Sharon Olivia Marchant

Sharon Olivia Marchant

Floral Teardrops
Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' 2009 Beading Contest
Crystal Category
Bronze Medal Prize Winner
Category: Earrings

Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Valdez, Alaska

Describe your artistic style.
Intricate (though not necessarily complex) beadwork expressing life's stories.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
The spiritual forces from within us and the natural wonders that surround us inspire me.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I enjoy all beads, big and small, new and old, and do not rely on any single technique.

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Floral Teardrops

What inspired this design?
I was intrigued to present beautiful crystal flowers in a light and playful fashion that would dance and catch the fire while looking elegant for day or evening wear.

How did it come together?
In this case, I sketched my ideas on paper first and then executed the design.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
As a child I crafted with my Mother and Grandmothers, during college I became fascinated with vintage and antique jewelry which progressed into vintage bead works (such wonderful single art objects!) then on to various seed bead working and other techniques. I have had LifeSongs Bead Design for more than 20 years.

Do you have an artistic background?
I have developed my art background through classes and study. My professional degrees are in Management and Environmental sciences.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®?
Many years ago, I started getting the catalogs for my bead design outlet, LifeSongs Bead Design.

What other hobbies do you have?
Photography, reading, line dancing.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Beading is a part-time retiree career and plays an important role in having fun with friends and great feelings of accomplishment from creating art!

If you use jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
Web site: I market through my new web site, local advertising, craft fairs, participation in professional conferences and (with time created by retirement) have entered more contests!

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I support various local breast cancer events with jewelry donations and on a local scale, I actively support Alaskan Prince William Sound Village of Tatitlek cultural heritage events by teaching beading to middle school children for one week during the springtime event and supporting health fair tea events.

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

More About Sharon

''Intricate beadwork telling of life's stories...''
I have been beading for more than 20 wonderful years using inspiration, glimpses of nature's wonders, and multiple beading techniques. My muse comes from nature and encourages me to tell a story with everything I create. I started working with antique and vintage jewelry, cameos, and trade and European beads in the early 1980s. I was inspired by the intricate and colorful twists and turns of an early 20th century bead seeing another universe.

Of course, during most of this time, I was also heavily devoted to an inspiring professional career related to environment and management endeavors first in Washington, where I was born and raised, and then, since 1977 in Alaska. Our home remains in Valdez, Alaska (with part of our large family), though since retiring a few years ago my husband and I have pursued the opportunity to travel (and bead more!).

I hold a Master of Science in Environmental Quality Science from the School of Engineering, University of Alaska, Anchorage, Alaska (May 1985), a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from St. Martin's University, Lacey, Washington (l971) and have authored numerous publications. In the area of beading, I am primarily self-taught, with much mentoring especially by some of my expert cultural native teachers and dear friends. They, and my science experience, have taught me to use many naturally available materials as well as sharing culturally relevant beading skills during the week long Pegsulunique Festival (Tatitlek Cultural Heritage Week in Tatitlek Village, Prince William Sound, Alaska) where I volunteer for a week each May teaching middle school aged children, relevant projects and related history.

With retirement comes opportunities, and I have reduced the bead store; expanded gallery outlets; expanded beading classes for active seniors; worked on learning new techniques and skills including fused glass art and making pottery beads and animals. Spirit face pieces which are a favorite of mine can now be self-sculpted, and finished with intricate work.

Another goal was to enter more beading contests, perhaps become better known in the larger beading circles of the world. I have been entering a number of competitions including Softflex contests; Fire Mountain contests; Use the Muse III and IV events, and numerous others. In August 2010, I was chosen for the Softflex Company Featured Designer of the Month (''Spotlight On'': August 2010).

What inspired you to donate your bead(s) to Circle of Hope?

Personal--precancerous situations and a number of friends who have been through treatment.