Elaine Kolodziej

Elaine Kolodziej

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Jewelry-Making Contest 2010 featuring Pearls, Organic Beads or Kato Polyclay™


Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan

Describe your artistic style.
Classic Simplicity--With a twist

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Color, unusual shapes, carved/faceted stones.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Natural materials from the earth and sea. Mother Nature always tells me what to do with them; I've learned to listen.

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

What inspired this design?
I love red coral and had a carved red coral rose in my bead collection that was calling to be made into a necklace.

How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
Red always "pops" when it is contrasted with another color. I had the white pearls in my bead collection and they looked great with 6mm coral rounds. Thinking 'floral" took me to the MOP leaves, and the flower 3:1 links. The design evolved from there.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I've loved jewelry since childhood, but hated when a piece broke or failed. I took a class at a local bead store ten years ago because I wanted to repair my jewelry. When I saw the design possibilities, I was hooked!

Who introduced you to beading?
One of my friends talked me into taking that beading class with her because she knew I liked to work with my hands, several more classes followed, and the rest is history.

Do you have an artistic background?
I studied painting and drawing for several years, culminating in being awarded first place at the Michigan State Fair for one of my oil paintings. I have also won several beautification awards for my home gardens from my city. Playing with color in every medium is fun!

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
I Googled "beads" on the internet after my beading classes and Fire Mountain Gems was the first on the list. The quality, customer service, convenience, and huge variety have made me a long-term, loyal customer. No other bead site compares.

What other hobbies do you have?
Painting, gardening, interior design.

Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
National Bead Society

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Jewelry-making provides me with an outlet for my creativity. Working with nature's gifts keeps my outlook optimistic--who could help but smile at all the wonderful color and textures that are part of the world we live in.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I attend several craft shows a year at which I have built a clientele. I ask my customers to volunteer their email addresses so I can send them a "Design of the Month" newsletter. This has led to being invited to sell my work at the local Art Centers and Boutiques in the metro Detroit area.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I donate major pieces of jewelry to several non-profit organizations dedicated to childhood issues in my area to sell at their Silent Auctions to help them raise operating funds. I have been doing this for several years and it is very rewarding.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Only work with materials you love and "speak" to you, otherwise your designs will look forced and uninspired. Avoid copying other artists' designs; it will stifle your creativity. Use their ideas as a jumping-off point. Sweating through figuring out color, placement, and the design will teach you more in one piece of jewelry than making dozens of copies.

View all of Elaine's designs in the Gallery of Designs.