Question of the Week: What Does Your Beading Space Look Like?

Last week, I shared some pictures and a little story about how my husband and I have begun our transformation of our basement back into a beading studio and office for me after our problems with flooding this spring. And I have to admit, now that we've managed to get the basement office cleaned up and have the furniture set up again, I'm getting a little excited about the chance to give my beading studio and office a makeover! Of course, I have a few basic requirements for my beading space: plenty of good light, a comfortable chair, and lots and lots of storage for my beads, books, findings and tools.

With all the moving, cleaning and re-decorating that's going on at my house, I thought I would ask our panel of bead artists and experts to share what their beading spaces look like. And I got some great answers!

Kerrie Slade: Chaotic!  Our house is very small and so my 'studio' is actually our spare bedroom which also doubles up as my husband's office and where I do the ironing.  So if you picture piles of laundry, mountains of paperwork, boxes of beads and lots of beady 'experiments' with wild tangled threads all over the place – well that would be a pretty accurate image.  Would I change anything about that?  Yes.  I'd like a bit more space and a bit more time to tidy up, although if I had any extra time I'm sure I would just spend it beading!  When the weather is fine, my favorite place to bead is actually outdoors in the garden, sitting with my lap tray amongst the flowers – putting the indoor chaos firmly to the back of my mind!

Rosanne Andreas: Bead artists tend to collect a lot of materials and tools over time, and things can get messy. My studio is no exception – I have been a bead artist for more than 35 years. Because I create jewelry, teach jewelry & market a beading instruction poster, my studio space needs to be organized well to accommodate all this. My goal was to create a studio that promotes creativity and easy access one touch features. Less time fumbling around a space and knowing what supplies are at hand are vital for the best creative production. I designed my studio so that I can push my rolling chair from location to location. (You can see what it looks like at my website, the Beaded Phoenix.) I think the key is to use whatever space you have to the optimum potential no matter the size.

Betcey Ventrella: Sadly, as busy as I am these days, my beading space has become the passenger seat of our truck as we're cruising cross-country to one bead show or another. As you can imagine, this DOES make it hard to work with teeny-tiny beads, since a hitting a pothole at 75 mph can spell disaster and cause the most unladylike words spew forth from my lips! What can I say, I like living dangerously!

Jill Wiseman: My immediate beading space is a tray that goes with me everywhere. The tray itself is very organized! It's everything around the tray that's chaos – the pulled beads that don't get put back right away when colors aren't right. The Fireline spools, the other projects that are in waiting, the bead magazines. I tend to bead on the sofa in front of the tv and/or the computer. My living room coffee table is one of those that the top extends up, which makes it a perfect height for my beading tray. I do wish the tray had rounded edges so my thread wouldn't catch on it. I've had one or two bead spilling disasters due to that! I also plan on adding more lighting in the living room by having an electrician come in and add pendant lights directly over my beading space.

Mikki Ferrugiaro: I like to bead where I'm surrounded by my stash, everything at arms reach. So my beading studio is a corner of my room and consists of a chair with a bookcase full of beads on either side and a small table in front for the piece in progress.  I use a bead tray for my actual beading and work with my feet up on an ottoman…which prevents swollen ankles, however it forces the swelling to the butt.

Kelli Burns: My response is borderline boring at best! You might be surprised to learn that even though I own a bead shop – I don't have a studio! My beading space – studio is my brown recliner in the center of my living. I set up a tray table as extra space and have a 14×7.5 inch felt matt lined beading tray. I curl my legs underneath my body to support the tray and watch television while I bead. The beading tray is semi-portable and I often bring it to the store if I feel I might have time to bead at work – which I happily report, is not often!

Jean Campbell: I actually just moved, so was able to set up a brand-new studio space. So, if you came over to my new place today, you'll see that my beads are all ridiculously organized and labeled, my wireworking tools are set neatly into tool holders, there is a wide-open workbench on which to create, and two clean wall-size bulletin boards onto which I can pin inspirational images and design notes. If you come over to my place next week, though, it will be a different story. I definitely crave order, but fall quickly into messes. I must be more comfortable in a mess…at least that's how I'll rationalize it.

What kind of a space do you have set up for your beadwork? Do you have your own little corner, a whole room, or just a comfortable chair near a window? Share your thoughts and ideas for setting up your ideal beading space here!

Bead Happy!


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