Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Beaded Jewelry by Susan: Background Info

Ever wonder how somebody gets started with a hobby, craft, or interest that turns into a passion, obsession, or addiction? Are you interested in knowing what kind of physical space is the home for beaded jewelry creations? If these questions intrigue you, read on ... The following is taken, in part, from a feature that appeared on a fellow Etsian's block.

When did you start making jewelry?

About 18 years ago, a coworker was going to a bead store at lunchtime and asked me if I wanted to go along. I didn’t know anything about beads but felt like getting out of the office. Wow! Like a candy store without calories! Love at first sight! Signed up for an earring making class right away; Carol Jo, the teacher, warned me that beads could be addicting. Hah! I didn’t believe her at the time. The rest is history.

What is your crafting space like?

When I first started, I just had a box of beads in a cupboard and worked on the dining room table. Three years later, we moved into our present home where I have a great beading studio space: my husband installed a kitchen-type counter with cabinets underneath, just for beading!

The countertops all have storage units stacked on them—three high in some places. On top of the counters are 23 storage units. Each unit has four trays and each tray has 24 compartments. I have a lot of beads LOL! There’s a workspace in the middle with two lamps and room for my beading board. Underneath the counter are cupboards and drawers with smaller beads (especially seed beads in old film canisters and delicas in tubes), some plastic drawer units with stone chips, donuts, and bags of bead mixes, and other beading equipment such as wire, tools, etc.

What inspires you?

I’ve always loved working with color and design; before beading, it was painting in oils and acrylics. I love being out in the garden looking at flowers and out in nature and noticing color combinations and moods in the landscape. But mostly, it’s the beads themselves that inspire my designs. I just open a storage tray with compartments filled with beads and ideas start coming into my head.

What item in your shop did you enjoy making the most and why?

This is a hard question to answer. My designs are all my favorites in a sense—they’re my creations, my “babies.” But there is one necklace and earring set that was especially fun to create because my husband and I worked on it together. He was doing some wireworking with a jig and made some sterling silver elements that I had drawn an idea for, and I used them in between groups of handmade Chinese lampglass beads on wire. The finished piece, called Black-and-White and Wire Fantasy Necklace, was selected for inclusion as a project in a Lark Books publication in 2006.

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