Inside the Studio Giveaway with Ema Kilroy

Welcome to Inside the Studio!

Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you’ll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.
Congratulations  Tracy Collins! You have won a selection of pansy blooms from Rebecca at The Curious Bead Shop.
Please contact Rebecca by sending her an email so you can choose your selection of those scrumptious pansies.

Welcome to my studio. As a new contributor to Art Bead Scene I’m excited to be writing my first post and sharing a bit about myself. I wanted to take you on a tour of my workspace but since I’m in the throws of preparing for a show at the end of this month my work areas are far too out of control and messy. Instead I’m going to share with you, our ABS readers, a first look at a new line of metal jewelry components I’ve been working on.

First, a brief bit about my jewelry making background. I began my jewelry adventure in 1999 when I learned to weave Swarovski crystals into sparkling bracelets. In 2005 I took up lampworking and in 2011 I taught myself metalsmithing. Today I’m happy to share with you my new line of components,
Natural Impressions.
Natural Impressions by Ema Kilroy of Ema K designs
I’ve long been intriqued by metal components and the process involved in creating them. For many years the process of working metal seemed like such a big undertaking. The classes were expensive and so many tools were necessary. Over the years I’ve managed to acquire a tool or two as funds allowed. I would add the tools to my stash and there they sat, untouched for far too long. In 2011 I decided it was time to focus some of my energy on learning the skill of metalsmithing. It’s been a slow learning curve with many pieces being set aside because they weren’t quite right. I finally feel like I’ve gained enough knowledge to create finished, quality pieces. My learning came from a variety of sources. I borrowed many books from my local library (so many great resources can be found for free), I won a book or two in some generous giveways from my blogging friends, I even won riveting tools in a Halstead Bead giveaway (I still need to work on fine tuning that skill). More recently I’ve discovered some wonderful videos on youtube. Oh there are so many great videos on youtube! Just call me late to that party!
Focal/Toggle clasps impressed with baby’s breath, queen anne’s lace and maple leaf
I’ve had an idea for a very long time and finally got to put it to metal when I added a rolling mill to my studio. Using dried flowers I’ve impressed floral images onto metal! I’m over the top with excitment about these designs. These pieces resonate with my connection to mother nature. You know that feeling? When you create something and it just feels spot on right. That’s how I feel about this collection.
Focal/Toggle clasps impressed with baby’s breath, oak leaves and fern leaves.
Rectangle focal/toggle clasp impressed with queen anne’s lace and baby’s breath. 
I think these pieces will bring us into Spring and Summer quite nicely. In my next post (look for it at the end of the month) I’ll be sharing a tutorial on how I’ll be using some of these pieces in jewelry designs. 
Rectangle Focal/Toggle clasp impressed with baby’s breath
I’m giving away one focal/toggle clasp. The exact one you see in the photo above. All you have to do is leave a comment answering this question; Have you learned a new skill or technique that excites you? Share with us how you learned it. Did you teach yourself by reading a book or watching a video or did you take a class with your favorite instructor? A winner will be chosen and posted in next weeks Inside the Studio blog post.
Thanks for stopping in today. I look forward to reading your comments.
Ema Kilroy is a lampwork glass artist, metalsmith and jewelry designer living and working in New England. You can find out more about Ema and her work by visiting her website, www.emakdesigns.com. You can purchase glass beads and metal components in her Etsy shop, www.emakdesigns.etsy.com.

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63 Comment

  1. Mags
    April 4, 2014 at 11:26 am

    These nature theme toggles of yours are just what I'm looking for – You chose my favourite for the give-away 😀
    I'm at the moment going wild with kumihimo-braid! I saw it first in some jewelry blog and wanted to try, I ordered the 'equipment' and like this technique very much, the instructions with the disk are so easy to follow. I like the sound of the bobbins, too 😀

  2. shelleykatsh@gmail.com
    April 4, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Thanks for this opportunity! I recently learned the beginnings of fold forming from several YouTube videos. Not as good as taking a class but an amazing resource. Love your clasps!

