Kerry-Marie Stubbs

Crystal Pearl Cascade
Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Gladstone, Queensland, Australia

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
I love anything elegant and vintage. The time, effort and skills that are required to make some of the pieces still fascinate me.

What medium do you work with mostly?
I mainly work with seed beads, crystals and pearls.

Why did you become enchanted with this style of jewelry-making?
I first experimented with seed bead and crystal pieces as it was something different to what you saw in shops. But as I did more of it and learnt more, the time, effort and skill stunned me. Those three things are what I now see in any piece. Not the pretty colors or the beads used but the time, effort and skill to produce a piece and then the beads and colors.

Where and How do you sell your jewelry?
At local handmade markets. View Kerry-Marie's Facebook page here:

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Crystal Pearl Cascade

What inspired this design?
This piece was designed around a specific dress.

How did it come together?
The design was a joint effect between the customer and myself. They came to me with ideas and wishes and I turned that into reality.

Picture A
Update from Artist

I received a message from a new customer on the 26th March 2014 enquiring if it was possible to meet and have a chat about placing an order with me. I readily agreed and we met that week. The customer and her daughter arrived to have a chat to see if I could make all the accessories for her daughter's prom in November. They had brought with them a photo of the dress and several photos of different back necklaces that they liked different aspects from. They asked if I had made one before, to which I answered no but was willing to try. From those photos, we developed a color scheme, white, silver and crystals and roughly drew up a design for the back piece. By the time they left, I had an order for a back piece, a front piece, earrings and a beaded purse.

I didn't have all the necessary items on hand, so the first step was to order the necessary beads and crystals. As well as a few extra options for just encase.

Our next meeting was the 12th May when finally everything had arrived. We looked through all the beads and crystals that I had ordered and they selected what they liked. We discussed different arrangement possibilities and measurements were taken as the dress had arrived.

I started on the back piece on the 16th May and ran out of crystals. So I completed the design on the 17th with crystals the next size up and put it aside for the customer to approve. Which thankfully they did.

In the meantime I began work on the beaded purse. Obtaining a frame in the style the customer was wanting had been the initial delay for the second meeting. Now I had to design a pattern for this as well, as all my patterns were for smaller frames. After knitting up one design and realizing three quarters of the way through the 500gms of beads was not going to be enough and that weight was too much for an evening bag, I pulled the whole piece apart and started again. The final design was not as heavy and I managed to have beads left over. This was by far the largest bag I had bead knitted. The frame was 6 inches wide.

My next challenge was the front piece. The design was not the issue here, but the coloring of the beads when made up. The front piece was to be sewn to the dress and join up with the back piece. Every tone of silver seed bead just didn't look right with the back piece. I tried different combinations of pearl white and crystal seed beads with the silver seed beads. I made four pieces in seed beads before using superduos in a crystal and silver mix with crystal seed beads and pearls. The silver seed beads just did not stand out or appeared faded compared with the back piece.

Picture A was made with superduos. Picture B was one of the first attempts with silver seed beads.

Two different types of earring were made for a final choice and the chosen set was attached to screw on earrings. A matching hair comb finished the set.

This was how I saw all the pieces when they were collected on 7th October. I did not see the final combination until the 3rd December. I was at my day job when these photos came through on my mobile with the following message.

''Hi Kerry,

Here are a few photos as promised. We can't thank you enough for all the hard work you put into making all the accessories. You truly are talented and your time was much appreciated. Will definitely be calling on you in the future.

I sat there stunned for a moment before it hit me that this was my work. I immediately shared the photos with some of my work colleagues.

In the six months that I spent working on this one order, I also attended markets, taught beading classes and moved house. But it has taught me to have more faith in my own ability.''

Picture B