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:
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.
- Handmade beads from Soul Silver, Helen Chalmers, Humblebeads, Kylie Parry, Joanne Tinley Jewellery, Jubilee, Jo Lucksted, Green Girl Studios, Bo Hulley Beads and myself.
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.
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!
- 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
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?
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, songbeads.blogspot.com and see more of her jewellery at songbead.etsy.com. She also has a supplies shop at thecuriousbeadshop.etsy.com.