AUGUST ARTIST SPOTLIGHT

Greetings Readers (and Beaders!), thanks for stopping by for another blog from Eureka Crystal Beads. Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to the next jewelry artist we’re featuring for my monthly Artist Spotlight series!

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For the month of August we’re featuring Bead Artist Norma Jean Dell, who creates her sophisticated, yet playful, jewelry and tutorial patterns from her homebase in the Knoxville area of Tennessee. She features her patterns for sale in her Etsy shop: NJDesigns1. (Go take a peek!) Norma Jean was kind enough to give me a sneak peak and I can promise you that they are fantastically detailed and clear. Please read on to learn a bit more about this talented artist who we’re happy to feature and who we look forward to working with in the near future!

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Upon moving to Tennessee in late 2007 with her husband, Norma Jean began looking for a hobby that would allow her to make some new friends locally. As is always the best solution, she found a local bead shop! There, she signed up for a beginner class to learn flat Peyote stitch. She had never used small beads before, but she was quickly hooked. After that first class, she picked up more beads and a beading magazine and made it her mission to educate herself as much as possible in her new endeavor. She returned home and designed a beaded necklace using the stitch basics in the back of the magazine. Upon taking her finished work back to the bead shop, the owner exclaimed that it looked like something that could be published. She thrived on that positive reinforcement and used it as encouragement to keep going. “A love was born, plus I made friends!”

Norma Jean holds a degree in Early Childhood Education and feels that her many years as a Kindergarten teacher helped prepare her for beading tremendously in that CREATIVITY was always stressed and nurtured. She also feels that her teaching experience has helped her to hone the skills needed to write tutorials that clearly communicate the ins and outs of a project’s steps. Learning to diagram was more of a challenge but she persevered and taught herself all she needed to know, and her instructions are a testament to this. “I can be very stubborn when I want to learn something!”

Norma Jean states she loves “all beads!” but that she especially loves to design with all of the new shapes and styles of beads that are coming out. She sees them as a challenge to get them to all work together in a design alongside the tiny seed beads she utilizes.

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After a time, the local bead shop in Tennessee where her passion was first born encouraged her to teach her designs there. That’s when she began to create her own tutorials and received positive feedback from her students who felt that her instructions were easy to understand and follow. When it comes to her Etsy shop to sell those patterns, Norma Jean credits her husband, who was so proud of her, as being her biggest influence to sell her patterns and introduce her designs “to the rest of the world!” She also states that she has been influenced and inspired by many of the “master beadweavers” but takes specific note of Sabine Libbert, whose style, use of color, and positive attitude she admires so much.

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When I asked Norma Jean what else she’d like to share about her life with our readers, she had this to say: “My husband, who has a full time job, tells people that he is retired! His definition of retirement is ‘you love what you do and you do what you love’ so, in a sense, I am retired as well!” In addition to her “retirement,” Norma Jean and her husband enjoy travelling and boating. “Travel affords me the inspiration for different design challenges where boating keeps my youthful and positive in my outlook on life!”

Please go take a peek over at Norma Jean’s etsy shop to see all of the beautiful tutorials she has to offer! We look forward to working with her more in the future. And as always, please visit the Eureka Crystal Beads website for any of your jewelry and beading needs!

Until next time, Beady Buddies…

-Leah

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