Welcome to my Build a Line Challenge Blog, Once Upon a Line! I'm Lynda O'Mara of LOmara Creative Designs in Denver, Colorado (I'm actually in Lakewood, which is a suburb of Denver, see the photo above taken by the wonderful, talented Cathy Harris who lives near me). This blog entry is part of a series of three blog hops (yes, that's a new concept to me) that I am participating in with almost 60 other jewelry designers from around the world. These blog hops are just part of the Build a Line Challenge that is the brainchild of Brenda Sue Lansdowne of B'Sue Boutiques. Over the next three months, those of us participating in the Challenge will be working on creating our own personal line of jewelry suited to our market's taste, style, and budget. At the end of the Challenge, each of the participants will reveal a minimum of five original pieces that will be our "new jewelry line".
In my previous blog post, "The Road So Far", I talked about my journey from childhood until now in the world of handmade items. I've always loved creating things, first for my family and friends and later for my customers. For the past 8 or 9 years, I've focused on jewelry design since I love the possibilities of putting beads, brass stampings, and different techniques together to create fun pieces of jewelry that people can wear and enjoy.
With this incarnation, I started with stringing necklaces, bracelets and earrings. At first, I bought beads at craft stores, like Michaels, and then I discovered my first bead show! OMG! It was like Dorothy reaching the Emerald City with all of the colors and excitement! I kind of went out of my mind with all the booths of beautiful beads to choose from. It's a good thing I had my credit card with me! The variety of beads was so much more than I had ever seen and my mind was whirling with ideas of what to do with all of those beads and techniques! I took classes on various techniques since most bead shows offer classes at the show. Here I am at a bead show during my leather bracelet stage!
As I walked up and down the aisles of the shows that I attended, I noticed some wonderful lampwork beads by Grace Ma of Grace Lampwork Beads. These handmade beads use glass from Italy and Germany and are quite vibrant and beautiful, and I fell in love with the many colors and designs and became a great customer! I couldn't get enough of these wonderful lampwork beads. My designs started out with very simple designs that showed off the beads. (This was before I had discovered B'Sue Boutiques.)
After a few years, at one of the bead shows, I found brass components that I could color to work with any design that I wanted, but the number of components was extremely limited. Enter B'Sue Boutiques which I found, not at a bead show, but on the web! Brenda Sue Lansdowne, the B'Sue of B'Sue Boutiques, has filmed over 100 instructional videos on her YouTube channel. It was the Emerald City all over again. After watching a few videos and checking out the B'Sue Boutiques website, new ideas and designs were flooding my mind and I couldn't wait to start creating new and different jewelry than I'd made before. And, I became a great customer of B'Sue as the lure of bead shows began to fade into the background. I still love bead shows, but there's so much available at B'Sue Boutiques, I can use my computer mouse instead of walking through the aisles of shows. And, I can even take classes online at the YouTube channel!
My Theme! When Brass meets Glass!
So, now back to the Challenge. When I decided to take this Build a Line Challenge, I couldn't come up with a theme for my new line of jewelry. Up until now, I've mostly done one-of-a-kind pieces that were only minimally cohesive in their design. I know that people like my designs because whenever I show my jewelry either to friends or at a show, people buy it. But, having a cohesive line of jewelry that I'll be creating under the tuteladge of the wonderful Brenda Sue Lansdowne is something that really appealed to me.
So, what would my theme be? Well, one morning during my morning meditation, my intention was to get guidance on what to do, and it came to me! I can combine my love of Grace Ma's lampwork beads and the wonderful brass stampings and techniques that I've learned from B'Sue Boutiques! That morning the name of my blog, Once Upon a Line, and my theme, When Brass meets Glass came to me and that is the direction I'm taking!
The photo to the right is the first piece I put together using colored filigree and glass lampwork beads. And on the left are some components of one of my Challenge pieces. How will it turn out? As we go through this Challenge journey, I'll be creating and showing more designs using both brass components from B'Sue Boutiques and lampwork beads. It's already been fun and I know I'm already a better jewelry designer.
Accompanying us on this journey will be my assistant and Quality Control Manager, Ms. Tessa Kitty. She reminds me when it's time to stop working and feed, pet or play with her. Here she is inspecting my very messy work area.
Meet the Other Jewelry Artists
Below is a list of the other jewelry artists and designers that are on this three month journey with Tessa and me. Whether you're in the challenge or are someone who found my blog, please visit the blogs below and feel free to leave comments if you like their story or their designs (or their assistants) for encouragement. We're all in this together and at the end, we will all be better designers and able to offer wonderful lines of jewelry to the world.