Friday, September 17, 2010

Inspired Beader: Risky Beads

Carrot Cake Bracelet by riskybeads, on Flickr

Carrot Cake Bracelet

There’s nothing quite so wonderful than the delicious foods of autumn. It’s interesting that even though we can import summer foods year round, we still gravitate towards the starchy, buttery, and sweet foods of fall. It’s as if some instinct is telling us to fatten up for the winter - and eat what we're supposed to.

Even if you’re watching your waistline, there are still plenty of ways to treat yourself to something yummy for fall. How about wearing some carrot cake or clam chowder around your wrist? Thanks to the amazing creativity of Lori Ward, the designer behind Risky Beads, you can wear some cake and look gorgeous, too.

Inspirational Beading: How did you first become interested in jewelry design?

Lori: My interest in jewelry making began by accident. My best friend was in town in October of 2006, and we decided to go spend a day in Chapel Hill, NC. GO HEELS!

We ate lunch and then wandered into a bead store. We knew nothing about making jewelry save what we thought we knew. We spent over three hours in that store, drove the thirty minutes back to Raleigh, and decided to start making all of the marvelous things we’d pictured in our heads. Even though we had no clue what we were doing, we had an absolute blast.

Greek Salad served by riskybeads, on Flickr

Greek Salad Bracelet

The fruits of our labors that day weren’t exactly phenomenal, but we were utterly stoked about the very real chance of reaching our delusional potential. We went back to that store the next day.

My friend flew home that Sunday, satisfied with her crafty indulgence. But I wasn’t. I kept going. And going. And going. Eventually, I made more jewelry than even I could wear or store, and the people I worked with at the time encouraged me to start selling it.

I had no idea how to do that; all I knew of selling online was Ebay which I found overwhelming and never really liked, and then an online friend said, “Well, there’s always Etsy.”


What is Etsy?


I celebrated my 3 year anniversary on Etsy in August!

Sweet Potato Casserole Reheated served by riskybeads, on Flickr

Sweet Potato Casserole Bracelet

Inspirational Beading: Tell us about your Leftovers series. Where did the inspiration come from?

Lori: So once my shop had been open for a few months in the fall of 2007, I was knee deep in beads and spending my evenings creating away. Like any jewelry designer, I started out amassing beads the way squirrels hoard nuts. The more beads I bought, the more I had to stare at and store.

I went through a ton of different storage modes. And then it happened. I was sorting my beads by color, deciding that all the beads in the ‘brown’ family needed to go in one drawer and lo and behold, I didn’t see beads anymore; I saw sweet potatoes. And then meatloaf. And then I dared to look over in the yellow and green pile and saw…mixed veggies.

Now, I can’t cook. At all. And I wasn’t hungry. So that could only mean one thing. It was time to bead Sweet Potato Casserole.

The Leftovers Series was born, and it was my best Thanksgiving ever. It continues today with 67 different pieces. You can view a slideshow on Some of my favorites from the series are Greek Salad and Peanut Butter and Jelly.

Remain Crafty Necklace by Risky Beads

Remain Crafty Charm Necklace

Inspirational Beading: What is your most exciting inspiration of late?

Lori: Lately, I’ve taken up metal stamping. It’s a natural extension for me because I’m a writer at heart and because the entire concept behind ‘Risky Beads’ is that each piece has a story or sentiment behind it, hence the tagline: Accessories with Issues. For instance, my Autumn Upstart bracelet and earring set comes with this little poem:

if a leaf falls and on the way down,
it catches a memory before hitting the ground,
what does it look like?
how hard does it fall?
would you even believe it and say that you saw?

Now that I’ve gotten into stamping metal, I can put a lot of the words in my head directly onto my jewelry. I’m having a lot of fun and success with my Weapons of Choice series of key chains and necklaces, and with my new line of Crafty Celebrations. I think it’s high time all of us in the DIY world exploit our inner crafty-geek!

