Inside the Studio with Rebecca of Songbead and The Curious Bead Shop

Welcome to Inside the Studio!

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 free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.
Congratulations Steph L.! You have won a set of four Facet Effects in whichever ombre colour palette you like from  Erin Prais-Hintz of Tesori Trovati.
Please send Erin an email with your information.

Today we visit the studio of Rebecca Anderson of Songbead and The Curious Bead Shop.
This is my first Inside the Studio post in a good while! A lot has changed since my last post. You see me here every Monday now, bringing my ‘Amuse Your Muse’ posts to you, sharing your and my beady finds in different themes each month. So you may have some idea of what’s been going on in my life recently….but today I’ll fill you in a little more.
Back in September, my partner and I – and our 3 house bunnies! – moved over from Manchester in England to Belfast in Northern Ireland due to my partner’s work. Neither of us had visited N Ireland for more than a single day before, and that was back in the ’90s. So we really were diving in head first, with no real idea of where we would land! It was exciting and scary as you can well imagine. I also had craft fairs booked up over on the mainland (Britain) up until Christmas. So there would potentially be a lot of travelling backwards and forwards through 2013 – both plane and ferry. And car at either end! 
Although there have been more than a few hiccups along the way, Belfast is proving to be a fun place to be, albeit for only a short length of time (again, partner’s work). I was able to give up my school teaching that I had been doing for the past 8 years (and very gladly so, the time had come to end that particular chapter in my life, much as I got a lot out of it at the time) and work solely from home. 
Ok, I admit it….I’m not the tidiest of souls….! Although it’s not looking too bad from this angle….
We were lucky that renting costs are not as high as elsewhere in the UK and we live in a beautiful big house and I have my own dedicated studio to work from home in. Of course, that’s not without it’s challenges. We didn’t know a soul here when we moved over, and that was hard….plus having a house empty of furniture for the first few weeks (months really!) made things extra challenging.
My packing station. No Polar Vortex here, just drizzle torrential rain and yuckiness! Bring on the Spring.
However, 2014 is here and I can keep my feet here in Ireland for the next few months at least. That is  GOOD feeling. I can get used to the rhythm of working by myself, find out what works for me and what doesn’t. For example, even though I would consider myself very much an introvert, I find that being alone in all day every day during the week quite lonely. So getting out and about and working in local cafes a few times a week has proved a god-send, even if it does mean I have to get out of my pyjamas! Free Wi-fi is an excellent thing and very much worth the price of a cup of tea. 
My very fancy photography set up in my home studio!
I had all sorts of plans for New.Things. in 2014…..which so far have not come to much! I was totally burned out after 6 weeks including 5 plane trips, 3 ferry trips and goodness knows how many hours in the car…and I think I actually need some mental head-clearing space before I move onto some of the many ideas I have cluttering up my head and studio space. Metal-smithing, polymer clay-ing and torch-fire enamelling are just some of the things I have bought most of the equipment for and have plans to dive into over the next few months. But head space first. Allow myself to breathe. Not put too much pressure on myself to come up with designs that are New! Original! Ground-breaking! moving on in great leaps and bounds. Slow and steady. It is only January, after all πŸ˜‰ 
Because of this pressure I was putting on myself since 2014 began, I found myself in a bit of a creative rut until about a week ago. I stopped trying to think new and different, just laid some beads out, and started creating. I am sure some of those pieces will get cut up and go back into the stash, but it allowed me to get going again, and get into my groove. It felt good! Long may that continue. I still have those ideas percolating but I’ve got to allow myself less-pressured play too. 
One of my new creations – Feathering the Nest. Sweet, simple and hopefully very wearable. Not everything has to be ground-breaking…lovely can be ‘enough’! Art beads from Humblebeads and Blueberri Beads. 
What’s the best way to get your creative mojo flowing again? Why, with new beads of course! Here are some of the lovely goodies I’ve treated myself to – a destash from mixed-media artist Barbara Bechtel of Second Surf.
Yum! Are you jealous?!
These came straight out of the box and became jewellery straight away. See what they grew up to be!
Pacific Depths
As yet nameless….what do you think?
Peacock Pearl
Here are some totally gorgeous polymer art beads I bought from Leah Curtis of Beady Eyed Bunny, an American artist now based in the UK.
Look at these beautiful rosebuds! They were a special gift to me for being Leah’s 300th sale. Thank you Leah! I love them. 
These beads haven’t become anything quite yet, but they will. Cute wee beasties with sweet hearts adorning them. Absolutely gorgeous, and very much my folky, whimsical aesthetic. Can’t wait to create with them!
One of the new designs I have come up with this year for The Curious Bead Shop are my wirework Heart Headpins
Heart Headpins in antiqued copper
Just in time for Valentine’s Day! It’s less of a big event over here in the UK (at least that’s my impression) but we still see a lot of hearts and flowers about the place – and who doesn’t love hearts and flowers? They have proved super-popular which is always a lovely feeling, and I’m now offering them in two different metals and finishes. 
How about you? What’s new for 2014? What’s staying the same? Leave a comment to be in with the chance to win some of my heart headpins in the metal and finish of your choice – either 6 sterling pins or 10 copper, antiqued or shiny. Or a mix of both. 

