Monday, 15 December 2014


What have my handwoven {song}beads been getting up to? Here are some of my designs where they have been popping up recently (and a few not so recently!):

Some have sold, some are *mine* and some are available over in my etsy shop

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Happy Post

Hello all! Here are some of the gorgeous handmade lovelies that have arrived or will be arriving with me soon. Don't you just love a good post day?

How sweet is this little guy? I love his sparkly turquoise ploominess. He's from Elukka.

Scorched Earth spiky droppers, in the most fantastic swirly red glaze. My Scorched Earth earrings have definitely been one of my best sellers this craft fair season. Got a few more on the way but I don't think they will be here in time for my last show, unfortunately. Ah well, all the more for my etsy shop!

Claire Lockwood has been making ceramic beads for a wee while now, and I have amassed a miniature collection (there are never enough ceramic bead artists in the world for me - I always have room for another in my collection - Bo Hulley, Kylie Parry, ChelleV2, Mary Harding, not to mention the ladies featured in this post....I could go on, and on and on....). These beautiful bead caps will be joining my others soon.... will these beautiful rustic roses. I have a thing about roses - in real life too. I always have - my Grandma had some absolutely beautiful old-fashioned roses in her garden, and bead roses always remind me just a little of them. Check out Claire's etsy shop - she had a huge update recently!

I hope you've enjoyed seeing the little treasures I've been acquiring recently! 

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Glasgow Craft Fair - this weekend

Hello hello! Well, I have been thoroughly rubbish at promoting all of my craft fair events this year. Really and truly RUBBISH! So, I thought I'd try and marginally redeem myself by letting you know about my last craft fair, which is this weekend. Ok, not a lot of notice I know...but it really is a goody, if you're around the Glasgow area. 

3d2d organise handmade events throughout Scotland throughout the year, and this includes a series of weekend events in the run up to Christmas. This is their final weekend as well, so if you're able, don't miss out on the chance to peruse the work of many, many fine handmade artisans, all in one venue. We are in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on both weekend days, from 10.30 - 5, and I for one will be completing my Christmas shopping over the course of the weekend! 

Here are a few of my new pieces which will be accompanying me this weekend (unless they disappear from my shop in the mean time!):

Christmas Flowers

Button Gardenia

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

End-of-day Beads

I have long been fascinated by the idea of end-of-day beads. 

"End of day" glass was any item made by the glassworkers in their own time at the end of the day using up the remaining molten glass in the pots. It therefore tended to be a mixture of all sorts of colours."

Glass Encyclopaedia

I love the idea of these serendipitous items - of inviting chance to take an active role in one's designs. Accidental beauty. I also like the idea of a quiet ritual; taking time at the end of the day to create something a little different - not without direction exactly, but with certain choices already made for you. And of course, at the core is an ethos of economy - making use of the scraps that your day's work has produced. Economical and practical as well as artistic. Upcycling has been around for longer than we imagine! 

Since starting to make my own handwoven beads, the idea of end-of-day beads has been on my mind. It's safe to say that I am NOT a tidy worker. Or a tidy anything for that matter! I often always end up with a colourful pile of mixed seed beads  - different colours, finishes and even sizes - when I've been stitching with beads. Not only messy, but also not the most economical way to work. I have little piles on pretty much every surface that I ever work on. 

So the other day, I decided to put the end-of-day idea into practice. I have a regular bead soup going on my current most-used bead tray, and the idea of sorting and separating all the different colours and finishes really didn't, taking a little time to create for its own sake, I made a pair of beads with my end-of-day soup. 

I am really quite pleased with how these turned out. Of course, whilst it would be a lovely idea that whatever was created in this manner would turn out to be full of beauty, the truth is that they very easily could turn out to be very ugly and unusable! But these handwoven beads, created from days' worth of left-overs, are like tiny, handmade carnivals. Maybe it's because the beads are so small and the stitches so regular, but the colours work together, creating the right atmosphere, somehow. 

These stunning handmade beads from Donna Millard are examples of how a contemporary lampwork artist has interpreted this old glass--working tradition

...and some more traditional end-of-day beads, from Big Bead Little Bead:

What do you think of this glass-working tradition? Does it appeal to you? 

Friday, 28 November 2014

Curiously Smitten with Bo Hulley Beads

For the past few weeks, myself (and The Curious Bead Shop!), Claire Braunbarth of Smitten Beads and Bo Hulley Beads have been busying ourselves behind the scenes, creating something unique....a collaborative kit featuring a little bit from each of us. A Winter's Tale comes to you from Edinburgh, Bristol and the Isle of Wight! We think we have come together to make something pretty special, with a handmade ceramic pendant and bead from Bo, handwoven beads, pressed glass and faceted brass from The Curious Bead Shop and a beautiful selection of glass, ceramics, antiqued bronze and waxed linen from Smitten Beads. Hopefully the kit speaks for itself, but I wanted to say a little bit about what sparked the idea for it initially. 

