Saturday, October 20, 2012

How Beads Have Changed My Life!

Beads are a wondrous thing- they can sparkle, intrigue, and spell-bind... They can be mass produced, or artisan (one of a kind). Sometimes, they fall in between, with small batches being made. :)

I first began my journey with beads making macaroni necklaces for my Mom... then, in middle school, I made my very first beaded necklace for her. I took a break for many years from beading until I went to Brazil as an exchange student and discovered the most exquisite wirework known to man. It's incredible! I determined then and there that I wanted to make beautiful things out of wire and beads. I still have a gorgeous choker I got there. It's now missing some amethyst chips, but I'll get around to replacing those some day... (another picture I have to take for you!).

I didn't realize at the time just how many types, sizes, finishes and styles of beads there were! I bought some agate rounds with channels around them, and started practicing my wire-work skills. My first attempts were *interesting*. I may still have one of those attempts laying around. I'll try to find it for you and take a picture of it. :)

When I got back, I discovered ebay- and gemstone chips. Real, genuine gems! I bought chips in a RAINBOW of colors. Literally! I made my very first rainbow necklace, and then gave it away! I also bought faceted agate tubes, and other interesting beads.

Hence, my love of all things beady was born! I became obsessed with beads. (See above for why!). Wire work fell to the wayside as I learned how to weave, (self-taught), string, (self-taught), and create!

I started seriously selling my jewelry in 2001, came up with a business name (ZenithJade Creations), and started selling! I sold directly off my website and on ebay. It was all so new! And then I sold my very first woven bracelet! (It was made out of black-light reactive acrylic beads- very pretty!).

I started playing with polymer clay in 1999, but let it go after a few *interesting* (there's that word again!) attempts. (Again, another picture opportunity- will do all these pictures when I have better light- it's currently 2am here!).

Then, I went under the tutelage of Vanessa Hand to really learn how to wrap raw rocks! It was a wonderful time. Vanessa did fairs at the time in Cameron Park in La Crosse, WI, and sold some of my work there! (I used her supplies to learn with). And it SOLD! *falls over* It was a heady experience!

Then I moved to Columbia, Missouri- and things started to get really interesting! I taught some beading classes at the University of Missouri-Columbia for about six months. It was wonderful teaching others the joy of beading!

My business took a break, and I worked on other projects for a good while- stamping, making cards, and ATC's (artist trading cards- google them, they're GREAT!). I also happened upon scrapbooking. And crochet. And and and. AND cat toys!

I got a few custom orders during my time in Missouri, but for the most part, my creative energies were spent on other projects.

When I moved from Missouri to Michigan, once again my jewelry making badness was ignited. :) I started creating jewelry again on a regular basis. I didn't stay in Michigan very long before I moved back to Wisconsin, (where I'm at now, even!). And my business was reborn by selling on Etsy now instead of Ebay! I sold some beautiful work on Etsy! Some of it was quirky, some of it elegant, but it was all me. :)

I discovered ArtFire many years later. ArtFire is another handmade artist's site on these great interwebz. ;) I jumped the Etsy ship for a while to really throw myself into ArtFire. Now, I'm selling on both! They both have very distinct styles. My Etsy shop is dedicated to mother of pearl flower and Swarovski crystal jewelry (hair clips and rings), and my ArtFire shop is EVERYTHING ELSE!

Here's a link to both of my shops so you can see what I'm talking about:

As you can probably see, I've been incorporating many of the skills I've learned over the years into both of my shops.

My goal is to learn as many different techniques as possible and then combine them into stunning pieces of jewelry-artwork.

Some of my newer pieces really combine my first love of wire, (I've been wire-wrapping pearl sticks and Tree of Life pendants), gemstones, polymer clay and stringing. It's just so FABULOUS!

Beads have been a part of my life for YEARS. They've changed me, grown with me, and defined me. I continue to grow and change. My styles have evolved with me. It's been a fabulous process, and one that I hope will continue for many years to come!!!


  1. What an amazing journey you have been on! Thank you for sharing. I look forward to seeing some of those pics you mentioned. I too, have wire as my first "true" love. Interesting how we always come back full circle, isn't it?

  2. Agreed, Jami! It really is amazing! :)

    Must get on those pictures tomorrow! Totally forgot!



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