BCP 13 | Romantic Beading with Melissa Shippee

melissa_grakowskyIt is an honor to introduce my guest, Melissa Grakowsky Shippee. She originated from and still resides in the rolling hills of Connecticut. She received a BFA in Painting and a BS in Physics from the University of Connecticut in 2006. Since then, she has discovered the world of beadwork and fallen in love with this art form. As the graphics coordinator for Beads East, she learned most of the bead stitches by writing beadwork instructions.

Melissa created an award-winning beaded mask, created several more in the collection, and went on to teach a full workshop on the technique at
B&B 2013. She is drawn to crystals, metallic beads, and contrasting colors. One of her primary design principles is to have some form of self-similarity on all scales, an idea pulled from mathematics and nature.

Queen Isabella's Sceptre Lariat being taught at B&B by Melissa Shippee

Queen Isabella's Sceptre Lariat being taught at B&B by Melissa Shippee

In my interview with Melissa, we discuss her gorgeous beaded masks, her book I Can Herringbone: From Basic Stitch to Advanced Techniques, and her new venture, Bead Elves. I hope you enjoy the interview.


Show Notes

More listening options:

Want to win a kit or tutorial from Melissa? All you have to do is leave a comment answering the question: What word would you use to describe your style? Be sure to include your email address and if you are in the U.S. or an international beader. We will randomly select the winners next week. Good Luck!

Giveaway update: The winners have been chosen, and congrats to Lisa Ballowe and Carol Hitchcock! Check your email inbox with instructions for how to claim your prizes. Big thanks to all who entered!

{ 86 comments… add one }
  • avatar Diana Lawless March 25, 2014, 11:20 am

    My beading is best described as random fun.
    We are RVers so we are from where ever we are parked. I grew up in Pa.

  • avatar Bonnie E. March 25, 2014, 11:27 am

    My style seems to change with the seasons/my mood, but my pieces usually have texture and something related to nature. Thanks for the interview and contest!

  • avatar Mrs Beth Wolland March 25, 2014, 11:35 am

    Mine is bendily beautiful :) I have only just started making jewellery and have Ehlers Danlos so I’m hypermobile and have very shaky paws! :)

  • avatar Kathy B March 25, 2014, 11:50 am

    Inspiring interview! My beading style is evolving. I love to learn new techniques, and to see the wonderful beaded objects others are creating. I rarely follow a pattern; I always change the bead colors or sizes, often based on a color combination found in nature.

  • avatar Ida Willaims March 25, 2014, 12:27 pm

    Great interview! Melissa is a good and inspiring teacher. Her work is wonderful.. My beading is a way for me to try incorporate some of my ideas into bead designs – sometimes they make it and others they don’t.

  • avatar Liz H March 25, 2014, 12:36 pm

    Eclectic – I am mostly drawn to flowing, organic shapes; but also like geometric structure on occasion.

  • avatar Sherry March 25, 2014, 12:50 pm

    I love getting ideas from vintage pieces and looking for vintage inspiration in modern beadwork.

  • avatar Julie March 25, 2014, 1:01 pm

    Greetings from Seattle! Great podcast. I really enjoy these interviews. I’d have to say that my beading style is eclectic because I enjoy mixing in found objects and multi media projects. I started beading about 20 years ago, stopped for awhile, and now I’m gearing back up again. I hope you keep up with the podcasts and YT videos.

  • avatar Jenni March 25, 2014, 1:12 pm

    I used to be known as the Queen of bling as I loved working with crystals but lately I have been engrossed in Kate McKinnon’s Contemporary Geometric Beadwork and loving every minute. I summer in Massachusetts and winter In Florida.

  • avatar Marilyn Solberg March 25, 2014, 1:42 pm

    because I tend go from one style to another when I see new patterns.

  • avatar Rhonda March 25, 2014, 2:34 pm

    I’m a fairly new beader so my style is evolving. I love freeform peyote.

  • avatar Cheryl Norwood March 25, 2014, 2:35 pm

    I really enjoyed the interview! It’s fun to hear how people get started in beading! I would define my beading style as Texas weather(ever-changing) as it is always changing! I love to bead new things I see and drool over! I am trying to learn designing. I live in Lake Jackson,Texas.

  • avatar Ximena Kelley March 25, 2014, 2:45 pm

    My style varies with the seasons.. My favorite time is the fall . I love the colors of the New England fall. My newest adventure is beaded embroidery . I am a New Englander transplanted in Tyler Texas.

