Etched Bead Contest Winner
Last month, we put out the call for your etched bead jewelry designs, and you answered! The submissions we received were all beautiful and original, so selecting a winner was no easy task. We chose this stunning necklace by designer Sabrina Finch. It features a medley of etched glass Druks and assorted nature theme beads in mermaid-inspired hues. The elaborate beadwork and unique mix of color stole our hearts.
Sabrina works alongside her mother in at a bead store called Kittie’s Kreations. We asked her a few questions about her art, inspiration and creative process, and she took the time to give us some insight.
What is your background, and when did you discover your love for Jewelry design?
I grew up around beads, jewelry, glass and art. My mother, Kittie, is beyond talented with everything. I started working at Kittie’s Kreations when I was sixteen, mostly just helping around the store, and my love for jewelry grew. After I turned eighteen, I started making simple pieces of jewelry, and then one thing led to another. And here I am, testing the waters on new projects and always challenging myself to do more. Beading has become my life.
Tell me a little about Kittie’s Kreations.
My mother started this company in 2002, in a small 200 square foot space. She’d always wanted to open her own store, and she did what she had to do to make her dream come true. We grew out of that space quickly and moved it to a bigger store. With her knowledge and the courses I took in school, I was prepared to run this store. We have so many findings, strands of beads, seed beads, and everything in between. It’s a huge task to keep up with everything, but my mother and some close friends taught me well.
What inspires your creativity and jewelry designs?
My mother has always been my inspiration; everything she touches is beautiful. Her jewelry has always been different, not only because of the pieces she uses, but because it’s always something bold. I have always wanted to be just like her, so when I create a piece of jewelry, I try to add a little of her taste and a lot of my own. I love making my own designs and patterns, and I always try to do something new and different.
When creating the Mermaid Necklace, what inspired the design? Tell me a little about your process.
I love making new pieces, and always enjoy a challenge. Of course, I had to get a little input from my best friend, my mother. We both thought the colors resembled mermaid colors, so we took that idea and started thinking of ways to incorporate a mermaid in this piece. I love bead embroidery and it’s something I’m quite good at, so I thought I would make the piece the shape of a mermaid tail, with bead embroidery for all the etched beads on the piece. I fell in love with this piece for sure. I love Nirvana’s etched beads, and I am very ecstatic with the way the beads look on this piece.
What are your favorite Nirvana beads and colors to use in your designs?
My favorite Nirvana beads are most definitely the large purple etched drops. I also like to use the new sun coins. Those beads are very unique, and the colors are unbelievable. I love Nirvana’s merchandise all around, along with the customer service. We always enjoy talking and seeing Shelley and talking to everyone at Nirvana. Nirvana beads is absolutely one of my favorite vendors.
Is there any advice you can give to aspiring jewelry designers?
Even if patterns or beading looks hard, try it anyway and don’t give up. Beading is a unique way to express yourself, and it makes the world more beautiful. Most people that start out with basic beading always think they will never be able to do intricate beading, but it’s just about setting your mind to it and doing it. I never thought I would love beading as much as I do, especially seed beading, but I love it more and more every day.
Sabrina’s unique necklace design makes excellent use of the rustic texture and multi-layered washes of Nirvana’s etched beads.
Our etched beads travel a long way to get to designers like Sabrina. The journey involves months of planning, design and craftsmanship, and carries layers of history and artisan tradition. The beads are treasures, descended from an ancient cottage industry that still survives today.
Etching is a patented method by which the surface of the beads—or any other glass—is etched by acidic compounds. The beads are placed on a metal net and dipped into the acid a few times, until the surface of the beads becomes etched as desired. Later, the beads are washed and finished to highlight the engraved surface.
The process of etching is a rejuvenation of sorts. The glass surface is torn down and built up again with artisan finishes. The result is a bead that feels like an ancient structure, beautifully preserved, and holding within it secrets and stories of centuries of beadmakers.
Why do we love things that are ancient and full of mystery? Perhaps because they remind us of our own past, our family and lineage. Sabrina’s lovely necklace is the perfect example of a passion for design passed down through generations.
You can find more of Sabrina’s passion at her bead store at www.kittieskreations.com
Sarah Aube is a writer and jewelry designer living in coastal Maine.