Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Materials list for today's solo playday...

1) Old beads that were supposed to be antiqued with acrylic someday
2) Various alcohol inks
3) Various embossing powders
4) Liquid Clay
5) Paper Towel
6) Water
7) Alcohol (for cleanup, not for drinking)
8) Small paintbrush, makeup sponge applicators
9) Heatgun
10) Various grits of sandpaper

So, I played like crazy. Came out with some pretty okay stuff I'm glad to say. I'll have a few to show on New Year's Day so that I can claim they are 2009 beads ;o)

Notice the widget on the left side of my blog that will take you to President-Elect Barack Obama's site to vote on a very important cause! It is all about requiring National Parks to sell only American made crafts and souveniers. Have a Safe and Prosperous 2009!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Sometimes I feel like one. Lately, I end up with all kinds of surface treatments spread out around me, and most times I can't even remember what my original focus was going to be. Sometimes I get lucky and some great stuff happens...other times it's junk. Most of us only show our most beautiful stuff, but Elise Winters has started a page on Facebook to show some of her struggles as an artist. I think it's extremely generous for her to do this and an absolutely awesome idea. Keep checking back...she only just put up this page.

For now I'm going to show you some lovely petals I made yesterday...too bad they ended up in trash :o(

Monday, December 08, 2008

Every New Year I tell myself to get out there more...teach, write more articles, do more shows, enter more juried competitions and maybe to sell at on-line sites like Etsy rather than just from my own website. Etsy seems so glutted already...I mean sheesh, I would have to really be on top of my game to get seen there!

I'm thinking of trying out a new selling site for handcrafted items called If 10 of you sign up through me, I will get the $7/month premium account free for life! You can do the same thing too, so if you decide to sign up make sure that you invite 10 others to join so that you can get your free premium account too! As far as I can tell, there are no other fees associated with selling there. I'm fairly sure this offer ends at the end of December, so if you you'd like to try a new on-line selling venue, sign up with ArtFire and maybe we'll all get rich and famous ;o)

Register on

Friday, December 05, 2008

Victorian/Antique Inspirations

I've always love rusted, crackled, antiqued, soft looking things. Then the shapes, a ruffle, a flower, the flow of a piece. I really love these felted neckwarmers created by Irena Rudman from Israel (although I think she's Russian). Aren't they just beautiful? Not to mention how warm and comfy they look. Be sure to look around her website too. The blend of metals is just so pretty in these delicate earrings from AmberSky. The mixture of different colors of metal in a piece is incredibly appealing. I'm looking at brass and copper in a different way.

And now that I've done most of my work where Progress and Possibilities is concerned, posted lots of things on my clearance page, I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm cleaning up messes and starting to feel it again...yay....!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm very thankful this Thanksgiving Day. Of course for family, friends, good health, good food...all of those. I'm also so very thankful that we will have President Obama in the White House next year.

Another thing I'm thankful for is that we are having a 5:oo dinner at my sister-in-law Gloria's house which is right next door. No driving anywhere and I'm not crazily cleaning house getting ready for company. I did fix my guys a Thanksgiving Breakfast though of Green Chile Sausage Quiche and Cinnamon Rolls. Later I'll be fixing mashies and salad to take to Glo's. So this morning, the aroma in my house is of cinnamon and chile...not the usual turkey. You can see a couple other pics of my messy house, since I don't have to clean (yay!) on flickr.

Say a prayer for the people's safety in Mumbai today and enjoy your family, friends, turkey and dressing...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Across the Pond...

I was honored to serve as chair for Progress and Possibilities 2008. The jurors have completed their task and chosen the finalists and winners.

It was an enriching experience as I was able to view some of the best work from all over the world. One of the questions that I heard more than once from some of them was "I didn't know I could join the NPCG, much less enter Progress and Possibilities. I thought the exhibition was only for American artists." To that end, the board of the NPCG has decided that 2009 is *the* year to note that our guild is truly a Polymer Clay International Association. So, get ready for some changes next year as a new board is elected and a name change and new logo is in the offing.

Fish Pendant by Ana Belchi of Spain
Translucent Claypainting Pendant by Bettina Welker of Germany
2008 Bracelet by Sylvie Peraud of France
Blue Waves by Alev Gozonar of Turkey

Monday, November 17, 2008

First clay work in weeks!

I was invited up to visit and clay with some very fun and cool clay ladies up near Taos, NM last Friday. We had a very nice afternoon and evening. I didn't get much accomplished except for these two beads, but it was wonderful to hang out with the ladies and to see (up close and personal like ;o) Cynthia, Dayle and Carol's polymer clay work.

If you'd like to see the reverse side of the longer bead (the square pillow is the same on both sides) you can see it and a few others on my flickr page.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My newsletter for November

Greetings Bead Lovers...Happy November to you!

