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Hello designers, and welcome to this month's spotlight!
Halcraft Collection is excited to announce our May 2021 Spotlight Designer is Stephanie Reis of Maureen Bradley Designs. Her long layered necklaces are something to behold! We love how she mixes materials to create colorful and unique textures visually pleasing to the eye!
Read on to learn more about Stephanie and her stunning designs featuring Bead Gallery® beads, pendants, and charms by HalcraftCollection.com
When did you first start beading? Tell us about yourself.
I first started beading when I was young, probably around 6 or 7 years old. My mother gave me some of her jewelry to play with that she no longer wanted. I enjoyed taking the beaded pieces apart and mixed and matched them together to create my own pieces. I used sewing thread to restring them and tied the ends to the clasps. I bought my first set of beads from Michaels Crafts Store and have been smitten ever since. I remember they were coral beads, and I couldn’t wait to make something with the beads. I have always been drawn to beading, and I would always buy the magazine, Bead and Button. I loved to practice the patterns, especially the seed bead patterns. I am also drawn to beading because I love to learn new things, and jewelry always seems to teach me something new.
Tell us about your jewelry business.
I do have a jewelry business, Maureen Bradley Designs. We have a website at www.maureenbradleydesign.com - I am also on Facebook and Instagram. I started selling years ago at craft fairs. In 2016 my husband and I launched the website. I met my husband, Clay, back in 2005. He saw that I made jewelry and liked it. He really encouraged me to sell, and he helped me turn my passion into a business. I married Clay in 2009, he has been helping me build this business venture ever since. I would not have been able to do this without him (I really would not want to do this without him.) When I design, make a collection, or photograph, Clay is always willing to give me feedback on what I create. He is my quality control! Always giving a little tug or making sure a clasp works right. Clay uploads my pictures and information to the website and takes care of most of the business side. Occasionally, Clay will pull things from my studio and do a little designing too. My middle name is Maureen, and Clay’s middle name is Bradley… together, we are Maureen Bradley Designs.
What is your favorite project that you've recently finished and why is it your favorite?
It's so hard to choose. I really do love everything I create. I will say from my recent projects, the Saltwater Collection is my favorite. You can layer pieces (which I love.) You can wear one or both necklaces together. These designs combine some of my favorite items... Shells, wood, and gemstones. I think it would be the perfect accessory for a night out on the beach... My favorite location.
What are your favorite beading techniques and materials?
My favorite beading techniques are making beaded chains, wire wrapping, and connections. I strive to make my own chain in my collections. I will often add a metal chain to give my beaded chain more texture. I like wire wrapping anything and find it very satisfying. I think the action of wrapping and seeing the effect it makes in a design is awesome. I have recently started to create my own bangles and wire clasps. I enjoy creating my own connections in my pieces as I think it makes them interesting. Hammered rounds and connecting them with seed bead strands in my necklaces and bracelets is also one of my favorites. Another technique I love is knotting. Feeding beads on silk and using my knotting tool is so satisfying. Sometimes when I have had a long day, I find it relaxing to make a necklace using my knotting tool. It can wrap several times, creating a beautiful, layered look.
What are some of your favorite beads or components on the Halcraft Collection website?
Some of my favorite beads and components on HalcraftCollection.com are the shells, ceramic, gemstones, and Czech glass beads. Halcraft has a unique selection of shell beads and pendants. Be sure to check out my Saltwater collection. My favorite gemstones are their turquoise and druzy beads. I recently made a collection using the flower sliders, turquoise, and red & gold Czech glass. Some other favorites are the whimsical ceramic beads and Czech fire-polished & triple coat beads. I love using Halcraft Collection beads and pendants in my designs. Did you know that Halcraft sends a free item with a purchase? I try to add those treasures to my collections. My Rock Candy bracelet with the sparkly flower slider was a gift with purchase.
Where do you get your beading inspiration? What most inspires you?
I am usually or maybe unusually inspired by almost everything... People, nature, and the world. I never take anything for granted. I keep my mind open to anything or anyone that may inspire me. An example of this is patterns on clothing or a light fixture in a restaurant. I once looked out during fall and saw wild grass that had turned yellow with dark red berries drying, and the sky was gray and blue. I used this color palette in one of my designs. We enjoy taking our family on trips to the ocean. I always find shells to make jewelry. Across the sea, there are fountains in France and Italy that I find visually inspiring. Recently, I admired art and jewelry from Peru, South America, and Africa. Looking at art, especially colorful artwork, gets my creative juices flowing. Lastly, I find collage art fascinating because of its layers and depth. In conclusion, I am most inspired by colors, art, nature, and architecture.
Do you have any tips for the readers regarding building their social media reach?
I am in the process of building my social media outreach on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and our website. My husband and I have found that running ads on Facebook & Instagram will draw interest to your site and products. On Instagram, we have found that genuine liking and commenting on other posts draws focus to your business and can increase your following. We are in the process of linking our website to Amazon, Etsy, and eBay to increase sales of our products.
If you had room for only two tools in your bead kit, what would they be?
On any given day, I typically use 4 tools to make jewelry - a pair of round-nose pliers, 2 pairs of chain-nose pliers, and a flush cutter. If I only had room for two tools in my bead kit, I would say Beadalon’s combination tool with a round-nose plier, chain-nose plier (all in one), and the flush cutter. You could complete most jewelry making actions with those 2 tools. I would use my fingers to open and close jump rings with the chain nose plier portion of the tool.
What jewelry trends are you excited to incorporate into your beadwork?
The jewelry trends I'm excited to incorporate into my beadwork are mixing metals. I adore silver/copper, gold/silver, and copper/gold metal combinations. Sometimes I even combined all 3 metals together. Another trend that has piqued my interest is wire wrapping beads around links to create earrings or necklaces. I enjoy making clusters of beads (usually 3- 4mm) for earrings or even cha-cha bracelets. Leather is trending! I use leather to create clasps and connectors for my necklaces. Lastly, I have incorporated the seed bead trend by creating loop connectors and adding length to my necklaces with the seeds.
What jewelry techniques would you like to learn?
There a few techniques I would like to learn. The first is new ways to make connections with metal, wire, or leather. I look forward to learning more wire skills. Wire wrapping gemstones is such a classic and beautiful look. Creating more wire bangles is on my list. When time permits, I want to work on a loom to create leather wrap bracelets. I love learning how to make different knots, especially a knot focal for necklaces or bracelets. Lastly, there are many seed beading techniques that I would like to learn.
Stephanie is originally from San Antonio, Texas, and is the youngest of 7 children.
Currently, she resides in Northern Virginia with her husband Clay and her wonderful son.
She holds a BA in Interior Environmental Design with a minor in Art. She also has a BS in Information Systems Technology.
Jewelry making has always been her passion. She is self-taught by reading many books and watching video tutorials.
Her other crafts include crochet, diamond painting, and collage art.
If she had more time, she would paint more!
She wants to use her Cricut to create art for tote bags!
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, #Halcraftcollection #beadgallery #halcraftprettypalette #prettypalette!
We choose a new designer to spotlight each month and would love to celebrate you!
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