Sylvia spent a number of years beading in
isolation learning from books and designing her own patterns. Then in
the mid 1990’s she met Irene Barnes who was demonstrating tambour
beadwork at the NEC craft show, Irene invited her to have a go and
said she was a natural. Sylvia recalls “I was utterly and completely
hooked, pardon the pun, I stayed with Irene all day, I asked my
friends to do the show without me and collect me at home time. That
was the end of my beading in isolation and the beginning of a
wonderful life with new friends and new experiences”.
The Great British Bead Show in 1997 was her next
discovery, a biennial event then organized by Jill Devon, Sylvia
attended several workshops and enjoyed the experience so much she
vowed never ever to miss it in future. At the 1999 Great British Bead
Show, The Beadworkers Guild was formed and the elected committee
accepted responsibility for organizing future shows. Shortly after the
Guild’s formation Sylvia was proud to be invited to join the
committee, since joining she has accepted responsibility for
organizing the annual workshop programme, The Great British Bead Show,
publicity and venue searches.
In January 2000, Sylvia formed a members group in
Addicted to Beads in Milton Keynes and continued teaching in earnest
evenings and weekends.
Cheryl Scholes proprietor of The Thread and
Needle Studio in Leighton Buzzard invited Sylvia to teach on a regular
basis, this expanded to holding a Saturday morning bead club once a
Sylvia has such a passion for beading that she
chose to gain recognition for both her beadwork and her teaching
abilities and committed herself to furthering her own education for 3
In the first year she completed C&G 7802 Bead
Needle Weaving 2002, then concentrated on teaching qualifications,
embarking on a C&G 7307/03 Adult Education Teaching Certificate Stage
1 completing in March 2003, the progressed to C&G 7407/02 Level 4
Adult Education Teaching Certificate Stage 2 completing in February
During her final year of studying, Sylvia gained
further employment running a number of 10 week courses.for Adult
Education at Stantonbury School, Milton Keynes.
The 2003 Great British Bead Show, was Sylvia’s
first experience of teaching at a large event, she was delighted to
have been selected and had a great time.
This experience has been surpassed by an
invitation from the chairman of the Japanese Bead Society, Yusai
Shokoin to teach in Japan August 2004.
Sylvia finds that she cannot look at an object
without thinking “how can I make that with beads?” Occasional
inspirational flashes will dictate her next project and have her
scribbling on bits of paper so as not to forget the idea, but usually
her designs evolve from playing and experimenting, Sylvia enjoys
working with crystals her first original design ‘Victorian Collection’
was sold before it was completed, it was admired by so many people
that Sylvia decided to write the instructions and sell it in kit form,
it continues to sell well. As a result of this confidence in her own
design ideas grew and she now has several designs available in kit
Sylvia has no specific favourite technique, but
says “I love the feel of single bead right angle weave, I have a
sample piece for showing students it feels amazing, the fluid movement
in all directions just makes me drool, it’s like a comfort blanket you
don’t want to put it down, I find I have little time for self
indulgence though. My current designs are favouring sculptural work in
tubular form using dutch spiral and peyote techniques, but who knows
what it will be next?”.
Sylvia’s work has featured in two of The
Beadworkers Guild books, Ear Rings and Necklaces.
Sylvia was offered the opportunity in Feb 2004,
to take voluntary redundancy from her day job as a Project Manager for
BT, this didn’t take too much thinking about. In March 2004 Sylvia was
redundant, she sees this as a golden opportunity to expand her
business, and continue to help others share in the mouthwatering
pleasure of selecting beads to join together with needle and thread
and create something new and unique, a fantastic experience to share.