Saturday, August 2, 2014

Behind the Scenes at Tree Wings Studio: Record Keeping

What's been on my studio tables these past weeks? Papers and record keeping. Yep, that's right. Not of the number kind, although I will admit that I love numbers and record keeping…you'll catch me number crunching anytime I'm stressed—I actually find it relaxing! Go ahead and call me weird, my weirdness is already a well known fact!

These papers though, are my new painting records. Practically all my beads are painted—it's the part I love most about what I do! I lose myself in painting and while sometimes I struggle with choosing colors, I love nothing more than having a brand new bead emerge from beneath my worn out paintbrushes and paint stained fingers… I get so excited every time! It's what keeps me coming back to my studio each day.

So, back to the record keeping… over the years, I've tried to keep notes of my process for each bead, but most of those notes were stored in my head and as I started making more and more new beads, I found it harder to keep up and remember exactly how I painted a particular bead a month or so later. Some beads I've discontinued all together because of this.

That's where this mess of paint-spattered paper comes in. Little by little I'm starting with a fresh baked batch of beads and keeping rigorous notes of my process. I find this task a bit dull, but a very necessary one. You could say these papers hold my trade secrets—yes, I know lots of people can paint and how to paint is no secret, but I've found what (finally!) works for me and it's a big part of what makes my beads mine. 

A normal day in my studio looks like this… and then once the painting starts it gets about 100 times messier, but it's such fun!

Many hours are spent creating a new bead design and there's nothing quite so depressing as when someone wants that same bead later on and I can't remember how I made it. I'm not at all saying that my beads will now be exactly the same one batch from the next—they'll each always have their own personality and colors will still vary slightly, but definitely my job is made easier when I can refer to my notes instead of having to reinvent the wheel each time I make a batch of beads.

And all that record keeping is so worth it when I see this…

…and I know I can do it again…

Badgers, and chipmunks and bears—oh my!

Pressed leaf fern focals in brand new colors. These are some of my favorite colors so far!

And little pressed wild rose charms in colors old and new.

So, having paint records allows me to get the same colors over and over again, and when I'm just playing around experimenting with new color possibilities they won't have to always remain one of a kind… and we all know that more than one is always a good thing in the bead world!

Tell me about you! What do you think of record keeping? Do you hate it all or maybe just some of it? Are you crazy like me and you actually enjoy it sometimes? Does your jewelry or bead making require it and if so what kind of records are you keeping? Do tell!

And now, there's one more important thing I need to tell you about before heading back to the studio…
We have the winners for the leather feather winners for August's CoM challenge! Sorry for my lateness on this. I'm so very overwhelmed by everyone's excitement and truly wish that each one of you could participate, but that number is set at 3, so without further ado… our lucky winners are: 

Karin G
Ann Schroeder
Claire Lockwood

Congrats to you ladies! I'll be emailing you a little later on today.

Wishes for a happy and creative Saturday to everyone!

Rebekah Payne


  1. What a great idea for a blog post. This was very interesting to me and I imagine that this type of record keeping will become important to me as I progress in ceramics.

    1. Oh yes, I would expect so too! And I'd love to see a little peek at what's involved with that as you progress Linda. I love seeing each new thing you create and any behind the scenes shots makes it doubly fun!

  2. quick and dirty, and effective--that's my kind of recordkeeping! the simpler the better. I kind of enjoy that too, it's my way of "circling." It is kind of relaxing, as long as it doesn't take too long.

    1. Yes, very true! It helps me to keep my techniques present in my mind, but I can only do it for so long before I start itching to try something new and I need to let my mind and hands work freely again. But, I've found too, that using the records I've finished so far I'm now doing more experimenting and finding ways to work off my basic techniques for new colors and finishes—I'm excited to see what new ideas will come of them!

  3. Oh must be done. I love that yours are splattered with fabulous 'color notes' for those wonderful creations! Wow, your pressed leaf ferns are amazing.. I can see why you'd want to keep a record! Congrats to the ladies who will receive your CoM..I can't wait to see what they create!

    1. Thanks Carol! I'm hoping that not only will re-making my regular beads be easier now, but also since I won't be spending as much time trying to figure out how I did a particular color, I'll have time for even more brand new beads… we shall see! :-)

  4. Beautiful beads... love the new and old colors. All you put into your art is the reason why I am so grateful to buy art beads!

    Can we buy feathers and join along? :)


    1. Sure, that's just fine! We're more than happy to add more participants to the blog hop list if they want to purchase the CoM and can commit to completing a design by the reveal date. :-)


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