BCP 17 | Bead On with Laura Zeiner

Laura Zeiner has been beading and teaching beadwork for about twelve years and has a passion for putting a contemporary spin on traditional stitches. Nature is a constant theme in her beading and she loves to incorporate uncommon objects and “old things” into her work. She travels around selling her work at various bead& art shows, sometimes up to 15 in a year. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, John, and Ginger, her spoiled-rotten sheltie. In her “spare time”, she can usually be found training for triathlons or playing poker.


In my interview with Laura, we discuss how she developed her freeform style, her advice for newbies just starting show their work, and her participation in Battle of the Beadsmith with a little topless photography thrown in. I hope you enjoy the interview!

Crap I Found In the Road

Laura's Battle piece entitled, Crap I Found In the Road

Show Notes

Enchanted Evenings Bracelet by Laura Zeiner

Enchanted Evenings Bracelet by Laura Zeiner, available as a tutorial, skulls optional

More listening options:

Want to win a Freeform Peyote Bracelet Tutorial from Laura? All you have to do is leave a comment below about anything you learned from the show. Be sure to include your email address and I will choose a winner next week. Update: Congrats to Ksenia! She won the tutorial from Laura!

Freeform Necklace with Elk Antler by Laura Zeiner

Freeform Necklace with Elk Antler by Laura Zeiner

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • avatar Mel McCormick October 2, 2014, 3:13 pm

    Good info on pricing your items … no particular formula but be sure to pay yourself a decent wage.


  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth October 2, 2014, 3:38 pm

    Thanks for your comment, Mel! Do you think further discussion of formulas would help?

  • avatar Lisa Vale October 2, 2014, 4:10 pm

    Learned to try to do more freeform designs. Laura’s work is really wonderful. Really like the Freeform Necklace with Elk Antler.

  • avatar Karen October 2, 2014, 4:27 pm

    Great interview! I really love Laura’s work. I appreciate her talking about the fear of working on freeform peyote… I started a bracelet a few years ago and it looked awful so I never tried again. I think I’ll take her advice to be willing and to let go of expectations.

  • avatar Cynthia Eastman-Roan October 2, 2014, 5:53 pm

    I love freeform peyote, but I do spend a lot of time on each creation. It’s hard to price them so they sell, & I have a little profit. Love your information! It is very helpful, & inspiring.

  • avatar Patty October 2, 2014, 6:46 pm

    I enjoyed the interview with Laura, her work is so cool!! I can do peyote but I don’t think I could do the free form…very cool. I’m sure what bridges are??
    Thanks for the podcast.

  • avatar Patty October 2, 2014, 7:05 pm

    I learned that one of my problems with selling my jewelry is the ‘question mark’ pricing….I have a problem of under valuing myself….Is $35 , ok I’ll say….I will learn to say that’s $35
    Thank you!

  • avatar Ksenia October 3, 2014, 4:14 am

    Thank you for this wonderful podcast, Mandi! I found the Bead Circle by google coincidence and now I feel I could spend a whole day just reading the blog and doing research about all the inspiring beading artists that you introduce!
    I’ve been thinking about starting some kind of beading business for a while now and attending shows and just getting more “seriuos” about something that I care about ever since I was a little child. I live in Germany and beading is less known over here, which means less matching shows for me, but less competition as well :-) So pricing tips and show experiences are right on time. And though there were no formulas or anything, I think the most important thing that came across for me concerning that is to have more self-confidence. Probably one would even call it a change of thought about oneself: Stop seeing yourself as a girl with that strange unknown hobby, start understanding one’s work as an “expert’s” work, right?
    And the other reason why I really liked this podcast is that it introduced me to a new technique. I am a rather free-form mind, too, so I guess free-form peyote might work well with me, and I’m in the mood for learning completely new thing, eitherway. Just learned beading crochet, and free-form peyote is definitely my next stop!

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth October 3, 2014, 6:24 am

    Lisa, I am so glad to see your interest in Freeform work!

