Monday, February 11, 2013

How to start a Collaboration

Blog by Genea C-K

Hello friends!

Wow, it has been awhile huh? *dusts off blog* I had actually intended this blog to be about one of my most recent unexpected collabs with Staci, but after getting to the end it turned out being a blog on how to start a collab and some things to think about during the process ;) 

Things to think about before beginning a collaboration

When doing a collaboration you should think about the following things to get started: First off make sure you have a talking relationship with the person with whom you would like to do a collaboration. So what I mean by this is make sure that you have had some conversations with this person. If you just randomly message an artist you admire and ask them to get into a collab with you that may come off as strange and may get your request ignored.

 Secondly you may want to also consider if the person with which you want to start a collab works in the same medium. You don't want to end up stepping on each others toes. For instance in some mediums like metal clay it's very easy to overlap in designs as you are working with a monotone palette(just the naked metal clay color) where most of the designing is done by adding textures. 

Third you want to see if you are a "match" with the person with whom you want to do a collaboration. Do you have a similar style? similar motifs that you like? Would your work compliment each other?

Fourth, are you excited about each others work? Does it inspire you? 

So these aren't necessarily the rules, but just some things to think about before jumping in. So please don't be intimidated as it sounds as though some of those points are negative. You just want to be respectful of each others work and feelings. As you know the "copying" issue in the art world is one of the most debated topics.

Once you get all of this figured out you can talk to your "partner" and decide how you want to do your collaboration. Maybe you want to work in the same color palette, or maybe you want to do a similar theme. All of these things are for you all to decide and again with that there are "no rules".

Once you get on to the "creation" phase you may want to ask your partner some more questions. So for instance, when Karen Totten was inspired by my "Wing Ding" design she asked me if I would mind if she made her version in clay. This is a very respectful thing to ask another artist before moving onto making something similar. I said that was fine and off to work she went.  For this instance Karen was working in clay and metal clay so her medium was already different from mine. I was excited to see what Karen's beads would turn out like. In my mind I had guessed they would be the same as the wing ding shape, but just in clay and metal clay. 

Here is my "Wing Ding" design.
Here are Karen's "Clay Dings". 

I was so excited to see Karen's "reveal" of her "Wing Ding" inspired beads. Just look at how DIFFERENT they are! So unique, and so Karen's style. When Karen had made the first few she also asked if I minded if she called the beads "Clay Dings". I didn't mind, so the "Clay Ding" was born and is not a part of Karen's body of work. This is a fantastic example of a collaboration!

So say for instance you are working in the same medium as your partner.  If you create something and you think it might be too similar to their design you can always ask their opinion. This will just help  put you both at ease so you don't run into a conflict or hurt someones feelings. It's always best to communicate. After all doing a collaboration should be a wonderful and fun experience :) 

Infact I have another wonderful story about working in the same medium. I had the pleasure of meeting an online friend named Karen Kampe. We are both lampworkers and we had met on the Lampwork Etc. forum. She is from Texas, but was visiting her son very close to where I live. We got together for some studio time on the torch and I showed her how I make some of my beads. I was amazed at how different our work looked from each others. I had showed her the same style bead, she used the same glass and did the same things. So it just goes to show that even if you make the exact same things they will still be different  because each of you made them :)

I had really hoped I could find a photo of Karen Kampe's and my beads, but I couldn't :/ 

I just remembered I did get together with another friend I had met online, Kristen Houston. She came by for a studio play day and we did the same thing. Here is a photo of our beads.
Most of my beads are on the left and Kristen's are on the right. I was teaching her how to do stringer designs and things like flowers :) This pic is back from 2009!

So I hope you enjoyed my post on collaboration and I hope that it gives you the opportunity to start one of your own with a fellow artist friend.

xo Genea

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Jewelry Photos- Fun with FALL Props

by Genea C-K

Hello friends!

Yeah, it's late. It's a Sunday night, strange time to post a blog except I just had a TON of fun with this new program Pic Monkey. It's fall, my FAVORITE time of year! Yesterday I got to enjoy creating inside while a thunderstorm rumbled on through out the day. It was WONDERFUL! 
Here is the view from my studio window. When I lampwork this is what I get to enjoy seeing :D
Here is the view out of my other window that was taken today when it was sunny. The weather was a windy 68 and sunny. Perfect for taking some photos.

Here is one of the photos that really made me swoon.
These earrings are by Pink Poppy Studio. Aren't they absolutely GORGEOUS? The beads are so beautiful, but you add a gorgeous fall colored leaf and the piece just comes ALIVE!

So I went out in the sun today to photograph some beads and jewelry for my shop updates this week. It was  very windy and leaves were blowing all over. As I snapped a few pics I reached over and picked up a beautifully colored red leaf.
WOW! You see how this is working? You take  some gorgeous jewelry, add a nice prop and VOILA! You have just created an environment for your piece! I must say I was a little unsure about starting to use some props. I had had a mentor help me with my Etsy shop and she just stressed having plain photos of JUST your work. I knew how much I loved seeing these type of photos and decided to jump in! Clay dings and spacers by Karen Totten. Enameled hoops and lampwork beads by me.

