Make Stunning Jewelry with Beading Artist Leslie Pope
No matter the bead show, Leslie Pope will be there with the biggest smile and most positive spirit. I recently spent time with Leslie at the Bead & Button Show and before that, in Tucson. In both cases, Leslie shared the latest and greatest beads she was working with, and she had needle in hand. It seems she never stops weaving beads and dreaming up new patterns. Leslie has also been a mainstay at Bead Fest. She has been a vendor under her company name, Twisted Sistah Beads, for as long as I can remember. She also offers classes, filling up every free minute of her time.
Thank you for fitting time into your busy schedule to share a bit about you, Leslie—it’s nice to get to know you better.
From the Beginning
Tammy Honaman: How long have you been beading and when did you know it was time to start your teaching business? What was the catalyst that helped you know it was the right next step?
Leslie Pope: I started beading in 2001. Teaching became an offshoot of my retail business and my customers asking for patterns of my original jewelry pieces. There wasn’t one instance that helped me decide, just lots of friends and customers asking me to teach.
TH: How do you fit beading into your everyday life? Is it your main focus and full time job or do you have another job and you turn to your passion at the end of the day or on weekends?
LP: Beading became my everyday life in 2008, when I took my business from part-time to full-time. As well as running my business, I am now the Senior Designer at the BeadSmith. So you can probably say I eat, sleep and drink beading!
TH: Where do you bead? In a special spot in your home or in a separate studio space?
LP: I bead anywhere I can, but mostly on a small worktable that I frequently have to share with my cats in my living room. I would love to have a studio, although I seem to create better in a controlled chaos environment.
TH: Do you have any pets? How do they interact with you while you’re beading?
I currently have two rescue cats, Ginger Snap and Frankie Lind. They mostly do not bother me when I’m beading, but every once in awhile I can’t get anything done because they are on my beading surface or knocking items on to the floor.
Tips from a Beading Expert
TH: What type of storage do you like to use for your beads and supplies? Any tips you can share on this topic? Do you sort by color? Bead size? Shape or brand?
LP: I use various types of supply storage . . . bins, boxes, trays, bead towers, etc. I usually sort by bead size and bead type.
The best tip I can offer is being organized and using a system to track your beads. In the long run, it saves time and frustration when you want to start working on a project.
TH: Do you bead on the road? If so, what is your best tip?
Yes, I frequently bead on the road for business and pleasure. I would suggest that all beaders get a compact and self-contained beading surface so you don’t have to necessarily put your project away and you can work almost anywhere you would like.
TH: What inspires your designs and propels you into new directions?
LP: I find inspiration everywhere . . . art, nature, colors, a random shadow on a sidewalk . . . I never know when something will grab my attention and send me down a rabbit hole. The beads themselves often inspire me the most, and they tell me what they want to become.
TH: What would you like to share about yourself that others wouldn’t know about you? What else do you enjoy doing?
LP: I think most people may not know that I was a librarian for over 10 years and I was a nerd in junior and high school . . . I really loved science and math, even entertained the idea of being a computer programmer.
When I get a chance to vacation, I love going to the beach, but wouldn’t mind going to the mountains or a national park.
We look forward to continuing this conversation at Bead Fest, Leslie!
Thank you for your time and sharing some behind the scenes!
Tammy Honaman, Beadwork Editor-in-Chief, Group Editorial Director for Beading and Jewelry