Where do you live? I live in San Juan Capistrano, California. I got my start in Michigan where I lived for 50 years. Yes--I am getting up there!
Describe your artistic style. My style varies--since I love shapes, texture and shiny things. At times I work with clean lines and compulsive measurements and counts while at other times I choose organic forms that mimic nature. If a category had to be picked--I would say a love between Art Nouveaux and Art Deco in style.
What inspires you as a designer-artist? My favorite jewelry designer is Rene Lalique. I am in awe of designers of the past who worked with less user-friendly tools, light and materials. I am definitely taken by materials, color and shapes. Sometimes I just have to work with a specific medium. Nature is a continuous source of inspiration.
What materials do you most enjoy working with? I like working with metals (sterling, brass, gold), semi precious stones and beads, glass seed beads, and Swarovski crystal.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story? Kahuna Cuff
What inspired this design? Ocean waves.
How did it come together? The bead weaving was designed after I created Queen Victoria's Ruffled Cuff I had used Ndebele in that design. The idea happened after I thought "what if I added brick stitch? And what if I crossed over the base and connected opposite sides." I just kept going with it and it worked into a wavy big cuff. A lot of this design was "going with the force". The clasp was based on a "bra" connector. This was worked from heavy sterling wire and embellished with semi precious stones. Not all of my designs happen this way. Some are quite methodical with trial and error. I just try to be open to possibilities--and that seems to work. Sometimes I have to put a design to rest for a while until the design problem can be solved. To work this piece into a teachable piece--it took 2 years to solve the clasp problem to make it a strictly beaders work. I called it Calypso Cuff.
Share Your Background
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading? Like many people, I enjoyed making simple jewelry and other things as a child. I started metal work in 1986. I began beadwork in 1994. I had the good fortune to be living in Michigan--and had joined the Great Lakes Beadworkers Guild in 1995 where I was enchanted with beadwork possibilities. I got serious about both mediums in 1998.
I was asked to teach in Michigan in 2000--which started a new path for me. I really enjoyed working with people who wanted to learn. I in turn learned from my students!
Who introduced you to beading? I went to a local bead store in Michigan where I learned to string. One of the owners suggested that I join the Great Lakes Beadworkers Guild. It was with the Michigan guild that I started honing my bead weaving skills.
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®? On the back of trade magazines of course--and at the Bead and Button Show.
What other hobbies do you have? My art is my work and passion. I consider it a profession. I do exercise--which is important to keep me in shape. I read books, watch TV (love Project Runway) and most of all keep up with family and friends who are scattered all over the world.
Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups? I belong to The Great Lakes Beadworkers guild, Orange County Bead Society, MASSC (Metal Art Society of Southern California) and San Diego Bead Society. I am a Swarovski crystal Ambassador.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life? Jewelry-making is a profession for me--teaching being integral. I love what I do. I am so lucky to be able to follow my passion and share it with others.
If you use jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry? I mainly teach and sell kits for income. I market through advertising in trade magazines, my website (www.lesleefrumin.com) and teaching at national shows.
Do you participate in any charity fundraisers? I support the local college (Saddleback College) by selling in their holiday show--which is the only time I sell my work. I have supported assorted individual events by donating a piece of jewelry.
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists? Follow your heart and passion. Persist, persist, persist. There are always bumps along the way. Stay true to your design aesthetic. Change those activities that don't work. Enjoy the path and success will be yours.