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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 😉 
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, and see more of her jewellery at She also has a supplies shop at