The last few weeks have been super busy here at Spellbound. Each year as we approach our birthday month we wonder what we can do to celebrate and this year we set ourselves a bit of a challenge – to design some new free pattern downloads AND to get some videos onto YouTube.
Firstly we asked the team to put their beady creative hats on, and think about tea dresses, gin on the lawn, roses, chilled cider, cream teas, picnics, maybe even sand between your toes – all the elements that make a party outdoors such a joy in the British summer. The theme of our design challenge was ‘Garden Party’ and Louisa, Vicky, Gemma, Ellen, Lisa and Jodie have designed some simply beautiful jewellery that fits the bill wonderfully.
It is always interesting to see how each person approaches a challenge like this. Some people will dive straight in, but for most there will be at least two weeks of head scratching after the initial theme is suggested. A little quiet playing with beads when there is a free moment, lots of conversations about what it means – sometimes the broader the challenge the harder it is to pin down your design – and then the magic starts. Each person begins to go off in their own direction.
With Vicky you can pretty much guarantee that small beads will be involved, she does love a good classic technique, and the possibilities that small beads give when you are creating. Lisa is always running around and rarely gets even two minutes to sit and bead at work but when she does it is always something really fun and bright. Louisa and Ellen can both go off at a bit of a tangent at times which can be really exciting (and sometimes quite a challenge when it comes to writing the instructions!).
Everyone has a different approach. Some people have favourite motifs or colours, but we all like to try out something new and having the opportunity to talk through what can sometimes be a vague idea with someone who has different beady skills to you can take designs off in surprising directions. Sometimes working in a team can distract you from where your ideas are going, but more often as we chat about our ideas, start and abandon things, discuss options, make half-formed ideas become real; a design that is not quite there suddenly reveals what it is missing – and yet each person retains their own individual style. It really is a sort of magic!
Once the designs are complete they leave their creators to have photos taken and computer friendly instructions created. They then go back to the designers for checking, proof reading and a last check of the recipe before being uploaded onto the system and being checked again to make sure all the links work.
Here are a few of the designs – to see the whole collection head over to our website where you can see all the beautiful Garden Party jewellery. The instructions for all of these projects are free to download … and there are instructional videos too.
Once the designs for the collection were complete we got the camera out and started shooting. Then we realised that we hadn’t switched the microphone on so we did it all again!
This has been quite the learning curve for us. We have been asked many times about doing some YouTube videos and we wondered what to do, and how to do it, and this seemed as good a time as any to learn. So, camera out, instruction book out, so many things to work out – lighting, where to put the beads on the mat, remembering to turn the microphone on – I know I only mentioned that a moment ago but you’d be surprised just how many beaders it takes to switch on a microphone! We have quite a few silent movies in our collection now, as well as several with the opposite problem!
We already have two full length videos under our belts so you would have thought this would be a walk in the park. Well, firstly we made those a couple of years ago, and we had a video expert on hand for our first day to guide us through all the lighting, camera settings, editing software. This time we had to reach through our bead soaked minds to try and remember how we did it all – and how do all those YouTube stars make it seem so easy? We do also have the problem of wanting everything to be absolutely perfect, and when you’re filming live we all fluff sometimes – let’s hope it gets easier with time!
One of the issues with filming beading is getting the focus right. Most devices, fancy cameras included, really, really want to focus on flesh, and in all honesty we want you to see more beads and less fingers. That issue sorted we are working on the tiniest area of bead mat so the demonstrator has to work in a very small area so you can fully see what is going on. Rulers, a frame of small beads, bits of paper, anything that won’t get in the way of working and is just out of shot can be used and they all work if the demonstrator is paying attention.
First up was Julie, a little tired to be fair, and unquestionably not enough tea in her system! It took an hour and 10 takes to get 15 useable minutes (a bit longer in truth as the first take had no sound!). Next to the hot seat was Pat. Now Julie has done this before but this is Pat’s first time. Straight through, no problems – how did she do it? Round of applause! Now to Vicky who is a tad nervous, despite being a very experienced teacher it is still weirdly daunting to be shoved in front of a camera and there was a bit of a shaky hand but she too was a one take wonder. Round of applause No 2!
The rest of the day was not quite so straightforward and due to some technical difficulties a couple of the videos had to be re-shot. One of the videos you see on YouTube is not just the third incarnation – it is also the third demonstrator.
After shooting there is then the whole editing process, adding in all the static info – recipes, titles etc which takes rather longer than you might think, (watch out for the Top Tip bee, he’s quite cute!).
And then the upload. By this point it is well over a month since we started the challenge and we have oodles of other things that are dead urgent so this is the quick bit, right? Oh, so wrong. Many days later we finally have nine videos uploaded.
We really hope you enjoy the new projects and the videos that go with them, we’ve had a lot of fun, (and a number of tearing hair out moments) creating them. Maybe there will be more along quite soon?
In Other News
More FREE patterns – it is our Birthday after all, and we do like a bit of a giveaway so this month we have a huge box of Spellbound Patterns that we are giving away. Every order that leaves us will have a pattern in it, and anyone buying at the shop can pick one from a selection. While stock last!
A massive Delica shipment has just arrived and we are putting it all back online as fast as we can. There are also 26 New Delicas – again, they will be up for sale just as soon as we can get them set up.
New Christmas Designs – we have two baubles and a decoration almost ready to go, we’ll be letting them out of the box this Friday!