Julie Ann Beck

Julie Ann Beck

White Pearl and Crystal Bracelet
Fire Mountain Gems and Beads
2009 Jewelry-Making Contest
Category: Crystal

Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
I live in a little subdivision called Hawaiian Shores in Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Describe your artistic style.
I really don't know how to describe my artistic style, other than the fact that I'm brand new at this. I've only been beading since the end of January 2009. After a long day at school working with students in grades 7-12, I love to come home and make crystal bracelets. It's how I wind down. I enjoy working with all of the different colors and trying new combinations with several types of precious gems.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Several things inspire me. From the color combinations on a Thank You card I received from my step-mother, to my latest craze of designing different angel bracelets for the holidays.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
So far, my bracelets always include crystals. But I love combining them with cultured pearls. I also love all of the different combinations I can come up with using the 11/0 seed beads.

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
I call this a White Pearl and Crystal Bracelet.

What inspired this design?
I remember my step-sister's bridal gown at her wedding a few years ago. It was so beautiful with lots of pearls sewn onto the bodice.

How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
I decided to combine white cultured pearls with crystals and seed beads to see what that would look like. I was delighted with the result! That's what makes it so much fun for me.

Share Your Background:

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I happened to walk into a Ben Franklin store in late January '09 when they had a ''make and take'' crystal heart bracelet lesson. I wrote down all of the steps, purchased some more beads, and decided that the only way I could remember how to make that bracelet was to teach someone else. So I invited several lady friends to my house for a potluck lunch/bracelet lesson the following month. I had 12 women show up on Saturday, who ranged in age from 17 to 72. They all asked me when the next lesson was going to be scheduled. So I scheduled another potluck lunch bracelet party in March, and I've had the potluck lunch beading party ever since. I don't charge for lessons and since I have invested heavily in the tools and beads, the ladies can purchase their supplies from me at cost and not have to worry about not having enough wire or crimp beads or whatever beads they choose to work with.

Who introduced you to beading?
The Hilo Ben Franklin Assistant Manager, Kayleen, was the teacher for my first lesson. She actually agreed to come to one of our potluck lunch/beading parties and teach us how to make the crystal flower bracelet. I've been beading ever since and I love it!

Do you have an artistic background?
I used to love photography before the digital cameras became popular, but lost interest after having three cameras stolen. I was thinking that it was some kind of karma or message that I should pursue another hobby.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®?
One of the ladies that came to my beading party, Malia, told me about ordering beads online and she gave me the website.

Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
I've actually started our own monthly beading group at my house. I've been asked if I'd like to teach seniors at our local Pahoa Community Center. Perhaps we can get a seniors group started, as well.

What other hobbies do you enjoy?
I don't have much time for other hobbies since I've started beading. I still love to read, though... when I'm not making bracelets. Traveling is my other passion, especially with my boyfriend, Barry. We recently spent a month in Provence, France over my summer break from school. My real job is a college/career counselor.

Beading Success!

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Beading is my way of winding down after working with kids all day at school. I enjoy exploring my creative side. This is something I've never done before and I find it kind of addictive. I'm constantly thinking of new color combinations and designs and I never get bored.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I have donated several of my bracelets for silent auctions and drawings for various fundraisers over the past six or seven months.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
As a beginner myself, I don't have any advice except that you shouldn't invest too much money into something unless you're sure that it is something you'll enjoy doing for a long time.