Again, first I must apologize for procrastinating on getting beads up on my site. Well, you'll be pleased to know that I've found about a gazillion things to put up on the Clearance Page, and I have a gazillion more to put up after some of the current ones are sold. I've marked everything as low as I possibly can to move things and to give more room for new work as well. Lots of great stocking stuffers for the girls and girlfriends!

I believe that in my last email some months ago, I mentioned that I might not be making any more floral beads...wrong! I have a renewed appreciation for them and just a few of the new ones are on the Purchase Beads page. I'll begin selling them wholesale beginning in 2009, so if you're interested email me for details. I do have some of my Art Nouveau Earrings on the Purchase Jewelry page too.

I won a spot at the ACRE wholesale show which is sponsored by the NPCG. There will be three Polymer Clay Artists sharing one large booth.

Here are the details:

Las Vegas Convention Center
3150 Paradise Road
Las Vegas, NV
(wholesale only)
May 31-June 2, 2009

Free Priority Shipping on all domestic orders over $100. I've also added a new shipping option for international orders. I can send orders under $75 via Airmail or if you prefer you can still pick Global Priority.

Thanks a million, hope you're all well and happy!
Take care,

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A few more...

swirl lentils for a special order.
These have everything thrown in but the kitchen sink...
I think I'll keep 'em. *g*

Have decided that using black in my work is a great contrast with the colors that I like to use.
I have lots of cane bits and pieces with black in them from the latest floral beads,
so be prepared to see more...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

My first PMC work

I've been wanting to take a PMC class for ages! I was flipping through my new Art Jewelry magazine and saw an ad for classes right here in Albuquerque :o) I immediately signed up and took my first class on Saturday.

I had such fun...I haven't taken a class since 2002 with Sarah Shriver! I'm hoping to take a class with Kathleen Dustin next year too...

Saturday, September 27, 2008


how hard it is on the hands to sand and buff each bead individually. Still, it was fun to get back to these after about a year away. I have a special order of 60 beads due by Oct. 15th, so I'd better get back to it ;o)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I admit it...

I've been politically obsessed and I'm sure that's not what you expect when you visit my blog, so my apologies for that. But, I'm not abandoning it completely, so be fore-warned ;o)

I'm refocusing my energy. Hope you like these...I'm toying with opening up my etsy shop again.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Progress and Possibilites '08

Thank you so much to everyone who entered Progress and Possibilities '08! This year, talented artists sent in images of their work from all over the US, Canada, the UK, France, Israel, Germany, Spain, Turkey and Portugal. We truly are an International Guild!!
The top 10 finalists in each category will be announced on the NPCG website and notified via email by November 1st. Finalists will also be included in the Progress and Possibilities '08 book and a gallery of images will be hosted on the NPCG website. Best of Show will be selected from the chosen finalists.
Again, thank you everyone!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Progress and Possibilities...deadline extended!

Due to the U.S. Labor Day weekend, the deadline for entries for Progress & Possibilities has been extended to midnight on Wednesday, September 3rd.

Thank you!! Judy Belcher NPCG President

When we selected the dates for P&P, no one realized that the deadline for entries fell on a Holiday weekend. Please note that the above extension to midnight on Wednesday is MST as CaFE is based in that time zone.

By the way, have you seen Kim Cavender's new work? She'll be teaching her new organic techniques at Clay Carnival in Las Vegas in November.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, August 25, 2008

My dad's art and new studio layout

I've needed to be in this corner...seeing outdoors. I've also needed to feel my dad's influence around me. Here is what my space looks like now, and here a couple of pieces of his. One is framed the other two are not. He also gave me that tiny little stained glass lamp...a cheapy made in China. He loved shopping out of those catalogs at Christmas time :o)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Autumn Mornings in NM...

I know it's not quite here yet, but I can feel a bit of a chill in the air. My husband Rudy and I are getting into healthy habits lately...we walk 2.5 miles on the bosque every morning. He even walks again in the PM with his sister Gloria who lives next door. Occasionally, we reward ourselves with our favorite breakfast, huevos rancheros (red chile for me)'s colorful and delicious.

Totally off topic here, but keep in mind that you only have 10 days to enter Progress and Possibilities. If you've never entered this annual exhibition/competition before, this is your chance. Entering on-line at CaFE has never been easier. This month is just flying by, so don't wait until the last minute!

Monday, August 18, 2008

My website... needed some serious updating. There are still bits here and there that need revamping. My biography page is one of them. I was able to put quite a few of my new Art Nouveau Earrings up can purchase a pair for yourself here :o)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Image formatting in CaFE

I purchased Adobe Elements 6.0 a few months ago, and haven't had time to properly play with the program. But, I have finally done a test image to CaFE specs.

