Tag Archives: Mandy Ramsdell

“Worry Stone” Series Beads

A while ago I was making a bead and had a beautiful aqua base covered in dichroic glass ready to become an encased flower garden bead. Before I could add leaves and vines, the bead release broke. So I stuck the mandrel in a jar and tried again with a new one. Later when I was removing the failed  bead from the mandrel I noticed how pretty it was. It was a freeform shape because I had just finished the stage where I pressed the dichroic glass into the base bead and had not shaped it when it broke. The bead was so pretty that I put a silver core in it and kept it for myself. It became one of the beads I always reached for first when I redid my trollbeads bracelet.

And so that bead inspired my “Worry Stone” series. To these I added a second layer of dichroic glass, some encasing and a touch of enamel flecks on the surface to give the beads a stone like look. They are then shaped to be mostly round but slightly freeformed like worry stones.

The latest version of my “Worry Stone” beads is the color change version. These beads are made half one color and half another, so that the color changes as the bead turns on the bracelet. Using these in your bracelet designs will result in a bracelet that is never quite the same each time you glance at it.

Here are three photos of the same bead.

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New Seascape Necklaces

 I’ve been so busy trying to keep my shop stocked with charm beads for months and haven’t had a chance to make necklaces until now. I love making the beads for these because they are bigger and allow for more complicated designs. These beads are made by essentially painting in glass. I start with a white background like an artist starts with a blank canvas and add all the colors in layers. Of course unlike with a painting I have the benefit of being able to heat up my whole “painting” and manipulate the glass to get more flow or move around an area if I want to.

                                                    Moonlit Seas Bead in the making.

 After I’m happy with my seascape “painting” I shape the bead, and add the moon detail.

Both of these piece are currently available here on eBay.

If you are a glass beadmaker I do have tutorial available on my seascape beads here.

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Buy Art Not Brands

Do you ever think about what your dream home would look like if money
were no object? Would it look like luxury home photos in magazines?
Would you be surrounded by expensive furniture and whatever art and
decor that was trendy and expensive at the time? Would you want things
like a pool and a tennis court even if you don’t really like to swim or
play tennis? Or would it be a completely unique place all of your own?

I’ve recently been thinking a lot about what makes us want something,
and why sometimes we find ourselves wanting things that don’t really fit
us as individuals. Sometimes we want things because its more about them
helping us fit in rather than those things fitting who we are.

Lately I’ve seen multiple articles like this about Etsy’s most successful seller. http://www.inquisitr.com/1863026/thr…libaba-claims/ I’ve started to completely rethink my approach to selling art.

Common advice to artists is to become a brand. Basically this means to
somehow magically make distinctive art and become famous at the same
time. This is great advice because our society is brand obsessed. Even
as artists, we are brand obsessed. Etsy’s most successful seller created
a brand that is so big that now she must have her designs mass
produced. She’s definitely a brand but is she an artist?

Is it really Etsy’s problem that they have to find a way to survive and
thrive as a huge popular website that serves a culture that is brand
obsessed? Just like food brands would have never taken corn syrup out of
their products before documentaries like Food, Inc, got so popular,
Etsy won’t change before the culture does.

I believe that big brands are as to artists as huge farms are to small
local farms. The reason that so many people desperately want to sell
their art and work for themselves is to avoid having to work a soulless
unfulfilling career, but ironically many of those soulless careers are
working for a big brand. I think marketing is often approached by other
artists as a way to get their art seen by more people and bought by more
customers over other artists. I can give you advice on how you
personally can get an edge over other artists by finding the right
keywords and optimizing your listings for search engines, etc, but that
can only help one person be able to quit their regular 9-5 to sell their
art.

Other artists aren’t your competition, brands are. If we can work to
sell art itself to people instead of just marketing our own art and
trying to find a way to tell everyone how great your work is without
sounding egocentric or stepping on others toes or spamming all your fans
you’ll create real change in the world. The hands that make products
for a brand don’t belong to the minds that dreamed them up and in that
disconnect the “soul” is lost. Art has soul. Art that is created in the
mind and made by the hands of the artists that belong to that mind, that
are ONE with that mind, that art has soul.

The problem is that as a culture we don’t put a monetary value on that.
We dismiss that “soul” as oh you made something cute, oh she is crafty.
Oh he does art for a hobby. Then we turn around and put a huge monetary
value on something mass produced or even made in a sweatshop because it
has a brand name. Someone put a lot of money into advertising and
product research to make you aware of that thing. They spent a lot of
money to make you believe that if you own and display that thing that it
will enhance your ego or impress people you don’t really care about.

A masterfully crafted craft or piece of original art is not something
that you throw away when the trend has passed. Rather there is no trend
to come or go but the thing has true value that is more likely to
increase then quickly diminished with time. The less well known the
artist and the more original the art, the less brand like it is.

Trends in fashion are the most ridiculous waste of resources because
essentially a trend is started by a few brave people who discover they
want to be different from everyone else and everyone else wants to be
different too so they all end up looking the same. Then it’s on to the
new trends. Trends are destroying the earth. Instead buy an original
piece of art that speaks to you, that you love and be original.

Before you purchase something ask yourself? Why do I like this? Do I
like it just because I like the brand name? Do I like it because it’s
popular? Do I value it because I think it has value or because my friend
thinks it has value? How much is this actually worth considering the
materials and time spent on workmanship? Whose hands made this and who
designed it? Are they the same person? If not how greatly removed are
they?

  

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Etsy Shop

I’ve recently begun regularly stocking my etsy shop. I’m adding a few charm beads here and there but mostly you’ll still find my beads that fit Pandora and trollbeads over at ebay. I have a new line of jewelry over on Etsy featuring my TINIEST lampwork beads on a fine sterling silver chain. I’m adding new designs at all times but currently have listed owls, hedgehogs, foxes, orchids, ladyslippers, ladybugs, paw prints, footprints and more.

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Halloween Already?

August is my favorite month. Here in Maine most of the evil biting insects are gone by August but it’s still fully summer. There are wild blueberries and gorgeous sunsets and fresh food aplenty in the garden. There are chanterelles (a wild mushroom that tastes better than lobster or bacon) to be found in the woods and wildflowers abound.  It’s also the month that I first start to make Halloween beads. I’ve just started feeling confident making my own murrini, so the possibilities of new designs are better than ever. To find these beads or some like them, here’s the link to my store.  http://stores.ebay.com/European-Charm-Beads-by-Mandy?_rdc=1

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Finding beauty on an ugly day.

 I get really blue if I don’t get outside nearly everyday.  This time of year in Maine is really dreary, especially on a drizzly day such as today.  It never ceases to amaze me how much beauty you can find outside on the nastiest days if you really look.  I found a few beautiful subjects worth photographing and enhanced the colors to make them more interesting. 

I haven’t been making as many beads as usual as I always find the just before Christmas season slow.  I’ve been focusing on new designs and what really inspires me.  Here is a new focal bead called “Romance Roses”. 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/310811728070?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649

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