We had the good fortune of connecting with Cynthia Winters of Bead Spy Studio and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Cynthia, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking.
Well, it’s all about risk-taking, isn’t it? Anything meaningful involves taking a risk, especially if you are a creative who decides to put your work out into the public. It’s scary, letting your precious little creations fly out on their own into the great big world of scrutiny and criticism, but that’s also where acceptance, commiseration and appreciation comes from. Creative work is a form of communication, and it has to be seen or heard or experienced to complete its journey. So it all involves risk, it always takes a leap of faith. I spent years making things quietly on my own, but when I decided to take a risk and form a business, and put the work out there, that was terrifying – but it was also exhilarating.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I use beads to make small sculptural pieces as well as jewelry. I feel that I learn new things every day that I work with beads, and it has been a journey from stringing them one by one to form a simple necklace, to the work I tend to do now, with is using the beads to create structural, 3-dimensional forms. When I established Bead Spy Studio in 2015, it was with two things in mind: to have a platform in which to present and sell my work, and to share information on bead stores, galleries, museums and other resources. For example, my instagram feed @beadspy is a mixture of photos of my own work, and profiles of bead resources that I have visited and “spied” upon both locally and during my travels. During the Covid-19 lockdown time when we could not physically visit these places, I started a series titled “Virtual Bead Tour 2020” on social media, to highlight some of these great resources. If there is one important lesson that I have learned, it is that none of us succeeds alone; we must all work together and lift each other up.

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
What is great about San Diego, is that it is truly an international city. For art lovers, I would take them to visit the monumental murals in Chicano Park, the beautiful outdoor sculptures of Niki de Saint Phalle’s Queen Califia’s Magical Circle in Kit Carson Park in Escondido. Mingei international Museum of World Folk art houses a treasure trove of beautiful handmade work from around the world. Of course, the San Diego Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego are always great places to view art and they host many interesting exhibitions from their own collections and traveling from other museums. In addition, there are many independent galleries and shops to explore in both San Diego and Tijuana, which has its own vibrant arts community. For beaders, a tour of all the local bead shops would also offer a great chance to see all the different parts of the county, from near the ocean shore in Pacific Beach to all the way up in the mountains in Julian, as well as Bonsall, Carlsbad, Clairemont, Convoy, Encinitas, Escondido, Kearny Mesa, La Jolla, Mira Mesa, Old Town and Solana Beach – there are beads all over this town!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We are extremely fortunate in San Diego to have a number of great bead resources, including the venerable San Diego Bead Society, a non-profit organization that serves to offer educational resources to our community, including lectures and workshops about the history and significance of ancient, international and contemporary art of beads and beadwork. I would love to give a shout-out to all the local bead stores in San Diego County who continue to inspire us all with beautiful materials, and share their knowledge to help beaders of all levels explore their creativity, including: Bead Cellar, Bead Gallery, Beads Crystals and More, Beads and More, Beads of La Jolla, Dancing Bear Indian Trader, Gem and Bead Mall, Lost Cities, Mountain Beadworks, Ocean Sky Beads, Oskadusa and Pacific Beads.

Website: Beadspy.com
Instagram: @beadspy
Facebook: Bead Spy
Other: Bead Spy Studio on Amazon Handmade: Amazon.com/handmade/Bead-Spy-Studio

Image Credits
Cynthia Winters