Lottie McKenzie

Lottie McKenzie

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Jewelry-Making Contest 2010 featuring Pearls, Organic Beads or Kato Polyclay™


Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Fulton, Illinois.

Describe your artistic style.
Freeform--No patterns or plans, I just let the ideas come from the hands, head and heart.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Nature, the beauty of the earth, antique jewelry, butterflies, flowers, rocks.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Real rocks, stones, glass beads, pearls, shells, little pieces of antique findings.

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

What inspired this design?
I saw this contest in Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, it was for pearls and shells. I consider them gifts from the seas and love working with them.

How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
This piece defined itself as I was working on it. Most of my pieces are not planned out, they come together as I work on them, that way I never make two pieces alike.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I started making jewelry about two years ago after a fall injured my back and I could no longer do the heavy craft work I use to do. I had to find something to do where I could sit down and not lift anything.

Who introduced you to beading?
I started out teaching myself, then found a cute little bead shop in Clinton, Iowa called Real Rocks. They offered some basic classes. Also, I buy books and magazines with beading instructions.

Do you have an artistic background?
I have been into crafts for the last thirty years. I do floral design, paper-mâché, painting, sewing, and making dolls and Old World Santas.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
I was looking for books on jewelry-making and saw an advertisement for a free catalog in Bead and Button magazine. I sent for it and have been using it for many of my projects, as Fire Mountain has wonderful supplies at great prices.

What other hobbies do you have?
Reading, antiquing, collecting antique cameos.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Jewelry-making was a hobby with me, but now it has become a passion. My life revolves around looking for beautiful rocks, beads, shells, stones. I get up at 4:00 every morning to work on my pieces. I have thought about calling them "Four in the Morning Creations," as this is when I do my best work.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I sell my jewelry at craft fairs, by word of mouth and thru a clothing, jewelry and art shop in LeClaire, Iowa called, "The Art Works" at www.artsworkia.com.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I give to the Salvation Army Christmas Kick-Off fundraiser, the Eagles Club fundraisers for juvenile diabetes, various benefits for women with breast cancer, children who are burn victims, and to attend camp through the Eagles Club, also.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Stick with it. I tossed my first few pieces in the trash, then dug them back out and revamped them. Keep trying new methods. Let your heart, head and hands be your guide.