I’ve always loved collecting interesting beads, stones, pieces of old jewelry. And I’d see necklaces or bracelets and think “I could do that”.
My daughter had started making really interesting jewelry as a young child and I watched her self-taught skills grow. I thought “I can do that”.
So, I started doing just that.
And, when someone compliments me on a piece I am wearing, it feels so good to say, “Thanks, I made this”.
It was on a trip to Hong Kong and Thailand that I started collecting in earnest. Of course, I had to add to what I had found. So I found local bead stores. I found bead stores when I traveled. I was like a kid in a candy store. It’s addicting.
Bead Shows… need I say more?
Then came the internet. Dangerously tempting! But I am now connected to some very talented beaders and jewelry makers through a few sites that I buy supplies from.
I was a psychotherapist in private practice for almost 35 years. Then in 2014 we moved from California to Florida. I became a licensed Zumba® instructor and decided it was time to expand my beading life. Here I am.
So now, I am a member of the Delray Beach Arts League. I was approached by an artist I had met at an art exhibit to apply to be accepted by juried committee. That was when I realized what I make is truly wearable art.
All of my materials are hand-chosen for quality and color!
- Japanese Miyuki Tila beads: Miyuki is the leader in high quality glass tile and seed beads. These are approximately 5x5x1.9mm and each bead has 2 holes. Seed bead sizes are 6/0, 8/0 and 11/0 (11/0 are the smallest).
- Czech glass: The Czech beads I tend to use are the “fire polish” rondelles, teardrop, seed beads, Czech Mates tiles, and my favorite, the buttons. Czech glass beads are known worldwide for exemplary craftsmanship, vivid color and consistency. Glassmaking in the Czech Republic is an age-old cottage industry and still handcrafted today by skilled artisans. **Beads and buttons made of glass can crack if mishandled, so please handle with care**
- Recycled glass beads from the Krobo Tribe in Ghana: These distinctive one-of-a-kind beads are made by the Krobo People of Ghana, Africa. Recycled bottles are ground to a fine power and then heated to fuse the glass particles together. The molten glass is then poured into clay molds with a Cassava leaf stem used to make the hole. The leaf and stem are gone leaving beads that have variations in hole size as well as almost a crystal-like appearance inside. The Krobo People have used this bead-making technique for centuries…and your purchase will help to keep this ancient Ghanaian tradition alive.
- Wound bronze beads: These trade beads are also from Ghana. Each bead is made individually using the “lost wax” technique.
- Kenya brass Heishi beads: these little circles are handmade, and so as with all other handmade beads, there are slight variations. I use these frequently with the wound brass and Ghana recycled glass.
- Stones: Garnet, freshwater pearls, onyx, amethyst, Amazonite, Sodalite, Dumortierite, Fancy jasper, labradorite, Aventurine, African Turquoise, Hematite, Lapis…..
- Metals: all metals that I use are lead and nickel – free and meet all US and European safety standards.
- Leather: leather components are from India or Greece and are US (CPSIA) certified free of lead, AZO’s and carcinogenic chemicals. Please keep leather dry and free of lotions, etc. Leather can stretch so please do not twist when placing a wrap bracelet on your wrist.
- Wrap Bracelets: these bracelets are a true labor of love. Each bracelet, made primarily with Tila and seed beads can take over one hour per wrap to make, depending on the size of the bead. Those made with larger (2-6mm) beads take less time but are still time-intensive.
What goes into pricing?
Cost of supplies, time spent making each piece, time spent researching and purchasing supplies, miscellaneous business expenses, licenses, time updating website, advertising, craft show fees, postage for supplies purchased on the internet, time spent at bead shows, time organizing, etc.
A piece might be strung and look simple to make but what goes on that piece of leather or hemp or Chinese knotting cord, or chain were not just mindlessly strung. And those beads could be semi-precious stones or Swarovski crystals. Or Czech glass. Or vintage finds!