Rosary of St. Benedict
||Meet the Designer-Artist
Where do you live?
Battle Creek, Michigan
Describe your artistic style.
Designer and creator of Unbreakable Heirloom Quality Devotional Rosaries and Chaplets.
What inspires you as a designer-artist?
The mysteries of the rosary and researching historical documents in order to bring to life long lost devotional items of times past.
What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Sterling silver, bronze, copper, precious and semi-precious stones.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Rosary of St. Benedict done in solid copper
What inspired this design?
Our Holy father Pope Benedict.
How did it come together?
I completed the design before I ever began the creation of it. I spent a lot of time with stone selection. I made very minor changes along the way.
Share Your Background
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
Do you like wire wrapped rosaries? How about wire wrapped rosaries kicked up a great big notch? Please meet Robert Dempsey! Robert specializes in devotional chaplet designs, and has recently branched out to full rosaries, no doubt much to the delight of his clients. He has an excellent eye for color and beautiful combinations of medals, centers, crucifixes and metal connecting pieces. To get to know Robert a little better, please enjoy his mini interview below with some photos of his pieces. And be sure to check out his blogspot and EBAY listings from the links provided.
How and when did you start making rosaries? Did something special happen to inspire you?
A number of years ago I started to look for a new rosary for myself. I began looking in various religious goods stores and then decided to try looking on the internet. Between the internet stores and EBAY I was just overwhelmed by the beautiful rosaries that were being made by such talented people. I have always been artistically inclined and my interest in trying my hand at this grew by leaps and bounds very quickly. I was very impressed by the look of a wire wrapped rosary and handmade bow connectors. So--I researched the internet for a book on wire wrapping techniques. Found one--bought a spool of galvanized (very inexpensive) 20 ga, half-hard wire, a pair of bent-nose and needle-nose pliers, rosary pliers and cutters. For the next six months every evening I sat in front of the TV with my book, wire and tools and twisted wire. I went through lots of wire until I felt comfortable enough to attempt my first chaplet with sterling silver. Now 99% of my rosaries and chaplets are made of sterling or solid bronze. I have made a few in copper. It is very gratifying and I enjoy hearing how delighted my customers are when their new chaplets arrive in their mailbox.
What's special about your rosaries? Technique? The stones? How did you come up with your style?
I like to pick a theme for my rosaries/chaplets and then build my design around that theme. It begins with rosary center and crucifix or hanging medal selection. Selecting just the right color for the Aves and then deciding how do I want to present the Pater Nosters. A significant amount of thought goes into selecting just the right connectors to join the decades together. Many times I can find special connectors that perfectly fit my theme. Do I change my mind throughout the design? I am constantly redesigning until I know I have given this sacramental the full justice and beauty it deserves. A number of my inspiration ideas come from the mysteries of the rosary itself. For example, recently I found some beautiful stones shaped like old stone water jugs. My inspiration from these stones is the "Wedding At Cana." From here I will begin designing my new rosary.
I was very interested in learning more about rosary chaplets of the saints and the various catholic devotions. Researching the history of chaplets and finding chaplets that are no longer common has inspired me to bring new life to them and make them available to awaiting customers. Since the majority of chaplets consist of between 9 and 33 beads it gives me the opportunity to use larger sized beads such as 10 and 12mm. A wire-wrapped chaplet made of this size feels great in the hand and is a sheer delight to pray with. It also has given me the opportunity to use a full color palate of stones and findings. Mixing different types and colors of semi-precious stones and medals puts a whole different slant to gorgeous devotional items. While sacramentals are not jewelry, they can be as impressive as fine jewelry-why not? I personally believe our Father, Blessed Mother, saints and Angels deserve to be glorified in many different ways such as, our devotional items can be very pleasing to the eye, heart and soul.
Where do you sell your pieces?
I sell my items on EBAY and word of mouth throughout the various dioceses throughout the country.
On my blog I announce new chaplets that I am working on and feature newly completed chaplets before they are put up on EBAY. This gives my blog followers an opportunity to watch for the new items. Special orders are always welcomed and I truly enjoy working with clients.
Shop with Robert Dempsey on Etsy: http://robertd5198.etsy.com
Robert's Heirloom Rosaries Blog: http://robertsheirloomrosaries.blogspot.com
Robert's Heirloom Rosaries Heirloom Quality Devotional Sacramental's Rosaries and Chaplets
Do you have an artistic background?
I have always been artistically inclined and enjoy working with my hands.
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
Searching the Internet for various components.
What other hobbies do you have?
Gardening, reading, fishing and hunting.
Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
Yes--The ETSY Rosary Guild Group.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
I do this part-time now that I am retired. Most of my work is done for clients who request custom made items. They either have special stones and/or colors that are meaningful to them or devotions, such as various saints they want to personalize to themselves or for gifts for others. It brings me great joy when they respond to me after receiving their item(s).
If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
The majority of my advertising is done on my Facebook page. I always point to my blog where folks can take the pictoral tour of many rosaries/chaplets I have created. This is helpful to them as it gives those ideas and inspiration. I do not sell at craft shows and I have not entered any contests.
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Spend a lot of time designing your item in your head before you begin your project. You are at liberty to make changes along the way as it comes to life. After all, it's your design and creativity.