Fire Mountain Gems and Beads
2009 Jewelry-Making Contest
Cootie Beauties Mono Necklaces
Where do you live?
Hello. My name is Sarah Allison. I'm an artist, my medium is beads. I currently live in Oregon where I feel like I've finally found ''home,'' but I was born in California and grew up in Arizona.
Describe your artistic style.
I'm a self-taught beader, constantly growing and learning in my craft. I only follow the ''rules'' that work for me and I make up the rest along the way. My resulting beaded art is eclectic and personal and always changing. No matter what I'm working on, I put myself into everything I make. I believe that each piece I make is made for someone, even if I don't know who that is when it's being made.
What inspires you as a designer-artist?
The materials themselves. When I go into a bead store, it's more about buying what strikes my fancy then what I need for a specific project, mainly because I rarely have a specific project in mind. Recently, I have begun to design pieces in my head more often than just pulling out my beads and seeing what they want to be turned into. More often than not, though, those designs never turn out the way I originally thought they would, but they always turn out the way they're supposed to.
What materials do you most enjoy working with?
That changes as often as my mood does, but I have a soft spot for crystals, Fiber Optic glass beads and Hematite. And sometimes I like mixing all three. I'm a very fickle chick - it shows in my beading and in my bead collection. I have every color, every finish, every shape, every stone, every type and every size of bead that appeals to me. Quite often, I mix as many as I can into a beaded creation. But I also enjoy making simple patterns and color combos. The Virgo in me makes me want things neat and organized; the non-Virgo in me likes chaos. So, no matter how many different colors, shapes or types of beads I put in a piece, there's always some sort of order--even if only I can see it. With beads there are so many choices, so many combinations, so many possibilities which makes beading a wonderful outlet for my creative and fickle mind. Beading allows me to put myself into beautiful pieces of art.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Cootie Beauties Mono Necklaces
What inspired this design?
Artists see the world a bit differently from non-artists. Whatever their medium is, they see inanimate objects as art materials. An artist's eye is the only way I can explain why I created the Cootie Beauties Collection.
There's this very adorable, quirky collection of plushes called Giant Microbes that are plush versions of germs. I have several of their normal sized ones and have given several as gifts because I like them so much. I recently discovered that they make another smaller version of them that comes in a little plastic Petri dish. When I first saw these smaller microbes, I didn't see a quirky toy, I saw a possible pendant. So, I bought a set of the Mono toys and got to creating.
How did it come together?
Took a little trial and error--one of the three in the package sacrificed its life in the name of art--but eventually I had two adorable pendants. The fun part was stringing the actual necklaces. I wanted them to be as beautiful as my other work, not cheap or silly looking. I think I did a pretty good job at that. Neither design was planned in advance; they just came to me when I got out my beads--like most of my pieces.
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I've been beading since I was a child, what age, I don't remember. Sometimes, I feel like I was born a beader. There was a long period of time that I didn't bead, though I don't remember why I stopped. I started again after high school, but still didn't really bead seriously or professionally until I walked into a small bead shop in Flagstaff, Arizona and saw fiber optic beads for the first time. I fell in love with these smooth, glass beads that came in a wonderful rainbow of colors. Their cat's eye-like texture makes them shine and reflect so beautifully. After working with these pretties for a while, beading was no longer a hobby, it became my art.
Who introduced you to beading?
My mother is a very crafty woman, whom I was and still am inspired by. Beading is what caught my eye and mom thought it would be a good way to keep my hands busy. I'd make long, colorful necklaces of every plastic bead I could find. They'd be these horribly mismatched, clashing pieces but I loved them. I'd wear them in class and it would give me something to fiddle with. Eventually, I learned how to make beaded jewelry that not only gave my hands something to fiddle with but also looked gorgeous.
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
Arizona didn't have a lot of bead stores close to where we lived, so I started searching the internet for virtual bead stores and found Fire Mountain Gems. They have since become my primary internet shop even though I now live in Oregon, which has more bead stores.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
When we moved to Oregon in late 2000, I started Adalea's Designs to sell my jewelry. Beading is my job, my hobby and my art. It makes me happy to be able to share a bit of myself in beaded form with the rest of the world. And if they buy a piece I created, all the better!
If you use jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are your selling yourself and your jewelry?
I currently have both a blog that shows off my finished pieces, as well as a peek into my beady mind and an Etsy shop under Adalea's Designs to sell my work. I've entered several beading contests last year (2009) and am probably going to enter a few more this year. I also hope to attempt my hand at a craft fair or two this year.