Linda Graff

Linda Graff

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads 2009 Beading Contest


Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Portland, Oregon

Describe your artistic style.
My style would be called eclectic. I enjoy off-loom bead weaving, stringing, ethnic work, knitting, crocheting, wire work, polyclay--flamboyant, delicate, colorful, and muted. I love it all and am ready to try almost anything.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
My inspiration usually comes from the beads themselves, although sometimes people are the catalyst for a piece.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
The materials I most enjoy are seed beads, crystals, lovely little gold, silver, copper and carved wood and stones.

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Sea Horse in Her Garden

What inspired this design?
The seahorse was given to me and I had no idea what to do with her. I put her away and every couple of weeks I'd pull her out to commune with her. She now lives in the garden. The colors of her body blend themselves wonderfully to an ocean scape. It was easy to see she needed an embroidered background of ocean blue delicas with currents and bubbles. I find that I usually start with a concept but design the piece as I work. It allows for versatility, which often results in something far more pleasing than the original vision.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
In 1995 my daughter wanted to support her family by making jewelry. I've always enjoyed arts and crafts from knitting, crocheting, embroidery, to copper work, stained glass, painting, collages, decorating and sculpting. I asked my daughter if I could work with her. Beading well truly embodied all that most profoundly nourished me! I find the colors intoxicating. I greet each new day with new excitement and pleasure at the knowledge I get to spend the day with my beads. After the first few months I wanted to explore work other than stringing so I bought a Bead and Button Magazine where I saw your advertisement. I sent for your catalog which became my beading bible. I read every functional description of every piece you sold--it could be said that you were my mentor. The prices at the bead stores were really damaging my budget, so your prices were VERY appealing. And you're located in my home state. I don't think it gets better than that. Now I can read and bead at the same time and life is GOOD!

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
In 1999 I had to quit my job for health reasons and go on disability. My apartment in the assisted living facility is both my workshop and my studio, where staff and other residents can buy or just come to enjoy all the beautiful little jewels. I firmly believe that we all deserve beauty in our lives and that it ought not cost an arm and a leg. I try to have something for every pocketbook and many tastes since I enjoy working with many techniques. From this I earn enough to replenish my stock.The activity director here has asked me to teach lessons and individuals often come to me for lessons. One of the first things I do for those who are seniors is give them an Fire Mountain Gems catalog so they can reference items and become comfortable with this new world.Transportation is a problem for me (after going on disability I could no longer afford a car) and I don't have any group interactions or affiliations. Fire Mountain Gems is in a way my link to the beading community. Once in a while a friend and I will sell at a craft fair. He's much more outgoing than I am, and his work is beautifully done. We complement each other nicely.