Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Contest 2010 featuring Glass
Meet the Designer-Artist
Where do you live? Mesa, Arizona
Describe your artistic style. My style is mostly sleek and elegance inspired by my love of gemstones. I continue to expand my designs, but the underlying tone is always the same sleek and elegance for every jewelry piece I design.
What inspires you as a designer-artist? The magic of wire-wrapping inspires me. The first time I actually captured a gemstone in wire, I was excited. Didn't make any difference that the design was goofy. The stone stayed put. Even today, I get that same excitement when I work on new stones. Every wire-wrapped sculpture has a story for me.
What materials do you most enjoy working with? I work with gemstones and different types of beads, cabochons and faceted stones. I also love the dichroic pieces as well. Of course I use wire of all shapes and sizes. I love to combine a couple different size wires and different tempers.
What inspired this design? The inspirations for the bracelet came from the sleek look of the cubed bead. It's really like a faceted stone with six sides. As I took the string of beads and put them on my wrist I saw what I needed to make the bracelet.
How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working? The cubed beads on my wrist had spaces and I wanted something light to put with the space. The daisy spacers are perfect for this look. Brings a little softness to the structure. The wire used was a bit of a fluke. I tried wrapping it with a few square wires and it was not the look I wanted. Then the 14 gauge was used on another project and I gave it a try. It finished the bracelet off perfectly.
Share Your Background
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading? About 15 years ago I started collecting gemstones. I needed something to do with them and that's when I learned about wire-wrapping. Of course the first lessons are with beads and I found great combinations that many people liked. Started making gifts and now I sell them.
Who introduced you to beading? The wire-wrapping instructor showed me how to use great beads in my work. I started to see designs with different bead jewelry and started using them in my wire-wrapping even more. Sometimes a little bead brings the whole piece together.
Do you have an artistic background? I have been fortunate to have a mother who kept me very busy as a child. Through school activities and 4-H, I learned about crocheting, sewing, knitting. I also learned how to play a number of instruments and photography.
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®? I had a few friends from work show me things they made and that their supplies came from Fire Mountain. I was so happy to see all the different wires you carry.
What other hobbies do you have? I really enjoy using photography with my jewelry. I have an inspiration to make some prints of my photography and put them on my website as well.
Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups? I actually teach classes and now have a following of students who want to continue a group. So am I bringing them together. It is fun to see them share their personal style and I am glad I had a part in it.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life? I believe that jewelry entered my life to keep me going. I lost a couple of businesses recently that were surrounding Real Estate and Mortgage. It would have been completely terrible if I didn't have something to fill my time. I started to work in a temp agency for a mortgage company and it was quite boring. I found myself creating new designs to make and also a business plan for a jewelry business was born. When the mortgage company pulled all the temp staff out, I started teaching classes and selling jewelry. The temp agency told me the same company wanted me back for a couple of days, but wasn't sure how many days they would need me. I stepped out in faith that this was supposed to happen. It has been a great success story for me in this tough time. I haven't gone back to the temp agency.
If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry? I had tried a craft fair to get started and the first one was a bit disappointing. There were so many jewelers that surrounded my display and I was not getting enough people over to my booth. I fortunately had another plan and saved the show by offering classes. I made more than the other jewelers did and that is how I started my business. I just put a website together and I will be having my first jewelry party soon. There are people who are kind enough to spread the word and my jewelry business is starting to grow.
Do you participate in any charity fundraisers? I haven't done this as of yet, however, I have been asked to teach this to some high school kids. I really like this idea as art has pretty much been removed out of the schools. I believe my first class will be ready in the fall.
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists? Love what you do and others will love it as well. I would wear my jewelry because it made me feel good. Then people noticed my designs and started asking me to make jewelry pieces for them. It gave me a little bit of money. It helps to hang out with people, mainly women, who love jewelry. Find that lady with a ring on every finger and you will see what I am talking about!