sommers

Here are a variety of booths and set ups using these simple yet effective shelf units.


Photo by Betsy Baker


Photo by Robin Ragsdale


Photo by Kharisma Ryantori Sommers


Photo by Ashley Lozano


As you can see you get a variety of set up options and whatever style you want you can create by using your favorite fabrics.  I also like that at any time I can change the covers and change the look of my set up.

I have to thank Robin Ragsdale of  Adorned by Robin  if not for her, I wouldn’t have known how to make these.  I asked her where did she first hear about it and she told me she started to make these about 7 years ago working a trade show.  I therefore crown her Queen of the Shelf/Podiums.  She also posted this great little video of setting up a booth.  Shelf Booth in Action

Thanks also go out to Kharisma Sommers of Popnicute,  Ashley Lozano , and Debe VanderHeide of Deb V Designs… without their input, sharing and encouragement I would have no idea how to do these shelves.  So, looking to change your look, step up your booth, climb the ladder of shows?  Maybe instead of a ladder you should use shelves!

Here is a sneak peek at my new shelves.  The first one is the original box, the second shows the painted tops and the last one is the table covers I made.


And another good thing…. you can store all the displays and art show stuff on the shelves when you aren’t using them!

My husband just asked me… when is off season again?


I used my shelves for the first time this weekend at an indoor show.. I only had a 5 x 8 space and this is what they looked like….



Clasps as Focals: Why Stop There?

Clasps as Focals: Why Stop There?


I loved Erin Strother’s recent post “The Clasp Conundrum,” but she omitted one important fact: clasps are the gateway drug. I’ve seen it happen again and again to fine, upstanding jewelry citizens as yourselves. You’ve always toed the straight and narrow, using your clasps properly at the back of your necklaces. Then you listen to Erin’s mighty persuasive spiel in that dark alley behind your local bead shop and you think, Fine. No big deal. I’ll use one clasp for a focal one time and that will be that. I can stop at any time.

Sweet pearl earrings made with pendant bails and bead caps.

Sweet pearl earrings made with pendant bails and bead caps.

I beg to differ. Once you start looking at your findings—all your findings—with a critical eye, you won’t be able to stop. I should know. I wrote a whole book about using findings in unusual ways. The book Unexpected Findings has fifty projects, but the ten contributing designers and I made many more projects than appear in the pages. We just created, created, created like people obsessed. We forgot all about showering and subsisted on a diet mainly of coffee and chocolate so we could stay up all night thinking of how to use eye pins in a new and different way. (Or maybe that was just me?) Seriously, we could have written a sequel to this book before it was even out.

Not convinced? Here are two exclusive (not in the book!) projects to inspire you:

A bead frame can make a great toggle ring for a clasp. Would you have guessed the location of these bead caps?

A bead frame can make a great toggle ring for a clasp. Would you have guessed the location of these bead caps?

Some shops go as far to call these “pendant bails” or “necklace bails” so there will be absolutely no confusion on how to use them. They come in a wide variety of types. The one shown here is called a tube bail. The tube slips over your beading wire and you hang your pendant from the loop. Unless you’re me and you use them in your earrings.

Bead Caps
Bead caps are hands down (I mean it—hands down, step away from my bead caps!) the findings I love the best. If I find a new bead shop, whether in person or online, I’m almost sure to buy a few bead caps. You’re supposed to use these strung on either side of a bead, but that can get a little dull. Many bead caps are so pretty just on their own. I love using them at the bottom of a dangle like I’ve done with these earrings.

Bead Frames

A toggle ring can be made from anything round. I especially like using bead frames because they have holes in them.  This gives you other options besides a jump ring to attach the toggle ring to your jewelry. Normally, you’d use bead frames when stringing beads, so that at least one bead is framed in the center of the metal.

Unexpected Findings by Michelle Mach

Unexpected Findings by Michelle Mach

I’ve also hidden some bead caps in the beaded strand of this bracelet. Those larger pewter beads look like your typical rondelles, but they’re actually two bead caps strung together.