Running your own small business can be wonderful, but it can also be challenging, and at times isolating. I wanted to come together with two other business women and artists and create something positive - something that says that as small businesses in the same, small world of jewellery-making, we can help, support and inspire not only our customers but each other as well. We don't have to compete - we can cheer each other on, and this kit represents that to me. Both Bo and Claire have been an enormous inspiration and support to me from the start, as well as mentors, and I am hugely grateful to call them friends. 

A Winter's Tale is a limited edition kit, with 10 kits available in each of our shops respectively -, and from tonight. 

We have also decided on making this kit into a bit of a challenge for you too (should you choose to accept!). If you feel like joining in, then make something using all or part of the kit, load a picture onto FB tagging each of our three shops when you do (or as many as FB allows - it can be tricksy!). Then on the 11th January, we will take a random draw from the entrants and one lucky beader will win a lovely prize with elements from Bo Hulley Beads, Smitten Beads and The Curious Bead Shop. You can share and tag your picture on Facebook at any time between now and the 11th January. Purchasing a kit does NOT sign you up to this but it's there as an extra incentive for you if you have the time (it is a fairly busy time of year....!). (And if you're not on FB and want to play along, then feel free to send over a picture to me to share for you.)

We hope you love A Winter's Tale and can't wait to see what you make! You can find it here at The Curious Bead Shop. BUT don't forget to check out Smitten Beads and Bo Hulley Beads too!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

FLASH sale at Curious today!

FLASH sale today (Wednesday 19th November) at 

Take 15% off all purchases (excluding CC subscriptions as these already represent a nice discount) with coupon code:



Monday, 17 November 2014

Art Bead Scene November Challenge

Hello there! You probably know about the other blog which I write for - Art Bead Scene. Each month we have a challenge, where we take a piece of artwork and invite our readers to design art bead-filled jewellery inspired by our challenge piece. 

Let me hand you over to our editor-in-chief, Heather Powers:

"The Art Bead Scene editors have risen again to take the monthly challenge. We are having so much fun playing along every month we've decided to make this a regular feature. Take some time this month to enter the challenge for a chance to win some amazing prizes. 

And don't forget beadmakers, we have a category for you too and you could win a month of advertising on the ABS."

Yep, you read that right - there are prizes too! 

This month (as Heather said), some of my co-editors and I carved out a little time to take the challenge ourselves. 

There is SO much going on in this picture....I can't really decide if I am drawn to this picture or not; the folliage and imagery here is so lush it feels like it is almost over-ripe and on the cusp of decaying. (Is that just me?) However, it is certainly very intriguing - a piece of art that really makes me question what I am seeing. First of all, it seems like the orchid is the central point, but somehow I kept coming back to the largest hummingbird to the right....his colouring specifically.
Feather components - Green Girl Studio

Next, a piece based around the painting as a whole. The colour scheme, the birds, the lush foliage....

I hope you will find the time to take the challenge too! And do take a minute to check out the other participating editors' blog posts too:

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Songbead Studs - now available, and with a special offer for blog readers too.

This is something I've been working on for a while Songbead Studs! I can't tell you how pleased I am with how these have turned out. Take a peek -

These fourteen designs are just the beginning. I think I've covered most bases - but what colours would you like to see? 

I'm particularly pleased with this little design of mine. I've only stitched it up in these colours - turquoise and antique bronze - but I can see it in other colours too. What do you think? 

These studs are mounted on sterling silver stud settings, and I also have plans to roll out some with 14k gold-filled settings too. Gold-filled is a really cost-effective way of wearing gold in your ears - it is a solid layer of gold, bonded to a base metal - a much thicker layer than a plating, so findings in this finish have the appearance and feel of real 14k gold. 

***This offer has now closed***

These stud earrings will be available in my etsy shop for £15 a pair. But for the month of November, I have a special offer available via my blog - £12.50 a pair, or - even better! - two pairs for £22, plus P+P (£2 uk, £3.50 Europe, £4 RoW). There are PayPal buttons below for you to purchase these studs - I had to make two as each button only allows up to 10 colour options, so if you don't see the colour you're after under the first button, it's sure to be there under the second. The studs will be made to order, and will be posted out in 5 working days from the point of payment. 

Postage is included in the price below, and if you buy more than one pair at once, I will refund the different via paypal. It would have been too complicated creating buttons to cater for all of the possible colour/metal combinations! But don't worry, refunds will be issued within 24 hours of purchase.

I'm so excited to be sharing these little pieces of me with the world. They feel like a real reflection of where I am creatively at the moment.They are ideal little gifts - perfect stocking fillers, and a sweet treat for yourself too. 

I hope lots of you will be unwrapping these under the tree this year!


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