Carole Rodgers, author of the best-selling Beading Basics, has recently released a new title, The Beaded Bracelet, which explores 9 essential beadweaving stitches using a jewelry staple: the bracelet. Here, Carole talks about her personal journey with crafting to help us celebrate National Craft Month.
Carole: I have been crafting all my life. I can’t remember a time I was not making something. I have knitted, crocheted, macraméd, sewn, cross-stitched, needlepointed, beaded and done all sorts of general crafts.
Q: What other crafts do you do besides jewelry design?
C: I started out in my professional designing career as a needlework designer. For years I wrote articles and books on cross-stitch, needlepoint, embroidery, and general crafts. I still do some fabric crafts. I live in an RV and travel full time so my space is limited for carrying supplies.
Q: What made you decide to write The Beaded Bracelet?
C: I self-publish a number of booklets with different patterns I have developed over the years. I sent a copy of one of my books to an acquisitions editor at F+W along with a book proposal. She wasn’t interested in that proposal but she saw that I had done a couple of books of bead-woven bracelets and asked me to do a proposal on bracelets. It was to be a stitch primer so I started designing bracelets with a particular stitch and that is what ended up in the book.
C: The best part of writing a book is that you have the freedom to explore a subject matter in depth and do things your way. The worst thing is the editing and the tedium of going through everything multiple times until you are certain you and your editor have it all correct.
Q: How do you get inspired when you’re feeling a lack of creativity?
C: Luckily, I seldom have creative block. If I do, I quit worrying about it and do housework. Since I hate doing housework, my creativity usually rescues me. If that fails, I look through magazines, go shopping, talk to creative friends, or read a book.
Q: What is the skill or technique that most intimidates you?
C: There aren’t a lot of things that intimidate me craft-wise except for quilting. I was never fond of quilting. There are a couple of beading stitches I need to practice that I am not very familiar with. I actually used both of them in The Beaded Bracelet and I had to teach myself how to do them before I could design the bracelets.
Q: What’s the best advice you could give to a new jewelry enthusiast?
C: Buy a copy of my book, Beading Basics. It has all the basic information a person who wants to make beaded jewelry needs. If you are interested in a certain stitch or technique, buy a good book on that particular technique. Also, take a class or find a group of beading buddies to exchange ideas with.
Q: What’s your favorite jewelry blog, and why?
C: I spend very little time on the internet. The only blogs I read occasionally are Margot Potter’s and Tanya McGuire’s (glass lamp worker) because they are friends.
Q: What tool, notion or material can you not live without?
C: I can’t live without beads, FireLine™, and three pairs of German pliers.
C: Because of jewelry-making and all the needlework and crafting I have done over the years, I have met a lot of famous, creative people and got the chance to interact with them and exchange ideas. I have gotten to travel to parts of the country I would never have had a chance to get to otherwise. Jewelry-making has led me to the Tucson gem shows each winter where I get to meet people from all over the world. It has influenced my life in more ways than I can count.