First off, tell me a little bit about yourself.
My name is Mandy Harvey and I am the designer and creator of Radicalglass and Beadsme. I live in a small suburb called Grose Wold in New South Wales, Australia. Originally I was from the UK and moved to Australia in Feb 2006 so still an Aussie baby getting used to the Australian lifestyle.
I am a Mother of 2 (both grown up) and a full time accountant with a local company.
I have always attempted one craft or another. At a young age my Mother taught me to knit and use a sewing machine. Unfortunately she never managed to teach me how to crochet as she said I was “Cackhanded” due to me being a lefthander. My skills improved in time and when the children came along I was able to cloth them with my creations.
A normal day for me is busy. Spending most of my week days at work and being part of my local volunteer fire fighting brigade (which can get busy during the Summer months) I try to relax either with new jewelry designs or a good book. Radicalglass is a weekend creation for me as at times the kiln needs to be running for 5 hours.
How and when did you start making jewelry and your other items?
I started making jewelry in early 2007 as an aid to quit smoking – I need something that would keep my hands occupied without making me too hot in the Australian heat. I first purchased a kit from a local craft store and a bead and gem addiction began.
Radicalglass is my new baby or should I say, the kiln is. I didn’t start fusing and designing with glass until early 2009. I wanted to try something different and with a great mentor (EmotionalOasis – as an Etsy artist) I was guided through the trials and errors of my kiln and the glass reactions in it.
When and how did you originally find Etsy?
I had never heard of Etsy nor any sites that were for handmade creations. I wanted to extend my knowledge of jewelry making and attended a silversmithing course. My tutor had her own Etsy store and was chatting away about her designs going to the US , this is when I realized my hobby had got out of hand and Beadsme was formed.
What is unique about Etsy and what about the website do you like the most in regards to your shop?
Etsy is a great way to share your creations with the world. I just love the way you can alternate the look of your store. Presently you can move your designs about grouping your designs in, say, necklaces and earrings and even colour co-ordinating your pages.
The best thing for me is the friends I have made specially the guys and gals of the JET team. We are not just jewelry designers and creators but friends that are there for each other – one big happy family.
I am also looking forward to Etsy being able to trade in different currencies, this is going to be great for us Australians and other countries.
What inspires you the most in regards to your creations?
Inspiration for both Beadsme and Radicalglass come from various sources – season changes can inspire an array of colour, just looking at leaves – greens, browns, oranges and reds. Fashion magazines are a great source for the colours that are appearing at certain times.
For the jewelry in my Beadsme store many of my designs and creations are inspired from magazines. I am self taught in this area and every day is a challenge for me to try something new. I love tutorials and trying to form something different.
A while back I was baking a cake and the cake itself actually inspired me to make a treasury on Etsy. You can see what happened here, the cake wasn’t spectacular but the treasury was great.
Another inspiration, for not only me, has been the films that are showing. When Twilight arrived I found myself creating a few red and goth looking designs.
I must not forget my husband. Not only is he my donkey at bead and gem shows but he has chosen a lot of the beads I work with. He is also the inspiration for many of the names I have for my pieces.
What is your favorite piece you’ve created and why?
I have to say that my favourite piece in Beadsme is my Reborn Lemon Lust Necklace. My friends will be saying that I am crazy for saying that. This creation was a nightmare. The most demanding piece I have ever made but you wouldn’t think it now. It started off as one design and after many trials and errors and a lot of wasted silver it was reborn and therefore my name for it.
Favourite piece in Radicalglass has got to be my Wishing On A Star Pendant. This shows the girly side of me with a fairy swinging on the moon looking at the stars.
What do you want to accomplish with your online shop?
I want to accomplish recognition for my creations. An eventual family heirloom would be great. Really, I just want to have a bunch of happy customers. This is so hard with online stores as you do not see the customer like you do with face to face sales.
I would eventually love both Radicalglass and Beadsme to allow me to give up my accountancy career and create jewelry and glassware full time. At least, at the moment, my stores allow me continue feeding my addiction to glass, beads and gems allowing more designs to be created.
Do you have any new creations in the works? If so, what can shoppers expect to see from you soon?
I have started to create more casual lines in Beadsme, as not everyone wants a lot of colour and large gems or beads on them. I have invested in some AAA near flawless gems which are flowing through the store with my favourite gem, the ametrine, recently listed in Beadsme.
For Radicalglass, I have a lot to learn. I am at the moment playing with different decals and have purchased some molds to make some awesome plates. The plates will be a while off yet as I am still a bit nervous about doing it. Love a challenge but hate disappointment but then that is how we learn, by our mistakes.
Where can readers find out about more information regarding your jewelry and other creations and possible special offers (including additional websites, blogs, facebook, etc)?
You can find out about me, my life and my designs at http://beadsme-mandyharvey.blogspot.com
I originally started this blog to keep family and friends updated in the UK.
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=652305321
Twitter – http://twitter.com/beadsme
My website – http://beadsmeonline.com
Silkfair – http://silkfair.com/beadsme