Friday, January 15, 2016

Inside the Studio with Rebecca of Songbead

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 prize each week to encourage you to use that keyboard and tell us what you think. The following week a winner is chosen at random from all eligible entries. And here are the results from last week!

This week's winner is Lynda of Fresh Baked Designs. Congratulations! You have won a $25 gift certificate to Humblebeads! Please contact Heather to claim your prize!


This week, it's my turn here on Inside the Studio - and I'm posting this super late, so sorry about that! 2016 hasn't got off to a very healthy start here in chilly Edinburgh - I'm getting over the flu, and today my partner finally succumbed to it too and has been off sick, so I've been nurse maid for both of us! However, I thought I'd share 2 weeks of 2016 in pictures with you this week. 

One thing I have managed to do is make quite a bit of jewellery. Things are usually quieter in The Curious Bead Shop at this time of year, so I have been using my time to make my own jewellery and try and stock up my shop, which inevitably gets a bit empty whilst I'm doing craft fairs in the run up to Christmas. Here are a few of my new pieces: 

 - Handmade beads from Helen Chalmers, Green Girl Studios, myself and Soul Silver

- Handmade beads from Swoondimples and myself

First off, a couple of necklaces. I love making necklaces, but I always have to steel myself to do so - somehow, they don't come as easy to me as bracelets or earrings. I can't tell you how many times I took Wild apart and put it back together again! And yet it's so deceptively simple now it's finished. 

I made a whole bundle of bracelets earlier this week, a couple of which have flown away to their new homes already I'm very happy to say. 

Foxy Business
- Handmade beads from Jubilee, Jo Lucksted, Green Girl Studios and unknown lampwork artist

Really sweet story about this particular bracelet - last weekend, I was whisked away for a late christmas present (and a bit of convalescing as I was just turning a positive corner in my nasty flu virus!) for a night at the gorgeous Mhor 84. UK folks, or folks visiting the UK, if you want somewhere magical to stay in the wilds of Scotland that's only an hour or so's drive from central belt, and doesn't break the bank, then LOOK NO FURTHER. Twinkling fairy lights, handmade Scottish berry meringues as big as my head and veggie haggis burgers for tea - I was in heaven. (There were other food options for tea of course - but if you've tried MacSween's Veggie Haggis before, you will know why I absolutely plumped for this option and no other!) It's dog-friendly too, and although we are a house bunny family rather than a dog family, I love a well-behaved pup as much as anyone, so that was an added bonus to the weekend. 

Anyway, so mellowing and relaxing was our wee trip that I managed to kickstart 2016's jewellery-making after dinner. I cannot help but take beads away with me when I go away (honestly, it's like some kind of sickness. An addiction. Anyone want to sign up to bead addicts anonymous with me?!) and so after dinner, we retreated to our room and I got to work on a few pieces, beginning with this little foxy number in my favourite red and turquoise. When I got back home, photographed and shared it on Facebook, I tagged Mhor 84 in the picture - and who should get in touch, asking to buy the piece? Why, Mhor 84 of course! I was so excited and touched to think of this little bracelet going back to where it started, a real highpoint of the year so far for me. Thank you, Mhor 84!

Star Stuff
- Handmade beads and findings from myself

I also got round to editing a bunch of photos which I took just before Christmas - I always make a whole heap of earrings for my craft fairs, because it does seem that they are always my biggest sellers, and of course in determinedly always keeping my stand FULL, it means I end up with lots left at the end! Perfect as gifts, to fill the shop up and also, to satisfy my own earring thirst, which is strong! I truly believe that you cannot own enough earrings. At my last craft fair, I overheard one potential customer talk herself out of buying a pair of mine because, in her own words, she 'already had a pair of turquoise earrings'. Lady, you and I see the world in VERY different ways!

Another thing I was up to before Christmas was creating custom colour mixes for my handwoven beads, something I absolutely loved doing. It's lovely to be able to complement larger art beads with these wonderfully textural little handmade beads in just the right colours. This custom mix, Crocus, was made to match Heather's pendant:

 for a necklace of mine which was bought before I had the chance to photograph it properly (must try to do better with that!). I picked out the magenta and spring green and threw in a little turquoise to go with some of the other beads I used within the necklace and pull everything together. Of course, I had to turn them into stud earrings too! I've also done a couple of custom listings of these as loose beads for people on request - if you need some Crocus beads in your life, or another of my custom mixes which you may have seen in my jewellery, then just give me a shout!

Between the Sea and the Sky
- Handmade beads from myself and Green Girl Studios

One last new design I've been working on is this new handwoven rondelle. I made the switch to working a lot more with 1mm (size 15) seed beads from 2mm (size 11) in the run up to Christmas, and although it EATS into the work time, I simply adore the results. I don't think I could afford to sell these loose unfortunately- they are rather time-consuming! - but I'm just loving including them in my own designs. Such a satisfying shape to create and work with! 

