What is your medium of choice?
Beads! As many beads as I can lay my hands on. Having discovered the art known as "bead weaving" I have learned I can make any jewelry that can be imagined.
Why have you chosen your current medium?
Beads are like candy, all the colors, sizes and shapes. With the various weaving stitches, you are only limited by your imagination.
What's your typical day?
During and after morning coffee it's time to browse Pinterest and You tube for beading tutorials, designs, ideas, or just the pleasure of looking. After that are errands and daily tasks, then off to the bead room till bedtime.
Women have always loved jewelry. Bead weaving offers a type of jewelry that isn't commonly seen. There is something for every taste and style from plain, to geometric, to replicating period piece styles.
What has been the most difficult challenge for you as an artist/maker?
Finding enough time to spend in my bead room. I also dislike the administrative work, so that's a challenge, but it has to get done.
What is the most gratifying part of making your work?
Of course the process is relaxing and fun. Sewing on bead after bead is really satisfying as you watch the piece take shape and grow. Then you get to sit back and look at a piece that you can be proud of, that the colors and stitch play together in an appealing way and that the work itself is good quality.
Where do you find inspiration?
That might be fixating on a particular bead thinking "what can I do with this" and fiddling till something works. Or maybe I see a period piece and fiddle till I can mimic that in some way. Often the work of other designers can be inspiration. There is always something new to learn, so maybe you take another design, learn a new technique and then create something new and different based on what you just learned. Sometimes ideas just pop in your head. It's helpful to keep a doodle pad close by or you will forget.
Where is your studio/work space?
In my house, using one of the bedrooms.
What's your typical studio playlist?
I love Yanni, David Arkenstone, John Adorney and classic rock. Often it's repeats of shows like StarGate, Murdoch Mysteries, Merlin, or X-Files. Repeats, because having seen them over and over, I can listen without watching.
How do you get yourself out of a creative rut?
Put it down or work on a simple repetitive project. Get a good nights sleep. Wait for it to come back. It will.
Favorite blog/movie/tv show/book that never fails to inspire or just clears the mind:
Last of the Mohicans
Share your process - bonus points if there's a story behind it:
Choose the piece to create, pick colors, pick beads, pick the size needle and thread, dump the beads out into little piles and start sewing. Obsess till it's done. :)
What's your dream project - if you had all the time and materials in the world?
I want to replicate one or more of the crown jewels, a necklace probably since no one wears tiaras anymore.
What artists influence your work/who are your creative idols?
Other bead artists, too numerous to name.
Describe yourself in 5 words:
Perfectionist, detail oriented, goal oriented, amiable, practical joker.
Describe your work in 5 words:
Sparkle, beauty, colorful, detailed, elegant.
Tell us something funny or exciting that has happened in regards to your artwork/craft:
Exciting was when my cousin, who is a painter, saw my work and pushed me to join and sell at an art society. Funny is when my husband walks in and I've got a beading tutorial on You Tube and he teases. To him it's like televised fishing. But he's my biggest cheerleader and really does appreciate my work.
How do you find balance?
Stay away from tightropes. :)
Is there a story behind your business name?
I am terrible at naming things. I wanted a happy name, since, well, beads make me happy. The Merry Widow came to mind which became the The Merry Beader.
Is there anything you'd like the public to know about your work upon purchasing it?
Yes, my jewelry is made with high quality materials. Seed beads, Toho and Miyuki from Japan. Firepolish and other beads from the Czech Republic and Swarovski Crystal from Austria. I make my pieces to be as strong as reasonably possible to reduce breakage. But just as with any jewelry, some care is needed. If you are nice to it, it will last for years.
Visit The Merry Beader on Etsy here