Debra Levens

Debra Levens

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads 2009 Beading Contest


Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Brooklyn Park, Minnesota

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Inspiration comes from almost any place I look. My daughter, daughter-in-law, and step daughters inspire me to be fresh and unique and sometimes step out of my comfort zone. They, along with my sister, are a great support system. I consider it a privilege to make jewelry for them.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Metal (particularly sterling silver) is my preferred medium.

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

What inspired this design?
My entry piece represents the understated elegant style that I love. It makes a simple, yet bold statement that pleases my sense of symmetry and balance.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
In 2003, a friend (Jody Liddicoat) offered to teach me basic jewelry-making skills while I was homebound, recovering from back surgery. As I recuperated, I took apart all of my daughters ''dress up'' jewelry, prom jewelry and ''grama donations'' to make wine charms for her wedding reception (300 guests.) At that point--I was forever hooked.

Who introduced you to beading?
That same friend is a customer of Fire Mountain Gems--so it was only natural that they would become my resource as well.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
I've always considered myself to be artistic but struggled with finding an outlet that truly represented my own creativity as opposed to reproducing the creativity of others. Jewelry has become that outlet for me.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I am employed full-time in a ''non-creative'' position but jewelry-making really ''lights my creative fire.'' A majority of my business comes from ''word of mouth,'' although I do participate in several organized shows each year. My greatest wish is to someday meet a complete stranger that's wearing a piece of jewelry I created.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I donate jewelry to the annual United Way fundraiser and to the Girl Scouts of America holiday shopping event.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
If I would offer any advice it would be to go where your style instincts take you, pay attention to detail and have a trusted resource to purchase your materials so that you can always guarantee the quality of your work. That resource for me is Fire Mountain Gems.