Meet the Designer-Artist
Where do you live?
I live with my husband in Southern California.
Describe your artistic style.
I am very much an eclectic artist. I do as the mood strikes. I may paint first or draw a design. I may even go so far as to draft and engineer a piece, with moving parts and springs. Mostly, I let the beads take me on a journey. With an idea in mind and the piece laid out I just select a color scheme and theme. From there I let my imagination go.
What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Inspiration comes to me from everywhere. I love color and the world around me. Every day brings a new and exciting path to follow. Nature is my main guide.
What medium do you work with mostly?
My best work is done in bead embroidery. Seed beads are like little gems and anything that sparkles will get my creativity on alert. I like to incorporate gemstones into my work when possible, but not always.
Why did you become enchanted with this style of jewelry-making?
I've always had a love for making things and jewelry seemed the best thing ever. Never could pass a jewelry store window without stopping. Sewing has always been second nature for me and I learned to sew quite young. Jewelry and sewing are just a natural for me.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
This piece is called Raven Women.
What inspired this design?
It was inspired by a totem I saw in an ad for Alaska.
How did it come together?
This necklace evolved from a simple choker. As I watched it becoming a necklace, I saw more and more what I wanted to do with it. Until it became what you see today.
Share Your Background
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
My great father taught me to work wire when I was 10. In the 1970's I made and sold jewelry to boutiques in Los Angeles.
Who introduced you to beading?
I am self-taught. I took some embroidery classes when I was 10. The church offered a cross stitch class and they had a bus, so I went. Had a great summer learning the craft.
Do you have an artistic background?
Yes. At 16 I started college at night. While on scholarship I was able to do a year of college while finishing high school. I switched majors to math and architecture. While studying I worked as a display artist for many department stores, I Magnum, El Cameo boutiques, Liebergs Department store and was a display manager for Mervyns. I learned to quilt as a child and taught quilting in Illinois, and California. Lectured at guilds, taught classes and wrote for quilting magazines. Many of my quilts are on display in business and private collections.
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
Four years ago I got a computer and began learning to use it. I went on line three years ago and found Fire Mountain searching for beads. We are in a small community and do not have a bead shop. I NEEDED BEADS.
What other hobbies do you have?
I still do a bit of quilting. I have been sewing since I was 5. At 16 I was making all my own clothes. I do a lot of sewing as well as gardening, painting, drawing and reading. My days are filled with many artistic pursuits.
Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
I am a member of Diamond Valley Arts association and would like to get into the embroidery guild if I can find a driver.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
I am an all day beader. I don't sleep much, so I bead. I begin at about 4 am and stop when my fingers can no longer hold a needle or pliers. My fingers are so calloused I can no longer test my blood on those fingers. I have projects lined up and waiting for me to "get on with it." I am never bored or lacking for something to do. My sketch books are piling up and I am never without one. I carry one with me and sketch while waiting at the doctors' offices or in line at the bank, anywhere, waiting is never idle for me. It's just another time of the day to pursue my craft. It's a full time endeavor.
Three years ago I got breast cancer and devoted all my time to my jewelry-making and beading. It has been my salvation and my joy for all my waking hours since. I know I will get well because these beads I have need me to tell their story. The saying "the one who dies with the most beads wins" does not hold in this house. As long as there are beads I plan to be there stitching them, for a long time to come.
Where and How do you sell your jewelry?
I sell on eBay, at fine arts craft shows and by appointment.
Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I do some things for the local breast cancer drives and participate in fundraising at my oncologist's office. I also have Multiple Sclerosis and participate in some of their fundraising events.
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Don't stop. I've been beading for over 50 years and never entered anything but the county fairs. Now I am entering and receiving accolades. Any praise or recognition is such an ego booster. Keep at it and love what you do.
What inspired you to donate your bead(s) to Circle of Hope?
My inspiration is a friend's lost war with brain cancer, my own battle with breast cancer, my sisters' recovery from colon cancer, my aunts' breast cancer and my mother's recent death. Every year more and more survive cancer. Treatments are advancing every day. We must keep up the fight against this terrible thing, cancer.