Mary DeWerff

Mary DeWerff

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Jewelry-Making Contest 2010 featuring Pearls, Organic Beads or Kato Polyclay™


Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Kansas City, Kansas

Describe your artistic style.
Eclectic. I like the freedom to try whatever comes into my head!

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Almost everything! Nature, fabric, other jewelry, graphics, etc.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Polymer clay, crystals, freshwater pearls and other semi-precious and precious jewels, shells and other.

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Elegant Beach Party

What inspired this design?
My husband brought me an old broken down brass collar from a flea market. I tossed it in a drawer for several years and just recently thought it would be fun to try the design in polymer clay.

How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
I had a general plan, but I just let it happen! Because I'm mailing it to Fire Mountain, I reinforced it with another layer of clay on the back. After I baked it, the pearl color seemed to darken a little bit, which is unusual for Kato clay.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I used to watch Carol Duvall years ago and was fascinated with polymer clay demos. About three and a half years ago, my husband urged me to take a class.

Who introduced you to beading?
I have been blessed to have taken classes from Karen Lewis (Klew), Jana Robers Benzon, Lynne Anne Schwartzenberg, Eugena Topena, Sarah Schriver and Barbara McGuire.

Do you have an artistic background?
I designed and sewed my first dress when I was four years old and drove my mother crazy when I sewed without patterns. I have enjoyed taking art courses in college and in Paris.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
From reading various jewelry magazine. I love Fire Mountain's catalogs and customer service, and I can't believe how fast I receive my orders!

What other hobbies do you have?
I like to watercolor, especially flowers, and incorporate my paintings into note cards. I also knit purses and embellish them with polymer clay.

Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
I belong to the Kansas City Polymer Clay Guild.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Creating polymer clay jewelry is so therapeutic! I can get lost in projects and completely lose track of time. At this time, it is a part time career.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I sell jewelry at craft shows, trunk shows, have jewelry at a few boutiques, and I also teach classes. We are now converting our basement to a studio and show room--exciting!

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
Yes, I have helped support missions, orphanages, etc. in India, a bone marrow transplant friend and AIDS research program.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Jewelry is hot! There is a lot of jewelry out there, and I am finding that most people are looking for something unique--so, listen to your heart and feel confident in your own style.