Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Inherent Beauty Of Stones And Peyote Bezeling

It seems that as the weather cools down, our body clocks and biorhythms make a shift that seems to trigger a flurry of creative energy.  In the past few weeks, new pieces are coming to fruition in addition to a whole new set of projects for upcoming classes that are being tested and concocted in the LB o J'zazz Beading Kitchen.

One piece is this Jasper cabochon that reminded me of the island of Cyprus in it's outline and the the ridges and rings the rich history and condition of this beautiful land.  Again, as a beader we say "You can never have enough seed beads and Delicas" however, as my personal stash is waning the limited palettes available have pushed the creative envelope a bit further.  Many times I will apply certain design restrictions such as the standard template of the beaded collar, limiting the palette to a very tight color range, assymetrical placement of the focal points to name a few.  This has allowed the objects to break out of the norm and define itself in a fresh and new way.  
Bezeling with Peyote Stitch is probably one of the most rewarding techniques in this process.  Whenever I see the claw like prongs holding onto a beautiful stone it leaves me cold.  However, when the Delicas Size 11s surround, envelope and encase the stone mimicking and echoing the original shape it enhances and intensifies the inherent qualities of the stone or cabochon as seen in the image below.


I will post the completed piece as it will include special Tierracast findings and clasps in Antiqued Copper and hammertone finishes. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

To Condition Or Not To Condition: Protecting Your Thread and Fireline

Flower On The Serpentine Class and Kit

Whenever I am teaching a group of beaders, Bettina my beading partner is constantly used as a reference.  We both love to bead and have a passion for things that are hand crafted.  Yet, our approaches to beading could not be more different.  This actually allows us to collaborate on class projects with ease and a lot of ideas emerge because of our varied methods.  
So, whenever I recommend using something, Bettina ends up either not using that specific item or if she does it is used in a completely different way. As I say to our class participants, at least try and experiment your self and then you develop your repertoire of techniques and tips to creating your objects in the manner that suits you. 
Which brings me back to the subject of thread conditioning.  Thread conditioning you say?  Yes, just like we moisturize our hair, soften our clothes and other daily rituals, thread conditioning has it's merits.  With my own projects, particularly the bead embroidery and the off loom weaving which takes time, my egoic self imagines that when I am long gone, my pieces will be found, dusted, analysed and studied and the idea that the thread conditioner actually prolonging the life of the thread that is holding the beads makes this far fetched concept all the more appealing.  
In reality, it protects the thread from sharp edges of certain types of beads such as bugle beads and machine cut crystal bicones.  It also limits the development of knots and kinks which can lead to frustrating sessions of untangling, resorting to cutting the thread and having to start a project all over again.  The beading thread and Fireline are literally the lifeline of your projects and they weave the basis of the underlying structures that keep the piece together and in the pattern or weave that is being created.  So, I stretch the thread when measuring and then condition it.  

Which conditioner is best for your thread?  Well it depends on what technique you are working on and what is required of the thread or Fireline.  I use two products and they have different effects in terms of output and how they feel when you are beading.  The two products are Microcrystalline Wax and Thread Heaven. The image above left actually shows the technique of conditioning your Fireline with Microcrystalline Wax.  It is excellent as it allows your beadweaving to have a bit more structure and protects the stringing material more often than not from snapping and breaking.  With Fireline when bezeling cabochons and semiprecious stones I tend to pull the Size 11 Delicas firmly so the conditioning allows this to be done more easily.  It also ideal when you need to try and avoid tangling of a single or double threaded segment as it makes the sides stick together and act as one strand rather than two.  The wax is also used when double threading C-Lon and off loom weaving with the beading thread especially in repetitive stitches such as the Spiral Stitch. 

Thread Heaven on the other hand is a completely different creature and leaves a silky, buttery feel to your thread.  We  use C-Lon and another thread by Toho.  A little goes a long way as you run your needle and thread through as it also creates an electrostatic state that makes threads move away so it is not recommended to use when you are double threading.  I use both items and my little tub of Microcrystalline and little blue box of Thread Heaven have lasted me for years actually.  On that note, my beading partner in crime Bettina rarely uses the wax as she does not like the tackiness it creates when she is working and will use the Thread Heaven on occasion.  Both conditioners are available at the shop should you choose to condition your threads. 

