Brenda Bayles

She Nested in the Garden
Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Rural Toronto, Kansas

Describe your artistic style.
My signature has long been flowery seed bead necklaces and seed bead decorations on clothing and bags, but since I've discovered Fire Mountain I've really expanded my horizons! Right now I'm into chunky gemstones and lots of texture. I've made the most awesome jewelry for the younger crowd; heavy, darkish necklaces and bracelets with that edgy look and feel that says ''sooo cool!'' Jewelry to wear clubbing is fun because it can be so out-of-this-world. Same goes for jewelry for fancy occasions. I made a sunflowery collar necklace (''the Kansas Queen'') and it is fantastic and dazzling--and I'm waiting for a fancy enough occasion for it.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
I live on a fantastic little off-the-grid farm and inspiration is everywhere I look; flowers, chickens, horses, cows, pigs!

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Corals have held a lot of fascination lately. I'm looking forward to making that once-in-a-lifetime signature piece in shades of neutral and turquoise. Pearls have caught my eye also, I would love to dress a bride.

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
She Nested in the Garden

What inspired this design?
Chickens and springtime... aahhh, so sweet and wonderful!

How did it come together?
I knew what I wanted--a rocky path lined with flowers that leads to a chicken sitting on a nest of brown and white eggs. People can't help but to smile when I wear it.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
When I was 12 my grandmother gave me a subscription to Workbasket magazine. One of the issues showed how to sew seed beads onto felt. I was hooked.

Who introduced you to beading?
Workbasket magazine!

Do you have an artistic background?
You could say that. I design and build solid sandstone buildings with my husband. You'd be surprised how much a 400-pound rock actually has in common with a bead! Placing a stone in a wall requires picking the right color, shape, and overall design appeal.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®?
I bought my first Beadwork magazine last winter at the grocery store and there was Fire Mountain, in an advertisement in the back. I looked up the website and was impressed by the variety.

What other hobbies do you have?
I enjoy working on various science projects. I work part-time as an anatomy and physiology teacher at the local college.

Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
That's next!

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
I've always been able to sell my stuff--walk around with it on and people will comment on a great piece. My full-time career is family and farm. I like to keep beading tipped more towards fun than profit.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
A local flower shop sells my stuff. Just be brave and go in and ask, have your stuff beautifully packaged and affordable and it will sell because people do want great jewelry. Make sure what you want to sell fits the shop you want to sell it in--angel items go well in flower shops because emotions are often high for walk-in customers in that atmosphere. Remember, you're selling stuff other people think is beautiful and it should appeal to them even if it's not your style.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I'm not in that community yet but I'd like to be.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
It takes a lot of time and patience to get good at anything you want to do in this life, and life is long so be patient and get started. Bead often, you will get good and you will pull yourself into the intrigue of it. Making one-of-a-kind jewelry is perfect for gift giving.

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