I have always had a passion for making art - though the media of choice has varied over the years, from pencil to paint, from ceramics to collage - I seem to have always had an array of projects in the works. I used to pick apart jewelry and make my own when I was a kid - the idea of wearable art has always appealed to me.
Beading also has a meditative quality to it that adds a peaceful aspect to the constant drive to create new visual representations of notions and ideas that I find myself needing to express. Once a design is started, working on the repetitive zen-like motions of fulfilling the project to completion gives one time to withdraw and let the mind flow to other things. I love the way one can just muse on things while creating - there is the playful aspect of experimentation with colors and textures, balancing stones and glass and metals, but at the same time one can sit and just "think about stuff" while working in a way that our busy lives don't often leave us time to do.
Plus, there's just something nice about making new shiny things.
I'm currently living in the Pacific Northwest in Vancouver, BC Canada. I used to live and work in Portland, Oregon, in the high-paced world of the high-tech industry, designing electronic consumer products and software. When my son was born in 2002, I left the corporate world to focus on being a full-time mom. In 2004, my son was joined by a little sister.
When my daughter started to pinch and scratch while nursing, I took up beading again and made a "nursing necklace" to keep her focused.
(At around the age of 3 or 4 months, babies start to notice their surroundings more, and they often like to pinch, scratch, poke, and yank on hair while breastfeeding or bottle feeding. When babies reach this age, many moms find their glasses, hair, clothes, and jewelry are not immune to these attentions, and may find their favorite jewelry gets yanked and broken, with all the beads going clattering to the floor.
Nursing necklaces are supposed to be strong enough to be tugged and yanked and they also provide something fun and pretty for a child to grab without hurting you.)
That got me back into the swing of creating jewelry again, with a bad case of "beading fever", and I started creating new pieces regularly.
Then I started getting numerous requests from friends who asked me to make necklaces for them as well. So I created this site in May of 2005 where I could put my latest beadwork up to share with my friends. The site eventually grew into a business, but the act of creating new things is still the driving force behind it all.
Most of my work is what I have nicknamed "FiddleStone Loops", particularly since I find this style to be very comfortable, but occasionally I get the bug to make other things as well.
When I first came up with the design I still use today, there was nothing about the necklace style that required it to be a loop pendant. This is just my signature style. The only requirement was that it would be sturdy enough to withstand a good yank.
My mother had a little gold pendant with a single pearl in the center given to her by my father when I was born, which I wore at my wedding, and this gave me the idea of a round loop pendant design. I worked on a design where form follows function, gaining sturdiness and allowing for the pendants to slide to relieve some of the pressures that exploring fingers might cause when yanking on the loop. I use satin non-organic materials that wont break down over time, and I use large easy to grasp clasps because I didn't like struggling with getting my jewelry on and off each day.
I no longer need the jewelry for its functional purpose, but I continue to wear and make such pendants with the same sturdy construction. I like that they have a pleasurable tactile aspect to them, a bit like worry-beads, which adds to their appeal. That, and I still make them durable, because I have a habit of breaking my own jewelry.
I have been asked repeatedly about the name of my website. Actually, it was pure whimsey.
My son was born 5 weeks early, and he had a tendency to lay in his heated bassinet in the level 2 nursery at the hospital with his arms and legs outstretched, which earned him the nickname of "little starfish" at the time. The name came to mind when I was trying to find something memorable for the name of my website.
Most of my signature work now carries a little starfish charm on the clasp.