Friday, November 27, 2009

Iriquois Echoes - In Limbo

This beaded collar had a few new approaches within the Kindred Spirits Series.  When I began to approach the layout of the focal stones, I was not satisfied with the shape of the beaded collar template that was being used, instead I wanted to create a hand drawn base to move forward from so, for a few days the exercise was to come up with a pattern that would accomodate larger stones yet was not over stated.  This is what I came up with.

I began collecting special cut stones and fossils by the talented lapidary artist Gary Wilson thanks to Sherry Serafini's strong recommendation at the Bead and Button Show in 2005.  Ever since, it has been hard to find anyone who is as masterful in his acquiring beautiful stones and his unbelievable talent at cutting and creating these masterpieces.  These special stones have been extensively used in this piece.  

Two main stone types, the first is Chrysolite and the second being Labradorite.  The Chrysolite looks a lot like Turquoise as it has high traces of copper.  The Labrodorite is the luminous bluish stone on the upper left hand corner of the image below.  After that the secondary focal points are mother of pearl disks.  The mother of pearl disks are the ones on the lower right corner.  
As I started my collaging the stones and placing beads on the template, the stones were so mesmerizing that it was appealing to have seed beads echo the shapes and offset the hues as in a rippling effect. So the amount of seed beads in Size 11, 15 and 3 cut 15's required are much higher.  

Rarely do I show people what the back side of the beaded embroidery looks like, so today I took some extra shots to share, really two beads stitched and then backstitched at a time.  It looks like a maze of threads crisscrossing on the back.  It's too bad it ends up being covered once all the bead embroidery is done.

At this point, the main body of the piece is almost complete, and actually today I was so ready to complete it except for one simple reason........ I ran out of the seafoam luster green Delicas that dominate the overall color scheme!  
So, now along with all the other LB o J'zazzers I am eagerly awaiting the first ever shipment of seed beads, Delicas and Czech beads to satisfy my need to bead.  This has been one of the most rewarding beaded collars in terms of the end result and am considering entering the piece in competitions such as the Bead Dreams by Bead and Button and The Saul Bell Design Awards by Rio Grande.  

Will keep you posted as the project nears completion.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Crystal Clear Fireline Back By Popular Demand

For those of you who took the Peyote Cuff, the Flower On The Serpentine or our recent Viral Spiral Class were able to sample and use the Fireline.  However, what was available at the time was limited to the Smoke color and as many beaders are opting for lighter and brighter color palettes, your request for the Crystal Clear Fireline has been served!

We now have Crystal Clear available in the 4lb and 6lb version.  Fireline is ideal for off loom weaving, securing your pieces, embellishing and fringing when you want the tension to be a bit tauter, or your working with machine cut beads such as our Czech Machine Cut Bicones and Spacers.  

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Just What Are Findings?

Upon looking at a finished object of beaded adornment, the beads tend to take center stage. However, Findings in themselves are a key component that enables you to achieve the desired effect when assembling and finishing pieces. As you peruse beading magazines and publications the word Findings pops up frequently. So, LB o J'zazz is introducing several key ranges of Findings. This will allow you to see the wide range of what this category consists of.
Findings are basic components that hold, house and showcase your work. Some examples such as Eye and Head Pins, Bead Caps, Links, Jumprings, Crimp Beads, Crimp Covers and Clasps starts the range and can get more elaborate and varied.

