Danna Cristina Mercado De Leon

Danna Cristina Mercado De Leon

Caribbean Culture
2009 Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Beading Contest
Bronze Medal Prize Winner
Shell, Wood and Bone Category

Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
I live in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico.

Describe your artistic style.
I try out a different style on every piece that I design. I love the fashion and trendy style. But I most like the natural style worked with wood, shell, gemstones, etc.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
As a designer-artist, the materials I work with inspire me. My inspiration comes from the beautiful beads, pendants and focal components I find in Fire Mountain Gems and Beads. I have to recognize that my mother often becomes part of my "musa" (common Spanish word for inspiration) giving me suggestions to make my designs more eye-catching and unique.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I most enjoy working with gemstones and natural materials. Also, I love the sparkling Swarovski crystals.

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Caribbean Culture

What inspired this design?
The coconut shell focal rectangles inspired me. As soon as I saw the focal components my mind pictured them together as a whole piece, not individual as it is "supposed" to go. And, of course, nature inspired this design, especially our Puerto Rican beaches that are not far from paradise.

How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
"Caribbean Culture" was planned out. I wanted the focal components to be together to form a whole piece but I did not plan to use wire to attach the rectangles. That was a suggestion of my friend--so she gets the credit for it. And let me say that most of my designs are not planned, but defined once I begin working with it.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
In 2006, I began to bead simple pieces for myself but soon it became my favorite hobby. In fact, it did not take a long time before several people were buying my jewelry.

Who introduced you to beading?
My friend Carmen and my auntie Jocelyn woke up my interest for beading. Once in the beading path, I began to learn as much as I could from books, magazines, Internet, etc. In order to practice and to improve my art, when I found something nice in my search I challenged myself to do it better.

Do you have an artistic background?
I have always enjoyed crafts.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
I discovered Fire Mountain Gems and Beads searching on the Internet.

What other hobbies do you have?
I enjoy reading and sewing.

Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
Some weekends my friend, my mother and I spend an evening beading together.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Jewelry-making plays an important role in my life. Beading is my favorite hobby because it helps me to relax and to spend good time with my mom. And, I have to say that I enjoy my part-time career: jewelry-making. Its flattering to see that others like the work that I do.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I have entered the 2009 Beading Contest of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads. This is the first time that I participated in this kind of event and to my surprise, my design "Caribbean Culture" was awarded Bronze Medal Prize Winner in the category of shell, wood and bone. I sell my jewelry to friends and to people I know. In fact, I have established several customers. I would like to participate in a craft fair or in markets. In the near future, I will love to sell my jewelry to retail stores or boutiques.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
More than enjoying beading, try hard to love it and to feel passion for it because those feelings will help you to develop and improve your skills, challenging yourself and giving your best. Let your imagination roll to create one-of-a-kind designs.