Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Contest 2010 featuring Gemstones
2009 Fire Mountain Gems and Beads
As Featured in Art Jewelry magazine, January 2010
||Meet the Designer-Artist
With many years (25+) of exposure in the jewelry industry, I have worn just about every possible hat there is. I have seen just about everything! That makes me pull from so many avenues for inspiration. As a creative artist and nature lover outside this industry, I couple many parts of me into my creations. I have so many life experiences of how the industry works for me which I love to share with both the consumer and my students. I want the best from all of my experiences because I want to give that to my students.
Describe your artistic style.
Cutting edge mix of media combos and techniques, coupled with a traditional background of jewelry designs.
What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Nature, of course! Pushing the boundaries of the traditional with the evolution of cutting edge materials. Three innovative techniques that I can share with everyone.
What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I work and tend to challenge myself by evolving PMC™ or Artclay® products from where they are to where they can be. I love gemstones of all shapes and sizes too.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
In the Blue Moonlight
Simply grabbing a piece of the moon and wearing it around your neck can only be felt as a true created blessing from heaven. I've done that.
What inspired this design?
Oh my! I came across the most vibrant of moonstone cabochons. They needed to be placed in something very special. Using iolite told me the moon itself had to be talked about.
How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
I knew I wanted a dreamy evening feel to this piece. The silver clay bounced the moonstone (set in silver mesh) into earthy textures in the clay and then into the faceted iolite and blue topaz strands. Beautiful finish with the bali BT clasp, but something needed to set the moonstone off. The silk cord did the trick.
Share Your Background
My former husband and I owned and operated two fine jewelry stores in Connecticut from 1983-1995, where I continued to learn jewelry repair. This included stringing fine-quality pearls and gemstone beads. In 1998, I moved, as a single mother of two then teenage daughters, from Connecticut to Pennsylvania to work on my undergrad in drug and alcohol counseling. At that time, I also started working as a bench person for national gold smith John Mason (deceased) from State College. Finding that we couldn't work together very well on the bench, he shifted me over to his great bead collection--way before the craze! It was there that I began to combine and make great beaded earrings for him. I then went to work for another local/national jewelry designer Sharon Teamen, also from State College. An AMAZING artisan, Sharon gave me more opportunity to work with beads, as I not only was a fine polisher and channel setter, I was her bead stringer as well.
I worked for these two artists just for a short while, then I started working for a dentist as an assistant. I soon developed tendinitis in my shoulder and left her office to open up my bead shop in late 1999.
Not knowing really how, nor where, to buy beads, Fire Mountain was one of my first places to plug into a vast, ever-changing array of beads and bead products. They help stock my shop on many occasions.
Do you have an artistic background?
I have had formal stone-setting training thru the JBT New York City shows as well as certification through Rio Rewards and PMC Connection--Level 2 and over 25 years as a bench person.
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
I owned a bead shop in central Pennsylvania from 1999 thru 2006 where Fire Mountain Gems and Beads was a steady company.
What other hobbies do you have?
I so enjoy teaching my jewelry techniques to all. I have such a blast with the women in my classes and I am truly challenged personally to learn, then execute an original technique to anyone, perfectly with ease and enjoyment. Love my creations, faith, horses, family, flowers, kites and fishing too!
Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
Yes. Arcadia Fine Arts, New York
IOGS international Exhibits
OLLI Foundation—Central Pennsylvania (teaching, and a member for 12 years!)
I believe that one of my life's callings is to be constantly assessing technical aspects of jewelry-making. I am an instructor on all levels of fabrication. Testing the How To's and teaching are both my real JOYS! Honestly, creating comes second. I want to see what you can do with the tools that I have shown you.
I am taking ALL of my know-how to the inner city in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and am focusing on starting a non-profit institute for the arts where I will be the program director.
The Mt. Pleasant Art Institute is under construction as I am writing this. The main goal for the institute is to teach "at risk" women and young adults how to work with their hands and to perfect what has been taught to them. Then teach them how to market their work and themselves.
A preliminary account has been set up through the Derry Street United Methodist Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to receive jewelry tools, equipment, beads and all other supplies. A receipt for donation for any of these items will be gladly offered.
For more information, please contact me directly at 814-441-0763, or leave a message through the church for me at 717-233-6441.
Contact me if you are an instructor and wish to become a guest instructor.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
All I know is that when I truly take the time to create jewelry or a jewelry technique (my mind's always going), I am happiest.
If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I teach many jewelry classes. www.jogsshow.com as well as an occasional craft show/gallery and website www.patinaswings.etsy.com
Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
Yes. Any organization where women can advance through my teaching to better their lives. And currently I support: www.beechbrookfarm.webs.com (Horse rescue in Mystic, Connecticut.)
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Do not expect perfection when you are first exposed to a new technique in jewelry-making. Learn the medium. Learn the technique. Perfect it--then CREATE to your heart's content.
THANKS for reading up on me!!
View all of Kathy's designs in the Gallery of Designs.