July 7, 2011

Meet Beaducation's fearless leader, Lisa Niven Kelly

Many of you have met and taken classes with Beaducation founder and stamping guru, Lisa Niven Kelly over the years, but we thought it might be fun to learn a little more about her.

Kate sat her down over a Soy Latte, 140 ° (in case you ever want to bring her coffee) and posed some questions that inquiring stampers might want to know. Read on.

Why beads, Lisa? What started you on your beaded path? 
It all started with some friends up in Tahoe a while back. We got fishing line and seed beads and made anklets. That was all it took...a few glass beads and some string and I was hooked.  The following week, I hit up my first bead store and shockingly spent $40 on beads...$40! How could one possibly spend $40 on beads! Well, that was my thinking at the time. Can you imagine getting OUT of a bead store with only spending $40? From there I bought books, took classes and spent most of my free time messin' with beads.

You come from an entrepreneurial family. Did you always want to own your own business? How did Beaducation come to be? 
Not really, having my own business was never really a life long dream. I wanted to make art and be a stay-at-home mom. But luckily for me, my art grew into a business. Then the business grew beyond just my art, and I grew to love the business end of it as much as the creative end of it.

Like many Silicon Valley start ups, your business started in your garage. How do you keep that small business atmosphere and personal touch now that things have grown? 
We stick with what I knew from the beginning. Treat your customers well. Our customers are what keeps this company going.  Without super happy customers, ya got nothin'. And you know, the Beaducation team is like a family. We definitely "got each other's back". Everyone is willing and able to pitch in where they are needed. That cohesiveness keeps all the departments working together and continues to grow the business as a whole. Plus our fancy new office helps. We have lots of room (and room to grow), lots of communal space and best of all - lots of freedom to decorate your own space to reflect your creativity and taste. We have come a long way from my garage!.  

You have written one of the top craft books of all time! Tell us a little about how this book came to be? How did this stamping sensation start for you?  
A long time ago, I bought a cheap set of stamps and whacked them on some metal. No one was doing much with stamps at the time, so I went for it and added words to all my metal work. I was making glass beads for a living at the time and was also adding words to my beads, "writing" words on with stringers. Turns out, stamping is a lot easier than melting glass, who knew?! 
My designs and classes are pretty straightforward. I love just teaching folks the basics of stamping...how to hold the stamp, how to properly hit the stamp, the importance of practice. From there, I expect students to move stamping in their own direction, incorporating and mixing it with other jewelry making techniques. That is what Stamped Metal Jewelry is about..."Here are the basics and a few designs, NOW GO NUTS".

What do you want your readers to take away from the book? 
To ditch the traditional definition of an artist. You don't have to be able to paint or be inspired by a howling coyote at sunrise to consider yourself "artsy." Just create what you love that shows a reflection of you. Make stuff you think is pretty. This book presents a pretty simple way to be creative by using simple tools and supplies that most people can be successful with. You can use stamps on metal to express words, or create a "scene," or just texture. The possibilities are endless and the direction you can take stamps appeals to all kinds of folks from the traditional Native American style of jewelry to a much more funky and progressive style.

You have inspired so many people with your jewelry designs, products and great live and online classes. What keeps you inspired? 
Lately (ok this is gonna sound smothered in cheese) I am inspired by my kids, but specifically, I am inspired by the simplicity and overwhelming beauty of their art.  My 8-year-old can do crazy things with tape and paper (her stocking is filled with tape at Christmas). She creates amazing shoes, flowers, whole towns with just tape and paper (and of course, scissors).  
That inspires me to strive to make things from the simplest tools and materials and to try to not get too carried away with adding loads of other things.  Lock yourself in your happy place with two gauges of wire, a Chain Nose Plier and a Wire Cutter and see what happens, you might make amazing things! 

You have stamped so many words and sayings over the years. What is your favorite word or phrase to stamp and what is your favorite font to stamp it in? 
My all time favorite is "Dance like no one is watching" and of course, my favorite set is Kismet.

Thanks for sharing, Lisa! More interesting insights to come in this book birthday celebration month. Remember to join in on the fun and enter our birthday giveaway!


Alice said...

What a great interview! I have the book and just love it.

I had to laugh that Lisa's child got tape in her Christmas stocking. My children received this as well, for any and every occasion.

somethingunique said...

Hi Lisa & the gang, thanks so much for letting us get to know you better. I have been practising alot and getting quite good at my stamping,my year was off to an ambitious start and i had planed to really start expanding my hand stamped jewelry no one else in my town offers hand stamped jewelry, unfortually in Jan. i fratuted 3 ribs and it was really painful to stamp at my sons hockey game in Pittsburgh and that put me out of commission for a while.I have aready had both hips replaced and broke my neck 8 years ago so why not add falling in the stands and cracking a few ribs to the list LOL!! Then in March Jack completly ruptured a ligament in his ankle & required surgery. Hes on the mend & so am i and i can't wait to stamp to my hearts content.Kismet is also my fave set i have the lower and can't wait to add the upper some day.take care and have a wonderful weekend ttfn Lana >^.^<