Meet the Designer-ArtistWhere do you live?
Describe your artistic style.
What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Emotions, color, texture and a love of Native American Spirituality
What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Swarovski crystals and gemstones, precious metals
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
What inspired this design?
I worked with a young lady who eventually lost her battle with cancer. This bracelet was dedicated to her and went to auction September 2008 at the Fashion and Flowers luncheon--held to raise money for the Breast Cancer Foundation of West Australia. Integrity raised $500.
How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
The way I design jewelry is through a mix of Reiki and Kinesiology. I ask permission of the person that the jewelry is being made for; when I get a 'yes' answer I keep asking yes/no questions to see what components are to be used. Once that is done I am usually guided by the yes/no answers on length, color and design. A dedicated piece could come together in 20 minutes or 5 hours, depending on how intricate the design is.
Share Your BackgroundWhen and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
In 2004, I lost my father in a terrible accident. Shortly after that I made a healing bracelet for a friend who had been in hospital.
Who introduced you to beading?
I found it myself, I am self-taught. I haven't had any lessons and very rarely refer to books for techniques. I have this unusual knack of looking at a piece of jewelry and replicating it. I affectionately call myself "The Mechanic."
Do you have an artistic background?
Apart from a father who was a mechanic, no! Saying that, my dad could pick up something, anything, and make it from scratch or fix it in a way that it was better than the original.
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
By accident, being in Australia and looking for components in 2004 was difficult, beading had swept the US off its feet, and the types of components, etc. I could purchase were extraordinary.
What other hobbies do you have?
Gardening, our pets.
Beading SuccessWhat role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Substantial part of my life, I am driven by the desire to make unusual and dedicated pieces. I'd like to be an overnight success (after five years) and make pieces for auctions, special events and be highly sought after by high end clients.
If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I have a website, sign on my car (back window), Etsy and Flickr. I am a regular in (Australian Beading) magazine for step-by-step projects. With the type of work I do, craft fairs, markets and stalls are not the right place to "sell" what I do. I have found that I don't actually fit in the normal "artisans" criteria. I don't know of anyone else that does what I do and the way I do it.
Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I am a supporter of the Breast Cancer Foundation of West Australia. I make bracelets for giveaways at the Foundations "Pamper Days." Where the ladies that are going through treatment for the disease come to have a pampering experience with food, clothing, makeup, hairstyling, etc. This November is the last Pamper Day for the year and I intend to make bracelets for every lady attending. The foundation has two main fundraiser days--Ladies Long Table Lunch and Fashion and Flowers--I make sets of jewelry to auction on the day--so far, my pieces have raised $500 and $3,000 at auction. I find this work to be extremely rewarding and knowing that any money that is raised for the Foundation will go back to help these women financially to survive through the experience of this terrible disease.
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Go with your heart, learn as much as you can with new techniques, love what you do and if you get a creative block, push through it--the rewards are in the finished piece.