About Sanya Preston:
I first had a go at making beadwork when I was about 10 years of age, it was a single strand necklace made from black and purple seeds beads strung on clear nylon line. I also had some 'poppet' beads which could be pushed together to create bracelets and necklaces, and I enjoyed playing with those.
Just over six years ago, I was shown how to make a pair of little star shaped earrings in a workshop at the Halloween Festival in London. I bought a pattern, some beads and a few findings from a stall run by Jean Colbear of Eagle Spirit Designs and made a bracelet. Unfortunately, I didn't know much about finishing off the ends at that time, and the bracelet eventually fell apart after I'd worn it a few times!
In April 2003, I wasn't working and my partner's dad had just passed away. I was feeling very down, so I decided to have another go at making beadwork jewellery, so I remade the bracelet, and some other items from free patterns I found online. Then I went to the local library and got a copy of 'Indian Bead Weaving' by Horace Goodhue. I started making lots of bracelets and necklaces, teaching myself how to do each stitch and then moving onto the next. I found it relaxing, and got a great sense of achievement when I'd finished each item!
I have designed a few pieces of my own, however most of the items I make are from other people's designs, and I think it's important to give credit to the designer of each piece, and to get their permission before selling a piece.
I decided I would like to meet up with other beaders, so I started the London Beadwork Meetup group, we try to meet up on a monthly basis, swap ideas, show each other what we've been making, and make beadwork while having a good old chat! http://groups.yahoo.com/group/londonbeadworkmeetup
My partner Richard also makes jewellery, he started during a Meetup, as he was bored, so he bought some chain, beads and head pins, and made earrings, necklace, bracelet and a belt within a couple of hours, all from his own imagination! That was four years ago, and now he's making some amazing jewellery, mostly his own designs!
We both sell our beadwork jewellery to family and friends. We also run regular stalls at Hopefield Animal Sanctuary in Brentwood, Essex during their Open Days, to help raise funds for the upkeep of the 200 or so rescued animals they look after there: http://www.hopefield.org.uk
You can keep up to date on what I'm up to on my Twitter page: http://www.twitter.com/vegan_sarnie
I raise money for charity with Everyclick.com
Join me: http://www.everyclick.com/sanyapreston