Findings can make or break a project literally and aesthetically.  When I first started making beaded and adorned objects it was hard to differentiate if something was shoddy and did not hold the work properly, until I became more exposed to the variety of qualities and the actual materials used.  Unfortunately this took place outside our local market in Kuwait and hence, LB o J'zazz came into fruition for that reason and a bunch of others! 
It also becomes more evident when you start making your own jewellry, so now, for those beaders and artisans when you go to the mall and or see other beaders work you can look at all the components and realize just how much time went into not only making the final piece but the quality of finishing and the actual Findings.
Soft Flex, Vintaj and Tierracast are three key lines that we are very proud to offer.  There are several criteria that we focus on when selecting who we source our products from:

  1. Quality and finishing of material
  2. Nickel and lead free 
  3. Reasonable pricing for the quality we offer you.  
  4. Environmental commitments from a manufacturing and managing of resources standpoint.                       

We will be introducing each range and items, how they are used and recommended applications in our upcoming posts.  If you have any questions please post them. 

Image:  Art Nouveau In Pink is an off-loom woven piece by co-founder of LB o J'zazz; Bettina Al-Bakhit.  The technique employed is Peyote Stitch and Fringing.  The clasp and crimp beads employed to secure the piece are considered Findings.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

LB o J'zazz at KTAA event Saturday November 21

Pass by this coming Saturday the Sadu House as the Kuwait Textile Arts Association will have an arts and crafts bazaar. 

We will be showcasing some of our recent hand crafted off loom beadwork in addition to our creations in Decopatch.  For beaders and crafters you will be able to purchase loose beads,crytals, findings and special Beaders Gift Baskets in addition to the Decopatch range to create your own unique handcrafted projects.  

The event will start at 10 AM and end at 1 PM 
Saturday November 21

Venue:  Sadu House near the Seif and Amiri Diwan and adjacent to the National Museum on Gulf Road, Kuwait City

Above image is Snow Queen Beaded Collar; beaded embroidery by Bettina Al Bakhit

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

LB o J'zazz Shop will be closed this Wednesday evening and Saturday Nov 14

LB o J'zazz will be closed this evening as we will temporarily be out of the beading coverage area.  For all of you LB o J'zazzers, our Saturday classes will resume shortly.  However, this coming Saturday November 14 you can shop to your heart's delight at the Annual Holiday Bazaar, our beads, tools, Beaders Gift Baskets and Decopatch will be on offer and it's  being held at the Salwa Sabah Al Ahmad Hall from 10 AM-9 PM.  

We would love to see you there!   

Monday, November 9, 2009

LB o J'zazz at Charity Bazaar Saturday November 14

Just to let you know that this coming Saturday November 14, our shop in Shaab El Bahry will be closed for the day.  However, you can find us at the Salwa Sabah Hall beginning from 10 AM to 9 PM.  We will be offering our unique kit designs that are great gifts in addition to our Soft Flex Range, Tierra Cast, Vintaj, Beads, Crystals and tool sets.  

For those of you who are looking for the ultimate gift for a friend who beads, we have created the Beaders Gift Basket in limited quantities.

Back by popular demand we will have an extended Decopatch range with new accessories, objects and paper designs.  

The 28 Faces Of The Beloved by renowned architect and artist Fareed Abdal will also be showcased to place orders that will be delivered as the ultimate gift for the holiday season.  

Salwa Sabah Al Ahmad Hall
Marina Complex
November 14, 2009
10 AM - 9PM

There is a 1KD entry fee

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Al Watan TV feature on just what LB o J'zazz is all about

For those of you who did not catch the LB o J'zazz feature on Al Watan TV you can go to the link.  We were interviewed by Hessa Al Loghani whose main question and focus to us was why would we teach and share our knowledge vs. monopolizing our talents to sell finished pieces? 
This debate of knowledge and technical know how monopolization is rampant in our region and goes to show just how much more we have to promote adult education, personal development and experiential learning.  LB o J'zazz founders promoting learning arts and crafts

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Viral Spiral Earrings and Bracelet Class November 7 at 9:30 AM

You will easily master this stitch that looks like a DNA helix ; you will want to use the Spiral Stitch more than expected as it is a very versatile off loom technique.  We will start with the long earrings and then move onto the bracelet.  
Sparkling Bohemian Czech Bicones in rich hues and tones have been created in three pallettes to choose from,in addition to seed beads, Crystal Drops and Pressed Glass will be employed as you also will learn some basic fringing techniques that is an introduction to embellishing in the bead arts.   
The class will begin at 9:30 AM Saturday.  If you do not have the tools listed, we highly recommend you purchase them at LB o J'zazz shop before the class.  
Two seats remain available at this time, so reserve your space to bead in a relaxed, quiet and fun atmosphere.

