Indian Gems Necklace and Earrings
Fire Mountain Gems and Beads
2009 Jewelry-Making Contest
Where do you live?
Describe your artistic style.
My artistic style ranges from classic casual to timeless, heirloom-quality, hand-woven collectibles that can be handed down from generation to generation.
What inspires you as a designer-artist?
I am inspired by the beauty of nature and the glitter of city lights. I design by instinct, whether it be a laid back, more natural tone, or a gorgeous sparkly bauble that glitters like the stars.
What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I love working with gemstones, Swarovski crystals and seed beads. These work the best for the types of pieces I design and create.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Indian Gems Necklace and Earrings
What inspired this design?
I love the combination of turquoise and amber and thought it would be great to create a design with a Native American theme.
How did it come together?
This is a design that just came to me as I worked. I knew what beads I wanted to use and went from there.
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I started when I was a kid using a beading loom, and later, in my adult life, started working with glass and seed beads in creating name badge lanyards. Currently, my favorite medium is off-loom bead weaving using anything from pearls and crystals to seed beads, gemstones and any other type of bead I can come up with.
Who introduced you to beading?
No one introduced me to beading. It was something I have always had an interest in and as I got older I found my niche in off-loom bead weaving.
Do you have an artistic background?
My artistic background includes sketching with India ink, magic markers and colored pencils to start with. I then developed sewing skills with an occupational clothing certificate and actually taught courses in high school. I have always been a creative, artistic type. I have also worked as a writer and editor and did some work with artificial flowers and potpourri. My specialty was in using straw hats. I would say that I have tried about anything, but have stuck with beading because I believe it is what I should be doing.
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
I had started beading and came across a Fire Mountain advertisement in one of the beading magazines I purchased and once I checked it out and compared to other beading distributors, I was hooked. Fire Mountain has me for life.
Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
I will be joining the Kansas City Beading Society soon. I have to go to a meeting in order to join and I have not been able to attend yet. I would love to join other groups and societies; however, I am not aware of what or where they are.
What other hobbies do you have?
Next to beading, my love is reading.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Beading is my sanity. I love sitting and creating pieces using a spur-of-the-moment design that I create off the top of my head. I have a very stressful life and when I have time to get into the beading zone, I become more balanced and creative than ever. I do not have a lot of time to bead, but when I do, I can really bury myself in it. Beading is only a part-time career for me. I am a full-time cat scan technologist at a busy inner city hospital and would love to go part-time and bead full-time. However, I need to bring my sales up before I can accomplish this. If I could bead full-time from my home, my family would be happy and I would be ecstatic!
If you use jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are your selling yourself and your jewelry?
I currently sell pieces through Artfire and 1000 Markets. I also have a website that specializes in wedding and special occasion jewelry.
I sell most of my work to friends, family and co-workers and plan on doing some craft shows. I would love to rent a booth at an antique mall or other crafters' venue.
Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I do not currently make jewelry to support a cause, but plan on doing some work for breast cancer and would love to teach some classes, not only to adults, but to both needy and fortunate children as well. It would be great if I could find the next generation of bead lovers. We could work together as a group and make others aware of our causes.
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
If you are curious about beading and have some ideas for creating pieces, go ahead and give it a shot. Buy some beads and whatever materials you think you might need and get started. There are many magazines and beading books that will help inspire your creativity. There are so many venues you can pursue and you may even start one of your own. Eventually, you may find your niche and find a specialty as I have found in off-loom bead weaving. Whatever you choose, you will absolutely love it. Get started and, if you decide it is not for you, so be it!
View all of Gena's designs in the Gallery of Designs.