In 2002, Lydia Stern, 45, decided to turn her love of beads and jewelry making into a business and opened Beadlush in Plaza Midwood. She also started teaching jewelry making. Before showcasing her work at Beadlush, Stern sold her creations at small galleries and boutiques. Stern teaches jewelry-making classes at Beadlush, 1217 The Plaza.
Q. How did you first start designing jewelry?
I started beading and designing in 1996 when I was working for US Airways. My job in Miami had been cut and I found myself commuting to LaGuardia Airport. Beadweaving was something I could take with me and work on while waiting around in airports or sitting on a plane. It’s very relaxing and since I was always on standby it would calm my nerves and make the time pass quickly.
Q. How did you end up working with beads?
I fell in love with vintage Swarovski beads that I could harvest from old necklaces and give new life to. It started with a couple of old necklaces from my grandmother and a few lucky flea market finds. I love rescuing a bead from a hardly worn or broken necklace and redoing it into something modern and wearable.
Q. What inspires your designs?
A lot of my inspiration comes from the beads themselves, like the gemstones and the shapes and textures of the beads. Nature is also a source of inspiration. I don’t start with a completed vision in mind. I just start with the components I want to use and then go through trial and error until I’m happy with it.
Q. What kinds of classes do you teach?
At Beadlush we teach all kinds of classes, from the basics of necklace and earring design and construction to more advanced techniques like beadweaving, wire working, resin casting, polymer clay and a lot more. We try to add new classes continuously to keep up with what’s going on in the beading and jewelry world.
Q. How have you continued to grow as an artist and teacher since you’ve been in Charlotte?
I get a lot of inspiration from our fun eclectic neighborhood in Plaza Midwood. We have such a colorful community and I often find myself thinking of it when I buy new beads. I also have a group of friends that meet at the shop every other week, so we can bead together and share ideas and inspiration.