Crystal Mountain Pendant
||Meet the Designer-Artist
Specialty: Wubbers pliers
Patti invented her line of Wubbers pliers after becoming frustrated trying to use regular pliers to fashion her findings and components. They were uncomfortable for her hand and sometimes damaged the materials she was working with. She realized she could channel her interest in geometric shapes used in design to create a tool specifically for jewelry-making. That moment was the inspiration to design Wubbers pliers. Wubbers pliers are better than standard pliers for jewelry-making because they are expressly designed for jewelry-making. Each pair of pliers in the Wubbers line is suited for a different task.
Patti Bullard YouTube videos for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads: include titles such as How to Use the Wubbers® Looping Pliers and Making a Square Pendant with Wubbers® Jumbo Square Mandrel Pliers.
Where do you live?
What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Nature inspires me. And I love geometric shapes. My interest in creating geometric shapes for my designs led to my interest in designing the Wubbers Mandrel Pliers. I love leaves--anything leaf-shaped.
What inspires you as a tool designer?
There'll be a design I want to do which is hard to do with existing tools. So, it makes me want to invent a tool to do it. I also develop tools because I love to teach and share; to help people with their jobs, hobbies and art so they are more fun and profitable for them.
What medium do you work with mostly?
Sheet metal and wire. I prefer sterling but I'm also known for working with Argentium®. I use and like both. When teaching, I can bring my knowledge about how to make Argentium work to the students.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Crystal Mountain Pendant
What inspired this design?
I was inspired by the actual stone itself.
How did it come together?
I was inspired by the stone and also a technique. Sometimes a technique inspires me. The technique I used for the silver in this piece was fused silver dust, which I learned from a Navajo jewelry artist. Also, I brought in the leaf shape which I love. The motif of the leaf is carried throughout the design.
Why did you become enchanted with this style of jewelry-making?
One reason I like geometric shapes is that I've always liked a "clean" look--in interior design, art, jewelry ... I also like jewelry to be sophisticated. These shapes and media give me that look and the tools help me more easily create the shapes.
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
People always ask me how I could go from being a psychologist to jewelry artist. They seem like such different fields. I say they aren't so different. Jewelry makes people feel happy and special. It's something shared with others. That is what you do as a psychologist. It's the connection, a personal connection. Jewelry is so personal. We wear it on our body, close to us. So, when I teach people about jewelry, they make things that are important to them, and connect them to their friends and family.
Jewelry and psychology. It's all connections. It's all about connections.
Do you sell your designs?
No. I keep my work for demos when I'm teaching. I like one-of-a-kind jewelry and don't enjoy production.
Browse Patti's Wubbers® jewelry-making pliers available at Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.
View the Wubbers® pliers how-to videos with Patti Bullard, PhD, inventor of Wubbers Pliers.