  3. Becky Pancake
    April 4, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Hi Ema, I am glad to see you here. Congratulations on learning your new skill set. Your pieces are beautiful. I won the book "Mastering Herringbone Stitch The Complete Guide" by Melinda Barta from Jean York at http://prettykittydogmoonjewelry.blogspot.com I was excited to add this stitch to my techniques. I stitched herringbone straps for a necklace right away.

  4. KayzKreationz
    April 4, 2014 at 11:56 am

    I love your toggles. I love the nature in them. I too walk around our small property and see all kinds of things from the pasture and trees I'd like to be able to figure out how to put into my jewelry. I just took a class on Torch Enameling 2 weeks ago and loved it. It was so much fun. I can't wait to try some more of it.

  5. Nana Louise Nielsen
    April 4, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Hi Ema
    Your new line looks amazing. I make something similar, not with a rolling mill but with metal clay. https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/114771853/ribbon-bracelet-with-decorative-bronze
    I regularly trawl youtube, magazines and books for anything I can learn about jewellery making. Every new technique excites me. At the moment I am taking a course at college learning about casting in delft clay. It's frustrating when things go wrong but so exciting to open that mould and see a perfect impression every now and then.
    Best of luck with your show.


  6. Kathy Lindemer
    April 4, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    I have been learning to make metal clasps with wire. I have worked with wire before but making clasps is new to me. I got started with a tutorial that Heather Powers put on her Jewelry Mojo Challenge. She also posted a list of resources which included a Video. . I look for videos and make use of them when making something new. I also have Cindy Wimmer's book The Missing Link. It is a great resource that has pushed me into doing more wire work. I just bought a rotary tumbler so I am good to go.

  7. Divya N
    April 4, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    Though I am an apparel designer by qualification, I am self taught when it comes to jewelry. The most interesting things that I taught myself in jewelry are viking knit, form folding metal and coloring it – coincidentally I learnt both through experimentation as I couldn't understand them through video or tutorials

  8. Deb Fortin
    April 4, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Oh my goodness these are so gorgeous. I love the nature imprints on them and the toggle design is outstanding .

    pLease pick me as your winner.

    the latest thing I've discovered is working with Resin; there is a learning curve to this especially with the mixing ratios, get it right and wham it's a wonderful result, get it wrong and it's either a pool of goo or … well we won't go there.
    your time spent learning has certainly reaped huge rewards.

  9. Gale
    April 4, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Oh, I'd almost give my right arm to have a rolling mill–but that would kind of defeat my purpose…. Your designs are lovely. I especially like the ones with baby's breath and queen ann's lace.

  10. Sajuno
    April 4, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    These clasps are exquisite. I am so impressed that you taught yourself to work with metals. I have been learning how to create my own findings with wire. Online tutorials and books have been my resources. I find that the expenses involved in learning a new skill can be daunting and often seem to be a deterrent in pursuing a new inspirations. But, as you say, just getting one tool at a time soon provides what is needed. Thanks for your post.

  11. Wendy
    April 4, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Your work is beautiful! I've learnt a lot of new techniques and skills, it's what I'm all about. Most recently I went to a class to learn how to solder wire and another to learn how to do Soutache. I've taught myself a lot of skills using books, magazines and blog tutorials – everything from sewing and quilting to felting and jewellery techniques.

  12. Sarajo Wentling
    April 4, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Ema, I just love those clasps. They are stunning!

    I just learned how to do some macrame and other knotting with waxed Irish linen in Erin Siegel's class on the Bead Cruise. I'm super excited to start using some of those techniques and work more fibers into my jewelry.

  13. Nan Smith
    April 4, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Thanks Ema for sharing about your metalwork journey. It is definitely an area I hope to explore more in the future. I know what you mean about designing a piece that resonates deeply with you. Such an incredible feeling. These new pieces are gorgeous and you should be so proud!
    My latest attempt at learning something new is adding fabric textile to my work starting with sari ribbon. We'll have to see if I come with anything worth showing in BSBP 8. Thanks again.

