Heather Lyman

Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?

Describe your artistic style.
I think the best word to describe my style is "Eclectic." I haven't yet met a jewelry making technique that I didn't enjoy, and I've made a range of pieces that could be described as being anywhere from preppy to primitive. As I learn and grow as a designer though, I'm finding my pieces tend to have a minimalistic, almost earthy feel to them.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
My inspiration comes from the world around me. I don't just mean by nature, though that does play a huge role. But the world is full of textures and patterns and movement and beauty. So I'm inspired by all of it. I just made an etched bracelet with a texture inspired by the cracks in the sidewalk. Before that, a pair of earrings inspired by the graceful arc of a bird's wing. My inspiration comes from everywhere.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Ha, everything! Just like I've yet to meet a technique I didn't enjoy, I've also failed to find a material I didn't like. However, as I grow and learn I find myself drawn to metal work more and more. Copper and brass are two of my very favorite metals to work with. I also enjoy aluminum, and of course silver. Gold still intimidates me a bit.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I had knee surgery in 2009. The surgery went fine, but complications following it left me laid up for ages, and eventually left me disabled. It's amazing how much we take our bodies for granted until they stop working as they should. I was stressed, depressed, and bored out of my mind, so I set about finding a hobby--something I could do while propped up in bed without moving my knee. I did a little knitting, tried my hand at painting, read a whole lot--eventually I found my way to beading. The rest, as they say, is history.

Who introduced you to beading?
Me :) And Fire Mountain Gems actually. This was the very first site I ever found with supplies and instructions. An ad in a newsletter led me here at just the right time.

Do you have an artistic background?
I'd say not really. Creative, yes. But until recently I wouldn't have said artistic. I've been knitting since the 5th grade, I've done behind the scenes stuff for theatre groups (like costume and set designing and building), but I never really considered myself artistic. That changed the first time I had an idea for a piece of jewelry in my head and turned it into reality. There's something about making something from nothing that just ... shifted my way of thinking.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®?
An ad at the end of a knitting newsletter actually. Strange places.

What other hobbies do you have?
Reading, writing and jewelry-making pretty much cover my hobbies. And not necessarily in that order :)

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
It started out as just a hobby, but jewelry-making is slowly turning into something I could see myself doing as a full-time career. This holiday season has really inspired me to double my efforts in making my jewelry business a reality. I love making jewelry. Not only does it give me a great sense of accomplishment to create things, but it brings me a sense of peace that I haven't found anywhere else. I escape into my studio, and no matter how bad my day or how frustrated I am with my current state of affairs--it all goes away as I concentrate on whatever piece I'm making.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I set up an Etsy shop back in April that seems to be finally taking off this season. I've also finally set up my own website. This year was also the first year I attended craft fairs and art markets, and was successful enough that I plan to do more next year.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Do what you love, and what makes you happy. Don't make jewelry to make money, let that be a bonus to the creative process. Learn as much as you can, wherever you can, even if you don't think it's a technique you're interested in, because you'd be surprised at the overlap in skills.