Our featured jewelry artist this month is Margaret Schindel.
Margaret is an internet friend…[it is a different world we live in] and I love what Margaret shares in her beading world. Her unique experiences have inspired me to continue further along in my own interest of the jewelry making field.
I first met Margaret through a writing community we both contributed to a few years back which lead to connecting in other communities.
Since we were in the same field of interest I attached myself to her and found a tremendous cheerleader in Margaret. She and I continued to network through other groups and have formed a deeper beading buddy bond that carries our friendship on today.
Having found Margaret and befriending her has provided me a new level of confidence within myself to be able to share more with you.
When these types of people cross your path, you bond a kinship. You will learn that it is easy to find just that in the jewelry making community, artist encouraging artist.
It’s not a competition, it’s a collaboration of talents.
Jewelry making is such a large topic there is room for many and you will find there are very generous people in this field.
Our friend Margaret Schindel is a fine example of that.
So let’s learn more about Margaret and her years of unique experiences:
Hi Margaret, thank you so much joining us today. I am so excited to have you here. We want to hear more about your personal jewelry making journey…
Share with us a little about your bead-ginnings…
I am humbled and honored by your invitation.
Let me begin by sharing that my love of beads and beading began when I was a girl, probably around nine years old. My mom adored jewelry, and I came by my jewelry addiction honestly at an early age!
In the early 1960s my parents traveled to Italy and brought back some gorgeous Murano glass beads from Venice. Mom used those special beads as focals, stringing them with less expensive beads and pearls into long, opera-length strands that could be doubled or tripled, as was the style at the time.
I don’t know for sure how she learned bead stringing (at the time I just assumed she knew everything!), but I’m betting she was self-taught. I begged her to show me how to make beaded jewelry, too, and with her help I made my very first beaded necklace.
As an adult, I began collecting jewelry from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s as well as vintage glass beads from those eras and even older, including wonderful beads and pearls made in pre-World War II Japan.
My mother also gave me some of her precious Venetian glass beads, which by then were considered vintage, and I decided to learn how to make jewelry so that I could do these amazing vintage beads justice.
I took a one-day bead stringing class through an adult education program, which taught me the basics of how to finish the ends of beaded strands with knots or crimps, bead tips and clasps, as well as how to make beaded dangles for earrings, attach earring findings, and properly open and close an eye pin. From that point forward, I was on my own.
I subscribed to several magazines and bought quite a few books, but mostly I just experimented. I learned new techniques as the need arose. The Internet was a godsend!
Tell us what you are doing now…
I haven’t had as much time to bead as I once did (or as I’d like to again). I spent quite a few years focused on working with metal clay and polymer clay, being the senior editor and technical editor of Metal Clay Artist Magazine (created and owned by Jeannette Froese LeBlanc), which has morphed into the wonderful website Creative Fire, and writing (often about jewelry making). I also started a new job, which also has cut into my jewelry making time considerably.
But I still love designing and creating jewelry with a variety of materials and techniques, including beads and beading.
When I do find some beading time…
Most of my pieces have a mix of vintage and contemporary beads. Often, I’ll also incorporate fused glass components and lampwork beads by contemporary glass artists.
I discovered to my surprise that I have an unusual knack for combining colors in subtle or unexpected ways. I also choose beads with a mix of different finishes – shiny, matte, iridescent, frosted, pearlescent, smooth, textured, etc. – to create additional visual interest.
I like my beaded pieces to have a certain rhythm, so I usually start designing them by creating groups of symmetrical bead “stations” spaced out around my bead board and then fill in the gaps with smaller beads.
I adore cageworked beaded jewelry by Haskell, Hagler, St. Gielar, etc., and I’ve made a few pieces in that style, embroidering beads and other components onto vintage brass filigree stampings (or the perforated “screen” part of screen-and-prong components) with very fine wire and then backing them with mirror-image filigree stampings and wiring the edges together.
I have a real love/hate relationship with this technique! The work is extremely time-consuming and the fine wire kinks constantly and hurts my fingers. Every time I finish making a cagework beadery design I swear I’ll never do another one. But after enough time passes, I tell myself “Oh, it couldn’t have been that hard!” and make another one, because I love the results so much.
Words of wisdom for our beginners just getting started…
Make art from your heart.
Whether you’re beading for yourself, to make gifts, or to sell your work, make things you love, rather than things that follow current trends (unless you love the current trends, of course!).
Spend some quality time with your beads, without feeling any pressure to create something with them. Be aware of which ones you’re drawn to on any given day. Think about why they appeal to you. Spend time looking at lots and lots of beaded jewelry, in catalogs, stores, magazines, etc. Try to figure out what you like and don’t like about different designs, and get inspired to try incorporating those elements when you design your next pieces.
Set up one or more Pinterest boards with beaded jewelry tutorials or techniques you want to try, jewelry and jewelry artists who inspire you, and anything else that will fuel and support your “need to bead.” Look for other boards to follow for information and inspiration.
Ask for help and support! You’d be amazed at the generosity of other bead and jewelry artists. Start with Teri here on Bead at Home. Join a Facebook group. Join or start a local bead club. Talk to the people at your local bead shop (LBS). Take classes or workshops.
Pay it forward.
As Teri says, “Everyone starts at the beginning,” and there will always be someone who could benefit from what you’ve learned. It can be enormously satisfying to share your knowledge and your joy in beading, and in helping someone else start on this wonderful journey.
Wow…what a journey!
I hope Margaret doesn’t mind me sharing a bit of our conversation leading up to this interview, Margaret seemed just a bit hesitant in being a featured guest, I think mostly because she’s not as active as she has been in the past. But I convinced her otherwise.
Now my little secret…when I first found Margaret in our writing community I was new to the area of writing and she seemed to be a pro in my eyes…she was a magazine editor for goodness sake and it was a jewelry making magazine at that.
That was major stuff to me.
I was shy and timid in approaching her, my own natural insecurities with my beginner level skills. So I sat quietly in the background, watched and listened until I could feel my insecurities begin to melt away little by little.
I would take baby steps in reaching out and she opened her arms to me every time, encouraging with her sweet words of friendship. Proving to be the exact person that she portrayed herself to be, genuine and willing to help.
As I expressed to Margaret the impact she had in helping to build my confidence she said it brought her to tears…
I told her and I’m telling you now, as I have learned for myself…
Never Underestimate Your Influence…Even if You Don’t See it. tahansen
We want to thank Margaret, as well as you, for joining us today. Our hope is you had at least one take away from our time together.
Allow the experience of this charming beading buddy to encourage you to reach for what you want to do with your new found skills. Margaret’s story is of years upon years of experience, yours has just started.
Remember…’Everyone Starts at the Beginning‘!
Until next time…Beaded Blessings.