Face to Face: Meet Donna Peterson
The last Thursday each month is dedicated to the Face to Face interviews with our fellow beaders and designers!
The Beadingschool Club keeps on growing in number and skills of our beaders. We see a lot of inspiration in their beadwork, life and both personal and professional journey. We’re so different in style and preferences when it comes to beading, but we fit together as a beautiful jigsaw puzzle. If you look for a beader who is patient, inspiring and known for turning every motif into the bracelet – this is her!
Meet the Beadingschool Club member and our Bracelet Queen,
Please tell us about yourself a bit! When and how did you start to create? How did you learn to bead?
I went to my first bead store right after college graduation. I remember laying out the exact number of beads in my hand that I would put on a headpin to make simple earrings. They were very simple (not attractive) wood beads that cost $.02 each, as that’s what I could afford at the time. If I still had them, I would love to share so we could all laugh together. My shopping strategy has certainly changed since then.
Is beadwork your hobby or profession? How does your average day look like? When do you have time to create?
Unfortunately beading is only my hobby. I am a fulltime manager in the medical device industry. I work all day, go do some form of exercise, and then head downstairs to my bead room (floor) to bead.
Where do you like to create? Do you have a designated area in your home where you keep your beads? Can you show it to us?
I have an entire floor (it seems) dedicated to beading. I have a “bead closet” where my main beads are stored, organized very neatly. I have tool cabinets with drawers that have the beads set aside for current and future projects, and unfinished pieces. I usually have many bead boards with works in progress scattered about that room. But after I adopted two kittens a few months ago, I now need to cover things up when I’m not in the room or they take off with a tube of beads, the perfect jingly cat toy.
What is your favorite stitch? Which colors do you like the most? On the other hand, is there any color or color combination you try to avoid?
I like green, blue, purple, and fuchsia – basically all the jewel tones. I probably avoid pastel colors or brown (unless it’s a metal bead). The Beadingschool has opened me up to trying new color combinations, so I am starting to use orange, red and yellow, which is perfect timing for the current Lucia’s Light theme.
Do you follow instructions, or do you like to develop your own designs? How would you define your style?
I mostly start with a pattern and change it up a little, often to make it into a bracelet. I think one reason for this is if I am tired at the end of a workday, I just want to bead and not think about designing. Sometimes picking the colors is enough work. But the Beadingschool has changed this and inspired me to work on my own designs a little more than in the past. I’m not sure if I have a defined style, though I’ve been told I lean toward the Victorian look.
Tell us about the piece of jewelry you are the most proud of!
One of the first pieces that I was proud of (and that I still like today), is a simple bracelet from beads I purchased in an antique store in Prague for about five dollars. They are turquoise-colored cabs with pewter flecks. I bezeled it with no tutorial using whatever technique I devised at the time. This isn’t impressive to me now, but it was then.
The piece I am proud of most recently is my first official bracelet tutorial, aptly named Prima. I have made things on my own in the past, but this time I followed through with a complete tutorial, using Visio for the diagrams.
Can you tell us more about your inspiration or a background story of the PRIMA bracelet, if there’s any?
I have always known that I could make my own designs if I really tried, as I have the software and writing skills to put them into a tutorial. I finally decided I was going to take a design to the finish line and finally did. There are days that new ideas are swirling around my head. I have taken to drawing them in on my phone in the middle of the night and the images are quite hilarious. Hopefully there are more tutorials to come.
Who are your favorite designers? Why?
I have different designers that have influenced me over the years. I remember I first learned how to bezel a Rivoli using firepolished beads from Sidonia’s Sunset Glare earrings. I also have made this pattern into a bracelet many times, of course. That was the first step to using rivolis. I eventually learned to bezel using Delicas, which seems so simple now, of course.
Then I discovered Etsy. The first pattern I purchased was from Smadar Grossman (Smadar’s Treasure). After that I discovered Ella Des (Ellad2), whose patterns I have purchased frequently.
Then I discovered YouTube and Stephanie of Bronzepony beads.
I am currently inspired by Erika’s designs and the entire community she has created.
Do you have a favorite design by Erika? Tell us about it!
I like Ithaka as it is so versatile. It can look Victorian, or it can look a little modern. I realize I like using bugles to create structure in a piece.
Which is the bead / component in your stash which you treasure the most? Do you already have plans on how to use it?
I was able to go on a bead trip to Prague and Jablonec and purchased many lamp-work beads directly from the artists. They are special, so I have been “saving” them as we often do. My goal is to stop saving them for the perfect piece and start using them.
What are your plans for the future as a beader? Is there something you would really like to learn?
CRAW is the one stitch that defeated me last time I tried (many years ago). I recently saw a tutorial that referred to the structure pieces as floor, walls, ceiling, and it clicked in my brain, but I haven’t tried it yet.
Where can we see and buy your designs?
I do not have a blog or an etsy shop since this is my hobby. But Beadingschool members can get my first pattern, Prima, for free!
Thank you for answering my questions, Donna!
We all are happy you are beading with us and inspire through your colors and beadwork!
Dear Beadingschool friends, keep on reading…
Donna’s sparkle gift for all the Beadingschool Club members and her very first tutorial for “Prima” bracelet is waiting for you in the Files in our Club where you can download it as a gift! Thank you, Donna!
Please, use the comment section if you have more questions you would like to ask, or greet Donna.
Stay tuned for more interviews for Beadingschool.com by Erika Sándor!