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.