Friday, November 13, 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 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 Heidi Post!
You have won a Mystery Bundle of Beads from Claire.

Contact Claire to claim your prize!

Hello there! It's my turn at Inside the Studio this week, and I have so much that I could share with you ask a massive list of things to do in the studio, that I've left this post to absolutely the last minute! Right down to the wire - eek! And why? Because I have a craft fair tomorrow, and then another one on Sunday - plus a couple of stockists to get jewellery off to on Monday. And not really enough stock to cover all of these things - because of course, I am going to sell ALL of the jewellery on my stand tomorrow, right?! 

So today's post is going to be picture heavy :-) I hope you'll enjoy that - a visual journey of what's going on with me in preparation, particularly the last couple of days. 

A couple of Instagrams from yesterday. I am fond of a WIP (work in progress!) shot, especially if it's a bundle of art beads like the first one above. All that potential. It's nice to whet your followers' appetites too, and it certainly worked in this case - when I shared the finished necklace, it was snagged almost immediately! A real Winter Wonderland - with handmade beads from me, Humblebeads and Kylie Parry

These are from today, on the glamorous backdrop of my bead mat...ahem! Something I find myself doing more and more these days is recreating the same design. Letting myself really take my time over the 'master copy' - the Winter Wonderland necklace from yesterday took me some time - not just finding exactly the right ingredients but playing around with the composition, taking the time to restring if necessary, without worrying too much about the time spent on it - always something to consider when you then price things up at the end. ALWAYS. (I know I'm not the only one sometimes guilty of ignoring this factor!) Then, I can work the same piece up in different colour ways, and that time spent on the design is absorbed amongst the set. Here, I made 2 Winter Wonderland necklaces - and the beauty of working with art beads is of course, that no two pieces are the same, even if you are working from a blueprint. 

Another shot of the original Winter Wonderland necklace - one of those pieces I felt really chuffed with upon completion. 

As you may have spotted in the above necklaces, I've been making a new style of handwoven bead in these pieces - ones from custom seed bead soups that I've been creating in response to the art beads I'm working with. I've really loved this process - it means that rather than have long sessions of weaving followed by long sessions of stringing, I can intersperse the two together, which makes the whole process of making jewellery feel so much more organic and blended, somehow. Some custom handwoven beads  (with gorgeous lampwork birds from Samantha Capelling) above which were made in response to....

...a really, truly stunning set of lampwork lentils from Helen Chalmers, one of my all-time favourite lampwork artists (who I've been lucky enough to have a couple of lessons with recently too!). Just look at that stringer work! This necklace also contains art beads from Green Girl Studios and Beads by Earthtones. 

I had my first craft fair of the season last weekend, and the thing that I sold the most of was - unsurprisingly I think - my new Blossom Studs. Simple pressed glass table-cut flowers (which you can find over here in Curious) which I affix to sterling silver posts with industrial-strength glue. Ok, it's not the most exciting job, and I particularly dislike the sanding process (I sand both the metal posts and the beads, allowing the glue a better surface to make a good bond), but it's relatively quick once I have the sanding done, they are great stocking-fillers and most importantly, they are super-pretty! A big batch of these made up tonight. 

Remember Winter Wonderland that I started this post with? Can you recognise it here? When you spend time making a design just right, it stands a few more outings! Art beads from Humblebeads,  Blueberri Beads and Bo Hulley Beads

You'll be pleased to know that I haven't just got jewellery from the last 36 hours for my fairs this weekend(!) Here are some bracelets from earlier this week, which I actually managed to take semi-decent photos of. Although the light at the moment is an absolute nightmare to photograph in - how I do struggle at this time of year! Basically, until the clocks go forward again, I know my photos will all be a little lacklustre. Sad face. Handmade beads here from primarily myself and Helen Chalmers, but also Moogin, Swoondimples, Lorelei Eurto and Indian Creek Art Glass.

If you are in central Scotland this weekend, then please do come along and say hello at one of my craft fairs! Tomorrow's is at the Scottish Arts Club, Rutland Square, from 12 til 4, and Sunday's is The Handmade Show at Perth Concert Hall. Start your Christmas shopping by supporting handmade - I know I'm going to! 

So my question to you this week is, do you stick to absolute one of a kinds when creating jewellery? Or do you rework and rework, and create variations, like I am doing right now? What's your favourite way to work and why? 

Leave an answer in the comments, and you can win a £10 voucher for either Songbead or The Curious Bead Shop. The winner will be announced in next week's Inside the Studio post. 

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


Heather Powers said...

I'm a big fan of recreating designs in different variations. It's a smart way to work for a show and it helps give a cohesive look to your booth! Hope you do sell out of everything this weekend. Thank you for making Humblebeads look so gorgeous.

Kristen said...

The winter necklaces are gorgeous! I like to make a series of designs using different color combinations. I love to combine ceramic art beads with my enameled components, rustic and shiny!

Blue Kiln Beads said...

Looking great Rebecca, such gorgeous designs. I am with you on the working froma blueprint thing. It is time consuming but also exhausting trying to come up with new designs. Good luck with the selling season.

Unknown said...

I am always rethinking, sometimes reworking, and yes trying variations pushes the artistic juices! I would love to be
in Scotland and vist your booth!

Sarajo Wentling said...

Loveley designs, Rebecca... I hope you have great shows! I think I do a little of both when I design. There are certainly things that are one of a kind, never to be recreated. But even with those, I think some of the same ideas, techniques, etc. appear. Then there are go-to designs that I recreate with different variations on a theme. It's good to have both things I think to keep our brains active and our creative hearts full.

Elizabeth said...

I have to admit I'm a OOAK sort of worker at the art table. But the idea of mass production does interest me. I think, for me, OOAK is easier in the long run and very personal. But the idea of lots of people have one idea from you is also enticing.

Good luck all.


Julie Wong Sontag said...

I love the idea of working from a 'master' or a 'blueprint'. After all the time and effort you invest in getting each element just *exactly* right, you should totally run with it, I agree! And each iteration has a slightly different feel with a different focal here or a different color there - it's a brilliant way to work I think.

Coming up with something entirely new can be exhilarating and it keeps us interested, lots of stretching and bending and challenges - but sometimes you need to rest too. Letting the mind wander while the hands stay on task always leads to something good, I think. I get my best ideas when I've making multiples of something!

Love these gorgeously gorgeously gorgeous Winter Wonderland necklaces. Hope you had a great show day! xoxo -- julie

lamplight crafts said...

I like to make variations on the original design. Since I am still learning, I try different ways of putting a design together to make it my original design versus something learned in a tutorial. Sometimes the addition of an art bead or 2 makes all the difference.

baymoondesign said...

I do remake successful pieces with slight variations. I think it is smart to do with a design that is working for you.

Your designs and pieces are gorgeous.

Denise said...

I love making one of a kind but for reliability, I really need how to recreate good designs.

Anonymous said...

I tend to make OOAK pieces for some things (especially necklaces) but I really need to come up with some blueprints and variations I think. For bracelets I am more likely to do variations on the same theme, same with earrings! But I love your approach!

bairozan said...

I really want to recreate some of my successful designs but sometimes it just doesn't work, even though I follow the pattern with different beads. I think it's worth it, though. The Winter Wonderland necklace is gorgeous! I also like the bottom right corner bracelet a lot :)Good luck with the fair!

Mokki said...

Really lovely work. I do probably half and half one of a kind and variations. If I find something that I like and others seem to like then I'll always want to see what it's like in another colour or with a different component.