Friday, June 12, 2015

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 bribe you to use that keyboard and tell us what you think. The following week a winner is chosen at random from all eligible entries.

Congratulations to Bairozan!

You have won a set of Claire's porcelain rose beads!

Send Claire a message to claim your prize. 


It feels a bit strange to me to be doing an 'Inside the Studio' post today. I feel like perhaps I don't have quite enough to show you - cut back to late January, and I was working on designs pretty much every day, but what with one thing and another, these habits have dwindled away. Not through deliberate choice, mind you - but simply because life has got in the way. 

However, jewellery is once more going to get in the way of life(!) as I have my first craft fair of 2015  in the pretty town of Holmfirth in West Yorkshire in a short couple of weeks, on the 28th June. 


Can I tell you that the idea of doing a fair in only two weeks absolutely terrifies me?

There, I've said it. I don't think I've ever felt quite this way about an approaching craft fair before - never had quite SO little stock. Never felt as if I am sitting atop quite so stagnant a time in my creative life. Seriously, I couldn't even fill a coffee table right now, never mind this:


So, what am I going to do in this situation? 

Well, I can tell you what I am NOT going to do. I am not going to try and do something new, something ground-breaking, sometime startling. There's just not the time. Maybe that sounds defeatist - I certainly felt a little like that at the beginning of the month - but I don't feel like that anymore. I was talking to a friend about it the other day, and saying how each year, I want to bring something really new to the table - to move my jewellery on in a visible (to me at least) and almost deliberate way. But, my friend said, maybe this isn't the year for that, Rebecca. And maybe that's ok. 

So, ok it will have to be. I can't reinvent the wheel in 2 weeks, that's for sure! But I am pretty sure that, with my nose to the grindstone, I can fill my jewellery stand in time for the 28th June. I think I can, I think I can....hopefully by the 28th I'll be saying I thought I could, I thought I could...!

Here are a few pieces I *have* managed to create over the past week. A start, at least!

As you can see, I am including my own handwoven beads more and more often in my pieces... just perhaps...

Art Beads: Earthshine

...I am achieving that elusive 'something new' anyway.

Art Beads: Beads by Earthtones, Elukka, Swoondimples. One side...

...and the reverse. I love these little touches that Heather Millican gives her beautiful beads.

 I recently celebrated my one year anniversary since I began making these tiny little handwoven beads. Well, I didn't exactly celebrate it, but you know what I mean! I would love to try other mediums to work in to create my own beads, but like it or not, I have a long, LONG history with a needle and thread and these tiny wee beads just found me again, even though I thought I had long since done with bead-weaving. I am glad they did. Stitching is one of those things that soothes my soul - rhythmic, repetitive, meditative. I enjoy playing with colour, simple folk-inspired designs - like those seafoam and rust daisies above - and how even in one colour, they add such a tactile and visually textural element to a piece of jewellery. 

I would love to be a master silversmith rather than a very, very basic one, a ceramics guru or someone who could carve intricate and detailed miniature pieces of art. But these skills are not within my arsenal - not now, at any rate. 

But stitching? Stitching most certainly is. It feels like home, somehow. I can sink into it, both physically and mentally.

And now for the prize I'm offering this week...Much like art beads, in the world of seed beads, even the plain old rocailles that I work with, there is always something new - a new colour, a new finish, a new way of dying them. I received a package of some brand new (to me, at least, and I certainly haven't seen them from my preferred brand in the UK before now) seed beads; various colours but with a gorgeous Picasso finish. Seriously, I am *ExCiTeD* to create with these lovelies! I have tiny wee bags of such deliciously-titled beads as Transparent Ruby Picasso, Opaque Chartreuse Picasso, Transparent Seafoam Picasso, Opaque Dark Teal Picasso sitting in front of me, to name but a few. They arrived only this morning, and so I don't have any finished examples to show you, but TRUST ME, these little handwoven Picasso {song}beads are going to pretty special - colourful, rustic, characterful. *Me.* And perhaps you, too.

