Where do you live? Tucson, Arizona and Carmel, California
Describe your artistic style. I am inspired by the stones that I work with. My style is to lay out the stones all over my studio and they speak to me as to how to lay them out. The pieces literally come together.
What inspires you as a designer-artist? I love to do trunk shows as it gives me the opportunity to hear what our customers are looking for. Our jewelry is meant to make the wearer feel special and beautiful!
What materials do you most enjoy working with? I love pearls, and am also attracted to many semi-precious stones, specifically lapis, turquoise and coral.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story? For The Love of Lapis
It was used on the cover of Tucson Magazine.
What inspired this design? Greeks spoke of an ancient sapphire which was included with gold, and this was lapis. Ancient Egyptians used Lapis as the symbol of truth. I love the way I feel when I wear this piece.
How did it come together? My husband and I purchased the stones and I had the gold beads and clasp, they literally spoke to me, as many of my designs do, and they came together almost on their own. In most cases my husband, Larry, goes with me to the gem shows to choose our materials. He has a great eye for special stones and shapes.
Share Your Background
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading? In 2003 my sister, mother and I took a beading class for fun from the wife of a client of my husband's, she owned a retail bead store at the time. My sister and I became hooked immediately.
Who introduced you to beading? My sister and business partner, Lisa Peterson.
Do you have an artistic background? I received a BFA degree from the University of Arizona (a four year degree in two years). My focus was media arts not design. It was almost 30 years after graduating college that I started designing and making jewelry.
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®? I heard about them from another designer.
What other hobbies do you have? My husband and I are avid golfers and we also love to travel all over the world.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life? My sister and I began our business in March of 2003. Soon after I started doing jewelry shows at Canyon Ranch Spa in Tucson, AZ. This launched our business on an International level as I met people from all over the world who purchased our jewelry. The 'hobby' soon became a full-time career. I now try to balance my personal and business life as best I can. I am fortunate that many of my newer friends I have met through my business, as they start as customers and become a very important part of my life.
If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry? Having spent over twenty years owning and running two local radio stations in Tucson, I have a strong background in marketing. When we started our business, many of the local Tucson magazines and newspapers were very supportive of our company and provided a great deal of exposure for us at no cost to our company. We also had a web designer build us a website, and we have also focused on using our Laurie and Lisa Designs Facebook page to promote our business.
Do you participate in any charity fundraisers? We donate all of our proceeds to charities in the communities in which we live and sell our jewelry.
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists? Making a jewelry business successful is much more than being a great designer. One needs to have good retail stores to sell their pieces, and also have a strong business background.