Fire Mountain Gems and Beads
2009 Jewelry-Making Contest
As a lifelong artist, I have always been inspired by nature, color, texture, and other artists. There is as much pleasure for me, walking through a beautiful garden, as there is spending the day at an art museum. It always amazes me whenever I see an appealing artist's creation, and I consider that the person who made this, has the same 24 hours in their day as everyone else, and just look at what they chose to do!
Having explored working with different creative mediums throughout my life has compelled me to challenge myself to always try new things. There is not a particular style that I attribute to my jewelry/beadwork designs, except that they all have lots of details. At times the appeal of simple and elegant beckons me, and then the desire to be outrageous stimulates my next project. I think that this urge to continuously try new things is a common trait shared by creative people everywhere.
There is no particular creation that I am the most proud of. Winning awards for a particular piece or body of work is always satisfying because of all of the effort that I put into every aspect of creating it. But, I am just as proud of the work that I have done that has not won any awards. I try to remind myself that all art is subjective. Of course, my next idea that I hope to see through to fruition is always going to be my best work ever!
I began using beads to make jewelry when I was eight years old, and was gifted a package of silver-lined 11/0 rocailles seed beads, and 4mm pearls for Christmas. My fashion dolls were wearing seed bead necklaces and earrings that very day.
I began seeking out beading/jewelry-making sources in high school. I am not sure if I found Fire Mountain Gems in a magazine, or online. I do remember receiving my first Fire Mountain Gems catalogue! The variety of available supplies and abundance of ideas, and choices in the catalogueue, and online is so appealing to me. Sometimes I sit online and do searches on the Fire Mountain Gems website, looking for an item that is stunning--but not in the current catalogue. The customer service representatives have always been very helpful to me. A big WAVE to you all!
Jewelry-making and beading has been important to me since I was 16 years old, and one of my jewelry designs appeared in a national gallery exhibit in New York City. I was an AP art student, and garnered awards from a variety of artist contests and art shows during those precious formative years. In college, I majored in fashion design and also continued my study of jewelry-making and metalsmithing. After college, I worked as a professional, custom jewelry designer at a prestigious jewelry store located in Water Tower Place. But, the allure of fashion design prompted me to move forward and accept a position as a custom clothing designer. Still, I maintained my beading by working on a series of wedding gowns, lavishly decorated with pearls and sequins. Many years have passed and there is not a day that I can remember in years that I have not been making something with beads and/or metal. I even take my current projects with me on vacations.
Through the years, my work has been featured in gallery exhibits, art shows, on a television news broadcast, in libraries, and currently has been in five publications (including page 579 of the 2009-10 Fire Mountain Gems catalogue- YAY!). I have taught over 250 workshops, in my shop, off site, at the local library, at a national convention, and at the local park district.
Currently I am the owner/operator of a small bead store. I pride myself in creating my own, original designs, and writing my own patterns for my workshops.
Many of my workshop students tell me that they have numerous compliments whenever they wear a jewelry design that they created in my workshops. This, along with the knowledge that my original designs are being picked up to be taught in other bead stores, has inspired me to work even harder to create even better designs. It is a gift to inspire through creation, and I want to make the most of it. Writing the instruction manuals is a learning process, and I feel that I am ready to be published in a bigger format and reach out to even more people, and help to bring more people joy though creating beautiful jewelry.
Beads have also been a big factor in my community outreach. I have donated my work to charitable organizations for fundraisers and assist a local pastor with her dream of establishing a prayer beads ministry. I have also taught after-school workshops in the local grade schools, at the local library, and spent many hours creating festive red, white and blue holiday bracelets at the local July fourth festival. Many of the people that jewelry-making has led me to meeting have been so wonderful. Jewelry-making has a very large, important role in my life. Thank you for this opportunity to share a part of my story. Warm Regards.
View all of Julie's designs in the Gallery of Designs.