Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Contest 2010 featuring Seed Beads
Where do you live?
Sherman Oaks, California
Describe your artistic style.
Magical, antique, earthy, natural, sculptural.
What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Nature, science, fashion, architecture, art.
What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I love seed beads and think they are amazing. I made a leaf bracelet using only green beads and it is one of my favorites! I am learning to work with metal clay and I love that too. I am excited to combine my skills.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
God's Eye Pendant
What inspired this design?
I love amulets and pieces that ward off the evil eye. I wanted to make something that seemed magical and protective. I saw a bracelet in Bead and Button magazine that used crystals and right-angle weave and wondered what it would look like if I stacked up the right-angle weave to make it even more sculptural and created a pendant instead of a bracelet.
How did it come together?
I made a few little right-angle weave squares and stacked them up on each other and then played around with it until I got it to work. The bail was kind of tough. I wanted it to have a graduated shape, so that took some experimentation.
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I went to a craft session at UCLA family camp and while my sons were occupied, I made a simple beaded glasses holder. After, I was dreaming of beads and went online to find a class. Next thing I knew I was learning odd count peyote in Melanie Doerman's ''Girl with a Pearl Window Bracelet'' class.
Who introduced you to beading?
I think the beads found me, but I thank Melanie Doerman, my first teacher who had so much patience with me since I knew nothing at all about bead weaving.
Do you have an artistic background?
I always loved to draw and I work as a graphic designer. My father is also a graphic designer and quite a good painter and story teller. My mom makes gorgeous stained glass and is a fantastic photographer. One of my sisters plays piano and one is a film maker. There was always encouragement to create growing up and I hope to do the same for my children.
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
I was looking online for crystals and found those and much more at Fire Mountain.
What other hobbies do you have?
I like making slide shows on i-movie when I have time. I made an amazing slide show for my parents 50th anniversary. It was fun to put in the music and transitions and those photos of all of us from years ago.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
It started out as a hobby, but I have sold a few things and now I have a website! I find creating with beads a joy and a meditation.
If you use jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I have traded for my pieces and of course, I enjoy making some cash for them! I am starting to enter contests and would like to sell instructions as well as original pieces.
Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I have not as of yet, but I will! I do donate to environmental causes. We definitely need to care for the earth.
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Look carefully and closely at things that inspire you. Nature is an amazing engineer and artist. Go with what you like. When I take classes I am blown away by the choices the other beaders make. I often think, wow, I would never choose those beads, put those colors together or chose those stones or crystals and how much fun it is to see what everyone comes up with. Also, when selling your work, find a price that feels fair for the labor as well as the materials.
View all of Karen's designs in the Gallery of Designs.