A mix of the type of beads I have to work with....yummy! Picture found on Pinterest.

So I am offering you a small clutch of these lovelies. They will be hot off the press, and right now, I have a very, very limited quantity of these seed beads so there aren't going to be many of the finished article! 

To enter, answer me this - what activity or technique (jewellery-based of otherwise) feels like home to you? What do you return to, over and over again, whether your head want to or otherwise - what does your heart lead you home to? Leave your answer in the comments below to be in with the chance to win some of these very limited edition handwoven {song}beads!

Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer; currently living in Edinburgh, capital of her native land. 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


Claire Lockwood said...

Love. Those. Seeds! I think I'm gonna need one of your woven beads made in them too - if you can spare one.... or two!

Wendy said...

The pieces you've made are lovely, I'm sure the craft fair will be a success. I always seem to come back to beadweaving, there's so much to learn

Linda said...

Jewelry-wise, I always go back to knotting on waxed linen cording. Outside the jewelry sphere, I love flower arranging. It is very soothing, meditative and rewarding for me.

bo hulley said...

Ditto what Claire said! Beaded beads would be lovely with these.
To answer your question - I don't know about activities but i return to turquoise again and again and again, the colour, the stone, in beads...I probably wouldn't make anything if turquoise didn't exist!

Unknown said...

It's always buttons for me. Good luck for your upcoming fair.

Shee Sews said...

Having taken so long to get back to normal I have to say wire wrapping is by far my favourite and I prefer this over everything else, but I'm starting to get quite smitten with bead stitching and I love your beaded beads...I need a stash in all the colours xx

baymoondesign said...

I love using Irish waxed linen thread. I just ordered a bunch more because I am just about all out. The more I use it the more I want to again. I love the flexibility that it gives to a design. Good luck with your fair! I am sure you will have lots of stock by then. I would love to have that problem!

Kristen said...

I love kiln fired enameling! I also enamel with my torch, do fused glass, work with metal and wire, and I used to do a lot of beadweaving, but enameling is my favorite. Thanks for this give away!

Anonymous said...

Ooh, those seed beads sound luscious! Looking forward to seeing what you make with them. As for me, I always seem to go back to knotting on waxed linen or simple stringing.

CMS Designs said...

Your creations are lovely. That last bracelet is making me swoon. Gorgeous colors and cool beads. As for your craft fair, think quality over quantity. A smallish collection of lovely pieces will draw focused attention. As a shopper, I get easily overwhelmed with LOTS of busyness in a booth. Regarding your question, my favorite summer jewelry task is sitting on my porch with a tray of beads, knotting waxed linen/ hemp bracelets. Simple, no tools, great therapy. The giveaway beads are some of my favorites. Yummy!

Unknown said...

I have recently discovered that I love bead weaving with seed beads, after years of thinking I would hate it. But when I need to spark my creativity I head to my bead boxes and begin to make earrings, lots and lots of earrings. So, for me, home is a great pair of earrings (and comfy yoga pants!).

Unknown said...

(AKA SHARON KAMIL using our joint google account!)
Quality rather than quantity Rebecca, and your creations are certainly quality. Revisit some of your more simple 'best selling' designs perhaps, and as I'm sure you once said to me...words to the effect of 'if in doubt, make earrings'!?
I am always drawn to the metal and wire, and paper...always the paper!
Good luck for Holmfirth - a stunningly gorgeous part of the country (I'm a West Yorkshire lass born and bred, so I'm not impartial!).
Thanks for the opportunity to take part in your fabulous giveaway too! Sharon Xx

Anonymous said...

Oh, just reading this now, after a long day and so many of the things you wrote about hit home for me! I've kind of sort of signed up to do an in-person event in July (first ever, for me, I am scared to DEATH)… and honestly, you are such an inspiration! I remember seeing photos of your booth long ago - long, long before I 'met' you online - and just thinking what a beautiful job you do presenting your work. I am sure you will have a wonderful show! Let go and let flow… sometimes that's all you can do.

