Friday, March 11, 2016

Inside the Studio with Rebecca of Songbead - Au Revoir but not Good-Bye

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!

Congratulations to Nan Smith!  You have won of a $20 gift certificate to Humblebeads. Please email Heather Powers to claim your prize.


Well, well - here we are; a day I knew would come at some point but it's sort of taken even me by surprise! About a month ago, I came to the realisation that my days weren't looking quite how I wanted them to - not just my schedule but my priorities needed to shift. Or in fact, that they had started to shift already and I needed to keep up with them - and to make some changes to allow me to do so. And that very sadly means signing off from the Art Bead Scene team, which I've been an enthusiastic member of since back in 2011 - almost 4 and a half years now, can you believe?!

My first Art Bead Scene post - a tutorial for this cute bangle, featuring a lampwork tab from Helen Chalmers - still one of my favourite bead artists. 

When I started writing for Art Bead Scene, things were pretty different for me on a day-to-day basis. I was living down in England, and heavily involved in teaching - both of jewellery-making and music, primarily singing. My time was split about 60:40 music:beading, and I did a few craft fairs here and there - but my focus was mainly on the education side of things, which I loved. I often taught three jewellery classes a week, and published frequently for magazines - not least for the now sadly-missed Beads and Beyond (gone but not forgotten!). 

The beautiful classroom in Manchester where I was lucky enough to teach from. 
Over the next couple of years that balance switched - I started doing a lot more jewellery teaching and less music teaching, until we moved unexpectedly in 2013 to Belfast due to my partner's work. Which basically meant I had to give up ALL my teaching and go full-time with jewellery - bead selling at The Curious Bead Shop which I'd launched the previous year, jewellery making for fairs (which I was now doing a lot more of) and my online shop, and designing for magazines. 

March 2013 - cover girl at Beads and Beyond!

2014 saw a move back to Edinburgh, my home city (again, following my partner for work!) which brought me closer to a lot of the craft fairs and art markets I'd previously travelled to take part in, and I've gradually become more and more involved in the designer-maker scene here in Scotland, picking up stockists across the country and taking classes in new skills (my own little jewellery bench actually arrived in the post today!). I'm still selling beads too, including my own handwoven {song}beads, and I *love* seeing what other people do with my carefully curated selections, but I've become less involved in the education side of things. This is of course, not least because of the silly amount of moves we've done, along with the closing of several UK magazines over the past few years (which is incredibly sad), but I now find myself after 10 years of focussing on what other people are creating, needing to carve a little more time and mental space to focus on what I'M creating. 

My stand at the West End Fair this past summer. 

I wouldn't describe how I'm feeling as burnt out exactly, but give me a year or two and I think I'd be there. Time to pare things down, sharpen my focus and simplify. I'm sure you can all relate - if not in your jewellery making then perhaps in other parts of your life. The need for simplicity; the need for honed-in intention - and yes, perhaps to allow myself to focus on my own artistry, for a little while at least. I hope that doesn't sound selfish. Sometimes we need to take the time to fill our own well before we can begin to let others draw from it again.

Some of my own handwoven {song}beads.

I cannot tell you how much I will miss being a part of this incredible group of women. So much talent here - Julie did a wonderful post here which if you missed, I thoroughly recommend taking a stroll through it - that really captured some of the incredible art and spirit that these ladies have within themselves. Thank you especially to Heather for inviting me to be a part of this team - I do hope that you will have me back for guest posts sooner rather than later! And you'll definitely see me around as a reader - and oh, maybe I'll find the time to actually take part in our challenges more often! That's a thought I certainly relish. 

Things to come...?

Along with hopefully posting more over on my own personal blog - something I sorely neglected last year, and have resolved to do better with this year. Not least, because I love it! To take the time to write about making and designing, and contemplate the nature of creativity - well, that serves me very well. I've been a creative soul since I arrived on this planet in one way or another, and songbead blog readers may have noticed more wordy posts from me this year, as I try and turn intention into action over there. Please don't be a stranger - I love to hear from readers over there, and I certainly won't be a stranger over here on Art Bead Scene! It's definitely au revoir, not good-bye. 

I still have a few more posts scheduled to write for you - I wanted to eke out my departure! - so I won't be fully signing off until the end of the month. But this is my last Inside the Studio, and I wanted to take the opportunity to not only say au revoir, but also to say a huge THANK YOU to you the readers, for being such an important - vital! - part of this journey, and being a part of our Art Bead Scene family. Readers, commenters, challenge-enterers - you're all wonderful, and I thank you for making being part of this fantastic team such a huge pleasure! 

I had to finish with a piece of jewellery, didn't I?! A few art beads in this recent one...! Me, Claire Lockwood, Helen Chalmers and Lorelei Eurto

Time for one last giveaway from me - and I'm offering a £15 voucher for either Songbead or The Curious Bead Shop - your choice. Tell me; what is one thing you feel shifting in your life right now? 

Au revoir, you wonderful lot. Thank you for being amazing!

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


SmittenBeads said...

Oh that is a sad Rebecca but I'm completely with you, doing a lot of adjusting in my life too. Continued good luck with Curious and Songbead. xx

Emily Smith said...

Looking forward to reading more! And seeing more of your new things too! This is a fabulous place (art brad scene) and I love reading all the posts! I have quite a spectacular shift just coming up - I'm a grown up now (yuck!) and will be moving away from home and starting uni in September to take the biggest step in life so far!😊

Alicia said...

