2009 Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Jewelry-Making Contesty
Silver Medal Prize Winner
As featured in Ornament magazine, 2007
Wings of Love
Designer Caito Amorose developed into an artist early on at the age of seven. Much to the surprise of her family, she delighted in accessorizing her red-haired Crissy doll in ways that were more fitting for a runway model, instead of a second grader. Expressing her creative style with a flair for distinction, she's continued to do so ever since. As Caito grew older, her talent developed and flourished. Little did she suspect the successes that the future would hold.
In 1992, several years after Caito completed her education in interior design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, she enrolled in her first and only jewelry-making class. Her intentions were simple. She wanted to make necklaces that matched her favorite outfits, however, other plans were in store. Borrowing her instructor's Fire Mountain Gems catalog, she placed her first order and was "hooked"! Before long she was designing jewelry for friends, family, co-workers, art shows and even a gift catalog. Responding to the encouragement and accolades she received for her designs, in 2003 Caito entered a Fire Mountain Gems beading contest that will be forever etched in her mind, for it emerged as the first competition she ever won. Ecstatic beyond words when they displayed her freshwater pearl and crystal Tearcatcher necklace so elegantly in their 2004-2005 catalog, she finally had something solid. Without even realizing it, this achievement became tangible evidence of the success for which she so diligently strived. This bolstered her confidence and soon became the catalyst to enter other competitions. Today, Caito is a notable jewelry artist with acclaim that includes various awards. Besides continuing to win additional Fire Mountain Gems and Beads contests, she placed in the top five in each of the four-year history of the crystal design competition, received first place in MJSA's 2007 and 2006 Vision Awards crystal distinction category, best in competition for Lapidary Journal's 2006 Jewelry Arts Award, and people's choice award in the 2006 Beadazzled show.
Additional recognition includes featured artist on HGTV's That's Clever!, project contributor for Simply Beads magazine, and designs featured in Beadazzled: Where Beads and Inspiration Meet, among various others in design books, magazines and on the internet. Caito was thrilled when asked to display her crystal bridal designs at both the 2009 spring and fall Wedding Channel Couture shows in New York City.
When recalling Cascade (the design featured in Fire Mountain's Ornament advertisement) Caito speaks wistfully. A fervent water spirit, Bridal Veil Waterfall, inspired the necklace. Hiking Oregon's Columbia River Gorge trails, she ambled upon the falls unexpectedly and was immediately transformed by its alluring power and grace. It had a quiet and untouched feel and the falling formations reminded her of droplets of pure crystal and mother-of-pearl. "Mesmerized and totally at peace, it was then I knew that someday I would create a bridal accessories line." Caito grasps every opportunity to complete a design. This includes beading in the car, train, bus or plane (and even in the hot tub while "relaxing"). Utilizing various styles and techniques, she challenges herself to do something different with each piece. "Ideas just seem to pop into my mind's eye. They can come from almost anywhere, but often from, and during, my adventure travels throughout the natural world. The visual images have shapes and themes that are so inborn I just can't wait to put them into form!"
It was from one of these images that Caito designed Wings of Love for the 2008 crystal competition. Motivated by the Be Naturally Inspired theme, the butterfly headpiece and veil blend her excitement for singularly unusual bridal accessories with the illusive beauty of nature. The butterfly symbolizes the metamorphic transformations that personify a marriage, as the bridal veil is raised. Quite fond of crystals for their dazzling, come-to-life, brilliance, the butterfly headpiece is made with over 5,000 crystal components including something old, new, borrowed and blue. A perfectionist to a fault, Caito did not attach the final bead until her heart's cadence assured her that it was right. It is her personal favorite to date.
After a decade of living on the central Oregon coast, Caito now resides back in her home town and works at the Frick Art and Historical Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When not at work or beading, you will find her trekking the globe or in the dance studio. She finds that both outlets revitalize and restore the much needed balance that her life requires.
Caito finds the most joy in designing jewelry that others commission for a special occasion--especially weddings or other sacred events that hold a promise. This provides a wonderful opportunity to assist others as they celebrate a milestone or embark upon a journey. As for advice to new jewelry designers, Caito offers, "Bead what you feel and experiment to find your own vision and style. To do this, it helps to know what inspires you. Don't worry about trends or what anyone else is doing. Have fun with it, and don't be afraid to take risks! Designs can always be taken apart or re-woven, and you will learn new techniques and strengthen your skills by doing so.''
Wings of Love and Cascade, along with other bridal accessories, can be seen at www.caitoamorose.com in her emergent Evermore Collection gallery that is targeted for completion in 2010. She is also brainstorming ideas for a book on inspired bridal accessory designs that she hopes to have published one day. View all of Caito's prize-winning designs in the online Gallery of Designs.
Caito's Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Jewelry-Making Contest Resume:
2009 - Crystal Contest, Finalist for
Coral Sea Fan
2008 - Gold Medal Winner, Timepieces Category for
2007 - Bronze Medal Winner, Crystal Category for
2006 - Necklace Category, Finalist for
2005 - Gold Medal Winner, Crystal Beads Category for
2005 - Silver Medal Winner, Wearable Art Category for
2005 - Gold Medal, Shell Beads Category for
2004 - Bronze Medal, Unusual - Wearable Art category for
2003 - Gold Medal, Pearls Category for