Saturday, March 31, 2012

Studio Saturday: Songbead

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 week we visit the studio of
Rebecca Anderson of Songbeads

This week's winner is MANOLA MARIA! Congratulations! You have won an assortment of Skye Jewels wooden pendants. Send Marie an email with your address and she will get your prize out to you soon!

I was inspired by Marie's post last week - seeing her beautiful bijoux studio. I thought I would share with you where I work...

You were expecting a studio, right?! Or at least a table top in my house?


I bead all over the house; at cafes, at the pub, on trains, at friends' houses....Many a time, I have returned to a friend's house to be presented with a little pile of beads which I 'laid' on their sofa last time I was there. I do have a tiny designated 'bead table' which is designed for a laptop, but this is constantly heaped with beads, so not workable upon. {And currently, it also holds a bottle of body lotion, a nail varnish, hand cream, sticky tape, sunglasses....Not the table of someone with an orderly mind!}So I work on a little tray which I have lined with a cut out bead mat - small enough for me to take it out and about with me. We're having unseasonably warm weather at the moment here in the UK, and when this happens, we all immediately flock outside to beer gardens and parks! Above, you see me rushing out into the evening light to a local beer garden. It's part of a lovely family pub, so I am surrounded by post-workies like me, parents who have brought their kids straight from school for a quick treat in the sun, and families with babies. Lively and buzzing! Inspiring to me. 

Let's take a peek in my bag:

I have seven of those blue boxes, each one labelled 'copper', 'brass', 'sterling' etc. I even have one labelled 'MissFickleMedia and PatinaQueen'! My favourite little tub. The vinyl bag is full of antique copper and brass wire, and those pliers....yes, I am definitely guilty of abuse to pliers! They have their own little bag, but I am often guilty of chucking them in with everything else.

 And here's another box, larger from the bottom of the bag, filled with bits and bobs, and also the little plastic tray I made, lined with yellow bead mat (now grey from lots of oxidised wire sitting on it!). I am very occasionally guilty of treating my art beads with the same (dis)respect as my pliers, but I am generally much better at keeping them in their own separate big bead box, full of little compartments to protect them. That box stays at home! However, you will be able to spot Humblebeads, Bo Hulley, Chinook and DaisyChainExtra all sitting on the tray, waiting to be transformed. Plenty of wire, chain and cord, all slightly tangled.....

Sometimes I feel that this melange somewhat reflects my brain and the way it works, and that it would be nice to have my own designated space; a tiny studio, a shed or a spare room transformed to a Bead Parlour. To detangle all those chains and cords. But do you know, I don't think that is for me. I was brought up by a Mum who can not sit down without knitting needles in her hands. She knits in the garden, watching the tv; even on the bus! (You'll be pleased to know, I have yet to try this last one with beads.) It was the norm when I was growing up, to be around someone quietly getting on with knitting at any and every possible moment, and I guess she has passed that slightly obsessive creative gene onto me. I love that I can make my jewellery whilst watching the tv, sitting with my sweetheart and our house bunnies, carry on if friends come over (like my Mum, I can easily bead and carry on a conversation - it must be that female multi-tasking gene!), pack up in a few minutes and hit the road, complete with bead bag. It suits me and my personality. If I am lucky enough to have kids in the future, I dare say that may change, my Mum's wool being slightly more child-friendly than wire and pliers. But I am sure that things will return to the way they are now as soon as it is practical.

So, what did I come up with at The Woodstock yesterday? I had received this lovely package of antique copper poppy goodness from the lovely Jo of DaisyChainExtra, and have been working on a few ways of using her poppy charms and headpins. Jo makes beautiful artisan findings, and we have become good friends due to our both being regular Beads and Beyond contributors; I love seeing what she comes up with. These elements are relatively new to her shop, and I have found them to be very inspiring and also surprisingly versatile. Here are a few pieces that I came up with.

antique copper poppy charms with lampwork headpins from NadinArtGlass

sterling silver poppy headpins with hand forged antique copper links from MissFickleMedia

antique copper poppy headpins embellish antique copper earwires
And some good news: Jo is having a sale in her etsy shop, especially for ABS readers - just use the code ABS15 for 15% off up to the end of May. I plan on stocking up! 

So, my question to you is, are you an out and about beader? Are you fantastically tidy and organised, or are you like me - scatty with the beads taking over? And where is the strangest place you have ever had occasion to bead?

Leave a comment answering any of these questions and you will be entered for a chance to win a pair of Jo's antique copper headpins and a pair of antique copper charms.

Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer and singer, currently living in Manchester, England. You can read more about beads and singing at her blog, and see more of her jewellery at


Carmela said...

