Melissa Lew Bradford

Transcendence 3
Meet the Designer-Artist
As an American-born Chinese, my style is very East meets West--modern Asian. My work is strongly influenced by my Chinese heritage, especially the culture's deep respect and esteem for nature. I am most proud of Transcendence 3, a series of three metal clay pendants celebrating the annual Cherry Blossom festival in Washington D.C. This series won 1st place in the clay hobbyist category and overall Best in Show: Handmade Beads in the first annual Bead Museum of Washington D.C.'s Celebrating Beads International Jewelry Design Competition. I planned this piece out months in advance; I changed some things in the process, but in the end, the final pieces looked essentially like my concept drawing.

Share Your Background
I started making jewelry in April 2005; I was planning a wedding and I decided that I wanted to make personalized pendants for each of my bridesmaids. A month before the wedding, I purchased a package of Art Clay, tools, and a torch from Fire Mountain Gems and carved fine silver pendants for each of my girls. I was surprised with how easy it was to work with the material and I was hooked! I discovered Fire Mountain Gems when I was working on my senior thesis exhibition and needed replica Chinese coins for some handmade fan books I was putting together. I Googled for replica Chinese coins and found Fire Mountain Gems--the rest is history!

Beading Success
It is a part-time career for me; I currently work full-time as a graphic-designer for an international engineering firm. Jewelry-making is a relaxing way of spending my evenings and it helps me unwind from my day. It's like a creative reboot for me. I have an online store, I sell in a gallery in Washington D.C., attend as many of the local arts and craft shows as I can, and enter as many competitions that I have time for. I've been a finalist for three years in a row in the Fire Mountain Gems Beading contest, and was in total shock when I found my piece in a Fire Mountain Gems' ad in Jewelry Artist magazine!

View more of Melissa's designs in the Gallery of Designs.


As featured in Jewelry Artist magazine, December 2008

Path to Prosperity

As featured in Metal Clay Artist magazine, November 2009