Arja Moilanen

Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Canberra, Australia

Describe your artistic style.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
The colours of the beads.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I have used lots of freshwater pearls, African turquoise and rhodonite. However, my favorite is black lava stone, it is a real rescuer. When I need the little something and after trying various colours and materials it is the lava stone which works best.

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

What inspired this design?
My friend bought me a stone from her travels to Mt Everest. I was looking at the stone from time on my desk and then decided to do something useful of it. Particularly after my friend told how difficult it was to pick up the stone on that thin air. It was worth it to be taken good care. My friend was very pleased when she saw my Himalaya necklace.

How did it come together?
It defined itself once I started to work on it. Currently it is under renovation as the tiger tail was not strong enough to hold it. I'm waiting that the Himalaya is "talking" to me as to how it will like to be wrapped.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I started my jewellery-making about two years ago. My friend, from whom I have asked to fix some of my jewellery, finally told me "do it yourself, I will teach you". I was hooked. So nice to do something which is dust free.

Who introduced you to beading?
My friend.

Do you have an artistic background?
Passionate knitter and always designing my own work. I have studied handcraft for 4 years. I have a degree as a handloom weaver.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®?
A friend recommended me.

What other hobbies do you have?
Reading, knitting, concerts and lots of them classic, jazz and folk.

Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
Not any official group, but I do beading with my friend one Saturday of the month.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
It is my relaxation. Even though I sell my jewellery-making is my relaxation and I have a fun time. I work full-time in the finance field.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
Some time ago I met a person who asked if I'd like to sell my jewellery in her shop and I answered, yes, I love to do so. I am working to go for a website too.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I donate my jewellery for nonprofit organization as raffle prizes. I also do jewellery with my friend for her church to be given as Christmas presents. Last Christmas I did a total of 22 necklaces and bracelets for the church within a week. At first I did few and was planning to take photos of all the works, then I decided that it is more important for people to receive a present, than for me to have a photo of my work. So I did 18 necklaces and bracelets in two nights. We did 42 together and decided to do at least as many this year. Thus far I have done 7.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Love what you do, keep your eyes and mind open for new materials and ideas.