Sometimes it’s easy to see when a beader truly loves beads. The adoration comes through instantly in their design choices, and you wish you could just wear them all. Today’s guest is Mary DeTray of Brass Rabbit Studio, who mixes and matches beads and components in a way that speaks of some serious bead love.
Inspirational Beading: When did you first get started with jewelry design?
Mary: I've been playing with jewelry off and on ever since i was in high school about, 12 years, now. I was never really serious about it till about a year ago, i went through some pretty dark times in my life and the creative process of designing was incredibly therapeutic and healing to me, that's probably why most of my pieces have such an upbeat happy vibe to them, that's what i was searching for in my personal life.
Inspirational Beading: Do you remember your first piece? Where is it today?
Mary: I don't, it was so long ago, it could be anywhere. I do remember my first trip to my local bead shop though, Shipwreck Beads, they were in a much smaller building back then, but they had such an expansive selection that the walls and pillars were literally covered and dripping with strings of beads from floor to ceiling, it was so beautiful to me, I'd spend hours there.
Inspirational Beading: What kinds of beads and materials do you like to use the most?
Mary: I am in love with handmade components. Artisan ceramics are my absolute favorite, enameled pieces, resin pendants and charms, if its handmade i usually love it. I also often incorporate fibers in my jewelry, leather, batik ribbon, Irish waxed cord, those are my favorites, i love the warm earthy look they give my jewelry.
Inspirational Beading: Where do you look for your favorite inspiration?
Mary: I normally don't have to look much further than my stash of art beads, the colors, textures and uniqueness of each one has never ceased to spark my imagination. I also have an inspiration board on Pinterest i visit often, its full of my favorite color palettes, they help too when I'm not sure what to do.
Inspirational Beading: What’s the most interesting or unique thing about your design process?
Mary: Humm, i don't know that i design much differently that the next person, i sit down and begin by pulling beads and components i think would work well together and arrange and rearrange till I'm happy with the overall shape of the piece then i put em all together. I know a lot of designers sketch their designs before they make them, i don't often do that, sometimes an idea may pop into my head while out and about and ill sketch it real quick on my phone so i don't forget about it, but its usually a vague idea, like a unique way to use a component i have, not a full piece.
Inspirational Beading: What is the most exciting design in your shop right now? What makes it special?
Mary: I really like the convertible necklace i listed the other day. Its so versatile! The fringe chain is removable so u can wear it 3 different ways; with the fringe chain it can be long or doubled and without its perfect pendant length. I also really love the green bee bracelet with ceramic focal by Round Rabbit, I like the way the design turned out, this was one of those "ah ha" moments.
Inspirational Beading: Do you have a favorite color to work with?
Mary: Blues and greens have always been my favorite colors, lavender seems to be working its way in too. I also favor brass over silver, i like the warm gold and browns it offers. But I'm really trying to branch out and include some deeper reds and oranges, they haven't really ever been my favorite but i do like how vibrant they are.
Inspirational Beading: What are some of your other favorite materials?
Mary: I've probably listed most of them already but i really like adding something unexpected, a piece never really feels whole to me without that little something extra, like a stray bead in an otherwise consistent stringing pattern, or a little charm in an unexpected place.
Inspirational Beading: Who do you hope to inspire with your work?
Mary: Any beader looking to develop new and exciting designs. The artists who inspired me to start designing in the first place were the ones who's pieces were unique and unlike anything I'd seen before.
You can see more fabulous jewelry designs in Mary’s Etsy shop, Brass Rabbit Studio. To see new designs, get the scoop on the latest sales, and find monthly giveaways, follow Brass Rabbit Studio on Facebook.
Inspirational Beading readers are invited to save 20% on finished jewelry at Brass Rabbit Studio with coupon code INSPIRE20 until February 17th.
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