This week we are featuring Karen of Catching Waves! Karen makes an ocean inspired variety of beaded and wire wrapped jewelry using found glass and mixed materials to bring a little bit of the seaside into your wardrobe. Check out her story!
“Beading brings together three things I have loved all my life: miniatures, collecting things, and making arrangements of found objects–or collage. To me, beads are like little works of art–especially the hand made–cut, carved, sculpted, or painted by someone’s hand–maybe last month or a hundred years ago. Composing arrangements with them is an almost meditative process and a joy.
I also really want to make pieces that will bring joy to my customers. Over time, I’ve developed a more critical eye for my own work. If I’m not pleased, I will take a necklace apart and start over, redoing it until I’m satisfied. I LOVE searching for unusual stones and beads, both in vintage shops and from gemstone and ethnic bead suppliers, the closer to the source the better. I don’t want to make jewelry that looks like everyone else’s or follows any particular trends. I want to make jewelry that is beautiful and distinct, so when you buy something from my shop, it will truly be one of a kind.
Strength and durability matter to me. I use the best materials I can afford–only 49 strand nylon coated steel beading wire for strength and flexibility and in all my more recent pieces, only sterling, gold-filled, or copper crimps. Those tiny beads are the only thing that keeps a necklace together, and the solid metals just do a better job of that than the alloys.
I am always honored and grateful when someone chooses one of my pieces. I almost always ship the same or next day. I wrap pieces in bubble wrap and I’ve never had anything break. I do use recycled packaging. I want to keep shipping costs as low as possible for my customers.
Although I have favorites (fluorite!) I like to keep exploring new materials and all kinds of materials. I like big, chunky, rustic beads–and delicate, luminous pearls and tiny faceted stones–bold, colorful beads–and soft, subtle, watery blues and greens. I’m thrilled when I can offer gorgeous, high quality gemstones–but I can be equally excited about an arrangement of vintage glass beads and an old brass stamping, full of character.”