Nicole Keepers

Nicole Keepers

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Jewelry-Making Contest 2011 featuring Gemstones


Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Rhinelander, Wisconsin

Describe your artistic style.
That is quite tricky as each piece is an interesting and meaningful process, some with purpose, such as seasons, weddings, individuals, and so on, while other pieces are just designed as I do my thing : ) Because my jewelry has no limits it's much easier for me to describe the style of the piece based on the elements used in the piece rather than a very broad "style."

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Every material that I see and have to work with inspires me to take it and use it : ) I believe that God has given me the ability to do this, and it's not of myself which causes me to enjoy it even more. It's fun to think about how creative God is when you look at this world and its beauty ... so as I design things I like to think about God, and how He perfectly designed life for us : ) (Our hearts will remain restless until we find rest in Him) : )

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Real gemstones and crystals. (Everything really)

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Ocean Breeze

What inspired this design?
I wanted to create a large and more detailed piece than my usual work and aqua terra jasper is truly one of my favorites so it became the builder of this piece. This specific stone is such a beautiful rich blue/green and really reminded me of the ocean. The ocean is a big deal to me as I had dreamed to go see it and I finally did for my wedding and honeymoon. We swam in the coral reef and my experience with its beauty is really what this piece is all about!

How did it come together?
Just looking at this pendant with my beads surrounding me, green moss agate, fossil coral, and the little coins ... I knew what was coming, and I was so excited to do it!!

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I have been doing jewelry for four years now. I had desired to be a stay-at-home mom for a long time, and tried a few networking businesses to accomplish that. While doing one of them (Arbonne) I made a friend who was a great client for me (Hiedi), and she made jewelry. So hanging out one day I asked her how she makes a necklace and she placed a beading tray in front me, opened about four fishing tackle boxes of beads, and told me to lay out the pieces I wanted to use : ) That meant so much to me then and even more so now. So that day I made my first necklace piece which belongs to my mother, and I still love it!!! After that moment I went right to the store and bought what I needed to do it again!

Do you have an artistic background?
Not exactly, but I have always loved painting.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®?
I was made aware of this brilliant website through my friend who taught me how to make my first necklace, Hiedi : )

What other hobbies do you have?
Feathers are a large part of my enjoyment and business. My family and my home is what I enjoy most, and that's why beading is so great for me : )

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Jewelry is my home-based business, my desire, my income, my focus during the day and what it takes for me to relax or feel accomplishment. Just a hobby wouldn't work out very well with limited time.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
In the beginning I took several road trips about 2 hours away and back and would stop at every gift shop/coffee shop/Christian book store/salon, and explain to them who I was and that I was looking for someone in the area who supports local artists and would then accomplish an account with them. So I have several different shops that feature my items : ) I have a website and also an Etsy account at I have not sent out mailings yet but would love to establish newsletters and the only contest I have entered was this latest gemstones contest from 2011-2012 and am waiting to hear the final results!!!

I have been doing Art shows/Craft fairs for three years now, and I love them because I get to actually meet some of my customers, and it's great when you see them follow you to shows through the year. It's their way of showing me they love my artwork!

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I have entered into a couple of shows that had the purpose of fundraisers for schools : )

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
If you love to put beads together and create pieces ... If you can't wait to make your next one ... If you're proud of them and want to share them with everyone ... If you eat, sleep and dream beads. ... I'm not worried about you ; ) You got this!! BUT--Never limit Yourself, or Colors. You will learn that you are capable of more than you thought, because you didn't know that part of you yet ... and you will realize that any color can be made beautiful. Example: Rather than getting stuck placing beads in a corner because they are too bright or loud, or the opposite, too dull or quiet ... I have learned that placing a loud piece with a quiet piece works well. And that Dark bead looks brilliant with a bright piece! You can always remove that bead, so check it out...what would it look like? : )