Studio Saturday with Rebecca of Songbead and The Curious Bead Shop

Welcome to Studio Saturday! 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.
This weeks winner is Susanm, Congratulations! You have won a Lotus Button from Tari. 
Send Tari an email with your email address and she will get it right out to you.
This week we visit the studio of Rebecca Anderson of Songbead and The Curious Bead Shop.
I’ve had a busy time of it lately – flitting between my two shops. I love both of them and am excited about where both my jewellery AND my supplies shops are heading, but I do find I can only really focus on one or the other on any given day. I’ve been going backwards and forward this week so I thought I’d share what has been going on in both of my little corners of the internet these past few weeks! If you read my own blog, you’ll know some of my goings on already……
It’s long been an ambition of mine to create a jewellery collection or two. All the advise you read online about running a successful jewellery business suggests that this is a really important aspect of this. It makes things more cohesive, and if you want to approach shops and potential stockists, it gives a clearer message. The problem for me, and many others I am sure, is that working with handmade beads and components, often the items we work with are one of a kind. Not so easy to create a collection based around this! 
However, there are some pieces you design that I really feel ‘I could develop and take this idea further’. One such is my popular Gardenia bracelet:
around which I have excitedly begun to design The Gardenia Collection this week. Beginning with this lovely, subtle yet colourful palette, I have created both a necklace and earrings, and have plans to take this further!
All will be available in a Made-to-Order section of my shop very soon. I am also excited to explore further colour palettes in these designs….I feel there is lots of scope here. This is something to build on over the coming weeks and months. I am very excited about this side of my jewellery – I won’t be giving up my custom, bespoke and one-of-a-kind items, of course. After all, what could be more lovely than wearing a unique piece of handmade art? But I am also excited to go down this avenue as well. Collections of jewellery that I can present to the world, with the real stamp of ‘me’ upon them. I can’t wait to see where this all goes!
As for The Curious Bead Shop, there have been exciting goings on there too! I love coming up with new ideas and projects for each of my wee shops 🙂 In Curious, it has been the launch of my own handmade copper findings. The primary range available are my Deco Rose Findings. These sprung from my work with the Brit Pack Beaders a few months ago. I chose this painting by Scottish artist Margaret MacDonald as our inspiration piece:
(c) The Hunterian, University of Glasgow 2012 
You may know Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Scottish architect, designer and artist, and one of the Glasgow Four, of which Margaret MacDonald was also a part. I adore her work and return to it often for inspiration. 
As part of my Brit Pack Beaders challenge, I had to send out clasps to the rest of the team….and I chose to make my own, based upon the swirling roses within this piece. Here’s what those clasps eventually grew up to become:
Rich, sumptuous copper findings with my swirling rose designs on each. I particularly love the ear wires:
Sweet, simple and oh-so-easy to use. I love the rich patina that you can achieve with copper too. So delicious and mysterious!
I have also been doing some collaborative work with my friend Teresa of Bo Hulley Beads. She makes the most beautiful ceramic beads and components – if you are not already familiar with her work, do go and check it out! We have been working on a series of clasps together. Here are just a few that are or were available in Curious these past few days! 

These are all button clasps, made specially to work with my Deco Rose clasps. Bo also makes connectors which are a lovely alternative to these buttons:
Don’t you just love the gorgeous colours that Bo glazes with? I think they work perfectly with my patinated copper! Bo and I share a passion for colour and I love working with another artist in another medium to come up with these lovely components.
This week, I am giving away a pack of my Deco Rose copper findings, worth £14/$22! To be in with the chance to win, leave a comment below, answering one of the questions I pose you…..
So my question for you is about your design process. Have you ever worked on a collection? Or do you stick to one of a kind, flitting from one idea to another? Do you have plans to explore a single design idea in the future and see where it develops? Or are you happy just to create whatever feels right to you? 
Leave a comment below to be in with the chance to win!
Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer, currently living in Manchester, England. 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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22 Comment

  1. Leigh Thow
    April 27, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    hi Rebecca, I love this collection you are working on and have been a fan of your wirework since I saw the Rennie Mac style challenge a while back! I have been working on a collection for a while now for a prestigious establishment so have kept it under wraps. All finished but need to make up descriptive cards and price list (now have the cold so can't be bothered) I love how you are expanding your shop too just brilliant colloborations there xx

  2. Ann Schroeder
    April 27, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    I'm not a designer; I just make stuff for myself. But I don't even think in sets. I rarely make earrings or a bracelet to go with a necklace. I just think of separate pieces.

    I really love your Gardenia collection. It's beautiful! I do also buy bead kits – not those that are supposed to turn out as something specific, but those like in your shop that are a mix of materials to give my creativity a jump start.

  3. Alice
    April 27, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    Beautiful stuff here. I was just drooling over your etsy items recently but don't have the cash for now, but some day.

    I have never done anything other than one of a kind pieces. I have a fear of getting cornered into making the same design and losing my interest in making jewelry. But the idea crosses my mind every once in a while and I wonder if I should give it a whirl.