Last but not least, I got a bunch of new faceted beads arrive for The Curious Bead Shop. I'm SO excited about the gorgeous saturated hues which these velvety matte beads come in! They only arrived a few days ago, but I can't wait to whip up a few designs in them - yum. You can find them here if you'd like to join in with the fun! 

This week, I'm offering a Curious Bead Shop goody bag worth at least $25 to a lucky winner. All you have to do to be in with a chance to win is leave a comment below answering my question - what's been the highlight of 2016 for you so far? 

Good luck!

Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer; currently living in the capital city of Edinburgh. You can read more about her and her work at her blog, and see more of her jewellery at She also has a supplies shop at


Ann Schroeder said...

Gorgeous selection of your jewelry. So fun to see. Mhor 84 sounds wonderful and how great for them to call about purchasing your bracelet! I am so grateful to have started 2016 with an unexpected and dramatic improvement to a chronic health problem. This is a definite highlight, and I hope it continues forever!

Sarah R. said...

My highlight this year has been visiting an exhibition of Gustave Baumann's woodcuts at my art museum. I've been so inspired by the organic feel of his woodcut scenes and his beautiful colors.


Hello and happy new year to all.
My highlight so far was my good biopsy results, this gives me new strength, energy and inspiration, apart from the understandable enormous relief.
Thank you and best from Paris,
Despina xx

Claire Lockwood said...

I just love the story about your bracelet heading back to the hotel where you made it. Perfect!

Kathy Lindemer said...

Your jewelry and beads are beautiful. I love the fox bracelet and your necklaces the most. Everything is just spectacular.

Kathy Lindemer said...

The highlight of 2016 for me is my carving time out to learn how to make polymer clay beads from Heather Powers through her online course.

Katherine Thompson said...

Wow! You are inspiring. I love the little fox bracelet and the rondelles.
My I have all ready seen and been a part of blessings in connection to others and this has been faith building. And I took my daughter to the dairy farm that was a huge part of my growing up experience. I got to see a part of my family that I haven't been in touch with in a very long time due to prejudice. Happy to say I expect good things.

Divya N said...

My 2016 has been pretty dull until today, when I met one of my favourite Indian authors - Anuja Chauhan and Lionel Shriner was able to interact with them. I feel that this is a good sign that I will explore more writing in 2016

Debra Gibson said...

Getting time back in my little craft room to create and joining with other artists to create together I put everything on the back burner and got sidetracked from what I love to do! But no more! And I love all your new work Rebecca!!

Alice said...

wow what beautiful pieces! i love the bright colors.

for 2016 all my children were home for Christmas.

Klassy Joolz said...

Great post and pretties! Highlight so far for 2016 is I'm feeling much better after being so sick. My energy is back and I feel like designing again.

Happy New Year!

Elizabeth said...

The highlight for me is that my best friend is finally coming back to her home next week after toooo long in physical rehab. She has developed dementia over the last year and while we are all very upset by this, at least she can battle on in familiar surroundings with her best friend, her Doberman Gilly, and the care she will need.

Good luck everyone.

Mokki said...

I love your bundle of bracelets. They're just beautiful. The highlight of my year so far was meeting my brother and sister in laws new baby.

Denise McCabe said...

My highlight has been making some beaded beads and beadwoven bracelets. I love the little beads you make and am so impressed and inspired by how nicely all the tiny beads fit together on your beaded beads and how nice your jewelry looks with them!

beadrecipes said...

Highlight of 2016 so far? Probably my 6 year old losing his first tooth yesterday! Love your new pieces Rebecca and Mhor84 sounds fabulous! Happy New Year!

Julie Wong Sontag said...

This post makes me SO happy in so many ways. Despite your marathon flu your creative year seems off to a rollicking start. I LOVE LOVE the story about Mhor 84 and it truly does sound like a magical place. xo -- Julie

Cory Tompkins said...

I got to see some of my husband's family that I haven't seen in 20 years and we had a great time hanging out and catching up while they were in town. Thanks for the chance to win

bairozan said...

I decided to take a handmade jewelry course, organized by a certified local company - I'm self-trained but a little help form professionals will enhance my jewelry making skills as I will learn new techniques faster. It's just level 1 and there are two more but I'm looking forward to it! Also, I'm planning to open an online store soon and... learn to make seed bead woven beads this year :)

gloria allen said...

Love the Necklaces, My highlight was finding time to play with clay and made a few components.

thecolorofdreams said...

I just found out that my nephew - now living in London- is engaged. I am hoping that the wedding will be in London so that we can visit and maybe get the Scotland too!