Saturday, January 31, 2009

Some recent work, and BEADS!!!

Hey there everyone! I hope your new year has started off right. Mine certainly has!

I've been working a lot, but I haven't really minded (I've been remarkably calm!), because I've been very centered lately. Volunteering with Pathways is the reason... I never feel more centered and spiritually whole than when I'm in that training room, doing whatever I can to help people shed the weight of pain they've been walking with-- some people, for a lifetime... it's an amazing process, and one that I am proud to be a part of.

On the jewelry front, I haven't been making any jewelry lately. There just hasn't been time. I am hoping to make some tonight, actually... but I do have some pictures to share of some recent pieces. That counts, right?

Without furture ado... 

First, a goddess necklace. I love this goddess. She's so beautiful and earthy! Love the way this turned out. I am tempted to keep it, but it isn't really my style. It's a little too chunky for me.

Next, we have a pretty little Carribbean number. Really great mix of types of beads here, in my opinion (and I need to get this posted to my shop asap!!)...

Ok... that's it for sale. Now on to stuff I'm keeping. I love the beads in the following necklace... I've tried several times to make a necklace that would do them justice, and I ended up ripping it apart every time. Finally, I am happy with the results. Unfortunately you can't see how the necklace hangs in this photo... but there is a clasp on each end, so I can fasten it however I like. I wear it as a super long necklace with a little doubled-over part so it looks like 2 strands. I LOVE it and get compliments on it every time I wear it! I think it's a winner...

Next... this is a remake. It's exactly the same as it was before, only this time... it's... better. Haha!! When I first started wire wrapping, I admit that I wasn't that great at it. I *thought* I was, but wow... was I ever wrong! This is one of the first necklaces I made after I started selling the pieces I was making using wire wrapping. I sold another necklace similar to this one, and I wish I could get it back and remake it for the person! 

I wear this necklace often... and I always get compliments on it. It's almost impossible to get good photos of it (well, impossible for ME, anyway)... because it's kyanite, which is ridiculously hard to photograph accurately. Kyanite, smoky quartz, and czech glass beads. I love love love this set and I'm so glad I finally took the time to redo it!! Now with perfect wire wraps! 

Next up is a necklace that I was SO excited to make! It's an interesting color combination, I think... carnelian with black onyx and Swarovski crystals. I love the focal... how I *got* this focal is a rather interesting story-- I wanted it but someone "sniped" it from me on Ebay. So, a few months ago I was looking at a Flickr contact's photos, and I noticed that she had this focal and a few others. She came upon some hard times and offered to sell some of the beads to me. I got this one and several others that I was bummed to miss out on the first time. Yay!

Last of the jewelry... a GORGEOUS pendant. The stone is charoite, and it's only found along a riverbed in Russia. It's extremely difficult to find good quality charoite that doesn't have any cloudiness or black inclusions, and unfortunately there is an abundance of fake charoite that comes out of China. I had my eye on this pendant (as well as a few others the lapidary artist had) at a craft show I did last fall... and my husband got it for me for Christmas! Sneaky man. I love him. ;-) Isn't it gorgeous? The photo doesn't do it justice, either. I decided to wear it on a simple chain...

Last but not least... I haven't been making jewelry for over a month now... but I'm hoping to get back in the swing of things soon. I think I needed a break from it. In that break I've done a lot of thinking about where I want to go next with my designs. I have finally succumbed to the charm and beauty of briolettes. I've found a supplier in Thailand and can get awesome deals from her. Here are a few of my recent purchases (well, recent, as in over the past few months)... 

From front to back, we have: natural pink ruby briolettes, yellow tourmaline pear briolettes, natural pink rubies, natural emerald, citrine (love these!), lapis, prehnite (a lovely pale sage green), and peridot. I am anxious to play with these!

Thursday, January 1, 2009


All you ever wanted (or didn't want) to know about me!

Tell me a little about yourself and what you do. Designing jewelry and making glass beads are two of my biggest passions. I also enjoy painting, collage, and photography.

Currently, I am employed by PepsiCo, the Frito-Lay division. I support software systems (training, improving, etc) for some of our front-line field sales, and I enjoy it very much. Frito-Lay is really a great company to work for!

