|Like most little girls, my love of sparkly things started at a very young age -
there were days when I believe I wore my weight in my grandmother's costume
jewelry. That attraction stayed with me through my teenage years, the beginnings
of which were spent in a torrid love affair with a certain accessories store.
Looking back with a jaundiced eye I can say that early nineties mall-style wasn't
exactly a haven for good taste, though I still mourn my misplacement of a
particular pair of giant, purple cactus dangle earrings.
On my sixteenth birthday, my mom found a bead store (Bangles & Beads - if you're in the Richmond VA area GO THERE, 'tis awesome) and bought us both lessons. I took brass headpins, and chain, and some varying blue-ish/teal-ish beads and made this lovely, funky kind of necklace. It was the first piece of jewelry I created with my own two hands and it blew away everything else I had ever seen. Unfortunately there are no pictures of this amazing, life-altering necklace since I scavenged it for parts shortly thereafter. Alls fair in love, war, and taking apart old sparkly stuff to make new sparkly stuff.
Thus began my love affair with beads. For more years than I'd care to count I was a jewelry designer. I took sterling silver wire, and various gemstones, glass, and crystals and weaved together those different colors and materials, to made pieces of wearable art that were light, sweet, and delicate.
Creating jewelry was like air to me. Of course, it was also tedious and time consuming. But aching muscles and popping joints don't seem to matter much when you're making something beautiful.
What did matter was seeing the handmade jewelry market suddenly become flooded with mass produced items from overseas. Re-sellers--people who buy pre-made things, like jewelry, from catalogs or online wholesalers, and then present them at craft shows as their own work--started popping up everywhere, even in juried shows. Let me tell you, there is nothing more discouraging than to be at a craft show and have someone bypass the necklace you spent days working on for another vendor's necklace that still has a 'Made in China' sticker on it. Sure, that kind of jewelry has it's place, but mixed in with real artisans isn't it.
So, I got out of the game. I still made jewelry for friends, and family, and myself, of course, but when it came to being part of the crafting movement, I figured I was done.
Luckily, this fatalistic view fell by the wayside--thank goodness for a short attention span. My crafting spirit stayed with me, set to simmer, until a few years ago when something I saw made it come back to a boil.
It was online, during one of those random marathon click session where you start out on wikipedia and somehow end up on a Japanese wedding site--don't ask--that I saw my first beaded flower.
My initial thoughts consisted of "Oooh," and "Pretty". Those were quickly followed by the desire to make my own. So, I did. I found a few simple patterns online, picked up a couple books from beadstores, and started my beaded flower journey. There was a lot of trial and error, but eventually, after a few months, I was able to put the books down and start making my own patterns.
Then, in the past year or so, I changed my jewelry MO once again, combining my love of comic books and sparkly things to make a line of geeky, dangly jewelry. Things are mainly influenced by Marvel right now, but I'm planing on branching out into other fandoms soon.