I'm pleased to say it was *super* easy, so email me if any of you want to submit your work to Progress and Possibilities or ACRE's of Opportunity and I can walk you through it.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Saturday, August 02, 2008


Can you imagine being able to create faces like this? Watching with the sweet acoustic guitar playing really got me missing him again.

Philippe Faraut

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Colorful Distraction

Found a lovely "pickmeup" on the web this morning. I've seen Lauren Abrams of LabeanaBags jewelry work on Flickr before, but I must have missed her resin purse handles, buckles and embellishments. These are really fabulous. She also sells on Etsy. Maybe I should take up crochet or knitting.

Tomorrow is the first day of submissions for Progress and Possibilities '08. Go to CaFE on August 1st when the page goes live to enter the juried exhibition. I'm excited, are you??

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Dad...

A wonderful man passed away last dad, Richard. He was an artist too and was my biggest fan. I miss him terribly and I know you'll all understand why I need a few more days to get back into things. Thank you to my friends who have offered their thoughts and prayers. Love, Barb

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Donna's Rings...

are so wonderful! Wedding bands, eternity rings, pods, squiggles and flowers...seeing new work from Donna Kato is always a pleasure and an inspiration :o)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Bead Nerd and Tejae

Lori Greenberg of Bead Nerd is a really nice gal...a bead nerd, but a really nice gal ;o)

She interviewed me to help spread the word about Progress and Possibilities on her very cool blog.

Tejae of Tejae's Art (her work is shown below) started a new Flickr group called Polymer Clay Today and she's started a thread about P&P there. If anyone else feels so inclined to spread the word, please do! We only have 3 weeks until August 1st you know! Thank you Lori and Tejae!

We've better defined the P&P categories for you below, ultimately it is your decision to choose the one that best fits your work...

Categories and Jurors for 2008

Art Jewelry: Wearable art such as necklaces, pendants, bracelets, rings etc.

Sarah Shriver
Robert Liu

Sculptural Objects: Decorative items such as dolls, figurines, holloware, wall art/mosaics etc.

Marlaine Verhelst
Richard and Jodi Creager

Functional Objects: Items that perform a function such as bowls, vessels, boxes, purses etc.

Victoria Hughes
Jill Heppenheimer

Best of Show

Cynthia Tinapple

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Progress and Possibilities '08 is coming!

Progress and Possibilities 2007
First place in Container Category
Barbara Sperling
Koi Bowl with Lilac Stand

Now that my summer show is over, groceries bought, house sort-of picked up and laundry started (you didn't think that three guys were going to take care of all that did you? ;o), I can concentrate on getting you all of the details on the 4th annual Progress and Possibilities International Juried Exhibit.

The first thing you should all know is that you don't need to send your images on a CD this year. Register at CAFE and familiarize yourself with how to prepare your images. You must be a member of the NPCG to enter your work in the show. You can join on-line here.

If you have any questions at all, email me at desertdesignsbybarbara (at)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Art Nouveau earrings...

These remind me of the art nouveau style almost exactly in some pairs. I'm definitely getting the hang of these the more I make...however the little swirl at the bottom is going to take extra time to perfect! Somehow, it's fitting that swirls are making their way back into my work again :o) I've always loved creating when you don't quite know what the finished product will look like. These totally fit the bill.

Finished with all of my earrings tonight. Now, on to pricing...

Friday, June 20, 2008

See what I see...

My daily dose of inspiration is right outside my door. Ben Roberts captures New Mexico...and his dog Chaco :o)

New Mexico Arts and Crafts Fair starts next Thursday. I'll continue to be "awol" until the show is over. Wish me luck!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Torpedo earring beads

I've decided that this shape works best for earrings. Although I did have a thought as I was falling asleep last night. I may try some more, flattened on one side, and drilled through the center, so they kind of look like half moons strung together. I would put the canework on each end of each bead. I think that might look kind of cool when strung together. I usually upload pics of my work to flickr so if you'd like to see more you can look there :o)

I have a new email addy for business correspondence only. If you'd like to be notified when I add new beads and jewelry to my site, or if you would like information on wholesale or teaching, please email me at desertdesignsbybarbara(at)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Bead Dreams winners announced...

Polymer Clay

1st Place - Carol Simmons - Korean Embroidery Series

2nd Place - Julie Picarello - Cityscape

3rd Place - Louise Fischer Cozzi - Symmetry Denise Necklace

Since I know what Julie Picarello entered, I'll show you her gorgeous 2nd place piece here. Hopefully, Cynthia Tinapple will show her good friend Carol Simmon's winning entry in the Polymer Clay category. I can't wait to see what amazing work Louise Fischer Cozzi entered...I'm sure it's stunning :o)

A list of Bead Dreams winners in all of the categories can be seen here.