My happy place…. my creative home… is probably making glass hollow beads! Right now, that's just it. I can get lost in there for hours, and I never seem overly concerned that they won't turn out, which can be a bit crippling sometimes!

I also must say that I cherish the Songbead earrings I have with the teeny tiny woven beads. I love them even more after reading this :) xo -- Julie

Anonymous said...

I keep going back to Natasha beads in polymer clay. As part of the process they get turned inside out so the pattern is always a surprise :)

Unknown said...

I love your beaded beads. They look great with your style. Your friend gave you very smart advice! Jewelry challenges feel good to me. Sometimes on my own I'm just lost, but they give me a direction and I feel bring out some of my best work. When I see a painting on ABS and get an idea for a project right away, it usually comes together so much more easily than projects without that inspiration.

Unknown said...

I haven't really found my 'thing' yet, so I'm still looking for home. I love pieces that have a vintage feel to them, and anything that shines (a bit like a magpie me!) but then I wish I could make things with wire too. So at the moment i dont have a home, more like a caravan! x

Loralee said...

The beaded beads are to die for!! I'm in total love!!! <3

Elizabeth said...

When I'm with my clay, and it's just me and the clay, texture has to be involved. I'm a tactile person and I love to feel ridges and valleys in a piece.

Sasha Crow said...

I hope you make some beaded beads from these new Picasso finish seed beads - if so, please put me on the list to contact so I have a chance to buy some! LOVE them!

Booth display is the HARDEST for me. I "remodel" constantly but am never quite satisfied. I made a bunch of necklace manikins in the same shape as your new (lovely!) wooden ones using foam board and lots of layers of tissue paper - some with images fainting showing - on and am liking those pretty much. I have them as singles and also as a bunch of several in a row - all at different heights - and it makes a good background for my earrings and other smaller pieces.

I used to do delicate sculptural off-loom bead weaving and was totally addicted to it for years and then my eyesight diminished so that I just cannot do it any more. Now I find that I don't (and don't want to) return to the same things or ways at all. Instead I am constantly exploring new mediums and techniques as it is all so exciting for me with new design possibilities.

Sarajo Wentling said...

I saw your finished beads on Facebook and they are drool-worthy! To answer your question, for me it's making earrings of all kinds. That's my happy place!

BeadQueen87 said...

Loveee your jewellery and your beaded beads are to die for! For me I always come back to using art beads it's what makes the piece that bit extra special! Totally addicted to making jewellery but I have found my love for making clay components too! Good luck with the fair not that I think you need it as your jewellery is so gorgeous!
Christine xx

BeadQueen87 said...

Loveee your jewellery and your beaded beads are to die for! For me I always come back to using art beads it's what makes the piece that bit extra special! Totally addicted to making jewellery but I have found my love for making clay components too! Good luck with the fair not that I think you need it as your jewellery is so gorgeous!
Christine xx

Dawn Gatehouse - Jewellery Designer said...

Gorgeous seed beads. Would love to wine some of your gorgeous beaded beads and I have some in my art bead stash.

My first love (and my home)is wire although I am very much addicted to buying beads.

I recently learned a bit of bead weaving and am really enjoying it!

Unknown said...

I love bead weaving, have tried wire, polymer, macrame and kumihimo. But I still return to bead weaving, I love the intricacies of it, the colours, the designs and how you can let your creativity and imagination run wild. And I just love your seedy beads.

Unknown said...

Kumihimo Is my safe place my home. The seed beads are gorgeous. They are one of my favourites they will make beautiful beaded beads.

Unknown said...

Rebecca your jewelry is KILLER! that first bracelet up there is my favorite, I love the design asymetrical and very well balanced, very cool, and all the others too, I love your distinct style, just beautiful! I have no doubts you will kill it at this fair! And your beaded beads, are an awesome addition to any design! I've said it a million times before, I wish I had the patience for beadwork like that! You go girl!

