Designer Interview with Lori Anderson

Bracelet by Lori Anderson made with beads by Beatrice Killeen
1. What is your personal name, business name, website and location?

Lori Anderson – business is Lori Anderson Designs LLC, website is http://www.lorianderson.net/, and I live in Easton, MD, which is on the eastern shore.

2. What kind of jewelry do you make? What types of materials do you prefer? what kinds of art beads do you use?

I make what I’d call an eclectic blend. You never know what you’ll see when you visit me at a show or go to my web site. Currently, I work with gemstones, silver, and artisan lampwork beads (boro is a particular favorite). I also love vintage beads, like lucite and old Swarovski crystal, so much so that I have a separate section on my web site just for that! I also like to use wirework in a lot of my pieces, and I’ve recently started silversmithing and PMC work.

Bracelet made with my handmade chain, boro bead by Jennifer Cook, and toggle inspired by Lisa Niven Kelly.

3. How did you get into jewelry design? What are some of the important things you do for your business?

I got into jewelry design completely by accident. I started a new job in the high-tech field, and the next day, 9/11 happened. A month later, I got laid off due to all the uncertainty of where the business was going and how it was going to heal. I had always wanted my own business, and started a greeting card business, using vintage buttons sewn onto art paper or vintage cloth. I built a small website with FrontPage, and off I went.

A year later, I was on modified bed rest while pregnant, but my doctor said we could still go on our planned beach vacation, as long as I didn’t go to the beach, get overheated, walk much, etc. We were sharing a house with friends, and to keep me busy, she took me on a quick trip to a bead store to get me something to do. I made a few things, gave them to my mom, and people in her office started asking for things. I kept getting more requests, so I converted my greeting card business and web site into a jewelry web site, and somehow (it still seems a blur!) I started doing lots of art/craft shows and updating the web site almost daily with new things.

One of the important things I do with my business is give back to the community whenever I can. I donate a lot of jewelry for various local fundraisers. I also work with various awareness and support groups for things such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, ALS (Lou Gehrigs Disease), and the like. I have a section on my web site just for awareness jewelry, and I work with a lot of the regional chapters to either make fund-raising jewelry for them or participate in shows to raise money.

Necklace made with boro bead by Jennifer Cook.
4. What is your workspace like and how do you work in your studio? What is a typical day like?

I work out of my house for the time being. I have a huge kitchen table that is my main workspace – we never really eat dinner there! Behind me, I have a large Collectors Cabinet (http://www.collectors-cabinets.com/) that is full of my beads. Then I have my office, where I do all the photography, packing, shipping, and computer work. A typical day – ha! There’s no such thing! I work like a fiend for a few hours while Zack is in preschool, and then in the evening when his dad is home, I get a lot of paperwork and shipping done. When Zack goes to bed, I’m back at the table. Weekends are a free-for-all, depending upon whether I have a show or am getting ready for one.
5. How do you stay inspired and motivated?

Probably the most important thing for me to stay inspired and motivated is to know when to step back. I have a four year old son, and he’s my priority, and I try not to work when he’s home, so I can be in full mommy-mode. That means I have to be REALLY good at multi-tasking, and it’s easy to get burned out. When I start getting that feeling, I step away from the bead table and do something else for a while – knitting, playing a video game, going on a day trip with my son – something that has nothing to do with jewelry. A couple of days away from it all, and I can come back to the table fresh and excited and ready to go!

6. What kinds of art beads do you look for? Is there a bead you wish an artist would make for you?

While I know how to make beads, and have made a few, right now I prefer to buy other artist’s beads. There are SO many talented artists out there that I am never at a loss for something beautiful. I look for things that draw my eye immediately – either by a unique color combination, a ton of detail, or that indefinable something that just makes me want to touch it. Is there a bead I wish an artist would make for me? You know, not really! There are so many out there that I love and want that I couldn’t even imagine not finding something I like!
7. What beady plans do you have for the future? Do you have new designs or ideas you will be exploring soon?

Once Zack is in school full time next year, I’ll have a little more time to try new things. My husband and I are already talking about converting a shed into a work space, so I can have a kiln and acetylene torch and all the fun but “dangerous” tools I can’t have in the house! I am tossing around a book idea (if I can ever find the time to take all the photos). And I hope to explore lampwork, silversmithing, and altered art a bit more. But honestly, I am happy doing what I’m doing, and following the path of random exploration that I’m taking, so no matter where I end up, it will be a fun journey.

Necklace made with dichroic fused glass by Jeanne Kent, with vintage lucite and Swarovski crystal.

If you click on http://lorianderson.net/?code=ABS, readers will get a 10% discount until November 1, 2007.

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1 Comment

  1. Reply
    Capitola Girl
    October 12, 2007 at 4:09 pm

    Lori, you make beautiful pieces! And, I’m so glad that you mentioned the info about the Collector’s Cabinets. I’ve been looking everywhere for a storage solution like this!

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