Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Twisted Tuesdays - Spotlight Cassie Donlen


One of the things I love about being an author is getting to shout from the roof tops about artists that I think are incredibly talented and all around awesome people. In my Spotlight Series, I am thrilled to be telling you more about the artists that have beads featured in Totally Twisted!! I am especially excited today because not only is the artist in spotlight talented and awesome, I consider her a true beady friend and I am a better beader for knowing her. I am sure you have heard me gush about the lovely Cassie Donlen of The Glass Beadle before, but when in a spotlight interview, you get to see for yourself, through her own words, what she is really like. I don't know how you could disagree with me on this, she just ROCKS!!

Stay tuned all the way to the end of this interview because there is a pretty freakin' sweet give away and discount code for you all!!

And now, I bring you a recent chat between Cassie and me...


All the images in the post have been provded by Cassie! THANKS Cassie!!




Hey Girly!! EEEEkkkk, I am so excited to be talking with you for a Twisted Tuesday Spotlight!! Thank you for taking time out of your day for me, I know how busy your days can be. Hang on a sec while I stick my fancy professional interviewer hat on. There. Alright, first things first. Can you share with us a little about yourself and how you got started making beads and jewelry?
Well, lets see. I'm a busy mother of 3 boys ages 6, 10, and 12. There is never a dull moment in my house and the day that I can say that I'm bored and have nothing to do would be a moment of celebration. I always comment that my favorite part of the day is when it is finally time to go to bed. To be honest though, I love my crazy life and my family rocks. I have an incredibly supportive husband that is a dream and never complains about beads being everywhere or that once again I've neglected house work in favor of playing with beads.

My start into the jewelry making world is an amusing one. After our first child was born, I retired from being a pharmaceutical sales rep to becoming a stay at home mom. The decision was grand but it meant that we were on a very tight budget. One beautiful summer evening about 9 years ago I was having a girls night out with about 10 of us gathered around an outdoor table drinking margaritas. There was a gal in the group that I did not know. But she had on this KILLER bead ring. Oh how I was adoring that ring. I finally asked her about it and she proceeded to say that her friend makes them and that she is selling them at a local store for $75. She raved about how her friend actually makes the beads for the rings and how the beads on the ring were interchangeable. My immediate reply was that my husband would never let me spend $75 for a ring.

The following day I still had that ring embedded in my mind. Yes, I admit it. I was coveting that ring! I remember thinking that I can just make that myself. Then I wouldn't have to go spend the money on the ring. And that... was my introduction into lampwork beads. After a search in the yellow pages and a few phone calls, I found someone who was teaching lampworking classes out of her garage. She was in the middle of opening up a bead shop called The Glasshopper here in St.Louis. So after a few introductory classes I bought a hot head torch and set up shop in our garage. Once it finally started getting very cold outside, hubby took pity on me and built me a ventilated workshop. I purchased myself a minor torch that I still use to this day. I used to tease my husband saying he should have just let me buy the ring as it would have been way less expensive but look what I would have missed out on if I had.




I love that story! You and I have similar introductions to beads. Only, replace your friend's ring with YOUR beads and you have how I became addicted to wanting to learn!! For me though, jewelry came first, then learning to make beads. Which came first for you, beading or jewelry?

I guess from my introduction you can gather that the beads came first. Oh, I did get myself that bead ring within a few weeks of learning how to make beads! But making beads is my first love. At first, I viewed the jewelry as a means to the end. I loved making the beads but what good where the beads if they just sat there? I starting making lots and lots of bracelets and did my first local craft show within 4 months of learning how to make beads. It was all very exciting and without me even realizing it, the entire process became a true passion. Plus, the fact that I could earn some extra fun money on the side was a wonderful bonus. It is still so rewarding to see that after 9 years, I'm just as passionate about making beads and jewelry as I was when I first started.

Okay, so walk me through a typical beading day in your house!

