Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Contest 2010
featuring Metal Clay, Metal Beads,
Wirework and Chain
||Meet the Designer-Artist
Where do you live?
My name is Mary McLarney and I live in Marine City, Michigan. A small one nautical mile city on the St.Clair river, which borders the Canadian Providence of Ontario.
What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I enjoy doing chainmaille and working with all different kinds of metal. I like sterling silver, copper and titanium the most. I also like to incorporate crystal and semi-precious stones and beads into my creations.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
I named this piece
Just Fun because that is what I felt after I made it. It was just something fun to wear and different. I had the idea of making a banded bracelet, but I also wanted to add something else: crystal. I originally attached just the bead to the band but I did not like how it looked. So through trial and error, I came up with this design.
What inspired this design?
My inspiration came from the need to be creative. I found that jewelry-making satisfied that need.
Share Your Background
Who introduced you to beading?
I was first introduced to the art of chainmaille through a gentleman at an indoor flea market. I was also interested in this, I had to find out what it was all about. I conversed with this man for quite awhile and he gave me some very good information about the art. I was so fascinated that I went out and bought some galvanized wire and a pair of snips. I found some instructions on how to do chainmaille and worked on this for a couple of months until I was comfortable with the patterns. I then graduated to precious metal wire and began making some beautiful jewelry.
Do you have an artistic background?
I have always been pretty creative. I enjoy painting with acrylics and water color and I have done some woodworking. Now my passion is making jewelry. Jewelry that is different and unique.
What other hobbies do you have?
I do find time for some other hobbies like playing my guitar and fishing, whether ice fishing or summer fishing. I love doing them all.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Jewelry-making now plays a big part of my life. My husband and I used to work on jewelry together nearly every day. He passed away four years ago and after he passed I did not want to do jewelry because it brought such sadness to me. We truly enjoyed this hobby together. A couple of years ago, I started up again and I am happy to say that doing chainmaille and beading is very relaxing to me. It brings joy and a sense of accomplishment. It is very uplifting when people compliment me on what I have created. I also believe there is a spiritual connection as well.
If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I do sell to my family, friends and coworkers. I would love to expand a bit more to some art fairs and craft shows. I am working on this. Once I get stocked on materials and product I would like to have a website also. Maybe someday.
Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I have a few pieces for charity. We have had local families in need and there were benefit dinners held for them and raffles. I donated jewelry for the raffles. I also donated to raffles for breast cancer awareness.
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
My advice to an aspiring jewelry artist is to let your creativity go wild. What you think is not a great piece, there is someone out there that will absolutely love it. I have learned not to restrict my creativity.