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What do you pair your art beads with? – with Rebecca of Songbead

This is a surprise post from me, as we had to shift the schedule around a bit due to one thing or another. I had a ponder about what I should write about – new art beads? Beady ways to find inspiration? Art beads that I’m drooling over? (Yes, spot the beady theme!) I had a look through my most recent images, and the first thing I saw was a set of earring pairs that I made last night and managed to snap this morning, waiting to be edited. And what do you know, the art beads are from one of this month’s sponsors – Indian Creek Art Glass, or Outwest. It seemed that the universe was giving me my post topic. Although, looking at the post title, you may be wondering how I got from Indian Creek Art Glass to What do you pair your art beads with? Bear with me.
At the start of this year, I made myself a promise – that I would make more jewellery aka make more time for creative play; for joy – essentially, more ‘me’ time. Creativity is at the core of my being – I know that so many of you will feel the same – it’s why I am an artist, and why I am a musician (Songbead – geddit?). But so often, as full-time creatives, the actual creative process gets lost along the way – behind other essential things; Facebook updates, blog posts, packing orders, ordering new supplies, chasing up suppliers, Instagram etc etc etc…Yes, these things all need doing. But we wouldn’t be in this game if it wasn’t for that core, essential part – the creating itself. 
Post-manic craft fair, it’s safe to say I was at that danger point of running around, doing everything *but* creating. So last night, I dug out a special order that had arrived during the fair, one that I had been carrying around with me for a while, in the way that you do – anyone else do that with new, special art beads ever? No, just me then….?! 
Some of the beads which arrived were from Julie’s Rustic Sedona series. Different colours from these – but really, aren’t they rather special? Can you see why my fingers clicked ‘BUY’ immediately when I saw them? I’m sure you can.
I love rustic, but I can’t always do this rustic. I adore rusticity but sometimes feel out of my depth with it – it’s something that the cool kids can play with but when I try, it comes out lumpy. 
But Julie’s beads had spoken to me, and I knew that I could turn them into something that was both worthy of their rusticity but also felt like ‘me’. That felt ‘Songbead’. It’s always good to try something new, to push yourself out of your comfort zone a little – but it’s still got to feel like it’s coming from a genuine place, hasn’t it? 
I knew that the key to working with these beads was finding the right partners for them. Usually, frequent readers will know, I reach for my many, many (MANY!) boxes of Czech glass. I love it so much, I opened my own shop! But I felt that this wouldn’t be quite right here. That they would be too much in my comfort zone. And that I wouldn’t be able to make them work as I wanted to with Julie’s beautiful beads. So instead, I dug out a different box – my box of recycled Ghanian glass. 
Some of the wonderful beads from Ghana Treasures.
Seriously, YUM – right? Rustic, recycled and in a myriad of colours. Perfect for me (and probably many of you too!)  – and their grungy texture the ideal foil for Julie’s Rustic Sedona beads.
I added in a mixture of ceramic discs and also some pretty lampwork rings from Earthshine, and here’s what happened…

You can find all three pairs here in my etsy shop.
I actually didn’t originally embellish the earwires, but this morning I looked at those Vintaj brass loops, and they looked a bit naked. A few brass facets and wire later, and they looked much happier to me.

What do you like to pair your art beads with? Do you listen to what they have to say and sometimes find yourself reaching for something surprising? Let me know in the comments below!
Rebecca is a Scottish jewellery designer; currently living in the capital city of Edinburgh. 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