For about five years, I was self-employed as an instructional designer/training specialist—I designed and help develop online training courses for companies (large or small). The courses I created ranged from soft skills, like customer service and leadership, to technical skills—such as learning an internal computer program for monitoring sales.

I devote a lot of my extra time (what’s that again??) to friends, family, and volunteering in an organization called Pathways, which is an experience-based training where you can work through past events and craft a life that you’re excited about. The program changed my life, and it is a privilege for me to give back to it. Check out this post to learn more about Pathways.

What 3 words best describe your work? Whimsical, sophisticated, unique

What inspires you? Honestly? Everyday life.

Once last fall, I sat in Starbucks and I gazed over at the coffee mug display and saw different colors of coffee mugs smushed together. My brain started going wild with design ideas. I specifically buy or make lampwork beads and gemstones that speak to me, and I love challenging focals.

I once received a free set of beads from a lampwork artist that were technically wonderful, but the color combination was a bit of a stretch. These beads weren't the most appealing to look at on their own. I let them sit in my bead box for almost a year, and then one day when I was bored, I pulled out that set of beads and turned them into a necklace that makes the color combination successful. Occasionally I will place limitations like that on myself specifically to flex my design muscles.

I love color!! I used to say that I liked every color but yellow (long story!), but right now I'm working on a piece with citrine as the central gemstone, and I have officially fallen in love with yellow. Color, autonomy, fun, and individuality are imperative in my life, and I like to let my jewelry tell that story.

What drives you to create what you do? I am an artist at heart-- always have been, always will be. I also love sparkly things... and yet-- there is a side to me that's very earthy as well. These characteristics definitely show in my work.

I am driven to create because I can't NOT create!

One of my biggest thrills is watching a customer's face light up when she finds the perfect necklace. Everyone deserves to feel special. I feel like my creations are a tangible reminder that whoever is wearing the piece deserves to feel beautiful! That may sound corny, but it’s the truth.

What makes your work unique? I think jewelry should be fun and colorful, and it should brighten your day. I create pieces that evoke feelings. If I'm feeling a little blue, I have certain pieces that literally cheer me up when I put them on.

I also think it's important for jewelry to be fashion forward yet sophisticated.

The biggest thing that makes my work unique, though, is that it comes straight from my heart. I've never seen anyone create jewelry quite like mine, and I dig that.

What role does your work play in your life? At this point in time, jewelry design is a passion that I cram into the tiny slivers of time when I'm not working my day job, volunteering, or spending time with friends and family.

What role would you like it to play? I would love for it to play a much bigger role. If we were in a position for me to be a full time lampwork artist and jewelry designer, I'd already be doing it! That is my eventual goal, though.

How do you see your work and/or your business evolving in the next five years? I've tossed around a lot of ideas and thought about this very question. The struggle is finding a balance between growing my business, concentrating on expanding my customer base, and keeping my designs fresh and full of passion.
I am careful to take a break from designing when I feel my designs reaching a plateau, or when I feel my passion waning. That being said, I have been featured in boutiques in New York City and Dallas, and I hope to continue adding more boutiques to the list.

My biggest goal is to get my lampwork studio built, so that I can start making lampwork beads at home.

Where can we find you on the web? 

Do you do custom orders? I most certainly do! I frequently make mothers and grandmothers bracelets as special orders, and I am very open to creating a special piece just for you. Leave me a comment here, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

How long have you been designing jewelry? Off an on since childhood. I took a big dive back into the jewelry realm in 2004 and haven’t looked back!

Why do you blog? Besides the obvious: it's a great way for customers to keep up with my business and for friends/family/etc to keep up with me... I blog because I love to. I used to keep a public blog years ago before it was the big thing. Remember that, back in the late '90s when the internet sort of exploded and everyone started buying domain names, just because they could? That's when I bought my original domain name (which I still have). The old website is still there... I haven't touched it in years.

Back then, I loved to "blog" before it was called "blogging". It was still called "journaling". I didn't have a comment feature for each post. Once in a while, I would get an email from a random stranger because they connected with something I had said. That meant a lot to me!

I blog today for much the same reason. I feel that when I have something to say, usually someone who reads it can connect to it. I am open to sharing my life journey for any and all, and I genuinely appreciate the connections.

I hope you enjoy reading my blog, and please do stop and say hello!