This week we are featuring Cher of DesignsbyCher! Cher makes wonderful hand forged findings, colorful beaded jewelry, and great mixed media pieces! Check out her story to find out how she got started:
“Hi and welcome!
Long ago and far away, in a land of someplace else… oh no, wait… that’s not the right … let’s begin again 🙂
As a lifelong jewelryaholic for others’ designs, until one day in my late 20’s my sister took me to a cute little hippie shop (back home in Connecticut), called Harvest… where they sold concert tickets, and cases filled with beads and stones of every shape and color, a big fluffy shop cat laying on top of the glass cases, purring happily and keeping you company while choosing your goodies to design and create your own piece of jewelry. I made a beautiful purple wampum necklace (which I still have) and I was in Heaven!
Then, as it often does, life got busy with working for many years as an executive secretary, an advertising layout artist, and finally at 35 my last marriage, which entailed a move to Texas. Fast forward to about 12 years ago, when my sister (again the culprit in this scenario) asked me to come visit while she was recuperating from knee surgery, so of course I was thrilled to go back home and spend time with her during my favorite time of year… Fall, when the leaves were peaking and the air was crisp and cool… a refreshing change from the hot and humid South 😉
Deb and I have a great time together because we enjoy so many of the same things, always have even though she’s 10 years younger than myself (does that mean I’m immature? probably so). Anyhow, she had taken a basic beading class and brought out the beads and findings she had bought, and what fun we had creating necklaces and bracelets. Then she brought out her Fire Mountain Gems catalogue, and we decided to order some things (Ha! I won’t even tell you how much I ordered, but I couldn’t stop myself!) So, she took me on a tour thru eBay (who? hadn’t heard of them before)… and I confess, once I saw the gorgeous artisan dichroic glass and lampwork beads, that was it for me. I knew what I had to do… from jewelry addict to jewelry maker!
I began simply creating basic beaded jewelry styles, my penchant was mostly for the more delicate crystal and beaded designs, doing very well at home jewelry parties and a few websites, but didn’t care for competing with factory mass made jewelry also sold there. Again sister Deb to the rescue… have you heard of Etsy? (she says) and proceeds to explain how it’s for handmade items only. Sounds like just what I’m looking for, so almost 7 years ago, I came to Etsy and browsed… amazed by the talent of these artisans and the beautiful, unique items they were making and selling. I had to be part of this community… I knew I had found my home! Here I still am and I here I will remain 🙂
My taste in design and technique have evolved since then… it’s been a learning process along the way, graduating from basic beading techniques, to wire wrapping, then deciding to create my own earwires, clasps and various findings to keep my designs truly handmade, and found that other jewelry designers liked my style too, so I began to make them for sale in my shop here.
My passion for beautiful artisan glass dichroics and lampwork beads are still impossible for me to resist. I’ve always loved incorporating the sparkle of crystals in my designs, and Swarovski are the top of the line, so of course I want them all… and I believe I may well have them all, lol!
I also adore semi precious, beautifully cut and colored stones, and have a new love for keshi pearls, with sterling or gold filled wire… always classic!
My most recent passion is for metalwork… I’m self taught, so I’m not sure I can tag myself as a metalsmith, because I only cold forge with wire… no metal plates or stamping, no fire… the world is better off if I stay away from torches and flames 😉 But I so love taking a simple piece of wire and shaping, hammering and polishing it into a beautiful, wearable piece of jewelry! There is a great deal of personal satisfaction in knowing that *I* made it… plus nothing is more therapeutic than banging on metal with Dad’s antique ball peen hammer 😉
SO… the photos you see here will not be of my workspace… and you’d thank me for that if you only knew! I work on the dinette table, coffee table while watching TV, kitchen counter with my little anvil, even here in my office sometimes, while on the computer… yes, I’m a multi-tasking fool!
No, these photos are of a pair of earrings I began working on earlier today, and as I progressed thru each step, I took photos so you can see how they’re made from beginning to end, with my own little hands… which btw have no fingernails anymore, are always dry, in need of lotion, and usually very sore after an earwire order… but I love what I do, and I hope you love what you see!
Gosh… I hadn’t meant to write a novel, they said tell your story so I have. Just be thankful I left out so many details and kept on point. I hope you’ll browse thru my shop, perhaps find something you like or that makes you smile ;)”