I just want to say hi and give a big old hearty "welcome, y'all" to everyone popping in to take a look at my new site. Launching this site has been a lot of work, but a huge dream come true for me. After all, I get to do all of the things I love all of the time and share them with everyone in a single convenient space. So... Here it is!
For those of you who don't know who I am, let me introduce myself. My name is Shanna Steele. Even though my father was a graphic designer and I grew up around the arts and was always fascinated with shapes, colors, etc., I never had any intention of being a designer. When I went to college, I decided to be practical and get my undergraduate degree in Sociology and History with a minor in Spanish. The intention was to teach for a while and then work on my Masters and eventually my PhD. It turns out being a teacher and social worker in at-risk environments was a bit more taxing than I would have liked. I turned to beading as a creative outlet.
It started out so innocently. A choker with a pendant I loved, but a necklace style I wanted to redesign. A trip to a bead store to buy some beading wire, seed beads, and supplies. A necklace redesign that turned into a hobby that turned into an obsession that turned into a career. I ultimately left the life of heartbreaking home visits and mountains of paperwork and more clients than there is time to pursue a career in the bead biz. I was fortunate enough to be taken on by the good people at Auntie's Beads. They hired me to work filling orders in the warehouse. Sounds boring, right? Not at all. I was so inspired by the rows and rows of beads. Plus, seeing the color combinations customers were ordering had me rushing home with beads every night. After just a few months, I was promoted to a design position within the company and then eventually to the Purchasing/Product manager. I mostly created pieces using materials we had on hand and then wrote about what I did to create the pieces - what techniques I used, what inspired me, etc. I got to go to stores to teach classes and go to market to shop for beads. I had my first piece published in a magazine. I was living the dream.
When I was pregnant with my son (who is 3-and-1/2 as of this writing), I had pre-eclampsia. I had to go on bed rest. My blood pressure didn't recover for quite some time, so the bed rest continued while we found the right medication to keep me from stroking out. When my child was just 4 months old, I found out I had basal cell carcinoma. It was a rather large spot on the left side of my face, so I had to have Mohs surgery and then plastic reconstruction. More recovery. By the time a year had gone by, I felt so different about work - and life - that I didn't want to return to work for someone else. I decided to branch out on my own. I started publishing my pieces in Beadwork magazine again. I got asked to participate in an art show. That one art show turned into more local arts and crafts markets in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. All of that turned into me being named a 2018 Designer of the Year for Beadwork magazine. And now, to being a website guru. (Or just a lady who makes things and sells things online. Whatever.)
So what exactly am I doing now? What is the concept for this site? Well, it is a "make it or take it" kind of a deal. When I do local shows, I get asked if I have a site where people can buy my creations and check out more of my work. Then there are the folks who subscribe to magazines like Beadwork and want to learn from me; some of those people just want inexpensive patterns they can purchase, while others want me to put all of the materials together for them. For that reason, I am selling three things here: jewelry samples, downloadable PDF instructions, and color coordinated jewelry making kits. I will also be blogging, sharing news about upcoming shows, talking about my published work, and much more. I plan to develop a section on the site where you can schedule beading parties and/or classes. Eventually, I would love to organize a beading retreat in the mountains or piney woods. For now, though, I am just going to keep on doing the things that I love the most and sharing it all with you!
If you should ever have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me. Be sure to sign up for newsletters and follow me on social media so we can stay connected.