Kathy Aust

Kathy Aust

All That Glitters
2009 Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Jewelry-Making Contest

Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Gainesville, Virginia

Describe your artistic style.
I like the classic styles the best. I enjoy mixing colors and textures. I'm drawn towards new and unusual techniques. I recently took a class on bead embroidery. Most likely, this may be my next adventure.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
I do my best work in a quiet, calming environment.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I enjoy working with crystals, glass, and metal beads. I believe that crimp covers finish a piece of jewelry to portray quality. I'm becoming extremely interested in copper (the new replacement for gold for those that prefer something to silver).

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
All That Glitters

What inspired this design?
The design came to me as I laid out something to match a double strand bracelet.

How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
This piece is unusual in that I used beading wire with crimps on the end of the wire with crimp covers to look like beads on the end. There is no wire coming out beyond the crimp cover, I wanted to give it an illusionist perspective on keeping the piece together and in it.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
In the late '90s I took beading classes at the Smithsonian Institute. That started the ball rolling and I haven't slowed down a bit.

Who introduced you to beading?
My first teacher was Mia Volkermer at the Smithsonian. But, my interest came at a very young age looking through my Mother's jewelry.

Do you have an artistic background?
I've only had classes related to beading. I envy anyone with an art degree. Unfortunately, my timidity does hold me back sometimes.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®?
I first learned of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads through my first teacher, Mia.

What other hobbies do you have?
I have no time for other hobbies!!! Once I started beading, I became obsessed.

Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
I don't belong to any societies, but I have a group of friends that I've taught some techniques. We occasionally get together to look at each other's works.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
I've been trying to establish my name in the industry. However, at this time, I'm mostly known within my community. I get excited when someone tells me they were complimented on one of my designs. I repair those special pieces (mostly costume jewelry) that someone has had for years or was passed to them by an elder relative. Their delight gives me satisfaction.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
Currently, I only participate in craft shows and an occasional contest. I'm into beading for the artistic recognition. If in 30 years my work is looked at like Coro, Eisenberg, and Haskell, I would consider myself a success. In the meantime, I'd just like to break even! I repair a lot of jewelry for a nominal fee.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I've donated pieces to local charity events for women's shelters.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Quality of a piece is important. I try not to use jumprings unless they are soldered closed--otherwise, they tend to open and render a piece in need of repair. Finding a supplier with reasonable costs is important to me. I like Fire Mountain Gems and Beads assortable pricing. I'm all for discounts.

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