  14. Berina RGA
    April 4, 2014 at 4:00 pm

    wow!! beautiful stuff!! new technique in beading… hmmm not many techniques I know.. I want to learn making beads from polymer clay & terracota.. I'm planning to try with youtube first…
    Moxie Craftie

  15. sheilaposter
    April 4, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Lately I'm trying to learn to bezel. I'm using an e-book called"Bored with Backstitch ' and also I'm applying some skills I learned already like peyote stitch. i seem to learn best with books but I note with the Tutorial videos the skills stay in my memory. Next up is riviting. Or fusing glass. There's so much to learn.

  16. Maneki
    April 4, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Gorgeous toggle clasps!! And yet another great example of how one can use flowers and leaves in jewellery making.

    Recently I've been very thankful for all the free instructional videos online. That way I learned a new decorative crochet stitch perfect for bracelets, how to make fun hexafish rubber band cords and how to make pretty knit loom stitches. Next on the list is learning how to crochet puffy flowers, which I'll use to make whimsical spring/summer pendants.

    Normally I prefer "word and picture" instructions (or free experimentation if the medium and technique allows for it), in the form of books/mags or online tutorials. I especially prefer this since I don't own a tablet or smartphone, something that makes it harder to have the videos by my side when working on something, but for some techniques, especially intermediate and advanced crochet stitches, videos are just the best. Much harder to learn from just photos and written instructions, as I learned the hard way. I watch the video a few times and then, if needed, find written instructions to print out and keep by my side when trying it out (that's right, I don't try something *while* watching the video as the computer is in the wrong room).

  17. Carol J Deskins
    April 4, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    I am just a beginner, so I hope to have tons of contributions to this question in the future. As for now, the latest think I have mastered is making simple clasps using wire. They really fill the bill and look good too. I am a bookaholic, so my go to place is my Jewelry Making Library. I really love the way you have taken a hard, cold metal an softened it with imprints from nature. I'll have to begin collecting the tools, too. Enjoyed your blog and with you much continued success. cj

  18. McKee Jewelry Designs
    April 4, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    I would love to win!!!!

  19. Cynthia
    April 4, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    I love your "Natural Impressions – they match my style very much.
    The one thing I've learned, and love doing, is torch fired enameling. I watched Barbara Lewis do a demo at Beadfest. I bought her book and the starter kit from her that day, then I stored it for about 5 months. I was afraid to begin, thinking I'd ruin my supplies, or not like it. Then, 2 years ago on new year's day, I set up my torch area, and began. Finally. I really love it. It has everything I like – immediate gratification, beauty mixed with experimentation, endless possibilties. And, I love the look of the filigree style beads with the enamel on them. Pretty soon, I was trolling online and at bead shows for pieces of metal I could enamel. I'm totally addicted now.
    Fun post!!

  20. April 4, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    I began fold forming through internet tutorial, it is really exciting technique.
    thank you

  21. Colleen
    April 4, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    These are very awesome. Really. I didn't realize that dried flowers would actually impress onto sheet metal (not that I've ever tried, not having a rolling mill).

    Most things are still pretty new to me, but the thing I'm most excited about is my beginning attempts at polymer clay. I've always been interested in trying it out and attending Heather P's retreat last fall was a great way to try it. Playing with the polymer was so very much my favorite part.

  22. Catherynne Henderson
    April 4, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    I recently have been learning how to make lampwork beads.
    I got really interested in them about a year ago having always just taken them for granted when using them in my jewellery. I did a YouTube search for videos watched a couple and was hooked!
    A few months later I went to the annual Flame Off event here in the UK and had a go making some very wonkey beads!
    I managed to save up enough to get a small hot head set up and have made more wonkey beads 🙂
    I have learned a lot from reading forums and watching YouTube videos and having a go myself.
    I am at the start of hopefully very long trip one that will have many wonkey beads in it but also the one or two utter gems that pop out of my sessions on the torch 🙂

    Catherynne xxx

  23. Shaiha
    April 4, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    I have been working to using more metal in my designs. I have picked up some books on soldiering and I am using patina more & nore.

