Studio Saturday with Shannon LeVart

 Welcome to Studio Saturday! 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.

 This weeks winner is Creativeflutter! Congratulations!
You have won a gorgeous compilation of  ceramic pendants from the always generous Lorelei.
 Please send Lorelei an email with your address so she can ship this package out to you.

 This week we visit Shannon LeVart of missficklemedia.com in one of her studio niches.

 Hello Art Bead Scene Friends! I am very excited to finally show off some jewelry that I made from etched metal sheets I created months ago.

 I was so gung-ho to added images to copper, brass and nickel sheet metal, but then once I did etch them, they sat unused. Until a few weeks ago. I was finally moved (what was it that gave me the kick in the pants?) to cut them up, hammer the edges, drill the hanging holes and tumble them for strength.

 Once I did manage to cut into them, it was just a matter of moving my hands like metal detectors over my piles of findings, seeing what contrasted in color or texture. The text and script etched into the metal seemed to hold secret messages and I thought about things that could not speak but still had stories to tell.
 And there…….. a new collection was born.

A Message From The Birds
A Message From The Leaves 
A Message From The Heart

 A Message From Our Homes

It took about 11 hours to assemble all the right components, but time flew by. When I was randomly stamping images onto the metal I had no idea that the end result would be this themed collection. This is a little different then my normal modus operandi of planning, researching, sketching, purchasing, purchasing more just to be safe, creating, stalling, frenzied creating, and finally finishing.
 I liked it.
So Dear Readers, I ask of you; do you plan your creations? Or do you fly by the seat of your pants?
Please let me know in comments and your name will be entered to win this necklace;
A Message From The Skies
Thank you for letting me share my new collection with you and for sharing with me your own method of creating.
Much Love & Respect,

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62 Comment

  1. Studio Sylvia
    June 19, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Hi Shannon, I usually start by cutting shapes, sometimes with an idea in mind, other times just do what comes. Colours come on the spur of the moment.
    I like your patinas, especially your blue and green.

  2. Nicki
    June 19, 2010 at 11:30 am

    I plan. I overplan. That is the reason why I will nver be successful with running a jewelry business, because the planning takes 5 times as long as the actual creation. I love your series. Truely beautiful.

  3. Christine
    June 19, 2010 at 11:45 am

    I love the look of etched copper, and I really like that top plate filled with text.

    I tend to fly entirely by the seat of my pants. I rarely plan anything, instead I take out beads or materials and let them speak to me.

  4. bellajoya
    June 19, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Now way do I plan. I'm totally a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants designer. Sometimes I just get together a great group of beads, and just start stitching to see what I can come up with. I find it very therapeutic.

  5. Alice
    June 19, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Shannon, your hard work paid off. These are beautiful pieces full of color, texture and movement!

    I rarely plan, but sometimes a design pops into my head and I sketch it out. Most of the time it doesn't work in real life.

    Normally I begin by sifting through my beads, picking them up, feeling their texture, and just holding them in my hands. If something pops into my head I go for it. If not, I put them back and keep searching through my stash. There are times when I search through them all and nothing happens. That's when I pull out books and magazines to get inspiration.

  6. Spirited Earth
    June 19, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    love your message charms.
    I don't structurally plan a piece..but i do go in with a rough idea..some thing i've seen has sparked an idea..but once i get into working the piece has a mind of it's own.

  7. Sabine
    June 19, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Stunning! Thank you for sharing your process.

    I find that I do not plan my designs and when I try, I usually rip it out and start over.


  8. SummersStudio
    June 19, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Shannon, these are lovely thoughtful pieces. I am a planner but the plans usually change as I sit down to assemble things.

  9. missficklemedia.com
    June 19, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    I can imagine you picking the colors for one of your breath-taking creations, Bellajoya!

  10. EmandaJ
    June 19, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Hi Shannon,
    I love these pieces! I've seen your name and your findings in everyone's blogs — wonderful stuff. Do I plan? Yes and no. I will sit down will all the pieces of the puzzle I want to include in a piece and then the magic begins. Or, the flying by the seat of my pants — I never can tell the difference.

    Sign me up for the Messages from the Birds.


  11. Diana P.
    June 19, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    I usually start out with a very vague plan and let the work evolve from that. However, when I'm doing a metalsmithed piece, I have to do much more planning than with bead or wirework.

  12. Susanm
    June 19, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    Since I make some of my own beads feom felt and seed beads, I do plan in my head – but often the design changes when I start to put it together. That`s the best part – seeing where the piece ends up.

