Dancing Bunnies Necklace by Michelle McEnroe of McEnroe Moments Art bead by
It is my great pleasure today to introduce you to Jewelry Designer Michelle McEnroe, the artist and creator of McEnroe Moments.
I have come to know Michelle through her work with some of my ceramic pendants. I sought out Michelle to interview because of her passion for art beads. Today you will see many pictures of her beautiful work and learn about her creative life.Hopefully you will be introduced to some, new to you, art bead artists, as well
I sent Michelle a list of questions which she kindly answered. She suggested that the questions be grouped together into themes and answered them that way. . I also asked to her to make up some questions of her own. Which she also did. What follows is our collaboration on this interview.
Mary Harding: When did you get interested in beads and beading and how did it come about?
I see that you are a published jewelry designer. How did you get the courage up to submit designs to magazines? What magazines have you been published in?
Michelle McEnroe:Growing up, my mother was always room-mom and did crafts with my class. I did the same with my three kids when they were in elementary school. Often the projects used beads including pine cone Christmas trees with beads as ornaments, candy canes made with beads, and spiders made with beads. From 2000 to 2002, I had a beaded bobby pin business where I wired seed beads, crystals, and pearls onto bobby pins. Unfortunately, Etsy was not around then.
My development as a beadwork artist started as a way to spend creative time with my oldest daughter. Rachel was taking Saturday language lessons in Red Bank, New Jersey. While waiting for her, I would wander the shops nearby and found our first bead store. Then after class, we would spend hours staring at the rainbow selection of gemstones and then took our first beadwork class, a DNA bracelet.
Later, we started looking for more classes and found Artful Beads Studio in Pennington, New Jersey, which was close to her high school. We took quite a few classes and enjoyed the environment of the people who came to bead. We grew in our abilities and started designing beadwork projects ourselves. Rachel was published in April/May 2011 by Quick & Easy Beadwork Magazine. It was her first time submitting. She had several pieces published before I decided that I should try it too.
One of Michelle’s first published pieces: 101 Bracelets Necklaces, Earrings Necklaces Magazine 2013 Focal Art Bead Lisa Kan
Then our jewelry addiction took off. While traveling for college visits, we found bead stores everywhere we went. We took classes wherever we could, meeting amazing artists. In 2010, in Rochester, we happened to be visiting the same time as the ISGB (International Society of Glass Beadmakers). Our first real bead show. Now, whenever I travel to somewhere new, a top criterion is always – where are the bead stores?
Etsy has been the most wonderful change to my creative life. I started buying beads in 2009 and started selling my own jewelry in 2013 through Etsy. I have met the most amazing people all over the world. In 2013, I started submitting my work for publication.
One of Michelle’s first earring designs published in Jewelry Stringing Magazine in 2013 Art beads and ceramic links by Starry Road Studio
My jewelry has been published in Jewelry Stringing Magazine, Bead Trends, 101 Bracelets, Necklaces, and Earrings Magazine, Beadwork Magazine, Quick & Easy Beadwork Magazine, and Bead & Button Magazine, as well as online blogs. It was a special honor when I was the sole cover piece on the Jewelry Stringing Magazine Summer 2016 edition.
Fruits of Summer Necklace Cover of Jewelry Stringing Magazine Summer 2016 includes art beads from Ceramberries, Ghostlight Pottery, gaea, and Artybecca
Mary Harding: I have noticed Michelle, that you often use art beads in your jewelry.
Who are your favorite bead makers and what is it in their work that appeals to you?
Do you have a favorite medium when it comes to buying art beads?
Michelle McEnroe: Art beads always introduce a special quality to a design. The originality of your work is showcased in the ability to incorporate another artist’s work along with the supporting beads you select to design with. Art beads always guide the color path of the jewelry design and therefore I usually start a project with my focal art bead or supporting art beads.
I appreciate all forms of art beads. Pottery free form and wheel, fire-torch enamel, lampwork glass, and stained glass are just a few of the crafts I have taken lessons in. Having spent time in these mediums, I particularly can appreciate the level of time and difficulty it takes to turn out a beautiful art bead. Fire-torch enamel is a prime example. I have taken two classes in this medium and it really makes one appreciate the difficulty of producing such amazing effects.
My favorite medium would have to be ceramic beads, all kinds of ceramic, from stoneware, earthenware, and raku pottery to porcelain. The pottery wheel was a constant source of challenge for me for many years, and usually a continued stream of disappointment after I received my glazed result. Therefore, I am in awe of the bead artists who develop such fine skills with glazing.