Just comment below, telling me about your plans for 2014, to be entered.
Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer, currently living in Belfast, Northern Ireland. You can read more about her and her work at her blog, songbeads.blogspot.com and see more of her jewellery at songbead.etsy.com. She also has a supplies shop at thecuriousbeadshop.etsy.com.

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51 Comment

  1. Becky Pancake
    January 24, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    I enjoyed seeing your new space. Thanx for sharing your life direction with all of us.

  2. Becky Pancake
    January 24, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    I forgot to say I have almost everything to start enameling and I also am going to give lampworking a try this year.

  3. Dawn Gatehouse - Jewellery Designer
    January 24, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    I will be attempting to make some components using metal smithing techniques this year but not until after March when I have more time. Good luck with the year ahead Rebecca, I'm sure whatever you do it will be fabulous x

  4. Marijke
    January 24, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    I would love to be more creative this year!?

  5. Lesley
    January 24, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    That lovely rustic bracelet makes me think of Scandinavia…how about "Norwegian Wood' for a name…

  6. Ellen Adair
    January 24, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Great read Rebecca, I too have been feeling a bit….well, I'm not sure really, dejected perhaps?!
    My 2014 had started full of optimism for progressing my silver smithing skills.I had been working on a part time contract for a pharma company during 2013 and had slowly started to accumulate the bits and pieces I needed. I made a few rings, learnt how to solder bezels on and set gems knowing that in 2014 I could really get stuck in.
    Alas I have been trying to make my own large bezels all week, cut and hammer all these wonderful ideas I had spinning round in my head but to no avail.
    Now I am a fair few quid in silver costs down with nothing to show and I think I'd honestly rather of used the money on beads!!
    So I think my priorities for 2014 have changed! You are absolutely right when you say not everything has to be new and groundbreaking and I feel perhaps I'm spreading myself too thin.
    So I will spend the weekend doing exactly as you have – sit down, spread out some beads and get creative using techniques I'm confident with and stop beating myself up!!

  7. Angela Pyke
    January 24, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    It's so lovely to get to see behind the scenes so to speak. Like you Rebecca I was putting myself under that same pressure of creating new things for the new year. I felt like I'd too lost my mojo. Thank you for inviting us in & revealing a little about yourself. I hope you give yourself time to breathe & I very much look forward to your designs over the coming year!

  8. Lyn Gulliver
    January 24, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Hi Rebecca, thank you for sharing pics of your new workspace.
    My plans for 2014 are : not to plan, as life has a habit of swooshing plans into outer space! So, I am just going to enjoy being creative and see where that leads.
    The un-named bracelet looks "Bramble Patch"-like to me. "Feathering the Nest" is gorgeous. Lyn x

  9. JΓ²
    January 24, 2014 at 8:23 pm

    one of my priority is to set up my craft room, I need storage solution, shelves… next is to come back making jewelry, that I didn't make so much on 2013.
    thank you for the giveaway, I'm a huge fan of your jewelry, I follow your blog!

