When I was studying at university, I was actively discouraged from including beadwork, as my lecturers told me I wouldn't be taken seriously as a jeweller. But in more recent times, with the popularity of contemporary geometric beadwork, the global projects between beaders and the rise in shared knowledge, people's opinion of small beadwork is very much evolving into something bigger. Being both a small beadworker and a bench jeweler, my background uniquely places me in the centre of the chasm between fine jewelry and beaded jewelry. One is celebrated as fine art, whilst the other is all-too-often dismissed as ‘handmade’. But change is coming”. Let’s look at how. The next step? Bead education for all.
Rowena started out working at a bead shop and instantly fell in love with making jewelry. Going on to complete a degree in jewelry and Silversmithing, she worked as a bench jeweler for several years, before pivoting back to her first love of small beadwork. In 2020, she set up her own business designing and selling minimalist small beadwork kits, which she now runs, alongside her role as Editor of The Beadworkers Guild Journal, a role which she enjoys greatly.