How did you decide on your shop name? Why did you start your business?
When I created my etsy shop this summer, it seemed logical to name it the same as my crafts show business. Beaded Jewelry by Susan is a pretty straightforward name, since my name is Susan and I make beaded jewelry!
When did you start making jewelry?
About 18 years ago, a coworker was going to a bead store at lunchtime and asked me if I wanted to go along. I didn’t know anything about beads but felt like getting out of the office. Wow! Like a candy store without calories! Love at first sight! Signed up for an earring making class right away; Carol Jo, the teacher, warned me that beads could be addicting. Hah! I didn’t believe her at the time. The rest is history.
Where do you craft? What would you love to add to your crafting space?
When I first started, I just had a box of beads in a cupboard and worked on the dining room table. Three years later, we moved into our present home where I have a great beading studio space: my husband installed a kitchen-type counter with cabinets underneath, just for beading! That’s where I do all my designing and photographing. The one thing I’d like to add, or rather replace, is my chair: I need more back support!
What does your crafting space look like? Do you have a picture?
The countertops all have storage units stacked on them—three high in some places. On top of the counters are 23 storage units. Each unit has four trays and each tray has 24 compartments. I have a lot of beads LOL! There’s a workspace in the middle with two lamps and room for my beading board. Underneath the counter are cupboards and drawers with smaller beads (especially seed beads in old film canisters and delicas in tubes), some plastic drawer units with stone chips, donuts, and bags of bead mixes, and other beading equipment such as wire, tools, etc.
What or who inspires you?
I’ve always loved working with color and design; before beading, it was painting in oils and acrylics. I love being out in the garden looking at flowers and out in nature and noticing color combinations and moods in the landscape. But mostly, it’s the beads themselves that inspire my designs. I just open a storage tray with compartments filled with beads and ideas start coming into my head.
Do you have a day job?
Five years ago I retired from teaching and academic editing and started working at home doing freelance editing of books and journals using my computer and e-mail.
What is the item in your shop you enjoyed making the most and why?
This is a hard question to answer. My designs are all my favorites in a sense—they’re my creations, my “babies.” But there is one necklace and earring set that was especially fun to create because my husband and I worked on it together. He was doing some wireworking with a jig and made some sterling silver elements that I had drawn an idea for, and I used them in between groups of handmade Chinese lampglass beads on wire. The finished piece, called Black-and-White and Wire Fantasy Necklace, was selected for inclusion as a project in a Lark Books publication in 2006.