Melinda Orr – Founder – Admin
I’m Melinda & I’m from Northern Central Pennsylvania ~ My journey in beading started while I had my florist/gift/jewelry store. I purchased lots of jewelry to sell & wanted to try to make my own. I started with basic beaded earrings and added a small bead section to my store. Two years later I was diagnosed with breast cancer & treated and am cancer free. I vowed to accomplish the things most important to me as I had a renewed view on life. One of them was this vision that kept me awake at night of bringing the handmade beading/jewelry community together in a place where newbie or skilled artisans could share and learn…with help from many friends in the beading community, the Artisan Whimsy baby was born. Throughout this journey, I branched out to ceramic components & continued branching to handmade copper, brass & bronze designs to accompany my ceramic components, then adding leather that accompanied all of the above. When I’m not designing, I can be found cooking, baking, gardening, canning, taking photographs, digital design, skiing and playing tennis. Amongst all that, I spend time with my wonderful husband & kids and many friends here in our small town & those I have made online in our beading community!
Linda Younkman – Research & Development – Admin
Hi, I’m Linda and I live in Dublin, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus. By accident, I ventured into the world of jewelry making over 11 years ago, and began making jewelry for myself and for my daughter. As usually happens with beads, I soon became obsessed, a happy obsession I might add, having always enjoyed crafting and making things. Sewing, crocheting, quilting and knitting were my first interests. My venture into jewelry making began with bead stringing and I quickly developed a love for natural stones, Artisan beads, African beads, Vintage beads and all things colorful. My desire for learning new things kept me exploring various aspects of jewelry making including bead weaving, PMC, polymer clay, wire working and bead embroidery. Additionally, I have taken classes in many of these mediums and techniques. For the last few years I have developed a love for embossing and coloring metal and working with leather. Have I finally found my niche yet? I believe so and I find that I keep gravitating toward jewelry using these components. Four years ago I retired from a full time career and started spending more time with my jewelry making and developing new skills. I am married with three grown children and expecting my first grandchild next year. When I am not making jewelry, I like social networking, golf, gardening and travel.
Natalie McKenna – Layout & Design – Admin
I’m Natalie and I’m from the UK. I started out by collecting beads (didn’t we all!) and quickly moved on to wanting to create my own. I worked with polymer clay for a couple of years and dabbled in metalsmithing, wire work and jewellery making before making the jump into ceramics last year. I love clay! I love texture! Most of all, I love glazes! I now collect glazes instead of beads! I love creating…I’d go crazy without a creative release. When I’m not working and making beads, I can be found nagging my child, fussing my cats, driving up to Scotland with my BF for some relaxation and clean air and reading my Kindle. I also love graphics, drawing, painting and sleep! I’m a huge fan of Photoshop, InDesign and Coral Painter and use them daily. I get bored really easily and always have to have something to do with my hands.
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Cynthia Machata – Content Development – Admin
I’m Cynthia and I currently live in Connecticut, but I’ve lived in several places. I used to bead when I was a kid, but put it all away for a long time. Then a few years back, I decided to try my hand at wire wrapping. I was completely hooked after that 2-hour class! I laugh when I think back to that time when I kept all my supplies (beads, wire, tools) in a single cookie tin. Today I have such a stash I can barely find my rather large bead table. My friends know that I will try just about any style, technique or material. That is what I find so exciting about making jewelry; that ideas are simply endless! I am most inspired by people, places and culture. You’ll see my style is heavily influenced from my travels and the history of the places I visit. I am also known for driving my family nuts on a vacation as I hunt for a local bead store so I can bring home my souvenir beads!