    Love this necklace.

  13. TesoriTrovati
    June 19, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    I am a-flyin'! But I do like you did and get a movin' and a shakin' on on project and the time just flies by. I love, LOVE this collection. Brilliant really. I do something similar, but yours are WAY better. I hope you will be selling these, because I WANT ONE!
    Enjoy the day.

  14. Orion Designs
    June 19, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Most of the time, I do no planning at all. Simply staring at my bead collection and choosing pieces randomly will get me started.

    But then there are other times when I wake up with an idea and immediately take the time to sketch it out before trying to create it.

  15. Beth
    June 19, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Right now I still plan my designs. But I am building up the confidence to just create without a plan.

  16. cindydolezaldesigns
    June 19, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Fly by the seat of my pants!! Definitely! I try to plan things but it usually changes anyway. So I just down and start touching things and they just come together.

  17. Erin Strother
    June 19, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    I usually have some kind of plan for my designs, but it usually ends up totally different. Sometimes I have only a vague plan and sometimes very concrete and sketched out. It rarely comes together the way I envision it. I try to let the design work itself out. Love the etched metal!

  18. Gail W.
    June 19, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    I love your pieces,and if planning is what it took to make them,maybe I should plan,also.I kinda plan.In my mind I see what I want to make,but the design gets lost in the process along the way.So I end up with something really different.

  19. Wax Beach Artist
    June 19, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    I don't make jewelry but I do batik and I usually randomly apply my design instead of planning it out too much. It's much more relaxing and enjoyable that way. My paintings however, are very planned. You do lovely work and I hope I win!

  20. Melissa
    June 19, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Those pieces are gorgeous! I usually end up planning myself into a very frustrated corner, so I try to avoid too much overthinking before I begin.

  21. eve
    June 19, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    Wow i'm so loving that necklace, the patina is just gorgeous, and the etched sheet is amazing, i have the pieces to etch copper, but still to try this out. loving your work.

  22. Jeannie
    June 19, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    Hi Shannon I love your new collection. Thanks for sharing that with us.
    I do both, fly and plan, it just depends.

  23. Anonymous
    June 19, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    I plan to plan… it would save me some money when shopping for supplies. i end up just buying what i like and spending my time playing. It's so much fun, but I feel that my skill will grow if i start planning my projects.
    The use of your sheet metal turned out really beautifully. I guess sometimes ditching plans is the best way to go.

  24. Copper Diem
    June 19, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Depends – sometimes I have a very solid idea, and sometimes I just wander out to the studio, start to play and end up with something

  25. BahamaDawn
    June 19, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    great pieces SHannon!!
    i am flying by the seat of my pants! i have trouble seeing the finished piece, and usually have too many ideas in my head for one piece of jewelry! so i try, undo, redo until i like it.

  26. Kylie Parry
    June 19, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    That is beautiful!
    I start with plans when making pendants…but my end result is typically different from the idea that I initially started with. I do a little bit of both!

  27. Regina
    June 19, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    What a beautiful collection. My favorite is the one with the leaf. My projects start with me buying beads… then they sit, till they speak to me, and then I start work. Some pieces are planned out, but most depend on which of the beads speak to me and if I am paying attention to them….

  28. HopelesslyAddicted
    June 19, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    I usually start with a focal and search for colors and shapes to use with it, ORRR, I take a strand and work toward a focal. Do you call that planning? Sketching seems to be the thing to do, but I just move the actual pieces around. I think sketching would be helpful. Love, really love your etched metal pieces, please just make "A Message From the Skies" for those who don't win the drawing and create a buying frenzy!

  29. peacockfairy
    June 19, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    Most of the time, I have design ideas in my head when I purchase beads and supplies. But sometimes, the best designs come from just sitting down without any ideas!

  30. Kinderhook
    June 20, 2010 at 1:38 am

    I over-plan. Sometimes I spend so much time planning that I don't get anything done. This is something I don't like about myself and am trying hard to overcome. I think the planning is an excuse not to do the work because I don't feel creatively competent. I am having serious talks w/ myself about this nonsense!! HA!

  31. Janel
    June 20, 2010 at 1:53 am

    I love just sitting down and playing. I usually have a general idea of what I want to do, like what stitch I'll use, but beyond that it's just play!

