More from Susan Beal: What You Didn't Read in Quick Stuff to Make

comments (1) May 29th, 2008     

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Our blogger-turned-interview subject, Susan Beal.

Our blogger-turned-interview subject, Susan Beal.

Photo: Andrew Dickson

Bead Lady

Get to know celebrated crafter Susan Beal

Susan Beal, author of Bead Simple (Taunton Press, 2008), is a bead and button aficionado,
sometime quilter and sewer, and an all-around super-cool gal (and busy new mom) who has
made crafting her career. CraftStylish talked to Susan to find out what inspires her.

Craft Stylish: When did you first become interested in crafting?

Susan Beal: As a kid, I was fascinated with sewing doll clothes and making different crafts. By the time I got to high school, I began working on more elaborate projects, such as jewelry.

CS: What’s your crafting specialty?

SB: Jewelry-making is my most focused craft, but I also love making collages, sewing, and paper crafts. I really enjoy making recycled crafts, too, because I can use things that otherwise might never have been used again.

CS: How do you keep your crafts new and inventive?

SB: I’m constantly overwhelmed with new ideas. I may see a fabric that I like or a jar of buttons and say, “Oh! I want to make something out of those!” I also rotate crafts frequently so I’m never bored with one specific craft.

CS: Who or what provides inspiration for your crafting?

My six-year-old nephew Julian is always seeing new things. I do crafts with him
constantly; he keeps things very fresh, new, and inventive. And, of course, my crafty friends are endlessly inspiring.

CS: What would your ultimate crafting day look like?

SB: I would definitely make some jewelry first. Next, I would do a little sewing … maybe some baby pants and dresses. Then, I would do some Gocco printing, which you do with a machine that copies your own hand-drawn designs onto fabric.

CS: What is the ultimate advantage to having crafting abilities?

SB: I love being able to make completely customized gifts for people. Also, you can alter anything—especially when you’re sewing—to make it exactly how you want it.

CS: What is your craft room like? Does it reflect your crafting style?

SB: It’s basically one big collection, which I do my best to keep organized. I have everything from jewelry findings to beads stored in my vintage card catalog. Anyone who walks in will get a pretty good feel for the type of crafter I am.

CS: What advice would you give crafters who are just beginning to learn a new craft?

SB: It’s much easier to learn when you’re with people who know what they’re doing. You can swap advice and ideas while crafting. I’d also remind them to have fun and not worry about mistakes.

CS: Do you have a favorite craft-supply store?

SB: My favorite fabric store is Cool Cottons ( For beads, I love Dava Bead
( But my favorite big chain store is Michael’s (—it’s just
a great A to Z, one-stop store.

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CS: Do you have any side jobs or hobbies that you do when you aren’t crafting?

SB: I write for various magazines. I love reading and traveling. My husband is an artist so I often help him with his work, visual and performance art, which can be refreshing. I also have a new baby, so my husband and I are mainly focused on that right now.

CS: How much time a week do you spend crafting?

SB: When I am in the middle of a project, I can work a full day. Some days I will just be browsing thrift stores. It varies, but I am always working.

CS: What are you working on now?

SB: Right now I am working on a necklace for my monthly craft on the CraftStylish website. I’ve also been working on some baby pieces such as a quilt and clothing.

CS: What artist or crafter do you look up to most and why?

SB: I have two friends who I mainly look up to: Diane Gilleland and Cathy Callahan. Diane runs, which is a podcast and a blog that is super accessible and great for crafters. Cathy runs, which has beautiful vintage inspired pieces from all different generations. They’re not only constantly inspirational but overall fun people to be around.

CS: What is the typical day in a crafter’s life like?

SB: It can range from designing to writing. It’s a big process and often it consists of just trying to organize everything, but I wouldn’t want to spend my time any other way.

CS: If you could make any craft (given all of the materials and time) what would it be and why?

SB: Quilting is my favorite major craft and gift to give, but it is a truly time consuming process. If given the opportunity, quilting would be first on the list.

posted in: blog, quick stuff, interview

Comments (1)

jonwen45 writes: Really enjoyed the interview. Never give up your creative time. That is what keeps us sane.
Posted: 8:06 pm on July 12th
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