|Meet the Designer-Artist
It started out simple, just stringing plastic beads together as a child. Then as I got older, I wanted jewelry to match an outfit, so I found myself stringing "grown-up" beads together. But the real fire started around 2003 when I started experimenting with wire, and I haven't been able to stop since. I'm sure there are days my husband wishes I hadn't found Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, but he's spared the task of gifting me with jewelry outside of supplies and equipment.
As a self-taught jewelry artist, I find myself going in a million different directions all the time. It all starts with a color, or a specific bead, a fossil or an interesting piece of rock. I look at something and say "Now, what can I do with this." I love to combine anything and everything I can, creating what I like to call wearable art, because it's not just a necklace, it becomes so much more. I come home from a trip outside with pockets bulging with rocks and fossil bits just begging to be made into jewelry.
One of my first major wire pieces was a grand experiment of wire wrapping a nautilus shell. I even thought I was crazy about halfway through the process, but the result was amazing--so amazing I'm afraid to even think about wearing it. It has a place of honor in its own special display case, and I still get goose bumps every time I see it.
A bead, rock, or piece of wire on its own may not be anything special, but when you toss them all together you get something that is truly amazing. I also have a love affair with jumprings, and taking them beyond the normal connect-this-to-that usage. People look at me like I'm crazy when they see me assembling a chainmaille piece, and then want one of their own when they see the final product. It's not all wire and jumprings though, I do still love to find new ways to combine strung beads. I've also started learning how to do peyote stitch and bead looming, having the most fun designing my own patterns for new projects.
The only goal I have is to have fun and push myself to the limits so the next piece will turn out even better than the one before it. Jewelry to me is the ultimate form of self-expression. It can be simple and clean, sophisticated, or wild and crazy depending on the mood I want to set when I'm making the piece, and when I'm wearing it. It's also a great way to share a little piece of yourself with others. It's always fun to hear from family members and friends on the compliments they get from the pieces I have made for them.
One of the greatest moments thus far was being in a book store on vacation with my mother looking through craft and jewelry magazines, and turning one over to see my piece, Nautica--Past and Present, on the back with the Fire Mountain Gems' logo above it. I think I even danced a little jig right on the spot. But even greater than that, was getting a few friends hooked on jewelry making too.
View her website at www.savagegems.com
Rachel was awarded the Gold Medal in the jumprings category of the 2008 Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Annual Beading Contest. View this design, along with Rachel's 2007 winning pieces in the Gallery of Designs.