To register please contact us at 5555-7745 or 6676-7608 and at

Sunday, November 1, 2009

LB o J'zazz featured on Al Watan TV tonight at 9

After the economic meltdown of retail giants at global and local levels it is high time for people to realize the potential of the power of small businesses and buying handmade.  In this vein, LB o J'zazz will be featured on the popular program on Al Watan TV this evening called " Banat wu Bass".  
Although "Banat wu Bass" has an exclusionary feel to it in terms of their subject matter, for the mere fact that the managing partners of LB o J'zazz happen to be ladies, LB o J'zazz offers classes and workshops to women and men alike. 
We welcome your comments and feedback as we will also be seeing it for the first time tonight with viewers at 9 PM and there will be a rerun at 11 PM this evening also.  

Saturday, October 24, 2009

New Classes & Kits Coming Your Way

We have been keenly concocting and brewing in our bead kitchen and have come up with some great beading recipes for this season!  Over six new classes are underway with each class introducing unique designs and freshly arrived products to further enhance your projects.  
Delicioso Beaded Bead Bracelet, Create Your Own Pendant, Viral Spiral Bracelet, Crystal Dance Choker and Earrings Extravaganza to name a few along with our popular classics such as Bohemian Delight Necklace and Earrings set along with our Peyote Cuff class.  

We will be posting the schedule for sign up in the days to come.  Bettina and I recommend you register and select your tools at the shop well in advance to secure your seat as they get booked very quickly.  

Friday, October 9, 2009

Beading Wire: Soft Flex Comes Your Way

We have just received a major collection that both Bettina and I had been eagerly anticipating. If I told you it was a special wire used for making accessories and our adorned objects, you may say- what is all the fuss about. Well, this is an interesting type of wire, in that in some finishes and weights you can knot it and even crochet the wire to create structures. In addition, these beading wires can be used for heavy gemstones and large beads also.

Some of our projects and upcoming workshops will cover the versatility and variations of ideas that this material can give you. To the extent that event designers are using Soft Flex Beading Wire to embellish crystals and beads throughout their projects. Soft Flex Fine Beading Wire was introduced in our first workshop Bohemian Delight Earrings and Necklace set that is featured in the photograph.

The range is quite extensive and offers versatility in terms of affordability and what your final vision for your finished piece is. Six ranges in all beginning with Econoflex, Soft Touch, Extreme in precious metal finishes, Metallics, Original and Trios. Combined with the highest quality and dependable range of crimp beads and crimp covers.

In addition, LB o J'zazz seeks responsible companies that integrate environmental commitments in their manufacturing processes and approach. We are glad to say that Soft Flex is indeed the first wire manufacturer to go Green.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Google Map Location of LB o J'zazz Shop

Many people have been asking about our Shaab el Bahry location especially after the Student Talk October 09 issue feature " A Day In The Life". So, here is our Google Map location. Simply copy and paste the following address in your browser:,48.029587&spn=0.009371,0.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Flower On The Serpentine Choker October 3

While I was in Paris two Aprils ago, I stumbled upon Six Lucite Styled Flowers that were the last hidden in a cookie jar in a famous crafters shop near the Notre Dame. Quickly, like a kid stealing cookies from that jar, I wiped the shop out of the last pieces. Along with the wavy, Victorian feel of the Serpentine Stitch and the bright vivid colors of the Lucite Flowers became the inspiration behind this one time only class.
Six kits not to be repeated each a different color and palette that includes beautiful Czech Crystal, Seed Beads and Pressed Glass. Two Kits / Seats remain available at this time.

For more details contact Lubna at or via 5555-7745.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Kindred Spirits Series Update

As the Kindred Spirits series explored and developed by LB o J'zazz co-founder Lubna is evolving we wanted to share some of the directions and ideas that are the underlying seeds of this dialogue. As mentioned in Lubna's Pecha Kucha performance last March, it is an intra-cultural conversation through beads.

