Jill Atkins

As featured in Belle Armoire magazine, 2004

At the age of 43 I took the opportunity to attend one of Kenneth D. King's classes. He was wonderful and opened up a whole new world to me about beading. Three years later I enrolled in a fashion design course in San Francisco. As is so often the case, I took a different direction from the work that I thought I would do.

Although I was trained as a custom clothier, the lure of beads and beading became an important part of my work. I began to create more and more designs for sculptural purses. Moya Lear (of Lear jet fame) as well as other discriminating women across the country, was an avid collector of my beaded designs.

I am now just exploring beaded jewelry and it is unlike any other jewelry you own. My jewelry only uses a needle, thread, and cord but has a fluidity that cannot be achieved with wire. Because it is so organic the eye literally dances over the piece, stops, looks and dances again. I collaborate with glass artists to design work that is not seen anywhere else.

My work is taking me around the country and soon, around the world. I have two pieces in the permanent collection of the White House, Washington, D.C. and three pieces in the Nevada State Marjorie Russell Clothing and Textile Research Center in Carson City, Nevada.

I have taught beading and purse classes at national conferences and do bead restoration work for the Nevada State Museum. I have been published in Beadwork Magazine, Lark Books and have appeared on the DYI Network and HGTV's That's Clever.

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads has provided great inspiration (as well as great beads) for the work I do. Their support of artists is legendary.

Jill Atkins can best be reached by phone at 775-677-7779. She would love to hear from you.