A Daoist's Dream Necklace
Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Contest 2010
featuring Metal Clay, Metal Beads, Wirework and Chain
||Meet the Designer-Artist
Where do you live?
Little Rock, Arkansas
Describe your artistic style.
Intricate, elaborate, elegant.
What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Beautiful artworks, music, vintage jewelry and fashion. Creative work from other artists.
What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Wire, gemstones, crystal beads and polymer clay.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
A Daoist's Dream Necklace
What inspired this design?
Daoism is a kind of ancient Chinese philosophy that ponders on the meaning of life, reality and mortality. Zhuangzi, a famous Daoist for the fourth century B.C., once wrote about a butterfly dream. He dreamed that he was a butterfly, flitting and fluttering happily in a garden, having not a care on his mind. He had no recollection of being human, but was happy and content flying from flower to flower. Then suddenly he woke up and there he was, solid, heavy and unmistakably human. At that point, he didn't know if he was a human who became a butterfly in his dream, or a butterfly becoming a human in its dream.
I loved the semi-precious stone bead mix and flowers that I bought from Fire Mountain Gems. They are not shiny and clear, but kind of muted colors which remind me of ancient Chinese watercolor paintings. There is definitely an understated, rustic elegance to them. When I started constructing the piece, I had no idea what it was going to be. I only knew that it was to be something intricate and Oriental. Then my daughter commented on how the half-constructed piece looked like butterfly wings and the light went on. The story of Zhuangzi's butterfly dream came into mind and materialized into this design.
How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
I am not a good planner. Although I do sketch out a piece from time to time before construction, most of the pieces I make I just go with the flow. This one, I had a rough idea in mind, a glimpse of the look and feel I wanted to achieve and then I just winged it. Didn't measure wire length, didn't count the beads. Halfway through the design, I got lost with a bunch of tangled, random weaves and didn't know how to go on, and my 11-year-old daughter commented that they looked like butterfly wings, and "aha!" The piece came together almost by itself after that.
Share Your Background
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I have always been pretty good with my hands. I used to knit and make little crafts when I was in high school. But I was never creative. I could follow patterns to a "t," but I could never come up with my own design. I was told that I was too "left-brained" and had accepted as a fact that there wasn't creative in me. Then in June 2009, after going through some personal growth, I had a three-day "brain fog" during which I literally could not tell right from left. I thought I was going senile! Eventually the fog lifted (kind of) and I woke up wanting to make jewelry and I have been making jewelry of my own designs since then.
Who introduced you to beading?
I didn't have time to take classes, but I bought a lot of books, beading and jewelry magazines. I go to websites, read blogs and tutorials.
Do you have an artistic background?
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
From beading magazines.
What other hobbies do you have?
I love to sing and listen to music.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
It is a passion in my life. Right now, although I have sold some of my pieces, I am still doing more exploration of style and techniques than making products to sell. In the future I would like to make it into a part or full-time business.
If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
At this point I am just selling locally. I would like to start selling online in the near future.
Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Just do it. Start making stuff even if you don't know what you are doing. Follow your spirit and your work will turn out nice!