Breathtaking Beads

One of my most favorite things about Etsy is all of the wonderful and amazing people I've met and had the pleasure of getting to know. I find most of my support comes from the Etsy community, probably because we're all here trying to do the same thing... and we know how much effort that involves! When I started up my Simply Smitten Facebook page, I was emulating another page that I loved: Walk in the Woods. She has other shops post items on her page, which she then tweets and shares. This works better for her than it did for me, probably because of her vast amount of followers, both on FB and Twitter. It was such a lovely concept though, I'm so inspired by the creations of others. However, I did have some people visit and show off their goodies. One of those amazing talents was Kim, of Beads by KC. One day she stopped by, introduced herself, and posted a bead. This was soon followed by another, and another, and to this day she still shares her gorgeous handmade beads with me, much to my enjoyment! I love watching her talents change and grow, she only gets better and better. So, today I happily introduce you to Kim. She resides in the Netherlands, opening her first Etsy shop in June of 2010 KralenCreatie, since renamed Beads By KC.
I always like to start by asking my interviewee to give me as many words to describe themselves as they can. It gives me an idea of who they think they are, and is always very interesting! Kim describes herself as a 25 year old spontaneous, friendly mother of 2. She's been married for 4 years and "most of the time I am happy ;-) and always busy. I find it hard to sit still and love to be creative and preferably with glass." Which she does brilliantly. She was led to Etsy about a year ago through a fellow glass bead artist. When I first met Kim her business was KralenCreatie which she explains " I started with a Dutch name, but I found out that wasn't very clever. That is why at the beginning of February I started a new shop: " Beads By KC. KC is the acronym for my Dutch web shop 'Kralen Creatie'. " I'd say it's working for her ~ she's made 13 sales since February of this year! Yay, Kim!

Since she lives outside of the US, I asked her where most of her sales come from. She finds that most are from the US and Canada, some from Norway. She also has a Dutch website, fairs, parties and a local bead shop where she sells more of her fabulous creations. Her best sellers at the moment are "pandora style beads, but also my frog beads are selling very well." I will confess to being smitten with her frog beads, they are adorable! Kim says of her frogs "I try to raise the bar for myself each time by trying more difficult positions for the frogs. Or by creating little frogs. The nice thing about these beads is the nice reactions I get. So each time it is a challenge to start creating these beads." Kim is lucky enough to have a studio in her home for creating, "her domain" as she calls it. Her children are both young, an almost 3 year old daughter, and a 2 year old son, so finding time to create can be a challenge. This is something I know many of us can understand! She says that "I only create when my husband is at home. Our kids are so young that they must be supervised during the day. So when the kids go to bed I go to 'my domain'. The related stuff, like taking pictures, cleaning beads, pricing and updating Etsy I do during the day. These things can be done when the kids are awake."
Kim is "trying to make a living from making beads" and she goes on to say "but we can conclude that the hobby went out of control and it is my job now." I love that! I think many of us can relate ~ hobbies gone wild!
I'm always intriqued by a craft I've never tried. Several years ago I just HAD to learn quilling. Last year I was compelled to learn the art of needlefelting. Needless to say, when I see these beads I am super curious about how they are made! Here's a little bit of the process that Kim described to me: "You start with a rod of glass and melt it until it becomes liquid, and put it on a mandrel. This is a special stainless steel rod with a cerain thickness coated with a special solvent so the bead can be removed from the rod easily. If the glass is liquid you 'wrap' a layer around the mandrel. And then we must turn and turn until the bead is round. It is important to keep the mandrel horizontal, because otherwise the bead will have a 'onion' shape, which is nice in itself, but not what you want." She goes on to say "Creating a bead is a difficult process... there are beads I spent two hours to create." The secret to success? "The outcome is determined by practice, practice, and practice."
I'm so grateful that Kim agreed to this interview, and that I was able to introduce you all to her. Seeing her new beads is always a treat, I hope that you'll take a minute and mosey on over to her shop for a peek. I'm so in love with the green/blue beads pictured above, I'm wondering what I could make myself from them...
Have a joyful day! Peace ~ Melinda