Sunday, November 9, 2014

An Introduction

A long time ago, in the land of the midnight sun...
There was a 10 year old girl – innocent of the art of making jewelry...
And then one day, she was inexplicably bitten by a radio-active bead...
This is where our tale begins...
10 year old me, wearing one of my first necklaces, holding two of our angora rabbit babies.

Hi, my name is Lindsay, the newest member of the Art Jewelry Elements blog team. I grew up in Alaska, and have always been creative. My mom is a fiber artist – the smell of wet wool and vinegar, or the whirring sound of a spinning wheel instantly take me back to my childhood. While she was working on her projects, she was also looking for ways to keep me busy and artistic. Sewing, drawing, polymer clay, and “helping” with Mom's fiber art endeavors kept me busy some of the time...but I think we knew that fiber arts were not for me in the long run. My mom had a friend, Clara Jo, that was a fantastic beader, and she was my introduction to beads and beadwork.

These were some of the first bracelets I ever made!

Beading really took off for me in 4th grade, when my teacher decided to have the class make simple beaded bracelets as a mother's day project. I ended up making a few dollars off of the little boys in class by finishing several of their bracelets for them...and I never stopped! 

Anyone I knew with pierced ears, ended up with earrings. All of my female relatives have a few bracelets like the ones above. Beyond the bracelet skills, Clara Jo taught me everything that I needed to know to make very simple strung jewelry and simple wire loops. The next Christmas, Santa brought me a super nice pair of German round nose pliers...oh, yes, the snobbery started at an early age!

When I was 12, we moved to Oregon to be closer to my Dad's family. Other hobbies came and went, but beading was always my go to craft when I needed a gift for a teacher, relative, or friend. While I was in high school, Mom drove me up to Portland several times to go to Embellishment. I wish this show still existed - it was an enormous show full of beads, buttons, and fibers. I was fortunate enough to buy beads from people like Bob Burkett, carved tagua nut animals from Ginny and Harry of Red Horse Ranch, and Virginia Blakelock and Carol Perrenoud of BeadCats. It was during this time that I taught myself peyote stitch and netting, and made my first piece of beadwork art jewelry.

My first piece of art jewelry, with a hand carved tagua nut anaconda from Red Horse Ranch.

I went to a local community college for my first few years out of high school, and during this time I worked part time at a bead store. The owner was super passionate about trade beads, so my education and obsession with those beads grew. One of my coworker's was a wire working guru, and I learned how to make pretty wrapped loops finally. With this resource, my bead collection grew by leaps and bounds. I'm pretty sure I didn't take home a paycheck several times...

I distinctly remember spending my first bead store paycheck on this lampwork goddess.

I finally decided to major in technical theater, and left home to head to Southern Oregon University. I spent the next couple of years consumed with theater and costume classes (and working part time at another bead store). I relished the classes where we got to draw, design, and make anything...and struggled with the classes where we read plays. After graduating and hunting for a job for a year, I moved to Nashville to take a position as a stitcher at a puppet company. For the next four years, I helped to make costume characters, hand puppets, and parade float puppets for theme parks, cruise ships and commercials. The job was fun, never boring, and I learned so much. Eventually, my boyfriend got a job as a manager at Tandy Leather. They have transferred him around a few times to run their stores now, and I've gone with him.

Halloween at the bead store in Knoxville, TN, as the "Bead Bandito".

Maybe it was growing up in Alaska, and near the Oregon coast, but sea life and the underwater world is a constant inspiration for me. I am also inspired by animals and bugs, color, anything miniature, amulets and talismans, prehistoric creatures and the history of human adornment. Working with art beads is one of my favorite things to do - I love taking another artist's work creating an environment for it to live in. People often ask which stitch is my favorite – but I don't really have one! I've found that they all have their strengths, so when I envision a shape or texture there is generally a stitch that will do what I want, and that's what I use.

Beads and beadwork are my therapy – the one time I am truly in the moment. I feel that this is something we share as artists – we go to our craft in need of support and positivity. I look forward to sharing with all of you on AJE – it such an honor to be a part of this team of creative souls.



  1. Great post! I was reading along and then when I saw your blog name, I realized I've really enjoyed several of your pieces recently in blog hops. I look forward to seeing more of your posts of AJE and put your blog in my reader so I don't miss anything. Your work is fantastic!

    1. Thank you Ann! I'm excited to be a part of the team!

  2. So great to have you with us!! I love your energy and can tell we're going to have a great time!!!

  3. Congratulations Lindsay!! What a sweet picture of you with your bunnies!

  4. Good to have you in the team Lindsay and looking forward to more posts from you.

  5. Welcome Lindsay. I enjoyed getting to know you a little. I enjoyed your post.

  6. Thank you everyone! I'm happy to share a little and can't wait until my next post!

  7. What an adventure you've had! Love your work and it's great to have you here :)

  8. Congrats! It is wonderful to have you here.

  9. A Great big Welcome to you! I am looking forward to seeing your posts!

  10. So thrilled you've joined the team, and loving this insight into your work. <3


We would love to hear what you have to say, please leave a comment.