Amy Haftkowycz's Profile

About

The beginning of my story, as far as beads and jewelry goes, is not all that unusual...it has a start that I'm sure all of you bead-a-holics are familiar with. One day, way back in the 90s (oh so long ago!!), I stumbled into a bead store. 'Nuff said right there, right? The addiction was instantaneous. The need to feed was insatiable...I absolutely HAD to visit the bead store – and often! I mean, I was there several times a week...no lie. I simply could not get enough – and mind you, in those pre-internet days, it was a challenge to find beads. I guess the hunt was half the fun, though! Before I knew it, I was buying beaded jewelry, just so I could take it apart and create new pieces, ones that had MY signature on them.

Still, that was not enough. I wanted more...needed more. I soon realized I no longer could just buy the beads...I had to MAKE the beads! Still working in pre-internet days, I…

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  • Joined September 8, 2011

Favorite materials

Glass, Sterling Silver, Fine Silver, Copper, Brass, Beads, Gemstones, Czech Glass Beads, Beads Beads and More Beads, Cotton and Linen Cords, Anything else that strikes my fancy

About

The beginning of my story, as far as beads and jewelry goes, is not all that unusual...it has a start that I'm sure all of you bead-a-holics are familiar with. One day, way back in the 90s (oh so long ago!!), I stumbled into a bead store. 'Nuff said right there, right? The addiction was instantaneous. The need to feed was insatiable...I absolutely HAD to visit the bead store – and often! I mean, I was there several times a week...no lie. I simply could not get enough – and mind you, in those pre-internet days, it was a challenge to find beads. I guess the hunt was half the fun, though! Before I knew it, I was buying beaded jewelry, just so I could take it apart and create new pieces, ones that had MY signature on them.

Still, that was not enough. I wanted more...needed more. I soon realized I no longer could just buy the beads...I had to MAKE the beads! Still working in pre-internet days, I managed to track down what I needed to get started...a small torch, some glass rods, a few mandrels, and I was ready to go. I sat down one day, lit that torch, and that was TRULY the beginning. I still have those first few beads. Wow...that's pretty much all I can say about them.

My journey through lampworking continued at a steady pace for a good 12 years. During that time, I had the good fortune to meet my close friends and business partners, Barbara and Laina. Together, the three of us own Artful Beads Studio and Workshop – our very own bead store! (Yes, this is what a true bead addiction leads to!) After opening Artful Beads in 2006, life got hectic, and my lampworking fell to the back burner for a few years. Those years were a wonderful learning experience that allowed me to expand my skills into fresh and different directions, including beadweaving, metal clays, and metal smithing. I wouldn't trade that time for anything, and no doubt you will see the results of those years here in my Etsy shop, too!

However, the draw back to the torch was just too strong to fight in recent days, so I am at it again! As you can tell, my glass of choice is, and always has been, borosilicate. I love the unpredictable nature of this type of glass, and I adore the vibrant, yet earthy, colors. I'm very anxious to see where this leg of the journey takes me!

Before I bring this to a close, I must explain the name of my Etsy shop. You may be wondering why it's "Trixie's" Jewel Box, when MY name is "Amy". Well, anyone who knows me knows that I am a cat person. Some might even use the term "Crazy Cat Lady" and, well, I'd have to admit that that's probably pretty accurate! Trixie is one of my cats, and her story is a long one. But, the short version is that in January of 2011, she was diagnosed with diabetes. In an instant, my life turned from one that was fairly carefree and free-spirited into one that was dictated by a very tight and restrictive medication and testing schedule for Trixie. However, I hold absolutely no resentment towards this unplanned directional change in life; rather, I am grateful. Trixie has taught me a tremendous amount about compassion, caring, commitment, and dedication. As a thank you for all that I have learned from her, I named my shop in her honor.

Please enjoy your stay at Trixie's Jewel Box!

~Amy

UPDATE 22-Feb-17: Things have changed since I initially wrote my profile! As you can see, I talked a lot about my lampworking days as well as co-owning a bead store named Artful Beads.

Well, since I wrote my profile, we decided it was time to close Artful Beads. It was a difficult decision, but due the changes in the bead industry as well as changes in our personal lives, it was the best decision for us.

But, just because we closed the bead store doesn't mean I've lost my love for all things beads! Beading is in my blood, as is making unique parts and components.

As for lampworking...as much as I love the process of making glass beads, it was becoming too hard on my hands. so rather than continue down a path that was inducing arthritis, I once again changed directions to metal clay.

I've actually been in love with metal clay for many years, and I became a certified PMC artisan way back in 2001. But, like lampworking, the hecticness of the store force my metal clay work to the back burner.

However, with the store closed and lampworking being too hard on my hands, I have turned to metal clay to satisfy my love for making as much of my finished pieces as possible, and I am loving every minute of it!

So these days my shop features my handcrafted metal clay component; kits designed around these components; and Czech glass beads that I personally think coordinate really well with my metal clay pieces.

I hope you enjoy these things as much as I do!!

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