Mary Wertz

Mary Wertz
Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Southern Oregon

Describe your artistic style.
I think my style is earthy and spiritual.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Nature, especially the sea and the rivers, rain and sky; people, emotions, spirituality, colors, mysticism.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
Seed beads, crystals, found objects, gemstones, paint and fabric.

What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
Vivid Rainbow

What inspired this design?
I had been making crystal suncatchers for a long time and wanted to make them more elaborate. I first did them with small crystals and rainbow colored seed beads, then added the large Czech beads and bead caps. I liked the elegant look contrasting with the old worn driftwood and the best is seeing the rainbow reflections all over the room when the sun shines in. I use a soft buckskin to hang them, and this brings more nature energy into the design. The blue bead on top reminds me of both the sky and the ocean... ahhh take me away.

How did it come together?
This one came about because a lead in my department suggested I make one for the German Crystal page. I was told to use #8 seed beads and FireLine®... usually I use Accu-Flex®. It was fun to make something I knew would be used in the catalogs. I definitely planned it out, and put it together at my desk. It was great to get paid for beading!!

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I began in the late 70's when I was a teenage mama. Beading was part of the ''hippie'' culture. We made love beads and good luck amulet bags, headbands, necklaces and anklets. It was also fun to bead on clothing.

Who introduced you to beading?
A red haired midwife named Marian, who lived in a converted school bus on a beach outside of Santa Cruz, California. She made beautiful peyote stitch bracelets and intricate crocheted bags. I loved her work and she taught me about beading.

Do you have an artistic background?
My mom taught us kids to appreciate nature by growing flowers and an organic garden. She also taught us to sew, crochet, tat, quilt, spin wool and embroider. My parents also sent us to painting, sculpture and music lessons at the local museum. They have a great appreciation for the arts, and tried to instill that in us six kids as well.

What other hobbies do you have?
I like to ride bikes, raft, swim, read, crochet, garden, paint, play scrabble online and play with my grandchildren. I also like to write, and I LOVE to travel.

Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
I am part of a beading cooperative that sells our wares at an Artisan market on Saturday mornings.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Part-time career... more like a joy. It is a part of my life that allows me to look inward and meditate. I can play with the beads and it is relaxing. I try to spend at least a couple of days a week beading for a few hours. I especially like beading in my backyard listening to the birds sing and choosing colors and designs.

If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I have a market I sell at on Saturdays from May to October and then I have a store that sells my work on consignment. The money is not a lot. I do it for the fun, and to spread the love energy. However, the money is great for buying more beads and a few extras. I have begun to make an Etsy site, but have not yet finished it.

Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I have donated my work for raffles and I have bought beadwork from African women who use the proceeds to send girls to school (I learned about this charity on the Fire Mountain Gems website). I also donated beads to women in Mexico who are becoming self-sufficient by making pouches with seed beads.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Follow your dreams and enjoy what you do... just keep beading. Listen to your friends and if there is a design they like, make a few of them to sell.

What inspired you to donate your bead(s) to Circle of Hope?

I have had two dear friends and co-workers ravaged by breast cancer. Being a Fire Mountain Gems employee, I have seen many of the beautiful designs donated to "Circle of Hope" and it is an honor to be amongst them.