Saturday, October 27, 2012


Hi all! I'm Rebekah Payne of Tree Wings Studio, the newest newbie here at AJE and I'm so excited to be a part of this wonderfully inspiring group of bead and jewelry artists! Thanks so much for having me!

I have to say, I had the hardest time deciding what I'd tell you about in my first post today! I was going to give you a tour of my little studio, but looking around right now, things are actually a bit quiet. Yesterday was shipping day and there's not much to see now. Just color-mixing and prepping for the next bead batches.

So… I guess I should start by telling you a bit about myself and what inspires me…

I'm a self-taught polymer clay bead artist. My work in polymer clay melds together my love of sculpture and painting. For many of my beads, I work with a solid color, painting on additional colors and details. If I hadn't discovered polymer clay, I'm almost certain I would have been a painter! I'd been squishing polymer around into various things for a few years, when I got a book on polymer clay from my Grandmother—I was amazed at just how endless the possibilities were! Now at almost any time, anywhere, you can find me with clay in my hands, a cured bead and a paintbrush, or at the very least, some remnants of paint on my hands. When I have a spare moment or two (very rarely!), I also make jewelry.

My inspiration comes from just about everything (I think that's the answer most artists give!), but mostly from my surroundings. I'm so fortunate to live in rural Virginia and enjoy the beauty and wonders of nature each and every day. I also love reading fantasy—the works of Tolkien being my favorite. His tales of dragons are what inspired my own dragons.

I didn't begin with bead-making—I actually started off with bird figurines and then dabbled in bead-making for a little while, but quickly went on to larger designs—wall decor and vases.

A few of my clay pictures:
"Time Fades"

"Home Sweet Home"

"Little Kitty in the Sunshine"

I so enjoyed doing the larger designs and not having the constraints of keeping them to a wearable size. I was still in the decor-making craze when I wanted to have a dragon necklace to give my sister for her birthday. Of course, I had to make it myself, so I sculpted a little dragon pendant wrapped around a fire agate. I was thrilled with the way it turned out (and so was she!), and from there I've continued making beads and pendants… more dragons, sleepy woodland critters (my most popular designs, by far), ponies and horses, and anything else that catches my fancy… and I haven't looked back since!

Here's a little peak at how I make some of my beads:
Little sleepy critters getting their fur and eyes added.

Primed and ready for color.

Adding "coral" inlay to the "turquoise" ponies.

Casting roses and aster wheels.

And here are some of my finished beads:
Dragons! Each one is sculpted around a fire agate.

Sleepy woodland critters, aster wheels, and ridged rounds.

Ponies and galloping horse coins.

And finally, wild rose beads.

Making beads is super fun, but I think my very favorite part is seeing them at home in a completed piece of jewelry made by one of you!

Thanks so much for stopping by to say hi!


  1. Hi Rebekah and welcome - I'm absolutely thrilled that you've joined our little AJE team - 'giddy as a kipper' as we say here in the UK...although I've no idea why we say it! I just love your work and it's really interesting to hear a bit about how you got into your art. Looking forward to getting to know you better.

  2. Hello Rebekah,
    Congratulations on becoming the newest member of AJE. I am a follower of this group and love reading the post from all of the members. I am also a follower of your blog and clay creations. I enjoyed reading about how you got your start and seeing some of your beautiful pieces.

  3. What a wonderful post! I love your art and if you have a blog I would love to follow. Your dragons are so amazing, well everything is amazing!

    1. Thanks Gypsea! My blog is :-)

  4. Wow! I love your beads! The wall art is fabulous but your creatres are wonderful! Your dragons, especially are so fantastic! And I absolutely love those wild roses! I can't believe you are self taught. I would love to fool around with polymer clay but I am afraid that is all it would be, fooling around! I do love your work.

    1. Yes, definitely give it a go! When I started I was only fooling around with it too… you'll be amazed at all the things you can do with polymer clay. And one of the best things about it is that it doesn't get hard until you bake it, so you can keep reworking an idea until absolutely perfect. You'll have fun… I promise! :-)

  5. I enjoyed reading about how your creativity started and then evolved into beads. I really love your beads and how they tie in with nature.

  6. Welcome Rebekah! We're so glad to have you on the team - and your pieces are so beautiful! Looking forward to seeing more from you! xoxo

  7. Nice to see you have one more place to share your sweet beads, Rebekah. Thanks for sharing some of your process. I would just add a note to anyone who wants to develop PC skills, as Lee mentioned in her comment. PC is relatively inexpensive as a medium. It is a fabulous way to express one's creativity, and in as many styles as there are artists. I would say, "Go ahead and fool around with it", Lee. If you take to it, you will no doubt develop your own unique style over time. In either case, you will probably appreciate all the more the art and skill of artists like Rebekah. I know the more I learn about PC, the more I admire these experienced creators and the time and effort that goes into their work!

  8. I just LOVE your work! I'm so glad you're blogging on AJE. You are so very talented and I can't wait to see more from you.

  9. Hello Rebekah! Nice to meet you! I had seen your horses and small woodland creature beads before - the wonders of the Interwebs! But you really got me with the dragons! Love them. JRR would be tickled.

    My components are most often earthenware and stoneware clay, and my finished pieces are always mixed media - but I have recently begun to respect and experiment with the polymer as its own medium, and not a pseudo clay... I look forward to more "chatting : in the future. Welcome to the team.

    1. Thanks Jennifer!

      And oh yes, I totally know what you mean! The fact that polymer clay is just a "plastic clay" gets to even me. You wouldn't believe how many times when explaining what I do I get "Ooooh… you use Sculpey! My kids play with that! I bet you really enjoyed playdough when you were little!" Me: "Um, yeah. Sculpey, Premo, and Kato. And yeah, I liked playdough." lol

      Earthenware and stoneware—now that's amazing stuff! One day I'd love to try them out! :-)

  10. Thank you all for the warm welcome!! :-) I know I'm going to have so much fun here!

  11. OMG ! I love your little dragons! I don't remembering seeing them last time I was in your shop! As soon as my mail box empties out a bit again I need to go shopping again ;)

  12. Welcome!!! Love all your work, especially those cool asters and other flowers!

  13. Welcome! We are super excited to have you join the team. Love your work and this was a great first post. I learned so much about you and a bit about your process and what makes you tick :-)

  14. Welcome Rebekah! Thanks for showing us some of your work in progress - I always enjoy posts like that! I love your sleeping critters especially.

  15. You know I'm already a fan of your work, but getting to hear a little more about you is fabulous. I'm a Tolkien fan also! And getting to see some more of your clay pictures is awesome! Nice into.


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