My name is Janice; I’m somewhat of an “eclectic” bead artist and an unabashed self-proclaimed bead addict. My husband and partner of 20 years, Dan and I, live in “The Golden Heart City,” of Fairbanks, Alaska. We love to spend our summers camping and fishing, while traveling throughout “The Land of the Midnight Sun!”
On the other end of the seasonal spectrum, we spend the rest of the year cozied up to the woodstove during the long, dark, frigid cold winter season. Yes, friends – two seasons is what we’re really dealing with here in the Interior of Alaska! With that said, once summer abandons us and Old Man Winter arrives, I find myself hunkering in for the long haul and focusing on doing what I enjoy the most – playing with my beads!
My greatest passion at this point of my life is designing and creating “distinctively you” handmade beaded jewelry and other unique pieces of beadwork. I enjoy operating my “one woman show,” while working behind the scenes of my Etsy shop “Beadwork4Sale – by, Janice.” Each piece of beadwork offered for sale is exclusively handmade by me within the comforts of my log home studio – every item truly is a labor of love!
My shops philosophy is to strive to offer beadwork that speaks directly to the heart!
The creative process for me usually begins with whatever strikes my fancy at any given time. As I mentioned previously, I’m a bit of an eclectic bead artist – meaning, I enjoy using a wide array of beading techniques, design styles and type of beads. With that said – I usually determine how time-consuming a certain project will be and the time I have to complete it, before getting started on creating my next piece. Additionally, due to the “diverse” nature of my work – I’m never short on projects that need to be finished.
I do enjoy doing freeform beadwork; it’s a lot of fun and very relaxing – not to mention the incredible creativity it nurtures. However, I also have an abundant appreciation for precise patterns and select designs – so, deciding on a next project can be somewhat challenging for me. My-oh-my…so many beads…so little time…such a dilemma! ☺ Seriously though, I think focal pieces are what jumpstarts my creative process. Once I’ve chosen the primary component to highlight, I choose the type of beads, their color and finish, and lastly – the finishing elements I’ll use to compliment the main focal piece.
I’m in the process of making a couple of new beaded hair barrettes; they’re more time-consuming to create but are always worth the wait – and, I love how they come together in the end. In addition to beads, I really enjoy working with leather and have been making a lot of key chains lately. I think it’s important to conscientiously create gender neutral items to offer in my shop; it’s something that I continually strive to do better. In addition, I’m currently working on ringing in the New Year by offering more beaded leather designs in my shop. So, stayed tuned for more to come in 2016!
Tiny little seed beads will always be my first choice in beading supplies; they’re the most versatile and comfortable materials for me to work with. There’s truly nothing like the feel of a threaded needle and the smooth flow of beads gliding along effortlessly in the process of creating something so beautiful and unique as a one-of-a-kind piece of bead art. Yes, I’m a complete and total bead addict and ironically, beading is my therapy. As much of an oxymoron as that may sound to some folks, it’s absolutely true, lol!
I started selling my beadwork at craft fairs and local bazaars; however, it wasn’t until after I lost my mom to Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) that I decided to open my Etsy shop. I had previously been working as a social worker, providing services to violent offenders and domestic violence survivors – during which time, my mom and I were both also in the process of being placed on the waiting list for a kidney transplant.
It wasn’t long after my mom’s passing that my kidney health began to deteriorate, which eventually led to my having a second transplant in April of 2012. In loving memory of my mom and in an effort to help “pay it forward”, I opened my Etsy shop shortly afterwards and began selling green ribbon pieces to help raise awareness for CKD and Organ, Eye and Tissue Donation. My mom continues to be the primary source of inspiration and motivation for my designing and creating each piece of beadwork featured in my Beadwork4Sale – by, Janice “Awareness Collection” today.
The first crafts I remember seeing being made as a child were my mom’s crocheted hats, scarves and panchos – she made us kids’ crotched gifts for Christmas. One of my favorite childhood memories is of my mom teaching me how to do embroider when I was 8 years old. My uncle used to draw peacocks and floral designs on denim shirts for her to embroider. On a smaller scale, my mom taught me how to embroider pretty floral designs on the edging of white cotton hankies and pillowcases. My dad gave me my first sewing machine on my 15th birthday. I taught myself how to do alterations, how to sew quilts and anything else I could find to sew. My early endeavors with embroidery and sewing definitely play a huge part in my beading today.
