Jo Brinkley-Chaudoir

Starry Night
Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Brussels, Wisconsin

Describe your artistic style.
Colorful, simple, joining together of things.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Nature, architecture, color.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Wire, metal, pottery, glass, gemstones, pearls.

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Starry Night

What inspired this design?
I saw the onyx cabs and loved them. I had just learned how to bezel with seed beads and wanted to encase them to bring them out as a focal.

How did it come together?
I made the bezeled cabs first and then went through my stash of crystal and found everything I needed.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
One day I saw these really unique stone beads in a discount bin at the local craft store. Not having made jewelry in the past, I don't know what possessed me to get them other than I thought a friend of mine who had helped me through a rough time would love them. So..... I made her a necklace as a gift (Jan of 2009). She loved it and I was hooked!

Who introduced you to beading?
No one, really, I am a crafty person by nature. I have done just about everything there is or at least thought about it! My local bead store helped me to learn how to crimp a tube and then off I went.

Do you have an artistic background?
I have painted, done macramé, knitted, scrapbooked, make cards, quilted, do flower arranging both silk and real, cake decorating, design houses and do all kinds of construction work..... so, yes, I feel I have an artistic background.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
In the bead aisle of the local hobby store, when I was lamenting about the cost of things to a woman who was also shopping and she told me about FMG. Thank goodness!

What other hobbies do you have?
I raise and train American Saddlebred horses. I love to hunt, fish, bike, hike, walk, cook, read and learn.

Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
There are none in my area.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Jewelry has helped me get out and socialize more. For awhile after I retired from the fire department due to a duty injury, I isolated myself. But now I go to classes and teach and sell my pieces at shows. I try to make pieces from November through May, then attend the Bead and Button® show in Milwaukee and shortly after that the show season starts here. Since I have to declare my sales as income on my taxes, I must be doing well!

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I sell mostly at shows and through word of mouth. My clients are my biggest promoters as they are always eager to let people know who made their jewelry. I think they give out more cards than I do! I am working on a website. I have not been brave enough to enter a contest but do have two items I will be submitting to magazines.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I have donated items to the YMCA, the local high school and for the local Belgium Heritage Society for fundraisers.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
YES! Dive in and get your hands dirty! Take a class, browse a bead store and talk to the people there, they are usually bead nuts like us and love to help out newbies. Get a magazine and see what interests you: is it wire or metal clay? How about lampwork or stone setting? Even stringing. Just do what feels right to you. Use quality materials and always guarantee your work. Even if you don't like something you make, someone else my love it, believe me, I know! Most of all, have fun.