Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Where We Create: Designed by Val's Space

I am Val Swanson, jewelry designer for Designed by Val. I have an online shop and I am located at Holly Springs, NC. I design one-of-a-kind jewelry using precious gems, semi-precious gems, Swarovski crystals, lampworked beads, and more.
Designed by Val's Bonus Room Workspace How would I describe the space in which I create?
I have a wonderful set up in our bonus room. The workstation is made out of a desk, credenza, table, and two cabinets. In addition, I have 2 boxes, 1 bin, and a sewing basket. I primarily design on the desk using a variety of beadboards. I use the table for overflow. The cabinets were built by my fabulous husband. One cabinet has all precious gems, semi-precious gems, and Swarovski crystals. The other cabinet has all of my metal beads and findings. My space is organized in a giant circle so I can sit in my chair and reach everything except for the metal beads and findings. Periodically, I have to stop and dig out from under a mess and clean off my work space.

What is my favorite thing about my space?
My favorite piece in my area, after the cabinets built by my husband, is my sewing basket. In the sewing basket I keep all of my stringing wire, metal chain, and overflow tools. I also recently just obtained a complete set of the Wubbers specialty pliers which I highly recommend. I have seven lamps surrounding my work area which gives me many different options in ambient light.
Designed by Val's Metals CabinetHow do I keep my space organized?
My metals are all organized by type – so all sterling silver beads and findings are together, same for gold filled, vermeil, etc. My stones are all organized by color and so are my Swarovski crystals, Czech glass, and lampwork beads. All stringing materials are kept in the sewing box. Chains are bagged together by metal type. I have a separate box for all wire which is bagged by metal type. It’s important to be able to lay your hands on your materials quickly; this also makes it easier to make a supply order because you can quickly determine what is missing.

Do I have inspiration pieces in my space?
I have a notebook full of techniques, color lessons, and jewelry from the trade magazines. When I am stumped, I open the notebook and flip through it looking for a color scheme or feeling to strike me. Once a feeling grabs hold, I close the notebook and start to create.
Gemstone Cabinet in Designed by Val's workspaceIn addition to my etsy shop, you may find me on facebook, on Twitter @DesignedbyVal, and on Linkedin at Valerie Swanson. Facebook fans receive a special monthly coupon code to use on any item. I also run a Featured Item of the Day which will be one special item highlighted in my shop and on sale for 24 hours.

NC Triangle Team members who wish to be featured, please contact Shore Debris.


  1. what a nicely organized workspace, Val!

  2. Wonderful workspace! Everything is so organized! Want to rent out your husband to build me some cabinet? lol!

  3. Fantastic Post and Space! Love how you have everything so clean and organized. :)

  4. What a great space to work in. I enjoyed reading about it and how you get inspiration.