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Hello designers, and welcome to this month's spotlight!

Halcraft Collection is excited to announce our February 2021 Spotlight Designer is Mary Kay Moersch. We love her use of bead colors and textures. When she adds a unique pendant, the magic happens! She cleverly combines lustrous stone, shiny shell, and glistening Czech glass beads, creating a distinctively Westport Charm style.

Read on to learn more about Mary Kay and her gorgeous designs featuring Bead Gallery® beads, pendants, and charms by HalcraftCollection.com

When did you first start beading? Tell us about yourself.
I’ve always loved jewelry! It is my favorite gift to give and receive. I was drawn to beading around 15 years ago when I broke a handmade bracelet and thought I could fix it myself. That trip to my local craft store for the replacement wire was an eye-opener for me. I had no idea the amount of beads, beads, and more beads there were to explore! And to be honest, I don’t remember whether I fixed that broken bracelet or not. But this love of stringing beads into my own jewelry became a passion that is present in my life to this day.






Tell us about your jewelry business.
My online business is Westport Charm on Etsy. Once I discovered that I had a knack for creating my own jewelry, I started making designs to complement my work attire. That led to sharing my jewelry with co-workers, family, and friends. I was so proud of my newfound craft, and it made me so happy that my friends appreciated my work enough to want to buy it! As customers started asking for the convenience of online shopping, I opened my Etsy shop. In addition, I have periodically sold my jewelry via shows in my home or customers’ homes, offering hostesses the opportunity to earn sales credit towards their jewelry purchases. I’ve also participated at local craft shows, artisan markets, and brick & mortar businesses to sell my jewelry through the years.


What is your favorite project that you've recently finished and why is it your favorite?
My favorite project is always a necklace. It is my favorite type of jewelry to wear, and I usually make a necklace to match a new sweater or dress in my own wardrobe. Recently I created some colorful boho necklaces drawing inspiration from some beautiful heart-shaped pendants made by a fellow Etsy shop owner. I'd have to say they are among some of my favorite pieces. (Scroll to the bottom to see Mary Kay's Heart Necklaces.)


Visit Mary Kay's Etsy Shop

What are your favorite beading techniques and materials?
I’ve never met a bead I didn’t like! My design style is built around the beads and beautiful pendants, which I use for color inspiration in my necklaces. I love to stack beads on the pendants to create long focal drops and add unexpected focal beads to the necklace strands as my signature style. Favorite materials include gemstone beads, crystals, Czech glass faceted and flower beads, seed beads, as well as high-quality beading wire, which gives my necklaces their soft draping look and feel.

What are some of your favorite beads or components on the Halcraft Collection website
I love the variety of beads that HalcraftCollection.com offers. Some of my favorites include shell & mother of pearl beads and seashell pendants (I’m always dreaming of living in a warm climate near the ocean.) The lustered stones are so sparkly and luxurious. All the colors and shapes of gorgeous glass beads, especially those specialty coated Czech glass rounds.
 

Shop Shell BeadsShop Mother Of Pearl BeadsShop Shell PendantsShop Lustered Stone BeadsShop Czech Glass Beads

Where do you get your beading inspiration? What most inspires you?
My beading inspiration usually comes from the pendant I currently am designing around. The colors and textures lead me to the beads to include. I rely on my large stash of jewelry magazines, such as Stringing and Bead Style, and online DIY tutorials to perk up my creativity and as a resource for techniques. I follow other jewelry artists for the sheer enjoyment of discovering their unique styles.

Do you have any tips for the readers regarding building their social media reach?
I find that liking and especially commenting on posts, whether Facebook or Instagram, is the best way to increase visibility and followers for my own page. I very much enjoy Instagram, where I have made friends with other makers and find enormous support and kinship.

Visit Mary Kay's Instagram

If you had room for only two tools in your bead kit, what would they be?
My round nose and chain nose pliers are the tools I use the most. They do every basic need I have as a jewelry maker, and I could not live without them!
 



What jewelry trends are you excited to incorporate into your beadwork?

Pearls, beachy bead styles, and longer earrings are trending for 2021. They’re trends that I will easily be able to incorporate into my personal design style.

What jewelry techniques would you like to learn?
I am a big fan of statement earrings that feature wire wrapped designs and seed bead fringe! I follow several artisan earring designers and am totally in awe of their talent. I would love to add statement earrings to my shop offerings. I am also excited to add more wire to my designs by creating my own wire pendants. These are at the top of my goal list for 2021.

Fun Facts about Mary Kay
and more of her fantastic designs!

Mary Kay was born and raised in Chicago and has lived for the past 20+ years in Crystal Lake, Illinois, a small suburban town near the Wisconsin border.

She and her husband have raised two daughters and a son. They have 13-year-old boy/girl twin grandchildren, and a grandchild due on July 1.

She is a proud dog parent to Mitzi and Stormy, who are two fun-loving girlies.

Inheriting her love of sewing from her grandmother, Mary Kay has sewn everything from baby clothes to formal gowns.

Speaking of baby clothes... Her previous Etsy shop with her oldest daughter featured children's custom onesies and knock-off Disney character clothing for boys and girls. She loved receiving pictures from the moms of their children at the Disneyland parade. Someone even created a Facebook Destash group for their custom outfits!

When her oldest daughter was young, she worked at a local craft store.

Another one of her favorite crafts is counted cross stitch (Introduced to her by one of her fellow employees at the craft store.) She feels the monotony of the x's is so relaxing.

The first counted cross stitch project she created was a bride and groom gifted to her sister on her first wedding anniversary.

She thanks cross stitching for her need for bifocal eyeglasses.


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Denise Yezbak Moore is a self-taught artisan. She is a senior jewelry designer and content creator for Halcraft Collection and loves to create jewelry with bohemian flair. Denise resides in Orange County, California, and enjoys hearing from fellow beaders worldwide.  Be sure to follow her on Instagram @deniseyezbakmoore