Jacqueline LeBlanc

Bridal Pearl Bangle
Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Springfield, Illinois

Describe your artistic style.
Eclectic, leaning towards a more natural feel. I love to bead, and make everything from jewelry to home décor.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
LIFE! And everything in it. My 8 year old daughter, my husband, our small rural town in Central Illinois ...our family and friends, and the fun we have every day.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I tend to choose pearls, gemstones and silver components when making jewelry. Glass seed beads are hung on a wall in hanks in my shop by the THOUSANDS for coasters and other things.

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

What inspired this design?
I wanted something that could be worn to a beach wedding or would look flirty with jeans or a sundress.

How did it come together?
I like to just wing it usually, but I used a bead board to lay out the tiny seed beads and pearls.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I began 16 years ago, by making paper beads with glue. I would sell my clumsily made paper bead bracelets alongside my grandparents' woodworking crafts at craft fairs all over Illinois.

Who introduced you to beading?
My grandmother. She taught me how to make paper beads while sitting in the back of a craft show trailer, on the road. She was a wood crafter for most of her life, but enjoyed other crafts as well. While Grandpa drove, Grandma and I rolled paper and glue between our fingers.

Do you have an artistic background?
As well as making jewelry and home décor from beads, I like to bake, cook, sew and make furniture. My husband and I also rehab homes for a living. We have turned crafting into the ultimate lifestyle, you could say.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
I have ordered supplies from you for years! I love to browse your catalog, just for fun!

What other hobbies do you have?
Spending time with my family, gardening, playing on Facebook and reading.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Jewelry-making started as a hobby for me, also sort of as a stress reliever. Now, I do it once or twice a week to relax and sometimes I sell my creations or give them away as gifts.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I sell on Etsy, in local bead stores, and via word of mouth. Wearing my own pieces gets a lot of exposure too. Just make sure you have plenty of business cards on hand, when people ask you "where did you get that beautiful necklace!"

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
My husband and I run a nonprofit called Thursday's Child. We strive to help support local families with children. Occasionally we put together gift baskets with items from local small businesses (including our jewelry) and auction them off at fairs and such to help raise funds.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Don't follow trends, be yourself.