Michele Fairley - jewelry maker

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Color is central to the design of my hand-crafted jewelry. A featured hand-blown glass or hand-made ceramic bead is combined with beads that complement and enhance its colors. Woven beaded bracelets and earring patterns are designed in Adobe Illustrator, using bead colors for my palette. I also hammer silver or copper into interesting shapes for earrings, and torch the copper for a color patina. The elements in a finished piece should work together harmoniously, but I like to add a visual surprise every now and then. 

I am also a graphic designer and find jewelry making to be intuitive and rewarding. I often begin by sketching, then play with materials to create what I have in mind. A piece usually evolves, moving away from my initial idea to something suggested by the materials. 

I shop locally for materials at Blue Santa Beads. At Bead Fest, a huge wholesale market, I look for my favorite bead artists, especially glass and lampwork artisans. I like to travel, looking for bead shops wherever I happen to be. Last September, I was in Venice, Italy, and took a boat to the island of Murano, where there are many glassmaking workshops. I brought back some Murano beads and made them into necklaces and earrings. You will notice the bright colors and gold or silver shining from inside the beads. 

Lately, I have been making loom-beaded bracelets with tiny delica beads in delicious colors. The design idea is that the colors gradate toward the middle, where there are some sparkly beads. 

I enjoy meeting the people who buy my jewelry. It is great fun to spend time making something, and then watch someone pick it up and try it on. Happy shopping!

Visit Michele’s etsy store for more examples of her work.