Beads are considered the oldest objects created by man over 38,000 years ago that are the earliest expressions of abstract thought. The fact that special tools were created for this articulation in itself attest to man's evolution of cognition, cultural literacy and development.

The fifth beaded collar within the series is currently under completion and here are a few images. The concept began to formulate as the fourth beaded collar "Fossil Paths" was being completed where the tight color palette of blacks, silvers and greys created a very specific feeling, I wanted to have a burst of contrasting colors and shapes be articulated in a much bolder expression of purples, pinks, violets and greens. At this point in time, the beaded collar is nameless but it has a very "jewel like" feel. Any suggestions for a name would be welcome.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Off Loom Weaving: Introduction To Peyote Stitch

There are several techniques that have proven to be favorite by artisans and craftsmen generation to generation. An ancient technique, Peyote Stitch perfected and expressed among native Americans is still employed today. This stitch is created using an "off-loom" method and initially was created to hold the hallucinogenic dream creating drug Peyote in a special pouch styled pendant. From a creative standpoint, this is by far one of the most rewarding and versatile techniques in "off-loom" weaving.

We will be offering an introduction class, on Saturday September 12 introducing the technique and some variations and applications. Participants will be able to make and complete a Peyote Cuff in addition to acquiring new embellishing and finishing techniques that can also be creatively employed in other objects of adornment.

Limited Seating Availability

For more information contact Lubna 5555-7745 or at

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Bohemian Delight 1st Class Kick Off

Last Saturday, was the kick off for our long anticipated beading class series. Bohemian Delight was developed by both Bettina and I in our first collaboration of creating pieces within a session. Inspired by our trip to the Bohemian region in the Czech Republic this past February the style and materials used all came from that region.
At our Jabriya location, the class started at 11 AM as our first participants chose from over ten palettes for the Earring and Necklace Set and began to experience the basics of beading and moving to more intricate methods as the project progressed. By the end of the session most of our beaders left with a complete set and could easily replicate the project on their own.
For me, the best part of our LB o J'zazz experience is you, our customers and participants. Bettina and I get to share our passion for the most ancient of abstract expression known to mankind....... let the beading begin!
Currently, this workshop will be repeated, in addition two more workshops are being concocted as we speak and will add to the repertoire and variety of experiences you can enjoy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Karen Hill Tribe Silver: a story of a people

As the prices of precious metals soar, and ricochet across analyst's graphs it is clear that the demand for gold has made silver an even more precious metal. Curiosity has served us well in that a few years back when we were exposed to different silver beads and silver work, we searched and continue to search for where an item was made, who made it and how was it created. This proved to be intriguing and allowed for the justification of a journey or a diverted route.

This was the case in particular, as through my business dealings for another job in my other life, business required that a trip to Thailand take place and to a region in the north called Chiang Mai. A heavenly place that a certain community called the Karen Hill Tribe, created with the most rudimentary tools, and had faced extreme poverty and economic strife called their home. Simply put, the artistic creations of the Karen Hill Tribe craftsmen are unlike any silver work on the planet.

It has been documented that there presence in Thailand was since the 12th Century and it is believed that the Karen originally came from Tibet, through China, Myanmar (Burma) and then to Thailand. They are subsistence farmers who live at peace with nature and the forests. The Karen settled in what is termed the 'middle level' in the mountains, namely between 800 and 1,800 meters.

It is the beads that they have been making for hundreds of years that sustained them and actually allowed these communities to avoid displacement to a certain extent and some form of economic stability in their own abodes.

They live in an area covering four countries in the famed Golden Triangle covering Laos, Burma, Thailand and Vietnam. They do not possess the sophisticated tools, machinery and the latest innovative technology that we rely on so heavily. Instead, due to these limitations and challenges a very distinct voice, style and imagery have emerged.