Mmmm gorgeous, huh?! Clay by Marsha Neal Studio, patinated hoops by Karen Totten, weeny dings by me,  Rubber o's by My ELEMENTS,.
Isn't this amazing?! Clay beads by Marsha Neal Studio, Rubber o's by My ELEMENTS, Weeny dings and enameled hoops by me.
All beads by me.

Isn't this photo so beautiful with this red leaf?! I love it! Heart by Staci, clasp, connector and rings by Karen Totten, recycled glass spiral bead and wing dings by me.

Want to know how to really make your photos look pretty?
Hop on over to Pic Monkey(it's free!) upload your photos and create one of these collages!  Hooray for jewelry and fall!


xo Genea

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Inspiration into design- The "Sea Horse" hearts.

blog by Genea C-K

Hello friends!

I am SOOOO excited about my new series of beads inspired by the lovely and talented, Marianne Kasparian of MAKU Stuido, and our very own, Staci Smith of S L Artisan Accents.

From left to right: MAKU heart, Staci's Heart, my heart. The thing about being inspired is to take an idea and make it your own in your medium. It was a total feat in glass to pull of this similar style with my spin. My hands were sweaty and my heart raced! The birth of the "Sea Horse" heart was born!

Here is a photo showing the sizes of some of the hearts. I tried them in a few different sizes, but really loved making them BIG. These are some of my LARGEST beads to date. When you get to making beads this large they get heavy and it's lots of glass to keep warm as you design.

Here is a close-up of one of my favorites. I just LOVE the stripey rainbow snake cane and the gorgeous twisted spiral sparkling pool :D

Love the back side too( he he). The whole " I hate to see you go, but I love to watch you leave." So many wonderful design elements to look at!

But... success usually comes with failure. When making these HUGE hearts I focused most of my heating efforts on the fin and the little antenae while flashing the rest of the bead to keep it warm. The thing I failed to do was keep the bottom part of the cone warm. OOPS! Duh, right?! This is the thinnest area of glass besides the fin. I was literally "heart broken" about this particular heart.

This one too :( Oh sad. The good thing about failure is that is presents us with an opportunity for a new success. So how does that work? Well upon sharing my sadness with Staci she had some ideas to repair the heart and enhance the design. Her idea is add some precious metal clay to the hearts and "restore" them! I am SOOOO excited to see what she comes up with!

I hope this will inspire you do push the limits of your medium and to take all of your failures and turn them into a new success.

Have a wonderful day!

xo Genea

Monday, September 24, 2012

Inspiration, Unexpected Collaboration! Eleanore Thomas of Spin Culture

blog by Genea C-K

Are you ever inspired? Are you ever inspired by someone elses work? Does that inspiration turn into an unexpected collaboration?! Well that is what happened with Eleanore(Nellie) and us! You might have been introduced to Nellie through her mom's(Karen Totten) post on AJE called Fiber Wire and a Fiber Wire Studio Tour. Nellie is the owner of Spin Culture. She creates hand dyed fibers with which she creates bats to be spun into incredible yarn! 

I have had the extreme pleasure of getting to know Nellie pretty well from our late night chats on facebook :) During some of our chats and through the release of our limited edition collaboration , Nellie was very inspired by our color palettes! She jumped right in and created these wonderful bats from which fiber wire would be created! 
Here is the set that Nellie used for her color inspiration.

Here is an image of the fibers she chose to match on the drum carder.

Here is the finished bat.
and HERE is the INCREDIBLE "Autumn Harvest" fiber wire! 

Here are some of the limited edition collaboration sets that are still AVAILABLE!

Remember, once these sets are gone, they are GONE, so hop on over and grab one before you miss out! ;)

Here are some beautiful designs other artists have been creating with their fiber wire to give you some inspiration!

Necklace by Lorelei Eurto.

Earrings by Staci.

Necklace by Lesley Watt.

Thanks for stopping by!

xo Genea

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


blog by Genea C-K

Hello friends!

Are you excitedly awaiting the release of our limited edition collab sets? Are you a member of Creative Bead Chat? Well guess what?! For the next 48 hours we will be offering up 5 of our sets there for PRE-SALE before their full debut on Etsy!

Here are the AMAZING sets we have up for pre-sale! Follow this link to the gallery on Creative Bead Chat to find out how to snag your set! Click on the image of the set you like for instructions on how to make your claim :)

We hope you nab one you like! 

See you soon!

xo Genea

Monday, September 17, 2012

And the Winner is......................................

 #44 Kristen!!!!!!!
You have won our first limited edition collab set!  We can't wait to see what you do with it!
(Please email me at
Thanks to all who entered and shared!  We hope you guys will continue to follow and hang out, and check out the other sets as they are listed!  Your encouragement and excitement about the sets and this blog is rocking!!!!!!  So a real big, heart felt, thank you to all of you!
Staci and Genea