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Beads of Clay Spotlight Designer of the Week!

Grace Neff

Wave to Grace!!!!!!

1. How often do you use artist beads in your work? Who was your first artist bead crush? (the artist that inspired you to start using or collecting art beads). What is your comfortable price point range for buying an artist bead or bead set? What is the most expensive bead you have ever bought?

I use artist beads ALL THE TIME! I think my first bead artist that inspired me was either Gaea or Karen Totten. I try to stay under $20 for pendants, and I can't really remember what the most expensive bead I've ever bought. I think it might have been recently, and it was under $20, or else it was a silver pendant with a lovely piece of moonstone in it, I think that was $25.

2. Where is your favorite place to buy art beads? (Do you shop online? In person at bead shows? Bead shops? Large Online Suppliers? etc). And do you use a lot of the beads you buy or just hoard them (and can we see a photo of your art bead stash - we love seeing bead stash pics!)?

I buy art beads online, from the artists' Etsy shops, and I use many of them soon after buying them. I have a small stash, See below!

3. What inspires you to create the style of work you make? Do you come up with a design first, then find beads to fit into that design idea? Or do you find a bead or artist object (pendant, button, cabochon, etc) and then create a design around it?

I almost always find the pendant first and create the piece of jewelry around it. The pendants or beads themselves inspire me - the colors, the textures, the design on the pendant. I'd say it starts with the colors, those inspire me to pick the beads, and then the design falls into place. Sometimes the design comes to me right away, as soon as I get the pendant, but it all depends on whether or not I can pull the right beads together.

4. What are your favorite bead-related resources? Magazines, Books, Pinterest Boards, Blogs, Websites, FaceBook, Classes, etc. Do you look outside of the "bead industry" for inspiration? What are your favorite resources there?

I don't read beading magazines at all. I get a lot of inspiration from blogs and Facebook pages from other jewelry artists. Honestly, the beads themselves serve as inspiration, and I also get a lot of inspiration from nature and art.

5. What is your favorite color palette to design with? Do you prefer a particular style of bead, button, pendant, etc? What is your bead downfall? You know - the one you just have to have no matter what?

Lately, my color palette seems to run to earthy, with aqua or turquoise or some blue, and then creams and browns. I also use a lot of greens lately too. I can't think of any one bead lately that I HAVE to have, although I do tend to use some kind of jasper lately as filler beads. My biggest downfall lately is ceramic beads and ceramic pendants.

6. What part of the world do you live in? Do you find that you are inspired by things around you every day or do you daydream about living somewhere else? What is your creative space like? Where and when do you find you create your best work (do you watch TV, listen to music, audio books, etc when you create)? What are your favorites.

I live in the US, in California, Central California to be exact, in Los Osos. We live quite near to the ocean, and this part of California is not densely populated nor is the coast overly developed. Its a beautiful place to live and I do draw inspiration from the ocean, the beaches, the hills. My work space is in our family office, which also serves as a craft space for my two daughters. I have a work bench that I stand at to work, and I typically have my favorite strands of beads on the table in front of me to pull from. Lately I like to listen to NPR when I work, or silence works well lately too. If I listen to music, it would be Adele, Matthew Good, or Never Ending White Lights.

7. Do you have any furry friends or family that you are around a lot and they inspire (or distract you) from your work? You are welcome to add photos of them or tell a brief funny story about them and your jewelry designer life and how they intermingle.
I have a husband and two daughters and a dog, and they all distract me, the husband seems to pull me away from the beading actually more than the others! He doesn't "get" my beading addiction, although he has grown, I think, to appreciate what I create.

(note* Suburban Girl Studio  just got back from Bead Fest and will 
reopen later in the week with new stuff and free shipping (for a limited time)

8. What else could you tell us about yourself?

I am a chemist by training, and my real job is teaching chemistry to mostly engineering majors, but I'm a scientist, lover of nature and artist in my heart. I love stones so much partly for the science and chemistry behind them - these are the rocks and minerals that make up our world, and at the very basis of them are the elements, which make up everything. I love knowing what chemical elements make up my favorite stones - like the fact that lepidolite is the most common ore of lithium, I know all these facts about the chemical elemental nature of lithium, and yet because of the way the mineral is put together what results is this gorgeous purple stone. I appreciate ceramics and glass for the science that goes into creating them as well. I love pulling all those beautiful parts of nature together into my own creation, my own art.

Thank you Grace, for letting us

 into your Beady World!

Please show Grace some love by visiting her store!


  1. What a great post!!! I loved getting to know Grace!

  2. Very nice! It has been fun to learn more about the artists! Great job!

  3. Wonderful interview! It's so nice to learn a little bit about Grace and what inspires her to make her beautiful pieces.

  4. I love these pieces! Always good to 'meet' talent. This is a great idea, Marla, and what a lovely shout out for Grace. I love her workspace! Much like mine at home!

  5. Yea Grace! So fun to learn more about you and your art!

  6. Lovely Grace!!!!!! Nice to know you better!

  7. Great post! I'm a big fan of hers:)

  8. Hi Grace! Loved learning more about you!

  9. Wonderful interview! Grace is a breath of fresh air, just love her! Her designs are always inspiring & lovely.

  10. Hi, Grace! What a great interview. I loved seeing more of your work and hearing about YOU!

  11. Hi Grace! Fun to get to know you and great pieces!

  12. Wave. And what lovely elements they are! Fun to know about the folks behind the jewelry, Marla.

  13. Hi Grace! Great to get to know you a bit more! Great interview!!!


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