Friday, September 23, 2016

Hello There

I'd like to start off my introduction by saying how delighted I am to be a new member here at Art Jewelry Elements. When I was first approached by Jenny Davies-Reazor to join I was flabbergasted!
Jenny did an interview with me back in April, you can read it here. I was completely amazed when she asked me for the interview.  Well, when she contacted me to join the AJE team-I was over the moon! Then all of a sudden, the little demon of self-doubt popped up and said NO: it's over your head, you're not capable, you can't do it right now, it would consume too much time, blah, blah, blah.
Guess what? I won. Beat that little demon right back into his box on the shelf.

So, here I am-Cathy Spivey Mendola, jewelry and fiber artist. I have had a long journey of creative endeavors over the years. Like my fellow newbie member Cooky, I was a nurse. Even while I was working as a nurse I was creating. I made teddy bears, rabbits and sheep as well as making dried and silk flower wreathes and arrangements for a local business.  Once my daughter was born I became a stay-at-home mom and the creative juices started to flow a bit more.
Frida Art Quilt, Circa 2007 With Minimal Beading

In the last 26 years I have made children's clothing, art dolls, jewelry, ceramics, mixed media paintings, collages, assemblages, art quilts, felting, knitting, etc, etc etc. Actually, it would take less time to list what I haven't attempted creatively over the years.  You can check out my blog to link to more of my past creations.
Beaded Buddha Art Quilt, Circa 2015 With Millions Of Beads

I just recently moved to NC from the Chicago area. I was very fortunate to have been a member of the North Suburban Needle Arts Guild; Womens Journeys in Fiber group; and a couple of smaller groups, one of which was a bead/fiber group named the Crazy 8's. Being a member of these groups helped me expand my skills in fiber arts as well as jewelry on top of making many great, creative friends along the way.

Beginning in 2013, a friend of mine and I decided to do an art journal. I had been feeling stuck and a little confused about the direction in which I wanted to go, artistically speaking. I thought joining with a friend would help keep me accountable. This wasn't your typical journal, this was a creative exploration that we came up with--try new techniques, new ideas, new media, and especially try all those new products we tend to buy and never use!

The very first month of the journal I decided to teach myself how to do a beaded peyote stitched bezel.
The Beaded Bezel That Started It All Done On Wet Felted Fabric

That was all it took. I became hooked on beading and bead embroidery.
Even though I had been making jewelry for years I had never really used seed beads (gasp!) except to embellish art quilts. I had never even WANTED to use them in jewelry! After I made several bead embroidered pieces to use in my art quilts I decided to try making a bead embroidered breast plate for the Shaman sprirt mask that I was making for our yearly project with the Womens Journeys in Fiber group. Once I created that piece I became obsessed with making pendants for necklaces.
Breast Plate For The Shaman Spirit Mask

I have had a lifelong habit of collecting sea shells, rocks, driftwood, anything I come across at the beach. So naturally, I started using these bits of found treasures in my beaded jewelry.
I was fortunate to have my beach themed jewelry featured in the summer issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry.
Belle Armoire Jewelry Summer 2016 Issue

Ammonite & Fossilized Shark Tooth Pendant
Now that I have joined the AJE team, I have a newfound love and appreciation of art jewelry components as well as my found treasures. I will keep exploring and expanding my beachy themed jewelry but I am also looking forward to using ceramic, glass and polymer clay components.

After AJE's headpin challenge last month, I realized just how much I have missed working with metals. It was so energizing to combine bead embroidered elements with the metals.  My enthusiasm for jewelry making has increased exponentially since joining, so stay tuned for more mixed media creations from me. I am really looking forward to being a team member here!

Beaded Moon Goodess Necklace


  1. Glad you are starting to feel at home. I never doubted.

  2. Oh my that quilt!! it is fabulous. I love seed embroidery and will look forward to seeing so many more of your creations.

  3. Oh my that quilt!! it is fabulous. I love seed embroidery and will look forward to seeing so many more of your creations.


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