||Meet the Designer-Artist
Where do you live?
Describe your artistic style.
My style is a blend of old meets new, as I'm well versed in traditional Native American and African stitches but the finished product has a new twist to it. It is also a blend of East meets West because I am so drawn to East Asian culture.
What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Nature is the biggest inspiration. I'm blessed to live on the Central Oregon Coast, nestled in the trees with a lake in my back yard. Inspiration is everywhere; from the trees, to the water, to the insects.
What materials do you most enjoy working with?
My first true love will always be seed beads-sparkling, tiny bits of endless possibility. The colors, the shapes, and textures they provide a real appeal to my senses.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
What inspired this design?
My grandmother Janice was the inspiration. She was the person who introduced me to beads when I was a child. She's always been an inspiration with her love and support. She did get to see this collar finished before she passed away.
How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
This piece, as with all of my work, transformed as I worked. The only real solid plan I had was knowing that I wanted to make a collar. I also knew the largest, center-most cabochon was the starting point. It all developed once that center cab was beaded.
Share Your Background
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
My grandmother presented me with a large, empty, plastic margarine tub full of wooden and glass beads leftover from macramé projects. That's when I first began stringing, at the age of 5.
Who introduced you to beading?
I began seed beading in high school after I visited my first bead store. I knew I was in heaven!
Do you have an artistic background?
I obtained a Bachelor's degree in fine art and a minor in art history at Western Washington University.
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
Years ago, I discovered FMG from one of their fabulous ads in one of the beading magazines.
What other hobbies do you have?
I am obsessed with collecting beads, especially handmade beads, particularly glass. I also play guitar.
Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
The Portland Bead Society. In addition, I am one of the first members of a local group of wonderful beaders. We call ourselves "FAB"--Florence Area Beaders. I also get together with the talented women further up the coast in Waldport, Oregon. They call themselves "newaya" beaders.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Beading is my full-time passion and career. I sell beads both online and in a local store. I also sell my work in several galleries. I teach locally and up and down the west coast. My focus at the moment is on making kits for my designs that I teach.
If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I do have a website which is a wonderful advertising tool. I try to enter as many contests as I possibly can which is another fantastic way to put your name out there.
Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I have donated work for various auctions such as breast cancer fund raisers and local humane society functions.
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Tenacity is the most important thing to keep in mind. Don't give up. Don't let a little rejection knock you down. It's all part of process. Listen to yourself and follow your heart.
View all of Kelly's designs in the Gallery of Designs.