What inspires you as a designer-artist? Quality beads such as Swarovski crystal, Delicas and sterling silver.
What materials do you most enjoy working with? Swarovski crystal.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story? Simply Elegant
What inspired this design? I was working with a bride who had a specific look in mind. She was thrilled with my design!
How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working? It was sort of planned so the length would be correct. It was a bit of a combination of some of my other pieces.
Share Your Background
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading? I first began making jewelry in my late 20s with random glass beads I could find at local craft stores and flea markets.
Who introduced you to beading? Jewelry has been a part of my family all of my life. My father makes gemstone jewelry. All of my sisters (5 of them) have their own unique flair. I have always loved and been fascinated by glass. When I was first introduced to Swarovski crystal, it was love at first sight! Since then I have become an authorized Swarovski designer and sell my jewelry at art and craft shows all over Ohio.
Do you have an artistic background? Yes, I was an art major in high school.
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®? My father had one of your catalogs from a Tucson Gem show. I began ordering from you several years ago and the rest is history! I am now a platinum customer!
What other hobbies do you have? Computers, Labrador Retrievers, and baking.
Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups? No, there are none in my local area that I know of.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life? It began as a therapy to relax me after a hard day at work as an IT Project Manager. It rapidly grew into a part time career (people loved my work). I began booking more and more shows. This year I made the leap to consultant and am only working 10 - 15 hours a week as an IT consultant. I am now a full time jewelry designer and professional! I really love going to shows and meeting new people. It is much more fun than sitting behind a computer 24/7!
If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry? I currently do lots of arts and crafts shows, bridal shows, sell online through Etsy, have a website so customers can check my schedule, and have done a few jewelry shows. I am beginning to hook up with a local Art Studio to teach PMC and possibly glass fusing.
Do you participate in any charity fundraisers? I am in a couple of shows that are fundraisers. I have also sold awareness bracelets where part of the money goes to St Jude's and American Cancer Society.
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists? Be flexible and don't take yourself too seriously. We attend 50-70 shows a year and have run into various situations. I am learning to go with the flow and roll with the punches. Obviously, there are injustices worth fighting for, but don't sweat the small stuff. If someone is a few inches over their line, try to work with them. I once went ballistic over 6 inches. It is not easy when the promoters assign you a 5 foot deep space. As I look back on that situation, I am a little embarrassed and wish I would have reacted more graciously. I am learning and growing all the time!