    I do have to say that I just love your new line! The imprints are so fresh.

  24. glassbead, isinglass design
    April 5, 2014 at 12:05 am

    Wonderful pieces, Ema! My new skill is spinning fiber into yarn. Though I wouldn't exactly say I've learned it quite yet- but I'm working on it!

  25. jeanniesbeads
    April 5, 2014 at 12:21 am

    I am excited to take a class with Gail Moore to learn more riviting and metal coloring.

  26. gloria allen
    April 5, 2014 at 12:33 am

    I learned a beaded spiral rope. I learned by watching video on you tube. Thanks for the chance to win one of these lovely focal clasp.

  27. Penny Neville
    April 5, 2014 at 12:45 am

    I too love the idea of working with metal, it serms like clay or glass putting your own personal vision into the world. I took a riveting class awhile back and it didn't turn out how I expected but I hope that someday that I can create something from scratch.

  28. Sherri Stokey
    April 5, 2014 at 12:58 am

    I love your metalwork and I'd be thrilled to win that clasp! I just learned a little bit of something new this week – I used epoxy clay for the first time. I did some online research and read some tips and tricks and then just gave it a shot. It was fun and the charms turned out better than I expected!

  29. jennifer stock
    April 5, 2014 at 1:43 am

    This is amazing!I had no idea you could do this! I just learned something. Thank you. Your pieces are beautiful! The top one looks like dandelion seeds. So cool 🙂

  30. Shirley Moore
    April 5, 2014 at 2:02 am

    How cool to get to hear your story Ema! I love seeing how we all start out, and where our creative journey takes us. For me, I started with seed beads, and that has been where my heart has stayed. I've recently started to learn the world of loom beading from a fantastic teacher, Erin Simonetti. I hope to be able to take a class with her sometime in the future. For now, I soak up any wise counsel she shares in a facebook group, and her blog.
    Thanks so much for the wonderful opportunity to win one of your beautiful clasps!

  31. McKee Jewelry Designs
    April 5, 2014 at 3:06 am

    I would love to win!!

  32. Denise A
    April 5, 2014 at 4:34 am

    Recently I decided to tackle bead crochet. I did so by researching it online but what finally made the difference for me was to actually pick up the right hook. My first try is…well…laughable but I know now that I will conquer it with practice.

    I love your new work. The toggle is gorgeous. I know exactly what I would do with it if I were to win!

  33. Kristen
    April 5, 2014 at 11:17 am

    A rolling mill is on my wish list! I love your components and the beautiful finish you achieved on the copper. Thanks for the giveaway!

  34. asri wahyuningsih
    April 5, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    I just learned a new technique of making links from wire. I simply taught myself by reading a book. The title of the books is "The Missing Links".


  35. Angi
    April 5, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Your pieces are amazing! I am totally into metal. I've watched countless YouTube videos and read lots and lots of tutorials on line. My hubby has been a huge help with the hammers and the torch. Our workbenches are side by side. We have a blast!

    Angi Mullis dj2isme@aol.com

  36. Anne G
    April 5, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    It's so good to read about your journey into metal smithing! I can really relate as I am just venturing into that field myself. I LOVE these clasps and although I don't have a rolling mill yet, you have inspired me to start thinking out of the box on how I can incorporate nature into some elements of my designs. Thank you

  37. Mischelle
    April 5, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    One day I would love to try metalsmithing.. My newest skill I have learned is peyote stitch. I was nervous at first because seed beads scared me. lol I found a video on youtube and then practiced along with the video. Now I am enjoying it.

  38. Erin S
    April 5, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    I have playing with patinas and gold leaf recently. I am still in the beginning stages and want to get much more in depth with different finishes, colors and applications, but it's certainly fun to experiment! I attended a class where we got a bunch of samples and watched demonstrations, but sadly there was no hands-on learning–it was just watching the instructor. Helpful, but a far cry from actually trying it yourself.

