Eye of Horus
||Meet the Designer-Artist
Where do you live?
Describe your artistic style.
I use a variety of bead stringing techniques and wire-wrapping to create pieces from simple to very complex and elegant. My style I guess would be considered contemporary.
What inspires you as a designer-artist?
I get inspiration from nature and from the beads themselves. I usually start with a color that I want to work with, or a centerpiece and then start pulling out beads from my many drawers and storage boxes. Once I have a pile of beads on my workbench, then the magic begins and I just go with the flow.
What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I love stones of almost any kind, shape, color, and I use a lot of freshwater pearls. But, I also love the incredible colors and diversity of glass beads--both seed and larger sizes. I really love to mix it up--large stone beads with glass seed beads. It is usually a color that guides me.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Eye of Horus
What inspired this design?
The center piece is a 1976 24kt gold electroplated belt buckle from the Museum of Modern Art that I found at a yard sale. It is stamped MMA 1976 on the back and I have verified with the MMA that it came from their gift catalog. I wanted to create a beaded pyramid shape that was open in the back so that the stamp could be seen. The backing is leather and the buckle is attached with wire. The clasp is another recycled piece that came off an old costume jewelry necklace. I made this piece for an art show last December.
How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
Typically, I don't have a plan for a piece like this. It just happens. I knew that I wanted a dark pyramid shape behind the buckle, with a few gold beads to represent stars. The rainbow strands of seed beads just evolved after I finished the center piece. As I recall, the Egyptians liked bright colors. There are 24 kt gold-plated bugle beads in the strands and 22 kt gold vermeil on the fringe.
Share Your Background
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I started making jewelry as a Christmas gift project in 1994. I went to a small craft store and picked out a brochure with directions for some seed bead earrings and necklaces. I fell in love with the beads. Then, I went to my first bead show in 1996 and my love turned into addiction. I left the show with about 10 pounds of stone and glass beads. I have been beading ever since.
Who introduced you to beading?
A little brochure at a craft store in Seattle.
Do you have an artistic background?
I have always been artistic. I loved drawing and painting as a child. I have an art education BA degree and have done pottery, textiles, painting, drawing and a variety of other crafts, but beading has been my true love.
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
I think I found Fire Mountain about 11 years ago doing an internet search looking for beads.
What other hobbies do you have?
I sing with a local music group called First Light. We sing a variety of rock, blues, jazz, soul and gospel. I also still paint occasionally.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
I have always needed a creative outlet. I get really grumpy if I can't create something beautiful for very long. The beading is a connection for me to something greater than myself. Many times, I feel like the inspiration is just coming through me from a higher source. I can actually feel the energy from many of the stones with my hands. I have been a rock collector since I was a child, so working with the beads is perfect. Mother Nature creates the most beautiful artwork on the planet and I get to play with her little beauties and make fun stuff.
My jewelry business--Spirit Beads Jewelry--has been part-time for the last 11 years, mostly because I worked a full-time job. I recently have been downsized, so I now have more time to devote to my jewelry. I have created an eBay store, where I am currently selling my work.
If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I have done a lot of craft fairs in the past, and have sold my jewelry on consignment in a variety of retail stores. I have pretty much stopped doing the consignment and will focus more on my eBay store and maybe enter some contests. I have done some local art shows and usually make special pieces for that.
Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I have donated a lot of jewelry to charity groups for fundraising auctions. In particular, I donate to the Angels Over Sandpoint, a group that I volunteer with in my community. We provide a lot of assistance to individuals in need in our area. We do several fundraising events each year, including at least two or three auctions. I also sell at a discount a special line of earrings that I make for the Mariposa Foundation.
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Do what you love and don't worry about the latest fashion trend. I read a quote somewhere a long time ago that really inspired me, "I create what I love and sell to those who love what I create." And it really works. My customers tell me all the time that they can feel the love in my jewelry.