Inside (and Outside) the Studio with Claire Lockwood of Something To Do With Your Hands

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 Erin S!
You have won a Mystery Bundle of Beads hand-selected by Erin at the Bead and Button Show!
Send Erin a message to claim your prize. 

I wasn’t expecting to be doing this post this weekend and I’m afraid to say I’m a little short on studio-based gossip. At the moment, things in the studio are going along like this:

It doesn’t look so overwhelming in this shot, which doesn’t seem fair! Anyway, I am slowing going through them, adding underglaze, adding oxides, adding glazes. One day soon it will be done… 
However, every so often, it happens that I leave the studio and that’s just what I did last weekend.  I know many of you will be heading off to Bead and Button this weekend; you may already be there, you lucky things!  Here in the UK we have large bead shows but nothing on the scale of Bead and Button, and we certainly don’t have shows with the same numbers of art bead stands.  But last weekend I went to a more intimate bead ‘event’, the Smitten Beads Open House. My first encounters with the online bead world were through Smitten Beads. Claire Braunbarth, who runs Smitten Beads, set up a Facebook group so that her customers could interact and share their designs.  That was – I’m guessing – about three years ago, and while the group has grown considerably, it has remained relatively close-knit. I first met Claire when I went to one of her Open Houses a few years back and the group was started shortly afterwards.  Now it is a larger affair which runs over two days and along with all the beautiful supplies that Claire stocks on her website, you can also shop at a small number of handmade bead stalls: there were ceramics by Bo Hulley (Bo Hulley Beads), polymer beads by Pippa Chandler (Pips), lampwork beads from Linda Newnham (Earthshine Beads) and handmade findings and beaded beads from our own Rebecca (The Curious Bead Shop).
(Thank you to Dawn Gatehouse and Kate Floate for the use of these images)
Needless to say, some came home with me. 
(!apologies for the blur!)
I was quite restrained, hey? I had just loaded up on lots of other supplies from Claire’s stock room, so I felt I needed to go easy on the art beads.  There was another Bo Hulley bead – this polka-dot connector – that I used in a custom order, the one piece of jewellery made in my studio this week.
(ceramic leaf and drop – Scorched Earth)
But aside from the opportunity to shop for beads, it was a great occasion for catching up with people who, over the last few years, I’ve come to regard as friends, despite rarely – if ever – meeting them in person. It was fun to talk glazes with Bo, and discuss the relative merits of polymer and ceramic clay with Pippa, and to talk just-all-beads-in-general with Rebecca. I’m sure many readers also find their enthusiasm for beads is not shared by their nearest and dearest, so it’s always nice to meet like-minded folk. And when the shopping was over we headed out for food followed by cocktails.  A merry time was had. Here are your UK ABS editors….
It may not be immediately obvious, but a certain amount of drink had been taken by this time.  And although my memory of why we we’re posing like this is a little hazy, I do remember having a thoroughly good night!
So, time for the giveaway! The prize this week is a set of my porcelain rose beads.
The question is: Do you have a favourite bead show, or a particularly memorable bead show experience? Or is there a bead show you’d love to go to one day? Please comment below to be in with a chance to win. 
Bye for now, Claire

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16 Comment

  1. Jess Green
    June 5, 2015 at 10:12 am

    I really want to go to the big gem and bead show they do here in Brighton – I seem to miss it for one reason or another every time! Looks like the Smitten open house was great fun – I buy most of my Czech glass and lots of other pretties from Claire, love her site πŸ™‚

  2. Kathy Lindemer
    June 5, 2015 at 11:04 am

    I would love to go to the Tucson Bead Show. I have heard so much about it that I would love to see it. The show has lots of artisans and classes. Also, it would be fun to see Tucson.