Congrats to all of the finalists and winners!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Bead Dreams entry '08

Here it is. I was really surprised that this piece (same necklace shown earlier, different dangle) was accepted to the Bead Dreams competition and another one that I liked so much better wasn't. I think we find out today who the prize winners are. I'm nervous this year for some reason.

Thanks so much to Heather for showing some of my beads on Craft Gossip Polymer Clay :o)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A bead shape revisited...

I was finally able to get past my flower bead obsession which I've had for the past year. I'm not sure what got me to want to make this shape bead again, but I'm guessing it was seeing the gorgeous "Shibori" beads that polymer clay artist Judy Dunn makes. First I saw them on Flickr and they made quite an impression on me...then after being able to see them in person at the ACRE show in Las Vegas last month, well that was the kicker I guess.

Initially I think I was attracted to the blending of colors and how each bead was so unique and beautiful. Then realizing that the beads were even sort of abstract (not all the exact size and shape), well that made making some much more appealing.

So, anyhow here are the first ones. Mine are slightly flattened and the finish is what I call "bisque" which is basically smoothing with cornstarch. As I continue on with the "torpedo" shape, I can see where straightening out one side of each bead, making sort of a crescent shape, then matching up beads side by side, a tessellating design emerge. I'll show you those after the Memorial Day Weekend.

Perfect timing to see what Judy's Crane Project is all about. Thanks so much to Judy for helping me get out of the rut I've been in! :o)

Have a good one!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Progress and Possibilities '08

The jurors for the NPCG's 4th annual Progress and Possibilities International Exhibit are now up on the website. You must be a member of the National Guild to submit to the show. On-line submissions will begin August 1st, 2008. You can read more about submission guidelines here.

They include Sarah Shriver (above) and Robert Liu of Ornament Magazine for Art Jewelry, Victoria Hughes and Jill Heppenheimer of Santa Fe Weaving Gallery for Functional Objects, and Marlaine Verhelst and the Creagers for Sculptural Objects. Cynthia Tinapple of Polymer Clay Daily will judge "Best of Show."

Read their biographies and I think you'll agree that these are very talented and accomplished people that will be viewing your work this year. I'll be posting much more detail soon on this exciting event! If you have any questions you can email me at rubarb04(at)

Friday, May 09, 2008

Emmie's birthday present?

Emmie girl is one year old this week and I'm taking her to get spayed in the AM. Poor baby...but at least for a treat we put bacon grease all over her "Beneful" doggie food today :o)

Monday, May 05, 2008

Polymer category on

While looking at Jael's beautiful beads on Flickr, I was lead to her blog and then to her bead gallery on which is an on-line art community. The lovely work of Eugena Topina is there too.

When I put up an image there some months ago, there was no polymer category and now there is. It looks like a great place to show your work, so get crackin'! :o)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

I've been tagged...again!

I guess I'll play since this is the second time I've been tagged, this time by Kathi. I'm not really such a grouch, just pressed for time these days... :o)

The rules:

1. Post the rules on your blog.
2. Name seven of your favorite blogs.
3. Place the name of the person and URL on your blog.
4. Write seven things about yourself.
5. Send an email letting those bloggers know they have been tagged.

Favorite Blogs:
  1. - Kim Cavender
  2. - Gera Scott Chandler
  3. - Tamara Shea
  4. - Iris Mishly
  5. - Heather Powers
  6. - Melanie Dilday
  7. - Tejae Floyde
Seven things about me:
  1. I have a weakness for white tops, sandals, purses, soaps and lotions
  2. The weirdest sandwich that I like is Peter Pan Peanut Butter, crisp lettuce and Miracle Whip.
  3. I hate waiting in line
  4. I'm a very light sleeper and an occasional insomniac
  5. I think I'm a fantastic driver but I'm directionally challenged
  6. I love "Funniest Home Videos" except when someone gets hurt!
  7. I met my husband Rudy when he was coach for our company softball team 25 years ago

Monday, April 28, 2008

ACRE show in Las Vegas

I had a great time meeting up with some very cool and talented polymer clay artists. Here are a couple of pictures of Judy Belcher, the president of the National Polymer Clay Guild and Sandra McCaw...I am a new owner of some of her fabulous earrings.

Anyhow, at dinner, I asked these women whose opinions I value greatly to look at my work and critique. They were all very kind and had some nice things to say...and these two even decided to try a necklace on!

I've posted a few more pictures on my Flickr site. I've decided not to take the cheapy camera along with me anymore after seeing the poor quality of these pictures :o(

Hopefully Judy Dunn will have some better ones...