||Meet the Designer-Artist
Where do you live?
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Describe your artistic style.
This is quite a difficult question--I'm not too sure that I have a definite style, although I do like making fairly geometric shapes in 3D.
What inspires you as a designer-artist?
I am inspired by many things. Sometimes it is the colours of nature, or of a particular fabric/outfit which inspires a design. Other times it is the variations of a stitch which dictates where the design will take me.
What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Seed beads and thread predominate, but I also enjoy working with wire and incorporating larger beads into a bead woven design. There are just so many alternatives available to jewelry artists these days. We are so lucky to have access to the world-wide web and therefore to all the treasures of the earth.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
What inspired this design?
This piece was planned around the Bead Society of Victoria's Bead Challenge pack for 2010. The whole piece reminds me of the ocean, the waves rolling in and the underlying rock pools glistening in the sunlight.
How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
The design did very much define itself as I worked it through. The large lampwork beads seemed to need to be enclosed but I didn't want to bezel them and hide some of their glory. That meant nine separate loops and once they were joined up the other beads seemed to demand to be placed into position. Whilst I did try to draw the design a couple of times, it really only seemed to work if I kept laying out the beads and trying different combinations.
I was thrilled to receive second prize in the public vote section of the Bead Challenge 2010, plus a Very Highly Commended in the Judge's vote section.
Share Your Background
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
My interest in crafty pursuits dates back to when I was a small child, influenced by my mother's interests in dress making, millinery, cake decorating, etc. When my children were small, I began to make jewelry with leather leaves, large beads and found objects such as gum nuts and was fortunate enough to sell quite a few through a local gallery. In about 2000, my daughter became interested in jewelry-making and we both took a class at a bead shop, followed by bead weaving classes at the Embroiderers Guild of Victoria.
Who introduced you to beading?
I would have to say it was my mother. In the sixties she made a wonderful dress with beaded embroidery right down the front and I became interested in embroidering with beads on some of my own clothing.
Do you have an artistic background?
A lifelong interest in all things to do with craft and art has led me to try many different things. In the late 1980s I studied an Art and Design course for embroiderers which covered many subjects such as felting, dyeing, painting, sculpting etc., all of which can be applied in various ways to my beading.
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
Through the wonderful colourful advertisements in Bead and Button magazine.
What other hobbies do you have?
Reading, fishing, camping, sailing, knitting and crochet and many more too numerous to mention.
Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
Yes, I belong to the Bead Society of Victoria, (Australia).
What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
I find my beading can be all-consuming when I am in the middle of a new design. Since I am now retired from my previous career as a PA, I am busier than ever tutoring beading, making my own creations and also in my role as the editor of the Bead Society of Victoria newsletter "Connect."
If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
Yes, I do have a website: www.chrisbeads.com, but use it mainly as a promotional tool for classes and to provide a gallery of designs.
My tutorials are also for sale at www.chrisbeads.etsy.com and jewelry items at www.madeit.com.au/chrisbeads. I also showcase some of my work at www.chrisbeads.blogspot.com.
Over the past six years or so, I have entered some of the Bead Challenges run by the Bead Society of Victoria, as well as the Maria George Delica bead competition and competitions run by Australian magazines. So far I have not attempted to compete internationally.
Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I have occasionally donated jewelry to be sold as a fund raising activity for the local school.
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Keep learning and evolving. There are so many aspects to jewelry-making, we can never hope to do them all, but it is great fun trying.