On my last trip to Chiang Mai, I was able to purchase beautiful samples of Karen Hill Tribe Silver and we will increase the range and expand the collection. The pieces are sold by grams and are sterling silver.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Workshop: Bohemian Delight Earrings

This is one of our first workshops on offer this season and will be repeated throughout. You will begin with basic stringing techniques and exploring color palettes through the project. There are over 10 color palettes to choose from and you will be able to complete your pair with ease. All the beads and crystals in this project are from the Bohemian region of the Czech Republic and were hand selected by both Bettina and I, hence the name Bohemian Delight.

Once you have completed the set, you can easily transfer the technique to other projects such as pendants, bracelets and necklaces. All tools, materials and workshop details will be coming your way in an upcoming post.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

LB o J'zazz Workshops

When the concept of LB o J'zazz germinated a few years ago, one of the main activities both Bettina and I were adamant and passionate about was workshops, and lots of them. Covering a variety of mediums, techniques and approaches.

When you visit our shop in Shaab el Bahry you not only get to peruse,touch, feel and discover beads from all over the planet, you can sign up for an evening workshop. Once you signed up and attended- a few hours later you can easily walk out with a finished project. Everything from your own unique take on a key chain, simple or bold earrings, bracelets, hejab brooches, necklaces, mesbahs and more will be offered weekly to you.

The workshop fees include the essential materials kit, illustrated instructions and a material list of additional items such as tools and task lamps in order to complete the projects with ease. If you do not have the items required in the material list, they can be purchased at our Shaab el Bahry location.

Both Bettina and I have developed beautiful kits and projects that will allow you to complete a project and to start as many new pieces on your own.

Photograph taken by Laura Boushnak March 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Beading Thread At Its Best

One would think that all threads were created equal, however, after hours of frustrating experiences of constant fraying, splitting, breaking and extreme tangles and knots we would try another brand and keep on going in search of a reasonably priced yet, hassle free and dependable beading thread. After close to five years of experimenting, we can recommend C-Lon Beading Thread in AA and D sizes as ideally priced and dependable, in addition to having an amazing range of colors. It is manufactured in the USA and LB o J'zazz now offers it at our shop. For any projects requiring beading thread and in our workshop kits, C-Lon will be the thread of choice.

I use it extensively in my elaborate bead embroiderered objects, off loom weaving such as Peyote suffs, Ndebele stitch and the Spiral stitch to name a few. Depending on the project and stitches employed, you can condition your thread with Thread Heaven or Microcrystalline Wax. In many cases, beaders prefer not to condition their thread.LB o J'zazz offers over twenty two colors to choose from.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sharq Market Offers Decopatch During Their Kid's Summer Program

Starting today and during the month of July the folks at Sharq Market have an activity area that welcomes kids from the age of 6-12 to learn and have fun with art in four different zones. This FREE service begins from 5PM until 8 PM weekdays excluding Sundays.

The area is specially cordoned off and is located on the ground floor right next to Sultan Center. As this is a great service free of charge, it is on a first come, first serve basis. The kids don on their special gowns and get to sample a variety of activities if they choose and have the choice of rotating in the areas.

There are two bright young aspiring ladies who are Decopatch literate and will work with young artists to learn or perfect the technique. Bring your kids for a session of Decopatch. It's great fun!

Friday, June 26, 2009

28 Faces Of The Beloved Rings By Fareed Abdal

When you look at a Fareed Abdal composition it resonates at different levels. You enter a 2-D realm that redefines, and deconstructs simultaneously the letter forms we have come to recognize as familiar. Through his deep experiences with Martial Arts and several key masters, combined with his love for the form of letters since Fareed was a little boy, his design and architectural endeavors professionally and academically all combined to flow through the ink on his oriental brushes and onto the surfaces of paper.
In this vein, Fareed wanted to take the forms and create a new interpretation. By wrapping the actual letters around fingers in the shape of rings through a sculptural form. As he explains, through how the letters in Arabic are categorized and in his belief, the letters in themselves release and have specific power and energy fields. In a fresh and arresting manner, as you see the 28 Faces Of The Beloved, you would like to try and sample all the rings and see how they unfold each in it's own way and specific relation to the shape of the hand and fingers of the wearer. The limited edition series are available by order at our shop. Each ring, made here locally in Kuwait will come with a write up by the artist and beautifully boxed. Available in sterling silver and gold by special order. Please contact us at or for additional information.