  10. Lottie
    January 24, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    Oh Rebecca – you have coped amazingly – you must be so very proud of what you have already achieved these past few months!

    I an so looking forward to see you exploring your new techniques and venturing into the land of creating beads and all things jewellery related. I absolutely adore your heart head pins – how original – you really must have a head bursting with ideas. To see you creating polymer clay beads will be so exciting for me – I lots of polymer clay, some tools, the halogen oven – made a few – then ill health (husband) brought life to a standstill. Now that's behind us and he is on the mend I am getting my confidence and eagerness to get going with jewellery making – gifts – not to sell.

    So 2014 will be my year of being inspired by you to get going and get creating. NOT copying you I hasten to add – but being inspired by you.

    Wish you both an amazing, exciting, and creative year.

  11. Roxanne Mendoza
    January 24, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    Hi Rebecca,

    I love that you have a designated packaging station. That's something I need to make space for…so one of my goals this year is to get organized!

  12. Ellie
    January 25, 2014 at 12:54 am

    Rebecca, I just love your jewellery. Feathering the Nest is what I'd like to achieve – simple, gorgeous, handmade, lovely. After finding your work in a magazine (Beads & Beyond?) just over a year ago I bought a heap of beautiful beads and components on Etsy but sadly I haven't stepped foot in my beading room for the purposes of using them for many months now. It seems to be always too hot or too cold in there! Seeing this today has inspired me to go back in and rediscover my treasures. Thank you! Mardi

  13. Leigh Thow
    January 25, 2014 at 1:01 am

    I have to tidy before I take pics lol, it's the OCD!

    Love your different work stations, hoping to move mine into the spare room, once my hand has healed.

    I love too the feathered nest, that's a cracking original idea.

    Your findings are ace and I so love you you get them to look.

    Keep chilled, hope to see you again soon, maybe at a certain open day woohoo!

  14. Elizabeth
    January 25, 2014 at 1:07 am

    I agree with relaxed, creative play! No pressure. Just create for the purpose of making. As for what is staying the same, location. I love where I live but I do want to work on being more observant of the ordinary.

  15. Monique (A Half-Baked Notion)
    January 25, 2014 at 4:29 am

    I fully intend my 2014 be joy-filled, Rebecca, and I am moving in that direction steadily. An ambitious (for me) challenge to create 100 earring pairs in 100 days for charity, coupled with reining in my spending and using what I have!

    Your as-yet-unnamed opus strikes me as "Resting on the Rocks". I never tire of reading of your exploits and viewing your lovely designs. Thanks for sharing your vision πŸ™‚

  16. Nan Smith
    January 25, 2014 at 5:41 am

    Love your work! How well I remember those rainy, dreary winters from my 4 years in Essex! I'm now back home in the land of the polar vortex and hoping that this will be my year to open a etsy shop and get my website up and running.Please add me to the list of fans who would love your gorgeous headpins!

  17. Linda
    January 25, 2014 at 8:11 am

    I enjoyed reading your post and found some common threads. I've been allowing myself play & exploration time, too, with no pressure to create anything earth-shaking. I've gotten equipment for metal-smithing and enameling an have dabble in each. I'm quite excited about exploring polymer clay. I expect to start this coming week. We'll see where that goes…

  18. Tracy Collins
    January 25, 2014 at 9:26 am

    I am suffering from creative block at the moment which is quite scary….i love resin and I hope that soon inspiration will strike and I can start creating.

    I am not putting myself under any pressure….I work fulltime and have enough of that there!!

    I enjoyed your post.