Win an Autographed Copy of Unexpected Findings
I’ll be giving away an autographed copy of my new Unexpected Findings book to one lucky winner in the Clasps & Closures Design Challenge. There will be a random drawing from all the entries. Of course, if you can’t wait that long, you can order your own copy. Good luck with the challenge! (And don’t say I didn’t warn you!)

    Just Drill It – A Tutorial On Drilling Stone and Other Material.

    Just Drill It – A Tutorial On Drilling Stone and Other Material.



    (This is the very first stone I drilled with my friend Jeff Plath)

    I will never forget sitting at my jewelry desk and looking at the above pendant and saying to myself.  If ONLY it had a hole here and there I could do this and that!  I remember walking away from my desk and literally saying Hmmmph!

    Boring Boring Boring. I am so limited by what everyone else puts out there.


    Mount Lapis Necklace - YaY Jewelry - Kristin Oppold

    As jewelry design goes some of my biggest design successes have come out of this very frustration of not having the skill , equipment or material.  Problem solving has always been the chief motivator to moving my jewelry design ability into unique and innovative ways. My ability to drill stone did just that for me.

    Here is some work by Staci Smith, gorgeous and unique as always where she drilled some fossils for her jewelry designs. What I love about drilling your own materials is that you can really come up with some very unique designs that can be very identifiable to you.  This is good branding for your line. You look at these rings and you know that they are Staci’s.

    Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 5.17.37 PM

    You can put together a personal love of found treasures…..note all the little lovelies that Tracy Bell collected for this bracelet. She told me this bracelet had to have an animal, mineral and vegetable.  We will have to ask her what the vegetable is?

    Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 7.47.53 AM

    Here is a lovely ring that Melissa Cable made.  It is made from beach glass, faux bone, sterling silver, gold foil and a tube set CZ. She made it for Eva Sherman‘s Organic Wire and Metal Jewelry: Stunning Pieces made with Sea Glass (in the gallery section of her book). She said the glass was from the neck of a bottle.  I bet now when you are walking the beach you will never look at that beach glass as trash but as treasure.

    Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 10.33.27 PM

    I am not a pioneer but had great teacher named Jeff Plath.  He is a wonderful individual that wears many hats in the jewelry world in Minnesota.  He is a lamp worker, bead store owner, wholesaler and educator.  We got to talking about stone at one of his shows and I was talking about my frustration and he said to me.  Why don’t you come up and I will teach you how to drill stone.  My jaw just dropped at his generosity and the next time I was up at his shop he said, come on lets go over to my studio and I will teach you how to drill those stones you want. I am not an expert but know just enough to accomplish the task.  So this is what I learned and how I do it. I will also add a couple things I have learned on the way through practical experience. If you see these stars *** this is what I have learned along my drilling journey.

    Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 9.31.53 AM

    (Here I am learning from Jeff Plath with a Flex Shaft Set Up…My First Drill!)


    Here is my set up.

    Stone Drilling Set Up

    1.  Dremel – You don’t have to have a Flex Shaft or Foredoom if you want to put it in a press like I have here.  I have a Dremel 4,000.  Seriously though any Dremel will get you started.  I bought my Dremel and Dremel Press at Home Depot. Here is a little Dremel Talk if you want to learn the terms and more about the Dremel.

    2. Drill Press, Flex Shaft or a Foredom – You do not want to drill directly holding the Dremel you would have no control and it would be really hard on your wrist and hands. ***I use the drill press because I feel like I have more control and it is easier on my wrist and hands*** BUT *** It is easier to push hard when using a drill press and you will wear your bits out quicker….so just remember slow and steady***

    3.  Water Resistant Base to fill with water and a Solid Surface for the drill bit to hit when it goes though.  I bought these plastic display bases from my friend Jeff Plath they are deep enough to hold the depth of water you need and I have a flat Agate slab at the bottom for the bit to hit when I make it through.  Agate has a good hard Mohs hardness for this. ***Some of these plastic bases have a small rise in the middle and you may need to sand them down for your stone to lay flat*** *** A rocking stone while drilling makes for a not so clean hole….darn I have done a ton like that***