  32. The Joy of Nesting
    June 20, 2010 at 3:15 am

    What a wonderful new collection Shannon!! I'm affraid I'm a seat of the panter at the 11th hour kinda girl. Even when I have good intentions I still seem to be putting the finishing touches on a project as I'm walking out the door!! There certainly no room for indecisions that's for sure!! 🙂

    Pattie 😉
    Mazatlan Mx.

  33. Hopemore Studio
    June 20, 2010 at 3:28 am

    I do have to plan, but my planning simply means doing a quick sketch. I think it's because I'm so easily distracted and I tend lose focus, then waste time. I can just look at my sketch to get me back on track.


  34. Janet
    June 20, 2010 at 4:44 am

    I dont really plan my designs! I work with a feeling from the beads and findings Ive got! Really wonderful what youve done here!

  35. Anonymous
    June 20, 2010 at 8:40 am

    hi shannon,

    first just let me say i loved just looking at the sheets thatwere stamped,they themselves were gorgeous.to answer your question,i'm new to beading,in fact i'm i am teaching myself,so i would say i fly by the seat of my pants,more than plan it out.i buy what i like,and when evrything comes in,i sit on my bed,dump evrything into their own piles,
    pick the ones i think look good together,sometimes i get a picture in my head right off,other times i bag up whati liked that excited me,or touched my inner muse,and i wait.one neclace i did for my daughter didn't come to me for about a month after i bagged the pieces.
    the other way i get my flashes of idea's is when i am painting one of my abstracts,i won't even be thinking about beads,jewelry,
    anything in that art,my mind is on my painting when suddenly i just have a picture pop into my head.
    i usually stop just long enough to sketch it or write the idea down.
    so,yeah i'm a flighty girl…..
    thanks for giving us all a chance to win a beautifulpiece of your work.
    barbara hopkins

  36. Malin de Koning
    June 20, 2010 at 10:08 am

    "fly by the seat of your pants". Lovely expression! I try to picture what is happening and how it looks. But i don't get it really … 

    Anyway, i am kind of both. Constantly planning in my mind. Or on paper or by arranging beads. Then when I am actually working i let my eyes and my gut feeling lead me. On the fly. 

    I loooooove those new poetic pieces you made Shannon!

  37. kiwiken
    June 20, 2010 at 10:43 am

    I made only one themed series like that so far, but it was a lot of fun, so I'm certainly going to try that again some time. I had made polymer clay pendants with quotes from Alice in Wonderland, and then I made a little jewelry line based on characters from the movie. The pendants are quite neutral, so I could pick the colours from the characters costumes, and then I added matching motives like a cat charm, a ceramic butterfly or a miniature skeleton key.

  38. Linda Landig Contemporary Artisan Jewelry
    June 20, 2010 at 11:39 am

    I'm definitely a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda gal. I have to design with my hands, rather than in my head. So I try it out one way and then change and revise it as I go.

    I love your etched metals. You can't plan inspiration either–but when it seizes you the time just flies by!

  39. averilpam
    June 20, 2010 at 11:56 am

    I have a too huge collection of beads and mostly I try to find inspiration by picking out elements I think will work together. Occasionally i buy with a project in mind. Now I've started making my own polymer clay beads and copper components my inspiration will probably be even more haphazard!

  40. Heather
    June 20, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    Shannon, I love your new line. I have a copper fetish already but now even more so. You have inspired me to try etching.
    I often have ideas in my head but once I get started my plan usually changes as I go. I do keep a sketch book to keep track of all those ideas, otherwise I lay awake at night or forget them. I think most of my best work starts with a plan but evolves with a life of it's own as I work.

  41. Ingrid
    June 20, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    I sometimes have3 a very rough idea of what I want to do but the colors and accents are purely inspirational! Especially the colors and flow. If it doesn't flow, it doesn't work. but that doesn't mean it's a bust! Nope, it usually means I was trying to force something to go my way rather than flow naturally. "A Message from the Skies" is pure inspiration!!

  42. sundownbeaddesigns
    June 20, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Love the collection! The etched copper is fabulous. I plan…but then…I get in a groove and my plan goes out the window. But I have to start from a plan.

  43. sandi m
    June 20, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    These look great!!
    I usually have a plan in mind when designing. With beads I may rearrange pieces from my 'original' plan. However, with wirework and sheet metal I'll usually execute my plan once it's formulated – helps to minimize waste.

