Vanessa Walilko

Vanessa Walilko

Phoenix Reborn
2009 Fire Mountain Gems and Beads
Jewelry-Making Contest
Gold Medal Prize Winner
Category: Freeform Expression - Jewelry

Meet the Designer-Artist
I'm inspired by ancient beliefs and mythological characters. I feel that I am possessed by ideas--they tell me what to do and how to make them. I'm also inspired by the desire to play, so my artistic style tends to be extreme, eclectic, eccentric, wild, and odd--but everyone can tell that I have a lot of fun with what I do. While I love all my creations like they are my children, I'm most proud of my Phoenix Reborn necklace because it was the gold medal prize winner in the 2007 Fire Mountain Gems contest in the Freeform Expression category. It was also featured in the "Your Work" section of the August 2008 issue of Bead and Button magazine.

Share Your Background
I started beading when I was 9. My mom signed me up for a seed bead jewelry class at the summer program at my elementary school and I was hooked immediately. I loved putting together all those tiny beads to make jewelry. As a meticulous person, impulse continues to drive my art, putting lots of little things together to make cool big things.

My mom has always supported my creativity, so she ordered a Fire Mountain Gems catalog from a catalog of catalogs. I remember when it arrived--I pored over its pages like it was a holy book. To this day I get excited when a Fire Mountain Gems catalog arrives in the mail. I like being tempted by all the interesting new items.

Beading Success
Jewelry is my life! I've worked part-time as a jewelry production assistant for the past three years, and I also make jewelry for my own business, Kali Butterfly ( I love pushing the boundaries of what people expect in beadwork and chain mail, constructing elaborate bead embroidery and fashion armor pieces. I believe that creation is a sacred act that connects a person with what is most meaningful, and I've devoted my life to creating. Aside from making chain mail and beaded art, I'm also the drummer in a band called Twisted Midnight.

View all of Vanessa's designs in the Gallery of Designs.