Hello designers, and welcome to this month's spotlight!
Halcraft Collection is excited to announce our October Spotlight Designer is Norma Jean Babcock of Hummingbird Harper. She is a master of the knot. Her whimsical knotted designs featured here and on her Instagram are playful and pop with color! She brings to this month's spotlight a unique style and naturalistic beauty!
Read on to learn more about Norma Jean and her delightful designs featuring Bead Gallery® beads, pendants, and charms by HalcraftCollection.com
When did you first start beading? Tell us about yourself.
My beading journey began around 2012. We moved to a rural area when I married my husband and found myself needing a hobby. My crafting obsession started with making cards out of scrapbook paper and stickers. I discovered quickly that I had a massive amount of gorgeous cards and not enough people to receive them. I to emerged myself in jewelry making. Beading is so much more fulfilling than creating cards! Finally, I could create designs that I didn’t see anywhere else. I had always admired the work of Teresa Goodall. She made exquisite jewelry carried at a boutique I worked at years ago. Her use of silk, ceramic, waxed cord and glass beads really inspired me when I started my own jewelry making business. I bean with natural stones found in local stores, glass beads, silk, and my design skills blossomed from there.
Tell us about your jewelry business.
Hummingbird Harper hasn’t officially crossed over into business territory yet. I have tried a few times, but each time I end up losing my creativity. I start worrying about what will “sell” and not what is uniquely me. My pieces as a hobby are sold through Etsy, and I have my own site at www.hummingbirdharper.com Most often, I sell my jewelry via Instagram or Facebook using Paypal invoicing. The selling of my jewelry was, by accident, really. I worked at a boutique, and the owner noticed the pieces I was wearing. She mentioned that if I decided to sell my jewelry, she would be willing to carry them in her shop. So, I sat down and set about making a collection. She has carried my pieces ever since!
What is your favorite project that you've recently finished and why is it your favorite?
Oh, that's a tricky one! Usually, the pieces that I love are not the pieces that most people do. I recently made a necklace featuring an artisan-made ceramic owl pendant. The owl was combined Czech Glass beads, some found copper beads, waxed linen cord, silk, and copper chain for a one-of-a-kind feel. This necklace speaks to my soul; it is incredibly unique. Sometimes a piece just comes together, and in the end, I have this feeling that it's "finished." I'm not sure if that makes sense to the readers, but when I look at this owl necklace, I just feel terrific about the design. The way the colors blend together and the use of mixed elements makes me happy!
What are your favorite beading techniques and materials?
I love using wire with Czech glass beads. Recently, I learned to hand knot waxed linen cord and beads. It has been a blast to creating bracelets. My favorite beads are always artisan-made. I spend a significant amount of time combing through Facebook and Etsy for handmade art beads. Many are made using ceramic, porcelain, polymer clay, and whatever catches my eye. When I’m not hunting art beads, I scoop up Czech Glass Beads by the handful!
What are some of your favorite beads or components on the Halcraft Collection website?
I love the Bead Gallery® collection of semi-precious stones and Czech Glass Beads! They are so gorgeous! I also have adored seeing the HalcraftCollection.com Pretty Palette Inspirations each month! They make it so easy to put together a collection of beads that I wouldn’t have done myself. I love the way Pretty Palettes pushes me to think outside of the box!
Where do you get your beading inspiration? What most inspires you?
Inspiration can be found everywhere! Mainly, my inspiration comes from plants and books. I often find myself looking at color, texture, and shapes. I adore trying to find my own way to add this unique spin into my jewelry designs. I spend a significant amount of time finding just the right beads. Adding the perfect unique bead makes the design special. I am also inspired by fall leaves, vibrant flowers like Celosia, or odd little things. To be honest, I also love browsing Pinterest. Gazing through different design ideas or pieces that other incredible makers create sometimes gives me a springboard to make on my own jewelry. I do my best to never copy anyone. Instead, I try to figure out a way to incorporate a part of their design with my own flair. That is what inspiration is all about!
Do you have any tips for the readers regarding building their social media reach?
The best tip I can giv
If you had room for only two tools in your bead kit, what would they be?
I can’t live without my needle nose pliers and my flush cutters. They are actually a pair I stole from my mechanic husband. He got them from a mechanic supply company. That in itself sort of explains my process as a designer. I go into a design without a plan, and then I see what happens. My crazy little tools seem to reflect that in their own way.
What jewelry trends are you excited to incorporate into your beadwork?
Hmm... Trends. Adding more intricate bead designs sometime down the line is on my list. I would like to also like to get a little better versed in wire wrapping. I see many designers doing these incredible things with seed beads and wire wrapping. It would be a blast to give these trends a try.
What jewelry techniques would you like to learn?
I'd like to try a method called Kumihimo. This is a traditional Japanese art form of making braids and cords by interlacing reels of yarn. Also, I have always admired electroforming. It would be so much fun to create my own charms and pendants!
Norma Jean grew up in Suttons Bay, MI, and now resides in Traverse City, MI.
She worked as a scheduler for a large cardiology practice but longed to create her own schedule. She now works at a gorgeous eclectic boutique called Lima Bean.
The boutique is her sanctuary.
She loves being surrounded by unique things and people. It provides her inspiration and helps her to be the best possible version of herself.
Being a little introverted, you can find her hiding in her favorite green chair reading, writing, or listing to music to shut out the world.
At this time, her only craft is jewelry making.
In the past, Norma Jean has dabbled in scrapbooking, sewing, and crocheting.
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 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