|Meet the Designer-Artist
Deborah J. Smith, a self-taught designer-artist, was awarded the coveted Grand Prize Gold Medal in the 2007 Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Annual Beading Contest. Her symbolic, ombre-style neckpiece, entitled Caribbean Honeymoon, features Swarovski crystal beads, Czech glass beads, Celestial Crystal® beads and 14Kt gold-filled split rings.
Nature is Deborah's inspiration--the tropics most of all. Every year she hangs a calendar featuring tropical landscapes. ''I dream of living there and selling to the bikini-clad tourists,'' she confesses. The picturesque landscapes were her inspiration for Caribbean Honeymoon. Two hearts rest at the center of the necklace, representing honeymooners relaxing in the sand. Deborah chose the color palette carefully to mimic a beachside scene--green beads to symbolize the leaves of palm trees, grayish beads for the palms' trunks, sandy-colored crystals for the beach and a gradient of turquoise blues to resemble the Caribbean Sea.
Raised in a creative environment, each of Deborah's family members found their own form of artistic expression, from carpentry to painting, and after dabbling in many art forms, Deborah discovered her own--jewelry-making.
It all began with a lost necklace. In the early 1980s, Deborah loaned a necklace to a friend who misplaced it. She never forgot that necklace and in 2002 she picked up a beading magazine and realized she could recreate the necklace herself. ''I know why my friend lost my necklace,'' says Deborah, ''so that I would start creating my own jewelry.'' She feels gratitude toward this friend for starting her on this beading journey.
Now, Deborah can't imagine life without beading. ''It consumes me--I can sit for 14 hours straight and only go to bed because I know I should. When I don't have a project, I feel lost.''
Too humble to sell her creations, Deborah continues to make jewelry for her own collection, family and friends. Her designs are one-of-a-kind, taking hours to create a single piece. Of all her favorite materials, Swarovski crystals and precious metals are at the top. ''Swarovski may be more expensive, but the sparkle is certainly worth it.''
Since Deborah was awarded the Grand Prize for Caribbean Honeymoon, she's worked on a few projects for friends and hopes to soon market her designs to boutiques. To sell or not to sell, Deborah will always design jewelry. ''I love it. I love it. I love it! I just love making jewelry.''
For more information or images of Deborah's work, call (240) 210-4862.
View all of Deborah's designs in the Gallery of Designs.