Sunday, August 4, 2013

Introducing........Valorie Clifton

I'd had a lot of e-mails and messages asking me to bring back the Mavens but it was something Valorie said that made me know I had to do it.  She told me she dreamed of one day being a Maven and then we were gone!

I looked into Valorie and her work and discovered she exactly fit the mold for what I had been thinking I would want if I did bring back the Mavens, so it's only fitting that I introduce her first.

As I know it's not easy to talk about yourself I put together some questions for the new Mavens to make it a bit, let's get to know 

Valorie Clifton

#3 in our guessing game

What did you do before beading? And what brought beading into your life?  

I’ve enjoyed arts and crafts my entire life!  I learned to crochet at the age of 7 and I obsessively tackled any sort of needlework I could find from that point on.  I started with crochet and from there progressed to embroidery, cross-stitching, plastic canvas, knitting, sewing (I used to sew doll clothes when I was young), quilting, weaving… you name it!  My primary medium until adulthood was fiber art.  

When I was a teenager I remember weaving hair barrettes using a homemade, cardboard bead loom.  I’d seen loom-work on a craft show and was determined to learn it.  I’ve always been innovative and I still create some of my own tools now.  In fact, I built wooden looms for my students last holiday season as gifts.  

I didn’t bead very long as a teenager but rather ventured off into fabric painting, scrapbooking, lacy doily making and various other crafts.  I decided to take up beading again in late 2009 and I’ve been beading ever since!  It’s become a passion and perhaps a bit of an obsession.  I fill all my spare time with beadwork.

What is your comfort zone?

Hmm…I’d have to say I’m most at home with greens and browns.  I adore earthy tones but I have to add a bit of “punch”.  I’ll use yellow with red “just because” or I’ll toss in purple with browns.  I’ve even thrown hot pink into a green piece just for kicks.  I don’t typically do monochromatic schemes.   I also treat metallics as neutrals and will regularly mix metals with any color I choose or with other metals.

What aspect of beading do you find most challenging?

Getting a piece to the shape I want it to be.  Most times my projects lead me by the nose and tell me what they want to be (ha!) but when I’m trying to achieve a certain shape and it’s not cooperating, it’s definitely a challenge.

What would you most like to bead if you had the time and supplies?

I’ve seen several large collars and shoulder pieces lately.  I think I’d really love to create something huge and sparkly.

Who, if anyone, has influenced your style of beading?

Oh, that’s a tough one.  I admire so many beaders and I love to see their work.  However, I don’t like to be influenced by anyone when I’m in “design mode”.  I try to maintain my own aesthetic, which can sometimes backfire.  It seems that the pieces I love most don’t do as well as something I’ll create with clients in mind.   My interests range anywhere from the traditional, feminine, vintage look  to the minimalist, simple, modern feel.  I love vintage pieces and I collect vintage jewelry so sometimes I’ll lean toward a Victorian feel.  For metalwork I lean toward ancient, primitive styles.  It really depends upon my mood.  

I can’t honestly say I cater to any particular style with my tutorials; for me, personally, I prefer simple, unembellished, no “frou-frou” jewelry.

If you could only use one bead weaving stitch which one would you choose and why?

Oh, that’s easy: RAW. Other than loom-work, RAW was the first stitch I learned (specifically, double-needle cross-weave).  It’s so versatile and many of my projects incorporate Right Angle Weave.  I think it’s one I couldn't live without.

Do you have a favorite place to buy beads and supplies?

Absolutely!  I buy most of my supplies locally at the Danish Princess Beads and Jewelry, LLC in Milton, FL.  I buy all my SuperDuos, crystal Rivolis,  roundels, Miyuki size 15/0 and size 8/0 beads there.

For Czech seed beads, I’m a huge fan of Shipwreck Beads.  I love them and I buy many, many hanks of Preciosa seed beads, Preciosa 3mm druks (they have such a nice selection!) and Preciosa Fire Polished beads.  I’m a massive fan of Preciosa beads and I use them almost exclusively in my projects.

For Swarovski crystals, when I use them, I buy them from FMG. I like to buy them in bulk and their prices are reasonable. 

I love to buy my Toho beads, gemstone strands and hard-to-find beads at Artbeads.  They also have a great Clearance section where you can find some good deals on beads!

For gemstone chips I love Fusionbeads.  I like their softly rounded chips versus the sharp, jagged ones you can find elsewhere.

