Julie Anstaett

Introduce Yourself:

Everything I see inspires me! I am inspired by other artists, other jewelry pieces, color combinations and sometimes just staring out the window in my workroom is inspiring! Never knock daydreaming ...

My artistic style is ... orderly? ... I am drawn to symmetry in design, as opposed to freeform. Because there's always something new to try, or some new twist on an idea to experiment with, I don't often do too many of the same thing. I am still--and always will be--learning.

My ''egg'' lamp is my favorite design. Really, it was the first ''major'' project I undertook with polymer clay using all my canes and fashioning leaves and pieces. The lamp took me about four full days to finish with all the cane slices, sanding, re-sanding, buffing, etc. It's not a masterpiece to anyone but me, but I still love it!

Share Your Background:

I started designing jewelry while I was stationed in Turkey. I had a terrific Armenian jeweler who could make anything for me that I could draw! When I came back to the States after retiring, I jumped into every craft I could find ... simply because I had never had time to before. I eventually started making my own jewelry with lampwork, gemstones, crystals, etc. After a couple of years, I wanted to start making my own beads and took a few lampwork classes, but the startup costs proved too much for me at the time. Well, I had a couple of blocks of polymer clay laying around, so I opened them up and threw together the most god-awful beads you could imagine ... but it piqued my interest. So I bought some more and started researching on the internet. Well, a little polymer clay space turned into an entire room in my house! My interests segued to beading about 3 years ago. I felt "stuck" where I was, but didn't want to give up polymer clay completely. I always swore I'd never get involved with seed beads--to small ... to intricate ... can't read those darn graphs! ... no patience, etc. Well, as it always happens I picked up some beads and tried to do a simple peyote bezel around one of my polymer cabs. I made an absolute mess of it! It was so horrible, and I was so frustrated at my lack of finesse, that I did it again ... and again ... and again until I got it right. That's pretty much when I got hooked. I bought a few more beads and tried a few more techniques, and before I knew it, I had moved all my clay to the end of my work table, and I was beading most of the time. I find I'm happiest when I am bead embroidering, and my polymer clay is still relevant.

I've been buying from Fire Mountain Gems and Beads for so long now, I can't tell you how I discovered them ... probably seeing an ad in a craft magazine. I'll always buy from Fire Mountain Gems and Beads ... inventory is terrific, and they've really got the best customer service I've ever used.

Beading Success!

My only advice to other beaders/budding artists is do what makes you the happiest; don't try to figure out what will sell (if that's what you want)...create for yourself. Your passion will show in your work, and others will love it! It takes many, many hours of practice and repetition and tearing apart hours of work when you make a mistake ... but it makes me happy!

Julie tied for third place in the Kato Polyclay™ category of the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads 2008 Annual Beading Contest with her necklace design, Envy.

View all of Julie's designs in the Gallery of Designs.

What inspired you to donate your bead(s) to Circle of Hope?

I've participated in Bottles of Hope and, having visited cancer wards to deliver them, I will continue to participate in programs that work toward an end to cancer.  I feel these and other programs go far in not only working to eradicate cancer, but they bring at least a small measure of cheer to the patients and families.