  39. KJ
    April 5, 2014 at 5:52 pm

    Funny that should be the question as I was going to leave a comment on that subject. I am first and foremost a bead weaver. I did, however, fall in love with wire weaving. It looked beyond my abilities. I won a beginner level tutorial and found that it was a skill I could conquer. Now to find the time to learn that skill.

  40. Pat Denning
    April 5, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Ema – Your clasps are beautiful. At the moment I'm immersing myself in Kumihimo braiding (with and without beads). I started out by searching online, reading materials and just diving in. It is such a relaxing hobby. Best of luck to you. Pat Denning

  41. Pat Denning
    April 5, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Ema – Your clasps are beautiful. I've started doing Kumihimo braids with and without beads. I happened across the technique with searching for something else and was hooked. I've watched YouTube videos, read books and googled the hours aways. I find it a great way to relax. Wishing you all the best. Pat

  42. Ann
    April 5, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    Two summers ago I took a class to learn lamp working. Since I have been working on my masters thesis I have not been able to get back into the studio to create beads. Hopefully, this summer, I will get back in there and start creating beads to add to my bead weaving!

  43. judyklarson
    April 5, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    OH, MY!! Your toggles are stunning! I have been making jewelry for over 40 years, but recently started working in metal clay-self taught-and love it!

  44. Kashmira
    April 6, 2014 at 1:37 am

    Oh my, Ema!!! These are all amazing!!!! And am so much in awe of all you do…

    As for the question:
    Yes, I learnt riveting and patinating recently in Tracy Stanley's class on the bead cruise. Its opened up a whole new world for me!

  45. Ann Schroeder
    April 6, 2014 at 2:09 am

    Your Natural Impressions collection is really beautiful! I recently made my very first toggle. It was quite exciting, and I used an online written tutorial. I do better with the written word than visuals, but I do use both. I'm a bit of a jewelry book junkie and add to my collection whenever I can.

  46. Grubbi
    April 6, 2014 at 3:58 am

    These are really stunning Ema! Love the Queen Anne's Lace impression! What a great idea! x

  47. Beti Horvath
    April 6, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    I seriously love these clasps. I have recently cut apart some old belts and made some bracelets from them, but realize I have more to learn about making old leather comfortable and appealing!

  48. Alicia
    April 6, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    Love your toggles, Ema, beautiful. Yes, as a matter of fact, I am learning enameling right now. I've started a few weeks back, and I am testing, practicing, playing. Nothing stellar yet, but lots and lots of fun 🙂

  49. Cheryl K Roe
    April 6, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    I am first a Lampwork artist but you need other items to make them stand out. I have taught my self metal clay from books and the internet. I think I am now ready to try some PMC. I have also dabbled in etching copper and love your focals and clasps. I would kill for a rolling mill. It is my next big purchase after a new concentrator.

  50. Kelly Ramstack
    April 6, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    I've been doing more knitting than beading lately but I learned a new technique on a recent knitting project – a garter tab. I signed up for a mystery knit-along and ended up learning quite a few new techniques.

  51. Paula Lee M.
    April 6, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    I recently learned some new wire weaves. I am self taught for many things as I don't have many affordable classes in the techniques I would like to learn close by. I generally learn fro books and classes when I can get them, sometimes video. I started making jewelry 35 years ago and we didn't have you tube and blogs and such, so I am very comfortable teaching myself.

  52. Kathleen Lange Klik
    April 6, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    Welcome to Art Bead Scene Ema! Your toggle clasps are absolutely stunning, right up my alley!

    I took a metalsmith class with Eva Sherman at Bead Fest that was fantastic. We learning to create copper cuffs. It included shaping, forming, texturing and cold connections. I was thrilled with my creations and it inspired me to order copper sheet and continue creating more cuffs in my studio. I sold them all too!

