Francesca De Grandis

Freeform Blister Pearl
Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?

Describe your artistic style.
Organic, fantasy, exploratory, one-of-a-kind.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
I hope my bead-weavings can mirror nature's whimsy and wondrousness. I often design jewelry by imagining what a Faerie would wear.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Seed beads. Objects from nature.

What inspired this design?
The freeform blister pearl itself guided me.

How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
I try not to rely on tricks or routines. When designing a piece, I decide how to use each seed bead, one after another, as I weave.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
Started in the sixties, with beading and silversmithing. I wanted pretty things and making them myself was a way to have them! My mom rewarded me for applying myself at school by letting me take a silversmithing class.

Do you have an artistic background?
Influenced by my parents' immersion in folk culture, I started playing folk music in Boston clubs at age fourteen. By age sixteen, I was silversmithing, learning calligraphy tips from mom, and attending Boston's School of the Museum of Fine Arts. I toured the U.S. performing and leading hands-on folk culture workshops.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
A friend.

What other hobbies do you have?
Making music, paper cutting, and recycling what's on hand to create wearable art and home décor.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
When Multiple Sclerosis made holding a guitar too difficult, my focus shifted to fine art freeform three-dimensional bead-weaving. Also, I am housebound, but I sell and gift my beadwork to individuals around the country so, in a sense, I get out of the house through my beads. My energy goes out into the world. I am just starting to sell my beadweavings. Bringing beauty into being makes me whole.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I have an Etsy shop: I also sell through a mailing list that I created myself.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I beaded for the Unitarian Universalist bazaar in my town this year.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
I use the grand and the not-so-grand, because I use what's on hand. I want to find the beauty in what already is, coax it out, reveal it, adorn the ordinary so we can see it is not ordinary at all. Art is like life: Its value is not in its mundane ingredients but in what we create with them.