My life is not very glamorous. I often joke that the highlight of my week is when I get to go shopping at Target. But I love my ordinary life and my daily routine. A normal day is spent with the daunting process of getting the kids ready for school, prodding them every step of the way to stay on schedule and getting out the door seems like a a feat in itself. With that accomplished, I sigh a big relief and then take an hour for myself doing a run or going to the local YMCA. I meet my BFF almost everyday when the weather pushes me inside and I get some great girl time in. Then by the time I get home, it is time to clean up, get organized, and start doing beady things. I swear the computer sucks me in though and by the time the school bus arrives at 4 p.m. I shake my head wondering where the day went and why did I not get Mount Everest climbed as I know there were plenty of hours in the day to do it.


Kid responsibilities and computer time sinks are another way our lives seem to run parallel! HA, maybe we should get our Parallel Crossings blog back up and running, eh? If only there were more hours in the day!! While we are talking about being a Mom though, how do you balance the titles of both artist and Mom?

I get asked this question often. Balancing both hats is quite a challenge. (As I'm sitting here, my 6 year old keeps complaining to me that he is bored and expects me to get off the computer and put the patches on his new Cub Scout shirt and is getting very upset that I keep saying soon.) Now that the kids are older and in school, it is much easier to be an "artist" during the day. Even with my school days free though, there is never enough time. My youngest complains that school is sooooo long and I always think that school goes by way too fast. Funny how we have different perspectives. I keep reminding myself that I get distracted by laundry, toys on the ground, clothes that the boys feel compelled to drop on the floor in random locations, and lets not forget taking care of all the crazy pets the kids convinced us they needed. Somehow in the end, it all gets done but when push comes to shove, my housework is the one that loses out every time. I used to pride myself on having a spic and span house. That just doesn't seem to be the case anymore and when I do 3 loads of laundry in one morning, I always act shocked when I realize that I don't get a week off from doing it again even though I just did 3 loads! As the saying goes "time flies when you are having fun" and that is so true. Playing with beads is still my passion and anytime I'm in the beading world, I feel like I blink my eyes and my free time has flown by. To make myself feel like I've accomplished something for the day, I do try to make a list of 2-3 things that I for sure want to get done. Anything else is just icing on the cake. It gives me something to focus on so that I don't get distracted with working on 20 different things that never seem to get completed.


What a great attitude to have about things! Have any funny kid stories from this summer you would like to share?

I always seem to be writing about my kids and family on my news page (which is really my blog) but I must admit that I feel like I've entered into a whole new world with having my first child reach middle school. Holy cow, it seems like from the moment my oldest turned 12, he turned into a tween. I'm sure you can relate Kerry with also having a 12 year old. But all of a sudden it is all about fashion, and being social, and text messaging, and having to use "Axe" brand deodorant. I remember how excited Keegan was when I bought him Axe shampoo a few months ago and he wanted to wash his hair right away. I wonder how disappointed the Axe manufacturers would be if they realized that their target audience has turned into a bunch of 12 year olds! Yes, and now the boys like girls and all of us mom's just sit back and shake our heads. It's really quite entertaining and fun to soak it all in. Keegan has a great group of core friends and we know most of the parents pretty well so it is easy to keep track of what is really going on with all the boys. I love being a mother and am so blessed with 4 special boys if you can't my darling hubby too.

I am just loving the photos you have been sharing on your news page!! And the new jewelry, just gorgeous!! Any future plans you have coming up that you would like to share?

I just started the big endeavor of updating my poorly neglected website. I'm updating the photos in the jewelry galleries that are used for custom orders, will be adding a new section in the bead gallery for custom orders of short strands of beads that only have 5-8 beads, and even going in and reducing prices of my jewelry and bead sets to help make it slightly more affordable in this crummy economy. It is a slow process though and will take me a few months to do it all. I keep saying that I'm going to make more lampworking how to videos and I really need to move that to the top of my priority list. Last week on impulse I made 2 simple videos on how I photograph my beads and jewelry. The video is extremely basic but photography can be a challenge and I thought it would be fun to share how I take my photos. You can watch it on my Facebook Page under "glassbeadle".