  3. Saraccino
    June 5, 2015 at 11:19 am

    I am quite easy… I would love to go to B+B. But it is on the other side of the ocean… *sighs* There are no real bead shows here in germany, sadly. There are craft shows with bead sections, but the bead sections are especially for the seed bead users, not including art beads, *again… sigh*

    So I am open for suggestion that are maybe closer to germany or even inside! πŸ˜‰

  4. Katherine Thompson
    June 5, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Well my most memorable was the first one! Terri G drove and it was in Southfield I think in Michigan. Em and jewelry show. One of the funniest was a yard sale from a shop that retired and again Terri G got all of the info. (She's a sleuth) They still had a nice selection of beads left and we found some treasures. As we we're heading down the road I found some money like I hit the jackpot I said, "Let's go back!" We were so excited because there's never enough money for all the beads we really want!

  5. bairozan
    June 5, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    No bead shows here in Bulgaria πŸ™ So I would enjoy any fairly big one, as you can imagine. Maybe one day…

  6. Elizabeth
    June 5, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    I would need to win the lottery,lol, but I would love to attend Bead and Button and the Tucson show. Both seem full of bead lovers/lusters.

    [email protected]

  7. beadrecipes
    June 5, 2015 at 10:03 pm

    Our bead shows in Australia are fairly small, and there's not a lot of art bead choice — mostly lampwork. But I'm super-excited because I am visiting the US in August and September (for a family holiday) and while I'm there, I'm going to go to Bead Fest!!!

  8. Carol Briody
    June 6, 2015 at 12:44 am

    Firstly…let me say how adorable the two of you look in the picture! Bestest of friends, to be sure. My favorite event is BeadFest Philadelphia! I've been fortunate to attend a few times over the years (Last time I attended was Spring 2014, then health issues krept-in… looking forward to attending Summer 2015 yay!). The fabulous Classes are what drew me to BeadFest…the Artisan Instructors are awesome, each creating something fabulous to share with their students, enabling a wonderful learning environment and we are forever touched by their kindness and spirit.

  9. Ann Schroeder
    June 6, 2015 at 2:09 am

    I loved seeing your beads awaiting glazes and such. I find shots like that fascinating. All that work! The Smitten bead show looked fun. Lovely things. I live in Wisconsin and have always been an hour or two from Milwaukee. I have been to the Bead & Button show several times. The first few times, I had no idea how lucky I was; it was just a nice show in my area. Now I understand what it really is and what it gives me access to. I couldn't go this year, but I would like to go again in the future. I love your porcelain roses!

  10. Kristen
    June 6, 2015 at 10:04 am

    I would love to go to a bead show or better yet, have a booth! Dream on…..

  11. Shaiha
    June 7, 2015 at 2:51 am

    I would love to go to the big gem show in Tuscon and to Bead & Button. They are both rather far away so I haven't been able to do so yet.

  12. Nora Charles
    June 8, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    How wonderful it is to see your beautiful beads come to life. And, too, to hear about all the goodies that you encountered at the Bead and Button Show. Here I am, a newby in Phoenix, and have yet to visit the bead mecca of Tucson. Someday…! In the meantime your porcelain roses give me such inspiration.

  13. Jane B.
    June 10, 2015 at 12:07 am

    Bead shows seem wonderful, but overwhelming. I would much rather visit one of the studios featured here and meet the artist. I live only about 40 minutes from Heather Powers, and although she has NO idea who I am, I'm waiting for her to invite me to her place! πŸ™‚

  14. Carolyn
    June 10, 2015 at 3:41 am

    Love your roses. Would love to win a set.

    I would love to go to Bead Fest Philadelphia, Tucson bead shows, Bead &Button.

    [email protected]

  15. Renetha Stanziano
    June 12, 2015 at 5:00 am

    I would love to go to a Bead&Button show. I am getting closer to getting there because my oldest son graduated from HS 2013, my middle son graduates 2016, and my youngest starts high school this year with anticipated graduation in 2019! Look out 2020 B&B Show!

  16. Dawn Gatehouse - Jewellery Designer
    June 13, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    Was a pleasure to finally meet you Claire. I had a fab time at Smitten open house, it so nice to meet so many others who are so enthusiastic about beads and jewellery.

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