Family Stringer Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Jewelry-Making Contest 2011 featuring Pearls, Organic Beads and Molding Clay Grand Prize Gold Medal Winner
Meet the Designer-Artist
I live in Overland Park, Kansas. My family and my surroundings inspire me. My artistic style is over the top and I like to make one-of-a-kind unusual show stopper pieces. I am constantly studying color theory and try to put colors together that play off one another. I work with beads and polymer clay and love to add vintage elements. I like to add whimsy too.
I have not entered in any other Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Jewelry-Making contests before. I wanted my first one to be my best work. When I first saw the notice for this contest I knew I needed to do a show stopper necklace. I had so much fun making all the little fishes in ''Family Stringer.'' It took me about 2 months to make this piece. I have a full-time job in the insurance field. My family is very supportive of my art work. We have to eat in the dining room or on the couch because the kitchen table is always covered with my creations.
Share Your Background
I have beaded since I was 13 and was inspired by the beading in the late '60s. I taught myself because back then no one taught classes and I never found a book on bead weaving. I have always been interested in making things. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of New Mexico. I am intrigued by Color Theory. I have studied it for over 30 years and still feel there is more to learn. I love to mix colors and shapes in my art work. I pride myself in making over the top jewelry. I specialize in three types of jewelry. I make bold, chunky gemstone necklaces, intricate free form peyote bead weaving designs and polymer clay pendants and beads. I incorporate all three of these at times into dramatic designs. I specialize in one-of-a-kind pieces that take hours. I have to always enhance both sides of my work. The back needs to look just as nice as the front. I work slow and probably spend more time staring and thinking than working.
I started making polymer clay fish about 7 years ago in honor of my family fishing trips. My husband Erik and children Alex and Audrey and I have gone on yearly fishing trips to Canada. We are always in search of the illusive 50 inch muskies that elude our hooks. We seek out the same ones every year while they nestle in their honey holes basking in the sun. They smirk at us with their large teeth and avoid our hooks. The fish I make are my replicas of the catch and release trophy fish we catch each year. One of my fish lines had purses with chains attached to them because you don't want to put your cell phone and money in your fish pockets. I started doing Steampunk fish about 3 years ago and they evolved into these Rescue Fish. The Rescue Fish series started after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear devastation in Japan of March 2011. I tried to make them look radioactive and fierce yet make them friendly enough for someone to want to adopt them to a new home.
I belong to the Kansas City Bead Society and am a founding member of the Kansas City Polymer Clay Guild. I do a few local shows with friends. I do one large show a year put on by The Kansas City Bead Society. It is the annual Bead Blast which is May 5th and 6th, 2012 at the Overland Park Trade Center in Overland Park, Kansas. I donate to charity auctions that friends put on. Making beaded and clay jewelry are my only hobbies at this time except I did just make a fish sculpture for the Earth Day Recycled Art Contest at my work. It is a Steampunk Rescue Fish.
I wish I could create all day every day. I really need to focus on selling my jewelry (at least that is what my husband says). I am not the greatest at marketing. The last two years I have really focused on entering contests. That has been a great source of inspiration for me. It is kind of like a college art assignment. What can I do to get the best design that is truly me and based on what I want to project out as a statement? Will this be something that no one else would do and if it is over the top then is it perfect? I love to look at trends and see what is happening and current, but I always put a spin on it. I have my own vision of what I want to do and then try to engineer it. I don't like to follow the rules and try to break them all the time in my work. I make little sketches and take notes but I am not organized enough to rely on them when I start a piece. (I can't seem to find them.) I get an idea in my head and then let it evolve. I tend to stare at the pieces and think about them far too much. My pieces may look spontaneous and unplanned but they are actually quite the opposite. My advice to other designers is to follow your passion and don't give up.
What inspired you to donate your bead(s) to Circle of Hope?
My grandmother had a mastectomy in the '70s. She lived for many more years until age 90. Imagine what the next 40 years of research will bring. Thank you FMG for your support of breast cancer research.