• Kathy Mattes

What is My Style?

Updated: 6 days ago

My designs today are generally guided by a unique artisan bead that I want to use as a focal.



I'm often asked what inspired my particular style of jewelry making. I find this to be a particularly good question, as many aspiring artists struggle with developing styles of their own. For me, my style came from an appreciation of the wonderful colors and textures that are available with seed beads.


I originally named my business Sophisticated Beads and changed it recently to Sophisticated Designs. While most of my work is comprised of beads, I am not selling beads. I am selling the designs themselves. It is the design that makes my work unique and makes you feel good wearing it.


I originally started making jewelry by stringing beads into necklaces and bracelets. I focused on finding natural gemstones, pearls and artisan glass beads and combined them into a pleasing piece of adornment. After a while, that just didn’t seem challenging enough.


I then became intrigued by beaded ropes, as they seem wonderfully sculptural, textural, and complex. I took one class on how to make a filled fishnet rope, using precious Swarovski crystal pearls, and took off from there. I have learned many other styles of beaded ropes since then.

Most importantly, I must feel good about the design that I create.

My designs today are generally guided by a unique artisan bead that I want to use as a focal. It might be one bead, or it might be several beads. And it might be a .999 silver pendant that I made myself. There are so many colors, styles, and sizes of seed beads available, that selecting the beads to use in the rope to compliment the focal bead(s) is challenging.

It all begins with a beautiful focal bead or a group of special beads.

I think about it for a while and an idea begins to form. I look at other people’s work (not to steal but to take ideas from), I look at things in the world around me and I look at what people are wearing. I often come up with an idea that is entirely my own.


Most importantly, I must feel good about the design that I create. I use the best materials I can find and if I am not happy with how it is coming together, I modify it or simply start over. I maintain a high standard of quality, both in materials and workmanship. I use colors that please me, which are mostly earthy colors. The single most frequent compliment that I get (after suggesting that it must take me a long time to make my pieces) is that I have a great sense of color and how to put colors together.


I would love to hear your thoughts!


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