Heather Thatcher

Heather Thatcher

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Contest 2010 featuring Gemstones

Category: Wedding and Holiday

Silver Medal Prize Winner

Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Palm Desert, California

Describe your artistic style.
Bold and romantic.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
I was born in Manitoba, Canada, but I am inspired by the colors here in the desert where I live now and the beauty of the mountains surrounding us.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I'm most at home with big chunky gemstones and fine crystals in combination.

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Queen of the Ice

What inspired this design?
It was so hot here in the desert and I remembered our trip to Idyllwild (in the mountains here) in the snow. When I saw the Hawaiian chips in the catalog I could see and feel them as ice around my neck. I imagined that a summer bride would feel that same coolness and perhaps feel like a "Queen of the Ice."

How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
I sketched it out first in as much detail as I could imagine. As a former graphic artist, this works best for me.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
As a child in Canada, I liked to make necklaces by braiding chains of dandelions and wearing them until they fell apart.

Who introduced you to beading?
My mother, who loved all forms of creative art. She showed me how to make paper beads out of magazines and other beads out of a flour and salt dough. It was before polymer clay was invented. They were cheap and fun and beautiful and they sold right away at a charity fair. So much fun!

Do you have an artistic background?
My mother was a sculptor and a painter. She encouraged my sister and me. When I was seven I won a cross-Canada first-place award for my art. I now have a degree in graphic design, but my first love is beading.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®?
I'm a hairdresser and one of my clients had a Fire Mountain catalog. I was so intrigued that I would have done her hair for free just to get that catalog! (I didn't need to.)

What other hobbies do you have?
My sister and I love to go on tropical vacations and snorkel.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Making jewelry is an obsession. I am an artist who has discovered her passion. If I was never able to sell another piece of jewelry I would still continue to design and produce it.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
Years of making jewelry for family and friends became more than a hobby and I found myself displaying and selling at craft fairs. This is my first contest.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
My bead club made jewelry for the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center for Abused Children. It was so fulfilling that I'm determined to do it every year. I'm also working on jewelry for a group that provides prom dresses for underprivileged girls.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Buy the best beads and equipment you can afford and use them. Never underestimate your talent. Be brave and try everything once--that way you come closer to finding your personal style.