  • avatar Peggy March 25, 2014, 2:57 pm

    Eclectic! I bead whatever I feel like and learn a new technique when needed. I love your contests and podcasts! Keep up the good work!

  • avatar Jamie March 25, 2014, 3:18 pm

    My one word to describe my beading style is ecclectic. I am all over the board with what I like

  • avatar Marie Weakland March 25, 2014, 3:23 pm

    I guess my style is ecclectic too; whatever pattern catches my eye! I do love working with new beads on the market, like bead studs and o beads.

  • avatar Patricia March 25, 2014, 3:36 pm

    My beading style is always changing as I find inspiration from other beaders, nature, vintage and historical jewelry pieces and pictures. Everything and anything can inspire a new use of color, shape and/or form. I would love to win one of your kits. I live in the foothills of North Carolina.

  • avatar Chrei March 25, 2014, 4:27 pm

    My bead style for the moment is simple and easy. A quick make for a gift in the waiting for others..

  • avatar Sandra Amburn March 25, 2014, 4:40 pm

    Great podcast and interview! Beadweaving is my favorite thing to do, but I love all types of beading and wire as well!

  • avatar Tiana Rice March 25, 2014, 5:15 pm

    Diverse: this one word describes my beading style. I believe that trying a beading project/pattern at least once gives me the knowledge of all the different ways to bead. I love to create beaded jewelry, especially using peyote, spiral weaving and right angle weaving. My next project will be my very first peyote banner using delicas size 11/0. The finished product should roughly be about 20″ x 16″ and will use about 87,464 delicas using 63 different colors. This might take awhile to finish. Lol

  • avatar Rene March 25, 2014, 5:33 pm

    My bead style is using all of the small beads I love individually for maximum impact – blocks of color or texture can make a group of small beads seem larger than life!

  • avatar Rene March 25, 2014, 5:34 pm

    …and I’m from Australia. :-)

  • avatar Natasha Wiegelman March 25, 2014, 5:51 pm

    Floral… I feel most comfortable with designs related to nature and especially flowers…
    Thank you so much for the interview with Melissa!! I love her work!

  • avatar Sue Charette-Hood March 25, 2014, 6:32 pm

    My style is “Big, Bold and Chunky”. I rarely create dainty jewelry. My favorite bead types are the new two hole shapes beads and size 8 seed beads…..
    I do work with 15 seed beads albeit under duress!

  • avatar Debbie March 25, 2014, 6:38 pm

    I don’t think I really have a style… I just like beadweaving and learning new techniques and using new products…

  • avatar pat March 25, 2014, 7:01 pm

    my style is simplicity, delicate, petite. not big glopping bracelets or necklaces. they’re all fun tho.

  • avatar Mel March 25, 2014, 7:53 pm

    Bead weaving is my fav. Love using needle and thread.

  • avatar Jan Pethiyagoda March 25, 2014, 8:12 pm

    I would say my beading style is more innovative. When I follow a pattern and when I find ,I dont have the exact beads, I try to create my own pattern with the beads I ha

  • avatar Bonnie Lee March 25, 2014, 8:47 pm

    My style of beading is ever changing. Patterns,beads,color and sparkle play a big part of what I make. I recreate beaded jewelry from chosen Designers who I admirer. A designer I’m not. My passion is beading. I live in Arizona for now.

  • avatar Sherry B March 26, 2014, 4:23 am

    My style would be vintage and learning to bead outside the lines. From Muenster, TX/Nacogdoches, TX.

  • avatar Pam Chesbro March 26, 2014, 5:15 am


    I am still looking for my defining style. My friends will tell you that my beadwork has a vintage vibe but I like the twist of modern and vintage entwined.

    Love her work

  • avatar Mel March 26, 2014, 5:56 am

    I would like to win.

  • avatar Angela Webb March 26, 2014, 6:36 am


  • avatar Eva Williams March 26, 2014, 11:55 am

    Hi Everyone, I’m always excited to hear new techniques and see the fabulous things people can create. My style is bead embroidery. I love that I can take anything, nature, picture, shape and make it into a master piece. I also love the Victorian look. I live in the beautiful Poconos of Pennsylvania.

  • avatar Tammy Bowman March 26, 2014, 12:53 pm

    Quirky. US beader. nolfan1@hotmail.com

  • avatar Diana Schmidt March 26, 2014, 7:05 pm

    I am mainly a seedbeader. I use crystal, pearl & glass beads to complete the projects. peyote and herringbone are my favs so Meliss’s book would be a wonderful prize ! just sayin’.
    great interview. thank you.

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