Name: Stephanie Sersich
Website Link: www.sssbeads.com
Where are you located? 15 Perkins St. Topsham, Maine 04086
Tell us a bit about yourself: I live on the coast of Maine, and my work is very much inspired by the ocean and the treasures beneath. When I’m not making jewelry, I love to run my dog on the beach or in the neighboring woods. I love to knit and garden, too! Textiles and my garden also bring me loads of inspiration.
When and why did you begin creating your jewelry/art? I have been making jewelry since I was a little girl – I always say, since I was stringing pasta on yarn! I began working with glass and making beads when I was in college. My art became a business 10 years ago when I got out of college. My mom collects ethnic jewelry and clothing, so it’s been a passion for as long as I can remember. While I originally learned to make beads on my own, my best tricks and techniques came from Sage and Tom Holland, who live and teach in the Ozarks of Arkansas. They were some of the pioneers of the bead-making movement. I feel very lucky to call them my friends and mentors.
What do you make? I make glass beads, using the ancient technique of lampworking. I make my jewelry by combining them with vintage beads, talismans, natural materials, cords and fibers. My jewelry is full of color and texture. The large neckpieces are pretty wild, and I also make individual beads and smaller items for other jewelers to incorporate into their own pieces.
What materials and methods do you use? I make my beads from Effetre and Bullseye glass (both soft glasses), chosen for their high-contrast color palette. I use other beads and items that add a different sheen than the glass. I like to mix shiny and pitted, new and old, bright and muted. The assemblage-type pieces are made from my signature Spiny Knotting technique, which is derived from macramé knotting. I also love to just simply string beads, but mostly I can’t help adding fibers and knots to make my items more unique.
Where do your design inspirations come from? The natural world is an endless source of inspiration. I love pod-shapes and radial forms, like flowers and stars. I like rocks and shells, encrusted with barnacles and sea-shells and funny-shaped growths. Anything with a varying texture and things that stick out.
What is your best working environment/where is your studio? I live in Topsham, Maine in a Greek Revival house, built in 1830. My studio is in the carriage house. I make beads and teach classes on the main level and string beads and work in the upstairs office, in a well-lit room with high-ceilings. I love space, and that’s important when you have a lot of stuff.
Where can your products be seen? As far as retail locations, I have my work at several galleries, like Foundry Lane in Portland, Maine and Arts Afire, a glass gallery in Alexandria, Virginia. I also do several bead and craft shows (listed on my website) in different parts of the country. I’ve recently written a book called Designing Jewelry with Glass Beads, published by Interweave Press, and I have an example of almost everything I make in there! There are 20 “How-To” projects, as well as classifications of glass beads, a history of glass beads and useful tips and tools for beaders.
Upcoming events: This season, I have two craft shows in New England, but I’m also preparing for the Pasadena Bead and Design Show in January. I have a piece that just won an award at The Bead Museum in Washington, DC – part of their Celebrating Beads event. In March of 2009, I am teaching a collaborative class with my friend, fellow beadmaker Michele Goldstein, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where we plan to bead and laugh ourselves silly. I love to teach, and workshops are the events that I look forward to the most.
Magazine articles or press:
My own book: Designing Jewelry With Glass Beads
And I have photos in several others, including:
Beads of Glass by Cindy Jenkins
Contemporary Lampworking and Formed of the Fire by Bandhu Scott Dunham
I have had magazine articles in Ornament, Beadwork, Bead & Button Magazine, Lapidary Journal and others.
Who are you a fan of? Other people’s jewelry & beads? Gail Crosman-Moore, Michele Goldstein, Dustin Tabor, Amy Johnson, Lucie Weir, Bronwen Heilman, Caitlin Hyde, Isis Ray
Tell us a little about one of your favorite creations: Like to make the big, outrageous pieces, like the Fiesta Necklace.
Anything else you wish to add? There are two things I love about my job – combining the colors and textures, and teaching. Nothing brings me more joy than coaching a student to make something they had never envisioned, but that comes from inside them. The exchange of excitement gives me a true connection to other people. The power of creating something joyful from inanimate materials is a thrilling experience. I just can’t get enough of it.