Abby Kiker

Abby Kiker

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Jewelry-Making Contest 2010 featuring Gemstones


Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Describe your artistic style.
I tend to take "tradition" and twist it, just a bit. At first glance, it appears very traditional and with a closer look, the viewer (wearer) notices a different color or texture that is a bit unusual.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Other artists, nature, literature, etc. Inspiration often comes from my raw materials. I often look at my supplies and wonder what they can be turned into.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I like gemstones and pearls, but I'm happy working with anything. I work with fabrics and textiles. I am teaching myself knitting and already have some ideas for a line using jewelry and knitting combined.

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

What inspired this design?
I bought a grab-bag from Fire Mountain Gems several years ago and it included several gemstone-pieced fans. I wanted to try using them differently from what might normally be thought of, so I put them all together.

How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
Often my work tends to be "organic," meaning that it evolves as I work. I don't always plan things out before-hand. In this piece, I wanted to manipulate shapes, rather than planning a design around a certain color or focal point.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I'm not sure. I think it started in college and then become a more serious hobby after grad school, after I had more time.

Who introduced you to beading?
I think I picked it up on my own, although my mother always gave me all sorts of art supplies growing up.

Do you have an artistic background?
I have a B.A. in theatre and a M.F.A. in Costume Designing. I have spent several years as a university professor and costume designer. I taught my students to find their artistic voices and beading is a natural extension of my professional costume designs.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®?
Probably online searches.

What other hobbies do you have?
Reading, exercising, sewing (and other crafting), hanging out with my husband, two cats and puppy.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
At this point, my jewelry is making a transition from hobby to at least a part-time career. Eventually, I would like to do it full-time, but while my husband is in graduate school, it will stay part time.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I have a website and have recently discovered a local market that is once a month. This will hopefully be a good start, while I work full-time elsewhere. I also plan to print business cards, as well as magnets to hang on my car. I joined Facebook specifically to announce/"blog" about my website, so I use that as revenue as well. This is the first contest I have entered. Hopefully, I can continue to enter various contests, as I continue my work.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
Not at this time, since I am still new to the idea of turning my art into more than a passing hobby.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
I was really inspired several years ago and quit because I didn't feel like I had a market for my work. In the past years, I have decided to either FIND or CREATE a market. If it is something you enjoy, you should keep doing it. Also, learn from others, even if for a while you are making the given patterns in books or magazines!