    For you and anyone else interested, Karen Williams and I have a freeform peyote group on Facebook where we help coach people through their first pieces etc.

    Karen, I’m so excited that you will be giving it another try. One of our philosophies in our group is that it goes through an ugly duckling stage that you need to move through. If you don’t like it…add more beads!

    Awesome, Elba, I can’t wait to see what you make :)

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth October 3, 2014, 6:39 am

    Hi Patty, thanks for your comment! Bridges are simply a line of peyote that comes off of another section of peyote. Bridges can create a small space in a heavily beaded area, or not as many beads added for a more lacy, airy look. Search on Pinterest for freeform peyote pieces and you will see many examples of this. Hope that helps!

  • avatar Mandi Ainsworth October 3, 2014, 6:43 am

    Ksenia, Yay! I am so happy you found your way here! Looks like you had some big ah-ha moments today, and I’m excited to see where you take them. For more help with freeform, I hope you join my group on Facebook :)

  • avatar Melody October 3, 2014, 6:57 am

    I have a couple of shows coming up this season. I hope I price my pieces right.

  • avatar Lenka October 3, 2014, 7:10 am

    This is so full of inspiration for me. I am beginner, but I love these pieces of heaven:)

  • avatar Sue Kirby October 3, 2014, 7:25 am

    Great interview. I tried a bracelet a few years ago and gave up. Now I might try it again. What I really like is the ability to use so many different sizes and types of beads. Or even other objects like she does. Thanks for the interview.

  • avatar Laura Zeiner October 3, 2014, 4:10 pm

    I especially liked the Baywatch-style soundtrack at the beginning and end!

  • avatar Benita Randle October 3, 2014, 4:52 pm

    Great interview! I used to live in Austin and my very first seed bead class was Laura’s Enchanted Evenings Bracelet a few months before it appears in Bead & Button Magazine. Now I feel like I can do brick stitch with my eyes closed. LOL!

    I appreciated the reminder to be patient, know your worth and making sure you pay yourself a living wage.

    Thank you, Mandi, for your podcast!

  • avatar Mary Kearney October 3, 2014, 4:59 pm

    Great podcast! I learned you can use just about anything in freeform ! Laura even used an elk antler! So cool!!

  • avatar Paula Carter October 3, 2014, 8:21 pm

    i really enjoyed the podcast! Laura your work is amazing! I learn that you should just let yourself go,be as creative and as imaginative as you want to be. I think I get a little too OCD that’s why I like freeform you don’t have to worry if everything is just so perfect,a mistake might be a happy accident.
    Thank you!

  • avatar motidana October 5, 2014, 4:18 am

    I loved hearing the podcast , and found the talk really inspiring . As a beginner , I tend to give up on a project sometimes due to lack of know how and also because it is difficult to get the brands of seed beads so popular in the western countries ( it is difficult to order online too due to import regulations ) but in that case free form bead work , there are no such road blocks . And after hearing Laura and seeing the gorgeous work , I`m happy that I will be able to complete my projects just as I had visioned , and I will be able to rework on my mistakes and create wonderful work !

  • avatar Kim October 5, 2014, 7:26 am

    I loved this podcast! Loved the business tips but also a little of the inside on what it takes to make it bigger than what I’m now doing. Thanks for your wonderful podcast.

  • avatar Patrice Quinn October 5, 2014, 9:07 am

    I feel re-energized to just DO my ideas without fear and let myself go–into the creative process. Thank you too for the encouragement to pay ourselves for our valuable time and creativity!

  • avatar PATRICE PANNILL October 6, 2014, 2:21 pm

    On Fri, Oct 3, 2014 at 2:22 PM, wrote:

    thank you so much for the recording of the interview with Laura Zeiner. She said so many things that really helped me. One thing that I learned was that I should have a stunning piece to draw people in and I should also have very affordable pieces that people can buy. So price point is critical. I need to spend more time creating affordable items.

    Thank you so much and thank you for entering me into the giveaway.

    Patrice Pannill

    HSIA Designs

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