Jean Campbell Answers Your Questions About Being a Beadwork Magazine Designer of the Year

If you're a regular subscriber to Beadwork magazine, then you're probably familiar with the Designers of the Year. Every year, Beadwork chooses four top beadwork designers and features brand new projects by each of them for an entire year. Some of the previous well-known Designers of the Year include Marcia DeCoster, Jamie Hogsett, Laura McCabe, Carol Ohl and Interweave's very own Jean Campbell.

Jean is the founding editor of Beadwork magazine, and since her departure has become a much sought-after instructor. She's also written several gorgeous books of beadwork and steampunk jewelry designs, and she's a regular contributor here on the Beading Daily blog.

We asked our readers on Facebook and in the Beading Daily Forums what questions they would like to ask the Designers of the Year, and we picked four questions to ask Jean about her background and her thoughts on being one of the first Designers of the Year:

What do you think "officially" turned your beading hobby into a career? I know you were the founding editor of Beadwork magazine, but prior to that did you have any experience with beads? I was originally trained as a metal smith, but there was a point at which I didn't have two pennies to rub together, let alone buy silver! I learned beading because beads were less expensive to use and so flexible. (As those of us with ridiculous stashes can attest, though, beading isn't really that less expensive. I would never have imagined the monster mansion stash I own now. Sheesh!) Anyway, when I continued to learn more techniques and stitches and incorporated beads more elaborately into my jewelry designs, I knew beading would be part of my career. It wasn't until I worked at Interweave that I knew that bead publishing would be part of my career, too, but that's a whole different story.

How do you find the inspiration to create on demand? The truth is, I wouldn't get anything done without deadlines! It's the pressure of a deadline that jump-starts my creativity. When I'm under the gun like that I HAVE to find inspiration somewhere and get the job done. I don't think I'm alone in that. Granted, not all deadlines ensure good work – I've come up with a lot of dogs! But I've had enough deadlines to tuck a few nice projects under my belt.

If you had the time, what jewelry making skill would you learn (that you don't know yet!) and why? As an editor for Beadwork I've had to try just about everything! But there are definitely techniques I don't know anything about. Enameling would be something I'd like to try.

What was your favorite Designer of the Year project and why? I really feel happy with all six of them – it was a growing exercise to come up with something absolutely new for each issue that would be worthy of my fellow Design of the Year artists and that excited me creatively. I think my first project, Eastern Ombre Choker, probably speaks most to my style strengths. The beadwork along the straps was freeform and painterly. There's just enough crystal glitz in the design to make things sparkle (but not too over the top) and it was fun to show off my mad coloring skills when making the domino tablet beads featured at the center. Unfortunately my neck is now saggy enough that I will never wear that choker, but it looks dang nice on my teenage daughter's slim neck!

If you love Jean's project and want to see more of the best projects from Beadwork magazine's Designers of the Year, check out the Best of Beadwork: 10 Designer of the Year Projects eBook. It's full of reader favorites from Jean Campbell, Jamie Hogsett, Melanie Potter, Carol Ohl and Laura McCabe. And because it's a digital download, you don't pay for shipping and you'll be reading your content on your laptop or desktop in minutes!

Bead Happy,




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