Lody Steward

Golden Elegance
Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
I live in a very rural countryside of central Iowa.

Describe your artistic style.
Victorian style always appeals to me... and I'd say that my favorite techniques are bead embroidery and bead stitching due to my background as a published counted thread embroidery designer. However, since I live in the US, I was introduced to various beading and jewelry-making techniques. I'm recently addicted to wireworking and I can see myself doing it more in the coming years.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Nature inspires me the most--especially trees. It always amazes me at how many colors the leaves bring every season. I was born and raised in the Philippines and we just refer to our seasons as "dry" and "wet". When its "dry", it means it's super-hot... and when it's "wet", it means rainy days. Here in the US, I love "autumn" the most... the leaves on the trees never cease to have an impact on me.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Seed beads and cabochons will always be on top of my lists. I don't think I can live without seed beads. However, I also love working with semi-precious gemstones, shells, crystals and glass beads.

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Golden Elegance

What inspired this design?
My love for the Victorian era and Egyptian-style inspired this "Golden Elegance" piece.

How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
As with most of my bead embroidery pieces, this piece defined itself as I worked on it. I simply gather materials, then let them give me direction.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
Back in college (many moons ago), I used to live with an aunt with a dress shop in Manila, Philippines. Me and my cousins would do the all the bead embroidery on the TV show costumes and wedding/formal gowns--we would do all the designs ourselves, too. For every costume we'd make, we usually would make matching jewelry too, i.e. cuffs, necklaces and/or earrings. I love the freedom in bead embroidery--as I feel the beads have a mind of their own.

After I graduated from college, I stopped beading and didn't really get into it again 'til I got married, or should I say after my arrival here in the US in late 2004. It seems natural for me to pick up a beading needle and start threading beads. In the last 6 years, I've been making jewelry as gifts for family and friends.

Who introduced you to beading?
Everything I know about beading is self-taught--from bead embroidery, bead stitching, etc.

Do you have an artistic background?
I have a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering, and was the only profession I used in Manila. I always think that my profession helped me with my bead stitching and off-loom beadweaving capabilities.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®?
My aunt (sister of my mother-in-law) gave me her copy of Fire Mountain Gems catalog years ago. Since then, I've been a frequent visitor or your website.

What other hobbies do you have?
I'm a published counted thread embroidery designer, with emphasis on 3-dimensional hand finishing. Some of my designs have been published in Australian magazines and I have a design on cue at a US magazine--just waiting for the schedule. I also do a lot of DVD montage, dabbling on digital scrapbooking, card making and I'm starting crazy quilting too.

Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
I joined Beading Daily one year ago, and I'm so thankful I did. It's always nice to be with the company of fellow jewelry makers--even if it's just in the virtual world.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
After making jewelries for my in-laws, I decided to take the plunge and start selling some of my creations on Etsy. I just couldn't justify the cost of a bead stash at times anymore. However, I still consider it as a hobby... though in the future, I would love to share my love of bead embroidery and bead stitching through publishing.

I'm proud to say that my mother-in-law is the recipient of most of my previous works--as well as her sister. I love the fact that they wear my jewelry, and that they get compliments when they do.

Beading and jewelry-making serves as my daily therapy. It keeps my mind calm and sane. As I always tell my husband, beading is like a free medication that helps me cure my homesickness.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I do have a website for my embroidery, and I'm planning to incorporate some of my jewelry on the website in the next month or so. I'm also hoping I can attend craft fairs in the future.

I've never joined any jewelry contest yet, though I've been submitting entries at the IA state fair since last year. This year, one of my bead embroidered cuff won first place (blue ribbon) at the Needle Constucted Jewelry Category... I won second place last year for the same category and third place in the stringing category.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
Yes. Just recently, me and some Beading Daily forum members helped a fellow member in need of medical assistance by donating a few of our creations to list in their artfire shop. This year, I donated a few items of jewelry to 3 events and love the fact that my creations help somebody, even if it's not that much.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Do what you love with all your heart, and you'll be rewarded. Find your niche, then keep on creating original pieces--that's how you'll be remembered!