  19. Jenny Saunder
    January 25, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Great post sharing information related to Soldering & Torches

  20. annette bond
    January 25, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Absolutely brilliant – loved being able to see where you work – looks amazing – everything you make is fab a different which is great πŸ™‚

  21. annette bond
    January 25, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Absolutely brilliant – loved being able to see where you work – looks amazing – everything you make is fab a different which is great πŸ™‚

  22. R E Lamont
    January 25, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Hi Rebecca, loved seeing your creative space and having bought from you a few times I can also say I love your stuff x

  23. R E Lamont
    January 25, 2014 at 10:26 am

    Hi Rebecca, loved seeing and reading about your beading space and as a customer I loved your beads and jewellery x

  24. Kristen
    January 25, 2014 at 11:47 am

    I want to learn glass fusing to add something different to my supplies shop. I also want to get back into making finished jewelry using soldering to make bezels for my pendants which hopefully will be unique and groundbreaking! πŸ™‚
    How brave of you to move! Good luck on your new adventure!

  25. Alicia Coats
    January 25, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    My plans for 2014 are to clean/organize my craft space (starting today – If I can pull away from the computer – haha!) and to make jewelry on a more regular basis.

  26. Debra Gibson
    January 25, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Hi Rebecca,
    My plans for 2014, well we are getting ready for a big move to Oregon, once there I intend to get involve with the artist community's there and do a lot of craft shows and I want to pay more attention to my blog. Things are moving pretty fast but it's going to be a great opportunity for me and my art. I can hardly wait! Thanks for the chance to win they are so pretty!

  27. Cheryl Roe
    January 25, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Usually after a very busy time, just need the mental break you discuss. Then a good cleaning of my work area and I am ready to go again. I hope to try PMC soon after already exploring copper metal clay to add to my lampwork beads. Beautiful head pins.

  28. freshbakeddesigns
    January 25, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    I've reenrolled in a metals class and learning etching this term. Always lovely to learn something new and add more techniques to my skill set.
    I'd love to play with your sweetheart headpins!

  29. Blondie
    January 25, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Like you, I have been challenged by a move last month and 2014, so far, is all about adaptation. We moved from a house onto our boat so "downsizing" is the word of the day. My biggest challenge will be to carve out even the smallest of spaces in which to do my beading uninterrupted. Possibilities look dismal at this moment:-(

  30. haezz
    January 25, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    For me, this was a much-needed poke to point me in the direction of what I really want for me in 2014. I was pushing myself to get lots and lots of jewelry made so that I could open in the summer. I see now that what I really want to do is to keep refining my metal working skills and dabble in polymer clay.
    Thanks so very much for allowing me to tag along on this wonderful post.
    And the headpins are fantastic! Such a sweet idea.

  31. Ann Schroeder
    January 25, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    I love that Feathering the Nest necklace and what you've made with your destash beads. This year I need to get my work area in working order! And practice my wire work.

  32. Lynn
    January 25, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Loved reading your blog and what's going on in your life. Also loved your "Feathering the Nest" necklace and it's simplicity. What about just "Song Bird" for your unnamed bracelet? I have been making some leather bracelets with enameled components which is new for me. I would love to have some of your heart headpins to play around with—thanks for the opportunity!

  33. Keeley Kenyon
    January 25, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    A really lovely blog post, and Its really interesting to see where you take the fab photos of your jewellery and beads. I often think the neighbours must think I'm snooping on them with my camera as I take photos of my jewellery/beads on the windowsill too!

    This year I will be having another baby (due March) and concentrating on developing my lampworking skills and hopefully making and selling more beads.

    I am also hoping to have more time to work on my jewellery too, as I often find that by the time I get all my equipment and beads out I have to pack them all away again.

  34. sue
    January 25, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    Love the rustic look of your heart head plns.
    I am buying some patina sealant tomorrow and look forward to playing with patinas over the next few weeks.

  35. Michelle W
    January 26, 2014 at 4:37 am

    I would love to spend more time creating my own creations this year. Last year, I was learning how to make jewelry. In 2014, I would like to create more of my own creations.

  36. OksanaB
    January 26, 2014 at 4:46 am

    Gorgeous bracelets! It's my dream to have a studio as well. Loving your work space!
    About my plans for 2014 — signed up for a jewelry class and looking forward to set up some stones.