Jettabug said...

Yummy beaded beads! I am addicted to textural beads and your beads are divine rolling around on my neck, wrist or ears. I think it is color for me that I keep coming back to, even when I try soft, or minimalist the colors of beads have me jumping back into bright. And polymer clay...even when I take a break from it, I start getting an itch, an idea and I am off and going again ;)

Unknown said...

It seems like bead weaving is a more popular pastime than I realized! I too have picked up sculptural off loom bead weaving,
something that I used to think I lacked the patience and delicacy for. But once I started, I realized how meditative and tranquil it is.
Most recently, I've been putting slices of my millifiore polymer canes on scrap clay balls, baking them into beads, then brick stitching around them,
making some things that remind me of cactus flowers... I moved out to Colorado earlier this year, so my large bead stash is in my mother's studio back east,
but I've been making do with the colors and sizes I did bring. I brought my polymer, my tie dye, my oil paints, my colored pencils, sewing things, and beads,
and I think my next project will include tie died tee shirts, cut and braided into feminine designs, with hand beaded clips... I made one for myself, and for a concert,
I decided to temporarily tack the beaded elements to the shirt and then remove them afterward
...but I messed up and forgot, and it got thrown in the laundry... Whoops! And one of the beaded medallions became... Well...less beaded.
But, you live and you learn! And now I get the chance to reuse the red beads from that medallion for something else, because otherwise I'm out of red.
Manifesting and synchronicity have really been reverberating in my life recently. I don't think the fact that the one bead that I paired red and turquoise with
(rather than dark blue with red) coming unravelled is a coincidence.
I wouldn't have taken itout and restarted it on my own, I needed a little nudge to make it really work with the other ones...
I always return to pen and ink. I've translated zentangles into several mediums other than paper and pen with great success.
I've made zentangle millifiore canes, taught myself Canadian smocking, and I just bought a bead pattern app that allows me to take pictures of my drawings
and see how to translate their colors into tiny seed bead patterns! :)
Anyway, thanks for reading my crafting synchronicity babble, I don't know what I'm talking about, making, or combining half the time,
but isn't that the fun part? Thanks for this opportunity, ABS is an awesome resource for bringing the like-minded together!
Best wishes for your bead show, your work is beautiful and inspires me to let my creations sing out too.

Unknown said...

its heart-warming to know that someone as talented as you can feel terrified of a craft fair! i too am in a creative dry spell and not sure how to break free... home for me is the vintage pieces i have from my oma (grandmother) and her mother...i treasure and look at them over and over. good luck at your show, do not make excuses just be!xo

Denise said...

I wish you good luck on the upcoming craft show. You make lovely pieces and I'm sure your items will do well. My go-to things to make are simple wire-wraps -any bead can be wire-wrapped!

Niky Sayers said...

One of the latest crafts I have gotten into is paper cutting, I find it very relaxing and mediative plus compared to jewellery making it is very cheep! But what I always come back to is sewing in one form or another. When I was young I liked nothing more then to sit and watch my mother embroider for hours on end.
What I love about trying other crafts (and I have now tried many) is then incorporating them into jewellery making some how.

Deb Fortin said...

Love your beaded beads. I don't have the talent or the patience to do that kind of beading. You do it so well.

My go- to when creativity drys up is to make my own ear wires with 21 ga wire . i play around with different loops and ear shapes , curved , triangular etc. Once I get a whack of them done my muse usually returns and I can start to make the dangle parts of the earrings .

Not in a jewellery mood ? - I turn to card making .

Shai Williams said...

Knitting on Waxed Linen. It just feels right and I trust that my designs won't come apart at the crimps.

Carolyn said...

I always love your products. I think you will do great at your craft fair.

I have tried many different craft items, but I really like stringing. Lisa Lodge's challenges are certainly things I love to do.

Would love to win some new beads as they are as much fun as stringing.

Good luck at your fair.