Cassie, you ROCK! I just love ya, girl!! I hold close those late night chats at Bead Fest Wire and seriously, anytime anyone asks me why I started making beads your name is the first thing out of my mouth. Thank you so so much for being a part my book and such a great friend!

NOW, as promised, for making it all the way to the end of this interview, Cassie has TWO awesome goodies for you!! Drumroll please.....
First, THE GIVE AWAY!!

Leave a comment here of my blog for your chance to win this necklace! How beautiful is that?!? It is one of Cassie's favorite designs and she wears one all the time. It always garners loads of attention. You know you want it, so leave a comment by Midnight on Sunday Sept 26! I will draw a name at random next Monday!! And YES, internationally comments are welcome!!

Second, Cassie is also offering a 10% discount on new orders placed on her website too! Just mention this interview in the comments section when checking out and you will be sent a 10% refund on the order! Hope over to Cassie's Jewelry Boutique or Bead Galleries to start browse all the beady beauties and start loading up your cart. Let's keep her busy straight through til Christmas with all our orders! YOO HOOO!

Thanks again Cassie. And stay tuned to Twisted Tuesdays everyone for more artist interviews coming soon!!

64 comments:

Moags and Smeet said...

Yes please! I am an unabashed addit of all things accessory. :)
~ Laura (Moags)
moags.and.smeet(at)gmail.com

PS Fun interview!

Tami said...

Wow - very inspirational! Beautiful beads!!!

Rebecca Bigg ~ Glass Candy said...

Oooh! I would love to go into the draw for these beads! I'm a beadmaker myself and confessed bead addict, I have an ever growing collection of beads from artist all over the world!

Kerry its great to see artists interviewing fellow artists and sharing the love!

AnJules Jewels said...

Love the interview. I have been in love with your work & Cassie's work since meeting both of you at 2009 best fest. Such an inspiration

Becky F said...

I love Cassie's beads!!!

Christine said...

Me me me me ME!!!!

I adore Cassie's beads, and really, I hope someday I can make some as good as hers. She has such an eye for color and design that I love!

And the whole beadmaker/mom/artist/cool person thing? Totally rocks.

Be~Jeweled by Jana said...

Oh, I'd love to win that necklace!!

Courtney said...

I love getting to know the artists you interview. Always a good read. Her beads are drool worthy. Thanks! (had to laugh at the 12 yo boy and Axe - got one of those too!)

hfinkle said...

You are both so talented. Cassie was one of the first beadmakers that inspired me to start making jewelry. I would love to add this to my collection of beads. You can never have enough beads!

P.S I hope that you both teach again at Bead Fest Wire this year. Hint Hint....

Deb said...

Fabulous interview!! What a great thing it is to know who inspired you to get started on beads Kerry :)

Now that I have seen carries work I can fully understand why too. Beautiful pieces, joyful & juicy.... as are yours!

A great read & I have enjoyed getting to 'know' Cassie.

I'd love to go in the draw also please.

Leslie @ Bei Mondi said...

Great to read what an artist in action does with her day. I drool over Cassie's work. The colors are so vivid and it makes me feel like a kid again. Please sign me up!

Yvette said...

Bring back Parallel Crossings, I used to love reading that.

Yes please put me in the draw too.

Yvette

Joan said...

Thanks so much for doing a great interview Kerry! I Love Cassie and her beads. Her colors always make me happy. She continues to inspire me every day. She is an exceptional atrist as are you.

kdevale said...

Fun interview and beautiful beads..

Thanks for the giveaway.

snickers said...

Cassie makes great beads and jewlrey. Thanks for sharing her story. I have purchased a couple of things from her and everything she does is top quality.

I would love to be included int he drawing for her necklace. Thanks for sharing her story

Lottie said...

