|Meet the Designer-Artist
Where do you live?
Laguna Hills, California
Describe your artistic style.
I am a retired operation room nurse for 28 years. I do volunteer work at my local parish and take classes in glass fusion and jewelry-making.
I just started this journey in jewelry-making last year, August 15th, when I launched my website, www.lglassware.com. I am always fascinated with jewelry and how it is done. A long time ago, my only way of doing jewelry was using elastic cord and crystal beads. Then, I moved up to using wire and toggle clasps. I learned this through the people from the bead store. Before long, I discovered the art of fusing glass and that is how my website came about. I started doing pendants, glassware plates, bowls, stained glass and wall art.
Later on, I found out that I just can't do pendants and jewelry without taking classes on how to do this and that. I fell in love with metals, copper wiring and metal clay such as copper or bronze. I started last semester and can't believe what I was missing for so many years. I am learning to do so many things and it is very exciting.
My style in jewelry is what I want to wear for myself, simple but elegant, colorful, but not too bold, layered, but not too excessive, with good craftsmanship and does not look too cheap. I can tell also if the person who does the jewelry has put her love into making it by the quality of the material she chooses and uses, the color combination plus the texture in her project.
What inspires you as a designer-artist?
What inspires me the most is how even a simple necklace or earrings can make a difference in somebody's attire. You can dress your appearance up or down with the jewelry you are using. It does not have to be a diamond or an expensive piece of jewelry to look elegant.
What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I liked working with glass originally, but now I am considering using glass with the other medium I am learning from the classes I am taking.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
What I am submitting today is a necklace that is made with painted copper with silver chain, copper and silver rings and beads. I called this Antique Necklace because of the way it looks. It reminds me of my mother's gold ''tambourine'' necklace. This is what it is called in the Philippines. It is made of filigree gold balls in varied sizes, but is all gold chain. My design is simple, but the combination of copper and silver is what makes it look outstanding. I did not plan this out but somehow, I already knew how it would turn out when I was working it. I like the length and it can be adjusted according to one's height and the tassel can be out on the side to make a statement and not just hanging in front. The different sizes and shapes of the copper beads and the silver and copper rings make a big difference in how it looks after it is put together. I really enjoyed making this necklace.
Share Your Background
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
My husband and I travel a lot and on one of our trips recently in Maui, I went to a craft fair on the island. One of the ladies was making some beads and being interested now in bead making, I asked where she purchased her supplies and she said Fire Mountain Gems and Beads. When I got home, I looked Fire Mountain up on the internet and I ordered a catalog right away. I found out about the jewelry competition and that it was extended to February. I ordered some beads right away and started making my piece.
What other hobbies do you have?
Besides traveling, I like to read, knit, eat out trying dishes from other countries and I am an avid gardener.
Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
I do not belong to any beading society yet, but I will do that in the near future when I feel ready and more experienced in this field.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Making jewelry for me is very relaxing and rewarding. It keeps me focused and it helps me calm down when I am distressed. I always compare it to having dinner. My main dish is going to class and my dessert, which I look forward to, is making what I learn from class. I even bring it to bed and work on it while I am watching the news or some movies. There is not a dull moment in my life because if I am not doing one of my hobbies, I am taking care of other things for my church and my household.
Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
Right now, I have not participated in any charity fundraisers, but have given a lot of my glass pendants free to friends and relatives. I already feel success because even with my limited experience, I am able to make something out of my glass knowledge. I feel especially gratified when I see my friends and relatives use my pendants and necklaces that I have given them, some they have purchased from me since I had my website. Last Christmas, one of my friends asked me for two pieces of glass piece to auction them for a certain charity group, but it was not me who participated. My opening of my website is not a means to bring income for me especially in this economy. I know, I still have so much to learn. If it sells, it is well and good, but in the meantime, I still have to continue what I am doing right now to gain more experience and polish my techniques and to better myself.
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
My advice for some aspiring artist like me, is to pursue what you like doing. Start simple, take classes, read books or find information through the internet. I found out that there is so much to learn to satisfy your interest. Practice with cheaper material first. You'll find out sooner or later what interests you more. For me, the best way is taking classes and seeing what others are doing. Observe. Ask questions. Maybe some will not care, but I do because I want to learn. In my class, my classmates have been doing jewelry for a number of years and I am one of the newcomers. You will learn so much from them through shared time in the classroom. I also believe joining groups and attending conventions helps. I have started doing that and I was surprised by the products I see, what is new in the market, different kinds of beads and the number of people like me who are just starting with the same passion as I am. Thank you for considering my entry for this competition. It is a big honor for me to be considered among the many numbers of beaders all over the country.