Melissa Clarke

Flower Garden

Design Idea C22V

Encrusted Crystals
Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Jewelry-Making Contest 2011 featuring Crystal

Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?

Describe your artistic style.
My style is still being refined, as I am constantly playing, growing and changing. Some of the things that stay consistent are that I love to use bold bright colors. I like fun, happy pieces.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Most often my inspirations come from my flower garden, or walks in the park. I bring my camera with me as often as possible and have a collection of inspirational photographs of textures, patterns and colors that I find on my walks. I also browse the National Geographic magazines for amazing photographs that are full of inspiration.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I love seed beads. I enjoy bead embroidery the most. For me it is like painting with beads. Every size, color and shape. My bead jars are my palette, ultra suede my canvas. My favorite cabochon would be natural gemstones.

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

What inspired this design?
My flower garden.

How did it come together?
It was half planned out and came together the rest of the way as I created it.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I began beading 2 - 3 years ago.

Who introduced you to beading?
I purchased a beading book and I was hooked :)

Do you have an artistic background?
My mom took a summer job that took us away from where we lived during the summer months. I was 13, and missing my friends. So I got a job at a local theatre selling tickets. I did it because I was bored more than for the paycheck. But once I had the money I looked for a place to spend it. I found an art studio that was giving drawing lessons, and I signed up. I took drawing and painting classes in both high school and college, and eventually I got a degree in graphic design and visual communications.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®?
Google :)

What other hobbies do you have?
I love photography. I do still like to paint, and pretty much enjoy anything that uses my hands and creativity. But mostly my energies go to beading now.

Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
I follow some of the beading groups on Etsy, but am not in any local groups.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
I bead every day.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I do sell my items as LissC on Etsy. I have a blog I haven't attended any craft fairs. I entered a peacock necklace into a contest a year ago, but it was a very small contest. Fire Mountain is the second contest I have entered, and the first large contest I have ever entered.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I haven't yet, but I have a piece that I have been collecting pieces for that I eventually would like to create and donate funds to wildlife protection, specifically tigers, polar bears and would also like to do some pieces to donate for domestic animals and no kill shelters. It is all still in the works.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Trust your instincts. I can't tell you how many times I have had an idea, only to put in on the back burner and to see that idea show up in a magazine. If you have an idea, trust yourself, and move on it. Especially if it feels a little too out of the box.