Holly Smith

Holly Smith

Spunky Reindeer
Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Contest 2010
featuring Metal Clay, Metal Beads,
Wirework and Chain

Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Granite Bay, California

Describe your artistic style.
Classic, sophisticated and simple. I use harmonious or complementary colors, carrying textures and shapes, put together to create an affordable piece that you could use in your everyday wardrobe.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Seeing a focal bead or pendant will inspire me to create around it. I find inspiration in a new dress or outfit and love to create a special set for it. Looking at designs in catalogs or beading magazines inspires me to create or use beads a different way than I may have.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I love to work with gemstones. All shapes, colors and textures. I also use crystals, pearls, glass, metal, shell, wood, bone and horn. Coral is also a favorite.

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Spunky Reindeer

What inspired this design?
I received a holiday sweater with a group of reindeer on it. I wanted to create a pair of earrings to go with it.

How did it come together?
The reindeer came together as I started working. I just started with a few beads and some wire and before you know it--I had a pair of cute matching reindeer!

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
About 12 years ago I received a bead assortment for Christmas. I had a lot of fun creating small things for myself and other relatives. I found that I was always thinking of new things to make and wanted more beads. Everyone I knew was getting so many gifts all the time, that they started telling me I should sell my creations. I saw that I could get some money which would allow me to buy more beads. So, another beading monster was created.

Who introduced you to beading?
Maybe 15 years ago, my mother first showed me the Fire Mountain Gems catalogs she had been receiving. I looked with a passing interest, but nothing really clicked right away.

Do you have an artistic background?
Yes, I have always considered myself a person with some artistic abilities. I have enjoyed creating art using different mediums.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®?
My mother had been getting the Fire Mountain Gems catalog. She showed me their reasonable prices and huge selection.

What other hobbies do you have?
I have been a seamstress since I was ten years old, making most of my wardrobe. Fashion has always interested me and fashion accessories. I really love to create a special necklace set to go with a new outfit, or to make a custom set for a client for a special occasion. My sewing skills have worked well in making many different home decorating items, from window coverings to table runners. Sometimes I incorporate beads into them. I also enjoy other crafts as well, such as painting bird houses, making Christmas ornaments, mosaics and arranging flowers. I love to garden and watch things grow.

Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
No, I haven't come across a group or society yet.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
I did go into business, on a very small scale, about eight years ago. I obtained local business licenses and a resale permit. I have some of my creations on consignment in a couple of local stores and enjoy some returns from that. I consider this a part-time career, but I must keep creating to supply the stores, making things that I feel will sell. I do go through beader's block at times when I feel I can't think of anything new to make. But at other times, I can't bead fast enough to keep up with the ideas that come to mind. Sometimes I feel pressure to get things done before a show and I work late getting all the pricing and paperwork done. I do enjoy selling my creations and seeing the faces of the people who buy them.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
Craft fairs, markets, home parties, fundraisers and customer word-of-mouth. I do not have a website, but can be contacted by e-mail.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I have sold my jewelry items at fundraisers for local schools and organizations.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
I say that beading is a very fun hobby that it can be addictive and can get expensive. But if you love to be creative, the sky is the limit.