|Meet the Designer-Artist
My name is Chris Gay, I have been making jewelry since November 2009. Amy, my wife, took a class and bought some supplies and tools and started in October of 2009. She was sitting in the kitchen fooling around with a few items and I decided if I was going to get some time in with her I should sit down at the table. We talked and I watched her make a pair of earrings. I thought to myself, I can do that. So before I knew it I had picked up a tool and was playing with a headpin. Mind you, I did not know it was a headpin.
I absolutely love the wire work but find very little time to do it. The piece that I'm submitting for judging has over 40 hours of work in it. Mainly there is so much time in it because I'm completely self-taught. What I usually do is look in a book or magazine, find a piece I like and then I sit down to duplicate it. I took my first class the end of February and learned that people do this by the book actually measuring things. I'm an eye baller, and I'm apparently pretty good at it, getting dimensions right without measuring.
This piece is called Dreamsicle for Christ Necklace because of the colors that were used. If you have ever had a dreamsicle ice cream then you will understand. If you have not, maybe you should try one. They are orange on the outside and creamy on the inside and delicious. The cross should explain the rest.
Share Your Background
My family and I live in Bixby, Oklahoma, a suburb of Tulsa. There are many good beading shops in Tulsa, but we frequent the two on the south side, which are The Beadles and Alouette's. Both places have friendly staff and are small enough to be personable. That is the kind of place I like. Not to mention they are not stingy with their knowledge because when I show them something I'm working on, they are not shy about telling me what they think and sometimes how to finish something off.
I was really artsy fartsy in high school, but that has been over 20 years ago. I have had no real outlet since then until I started with the jewelry. Now I have so much bottled up inspiration that I have become a beading addict. I tell people that I will bead for food or not. They think I'm crazy and so does my wife. I do not really have a style, I design by surrounding myself with pretty things that catch my eye, then try to put them all together. It works for me and I have an eye for color. My wife gives me a hard time about not knowing what the colors are because I only had crayola 8 box and she had the 164 and can name them all. My inspiration for this particular design was that I wanted to do a cross piece, but I did not want it to be like anyone else's. So obviously, I made the cross first, which was supposed to be more of a Celtic style and it evolved into what it is now.
I have recently joined the Oklahoma Beading Society. I have yet to make a meeting but intend to do so soon. I participated in my first show in April. The show is in my hometown of Mangum, Oklahoma. It is an event called the Rattlesnake Derby and Flea Market. I thought it would be fun to show off my creations to my friends and family back home first. I have found it difficult to get enough jewelry put together to actually do a show. This "hobby" has become a part-time job for now. I intend to slow down a little after the show. Then I want to get involved in a few shows this fall during the Christmas season.
I have two wonderful children, Decklin (6) and Chloe (8). They take up a great deal of my time outside of work. I'm a nurse in a busy Neurological practice in Tulsa. My family and I camp during the warmer months and during the school year, Chloe is in gymnastics. Decklin plays basketball and I coach his team.
Then there is my soul mate that I have been married to for 13 years, my bride, Amy. Well that is my story and I'm sticking to it. If I had one piece of advice for someone that was going to start making jewelry and selling it, that advice would be to listen to the customer. They know what they want!