This was a wonderful interview with Cassie Donlen. Her beads and jewelry are wonderful. And what a beautiful family!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love Cassie's beads and jewelry. I don't think there is anything she makes that isn't gorgeous! Cassie is how I got into beads also, our kids went to preschool together and I was eyeing her beads. LOL! I also found out about Kerry from Cassie's blog. You two are so awesome! Thanks for sharing the interview and everything from your daily lives.

Tina Mckee

Alesha said...

Great interview, Kerry! It was nice to get to "meet" Cassie. :)

The necklace is just beautiful! Thanks for the giveaway!

Alesha

ChristyH said...

I am very new to beads and beading, but I have traded a pair of my handknit socks to a friend who used to make lampwork beads. My passion is still knitting but since I like "string" so much, I have fallen in love with wire. I love the lampwork beads with wire.

pattivan said...

I would love to receive those beads! Coincidentally, I spent 30 minutes on her website yesterday drooling over her beads...Such talent, the two of you!

Carmen Isaacs said...

Wonderful happy colors.

Sabine said...

Wow! Love the interview. Excellent! I love the toggle with the lampwork beads on the bar.

Ann
http://www.mycriticaleye.com

Jenn said...

I loved the interview, Kerry. And I'd love to win the draw! I'll be checking out Cassie's new beads, too.

sundownbeaddesigns said...

It's always great to get a little insight about the artist. I agree...Cassie's beads rock, and I'd love to have the necklace. Great interview!

Peri said...

I love Cassie's beads and it's my goal to meet her someday as we are both St. Louisans and we both learned to make beads at Glasshopper.

yogavq said...

I don't make beads, that's probably a good thing, but I LOVE to buy them and touch them and all that good stuff.
Loved the interview, thanks for sharing, both of you.

Vikki

Cindy said...

I enjoyed the interview Kerry! Cassie's talent is amazing! I am happy to have had the good fortune of meeting her at BeadFest and seeing her gorgeous work in person. I feel like we are kindred spirits living in all-boy households. I have yet to experience the Axe phenomenon...never even heard of it. Sounds like it's just around the corner for me...

AliBaubles said...

Great interview! When I first started to learn how to make jewelry, I bought a couple of Cassie's kits.......they were awesome! I can also spot Cassie's beads a mile off......they're so distinctive and fun :)

Helen Staggs said...

Pick me! Pick me! I am a HUGE Cassie Donlen fan. And I love Kerry's book!

Anonymous said...

Love your book, beads and style. Cassie is pure inspiiration, I want to be like her when I grow up! Hmmm, maybe I should hurry up- anyway great work, both of you.

Marina from Puerto Rico

deehebard said...

Great interview...the beads are the icing on the cake!

TesoriTrovati said...

Thank you for introducing us to Cassie. What a marvelous person she sounds like! I have a 12 year old and I am chuckling about the Axe. I am always sniffing the products and not sure if I want my sweet boy besieged by girls as in those commercials, but he sure does smell good!

I would love to win these beads, and I am off to find out more about her from her website.

Enjoy the day!
Erin

Anonymous said...

Hi Kerry,

Thank you for writing this interview; I thoroughly enjoyed it. You and Cassie are very talented and create such amazing beads and jewelry. Also, the two of you have inspired me to start making lampwork beads as well and I would love to take classes from both of you sometime in the future.

Thanks again!

Cheryl

Anonymous said...

What a combo... Cassie and Kerry! Thanks for sharing the both of you. I actually found Kerry through Cassie (been a fan of bth now for a while). Great job!

Ann H.

Anniemaille said...

Kerry,
Pick me, Pick me! LOL I love Twisted Tuesdays and have followed your Blog for a while. Just loved the interview with Cassie. Nice to know life is frantic for others too! Hmm where did today go?

Lara Lutrick said...

Great write up. I love her beads and designs, so fun, bright and cheerful.

Kathy said...

Hi Kerry,
What a great interview.
Those beads are so awesome. I wish I had enogh hours in the day to try and alearn how to make beads, Then I could quit my day time job. lol
I know of the axe experiance.
I would love to win those beads.
Have fun at ArtBliss.
Kathy

For My Sweet Daughter said...