  44. Elisabeth
    June 21, 2010 at 2:20 am

    I do both…I day dream in beads…my day job is not very creative and has a long-ish commute, so I sometimes plan pieces in my head. However, when I sit down to work on the piece sometimes it doesn't happen the way I imagined. Or, I'll have that precious golden moment where I am in the right frame of mind, and free of other household duties (temporarily) and start throwing different beads together and come up with a couple different projects at once. Plan or seat-of-the-pants, it's always fun and satisfying to say, "yeah, I made that."

  45. steufel
    June 21, 2010 at 10:48 am

    I usually have no plan when designing. Wish I had though:-)

  46. quiltingjewel39
    June 22, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I do a little of both. If I am making a present for someone-I usually have something in mind and plan.Other times, I take the beads out and put them together. I absolutely love your work – your blue green patinas are the best I have seen anywhere

  47. SueBeads
    June 22, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Beautiful pieces, Shannon! I do both. Sometimes beads tell me what they want to be, and sometimes I have to stare at them a long time to figure out what they want to be!

  48. Claire Maunsell
    June 24, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    I do both, but find flying by the seat of my pants to be nerve-wracking and also exhilarating! Will it work, can I work it out, will I screw it up by using that last thing? etc. I have started drawing a lot, trying to plan my approach, but something inside me always compells me to swerve or turn sideways – what is that? Perhaps I think deep inside that inspiration must strike suddenly to be legitimate!

  49. Rebecca
    June 25, 2010 at 7:26 am

    I am definitely a flier. But I am also a procrastinator, and I feel the two may be related – leave a project so late until there is absolutely NO time left to plan whether I wanted to or not! Love these pieces, totally gorgeous as always.

  50. Mary Newton Designs
    June 25, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    I usually start out with a plan but it's rarely what I end up with!

  51. Pearl and Pebble
    June 25, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    I'm a flyer, though I do start out with a few beads that I think I would like to see get along. From there though, it takes me all day to get it right and alot of times I can't even finish then because I think of a component that I think would be perfect, and I don't have on hand. So I have to order it. Know what I'm sayin?!?! I love your necklaces here. Really really cool:)

  52. mairedodd
    June 25, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    i love what you did – and by the number of comments, i would say i am in great company! i always sensed that there was a great deal of deliberation in your work – which makes it interesting as the aestetic is anything but that! i hope you know what i mean… you make all of the techniques and processes look so natural that one takes them for granted… it's like you have a special wand from olivander's and are able to work magic with metals! always gorgeous work, shannon – this certainly being no exception…
    and me – i find i have to do the most planning when i do resin… but as i shift into different projects, i am having to do that… the right/left brain mix isn't bad – just time consuming… and that is probably the most limited resource we have to work with as moms – time…

  53. Alesha
    June 25, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I'm a "by the seat of my britches" kind of girl, too!

    Thanks for the giveaway. The necklace is just FABulous!
    Alesha Kay

  54. Melissa Meman
    June 25, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    I usually start with a plan, but find that the flying happens eventually and the original plan gets way tweaked, or just scrapped! Maybe I such just ditch planning and save the time 🙂 Love, love, love these pieces!

  55. moonlitfantaseas
    June 25, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    I guess with me it all depends on my mood, sometimes I like everything all planned out, but a lot of the time I just let what ever components I am working with tell me what they want to be……its kind of nice when they talk to you….

  56. SharonP
    June 25, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Yes, I do plan my designs but they never turn out the way I planned! I believe the metal and whatever materials I'm working with have a voice of their own and ultimately transform into the creation they see fit.

  57. Doris
    June 26, 2010 at 9:03 am

    so, here i am right, and i never plan an design it just happens

  58. Fire Phoenix
    June 26, 2010 at 9:33 am

    I usually carry a small sketch book with me in my bag for when moments of creativity strike, so yes, I do plan! But what I draw and design, and what the finished piece actually ends up looking like can be two different things, due to supplies of items, or just generally changing my mind as i go along.

    So I'm not really sure whether planning is such a good thing….

  59. Cillaw
    June 26, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Great work! I like to plan sort of, I try to plan and usually get taken in other directions then what I had planned. Cilla

  60. Elie
    June 26, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Wow, you are so talented. I love this piece. So pretty.

  61. Kella
    June 26, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    This is a way cool collection

    I am more of a fly off the seat of my pants kinda girl, but sometimes I also work on inspired pieces that come to me just before falling off to sleep or while walking with the kids, then I frantically scribble my ideas if they seem complex on scraps of paper in my pockets or handbag 🙂

  62. glassgirl
    June 27, 2010 at 5:28 am

    I almost always fly by the seat of my pants. Love your designs!

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