Velvet Tetrault - Visual Gems - Beads and Crystals
My name is Velvet Tetrault, and I am a 58 year old fine artist and jeweler living in Arizona. This profile focuses on the jewelry aspect of my business.
I create beaded jewelry because I like the intricacy and sparkle that I can get with small seed beads and items like Swarovski crystals. I also like to create items in polymer clay, especially if they have a unique or attractive surface design.
I learned to bead weave back in 2004-2005 at a place called the Bead Museum in Glendale, Arizona. Unfortunately, they are no longer in business. In 2012 I also took a metalsmithing course at the Mesa Arts Center. Although I have only used the metalsmithing in one necklace and earrings set so far, I plan to do more with it when I move to Sun City, early next year, and have access to a metalsmithing studio.
A few months ago, I began to learn how to wire wrap by watching a variety of YouTube educational videos. Although I have no designs in mind currently, I do foresee using wire wrapping in the future when I make my next polymer clay cabochon, which I would typically wrap using netted beads.
This is called “Autumn Leaves” because of the amber colors and the Russian Leaves that have been sewn onto the base of the necklace. This necklace includes some copper metalsmithing and polymer clay inlay and cabochon in the center medallion and the earrings. It incorporates a variety of different stitches, such as peyote stitch. I have a YouTube video about this necklace at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NhcF8u8NkbQ.
I find beading to be a very Zen-like past time, despite the magnifying glasses I need to accomplish it and the odd times when I accidentally knock all of my beads on the floor and spend an hour finding them again. The type of stitched beadwork that I do takes a long time.
I would not advise anyone to get into the business of selling bead stitched jewelry to make money. My prices are high, reflecting the fact that all of my jewelry is one-of-a-kind and hand done, but the prices do not reflect the amount of time needed to create the jewelry, seed bead by seed bead.
The next example is an amulet bag stitched with metallic seed beads and adorned at the fringes and on the earrings with Swarovski crystals, pearls, and other designer beads.
I find inspiration in books that I either own or see, or just from knowing certain stitches. For example, I know how to make a number of different types of Russian Leaves, so, to make my necklace called, “Autumn Leaves”, I designed a base necklace using peyote stitch and then placed Russian Leaves at a variety of places along the necklace that I thought would provide a nice balance to the overall design. When I make dangling earrings, I usually design where the beads are going on paper so that I can make different types of geometric images, such as chevrons or diamonds.
The next example is a bead strung necklace with a polymer clay heart focal point. The polymer clay and designer beads are strung on organza ribbon, mesh tubing, and satin ribbon. The pendant is a polymer clay heart and ribbon embedded with Swarovski crystals and pearls. It is attached to the main part of the necklace with art wire.
Although there are many talented jewelry artists out there, there is one who does a lot with wire who makes beautiful jewelry, and I would recommend her. Her name is Erin E. Karlstad, and she has a Facebook page at: (https://www.facebook.com/ErinE.Karlstad)
I also have a line of dangling earrings. Below are a couple of examples:
Some of my pendants have polymer clay and crystals as a marked focal point.
Lastly, my latest piece of jewelry is a necklace and earrings set that I will be wearing for my wedding on September 14, 2013, and then putting up for sale. It is an open weave design in two tone white with two rows of diamond shaped motifs.
My website also contains a blog, which began with posts about items I had been working on, but has advanced to posts that have a major educational aspect based on what I have been learning and what I have been creating.
I also have art, mostly my jewelry, for sale on www.custommade.com. In the next few months, I will be starting on Fine Art America for the fine art end of my business.
I tend to post in LinkedIn art groups and Facebook Art groups, sometimes to promote items I am listing, and sometimes just to provide feedback on something someone else has posted. I also tend to Tweet interesting articles that I read, such as those in Artpromotivate and Designpromotivate. Although I have not done much with Google+ Communities, that will be my next challenge timewise. But every time I create another piece, I list it with all my social media, including Tweets.
Please visit me at:
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Visual.Gems.Studio
Twitter page: https://twitter.com/VisualGemsStudi
Pinterest page: http://pinterest.com/velsytetra/
LinkedIn page: http://www.linkedin.com/in/fineartandjewelry
Google+ page: https://plus.google.com/101340209749229455773/posts