  37. Jerry E Beuterbaugh
    January 26, 2014 at 9:39 am

    "Art Bead Scene" has been included in the A Sunday Drive for this week. Be assured that I hope this helps to point even more new visitors in your direction.


  38. Sharon Kamil
    January 26, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Thank you Rebecca for inviting us in! A fascinating insight! I can't wait to follow your adventures into polyclay, enameling etc!
    I'm undergoing a major decluttering project at home as I don't feel as if I can move forward with my life until I have reclaimed some space…….I'm hoping that having a tidy organised space (for the first time ever!) will help me to focus on what I really want to do with my creative hobbies going forward…….watch this space! Xxx

  39. Sharon Kamil
    January 26, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Thank you for letting us in and giving us an insight into your creative processes! Can't wait to see where your journey into polyclay, enameling etc takes you this year! I'm trying to decluttering my home in the hope that giving myself more physical space will also give me the headspace I need to move forward creatively xxxx

  40. Shaiha
    January 26, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    My goal this year is consistency. Last year I became overwhelmed and didn't go down into my studio for months on end. This year I want to spend some time down there every week. Oh and I need to get some good pics of the designs that I have finished.

  41. Ellen Lambrix
    January 27, 2014 at 10:57 am

    It's so fun seeing other's workspaces.
    I wish I had another one then my livingroom πŸ™‚

    What's new for me in 2014.
    Starting a course to become a goldsmith! Very excited and curious what's that all about!

    Keep up the good work, Rebecca!


  42. Angi
    January 27, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Im looking forward to learning more metalsmithing techniques. I'm hoping to be able to take some classes this year.

    Angi Mullis [email protected]

  43. KayzKreationz
    January 27, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    I love those heart headpins, especially in copper. I'm hoping to take another class in a month or so and then really get down to business putting to work the last several skills I've learned and get more things made and posted. But my calendar is already filling up and I may have a wedding to plan soon with my son and his fiancΓ©.

  44. Mary
    January 27, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    I love the bracelet with the bird. The stone beads and sea glass are perfect with it! It's always interesting to hear how others take a move and set up to work. Thanks for the view!

  45. Renetha
    January 28, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Your new space looks so cozy. I am looking forward to trying something new–but I want to test it out before I talk about it. Those headpins are really nice.

  46. Sajuno
    January 28, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Your creations are truly inspiring and have given me so many ideas. I love the bird beads and the putting together of the unusual assortment of beads and arrangements in your pieces. I enjoy just playing with beads and odd pieces that I can work into something. For 2014, that's what I want to do, just play and have fun with it all. I learn a lot from this site and would like to start incorporating some of the new ideas into my work. Thanks for all the energy you and everyone puts into Artbead Scene.

  47. Sue Duffy
    January 28, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    I started the year with vowing to clear out and organize. And to wear dresses again – just because. And clay clay clay. I am on a polymer journey and want to treat myself to actual instruction this year, not just "winging it" like I usually do. And strive for joy.

  48. Jane B.
    January 29, 2014 at 5:59 am

    In 2014, I'm going to "shop my stash" and use the beads I own and love.

  49. Christine
    January 29, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    Your jewelry is absolutely beautiful! New for 2014? So many exciting changes in my life, right now!! Also,I'm going to continue to expand where I sell my jewelry in local boutiques and push myself with my designs.

  50. Lynniemay
    January 30, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Thank-you for the article! I enjoy reading & seeing somewhere on the other side of the world! Im in Ohio, USA…….Loved all the beads & your lovely pendant!
    As for myself I want to hunker down & get this soldering down pat! I bought everything for etching & getting ready to jump in! I hope I can step out of my comfort zone (or maybe paranoida)& DO a craft show! lol! Love your articles & keep up the good work!

  51. becca
    February 2, 2014 at 1:32 am

    wow. such beautiful beads. Makes me want to create!

Comments are closed.