Christina Castaldi is known as the crafty one in the family. She loves to paint, create décor for her home, and make random, fun kid projects with her 20-month-old son. She loves to repurpose materials and home décor and turn them into something new and fresh.
But those of us who know her from the beading world know her as carbon_and_copper on Instagram. Christina creates colorful jewelry using everything from tassels to chunky crystals to faceted glass beads from the Halcraft Collection, and we're happy to celebrare her as this month's Spotlight Designer!
When did you first start beading, and what drew you to beading in the first place?
I started beading when I was 17 years old. My Italian grandpa used to own a furniture store that sold these giant, gaudy chandeliers and lamps, full of real Swarovski crystals.
When one of my uncles wanted to get rid of his chandelier, I took the whole thing apart and repurposed the crystals into anything from pendent necklaces to real “chandelier” earrings. That exploded my creativity into other beads, materials, and ways to make jewelry.
What is your favorite project that you’ve finished recently, and why is it your favorite?
I recently made this statement necklace, full of red beads and crystals that cascaded down from a chain. It was a time-consuming piece and I remade it a few times until it laid just right.
It’s my favorite because I love the creativity and skill it takes to make. It’s not something that can be just “thrown” together. It takes a TON of patience, and I loved the way it came out!
Do you have a jewelry business? Where can we find you online?
Yes, it’s a small business and now that my 20-month-old is ALL over the place, it's hard to keep up with it. After many different business names, I finally decided on Carbon & Copper, because diamonds are made from carbon and copper is a base metal, but when you combine them it creates something beautiful. I have my own site, www.carbonandcopper.com and an Etsy shop, carbonandcopper.etsy.com.
I started my website when I was in college, around 20 years old. I added Etsy shortly after. However, just recently my Etsy has taken on a new life and been much more successful than before. It's been going strong since about 2016 now, with consistent traffic and sales.
What are your favorite beading techniques and materials?
I really enjoy creating bracelets and necklaces, both with stretchy cord and beading wire. I usually dump a variety of beads on my mat and create what I like to call "bead soup." Then I use the colors together and how the light plays off of them to create something amazing. It’s usually a combination of metal, glass beads, and crystals, and the possibilities are endless. My favorite stringing material is stretchy cord because it just feels the most secure and resourceful. Just today I made earrings using stretchy cord which I had never done before and I LOVED the outcome.
What techniques would you like to learn?
I have always wanted to learn how to knot beads and make knotted necklaces or bracelets. I remember I attempted a necklace once and half way through, the cord broke and I felt frustrated. I’ve tried watching videos and tutorials on it but I’m still nervous to try again.
If you're like Christina and want to learn how to make knotted necklaces, visit our YouTube channel and watch our how-to make a knotted tassel necklace video!
What are some of your favorite beads or components on the Halcraft Collection website?
I absolutely love the quartz crystal nuggets and the multi pack stone beads. The Quartz nuggets are so easy to incorporate into pieces and they add so much dimension and texture to them. The Multi pack stone beads are awesome because they give you variety in sizes so I can create so many different pieces from the same stone.
Where do you get your beading inspiration? What most inspires you?
I love watching shows, movies, award shows for inspiration of what celebrities are wearing. I always check out the jewelry section of stores and window shop to see what’s in style. I also have a very strong obsession with Pinterest and pin jewelry and color palette inspirations all the time.
I know this may sound cheesy but what most inspires me is my own jewelry studio and pieces. I love to look back at designs from when I started to see how far I’ve come and to reenergize my desire to design. I love walking into my design office and see the chaotic mess I call inspiration sitting on my desk. My husband always asks me if I will ever have my beads organized and I continue to tell him that it’ll never happen. A bead mess inspires the most amazing pieces.
If you had room for only two tools in your bead kit, what would they be?
A wire cutter and needle nose pliers. If I can’t find these two tools, I’m a frantic mess.
What jewelry trends are you excited to incorporate into your beadwork?
Tassels are one of the biggest trends right now and they can be worked into anything, necklaces, earrings and bracelets. I love to try different types of tassels too, varying in their composure, to create different textures in the pieces.
I also love minimalist jewelry which seems to be a big trend as well. Simple charm necklaces and long pendent necklaces are very popular as they can be layered with each other. I like the minimalist aspect because its something that can be worn daily as opposed to some more intricate, special pieces I make.
Christina was born and raised in a suburb of Chicago, IL, and has been married for almost 5 years. She's the proud mother of her a 20-month-old son.
Christina has a full-time job working in admissions but continues to create jewelry whenever she finds the time.
She comes from a big, loud, Italian family who loves to party and be in each other’s business, but they are also some of her biggest supporters since day one.
Christina loves to shop, sing (only in the shower and my car), and watch cheesy romantic comedies. She also has an obsession with all things pineapple (see left)!
Right now she is working on Mod-Podging vintage TV trays into end tables!
Are you interested in being in our Designer Spotlight?
Join our Beaded Jewelry Facebook group today and tag us in your projects on Instagram with @halcraftcollectionbeads, #prettypalettes, #beadgallery!
We choose a new designer to spotlight each month
and would love to celebrate you!
Molly Schaller loves beading, knitting, gardening, bookbinding, and being with her family and pets. She’s always on the lookout for new ways to express her creativity and help others learn ways to tap into their creativity as well!