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Salli Rathburn

Salli Rathburn

Silver in Bloom
Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Jewelry-Making Contest 2010 featuring Metal Clay, Metal Beads, Wirework and Chain
Silver Medal Prize Winner
Category: Necklace Metal Clay

Salli Rathburn

Winter or Spring
Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Jewelry-Making Contest 2013 featuring Seed Beads
Grand Prize Gold Medal Winner
Category: Necklace

Meet the Designer-Artist


Where do you live?
Cave Junction, Oregon

Describe your artistic style.
I work abstractly. After studying my subject thoroughly I work toward the desired feeling, rather than trying to duplicate realistically.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Light and shadow, color and tones and their never-ending combinations. At times the materials themselves inspire me.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I work with whatever materials I need to produce the desired effect. Lately, I've enjoyed combinations of metal and beads. Watercolor painting, drawing, yarns and threads in weaving and batik are other favorites.

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Silver in Bloom

What inspired this design?
Metal clay paste, the contrast of bright shiny silver and dark painted silver, the beauty of real leaves.

How did it come together?
I ponder over the materials and create a mental image. Next I study the subject and sketch numerous possibilities. Then I play with the material. I work toward the best design but never completely finalize the idea until the piece is done.

Share Your Background


Who introduced you to beading?
My daughter, Annie introduced me to beading and the Fire Mountain Gems candy store in 2006. I played around with necklaces but when I recognized beads as a sculpture medium, I was hooked.

Do you have an artistic background?
I have a BA in art and also in secondary education. I have taught art in the public school setting and painting on the community college level. Now that I'm retired I spend more time doing artwork, my first love.

What other hobbies do you have?
My art room has several work areas which include beading, metal work, painting and drawing. Other things I enjoy are visiting with friends and playing cards.

Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
I do not belong to any beading societies or groups, but I enjoy Bead and Button magazines, along with Fire Mountain Gems and Beads catalogs and other beading magazines and books.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Beading is a refreshing pursuit which I enjoy as a hobby. It stretches my imagination and soothes the wild beast in me.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I enter Fire Mountain Gems contests. Occasionally I enter an art show and occasionally I sell my work. I'm not very interested in marketing.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
Occasionally I teach small beading classes or other art classes to help bring out the creativity in people. All classes and materials are provided at no cost to the students.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Push the limits of your materials and your own individual creativity.

View all of Salli's designs in the Gallery of Designs.

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