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Using photos of your beadwork to decorate personalized items

pencil case with kumihimo
Pencil case with kumihimo bracelets on the front.
notebook with flower pin
Notebook showing a flower pin used in an advert.

I’ve long been a fan of using favourite photos to create unique items around the home or as gifts for loved ones. For example, some years ago I uploaded a sunshine holiday snap to a website specialising in photo products to create my mouse mat, so that even when I am working on the computer on a dull November day like today, I can run my mouse over the golden sands and be reminded of a wonderful holiday which gives me the incentive to keep on working towards the next one. My husband has a snow globe on his desk with a portrait of us inside, we have matching key rings with pictures of our shadows on, a canvas shopping bag with a scene of our garden on it and our fridge is covered in magnets that a dear friend had created for me using snapshots that were special to me.

More recently I had the idea of using images of my beadwork to create even more of these one-of-a-kind items. So now I have a personalized pencil case with a print of some of my kumihimo bracelets on the front flap, a bag decorated with pictures of my beaded animals and an A4 notebook featuring one of my first pieces of work to be used in a Preciosa magazine advert which always makes me smile. I take all of these items to classes and demos and not only are they handy for transporting materials, keeping my tools tidy and jotting down notes and orders, they are also a great conversation starter.

fundraising book marks
Fundraising bookmarks using images of my work.
bead burrow image
A canvas print of another advert which hangs on the wall of 'The Bead Burrow.
A couple of years ago, along with several other bead artists, I donated a selection of pictures of my beadwork to help support a fundraiser whose cause is close to my heart. These images were all turned into beautiful collectible laminated bookmarks with a lampwork bead added to them and I have several of these saving favourite pages in my beading books and I’ve also given them as gifts to bookworm friends. I think this is a great use of the images, as not only does it help to raise money for charity it also helps to keep the beadwork alive and it can be fun to add to your collection from your favourite artist.

It’s amazing just how many different tailor-made items your photos can be turned into these days from perhaps the obvious choices of calendars, mugs and note cards to the more unusual items such as jigsaws, cushions and blankets. And did you know you can even customize a pet bed with a favourite photo!? I went for a simple rectangular canvas print of a picture of one of my favourite pieces of work to complete my newly decorated bead storage area (aka ‘The Bead Burrow’) and so what was originally a 1½ inch beaded owl is now a 16 inch piece of wall art that inspires me to keep on creating.

Let us know, have you done something similar using pictures of your beadwork?

Kerrie Slade is a beadwork designer living in Mansfield, England. She has been beading for more than 12 years and has had her work published in numerous books and magazines around the world. Kerrie teaches beadwork internationally and she sells her patterns via her website. You can read more on her blog.

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