Have you met Kristal Wick?
Kristal is an internationally award winning designer and official worldwide CREATE YOUR STYLE Swarovski Ambassador. She is a creative expert in numerous mediums; known for her work in silk, fibers, crystals, metal clay and much more.
Additionally she is a talented singer, knitter and dog lover.
What inspired you to start creating jewelry?
Well, let’s just start with the name my folks gave me at birth (no, I didn’t change it when I started working with Swarovski crystals!). It must have been fate! My earliest recollection of loving jewelry was really young, maybe 6 or so. My dad gave me a birthday present of a small box of various colored “jewels” and I would play with them for hours, running my little fingers through them and holding them up to the light to see their shining brilliance. I kept them secretly hidden under my bed in case burglars came in to ransack the house and steal my valuable treasure trove! Many years later my dad told me the story of how he got those “jewels”-his friend was a jeweler and had a huge stash of the glass cabs that are set into class rings and these were the rejects with scratches and nicks that he couldn’t use! Of course I laughed realizing the value of my jewels as probably $1.87, nonetheless, they were priceless to me and started me on the path to all things sparkly!
I seriously started making jewelry as stress relief when I worked as a Technical Writer in a cube farm. Rows and rows of cubicles filled with people tapping away 8 hours a day on their computers. Yup, I wrote computer manuals, the kind no one ever reads. The work was stressful but the paycheck was delightful! I was making stained glass windows on the side and fell in love with the fused glass process (VERY sparkly) and dove into fusing tiny little pieces of glass together and making them into jewelry. Very fun and rewarding, I started selling my jewelry with great success and even did trunk shows back stage for the Jimmy Buffett band girls!
After a few years of sticking to dichroic glass jewelry, I started hearing my customers asking if I could make something as colorful but lightweight as many of them suffered from years of ear lobe abuse! So I did some daydreaming in my studio and started playing with my hand painted silk fabrics I was creating for pillows. I wondered if I could make them into jewelry that would stand up to wearing as well as any other bead. After a few “back to the drawing board” moments, viola’ I had it. I invented my first hand painted silk beads called Sassy Silkies. I strung a few onto a necklace and showed them to my cube mates and was met with much enthusiasm! So I made more. Shortly after the birth of Sassy Silkies, a friend asked if I would help in her booth at the Bead and Button show to which I replied, “Sure, what is it” she was aghast as I was a “beader” and didn’t know about the largest bead show in the USA! She laughed and told me to bring those cute little beads I invented and we’ll put them out in the booth to get some feedback. So I proudly hand carried ½ shoe-box full of my Sassy Silkies (that’s all I had as I was making them all myself by hand) on the plane looking forward to their launch! We put them out, 45 minutes later I had completely sold out and was chasing the customers down to get them back so I could use them as samples and take orders for the rest of the show! Long story short-I went home with $10,000 worth of orders and quit my job the next day! Then I spent many months filling those orders myself until I hired some stay at home moms to help thus starting my cottage industry based entirely on silk beads! My story been called one of the best Cinderella stories in the beading world!
You’ve written quite a few books, can you tell us about them? Do you have a favorite?
When I was a wee girl, I spend a lot of time reading and LOVED books! This librarian-wannabe thought the ultimate pleasure would be to have a book published (much less 3)! I didn’t give that dream any thought until I started making jewelry and had to write down the instructions. My technical writing skills went into full swing and I began writing DIY articles for magazines and found the writing to be second nature for me due to my previous career. With the success of my Sassy Silky beads came dozen of questions-what do I do with them? So I made some signature projects and wrote up the instructions in Microsoft Word, bought a spiral binding machine and self published my first book, Sassy Silky Savvy! I pounded through a few printers but the book sold really well and Interweave Press took notice of me and asked if I’d do a book on my beads, thus Fabulous Fabric Beads, my first book was born.
Writing a book is a love/hate thing; very similar to an intimate relationship; when things are good, they’re great but that book also knows exactly how to push all your buttons and in the writing process invites those self-doubt gremlins in through the back door! If there’s a fave book, I’d have to say my first. The landscape is wide open and the blank canvas large unlike the 2nd or 3rd book where the gremlins are saying, can this one be as good as the first? But after all is said and done, there’s an empty hole in my life if I’m not working on the next book, ever striving for the next chapter of creative expression. I’ve recently been thinking of teaching classes on how to write your own DIY books. With such a variety of methods in self publishing these days, that opens up a whole new world for anyone to publish a book on their passion and I’d love to be their tour guide!
You can find my books below:
What do you find the most gratifying about designing and creating?
Having a blip of an idea pop up in my noggin and then following it to fruition resulting in a tangible piece of beauty. I think jewelry is one of the more rewarding artistic expressions because you can wear it.
Besides jewelry what are you passionate about?
Singing, knitting and my pups (not necessarily in that order)! I had a past singing career out of Nashville touring on the big bus as an opening act. It was fun and I’m glad I pursued it but the music biz wasn’t for me so I moved back to my beloved Colorado and a few years later launched my design career with Sassy Silkies. I have 2 of the cutest rescue pups on the planet! Sparkle and Bling (I wanted to stick with my theme of Kristal) and they’re great inspirations! Sparkle is a whippa-wawa (part whippet part Chihuahua) and Bling is part mini-manchester part chi. I volunteer a lot with the rescues and am also certified in Healing Touch for Animals and work with dogs, cats and horses using this technique so animals are a major part of my life and heart.
I don’t have a very formal creative process, many ides come while I’m driving or on long walks in nature. I just open my mind to the creative flow and it gushes out. I can’t remember ever having a creative block it’s more like gushing creativity waterfalls! I love mixing mediums to see if it’s possible. Lately I’ve been exploring and teaching knitting with beads and crystals. I love to knit and of course love beads and crystals so I wanted to combine my 2 loves into 1 and it’s been a delightful journey. I love using my bead stash in something new and it’s also cool to be able to use the same Xuron tools for both! I use my cutter for jewelry making as well as yarn.
For me there’s always 2 parts to my creative story, seeing if my idea will work and I’m still in love with it at the end of the process and if folks like it as well and want to learn how to do it. So far, so good! I’ve kept busy teaching my beady peeps through books, classes and videos for years now and plan on continuing as long as possible. Sharing the journey is my souls’ pleasure!
Freshly Released eCourses
Can’t get enough Kristal?! Jump right into making your own fabric beads. Check out Kristal’s Fabulous Fabric Beads eCourse series and kits based on her best selling Fabulous Fabric Beads book!
Thanks for reading!