Karen Mac Murray

Design Idea CAD4 Necklace

Jungle Twilight
Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Jewelry-Making Contest 2012 featuring Seed Beads
Silver Medal Prize Winner
Category: Necklace - Traditional Bib Style

Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Camden, New York is my address but I live in a very rural, forested area about 8 miles from the village proper.

Describe your artistic style.
Eclectic but symmetric.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Nature in all its myriad forms.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Mostly seed beads, especially Delica®; all sizes. Starting more polymer clay work.

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Jungle Twilight

What inspired this design?
A rainy afternoon hike through the Costa Rican Rainforest.

How did it come together?
It evolved. I knew I wanted circles but the attaching of them eluded me for awhile. The clasp situation was difficult for me, at first I thought a simple old fashioned hook and eye was way too simple, I decided it worked after all. I redid fringe a number of times due to miscounts. I had a lot of fun doing this project; it took many hours and some frustration but I'm very proud of the outcome.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
After trying many different types of crafts, I found beading through a Beadwork Magazine and my love of same has grown. Going on 5 years, my how time flies when you’re having fun.

Who introduced you to beading?
Self taught and still learning. I have numerous, my husband would say; "way too many", magazines and books on beading. I read and draw both inspiration and reference materials from all. I always seem to find something I'd like to learn how to do or some way I can improve what I am currently doing.

Do you have an artistic background?
I have always been interested in drawing and painting; mostly acrylics, on either canvas or gourds. I have a number of 1st and 2nd place awards in self designed cross stitch from New York State Fair competitions. I have won a first in stringing (a necklace) as well as a 2nd in peyote stitch bracelets from our State fair.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
I ordered my first catalog at least 5 years ago and pass them on to my sister after the new releases come out. I think a friend told me about the company; but I believe it was internet based.

What other hobbies do you have?
Hiking, camping and fishing.

Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
Not at this time, there are no local ones and traveling an hour in our winter weather, at my age, is too much.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Right at this moment, beading is my full-time hobby. It keeps the wrists limber and the brain sharp. I lose all sense of time when I "get into" a project. There never seems enough time in the day or the week to do all I wish to. I sometimes dream projects, and sometimes put myself to sleep thinking through the next step or how to fix that "little glitch."

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
Currently I have sold 1 project. Mostly I give items away to friends and family.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I have contributed 2 bracelets and 1 necklace; 1 per year for 3 years to our local Relay for Life. The items raised money through silent auction and all monies went to the cause.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Do what you enjoy and enjoy what you do. Never fear to think outside the box. Never quit. Most of all ... Have Fun!!