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5 questions with author Beth Stone

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Beth Stone was born with a bead in her hand and hasn't stopped loving them. Author of three seed bead books, Seed Bead Stitching, More Seed Bead Stitching, and Bead Play Every Day, she encourages beaders to find their own artistic voice to combine beads and colors of their choosing. She lives with her loving and very supportive husband, Sheldon, their two daughters, Cheyenne and Sierra, and an adorable dog, Calvin, in West Bloomfield, MI. 
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photo by Ally Cohen at Frameable Faces. 

HOW DID YOU LEARN JEWELRY-MAKING?

I am completely self-taught. A beader descended from a beader who is also descended from a beader, I have been creating for as long as I can remember. As a young child, I remember making daisy chains out of seed beads. My father (rest his soul) was an electrician. He brought me spools of 25-pair telephone wire that I used to turn into coiled and twisted rings. When I was nine, I taught my camp friends how to bead using seed beads, some type of white thread and homemade twisted needles. The telephone wire made a brief appearance in the late 80's when I was creating bead and wire pins. 

The fun for me is in figuring out thread paths, designs and patterns. Trial and error (and mistakes!) are my favorite teachers. I once spent two weeks trying to figure out a single thread path for a bracelet that had two distinct sides, where one of the sides had to be worked backwards! (I will never forget that "aha" moment in a hotel room in Washington, DC). I get very focused on the engineering of a design or stitch, but as soon as I figure something out, I need to move on or I will get bored. I rarely reproduce my work exactly. Some of my designs may look similar, but there is always something just a little bit different about each one of them.

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WHAT STYLE OF JEWELRY DO YOU MAKE? HAVE YOU EVER WORKED IN DIFFERENT STYLES/MEDIUMS?

My jewelry style has changed several times over the past three decades. From twisted wire and bead pins, to seed bead woven work, to strung work of original designs created from my vast vintage glass and pearl collections, and back to seed bead work. I've gone from free form work, to geometric work, to symmetrical work, to asymmetrical, and I'm now venturing back to a different kind of freeform pendant work. I stay with beads (mostly seed beads) because there is not room for one more craft or medium (both in my house and in my head).  

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WHAT IS YOUR WORKSPACE LIKE?

I wrote my first two books sitting on my family room couch, and only recently created a designated bead space, where I worked on most of my third book. It's not my dream space, but it will do for now. 

I have seed beads of all shapes and sizes, which include some two-hole beads. I have a gigantic collection of vintage glass beads and freshwater pearls, which I sometimes use for accent. I usually make my own clasps using seed beads, but if I don't, I love to use ceramic buttons. 

WHAT IS THE MOST UNUSUAL PLACE YOUVE EVER BEADED?

This one is easy. I bead at sporting events, mostly baseball games and college hockey games. I have no use for either sport other than keeping my beloved husband company. I think it is so fabulous that our baseball tickets have an extra space on my left side, which allows me to bead without bumping the person next to me. I try not to bead during play, in case a ball flies at me. I'm thinking of writing another book, "Ballpark Beading: Designs that can be completed in nine innings or less." There will be a section called "Extra Innings," for longer projects. My friend Perry Bookstein, keeps throwing chapter ideas my way. 

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NAME TWO THINGS THAT YOU ALWAYS HAVE WITH YOU WHEN YOU WORK.

I work best listening to 70's folk music, and always have an nice assortment of beads with me, when traveling. Beads are my security blanket. I need to have my mind and hands engaged at all times. I was recently given a gift of a very nice cosmetic travel bag. Cosmetics? No. Beads? Yes!  

Learn more about Beth on her Facebook page, or follow her on Pinterest (Beth Stone Designs) or Instagram (bethstonedesigns). Many of Beth's patterns have appeared in Bead&Button and Bead Style and are available for sale at the Jewelry and Beading Store. You can find her books there as well, be sure to check them out!
bead play cover
Bead Play Every Day, ISBN 978-1-62700-081-9, 96 pages, 240 color photos, 80 illustrations, $21.99US
seed bead stitching cover
Seed Bead Stitching, ISBN 978-0-87116-252-6, 96 pages, 250 color photos, $19.95US

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