Inspirational Beading: Do you have a favorite material to work with?

Lori: Honestly, it’s my brain. Most days I’m very happy with it and other days I wish I could find a new supplier.

Inspirational Beading: Who do you hope to inspire with your work?

Lori: I don’t seek to inspire actually, more to entertain. I’m one of those self-entertaining people who spends way too much time redecorating the recesses of my mind. I get really, really happy when somebody else wanders in and says, “Wow! I like what you’ve done with the place!”

Lori has written an e-book about her jewelry-making experience called How to Make it Small When You‘re Trying to Make it Big. It’s presented as an Etsy Guide to Success, but it’s all woven throughout her story and how she got where she is today. Most of her readers say they laughed all the way through it and learned a few things, too.

She loves when folks wander into her shop, and then contact her two hours later to tell her they forgot they were shopping and were completely enthralled with all of the crazy poems and stories that go with her pieces. She beams from ear to ear.

Lori is also the founder of the Handmade Highway, a handmade seller directory that features sellers interested in wholesale, consignment, bulk discounts, and custom work. You can learn more about it on their blog Notes from the Handmade Highway.

You can find out more about the amazing creations of Risky Beads on Twitter and Facebook. Lori also has jewelry shops on Artfire, Zibbet and 1000 Markets, filled with fantastic and bold designs.

Copyright 2010 Inspirational Beading and Risky Beads


  1. What a great interview, thanks so much! Such beautiful work and mouthwatering titles :)

  2. Enjoyed every bit of it. What a cool idea and such an inspiration. I also loved Audacity of the Ice - the Death of the Snowman.

    Very nice and thanks for sharing. Gave a lot of food for thought:)
    - Dita

  3. Those are some simply fantastic works of art!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Inspiration Topics

accessories amulet Ancient Worlds Modern Beads animals April's Army art ArtFire astrology astronomy autumn awards awareness bangle beach Bead Inspired Bead Shops bead soup bead spotlight bead stash Bead Trays beaded beads beading theory beads belt bezel birthstones black blog spotlight blue boho bone book spotlight bracelet Bracelet A Week branch fringe brick stitch brown bugles buttons cabochon ceramic chain maille challenge charity chevron chain christmas collar Collections color Color Ideas color triads conservation craft shows crafts crochet crystals cuff Culled Beads current events Current Faves daggers Daily Sets daisy chain Delicas Destash drops Dutch spiral earrings Egypt Egyptian Gods embellishing embroidery environment etsy exotic fair trade fantasy fashion Favorite Beads Favorite Techniques feminine fibers film findings fire polish fixtures Flashback Test flickr inspiration flowers food found object free form fringe Geek Jewels geekery gemstones geography giveaway glass gold gray Greece green herringbone hex cuts history holiday home decor insects inspiration tip inspired beader Inspired by... Inspiring Links ivory Jewelry Stash knitting ladder stitch lampwork lariat leaf fringe leather lights literature loomwork macrame magatamas Master Class Medallions metal free metalwork Mini Collar a Week mixed media mixture Mood Board MOP multi-color multi-strand music natural beads nature necklace Necklace a Day Nepal chain netting New Beads ocean ombre orange paint paper patterns pearls pendant peyote photography Picasso finish pink Pinspiration PMC polymer clay poster sketch purple quick inspiration rainbow RAW red resin ring Ring a Day rivoli Rome Russian spiral scarf science seed beads shell silver soutache spiral rope spring square stitch St. Petersburg steampunk stringing stripes summer tagua TBT The Elements thread Tilas Time Capsule tools trade beads triangle weave tribal tropical turquoise tutorial two-hole beads Ugly vintage Wear it Twice weather white winter WIP wire wishlist wood World Beaders yellow
Blog Home * About * Beading Tutorials * Advertise

Learn About Sponsoring Inspirational Beading with Project Wonderful
Affiliated With and