And what Valorie says about herself:

My family is the single most important thing to me and everything I do is dedicated to them.  I’m the extremely proud wife of my high school sweetheart, whom I met when I was 15.  We have been married for 21.5 years and we’re still going strong!  I’ve now spent more of my life with my husband than without and I couldn’t imagine life any other way.  I’m a very proud, work-at-home mother of 2 wonderful teens, ages 17 and 15.  Our kids fill us with joy and pride every day.  

I consider myself incredibly blessed!I come from an artistic family:  My mother is a very talented painter and my brother is an excellent wood-worker.  My mom is also a very quick study in bead work!  I've been teaching her for a while now and she’s amazing, as I knew she would be.

You may not know this about me, but I’m also an aspiring metalsmith.  Over the last few years I've fallen in love with copper and brass.  My passion with coppersmithing lies in metal forming using hammers, anvils and stakes.  I’m not interested in setting jewels with prong settings or making rings; I love the way metal moves when I hit it and I love the textures and patinas I can achieve.  I also create chainmaille from time to time.  I have a nice metalworking studio full of anything I’d need.  Sadly, it’s collected dust and my tools are needing some TLC since my tutorial business took off.  One day, after I’m “settled in” with the bead work, I’ll return to my beloved studio. 

You can find Valorie's store by clicking on her logo top right of this page :) you know Valorie a little and I'm sure you'll get to know her more in the next few months.   Don't forget to keep the questions coming....every question for our Mavens gets you entered in to a drawing for a $25 tutorial gift certificate to my store.

Excited to see who I introduce tomorrow???  Stay tuned!


  1. Congratulations, Valorie - sounds like another dream coming true, enjoy!

    1. Thank you! It's definitely a dream come true for me. :)

  2. I love this opportunity to meet new beaders .I really like the Super Duo bracelet in the third picture done. How can I purchase the tutorial?

    1. Thanks so much for the compliment! You can access my shop via my logo in the upper right corner of this blog. :)

  3. HI Cheryl...I love that bracelet too :) If you click on Valorie's logo top right of the page it will take you right to her store.

  4. Val is a very creative artist and wonderful friend. She is one to be watched in whatever media you choose to work in.

    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate it! :) :bow: You're a pretty great artist yourself!

  5. im still not exactly sure what a maven is... does it mean something? look forward to seeing more though. Val i've told you plenty times how amazing you are... you totally deserve to be selected. many congrats and have loads of fun! :)

    1. Thanks, Ess! Oh, it means a great deal to me, that's for sure! I've wanted to be a Maven ever since I first opened my Etsy shop and learned about them through my friend, Chris! (Christina Neit of Good Quill Hunting) She was a Maven and I so wanted to be like her (I still do- she's awesome!).

      I think of the Mavens as a sort of panel to help answer beady questions, spread the love of beading, help new beaders, offer free tutorials and have fun!

  6. According to Wikipedia a maven is "A maven (also mavin) is a trusted expert in a particular field, who seeks to pass knowledge on to others. The word maven comes from Hebrew, via Yiddish, and means one who understands, based on an accumulation of knowledge.[1]"
    My interpretation of that has always been "someone who understands and wants to pass on knowledge". We're not geared to educating people who are accomplished beaders, though I do believe we can learn from everyone, but more for the learning beader or one who aspires to become a teacher or tutorial writer. I see the new Bead Mavens as a platform for bringing new designers/teachers/tutorial writers and where I can use what I've learned to help them along. My personal belief is that when you move a step up (and I'm still and always will be climbing) you turn and help the people behind you.

  7. Valerie is one of my favorite new artists to see. I love seeing where the beads lead her.

    1. Aww, thank you so much! I really appreciate the compliment. I struggle with confidence issues. That's funny for a Maven, isn't it? LOL! :D

  8. Hi Valorie!
    I stumbled across this blog today through a friends Pinterest board. When I saw "Danish Princess Beads and Jewelry, LLC in Milton, FL" I was so surprised! I am in Gulf Breeze...what a small world!
    I get the weekly email and have seen your name as one of the instructors so maybe we will meet if I ever get there to take a class!!

    1. Hi Cory!

      Yay, I'm glad we're getting Pinned! I still haven't figured out how to use Pinterest and how to see if we are pinned. :)

      Yes, I'm trying to bring some light to our tiny corner of Florida, hah! It's a small world, indeed. I'd love to meet you! Thanks so much!