Introducing Carol Dean Sharpe…

Sand Fibers - Carol Dean Sharpe - patterns now available from Jill Wiseman Designs

We’re delighted to launch a wonderful range of brand new limited edition kits and patterns to the Jill Wiseman Designs Shop, designed by the very talented Carol Dean Sharpe of Sand Fibers. Perfect for lovers of Delicas, our beloved Size 11 Triangle beads and peyote stitch, Carol’s abstract and intricate designs really explore the possibilities for cylinder beads. We spoke to Carol to find out more about her, her work and her inspirations.

Hugs and Kisses Bracelet by Carol Dean Sharpe

Hugs and Kisses

Carol is a beadwork artist from New Mexico with a passion for patterns. Her patterns have been published in books and magazines and she is a member of the Beadsmith Inspiration Squad. Carol’s love for crafts is deeply embedded – she has always loved working with her hands, whether it is using thread yarn or floss; quilting or cross stitch. However, it was upon discovering beads that her craftwork really changed direction.

“Beads. No one warned me. No one held me back,” says Carol. “The first time I received an order of Czech seed beads, I thought I had gone to heaven. I wasn’t sure what I would do with them.

“I think my first thought was to just create more of the necklaces with a gazillion strands of beautiful silver lined seed beads that I had always enjoyed. But that wasn’t to be.”

It was when Carol found that these tiny beads could be woven and stitched with that she realized there was a whole world of beads out there to be explored, “I discovered that one could WEAVE with these little creatures. WEAVE, without a loom. I had never seen a beadwoven bracelet that had not been made on a loom in person. The internet became my best friend.”

Cue lots of research! Through the internet and with the help of some handy beading books Carol taught herself to weave with these tiny beads, first learning peyote stitch: “My first piece was a long tubular peyote rope in color-lined yellow and coral seed beads. It was beautiful. I was proud. And I was hooked.”

The evolution of beading designs

For a long time Carol was very happy with creating fairly basic designs, simply enchanted with all of the bead colors and finishes available. She says: “I wove monochrome cuffs, sometimes daring to create with minimalist bead soups, with two or three colors or shades or finishes.”

Slowly, however, basic graphic designs, usually pulled from Carol’s love of fabrics, found their way into her work. Initially these patterns were very simplistic and weren’t designs that needed charting.

“I can’t even remember what changed, but it did change” says Carol. “Only once had I ever even followed someone else’s pattern, so why would I consider making my own?”

Her old love of counted cross stitch and her affinity for graphs re-surfaced and Carol started painstakingly drafting her own designs for beaded cuffs. Now although Carol sells many of her beautiful creations through her Etsy shop, the majority of her business comes from her tutorials.

Geometric and Delicas

Confetti Scrolls Kit by Carol Dean Sharpe

Confetti Scrolls

Now many of Carol’s designs feature bold geometrics or abstract shapes inspired by textile patterns. “My goal is to create pieces that a woman can wear in her every-day-life, going from a business meeting to a dinner date without a wardrobe change.”

Her love of cylinder beads shines through in her work, with many of her pieces being designed for the likes of Miyuki Delicas. She describes herself as being totally hooked on these little beads. Recently though, she has found herself playing a bit more with size 11 and 8 seed beads.  Carol also adores triangle beads and the texture that they provide.

As a true beader, Carol is also a self-proclaimed magpie: “I love collecting (my husband refers to it as ‘hoarding’) and working with art beads and cabochons created by the talented bead artists I have the honor to know and call friends.”

When asked what her proudest achievement is, Carol states it as seeing three of her pieces being included in Lark’s Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry. She also enjoys the feeling when she successfully creates something that takes her out of her comfort zone such as her Star Light, Star Bright necklace pictured above.

We’re looking forward to bringing you a whole host of Carol’s exquisite designs, with more to be added in the near future. Take a look at the patterns and kits we’re offering here.

See more of Carol’s work on her Facebook page or on her Etsy store.

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