My favorite piece in my shop right now is the “Sea Life” beaded bracelet shown here. The turtle used in this cuff was an original piece of a coconut shell salad serving set that my brother gave me as a gift while he was living in Hawaii back in the late 80’s. At some point it fell off one of the spoons and I held onto it over the years until one day I was inspired to create something special to bring it back to life! I happened to purchase the abalone dolphins and ovals at the same time as the floral troca shells, all of which are hand-carved pieces from a wonderful family in the Philippines. The design “magically” took on a life of its’ own, coming together without a lot of thought or effort on my part. Needless to say – this piece holds a very meaningful and special place in my heart!
I love the creativity that beading offers – it continues to allow me to expand and hone my bead-working skills, while learning different techniques and trying out new beads and other jewelry making components as they’re introduced to the market. As a bead addict, buying beads has become a huge piece of what keeps my job interesting!
When things are slow, or sales are tight – I don’t spend cash money on supplies and I focus more attention on social media activities. I’ve enjoyed becoming part of a wonderful Etsy community via joining a couple of teams that I’m committed to helping “spread the love” of my fellow team mates. The Deadhead Art Alliance and Rainbow Artists teams are where I find myself the most welcome and at home – everyone’s really laid back and shares a sense of community! I’ve met some truly kind and sincere friends that I enjoy interacting with daily, as we turn to each other for support and encouragement during both good and bad times – big hugs and thanks to each of you!
I don’t ever really have any “down” time, beading is something that I always love to do – at home, in the car, while camping and fishing, on vacation…you get the idea! I think there’s so much more to beadwork than the actual act of physically beading. I spend time drawing and coloring new designs, I have a bead tool computer program that I enjoy creating patterns with, and I’m always reading books and flipping through beading magazines. I’m continuously learning new techniques and trying out new types of beads – it’s all part of what I love about beading. It also helps that I’m very fortunate that Dan and my family totally support and encourage me in my bead endeavors.
The first quote that comes to mind when asked if I have a favorite would have to be:
“Don’t take your organs to heaven; heaven knows we need them here.”
Being a “product” of the sixties (born in 1965), music has always been an integral part of my life. I can’t remember a time when Dylan, Janis, the Stones, the Dead … or any of the other Greats weren’t playing on the stereo. My mom’s love for music and dancing was so infectious; it became a part of who we are today. When we were kids we went to a few outdoor music festivals with my mom, but even more memorable – were when we had parties at our house. There was always so much great food, live music, kegs of beer, and tons of people dancing and partying – hanging out and enjoying life!
(That’s me in the pink shirt with my back to the camera!)
When I was 18 yrs old, I went to see Elvin Bishop with my mom and some friends from work. He came over to our table and sat on my lap while singing and playing his guitar – my mom kept yelling at me, “give him a kiss!” All I could think of was the spittle flying out of his mouth as the bright lights lit up his face – no way was I going to kiss him!
The last live performance I attended was soon after my second transplant a couple summers ago in Anchorage – where Michael Franti & Spearhead were playing. I absolutely love and adore Michael Franti; he’s an outstanding human being and artist!
Artists Contact Info:
Social Media Links:
Beadwork4Sale – by, Janice Etsy Shop
CLEARANCE section is now available – until all items are SOLD!
This month’s Artist of the Month winner was by contest, and we’d like to Thank and Feature another wonderful artist and team mate that is responsible for Janice being Chosen as our November Artist.
Leader of Deadhead Art Alliance & Captain of the new Rainbow Artist Team
By networking and building relationships, Etsy artists can come together to assist one another in Promotion and build life long friendships- for this we’d like to feature Debbie Rodgers from Thunder Rose Leather as our December Featured Artist
Forever Grateful, Deadhead Art Alliance Team – thank you!