If I have a reputation in the world of arts and crafts, I'm pretty sure it would be for my bead embroidery, which is my first love and passion. But like many of us, I started with stringing beads - making jewelry. That was in 1985. Before that in the 70's I was a metalsmith, fabricating gold and silver jewelry. Making pendants, earrings and fibula pins with wire and beads followed naturally.
I could never do production work - making jewelry to sell in galleries or shows. For me that would involve too many compromises to keep the cost and time down. Yet, every now and then the urge to pick up my pliers, hammer and files taps me on the shoulder. I get out my stash of lampwork beads, silver elements, sterling and gold-filled wire and get to work.
Lucky for me, an opportunity knocked on my door a couple of days ago. Rhonda Scott of Vital Elements, leased a store-front in Friday Harbor, the totally-decked-out-with-Christmas-lights, little town on San Juan Island and invited a dozen or so local artists to consign their art for the month of December. OMG! It's so cute in there... so many totally wonderful things!
Here's the info:
Here's my little area. I set out 156 items - necklaces, earrings, bracelets and fibula pins!
The necklace below features antique, Chinese, glass, lampwork beads in a gorgeous, soft, translucent blue. I accented them with a Thai silver pendant and beads.
A few years ago I bought a strand of hand-faceted, man-made rubies in graduated sizes. It was a rather extravagant purchase. What can I say... I love them! This picture doesn't do them justice at all. They look so lovely... not quite bling, but definitely people would notice if you were wearing this necklace. I always try to make a couple pairs of earrings that can go with each necklace.
For 20 years, I've been collecting unusual, silver pendants... India, China, Tibet, Nepal... Some are very old. I decided to put some of them on silk "ribbons" and let them go...
The silk "ribbons" also work very well for some of the beautiful contemporary lampwork beads I've been collecting. Below are dichroic beads in the shape of shells. They are so striking and lovely, I decided they needed to be "strung" in a very simple, yet elegant way.
The same goes for these amazing heart-shaped, lampwork beads I found at a conference a few years ago.
The center necklace on the stand below features an antique Chinese pendant that I found at a market in Beijing in 1991. It's a beauty!
In the black and silver necklace below, I used a small collection of vintage, hand-carved, jet beads from the early 1900's. Each is different. I found them in an antique shop in Germany.
I've hoarded these treasures for long enough. It feels really great to make them up and put them out where somebody else can enjoy them for a while! I also use long-hoarded beads and silver elements in my fibula pins and earrings. No two are alike!
Designing and stringing bracelets is lots of fun for me! I try to make them comfortable to wear and easy to clasp, yet durable and attractive. Shopping for bracelet beads is always a joy!
Over the years, I've made and sold many finger-woven, treasure necklaces like the one below. It's a technique I developed inspired by ethnic necklaces from Tibet and Nepal. If you're intrigued, you can learn this technique from my book, Beaded Treasures. This necklace showcases raku ceramic beads by an artist in Hawaii.
If you live in Western Washington, why not visit and shop in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island for a day?!!! Our merchants go all-out with the decorations... it's a sweet place to be during the holidays. Be sure to stop by Vital Elements, just a short walk from the ferry dock.
Shhhhh.... ladies only.... you can show Rhonda what you wish Santa would bring you and give her your sweetheart's name and phone number. She'll call to tell him what's on your wish list! I love that idea.
Well, wish me luck... I hope some of the jewelry I've created will be gifted with love this holiday season.