Please, dear readers, settle in with a cup of tea: you are about to meet a BeadBug. Her name is Virginia Steinmetz, and her friends call her Jenny.
In her past, Jenny travelled the world first with her USNavy parents and then as a USNavy wife. Now, Jenny lives on 8 acres of land in Vancouver, WA: she lives with a herd of horses, a pride of cats, a pack of dogs. And a Little Red Hen. And a husband. Her 4 grown daughters have made her a Grandmama 5 times over. Needless to say, she is a very busy person.
H: Tell us about your business. What do you do?
J: Well, I’ve been in business for almost 18 months: I have a shop on Etsy and a website. As if that isn’t enough, I also give beading lessons and private parties. I have taken the Etsy Pledge to sell only custom handmade artisan items.
H: Who inspires you in life?
J: I would say my mother was my inspiration in life, as she too was a Navy Wife! The don’t call it the toughest job in the Nave for giggles. Because a family was restricted by a weight limit every time it moves, and we did move ~ every 18 months ~ it was hard to collect anything. But she collected Swarovski Christmas pins for about 30 years: she was heartbroken when they were stolen.: And in art who and what inspires you?
J: Now that’s a tough one. I have followed one craft or another for a very long time. There was a part of my life, 15 years of it, when I was a florist. I take a lot of my inspiration from fellow beaders. I have taken some classes with nationally recognized artists, but I would have to say my inspiration comes from deep within myself. You could call it a willingness to learn, the love of working with color, the desire to share my knowledge, and the enjoyment ofmeeting new people and stretching myself. Also, beading is something I can do because it doesn’t require a lot of energy or physical strength.
H: How long have you been beading, Jenny?
J: It seems like in some ways I have just started beading yesterday, but I’ve been beading in one form or another for a long time but it’s been in the past 5 years really that I have taken my ‘hobby’ into another dimension: that of selling my work. I can usually be found at the major shops in my area and have been up and down the US West Coast, buying beads at the major shows? My goal is to work with hot glass, mandrils and a torch: make my own beads.
H: What drew you to beading instead of any other art form?
J: Hum… Well I think it has to do with the fact that it’s a tactile art form. I didn’t like oil painting because of the smell of the paints. I tried sewing, but didn’t really enjoy it. I can cook and bake up a storm and did wedding cakes in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as arranging the flowers. But beading! I can do it in front of the TV if I want and I get to wear what I make!
H: Have you a mentor or someone you’d like to blame for getting you hooked?
J: Oh, my, yes I do! Her name is Luarae (pronounced Laurie) and she works for the Craft Warehouse in Vancouver, WA. She is a wonderful person and has mentored me every step of the way. Luarae was almost wiped out in a flood near the coast a few years ago. But she kept at it; she drives 60 miles just to get to work. I hope Craft Warehouse knows how special she is!
H: What has been the hardest thing for you to overcome? How did I overcome it?
J: Hmmmmmmm! Well, I think the hardest thing was being toldby my doctor that I had Congestive Heart Failure and told me to get rid of my horses. There was NO way that was going to happen. I was close to dying when I was hospitalized and when I was released, I was so weak I could barely walk. In less than a year I was almost good as new. I showed a yearling colt at the Oregon State Fair and won the Grand Champion Halter Class AND the Regional Classes for both Pinto horses and National Show horses. When my doctor retired several years later, I gave him four Grand Champion Ribbons, one for each of the years I showed?
[ed. note: Jenny has 4 horses]
H: Have you a favourite colour? Shape? Line?
J: Yes to all of it. My color is Green ~ in all its shades and tints. I love round and triangle ~ round beads and bicones: they are so easy to work with. They are wonderfully versatile. You can make just about anything with those shapes.
My favorite line must be Swarovski; both their crystals, which I think are the best in the world, and their pearls. I use them in almost all of my work, excepting my contemporary SouthWestern work and my primitive works. I also love Toho and work mostly with Japanese seed beads. The new dichroic seed beads, I think, have much more sparkle than the Charlottes.
H: Tell me, Jenny, what you think is your most important work.
J: I think to date the most important work is the set featured on the home page of my website: it’s my first seed beaded piece. I invested more than 89 hours to make all 3 pieces and features 3 different freshwater pearls, moonstone, sunstone, angelskin coral, Swarovski crystals, and a tone of seed beads. I’ve written instructions for that piece and that you can find at eHow.
H: Describe, Jenny, something you’ve experimented with that you wouldn’t do again.
J: That would be polymer clay! I just did not enjoy that experiment.
H: What advice would you give a novice beader?
J: Don’t get discouraged. I have a Masters Degree in the Frog Stitch (Rip It Rip It). I have worked on projects that I have completed and didn’t like so I took those apart and reworked them several times?
Don’t be afraid to push yourself? I took a class in seed beading using peyote and brick stitch, that took me 3 hours just to keep repeating my first 3 rows of peyote. I had never worked the sititches before. The instructor wasn’t happy with me, but, by stretching myself and challenging myself, not only did I finish my piece but I learned more than I had expected.
H: That’s the nice thing about doing the Frog Stitch in beads. You lose the beading thread or wire but the beads themselves suffer no damage. Being able to reuse them over and over makes beading a great choice for a craft artisan.
J: I couldn’t agree more. Just hang in there: keep going until you get it right and then start enjoying what you’re doing.
Thanks, Jenny, for participating: this interview has been fun. Okay! Fun once you got the questions. You continue to inspire me: both your lively personality and your gorgeous glass bead artisan jewellery.
Find Jenny at http://www.eHow.com/Beadbug where she writes what she knows about: wonderful recipes in her kitchen and beautiful artisan jewellery in her workroom. Her work is for sale at: http://JustOffTheBeadNPath.com and http://JustOffTheBeadNPath.Etsy.com. And if you have questions or would just like to sit and chat, she has added her email: firstname.lastname@example.org