  4. Kathy Lindemer
    April 27, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    I will probably create one of a kind pieces for awhile more. I love to find beads and component that speak to me. I especially love pieces that remind me of the ocean or beach.

    I would like to branch out and be able to make some of my own beads and components. When I get to that point, I may want to develop a collection.

    I think you are heading in the right direction with your collection. It is beautiful.

  5. Kristina
    April 27, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Usually my brain comes up with a necklace or bracelet first, then I eventually design the other two to coordinate. I'm at the point where I make what I can based on what beads I have available to me, so that means a lot of ideas that have yet to be made.

  6. Monique (A Half-Baked Notion)
    April 27, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    Thanks for sharing your reflections on developing cohesiveness in design, Rebecca. Collections are definitely in the future for me. I am still exploring at this stage, but when I find something I enjoy making, it will be a special challenge to incorporate consistency while maintaining that OOAK touch.

  7. Divya N
    April 28, 2013 at 5:36 am

    Generally I like experimenting with materials to make individual pieces but having designed three collections each around a theme in the last two seasons, I must say that collections do have a charm and are also easier to market than stand alone pieces. It also provides a lot of room for customisation and experimentation

  8. Leah Curtis
    April 28, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Your findings are gorgeous! I am usually a one of a kind designer. I love variety in everything, so normally do entirely different designs. I would like to do a series at some point.

  9. Kristen
    April 28, 2013 at 11:26 am

    I have worked on a collection but I tend tro lose my focus but you have inspired me to get going. I love the button clasps!

  10. Susanm
    April 28, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    I was admiring your photos of your Gardennia collection and your wire components. But the clasps – oh my! Love, love, love…off to check out your Etsy shop.

  11. Tracy Van Niel
    April 28, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    I do find myself going from one idea to another. I work a lot with stone and ceramic cabochons and those are one of a kind so it makes it tough to make a collection around them. The one thing I've been finding myself drawn to more and more is mixed media collage and bookmaking. I want to discover my way of combining beadwork with those forms if art expression.

  12. Tracy Van Niel
    April 28, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    I do find myself going from one idea to another. I work a lot with stone and ceramic cabochons and those are one of a kind so it makes it tough to make a collection around them. The one thing I've been finding myself drawn to more and more is mixed media collage and bookmaking. I want to discover my way of combining beadwork with those forms if art expression.

  13. Islandgirl
    April 28, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    I don't think I really do collections… I'll make a series of Jellyfish or cherry blossom beads but I don't consider them to be a collection.

    THat last glazed bead the purple one is an awesome colour!


  14. Angela Lund-Logan
    April 28, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    I have several collections but continue to make one of a kind pieces if the inspiration hits. My Gatsby collection is inspired by art deco/1920's theme. It is very convenient that The Great Gatsby movie is opening on 5/10.

  15. KayzKreationz
    April 29, 2013 at 4:46 am

    What great pieces you've been working on. I haven't worked on a collection yet, as most of my ideas wouldn't translate well into a series I don't think. But I've been wanting to try coming up with a series/set. Just need to figure out what I would do and how to do it.

  16. Jean
    April 29, 2013 at 7:57 am

    I'm definitely a 'flitter' although a permanent item on my to do list is to 'organise jewellery' but then another idea comes and I'm off trying out something new. I don't think I'll ever get there. Rebecca you seem to be achieving one goal after another, I love the clasps. Good luck with the collection.

  17. Angi
    April 29, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Your designs are amazing! I have been designing for a few years now, and usualy work on individual pieces or sets. I have been trying to put together a collection based on natural components. It's been a slow process!

    Angi Mullis [email protected]

  18. shipwreckbeads
    April 29, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    The colors and textures of your collection are great. I absolutely love the earrings. Can't wait to see where you go with this.

  19. Wendy
    April 30, 2013 at 6:39 am

    I love your flower jewellery, it's so pretty, the colours are perfect.

    I have never worked on a collection, I tend to have so many ideas and so little time I make one off pieces. I do like the idea of making a collection though, maybe I should challenge myself

  20. beadrecipes
    May 1, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Hmm, I thought I'd commented already but maybe not. I haven't been selling my jewellery for very long so I haven't really thought of collections. But it does appeal, to have a theme or idea that designs spring from! melissa_trudinger at yahoo dot com

  21. Caroline
    May 1, 2013 at 9:45 am

    I think I must be a cross between a magpie and a butterfly. I love to trawl second hand shops, junk shops, jumble sales and find treasures of once loved jewellery to re use – then I flit across to gorgeous Bead pages and shops and order whatever takes my fancy – and from that comes alsorts – so in answer to your question I am inspired by beautiful work such as yours and then dart off and make something as a one off!

  22. Bead-Mused
    May 2, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    I flit. Sometimes it's seed bead work, sometimes it's stringing, sometimes it's chain & wire. *sigh*

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