Describe your artistic style. My style is pictorial and/or freeform. I never could color within the lines.
What inspires you as a designer-artist? I am totally inspired by nature, the sea and my native Alaskan culture.
What materials do you most enjoy working with? I love working with beads of all kinds, fabric of all kinds, and found objects. I love searching the shore for glass, rooks and shells.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story? Raven
What inspired this design? The raven is an integral part of all Alaskan Native cultures.
How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working? I always start out with a basic idea (raven, fish, sea otter) but never know what it will look like in the end. My artwork defines itself.
Share Your Background
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading? I first learned about beading around 1971 and picked it up again around 1990. Learned a lot of techniques on the internet.
Who introduced you to beading? I was introduced to beading by my native elders. My first project was a daisy chain bracelet.
Do you have an artistic background? I am working on my BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) but I am mostly self-taught. I have been doing artwork for 40+ years.
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®? Fire Mountain Gems was one of the first bead stores I heard about when I picked up beading again in the 1990's.
What other hobbies do you have? Quilting, painting, silversmithing, crochet, gardening, fishing, baking, conning--never a dull moment.
Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups? For years I belonged to Matsu Valley Bead Society. I haven't joined for the last couple years but I miss the camaraderie.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life? Art is my full-time career whether it's painting, art quilts or beaded pictures. I generally don't make jewelry unless it's a gift.
If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry? My website is www.dancingravendesigns.com. I have artwork at an art gallery in Anchorage and also sell through word of mouth.
Do you participate in any charity fundraisers? I try to do at least one charity event each year by donating my time or artwork.
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists? Do what you love and love what you do. It always shows in the finished product.