Janet Levine

Janet Levine

Crystal Garden
Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' 2009
Jewelry-Making Contest featuring Crystal

Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Providence, Rhode Island

Describe your artistic style.
My style is influenced by my background in textiles. I think about beading like a textile designer. Concentration on repeating motifs, contrasting textures, color relationships and light reflection.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Different materials inspire me. If a particular material interests me, I think about ways that I could use it in a piece with contemporary appeal.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I enjoy working with glass, leather, wire, semi-precious nuggets and chain.

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

What inspired this design?
The beads themselves inspired this design. The colors of crystals are so beautiful. I love the way the beads sparkle and the amazing variety of sizes, shapes and colors. However, I did not want to use the beads in a traditional, linear manner. Instead, I thought of each bead as a dab of paint. I used many small individual dabs (beads) of color to create a garden image.

How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
In some of my earlier pieces I had used pressed glass flowers and leaf beads to create a "garden" necklace. I felt limited by the commercially made leaves and flowers. I started thinking about making my own flowers using faceted round beads and briolette beads for the leaves. Once I settled on a technique to make the flowers, I worked out the design elements as the piece progressed.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
My passion for jewelry-making started several years ago with a visit to a local bead store. It was "love at first sight." Beading came to me at a time when I was reassessing and looking for a change. I had just gone through treatments for breast cancer and my twins were preparing to leave home for college. Beading became the impetus for me to start a new chapter in my life. I had been working as a textile designer in my own business. I felt frustrated by the complex nature of the textile machinery and the expense needed to create fabric. Compared to woven fabric design, jewelry design felt nimble and free. When I bead, if a piece is not working out, I can cut it apart and re-use the materials in a different way. With woven textiles, the design is always "married" to the loom set up, which is complicated to change, but integral to the look and feel of the fabric. Plus, beads are just much more beautiful than yarns.

Who introduced you to beading?
My very good friend Mary introduced me to beading. She also suggested that I enter the Fire Mountain Gems Crystal Beading Contest.

Do you have an artistic background?
Yes. I have a degree in textiles from the Rhode Island School of Design and worked 20 years as a textile designer.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®?
I noticed their ads in beading magazines and went online to check it out.

What other hobbies do you have?
I enjoy cooking, reading, hiking and spending my time with my friends and family.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Beading makes me happy! Like a child is happy when making sand castles. It gives me a wonderful sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. Beading is much more than a hobby for me. I'm still finding my way in terms of where I want it to fit into my life. I enjoy selling my work. But the peace and fulfillment I have when I bead is a huge part of the reason I do it.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I have a website, Jewelzstudio.com and I participate in the Rhode Island School of Design Alumni art fairs.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I participate in local charity fundraisers by donating my pieces for silent auctions.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Always be yourself.

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