I hear you and understand where you're coming from. My artsy part of life is right now on the back burner, simmering slowly, very slowly, as my academic part of life is getting a boost. I went back to grad school and it's been a lovely journey so far, but one that takes all the energy I have, and all the time (besides my family, which is always #1). Best of luck with what you're focusing on right now! I hope to see you at ABS from time time, as I love your posts and art.

Warped Wire Studio said...

What a lovely post. Life continues to move and shift, ebb and flow. The key is to remain flexible and adjust; be positive and take the good with you. Best of luck on your new adventures. I too am on a new adventure- looking for a job after mine was eliminated last week. There are so many ways one could see these changes but I choose to see the positives. What we face is nothing compared to what others have to endure. You have the love and support of many. You've got this. I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:
Great indeed is the sublimity of the Creative, to which all beings owe their beginning and which permeates all heaven. Lao Tzu
Here's to embracing your new creative.

Linda said...

I will miss you on ABS, but I'll definitely continue to follow you on FB & your blog. You are one of my favorite designers, because of your obvious love of color. I hope you find new energy and joy as you continue on your journey.

Jess Green said...

How sad to see you go Rebecca, I will miss your posts (but I'm sure the other lovely ladies here will keep me occupied :)

This year kind of feels like a fallow year to me - I am saving up to go travelling and this has meant cutting other expenses (bead buying, ahem) back. I also plan to ramp up my etsy sales to help towards the travel costs (and provide an excuse to buy maybe *some* beads).

bairozan said...

It's sad but you will still be around with new posts and new items in your shops :) I do not expect any major changes in my life, unless I find a less demanding job with at least the same income, ha-ha! I'd love to be able to devote more time to jewelry making and learning new techniques.

Kathy Lindemer said...

I am sad to see you leave, but life changes for us all. In my world I am trying to focus on , learning more skills, making beads and using them in my jewelry. I am also starting to sell some of my beads and components in my online store.

Saraccino said...

I already "tsalked" you before ABS and will also do afterwards. Of course it is sad seeing you go but everyone has to decide (and also act) what is best for them. Not for being selfish but to live and enjoy life, not to break down.

My personal ongoing challenge is to carve out more time for my partner and me and our future plannings... as much as I love research, I have to try to keep the overhours lower :)

Sarajo Wentling said...

I will miss your voice here but I'll be keeping a sharper eye you your own blog! I love your beads and your beautiful jewelry designs... you are an inspiration to me!

It feels like a lot is shifting in my world and I'm unsure where (and when!) things might settle out. With aging parents (and in-laws) with various health issues I'm grateful for the flexibility making jewelry full-time gives me. I think I'm going to need it this year and in those that follow!

Alice said...

sorry to see you go. But you must follow your heart. It was a pleasure to read your posts along the way. Best of luck to you.
As for me My heath is what I need to tend to.

Abigail Hemingway said...

Well onwards and upwards... there's been a big shift for me too.... motherhood, it's been a white knuckle rollercoaster ride via ivf, we thought it may never happen.... so fingers crossed for the future, for both of us x

Abigail Hemingway said...

Well, onwards and upwards...I've had a big shift too, motherhood. It's been a white knuckle rollercoaster ride via ivf, we thought it may never happen but it did!! Fingers crossed for the future for both of us xx

Nan Smith said...

Thank you for all of your sharing and teaching over the past years. I have always enjoyed reading your posts and shall miss your regular updates. Good luck with your creative endeavours. I'm looking forward to following your progress. Take care, Rebecca. Nan
P.s. Thanks for the random pick! I've emailed Heather already.

Helen Bowen said...

It sounds like you have great plans and I am all for simplifying! I do it regularly but then find the complexities creeping back in - I am terrible at saying 'No' :-)
Enjoy your creativity and don't go too quiet on us ;-)


Karen Z said...

With the arrival of spring comes thoughts of gardening and walks in the woods and beaches... but it also brings rains. So for now, quiet times in my studio, with watercolors more than with beads. It's quite an adjustment. I just hope that your changes bring as much happiness as mine have!!

Mokki said...

Sorry you're leaving. Things are always changing. Changes in my life have been people moving away. Hope all the best in your work with songbead.

Mitzie Crider said...

We'll miss you. Thank you for your contribution. This year I'm focusing on improving my jewelry making skills and learning how to be my own, disciplined, boss after 31 years of marriage.

beadrecipes said...

I'll miss reading you here, that's for sure, but I look forward to seeing your continued journey on your own blog. As for me, I need to look for a good part time job in my other work, now that my kids are all at school. I'm hoping it doesn't impact the jewellery making too much!

Karen M said...

It's been fun watching you grow and share your creativity here. I'm looking forward to watching things unfold for you as you blossom. Getting and staying healthy is what I'm working on plus perfecting a few jewelry making techniques.

Kristen said...

Good luck to you! I'll enjoy reading more on your blog. I am making a shift to learning more about drawing and painting. And in the future, I would like to experiment more with enameling and metal work. Making the same things over and over can get stale and I need to freshen up!


Lovely post, it's comforting to know you will be coming by every now and then.
Having just moved to another country, almost everything is shifting in my life right now - scary and exciting at the same time.
Best wishes,

Claire Lockwood said...

Heck, you are going to be soooo missed!! Relish that extra bit of time! So looking forward to seeing what you do with it! New bench? - exciting!! xx

Patti P. said...

It will be sad to not see your articles with Art Bead Scene & I wish you the very best in your future plans! I always love reading my Songbead emails & seeing your beautiful creations! This year we moved to a new place next to a marina so I am using this new location for inspiration to making new pieces of jewelry. My beads & supplies have arrived & I am loving it! Take care!

Lyn Gulliver said...

Take care of yourself Rebecca xxxx