Linda Valentino Michel
|Meet the Designer-Artist
Where do you live?
Describe your artistic style.
My artistic style is a mixture of vintage materials with a slightly updated look, a sort of repurposing.
What inspires you as a designer-artist?
I have been fortunate to spend a few weeks out of every year traveling to Paris and Italy and I find that the beauty of all their art is inspiring and so it is with jewelry. Surrounding yourself with beauty is uplifting, just as wearing gemstones is.
What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I enjoy working with anything from aged brass to oxidized sterling silver, faceted crystals to rough-cut gemstones.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
The piece I'm submitting is called, Still Waters Run Deep, referring to the two birthstones of those gentle, yet emotional water signs, Cancer and Pisces. I noticed that the creamy plow of pearl compliments the soft blue hues of aquamarine. (Of course it didn't hurt that my husband, my Pisces man compliments me, his Cancer, so perfectly.)
What inspired this design?
Fire Mountain Gems inspired me with their hard to find rough-cut stones. I LOVE them and am always searching for a way to incorporate them into my designs.
Share Your Background
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I learned to crochet from my grandmother decades ago, and had an early morning dream to crochet sterling and add the pearls and aquamarines that I had already decided to use. What worked out well with this design is that when you crochet with beads, you must first string the beads onto the wire before starting, so planning is essential. As the bib necklace took shape, since there is no actual pattern, I started to freeform crochet the design and when I finished there were places I thought needed more stones. With this design I just used misc. pearls and stone and wire-wrapped them onto my 24-gauge sterling silver headpins and placed them wherever I desired! Being able to do this filled the need and completed the freeform appearance.
Do you have an artistic background?
I have been sculpting original dolls for almost 28 years and sold mass production pieces on HSN for years. At that time I was always making jewelry for my dolls and that took me into designing spiritual jewelry and selling that on HSN also. The collectible business has its trend cycles, but jewelry is always in fashion, so along with my sculpting, I now design and sell jewelry, using a combination of vintage and new pieces and selling them on my website www.angels9.etsy.com.
Now that my five children are grown and no longer at home, I travel with my husband and pick up interesting ideas wherever we go. The joy is in the search of new ideas and combinations of stones and color, jotting things down constantly in my ''inspiration'' notebooks and getting back home to order all of my goodies! ( I highly recommend that everyone carry around a small notebook or camera to remember the wonderful ideas we could so easily forget!)
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
Eighteen years ago I came across a Fire Mountain Gems catalog and it was love at first sight! I've been a regular customer ever since.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
I work on my jewelry everyday! It literally takes me away! It also is my salvation in a sense. My husband has suffered through several serious illnesses and for our many weeks spent at hospitals, I packed my bead trays, tools and magnifying glass and was always gainfully occupied. Through the most trying times, being creative is such a positive outlet and for that I am so grateful!
View all of Linda's designs in the Gallery of Designs.