Fire Mountain Gems and Beads 2009 Beading Contest
Meet the Designer-Artist
Describe your artistic style.
I acknowledge serendipity and try hard to accept where it takes me. And I have never met a stone or metal that didn't seem precious to me.
What inspires you as a designer-artist?
The history of beads inspires me. Like music every culture has its own history with beads. They have stories to tell of design techniques inventiveness, and beauty.
What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I love seed beads and bugles. When I discovered how I could use both for square beads I had melded together my two favorite materials. The other materials I like incorporate in my pieces are vintage uncirculated beads and vintage components and chains.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
What inspired this design?
I was watching a documentary called ''The Long Way Down.'' Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman ride from northern Africa to southern Africa on touring motorcycles. Every scene in the movie showed the new colors and the ancient colors of the plains (savannah,) the ruins, the tropics, and the people. It was very inspiring that people with so little gave so much to strangers. I wanted to make the piece to convey the sublime spirit of human camaraderie.
How did it come together?
I had just finished a bright spring/summer necklace. So I was working my squares in bronzes, olive greens, and as I watched the documentary I remembered the beautiful carved bone beads that I had wanted to use for awhile. I tried to bead each in the same color family and like Nature's own sunsets, never duplicate them. The colors and shapes simmered in my head, influenced my days and started to make sense. Then the piece came together easily and with absolute commitment on my part.
Share Your Background
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
In 2004 a friend was moving on and did not want her beads sitting in her drawers anymore. I happened to be there. Lucky me! She was also the one who gave me so much encouragement when I started this adventure. She believed I could do this and very soon I believed it too.
Who introduced you to beading?
This friend, books and magazines.
Do you have an artistic background?
I have been a musician for 20 years. Music like beads covers the world. The creativity and cultural influence of any artist tells the story of where they are right now. I like that very much.
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
The very first bead magazine I bought had your ad in it of a free catalog. I ordered it because I liked that you were based in Grants Pass Oregon. I'm a Pacific Northwest gal and wanted to support your business. The catalog is like a beader's paradise! Then reading and ordering I appreciated the superior pricing and customer service. But best of all are the photos of employees in gorgeous jewelry, even the guys!
What other hobbies do you have?
My hobbies are playing harmonica, music and swimming.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
When I began beading I had no idea how it would affect my health. I was diagnosed in 2003 with fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and major depression. Beading is to me almost magical. I call it Zen beading. When I'm beading the chronic pain disappears. It has helped with my depression by giving me a sense of accomplishment, hope for the future, and I get to create something no one else has. Beading ties me to the world outside myself and for that I am very, very grateful.
If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I have started to enter contests and I have a website: bymyhandsjewelry.artfire.com. I have come a long way and it feels good.
Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
Every year I donate pieces to different charities. This year I donated to "Autism Speaks". In the past I have donated to a women's sober living house.
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
As soon as you can invest in precious metal findings. But never turn down a good deal! If you don't use things new they might be just what you need when you least expect it. If you find joy making jewelry just keep on trying. Invest in your dreams!
View all of Diana's designs in the Gallery of Designs.
What inspired you to donate your bead(s) to Circle of Hope?
My aunt went through two mastectomies in the 1960s. It was a very new procedure and hugely painful. It changed her life for the worst. I always saw the pain in her eyes. I will never forget it.