Featured Instructor: Mandi Ainsworth

Back in August, I got to spend a little time hanging out at Bead Fest Philadelphia with our newest webinar instructor, bead artist and marketing maven Mandi Ainsworth. Read on to learn a little more about her, and find out about her upcoming webinar, The Freedom of Freeform Peyote: Techniques for Exploring and Embracing "Random":

Tell us a little about yourself. I'm a right handed Leo, born in the year of the boar. Besides beads, two of my favorite things are coffee and books.

I lasted a year in my first corporate job. I had a meeting with the Human Resources VP at my company in an attempt to climb the ladder. He said he could put me in accounting where he thought (and I knew) I'd be miserable. He told me to read "What color is your parachute?" I did and realized there was no 9-5 job that would ever satisfy me.

After work I would sometimes go to Starbucks and get coffee to stay up and bead. I vented my frustrations to the barista. Turns out she was the manager, and suggested I quit and work for her. So, I did. Every step since then has been towards building my business and myself.

Where are you from originally, and where do you currently live? I'm from Austin, TX and attended Texas A&M University. That's ironic to anyone from here because it's the rival school. I met my husband there, graduated with a degree in History, and moved to Dallas, TX.

What do you do besides beading? (What's your day job) My current day job is blogging and podcasting at beadcircle.com. Occasionally, I get to bead and design new projects. I have this innate curiosity about the creative process, and I love to study and interview people about how they do their work. I also teach beading workshops and coach people that want to amp up their creative life.

Since I left corporate, I've also had a mish-mash of side jobs: Starbucks, a clothing store, and even Marketing Director of an imaging studio.

How and when did you start beading? I was about 12 years old when my grandmother passed down her beading loom to me. I was always crafting as a child, but when I found beads, they completely took over. I started with daisy chains, brick stitch earrings, and amulet bags.

Do you prefer to work from patterns, or draft your own? I'm a sponge for learning, and enjoy beading classes and patterns from others. However there's nothing like the process and triumph of creating your own work.

How would you describe your personal style? It's evolving for me right now. It's a mix of laid back with preppy elements. I like school girl sweaters and blazers paired with ripped jeans and tattoo tights.

What other creative pursuits do you enjoy? Home improvement and design. I love to paint walls, pick out art, move furniture, and make over wood furniture with my orbital sander and paint. When I was redo-ing my bead studio, I demoed the shelves in the closet, repaired the wall and applied the wall texture all myself. I chose the new shelves, and had fun installing them because I got to use my pink power drill. I'm dying to bust out the tile in my bathroom and redo it, but my husband is a bit skeptical.

What's your beading secret weapon? I call it a beady super power, and it's the ability to thread even a size 10 beading needle in a moving car.

How do you stay motivated on long projects? This is an area I'm still learning and growing in. I'm doing a competition piece right now and I'm doing it in the small chunks of time I have every day.

What has been your favorite project recently? Freeform peyote hands down. The beading just flows out of my hands so effortlessly, and I know this technique is calling for me to work with it more and more. The project I have going right know is going to be two hollow, rondelle shaped freeform peyote beads, and I have 3 turquoise stone beads to stack with them. I will probably add some fringe, and hang the stack from a long leather cord. I would like to create some freeform peyote projects for my workshop offerings.

What's your favorite thing you've made for a client? My favorite thing to make for a client was a custom colorway of my Andromeda Spike Pendant project for my friend Shannon. Her husband Scott noticed her admiring the one I was wearing, and commissioned me to make one in her colors as a birthday surprise. She cried when she opened the box! My hope is for more husbands to notice things like that, hehe.

What would your dream studio look like? I'm currently working in my dream studio. The walls are purple-gray and I am inspired by every colorful piece of art I've chosen. It's clean and organized, and everything is labeled and in place. I have a long dark purple beading table made from an old door a top 2 filing cabinets. The book shelves my supplies and books rest on were made by my grandpa. They are purple is well. The admin/paperwork gets stacked up sometimes, but I eventually file it in the proper folders. I have an editorial calendar, white board, and vision board on my wall to help with the business side of things.

The only thing I would change is probably the same as every other girl…bigger closet!

How has blogging and owning a business influenced your process? I take a lot more photos. They are great for instructions, or showing process, or teasing something to come. I also have projects that are for art's sake only, and that helps me lighten up on the perfectionism. I also had to institute a creativity practice. I try to bead every day for at least 30 minutes or I would never make time for it. In business, there is always something to do, something to improve, something to learn and apply. If I don't make time for beading in small chunks, I would rarely ever "get to it."

What's your current beading soundtrack? I "wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy" with Ke$ha. I "Sing" with Ed Sheeran, set the "Best Day of my Life" intention with American Authors, and of course realize I'm in "The Middle" of the journey with Jimmy Eat World.

Anything else you'd like us to know? I want to invite people to sign up for email updates and subscriber-only offers from me. Subscribers also get access to my free Beaded Pens eBook. Just enter your name and email in the sidebar box at beadcircle.com.

If you're looking for a way to learn how to trust your inner artistic voice and embrace the random beauty of freeform peyote stitch, you won't want to miss The Freedom of Freeform Peyote: Techniques for Exploring and Embracing "Random", our next live webinar this coming Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at 1 p.m. EST. Register now, and even if you can't attend the live event, you'll be among the first to gain access to the entire recorded presentation!

Bead Happy,




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