September 21, 2011

featuring studio spaces: marcia decoster

It's time for Featuring Studio Spaces! Each week we will feature an artist and his or her creative space. We'll gather lots of juicy tidbits ranging from inspiration to design and functionality.


This week we're talking with master beader and author, Marcia DeCoster of MAD Designs. Marcia's gallery of work is exquisite and her studio is a study in brightness, creativity, and organization. Ready to be inspired?

Marcia, tell us about the work you do in your studio.


I weave tiny seed beads and crystals into beadwoven jewelry. The studio houses all the ʻinspirationʼ in the way of books, images, art and of course beads and crystal. Since I teach my designs as well as sell kits to make my designs the studio also houses the beads for kits, the purchasing, manufacturing and shipping departments.

packaging 010

There is also an illustration department (my new IMAC) and the IT department, backup drive, printer, Wacom table and a Photography studio.

Did you have a specific inspiration when organizing your space?

Photo on 2011-05-22 at 12.54

I wanted the space to be bright, organized, spacious and full of artistic bits, which make me happy. I have work by other artists I admire as well as a significant library of inspiration books.


What works especially well for you?


On one whole wall we installed slot wall and I use acrylic trays designed to fit into the slot wall to hold my ʻdesignʼ seed bead collection and crystals. This is also where finished kits are kept for a visual inventory. I use Bisley cabinets to hold the contents necessary to make kits, each kit/color having itʼs own drawer.


What’s your biggest issue with storage/organization/design?

Keeping track of the shared beads for kits, and managing the piece part inventory for kits. Itʼs hard to keep track of beads that are shared and to keep the right amount of inventory on hand.

Level of importance: design aesthetic or functionality?

Totally design aesthetic for me. I like not only my work, but my tools to have a level of design aesthetic, although hopefully without compromising on function.


I use silverware trays to keep the labeled baggies, and lettered their fronts with scrapbook stick onʼs. I love my Gingher scissors and my assorted scrap catchers that I keep around the studio for bits of thread and such.

What kind of space/organization issues do you face and what have you done to rectify this situation?

studio 001

Ah yes, the mess....I always leave a mess in my creative wake. I go from one set of beads to the next, pulling piles of beads out for consideration and before you know it, all available work surfaces are covered, sigh. I have found that I just need to commit to doing a deep clean every month or so, and a pick up and put away weekly to restore some order.

Do you use/prefer/need artificial light or natural light?

Photo on 2011-06-24 at 11.11 #4

Iʼm fortunate to be in Southern California and have a bank of north and west windows in the studio so I have plenty of natural light. Since Iʼm a morning girl and rarely work late into the evenings this works perfectly.

Interesting tidbits...


I like to have as much of my stash as possible out and about. Things tucked away in drawers tend to get forgotten. I used the closed space for bulk stock, packaging and the like and I use the slot wall as well as bowls and containers to keep the beads and findings that I use during design. The slot wall is perfect for this.


When you create designs that will become kits it is important to know the bead numbers. So every tube of beads that comes in gets a little baggie with the color number and if Iʼm being really efficient the price. I hole punch it and hang it on the slot wall. I track my crystal colors the same way.


How has your creative space evolved over time?

When we moved into this house the space was an overlooked former outdoor porch that had been closed in. It was hideous with 1980 linoleum, lattice work room dividers and dark paneling. We cleaned, carpeted, painted, and furnished with matching Ikea tables, bookshelves and cabinets. Now itʼs light bright and airy and a pleasure to work in.

How has having your own creative space affected your work?

Iʼve always managed to carve out a corner for whatever endeavor I have done, but your own space where youʼre ʻmessʼ does not have to be cleaned up in order to serve dinner, or go to bed, is a huge plus. I like having both my work and my inspiration supplies out and about where I can access them as the time is available. It helps me to be creative to be able to see pieces in process, I relate to them and think about them differently then if they were tucked away at the end of a session.

Thanks so much, Marcia!

Where can MAD Designs be found? You can visit Marcia and shop on her website, MAD Designs and follow her creative endeavors on her blog. Also, be sure to check out her book, Marcia DeCoster's Beaded Opulence: Elegant Jewelry Projects with Right Angle Weave.


Interested in having your studio featured in Featuring Studio Spaces?
Just click the little contact button at the top of the page and we'll set it up!

Click here to see all of my Featuring Studio Spaces Interviews.


  1. Beautiful! I would love to wander her space and play. Thanks for the chance to see inside.

  2. Wow!! I want to live in her studio!! :) It's amazing!

  3. I'm a beader, too and would love that huge wall display of tube beads and beads to fill it of course ;)Very inspiring space!

  4. Now if only my studio could be this organized.
    Nice little space you have there to bring out your creativity.


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