The stunning photographs that highlight the rich subtlety of the collection was captured by local photographer Nawaf Alali.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Planting the "SEEDS" of quality

Over the past few years, over lunches, working, walking, traveling and building our little business, one of the main issues that surfaces in our conversations and at times passionate debates at every level is the selection process of quality beads. To my own surprise, the topic comes up more and more frequently. As we own a business that at the end of the day aims to be viable and profitable, we are faced with the collective consciousness that has proliferated that "cheaper is better".
It is reduced to the smallest measurement in our field and that is the minute seed bead that is used for weaving, textiles embroidery and embellishment. Both Bettina and I have worked very closely with all types of qualities and ranges. After painstaking research, sampling and testing the simple equation that when you start with quality at the microscopic level, your chances as an artist, designer and craftsman to make something worthwhile increases dramatically. In the sea of sameness, this in itself will be a more visible differentiating feature.
It may take a longer time to catch on, but if I put myself in the shoes of a designer or craftsman I would want to work with the best materials. So, what we bring into the store for our valued customers and friends is what we would want for ourselves. Great product at a fair rate. In our own objects that we create that is our philosophy and part of what we want our visitors and clients to experience time and time again. A return back to quality that we seek in the people who create something that appears as insignificant as a seed.
The images above are an ideal example. Aside from the technique and the concept, it is the inherent quality of the materials and in particular the seed beads used that enables the object to move to another level. The seed beads used here are considered premium quality from both Japan and the Czech Republic. The stones in the beaded collar were selected and cut by none other than world renowned lapidary artist Gary Wilson. In the case of the Embroidered Cuff; the seed beads are also from the most talented producers , both in Japan and the Czech Republic. The moon cabochon is made by artisans who specialize in this range.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Czech Crystals Extravaganza

Our trek to the Czech Republic this past March is bearing the fruits of our labor. Beadaholics Bettina and Lubna in search of the finest, the unique and most beautiful crafted beads were on a mission. The mission was to find and bring to you what we call MC Beads which is Machine Cut Crystal. It is the crystal of Bohemia that has been of world renown for centuries.

You will be able to peruse and experience the shimmer, the mystery and sparkle of the finest Bohemian Crystal beads at J'zazz Beadz our new outlet in Shaab el Bahry. The whole collection was selected while we were in the glass making region of Bohemia, as the snow melted and in the wee hours Bettina and I, hand selected and previewed each and every color, size, shape and finish. Our partners in the Bohemian region, cook all their glass in-house. Mixing, and concocting the recipes to create consistently some of the best glass available today.

We hope that you will join us and celebrate the beauty and mystery that crystal has had on many people before us and many yet to come.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Kashmiri Beads, you say?

With many delays, hiccups, trials and tribulations thanks to the not so efficient services of TNT, it took us over two weeks to recieve our special order of Kashmiri Beads. Coming your way from our friends and crafters of the Indian Subcontinent.
These beads have a very tactile, and handmade feel to them and come in rounds, barrels, tubes and ovals. Each bead has the same pattern but differs with
handmade pieces of glass, wire and metals embedded in a special clay like material and has rivets on both holes.
They are excellent focal beads, and can also be used as tassles and embellishments for clothing. For jewelry crafters they can be strung on yarns, silk ribbons, Soft Flex Beading Wire, cotton threads in a very eclectic style or combined with metal links or chain for a sleeker look. Some of them actually look like candy! Really!
They will be available at our shop mid this week. You will also be able to take some of our first workshops using these funky, colorful and exuberant beads for the summer.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Master Glass Maker Mr. Jindrich Ceska from Jablonec nad Nisou

On our first trip to Prague and the Czech Republic it was the intent of both Bettina and I to get as close to the famed cottage industry of glass makers and artisans in the glass making region as we could. From the standpoint of interaction, learning and having a better understanding and appreciation of the processes and to purchase direct from the artisans rather than increase the profits of huge companies who relied on these artisans but did not compensate them accordingly.

