Carol Ong

Carol Ong

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Jewelry-Making Contest 2010 featuring Crystal


Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Flushing, New York

Describe your artistic style.
Clean and simple, at the same time elegant.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
By reading about and studying the beadwork of talented bead artists in bead magazines. They are the ones that have taken my beadwork to another level. Their ingenuity is one of a kind and their work demonstrates the boundless possibilities of beadwork.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Glass seed beads and crystals of various colors, sizes and shapes.

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

What inspired this design?
The heartrending demise of a friend's father to the delightful account of her fiancé's proposal.

How did it come together?
This necklace was put together pretty much from my imagination as I beaded. Since it is dedicated to a friend who is getting married this winter, I used crystal-lined white beads as the foundation, representing winter. Pearls are symbolic of marital bliss as in purity and chastity, and are favored by most brides as bridal adornment. With this in mind, I beaded around crystal pearls with light and medium colored amethyst beads along with crystal 2xABs to draw out the colors, like the hint of glow shown on my friend's face as she spoke of her fiancé's proposal. I further included olivine green to the necklace to create a serene winter environment, and finally, supplementing crystal ABs to the foundation for a shimmering effect. Since I have a handful of friends who are left-handed, I do not recall this friend of mine being right or left-handed. As such, I decided to use a link with clasps on both sides.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
It was from the National Museum of the American Indian that I learned about beading, and the history and techniques of seed beading. I signed up for workshops offered by the museum. Information I gathered and things I learned from the museum were priceless. My creativity and techniques further ensued when I uncovered countless bead books from a bookstore featuring traditional, contemporary, dimensional, and unique beads and beadworks, some with stories about their origins, others with gorgeous-looking pictures of beadwork showing exceptionally intricate designs. Ever since that day I have been buying bead books that I thoroughly enjoy reading while learning new techniques.

Who introduced you to beading?
No one. I learned how to bead by attending workshops offered by the National Museum of the American Indian after being captivated by the beautiful beadwork on display at the museum.

Do you have an artistic background?
I have always enjoyed craft work. I love wood carving, sketching, collaging, tie-dye and cross stitching.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
I discovered Fire Mountain Gems and Beads during a search for a reliable and resourceful online bead store.

What other hobbies do you have?
There is nothing in the world I love more than traveling, getting to know the locals, and relishing in their cuisine! Visiting local craft stores is also one of my top priorities when I travel. I also enjoy reading, walking, doing yoga with friends and going online.

Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
I was a member of the Bead Society of Greater New York until this year. Because of conflicting time schedules resulting in my inability to attend most of their meetings, I decided to cancel my membership. I still meet up with a few friends I met at the museum workshop every once in a while.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
First it was a hobby, then it turned into a stress relief. When I get tired from my 9-5 work week, I turn to beading, sometimes spending 2-3 hours on weeknights and my weekends could run anywhere from 4-8 hours without my realizing it--it is extremely therapeutic!

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I only sell my jewelry to friends. However, I am looking into creating my own web page in the near future.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
No, but I would love to. I read about Jeanette Shanigan's Bead Artists Against Breast Cancer and might try to contribute to her 2011 charity.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Be original and keep up-to-date with new techniques. Go online or buy bead books that showcase latest designs and new products in the market.