I bead everywhere,too. My stationary studio is in my basement, but natural sun light motivates my creativity so I try to bead anywhere but my studio. :)

Erin S said...

I am completely unorganized, but I do have a vague idea of where most of my stuff lives. I never take beading with me--it would take too long to gather everything I need, and then I'm sure I would forget something. Love the headpins and charms!

Malin de Koning said...

Lovely post Rebecca. Boy do I love your bags studio! :-) I am a bit envious in a way, because you always have your things at hand to take along where ever you go. And you can bead where ever. Very handy and convenient.

If I'm ever off somewhere and want to take along beads and material to work with I generally pack my 5 boxes with the small flip top boxes inside. They contain mainly Delicas of size 11/0 but also a few other smallish beads. It goes really quick to just chuck them in a red and white chequered plastic bag I have. And I'd also put the needed tools and threads in an old ice cream box with a lid, plus I add one or two rolled up beading mats.

I do have a studio. A small room in our house. That's where I generally sit and work. But I really like to take what I am working on at the moment with me and sit outside our house whenever the weather allows it.

I guess I am tidy AND messy at the same time. I need to have a very organized structure as a base. But then my work surface is basically ALWAYS completely overloaded with stuff. I love when I have gone through the effort of sorting it all and I have a clean surface to spread out on. That is freedom for me. And I can mess it up again very soon ... ;-)

I'd love to win some of Jo's head pins or charms. I just now also took the opportunity to use the discount and went and bought a few things from her shop that I've had in my cart for a while. A small stock up you could maybe call it ;-)

I can't think of a really strange place. On an airplane? In a hospital bed? In my own bed? In England? ;-)

KJ said...

I am organized. However, I have a small enamel tray that I have used for years and years to hold my beads as I move and work from place to place. I have a box of "tools" that is always packed containing fireline, wax, needles, scissors, small triangle bead trays, and I think a few other odds and ends. I also have smaller containers which are project boxes to hold the beads for a particular project.

The one thing that does not travel with me, as a rule, is my magnifying lamp.

What a great post.

Manola Maria said...

I'm the previous week's winner and I would like to thank you so much, for giving me the chance to win some of Marie's beautiful wooden tiles. And to think that I'm not really a fan of using that keyboard. See what some bribing can do? Thanks again!!!

Alice said...

I love the piece you show here, especially the ones with the little poppies on them.

I can't even keep my work table tidy, and certainly would not be organized enough to get a portable work space togehter. I'm sure I would forget something important, or lose something valuable. I applaud you for being able to work anywhere.

SilverNikNats said...

Im obsessively tidy while storing my beads but when they are in use they get every where!

Skye said...

I'm a homebody beader... but an extremely messy one. I have a 'u' shaped desk ( kinda) with one arm of the 'u' holding my computer monitor and tower with the keyboard on a sliding shelf beneath it; my shelf of bead containers & baskets, a multitude of small storage bins ( the type with drawers) , and three trays, each holding a bead mat with a project (or several) on them. the far end of the 'u' was supposed to be my work area... where I can just swivel my chair around between my computer and work area.. however that spot is heaped elbow high with all the stuff that won;t fit on my shelves, or that I never bothered to put back... or that shouldn't even be in this Instead, I shove my keyboard under the desk and use the post in front of my monitor to work on.. this way I can watch videos or listen to ebooks or music...even skype when I had that hooked in lol I bought a carry case so I could pack up a project or two to take along if I went somewhere for a few days, but so far haven't used it.

Marlene Cupo said...

Since my main medium is polymer clay, it would be a little hard to pack up the pasta machine and baking oven to take along with me (Excuse me sir, can I plug into your outlet, while I am waiting for my lunch order???), but I do often head out of my work room with components into the family room, so my DH doesn't forget I still live here. Of course, that means I have to make multiple trips back to get that roller, piers, thinner wire, box of bead caps and head pins, etc, etc. At the end of the day, there are often more items on my coffee table and sofa than on my work desk. Such is the life of a body connected to a creative mind.

Heidi Post said...

I only work in my little corner - unless I take something repetitive over to the sofa while watching TV. However, my little corner is a huge mess! I do have my sorty boxes, and those are neat enough, but then there are bags and boxes and drawers and piles that I dig through for that one remembered item or out of total desperation. I don't think I'd ever be able to take a bag like that with me. I'd want to pack EVERYTHING; therefore I'd opt to just take a book instead. I love that you can do that though :)

Kristi said...

i have a corner of the living room for my desk and bead storage, but have been know to throw a couple beads/supplies in my (fishing tackle) bag and go. I have beaded while fishing, and at family reunions.