    4.  Drill Bits –  I think you will find many opinions out there on this one. I like the economy bits! There is a lot of blah blah blah out there.  You can all learn from trying with all those expensive bits if you like… thank you!  I buy the diamond cylinder economy packs at Rio Grande.  You buy the mm in diameter you want.  I have one expensive hollow core one…..that I haven’t used yet but I wanted to drill some larger holes and then you pay $$$$$. ***If you drill under water…..go slow and steady with the proper technique your bits will last plenty long*** ***If you are impatient and drill fast you will go through more bits*** ***The stone you drill makes a difference on your bit life to, Jasper is easy…Agate not so easy and LAVA Stone will kill your bits, I have to read about that one yet***  *** Its all in the MOHS hardness baby***  ***I started with the 1.5mm and the 2mm bits, this just depends on the work you want to do*** *** Don’t use these drill bits on metal or wood***

    Drilling Base and Keyless Chuck

    Note my drilling base setup & keyless chuck.

    5. Universal Keyless Chuck –  What is a chuck?  It holds your bits and as you know they are all different sizes so when I started I had all these different sized chucks until BEAD AND BUTTON and Melissa Cable says “you know all you need is a universal keyless chuck” …. I’m Like WHAAAAAAAATTTT!!!!!!  How come I didn’t know that and why didn’t the Home Depot guy sell me that rather than all the different sized chucks.  ***With this you don’t EVER have to change out your chucks, just your bits *** (okay I best not make a crack here as I am trying to keep it rated G)

    6.  Safety Goggles –  Protect your eyes!!!

    7.  Paper Towels – Drilling can be a messy business, don’t wear your evening gown!

    8. Items To Drill –  This is the fun part.  Don’t overlook your pendants that don’t work for you as a necklace.  They may make a great  bracelet. Add some holes at the bottom of a pendant to make a new more interesting pendant.  Drill sea glass, cabs, coral, pottery, shell, driftwood, fossil…….it is endless the list of materials that can make for fun designs. You can find free materials on your local beach.  Become a scavenger!!!!


    The below necklace was made by me but the stone was drilled by my friend Jeff Plath.  Basalt makes for some really great jewelry, a pick off the beaches of Lake Superior.  Your next interesting drilled jewelry might become a feature in a magazine, like this one did in my Designer Collection in Belle Armoire Jewelry Spring 2014 issue.

    Belle Armoire Basalt Necklace


    Your start up cost should be around $160.00  for all of the above using my set up. Some links are below for you to shop.  ***I did note that they sell the Dremel and the Flex Shaft  in sets on Amazon & they have a New Press Work Station that will fit a flex shaft*** My set up will get you started at minimal cost. Shop around for the best buy or support your favorite supplier.

    Dremel 4,000: $77.51

    Dremel  Rotary Tool Work Station:  $38.23

    Drill Bits: $24.95

    Universal Keyless Chuck:  $8.30

    Water Resistant Tray:  $3.00 You might be able to find them on Amazon to.

    Agate Slab:  $10.00 or less I found this link on Etsy but Amazon has them to …. guessing you could find many more but really you don’t need to pay a lot……buy the flattest and cheapest one you can find. ***Flat is important so buying in person maybe helpful if you can***

    Safety Goggles / Glasses:  $5.50


    1. ALWAYS DRILL UNDER WATER!!!!  Why? For starters you don’t want to breath in that stone dust, glass and any other dust you bring up…not good for your health.  This keeps the dust in the water.  When your water gets muddy just change it out. Water lubricates your bits and stones.  This aids the speed of drilling and it keeps the temperature down.  All those RPM’s (revolutions per minute) make for a hot stone and a bit.    Drill stone, glass, pearl, pottery and  fossil under water. Have your stone at least a 1/4 inch under water.  ***I found it harder to drill with a flex shaft if you go in at an angle then your hole will be angled to***

    Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 9.32.08 AM

    2. WEAR SOME EYE PROTECTION.  If you loose your grip on the stone or if it breaks it becomes a potential projectile.  I have had this happen and if you start to drill it will happen to you to.