Great interview. What a beautiful necklace. Pick me and thank's for the 10% off code.
Shannon
formysweetdaughter@hotmail.com

Mary Ellen said...

That necklace is beautiful! I'm a budding bead addict thanks to you!

Jewelry By Jessica said...

Great interview! I'm a huge fan of Cassie too :) When I first started getting interested in lampworking her website was one of the first sites I found, and I was hooked. I've been making my own beads now for a few months, but I'm no were as good as you two yet lol. I would love to be entered to win that gorgeous necklace :)

Shaiha said...

Wow! I don't have kids and I can't even imagine how you Moms are able to do so much.

I love the necklace! Please enter me.

rita said...

Loved the interview and always look forward to read your blog! I would love to have the chance to wear that necklace! Thanks for the chance!

michele farrand said...

What a great way to end the summer, with a cassie donlen interview and give-away.
Happy Autumn!!
Kerry, you and Cassie have keep me smiling & inspired the last few months with your engaging, down to earth blogs. I cant wait get back to the torch this winter after the birth of my 2nd child. I have not made any beads since finding out I was pregnant, because of possible risks to baby from exposure to MAPP gas.
Keep the inspiration and conversations going.....You ladies ROCK!

amyburl said...

mee! please

Anonymous said...

Love to go into the draw..great interview love both of your work!
Debbie Fowler FROM UK

Meredith said...

You two make a great team! Have fun at ArtBliss... (wishing I could make bracelets with you all)

Kristin said...

Beautiful necklace! You and Cassie are very inspiring.

steufel said...

Love that!

Pretty Things said...

I totally love Cassie as a person, and am blessed with her beads! And of course I'd love anything of hers.

quiltingjewel39 said...

Cassie's beads as well as her jewelry are wonderful. It was fun to have a glimpse into her daily life. Would love to win the necklace.

sandi m said...

Great interview!
You both are sooo talented. Have followed you both f.o.r.e.v.e.r.
I would proudly wear those Cassie beads!
sandi

Pam M. said...

I would never pass up a chance to win a necklace made of Cassie's beads. She is so sweet and I love her designs. Thanks for doing the interview; it was really interesting.

Lynne said...

Pick me! Pick me! I love Cassie's beads and have actually made some of her designs with her beads. They are so fun! Would love a necklace to go with my ring. I also have your book and love the designs in it. Keep up the good work both of you!

Dora said...

I LOVE everything you guys make. If i had the $$ I will buy everysingle item you guys have, but like you said Cassie "crummy economy". I am happy you are going to make it bit more affortable though. Look forwad to see your new re-design page.....:). Looks good the new hair cut Kerry :)

Sherri Boyce said...

I too am a huge fan of Cassie's work! I have purchased from her in the past and also because of her gorgeous work bought her Lampworking DVD! I watched it a couple of times and would love to delve into this business, but just haven't! Thank you Cassie for offering your pretty necklace! Fingers are crossed! :) Sherri Boyce

bella said...

astGreat interview. I love both of your beads. You are truly an inspiration to all with your beautiful beads and jewlery.

vlivestock said...

Cassie Rocks! I love her designs!

whatsmypath said...

Love the interview. Wonderful artist that shares her knowledge. Thank you.

whatsmypath said...

Wonderful artist that shares her knowledge. Thank you.

Sandi Volpe said...

Hi Kerry,

Great meeting you at ArtBliss devouring your book> Love, love love lamp work beads. Hope to see you this evening! Great interview, also have the tween boy!!!

Tina E said...

Love Cassie's beads.

Nadia said...

What beautiful work you do! Thanks Kerry for bringing another wonderful artist to my attention!

suzanna@metrocast.net said...

I have your book and love it. I'm a big fan of both your work and Cassie's - hope to take a class with each of you one day!

kristin lee said...

love love love the necklace!!!