    I also took a polymer clay class with Christine Damm at ArtBliss. I had long wanted to work with the medium and her class was a wonderful introduction. It too inspired me to dive in and continue creating. I participated in a bead swap that Lorelei Eurto held and created 12 different sets of beads and pendants.

    While I have several books on both subjects, I learn best from hands-on classes. I plan to take more classes and continue working in both mediums!

  53. Susan Marling
    April 6, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    Your clasps are stunning! I love the leaves! I have learned to work with thin metal. I took a class with Stacie Florer at Art Bliss and have been experimenting with it ever since.

  54. CraftyHope
    April 6, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    I don't know if it counts as learning a new skill, but the hubby got me a new soldering iron for Christmas. While I've used it once or twice since the, I haven't really done some serious soldering with it yet. I've been trying to get some stuff organized and have put away all creative activities until my 'spring cleaning' is done. I'm looking forward to playing with the darn thing as I've got a few ideas percolating. As far as learning how to use it. . .the hubby taught me some basics but I've also got several books on the subject that are great references as well.

  55. Maddy*Moo
    April 7, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Wow I just adore these pieces, that heart is divine! My moat recent learn is how to work with silver clay and Ofcourse transfer those skills to using other clays too. I visited my smallocal jewellery supply store craft candy and spent an evening with a group of lovely ladies, each with a different design in mind. It took me a while to find a design I was happy with and then couldn't wait to fire it! The blowtorch looked scary though so we used the kiln. Anyway now thinking of all the possibilities out there 🙂 my boyfriend is a hint designer so I am looking into etching metals too although not yet past the thinking stage on that one. Maybe one day, no rush 🙂 thankyou for a lovely insight into your craftingworld x

  56. TesoriTrovati
    April 7, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Oh! Miss Ema! I love, LOVE, love these! I have long wanted to invest in a rolling mill and this is making me want to fire up that desire again. I am so happy that you are part of our ABS team! I look forward to learning more from you and about you over the months. I am sorry that I can't win this great prize, but I am so excited that you shared it with us, as now I will be stalking your site! 😉 Enjoy the day. Erin

  57. Toltec Jewels for Jewel School Friends
    April 7, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    Look at all the comments, Ema! Well, can you tell we all obviously have fallen in love here? LOL! And how couldn't we? — Oh my, your clasps are stunning! I thank the stars that aligned you your rolling mill! Brilliant to press flowers into metal. Beautiful work. Bravo! And muchas gracias for sharing your love of jewelry arts with the world — how lucky we are to have such beauty in both you and your art!


  58. patty miller
    April 7, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    I have learned metal etching via tutorials. I love working with metal and the designs you have made are so more natural looking than chemical etching. Love them!

  59. Shalane Hopkins
    April 8, 2014 at 4:44 am

    LOVE your work!! Definitely hope to one day learn how to work with metal as well. Right now I've been doing heaps of work with seed beads and finally taught myself to do the brick stitch, originally so I could make Native American inspired jewellery, but out of learning the stitch, I figured out how to make circles and am now working on some pieces that are modern, abstract and remind me of bubbles. Hard to explain, but I'm stoked at the process knowing I did it all just by a simple Google search. Heaven knows what we did before the internet!! 🙂

  60. Lynniemay
    April 8, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    I love your etched designs! Thats something I want to try next! My new skill has been to ball up wire with my torch!! After looking at numerous videos & books I finally did it! Iam so excited! Now I want to get a bigger torch(I have a micro torch)& ball a heavier gauge! Never would of thought I would get so excited about wire! lol! But Iam sure you know the feeling!!!

  61. Despina
    April 9, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    I love your work, I have learned plenty from online videos, including the basics for my passion, wire work.


  62. PK Sews
    April 10, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Your clasps are awesome! The combination of copper and flowers captures all the beauty of nature. I have recently been learning enameling, thanks to a friend who is teaching me.

  63. WoodSong
    April 13, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    what beautiful artistry; I too am interested in working more with metal. Your work is masterful!

Comments are closed.