Laura Graham: Beading with Passion
It’s been a little while since I brought you any new designer interviews. So, I’m very happy to be able to give you a little peek into the world of Laura Graham, a.k.a. Desert Star Creations!
Laura lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Although we’ve never met in person, she is a fellow ‘Beadsmith Inspiration Squad’ member. So, I’ve been admiring her work for a long time!
You may also know her as a Beadwork Designer of the Year, back in 2018. But more on that to come. Let me share Laura’s story, in her own words.
Beading beginnings for Laura Graham
In 2007 I was diagnosed with Lupus. While dealing with the doctor appointments, medications, symptoms and mentality of all that entails, I was a bit depressed and very bored. I had left my job, so money was tight leading into the holidays.
I had made a simple necklace out of beads years before, that has been in my car forever. Looking at that necklace, I thought, I can make Christmas gifts to save money. Off to the bead store I went and I was hooked!
Did you have any formal training?
Not at all. I spent a lot of time researching online, learning all about the different beads, findings and, of course, shopping!
I actually just took my first beading class at Bead and Button in June of 2018.
Do you do other forms of craft as well?
Photography is still a big passion, I take photos almost everywhere I go and I tend to use Photoshop to “perfect” them after the fact.
I also will do some scrapbooking but I just don’t have the time now days
Hobby or career…?
I would say both still…building into a career. I have had some success and I am still building a name and brand for myself.
What are your favourite techniques?
Beadweaving is my fave. I still enjoy making simple stringing and building jewelry when I can find the time. But a needle and thread are my favorite.
Do you teach beadwork at all?
I was teaching at a local bead store in my city for about 2 years till it closed down. I taught for the first time at Bead and Button 2019 and loved it, so I am going back for 2020.
Has your work been published anywhere?
I have been published in a few issues of Beadwork magazine, was even Designer of the Year for 2018, having a project in each of the six issues that year.
I am also a member of the Beadsmith Inspiration Squad and they have used my pieces in many advertisements in a few countries.
Do you sell your work? If so, where?
I have an Etsy store where I sell my jewelry. Although I don’t tend to sell my newer items too often, I keep them for display. If you would like a finished piece of something I have made, I have no problem taking a custom order.
Laura Graham Beading Style and Design
How would you describe your style?
Very colorful, unique. I try to combine some of the newer beads into creative combinations. I would say a lot of my designs have a signature look to them, specially the color.
Who, or what, inspires your work?
Mostly the newest beads. I see the beads as puzzle pieces with no picture. So, I have to place them in the proper order and a new design is born.
I also love architecture and geometric shapes.
Do you have a favourite piece (or pieces) of work?
It is hard to pick just one but my favorite bracelet would be Hannya Mask. My favorite necklace is Knights Armor and my fave earrings/pendant is Shiva.
What is your beading space like?
I have an office with a beading desk, a processing table and computer. But I have a rolling cart that holds 80% of my supplies that I roll out into my living room where I do most of my beading. I can visit with people, watch tv and the lighting is much better.
Some days I will roll it out to my courtyard and bead outside as well.
Top Tips from Laura…
Do you have any advice for people wanting to create their own designs?
Perfect your skills first. Make sure you know as much as you can about the beads, stitches and even look at other designers to see why they stand out. Then, play!
Do you have any tips for people who want to sell their work?
Selling finished jewelry is difficult. Online marketplaces are saturated with tons of people trying to do that very thing.
First off make sure your product is something different, something that stands out. Use good quality materials and don’t undersell your work.
It takes a ton of time to market and use social media to promote the items or your shop. Just listing it online will not make the sale for you. Good luck!
Where to find Laura Graham Beading…
Thank you so much to Laura for taking the time to do this interview. I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing just a few of the gorgeous pieces she creates. But these are just a tiny, tiny sample. So, if you would like to see more, make sure you check out Laura’s website, Desert Star Creations. Plus, don’t forget the Etsy store she mentioned above, too!
Personally, I love Laura’s advice about selling your work. It’s so easy to get swept up with the dream of creating and not realise how much time and effort you have to spend on sales and marketing. So, if you want a bit more advice about that, don’t forget you can find more tips here.