It was truly a journey of firsts for the both of us and the wonderful people that we met, who embraced our approach and were mirroring it in their own business and work attitudes. For all of the wonderful artisans who are honing their crafts in the little sheds scattered across the hill sides, for the families and cottage industry and the manufacturers who cook and make the glass, for the people who toil away in the heat of the furnaces and the kilns day in and day out to produce these objects.... We salute you.

We stayed in a small hotel outside the main town by the river Nisou that served skiers in the area. Anytime, we drove by chimney stacks attached to homes, cottages or larger structures we were informed that someone was up to something that had to do with Czech glass. We stayed in the region for over four days in the beginning of March as over two meters of heavy snowfall began to melt. Two days before we were to head back to Prague by bus, our dear friend and colleague Pavel took us to visit various artisans. To our amazement and surprise, one of the most prominent glass makers in the world of a special range of what is called special glass stones and cabochons lived and worked not more than 200 meters from our hotel!

Our aim, is for our readers, hobbyists, artists and designers to have a better understanding of the craft and to bring these special pieces from the Czech Republic and many other places on this planet to you. Mr. Jindrich Ceska, Master Glass Cabochon maker is our first from J'zazz Beadz highlighted artists.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Dreams can come true

Yesterday I decided I had enough waiting at home for my body to kick the germs "--s" out. So off I go to our project-in-progress "SHOP" in Shaab El-Bahri to meet up with Lubna to get a few final touches done. Its the fine details that count. And so, Lubna and i, with a brush in our hands start our hours long "tweaking".

Surprisingly though, while at work we had several car drivers pass by checking us out! :) Hmmm.. as Lubna said, "Checking out the new 9anaeya (craftsmen) flown in from France or Italy painting and decopatching the store".

Along with some live internet radio Jazz music, we managed to finish. Standing back, we realized this is finally coming true. Our dream.. finally is happening :) What a good feeling.

Here are some 'before' pictures. I will post the work done tomorrow.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Just What Is Decopatch?

When many of our local art teachers and hobbyists hear the word "Decopatch" they respond immediately and say: " Aaah yes decoupage!" However, they are quite different in that decoupage is an old technique that flowered in France whereby, table napkins were used by cutting out the designs and gluing them usually onto furniture surfaces and then covering the surface with a varnish. However, it would take several layers of varnishing and sanding so that the napkin material would "melt" on to the surface of the furniture. Decoupage can be frustrating as the napkin tears and is hard to apply and is limited to a certain range of surfaces.

Decopatch on the other hand, can be a scissorless endeavor altogether. It is used in projects for children as young as four and can move onto more sophisticated and advanced applications for professional designers and interior decorators. It is a very thin 20 gsm paper, that is made exclusively in the Decopatch factory in Lyon. The paper has a special coating and UV varnish that makes it moldable, very strong and color fast. The paper can be torn at random yet doesn't fray on the edges and when applied to a surface creates a collage of patterning. Several paper designs or a single paper can be utilised. Combine the paper with the special Glue/Varnish also exclusively manufactured and made for Decopatch paper and the results are truly satisfying.

You can Decopatch practically any surface, from metal, wood, porcelain, paper mache, carboard, plastic and more. It allows you to take objects you already have, create a new color scheme, or a theme in a very short amount of time. Whether you cut out designs or tear the paper, whenever it is applied the results are satisfying. You just can't go wrong with Decopatch.

After a surface of an object is covered you can then embellish it with sequins, decorative stones and a special type of adhesive/Patchliner to accent and highlight certain areas. When Decopatching outdoor furniture, mugs and plates a second water and weather proofing varnish is applied. Your mugs can be placed in the dishwasher and for daily use. It is a great way to upcyle and redorate your life and space in a very immediate and easy method. No Decopatch paper ever goes to waste as long as you have a surface to embellish and decorate.