I’ve been making beaded jewelry and accessories for many years. I first got into creating jewelry as a hobby, when I was pregnant with my daughter, more than 20 years ago. That hobby quickly turned into a business and I started writing how-to articles for bead and jewelry magazines, taught classes at local bead stores and sold my creations at art and craft shows.
I even ended up running my own bead store, Dolphin Crafts, for a short while. But my kids were very young at the time and it proved too difficult to work 50-60 hours per week at the new store and still find the time to take care of my son and daughter. I put the crafts on temporary hiatus with the thought that once my kids got older, I would once again have the time to devote to being a craft and jewelry artist.
My daughter turned 20 a few days ago and my son will be 25 in March. So now that both of my children are grown up, I’ve decided to get back into arts and crafts on a part-time to full-time basis. My eventual goal is to move to either Northern South Carolina or Western North Carolina to be closer to friends and family.
Once I relocate the plan is to either open my own craft gallery, or rent studio space at an artist co-op. Right now I’m in south Florida and need a way to start generating income so I can save up and make the move. A few months ago I decided I want to start selling at local green markets and craft shows. Although I have quite a bit of product made up and ready to sell, once I start vending at shows, I’m going to have to get back into making new product on a regular basis.
Beading with Seed Beads, Gemstones, and Cabochons
As a bead artist, the first technique I taught myself was basic bead stringing. I get bored easily and felt that simply stringing beads was a bit too tame for my eclectic, funky tastes. I found a copy of Beading with Seed Beads, Gemstones and Cabochons by Sadie Starr at a local book store. Her book quickly became my “bible” as I taught myself the technique of bead embroidery.
I used to belong to the Gem & Mineral Society of the Palm Beaches and purchased many handmade gemstone cabochons created by members of the gem society. I incorporated many of their beautiful cabochons in my beaded pieces such as bracelets, necklaces and brooches.
A few years later I became fascinated with fused glass and bought all the necessary tools, supplies, and equipment to teach myself that technique. I now have a complete glass studio filled with two kilns, glass grinder, diamond band saw, jewelers torch, rock tumbler and much more.
Gallery – Blue Beaded Cuff by Lynn Smythe
Getting back into beading, I wanted a way to combine my original love of bead embroidery with my more recent fused glass pieces. The blue cuff bracelet shown in this post features three of my fused glass cabochons. I even turned one of the cabs into a button to use as the clasp for the bracelet.
I’m really pleased with how the beaded cuff came out and have already started another one in shades of green. My problem is I get so many ideas for projects that sometimes it’s hard to decide which piece to work on first. I keep an art journal so I can jot down my ideas, designs, and color palates for future projects. Now if I could just clone myself so I can work on them all at once!
- Lynn Smythe
- Chief Designer and Blogger
- The Creative Cottage
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