SpunkySister: “Jewelry to inspire. Art to wear.”
I have Design ADD. I can’t make anything twice… so everything is one of a kind. I view my designs as art. I have so many ideas, that I usually have about three projects going at once.
I get inspired by fashion, nature, the vintage brooches I use, even soap bar wrappers. Maybe my pieces can inspire you… Enjoy!
I would never be able to look down at my wrist without laughing. Wouldn’t that be nice!
I’m a total sucker for cute and kitschy accessories and Cute Creations certainly fits the bill. Kate, the woman behind Cute Creations, is a graphic designer from the south coast of England and creates acrylic jewelry and accessories that she sells online and through local craft fairs.
Kate has been into arts and crafts since school, where art was her favorite subject. She’s been creating since she was a child, making anything and everything from Christmas decorations to papyrus paper for a school project on the Egyptians! As an adult, Kate became fascinated with “cute” things and started by experimenting with charms made from clay and acrylic paints. These turned out so well that in February 2007, after some detailed research, she decided to sell online via Etsy.
Kate squeezes crafting into her life, quite literally! She is currently living with her boyfriend and her family and has only a small desk to work on. However, she doesn’t let this stop her and finds working in front of the TV or while listening to music relaxing. Kate also crafts part-time and fits it around her full-time job as a graphic designer. Like many designer-makers, at the moment it doesn’t make financial sense for her to craft full-time.
Like me, Kate’s least favorite part of the crafting process is getting the products ready to put up for sale online. I find it so difficult to get good photos and always, always need to do extensive Photoshopping! I’m trying to take comfort in Kate’s view that all the hard work is definitely worth it. Also like me, Kate loves getting customer feedback, especially with repeat business.
Kate’s inspiration for Cute Creations comes from Japanese characters, like those created by Sanrio and San-X. Already enjoying success in accessories, Kate is also planning on branching out into other areas such as plushies and homewares, eventually aiming to craft full-time. I don’t know about you but I’m brimming over with Christmas present ideas!
Patricia Woodhouse is the owner of Bead Obsessions, Old Town Alexandria’s first bead shop. She’s also been a designer and needlework artist for more than fifteen years. Although she has been making things her whole life, her journey towards bead obsession began in the early ’90s, when she took a class on knitting with beads.
She fell in love with the technique, and quickly became interested in all types of needlework and embroidery, but especially any that involved beading. She formed a beading group with women she met in class, and together they experimented with design, and shared techniques, stitches, and sources for the best materials.
Since learning how to weave and embroider with beads, Patricia has favored extremely detailed work featuring hundreds of seed beads. She compares seed beads in bead work to pixels in a photograph: the more per inch, the more vibrant and interesting the final image.
Patricia has never been interested in selling her work; embroidery and beading and all her needlework was only ever a hobby, but one she adored. However, in 2005 she became weary of working in an office, and frustrated with the frequent buyouts and uncertainty that went along with the corporate world. At the time, there was no other bead shop in Alexandria, Virginia, and Patricia saw her opportunity.
Bead Obsessions was opened in 2005, with the goal of catering to beaders like Patricia: artists who loved to focus on the details, and wanted to create complex, decorative arts pieces in addition to wearable jewelry and accessories.
In addition to a wide variety of seed beads, Patricia’s store stocks glass, lampwork, and semiprecious beads, craft and precious metal wire, plus all the tools, notions and books and magazines needed to create art with beads.
Bead Obsessions is also all about getting others obsessed with beads, and therefore there is a class going on nearly every day! Patricia teaches many of the classes herself, but also recruits locally and nationally famous bead artists to teach classes as well. The day I visited, bead artist Amy Katz was leading a small group in making a bracelet. The bracelet, an original design of Amy’s, features glass pearls and seemingly millions of seed beads. The technique uses a peyote stitch to create bezels around the pearls, and is incredibly labor-intensive, but produces incredibly gorgeous results.
The extensive class schedule includes sessions for all levels of beaders, and does not focus only on embroidery and needlework. You’ll also find classes on making chain maille, knotting and stringing beads, metal work, wire work, and wire crochet.
Bead Obsessions is located in Alexandria, Virginia at 619 South Washington Street, and is open six days a week.
Being mindful and grateful is always appropriate whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving today or not. Have a great day!
Handmade quilled paper decorations by Wintergreen Design.