March Meet the Maker – Part 2

March Meet The Maker is over and it’s been a blast! I’ve really enjoyed the photo a day challenge and wanted to share the final two weeks of pictures with you.

The best part of the challenge has been getting to know so many other makers and creative business owners. I’ve discovered some wonderful artists; both local and further afield. Check out the previous blog to see the first two weeks and find out more about the challenge. You can also search for the #MarchMeetTheMaker hashtag on Instagram to see what other artists have been up to.

Day 15 | Inspiration

I take inspiration from everywhere: colours, flowers, fabric and the beads themselves. However a trip to India two years ago was hugely influential on me. The riot of colours, beautiful fabrics and incredible shapes and patterns have been a source of inspiration for me ever since, changing my style of work in many ways.

Day 16 | Relaxation

For me relaxing is a tray full of beads, a comfy sofa and a great beading project to get to grips with in front of the latest episode of Grimm, Game of Thrones or Big Bang Theory! However I’ve recently got into colouring, it’s great for those evenings when I’m really tired or my designing mojo has left as it keeps my hands busy.

Day 17 | Photography

Taking decent photos of beads this tiny is always a challenge. When I worked at Bead magazine I loved the photography set up we used. However I use an iPhone for all my pics now and it does the job for me just fine! I’m always seeking to improve my pictures though and learn, and a DSLR with a fancy macro lens is definitely on my wish list.

Day 18 | Shelfie

This happy corner of my studio contains my tools and pens. The heart keeps all of my Delica bead stash although it’s almost outgrown it. And the drawers hold receipts, plus things like bags, price tags and other craft show essentials for when I’m out and about. Oh and Mini Hentrietta is for sneaky bead spillages!

Day 19 | Helpers

These two trouble makers are my fluffy studio assistants. They keep me entertained with their squeaks and crazy antics. As far as actual useful helpers, I’m very lucky to have an in-house graphic designer in the shape of my boyfriend (fiancé!). As well as being amazingly supportive of my dreams, he created my logo, helped me with my website design and will always fix the printer when I break it!

Another shout out has to go to Maroon Balloon web design; Tim will always assist with my technical queries, anytime of day (or night). And of course my amazing creative friends who give me honest feedback and proof reading help. As a small business having wonderful, generous people (and guinea pigs) like this in your life is a blessing!

Day 20 | Sketchbook

This one is kind of apt as I taught the sari pendant as a class yesterday! I don’t sketch all of my designs but many do start life as doodles – I like to get my ideas down on paper before I forget them. When designing I keep my sketchbook close by, so I can jot down bead counts and processes to help me write up my tutorials.

Day 21 | Work clothes

I don’t really have work clothes to speak of. When I’m at home beading I’m usually in PJs or comfy clothes. But if if I’m out and about teaching then my ‘uniform’ of choice will include as much bling as I can manage, and usually a lovely bright coloured top too!

Day 22 | Best Seller

My beaded locket tutorial remains my best-selling pattern. Originally taught as a workshop, I had a lot of requests to sell it as a pattern and I realised there was nothing else like it out there.
The pattern uses peyote stitch to capture a photo of choice. (Mine holds a picture of my Nanny). Beaded hinges and a tiny clasp allow the locket to be opened and closed!
It is available as a digital pdf from my website and Etsy store.

Day 23 | Studio Playlist

I’m a massive musicals geek, and can usually be found pottering around with show tunes blasting in the background. Wicked is my all time favourite and I created these loomed pictures as part of a competition entry last year. When I’m not listening to music I like to have Netflix on in the background when I’m beading.

Day 24 | Milestone

There’s been a lot of milestones along the way; my first sale, launching my website, publishing my first issue as editor of Bead magazine, signing up to my first solo Open Studios (this year!) but I’m going to pick this one for today.

This was my second cover spot for Making Jewellery magazine with my Aloha Petals project and such an honour! I chose my second rather than my first as it proved to me that the first one wasn’t a fluke! I’m working on having more confidence in myself and my work so I guess that is a goal in itself too…

Day 25 | Packaging

I love bright coloured boxes and pretty chiffon bags for packaging my handmade jewellery. I’ll always try to match the colour to the jewellery when I can!

Day 26 | Colour and texture

I love how working with beads allows me to play with colour and texture all at the same time – creating 3-Dimensional wearable art. We beaders are so lucky with the enormous array of finishes and bead shapes available, with new ones coming out every year. Stitching sparkling beaded elements is a great way to celebrate this!

Day 27 | Routine

My beading usually takes place in the evenings. My laptop and sketch book can most often be found keeping me company on the sofa, with my tray laden with beads, feet up and background TV on.

Day 28 | Organisation

When it comes to organising my working life I swear by my Filofax, Google sheets and my Google calendar – but when it come to the bead room I couldn’t live without my Really Useful Boxes and all my other storage boxes. One day soon I’m gonna print some fancy new labels for these! My seed beads are sorted by size and my Delicas by size and colour. It’s my happy place.

Day 29 | In action

Bead weaving can be pretty slow going, and I’ve shared loads of snaps of my bead mat so far, so instead here’s a pic of me teaching. I don’t have many photos with me in them as it’s usually me snapping my students, but this one was taken by Dee of  Wingsmith’s Cabochons when I taught at Medway Beaders last year. I like to do a bit of an introduction before everyone gets cracking on the project!

Day 30 | Books or blogs

OK it’s quite possible I have too many beading books and magazines. It’s also quite likely I shan’t manage to make something from everything single one of them in my lifetime. But it doesn’t matter. I love having them there to flick through when the beading mojo takes a break and many act as happy reminders of successful friends! Some of the beady authors on my shelf include: Jema ‘Emilly Ladybird’ Hewitt, Sian Nolan, Katie Dean and Sabine Lippert.

The last day! Day 31 | Customers

I adore seeing photos of what my students make in classes and from my tutorials! It is so fulfilling seeing my designs come to life with someone else’s colour choice. My favourite thing is seeing photos of happy customers wearing their bling – so if you have pics do please share them with me!

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