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Inside the Studio with Claire Lockwood

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 encourage you to use that keyboard and tell us what you think. The following week a winner is chosen at random from all eligible entries. And here are the results from last week!
This week’s winner is Lynda of Fresh Baked Designs. Congratulations! You have won a $25 gift certificate for Swoondimples! Please contact Heather to claim your prize!
Is it a little late to be wishing you all a happy new year? I hope you’re all contending with the potential gloominess of January. I last shared an Inside the Studio post with you back in early November. Perhaps you’ll remember: I have recently taken up metalwork and I had plans of converting my under-the-stairs cupboard – aka the naughty hole – into a little work space.  There was a problem, however. Five years of accumulated junk and mess.
Well, it certainly seemed like a mammoth task. I was shocked just now, revisiting these pictures. A chance turn of events lead to me actually taking it on. I was telling a friend about my plans, a friend who actively likes sorting and tidying (I know?!), and she said, ‘Right, we’re going to do it’. I can’t thank her enough. It took two long afternoons-into-evenings-into-the-small-hours to sort it all, and it was pretty tough going and stressful at points: so many things to have to decide to throw away; so many, sometimes painful, memories unearthed. (Some of the stuff at the back had been dumped in there when I moved into the flat and that wasn’t the best time of my life.) But we did it! Can you see the little pixie door? Where the metal working pixies live?
Open wide and what’s inside….
I hope you’ll agree, it’s a pretty remarkable transformation! This is going to be the tidiest it will ever look, I reckon!  I’m so chuffed; I’ve only just got to the point where I’ve stopped going in and turning on the light and just thinking, ‘Eeeeeeeeeee!’ One thing I hadn’t remembered was that the naughty hole was actually an airing cupboard.
My first thought on seeing this beast (which actually serves all the flats in the damn building) was: ‘Oh, thank goodness! That’s several square foot of stuff I’m not going to have to drag out of here and and re-locate!’ Once this relief had worn off I was a bit disappointed that it was lurking in there taking up precious space. Still, I reckon I’ll live with it well enough.
So, it’s now time to pick up the torch/saw/file/hammer, etc.  My classes started again last night. I’m making bezels for stones. I was working on my first one again this morning. I got to the stage where I had it looking all neatly trimmed and thought, ‘Oooo, look, that looks like what it should look like! Will the stone fit nicely? Yes, it fits very nicely!’ Hot on the heels of that thought came, ‘Oooooo, look, is it? Yes, look, it is… it’s…. stuck…’. I’ve tried finding something thin enough to lever it out, but nothing is thin enough. I’ve tried running water into it. I’ve tried tapping it on the back. I’ve tried tapping it on the back with a hammer. I’ve tried holding it in a pair of tweezers and hitting it on the back with a hammer. I’ve tried holding it in a pair of tweezers and hitting it on the back even harder with a heavier hammer. No joy. It’s only a small, inexpensive, piece of moss agate but if anyone has any suggestions, do share!
I would have got going on the metalwork earlier in the month but there was other stuff to do in the studio, like glazing a big batch of beads.
I’ll be listing all of these in the bead shop some time at the start of February – just in time for pay day! I also had a heap of beady makes planned that I wanted to make real. It ended up being quite a make-athon. Here’s a small selection.
Art beads by Something to do Beads
Art beads by 4 Ophelia and Lucy Haslam
These and many more can be found in my jewellery shop.  
So, it’s time for this week’s giveaway! The prize will be – again! – a
There are two questions this week. First, the general one: What are your big – or not so big! – plans for your work in 2016? Do you want to learn a new skill, like me? Are you hoping to get your work out there in the world, in some galleries or shops? Perhaps you’ve been meaning to set up an online shop but have kept putting it off? Is now the time? Or maybe you just want to make a dent in your art bead collection and incorporate some of them in some great new designs? Will this be the year you finally make something with that awesome piece of treasure you’ve been hoarding? 
And a second question: do you have a trick or tip that might help me free my cabochon from its bezel? (See above!) If anyone comes up with a suggestion that actually works, they’ll receive a little beady parcel too!