I have too many favorite bead makers to list and compliment them all, however I will note a special few and why.
of somethingtodobeads would be at the top of my list. I find her ability to continually change mediums and turn out original designs inspiring and I would love to meet her someday. Her moth pendants are art beads that I cannot part with and are the art beads that I cherish the most.
Mary Harding: What are some of the themes you see in your jewelry?
Do you define yourself as making jewelry in a certain style?
Do you find inspiration from jewelry from the past or particular eras or cultures?
What colors do you like to work with best?
Michelle McEnroe: Unlike many jewelry designers, I do not have a particular style nor do I focus on a particular medium. I make jewelry due to my constant desire to create. My mood at that time often guides the project I am working on. I have attempted almost every hobby that involves color. Although I may gravitate to certain color themes (like purples with greens), I enjoy all colors and combinations of them. Jewelry and color reflects one’s moods. Different people express themselves uniquely. Even some jewelry that I may not personally wear, like minimalist jewelry, I do create and sell, because wearing some jewelry to express oneself is better than none, and I appreciate those that support jewelry artists. An empty neckline or ears is a tragedy. Everyone should decorate themselves with the added layer of expression and color, no matter what style.
I find inspiration everywhere. I often start with the art bead to begin a jewelry design; however, my jewelry often builds itself based upon the colors I want to work with. Besides art beads, one of my favorite type of beads is vintage glass beads, especially milk glass and Givre glass beads. Hunting for vintage glass beads is like a treasure hunt. I especially admire the work of Miriam Haskell. The glass beads of the 1920s through the 1960s, and the use of bead clusters and flowers often plays a role in my designs.
Besides my family and jewelry, a significant part of my life has been my pets. Many bead artists have heard me ask – Can you make a bunny? If a bunny bead exists, I have probably bought multiple colors and styles of it. One of my favorite bunny bead suppliers is Caroline Dewison of blueberribeads
Necklace Design McEnroe Moments Art Bead Pendant by Caroline Dewison of blueberribeads
I found Nancy Schindler Adams of Round Rabbit by searching the internet for bunny beads. Pendants from these two artists fill my personal jewelry collection that I wear often. I also have 13 guinea pigs, and have cherished guinea pigs my whole life. However, I understand that surprisingly many people do not know what a guinea pig is or they seem harder to represent in beads. However, Jessica Counts of Sweet Birch
Designs and Leah Curtis of BeadyEyedBunny have both created wonderful guinea pig and bunny beads for me.
beads by Leah Curtis of BeadyEyedBunny
Guinea pig and Bunny beads by Jessica Counts of Sweet Birch Designs.
Emily Kline of nymphandnectar has also created custom art beads for me. Fire torch enamel is a current craze in earring design, and the market is saturated with such creations. Last fall I asked if she could create pieces in the shape of bunnies and cats. I have been drawing a cartoon cat the same way since elementary school, a sleeping cat with the arms tucked and the tail curled against the body. I sent her a drawing and my image magically appeared into beautiful art beads.
Kitty earrings based on a drawing by Michelle rendered by Emily Kline
One of my favorite necklaces from my personal collection incorporates all of the above; this necklace has a lavender bunny pendant by blueberribeads, all possible shades of my favorite color purple, and clusters of flowers and beads. Another favorite personal jewelry design also incorporates a pendant by blueberribeads; the pendant has two bunnies, the color theme is mauve and pale green, and the flower dangles are more like vines with the use of waxed Irish linen cord.
Necklace Design by McEnroe Moments Art Bead Pendant blueberribeads
Mary Harding: Do you have a dedicated studio or do you work around the home? Can you describe your work space?
Michele McEnroe:I have never had an actual studio. In New Jersey, the work space was the living room floor or the dining room table. The more space that was available, the more spread out the projects would become. Holiday times are a favorite of mine, because all my children are home and also because my daughter Rachel and I would cover every possible area with beads. Our creativity takes off in every possible direction as we fill the floor so that no one can walk into the room.
When we moved to Texas, I wanted the studio area to not always be in plain view, so my beading room became one with Rachel’s room when she is home. In 2016, we adopted our third bunny, Tiny Tim, who is not yet ready to mingle with the others in the pet room, so Tiny Tim now shares my work space. When I am working and he is out of his cage, he guards me at the little white gate. He is my constant beading companion.
Tiny Tim Michelle’s constant beading companion
Thank you so much Michelle for sharing your beading and creative life with us. It has been great to learn about your design ideas and bead passions. I look forward to seeing more of your designs in the future. I am sure out readers will be visiting your Etsy Shop to see more of your work.
Post by Mary Harding