Amie L. Mattress

Amie L. Mattress

Bronze Medal Prize Winner
2009 Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Beading Contest

Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Effingham, NH

Describe your artistic style.
Intricate, detailed, elegant, spontaneous, defined. When it comes to jewelry, original and one-of-a-kind.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Everything from my three beautiful children to the next sunset and my husband who often is very patient when I work on a piece well into the night. He also always seems to know what's missing!

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Crystal beads, gems and wire. A variety of materials leads to endless boundaries.

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

What inspired this design?
I wanted to create a wedding piece that not only captured the eye, but could be turned into a family heirloom.

How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
This piece was difficult. The wire was formed using only round-tipped pliers. Although it was defined once I began working, Fancy was an every-night-for-two-weeks, rearranging, disassembling and redesigning, late-night and a-very-patient-husband, self-gratifying design.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I was first introduced to jewelry-making in 1995 entering my junior year of high school. Wanting to explore jewelry-making/design turned to beading.

Who introduced you to beading?
My teacher at Hughesville High School from 1995-97.

Do you have an artistic background?
I began drawing at a young age. My first accomplishment was the design of my school mascot in elementary school when I was in 3rd grade. High school brought drawing, painting and jewelry-making.

Entering as a freshman into scholastic art and writing competitions was my art teacher's idea. He stated that "freshman usually didn't place." The scholarship and awards generally go to the upper classman who will go on to college sooner. Imagine my surprise when I was awarded the silver key and advancement to New York to compete for an art scholarship. Coming up short only inspired me to strive for perfection. History repeated itself in 10th and 11th grade, however, by then I also was making jewelry and presenting not only my designs but paintings and drawings at every visual art show I could find.

Finally, my senior year, I entered again with my jewelry designs and a painting of a dragon decimating a medieval castle. I remember telling myself, this is it. Last year, last chance. To say the least, my painting won me a gold key (1st place) and my jewelry design a silver key (2nd place, never before done), and my picture on the front page of the local paper. The painting hangs in my high school's library. The jewelry design… well my art teacher's wife is the proud owner.

Life is funny though. I ended up becoming disabled at 20 years old. I spent the next eight years raising my kids and just wondering when I would catch a break. My father asked me to teach him how to make jewelry out of beads; my children as well. Two years ago, we were introduced to Fire Mountain Gems and Beads. We've been a beading family since. Thank you!

I also paint my husband's numbers and sponsors on his race cars.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
My father found Fire Mountain Gems and Beads online.

Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
Family beading nights.

What other hobbies do you have?
Drawing, painting, photography, fishing with my family, camping, being outdoors!

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Jewelry-making is my serenity, my heaven. My disability limits my standing and sitting to a minimum. I'm working to make jewelry-making a career. It also gives me quality time with family.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I've entered Fire Mountain Gems' beading contest in 2008 and 2009. I'd like to pursue my bead business, however funds are limited.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
Several jewelry pieces are donated to local churches to help raise funds for food pantries every month. Bracelets are donated to several schools to help raise funds for ADHD/HDD, neglected and abused children.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Be open to all types of beading materials. That old button might be your next masterpiece. Always be you. Never give up. Your style is what defines who you are. There are no boundaries.

Amie's design, Fancy, won the bronze medal in the Wire Work category of the 2009 Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Beading Contest. Zoom in for an up-close view of Amie's design in the Gallery of Designs.