Carin Thompson

Snake Necklace from the CJ Collection
Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Batavia, Wisconsin

Describe your artistic style.
My artistic style is a wide range. Some of my creations are simple while others are a little more stand out and loud.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
What inspires me the most is life. How precious it is and how simple or complicated it can be. Which is why in my jewelry box collection, there are pieces that are simple and pieces that become really intricate. I look at pendants, study their unique style and imagine how I can accent it with beads, chains, and head pins to create that elusive piece that accents any couture.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Crystals, chains, glass beads and headpins.

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Snake Necklace from the CJ Collection

What inspired this design?
Autumn. The colors that I see during that time of year inspired the color scheme I used while making this piece.

How did it come together?
I actually made several other pieces using my signature design. In this piece, I knew what colors I wanted to use, and it just came to me. This signature design is what CJ Peake's Jewelry Box is built on.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I began making jewelry/beading in 2009, and over time, my handcrafted masterpieces have gotten a unique style of their own in 2011 and many more years to come.

Who introduced you to beading?
There isn't one person who introduced beading to me. Well if there was, I'd have to say my Mother, Marilyn. It started out as a hobby with one anklet she made, and now it has transformed into my life. I now sell my collections out of my own jewelry box on a website I recently created.

Do you have an artistic background?
Not really. My Mother, Marilyn used to make stained glass pieces, My late Grandmother, Jean, was a seamstress, My late Grandmother Violet, did some knitting and was always there to sew on my teddy bears head. haha!

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®?
I discovered Fire Mountain Gems and Beads while I was selling my masterpieces at my annual Yard Sale. A customer noticed my work, and asked me where I was purchasing my beads. I had told her at those expensive stores that I won't name. She asked me if I had internet service and mentioned the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads website. I've been hooked ever since.

What other hobbies do you have?
Baking, cooking, candle making, knitting, and stamp collecting.

Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
Yes. I belong to Beader's Showcase. At Beader's Showcase, I can share my work with other artists. My jewelry box is connected to Twitter: @CJPeakeJewelry.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Jewelry plays a huge role in my life. I'm constantly thinking about how I can put a piece together, sometimes even in my sleep. It's bizarre. I can dream at night about one piece and in the morning literally put it together, snap a photo and post it to my website. Emotionally and physically, jewelry-making has made me a better person. Knowing that the pieces I create in my studio can spread all over the world, to make anyone feel beautiful, is why I do what I do. Beading Jewelry is my life, full-time, which is why I've created my own Web site store.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
Yes. I do use jewelry-making to bring in income. It's my only source of income. I sell my jewelry on my online web site store. I haven't entered any contests yet, but I'm sure if I can find them, I will. Yes I do send out mailings, about once a month or so to let my current customers know of new merchandise, promotions, and contests. I also send them to potential new customers as well. (If I forgot you, put in your request at my Jewelry Box and I will send one out to you or you can sign up via email. check our website for details!) As of right now, I am in the works of putting together a Facebook page, just for CJ Peake's Jewelry Box. (check out our website for details). I have been thankful to my friends who help me promote and advertise my work. Without them, the word of my creations would not have spread throughout Canada as it did. Let's hope the epidemic takes off here in the United States as well.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I'm currently in the works with a Canadian fashion company, Obakki, and I am going to make a few pieces that they can sell on an online auction. The proceeds will go to the Obakki foundation which helps bring clean drinking water to places that are not so fortunate.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Yeah! If something looks good that you pieced together yourself, make more and try to sell it. Always follow your heart and dreams.