Get to know the talent behind dlcwelch on ArtFire
When and how did you first become interested in crafting?
My mother started me on sewing when I was about 8, then she taught me how to crochet and I started making clothes for my dolls. I did the usual crafts at school and camps, and fell in love with beads. I had always had a love of jewelry, in fact one of my earliest memories is of being very upset that I couldn't wear my plastic bracelets on my first day at day care (3 years old), so when I started learning how to string beads into jewelry, I was thrilled! I started making jewelry for my dolls to go along with the wardrobes I had crocheted. Over the years, I have tried my hand at many other crafts, cross stitch and embroidery, painting, decoupage, knitting, drawing, just about anything I could that didn't cost too much to try, but I always seemed to end up back at beads.
So about 20 years ago, I started seeing more beading resources, magazines and such, at craft stores, and I decided it was time to learn how to really make jewelry, so I bought a magazine and some beads, and tried circular peyote stitch. My first try was "iffy", but evolved into a beaded cigarette lighter cover which sold like crazy for about 2 months. So then I had to try something else, and I learned netting, which evolved into bead covered Christmas ornaments, which again sold like crazy for about 2 months. Since then, I've bought many magazines, tried many different techniques, and I think my favorite is still free hand weaving, peyote and herringbone and such, but I also love stringing simple necklaces and bracelets, making simple earrings, doing a little wire wrapping, just about everything I've tried in making jewelry!
How long have you been creating your chosen craft?
I've been making jewelry for about 20 years.
What are your crafting influences?
I see things I like in magazines, on TV, online, and I try to figure out how they are made. I experiment with different techniques to see if I can make something SIMILAR, but not exactly the same. If I can't make something close that I like, or just can't figure it out, I'll buy someone's pattern, and if I get good at that pattern, good enough to sell, I always make sure I give them credit for the design.
Does anyone in your family do a similar craft?
I taught my mother how to make memory wire bracelets and some simple stretchy bracelets, but that's as close as it gets!
What kinds of places have you displayed your craft in your life?
I've done tons of craft shows over the years, but nothing recently. I did a small show at my former employer where they let everyone in the building bring in their art work to display, but not sell. That was kind of interesting! And I'm getting ready to do a show in Orlando in August, first one in 5 years, so I'm kind of excited! Wish me luck!!
What else do you do besides create these beautiful pieces?
I still paint a little, and I still draw quite a bit. I used to be employed at a "real" job in international transportation, but I've been unemployed off and on for about 2 years now, so I'm concentrating on my jewelry while I hunt for a "real" job to pay the bills and support my beading habit.
What is your favorite piece that you have created so far?
My absolute favorite is the Harlequin bracelet! I just love the pattern, which I created as I stitched, and I love the fringe work. I just think it turned out so beautifully!
Why did you make that piece?
This is one of those pieces where I saw something vaguely similar online, and thought to myself, "I can do that!", so I started pulling together all my seed beads, crystals, shells, all the little bits I could find that I thought would look good together, and started stitching!
What does it take to create pieces like that?
Perseverance, patience, and time. This piece took about 8 hours all together to create, and I couldn't just sit and work on it for a full 8 hours, so I had to take breaks, allow for family time and meals and such, and let my hands rest some times.
What is special about your pieces?
Each and every piece I make is completely unique; there are no two pieces EXACTLY alike! I don't like production line type jewelry; I don't like working that way, although I can say I've done it right before a show! But I haven't done any shows since 2007 for financial and personal reasons, so I've had the freedom to create truly unique items that you absolutely will not see anywhere else!
What makes this kind of craft "good" to you?
I think that crafting, no matter what the craft, is about expressing yourself, sharing your art with others, learning new techniques, and growing as a person. Any craft that helps you reach those goals is good, and each of us has to find that craft that help us reach those goals for ourselves.
Making my jewelry is my way of expressing the colors and shapes and designs that are constantly running through my head, sharing a little bit of beauty with the world, constantly learning new ways to take the beads I love and turn them into something more than just beads, and becoming more than I was yesterday!