Carol Creech said...

I absolutely love your portable studio!! I don't have a set space, but have a pile of boxes teetering on a chair in the dining room that I pull onto the table or down into the living room after the kids go to bed. :) I was very proud that I finally organized my leather cord into separate ziplock bags today so now I can find how much of what color I need! The beads, not so organized yet...I would love a chance to win the copper headpins or charms. Thanks!

Samantha said...

How fun! I would love to be an "everywhere" beader, but truth be told, I'm far too particular about where my beads are kept to haul them too far from my craft room :) I've never really beaded in a strange place, but I have taken a couple of my projects to a friend's house. That's about as wild and crazy as I get!!

Off the Beadin' Path said...

Very versatile stow 'n go system you have! I have several boxes i take along in the car and work while my husband drives us to the summer flea markets. At home I have a beading room. I've been told it looks like a bead store! But not organized too well, no indeed. Love those headpins, a distinctive touch!

The Crazier Sister said...

Uhm, well, we turned our Sunroom into the Craftroom because I was "spreading out," but I'm still if the "scatty beader" variety. I just cleaned up my table today but it's usually piled with wire, beads, tools and idea pages. As for strangest place? My bed, while watching a movie. I only recommend this if a) it's one you've seen before so you don't get distracted and forget what's sitting in your lap and on the bed and, b) if it's NOT an action movie... especially if you're the type who "gets involved" with the on-screen action and get distracted so you forget what's in your lap and on the bed.
Not that I ever forgot.
Or was distracted.
Nuh uh.
Not me.

Domartello said...

Your studio is wonderful, green in nature gives you inspiration for great ideas.
Congratulations. A hug.
Direct here in Brazil.

KayzKreationz said...

I usually have beads scattered over at least 1 table and 1 tv tray at my house. I do take my beads with me when I go places hoping to get time to bead, but I don't usually take them to cafe's and such. I also take them to my mom's and sister's when I go, so we can bead together.

Leah Curtis said...

I bead everywhere! I love the feeling of having my art at my fingertips and not being tied to a studio.

Hubby and I live on a boat, so I do most of my beading there. Weirdest place I've made jewellery? Hm, the middle of a harbour might be it! I've beaded on many a pontoon along rivers, or tied up along side a peaceful canal.

re-maker said...

I think you hit the rivet on the head! You're inspired by your environment so have to be on the move!

I'm more of an indoor creator myself. I have a smith shop is given lots of space, but must admit that I have bits and pieces of projects in process all over the house! I always have a plastic box with supplies in my car and pliers in my purse.

Love what you did with the poppy pins! Thanks for sharing.

Shannon Chomanczuk said...

I bead at the dining room table but i am spread all over the kitchen too because we have an open floor space. The house is small so i hope to move into our bedroom soon i have asked hubby to make me bookshelves for my supplies :-)

maryharding said...

Love your mobile studio. And what cool earrings you made at the pub. I mostly do beadwork at a large table that is sort of a diningroom table, but needs clearing for guests. I also like to bead in the car when we take long drives to visit family which is fairly often. Best of all is on the deck under the sun umbrella. The outdoor light can't be beat for working with tiny seedbeads.

Lahore said...

I love seeing what she comes up with.
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Elaine said...

I mostly bead in my studio at home where my supplies live but I do have a travel box I take to crafty meetups, shows and visits so that I can work on pieces as needed.

I like that I can pick up and take my bead work with me to other places far more easily than I can my clay!

As for organization - I'm working on it. The studio is getting better. Since this is my "day job" this is something I have to keep working at.

stephanie_mcginley said...

I am really not a very organized beader. Typically, I bead at my coffee table while watching t.v. and my beads are all stored in boxes under the table.

I do occasionally haul my beads with me when I go places. I think the strangest place that I have ever beaded was in the recliner next to my hospital bed, while I was recovering from pneumonia!

Islandgirl said...

I can relate to the knitting... I spent years with knitting needles in my hands... including during non profit board meetings... that didn't go down well.... THen I actually tried to earn a living from custom knit sweaters... After that I abandoned knitting for about 5 years... Now I knit in the car always at Boarding crossings... if it's a female border gaurd they are usually more interested in my knitting than in why we're going into the US! I tried doing some seed beading in the car last summer didn't last very long as most of the beads ended up in the carpet! I think I'll stick to hauling my knitting around... although I have tried chainmaille in the car too....

luan said...

I feel jealous-- you got lot of stuff. I've tried collecting things for beads making too, but I don't know much store to buy more designs.
Thanks for sharing this!

Faye from tige filetée