Mabel Wong

Mabel Wong

Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Contest 2010 featuring Seed Beads

Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?
Los Angeles, California

Describe your artistic style.
I take it as a compliment when people tell me my designs remind them of the circus.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?
I am inspired by almost everything. I dedicate time every day to work on or create something expressive, however small. I love playing with colors, whether it be in yarn, paper, paint, or beads. Colors inspire me, as do sparkly things. I am inspired by being able to wear what I have made. I have gathered ideas from my garden, specifically from chard, with the complementary colors of greens and reds, and other fanciful concoctions of nature. Microcosmic, small universes, like a flower, colors on a fish, or sand on a beach, are particularly mesmerizing to me, and I enjoy getting lost in small details.

What materials do you most enjoy working with?
When it comes to jewelry, I enjoy working most with seed beads, silver and crystals.

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

What inspired this design?
Wanting to adorn myself with a piece of tropical rainforest wilderness, with vines, berries and a luscious forbidden fruit.

How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
The idea first came as a desire to work with a certain palette, in this case, greens with reds. The piece defines and redefines itself as I bead. Following an aesthetic that evolves as I bead, errors are made and corrected, until the piece is sturdy and sufficiently whimsical.

Share Your Background

When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I started beading in college, more than 20 years ago, because I wanted to make things that were unusual to wear. I found that beading was highly engaging and compelling!

Who introduced you to beading?
A friend and I used to make hair wraps with gems, silver, and beads, as well as other kinds of expressive, abstract, and asymmetrical adornments. Since then, I have met many other artisans that have graciously shared their craft. I hope to continue sharing my craft with others as well.

Do you have an artistic background?
I credit my heritage for my artistic inclinations. I love working with my eyes and hands. I have been drawing since I could hold a pencil, and over the years, I am continually experimenting with new kinds of expression.

How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®?
Fire Mountain Gems and Beads was introduced to me through a friend who was a professional artisan.

What other hobbies do you have?
Being a teacher affords me a lot of time to take workshops and explore many different forms of art. I paint, draw, write, sew, knit and make jewelry.

Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
Not yet.

Beading Success

What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
I wish I can say making jewelry (or engaging in any other of my hobbies) is relaxing, but that would not necessarily be true. Creating is more of a compulsion, it can be, at its most intense, a kind of all-consuming endeavor, where sleep, and perhaps sanity, are sacrificed. I do not rely on jewelry for my livelihood, I may starve since I like to take my time. I create pieces for my own amusement mainly, and often for presents, although I have been asked to sell pieces occasionally by strangers curious about what I'm wearing.

Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Learn various crafts and skills. Experiment, live and love what you do. Dive in with bravery and abandon. Remember that mastery takes time and persistence (I remind myself of this too!) and talent is only a small part of the equation. I find that I am most happy when I relentlessly and ruthlessly follow my own aesthetic; eventually and inevitably, others will share their appreciation of your unique perspective.