    3.  MARK YOUR HOLE PLACEMENT.  I use a sharpie.  You might have to remark your hole if doing more than one because sharpie can wash off as you are drilling. ***This part stinks and has ruined many of my drills but when your stone is under water there is a visual shift….so make sure to mark your hole!!!!!!!!***  ***Before you start to drill lower your drill bit on the spot and look at it from different angles while under water to make sure you are in the right spot*** Now you can drill.

    4.  START OUT SLOW.  Like making a divot in metal for the drill bit to grab onto you need to create a divot in the stone or glass so the bit can find a home or sweet spot. Once in than go slow and steady.  You will know you are drilling when you see a dust slurry in the water, at least with stone.  You will need to raise the drill bit up now and again…..why? so water can circulate down into the hole (if you look it is a little tornado going in the hole) ….it cleans the hole of the debris you are drilling and will help you to drill faster.  You need this to keep things lubricated.   ***Going up and down can change your hole size if you are not holding your stone steady***  How many RPM’s …. You dial the amount of RPM’s you want on your Dremel.  I am usually at 10-15 RPM’s (10,000 – 15,000 yes that is fast ) .  Some may do it slower to start but this works for me.  I mostly start at 10 and move up.  Slower speed drilling will save your drill bits but in some stones you need the RPM’s to get through (Agate).  ***The stone you are drilling makes a difference,  very slow for less stable stone like Turquoise and less pressure…Turquoise breaks very easily if not stabilized or of poor quality*** ***MOHS hardness Matters*** ***If drilling fragile stone I would start with less than 10 RPM’s***

    5.  PRESSURE RELEASE. You made it through!  You will hear a pop or feel the pressure release on the flex shaft or drill press bar.


    ***I have found that I can drill nearly everything in the same technique as drilling stone, of course minus wood and metal***

    ***Don’t throw your mistakes away …….sit on them a bit…you never know what you might think up.  The photo below was the result of a happy accident.  It was a drill gone bad that turned into a new idea***

    Drill gone bad

    ***Be logical and research the material you are drilling… is it fragile, this all makes a difference in how you drill***

    ***Develop a pattern as you drill a mental checklist as you go so you have success every time.  Impatience will give you some failures…..possibly some happy accidents. If you are drilling an expensive stone you really want that mental checklist***

    ***Experiment with found objects or some castoffs.  They might turn into your next favorite piece***

    ***Above all have fun and be daring, try anything that pops in your mind.  It might be your biggest design success***

    ***You can use your Dremel to ream out your flatter beads for a larger hole.  Especially for leather and other cording.  I typically use my Euro Tool Electric Bead Reamer for that.  It is easy to hold smaller and rounded stones as you ream, you will have more control. If you buy one get these bits here, they are the only bits I have used and they are inexpensive***

    ***Don’t RPM your fingers, it really hurts***

    ***I keep all my old bits, thats a secret for now***

    Here my “Happy Accident” turned out pretty nice.  I hope in your drilling journey when you have your first “Happy Accident”  it will be a big success.

    Ocean Jasper Statement Necklace

    Remember in order to learn you must first begin!

    Have Fun!

    Kristin Oppold

    Work Table Wednesday, What a Great Way to Focus and Plan to Get Work Done!

    Work Table Wednesday, What a Great Way to Focus and Plan to Get Work Done!

    assorted beads for projects

    On The Table

    This is a common work table for me.    Sometimes all the fun of being an artist is really strained out of things  as the everyday goings-on of managing a family-run supply company require lots of paperwork, helping customers….and sorting parts.

    Maybe sometimes you feel that way about your artist-owned business.  It doesn’t matter WHAT sizeor TYPE  it is!  The fact is, we all have stuff to attend to that, well, just isn’t the FUN PART of being a self-supporting artist.   We got in this for the art…and the fun!

