Cheryl Knowles

Cheryl Knowles

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Contest 2010

featuring Metal Clay, Metal Beads, Wirework and Chain


Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Base is in Carson City, Nevada, but for now home is where we park it.

Describe your artistic style.
Unrestricted, I explore anything that comes to mind. IE: I am designing a fish bowl necklace inspired by Fire Mountain Gems' glass angel fish beads I bought and my daughter's aquarium.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Nature and children. I also love the fantasy world of wood nymphs, fairies and unicorns.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Wire, glass beads and jumprings.

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
The Boss's Beads Necklace

What inspired this design?
I ordered mixed bags of supplies a few times and wondered what would happen if I were to make a piece of jewelry using beads found in the Boss's Bead Bag and mixed glass bead bag. This allowed me to freely mix color and shape.

How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
I never plan a piece. I start putting together whatever I see in shape or color and add or rearrange as my eye and mind come in line with each other. I know what I basically want, but not the exact design. I enjoy the surprise of finding out how my mind is working sometimes.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I started beading when I designed my daughter's wedding gown. I turned to making jewelry about two years ago after finding it hard to carry doll making and sewing supplies in an RV as we travel.

Who introduced you to beading?
I like to explore different artistic mediums and after being hurt and losing physical activity, I started exploring even more. I grew up knitting, crocheting and sewing. But when I see something interesting, I have to see if I can make it myself.

Do you have an artistic background?
I've been doing some form of artistic hobbies since I was young, but only after becoming a disabled vet did I really start blossoming as an artist. I designed cakes, costumes and dolls when I first came out of the service and went from there to where I am today.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®?
A friend gave me a gift of beading supplies as a way of finding something I could do as we travel. I fell in love with the color and quality of her gift and started using Fire Mountain Gems for almost all of my supplies. I do blend them with old costume jewelry and stones and gems we find and tumble from our journeys.

What other hobbies do you have?
I'm a bit of a rock hound, love to sew and design clothing and jewelry, write poetry and suspense novels for my kids and traveling has become a way of living rather than a hobby now.

Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
I was injured in the US army and medically retired. The injury caused a disease that is extremely painful and has taken away many of my physical abilities in regards to my legs. I can't sit still and had to find ways to replace the physical activity. I was a field medic and nurse who loved repelling off mountains, tennis and ice skating with my girls. I used my hobbies of sewing as therapy and made dolls year round for my daughters and deliver to pediatrics during the holidays. After my last bout with the big C, my husband retired so we could follow our dream of seeing this country together. Making jewelry keeps my hands busy and gives me a way to express the beauty I see in the world around me. It has been the best therapy for me both physically and emotionally with the feeling of joy in every new piece.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
This is my first contest, I make jewelry mostly as gifts, but I have had a few people ask me for special pieces and am thinking about trying craft fairs.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I have given jewelry to charity events supporting church missions and school fundraisers.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Make sure you enjoy beading and it will show in your designs. This is a craft not a chore, so play and don't be afraid to experiment.