Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Jewelry-Making Contest 2011 featuring Seed Beads, Glass or Acrylic
Category: Jewelry Design Sets
Bronze Medal Prize Winner
Meet the Designer-Artist
Where do you live?
San Jacinto, 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?
Nature inspires me mostly. My workshop looks out over my beautiful yard and garden. Where there is an ever changing view of sky, trees, mountains, birds and plants.
What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I love seed beads. The smaller the better. I also like wire work if I can get it small enough.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
It is devoted to all those living with and in a cold wintery climate. We lived in Illinois and the winters were brutal. I know my friends and family that are still there had a hard winter this year and I dedicated this to all of them.
What inspired this design?
I was going to do a quilt with this fellow at the center. I kept the drawing up on the bulletin board for 2 years before I decided to make this necklace.
How did it come together?
It started with the face. I embroidered it and puffed it. It looked like a necklace to me. The rest of it came together as I worked on it, bit by bit.
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.
If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I do local craft fairs when I can. I have a few pieces in stores and beauty shops. I don't have a web site and am not proficient enough at the computer to manage it. I spend all my time making jewelry and beading. I don't have the time to spend on the computer learning.
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.
View all of Deborah's designs in the Gallery of Designs.
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.
Fund the fight against breast cancer with your purchase of this one-of-a-kind focal! View all handmade items donated by Deborah Glasser.