    And sometimes, we just have to wade through a mess.  THAT is NOT fun.  And then, if it’s not the records-keeping part of our business, then it’s sometimes the overwhelming urge to try many techniques at once…..and never finish ANY of them.

    That’s how  our tables start looking like this:

    aablog 009

    As a way to try and find a little focus as well as share what we’re working on, we at the  B’sue Boutiques Creative Group at Facebook have started a project we call WORK TABLE WEDNESDAY.

    Every Wednesday those who want to participate share what’s on their tables.   Here are a few:

    This is Elaine Elson’s table and work area:


    Marcia Tuzzolino’s table….Marcia is a member of the B’sue Boutiques Design Team:


    Another table, from artist Mitzi Curi…oooh la la!  She works on an antique silver tray!


    Lots of mighty fine repurpose material in there..which Mitzi does responsibily, i.e., she uses broken stuff.
    But then, Mitz is also a savvy antiques dealer.

    The one below is from Tara Wilson of LuLuMax, I think she was getting ready for her fall shows…..cupcake pans!
    Hmmm.  Not a bad way to separate parts.




    I love Tara’s work:

    Out of that pile of MESS Tara had going on….it’s obvious that she DOES get some work done.  Lots of it!

    That’s just it.   We do the ‘true confessions’ thing by showing our mess at the Creative Group…but it’s NOT just that.   We might also have a new stash of great brass stampings to which we’ve just applied color and can’t wait to share.   We might have had a crazy brainstorm and have just begun an exciting new body of work!  Or, we might have something in progress and just need some impetus or some constructive criticism on how to finish it!

    Below you will see  some of the ‘work garbolage’ on my table a couple of weeks back.

    Let’s see……there are pieces from a new body of poly clay work; there are bits from my Perfect Pearls Patina video that I never finished into jewelry.  There were bow stampings from the Charmstrings video that were just sitting there. I also spy a wonderful old vintage button I keep meaning to made a mold of, and some marvelous purple lucite moonglow beads from an 50’s necklace……BTW, moonglow beads are some of my FAVORITE vintage beads.   If you have some in your stash of repurpose material, don’t disregard them as common plastic.

    THEY ARE NOT.   And if you don’t want ’em, you can send all of yours right here,  I will be happy to give them a home. LOL



    ANYWAY, I digress.  The point in showing you this pile is to show you that YES!  I did get on the stick despite all the other doofus going on here in the shop and the creation of a brand new supplies site B’sue Boutiques.

    I finished something from the worktable!

    In fact, I finished TWO pieces….

    FINISHUP 010

    And I finished up one of the leafy crescents from the Perfect Pearls Patina video a few weeks ago


    I’m not the only one who finished stuff up this week, either…..check out Marcia Tuzzolino’s necklace: Look at this lovely piece that leapt off


    Linda Thevenot’s work table…all done by Friday!

    After the success of several weeks of Work Table Wednesday, a few  of our clever members felt that the logical sister event would be FINISHED UP FRIDAY.    I can share more about that with you in a future post.

    FINISHUP 006

    I finished the moon face necklace off to the site

    The fact is, it can be discouraging to start a bunch of stuff and never get it done.   Sometimes you DO have to let those sleeping dogs lie for awhile.  The solution to a design problem is not always readily apparent.

    So rather than go all “por vencido” (conquered)  keep your momentum.  Set that headbanger aside and do something simple.  Or just take a pile of beads and start wiring them for a future project.   Finish the patina on some stuff you were colorizing.   Sand down some poly clay and add some color, make a simple pendant, some easy peasy earrings….but keep the flow.  Don’t throw in the towel!


    Maybe you’ll enjoy taking a look at the video I recently made on finishing work.   It speaks of the ten cognitive traps that face many people in life….and in particular , we artists.   I hope it helps!

    Artists, Do You Finish What You Start?


    Page 1 of 512345

    Pin It on Pinterest