My Bead Style – Some Say It’s Like Singing Opera in a Biker Jacket

Pirate Theme Pillow Bead

What Do You Think?

One thing I often ponder, as many of you probably do too, is personal style. Who you are as a polymer clay artist.

Developing a unique artistic voice allows your friends, followers and/or customers to recognize you through your creations. But this process can take some time to happen. So don’t worry if you are still in discovery mode.

I’d have to say that my artist’s voice is definitely still in development. It’s a diverse collection of styles. One part hippie chick. One part urban skateboarder. One part tea drinking herb gardener. One part martini girl. One part minimalist. One part antique collector. One part over achiever. And one part slacker. Talk about a strange mix!

I still often wonder if all of my diverse parts will ever unify into a single style. I’m kind of all over the map.

For example, on my work table this very minute, are:

  • Rustic faux stone dog tags jewelry beads;
  • An elegant crackled gold leaf pendant, vibrant with rich colors from just a few drops of concentrated alcohol inks… and;
  • Some funky graffiti style mokume gane beads that I’ve just developed using a technique which no one has even seen yet (except for Doug, my dh, and kids).

I mean… just look at the pirate bead in the photo at the top of this post (which I just love).  And then go have a look at this trumpet flower bead (which I also just love).

Some might say this contrast is a little like singing opera in a biker jacket. Do I appeal to younger teenagers and youth? Or is it more of a mature audience? Hmmm…. wondering, wondering.

Maybe my style is ageless. The voice of a woman who sits outside the box. Free to be just whoever she feels like being. Maybe I’m a little bit Country AND a little bit Rock and Roll! OMG… that was Donnie and Marie Osmond!!!

To tell you the truth, I kind of like having the range. Getting to know everyone… younger, older, wild and tame. I’m happy to teach all of you!

Perhaps you could help me out here. If you were describing my style or my artistic voice to someone… maybe someone who doesn’t really know me yet… what would you say?

Does your perception match what I described above… or do you see something that I may not be seeing. Very curious! You have my permission to have some fun with this at my expense if you like (smiles).

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Zuleykha, 13 May, 2009

    Hi Cindy,
    I wouldn’t call it “singing opera in a biker jacket”, although it is a great saying, I’ll have to remember it :))) I’d call it a curiosity. That actually could be a name of a style – curiosity – a drive to learning new (and different) things :)) Which also makes you a great teacher, when you share your findings with us :)

  2. Anna Sabina, 13 May, 2009

    That Donnie and Marie comment scared me.

    Your style is like potato chips, you can never have just one.

  3. Ken H., 13 May, 2009

    I’ve done that, denim jeans, white T-shirt and leather jacket, it was an updated version of Don Giovanni (it was set in the 60’s). But to be on topic, I think you need to play to your house so to speak. I’m certain that there is some unifying thread to style that covers all the forms your beads come in, to draw on the opera again, it was still Don Giovanni, Mozart’s music and the story wasn’t diminished by changing it from powdered wigs and waistcoats, to denim and leather.

    I hope my point came across, it’s still early here in Philadelphia and I don’t think this is as eloquent as it could have been.

  4. Joyce, 13 May, 2009

    The simplest way I can think to put it is that you are not dictated to by style because YOU ARE STYLE and a DISCOVERER so maybe it could be “Style by Christine Columbus aka CL”.
    Before Donnie & Marie I think there was Dragnet, just the facts, Mam, just the facts….

  5. Jocelyn, 13 May, 2009

    Frankly, I don’t think there is anything you won’t try, which is the sign of a great researcher and teacher. I am hooked. And thanks for that pic…..I love it, the double insert’s give it that “manly” look. LOL!

    May I borrow that design detail for the project?

  6. Susan, 13 May, 2009

    Please forgive this, but I read the post too fast and I thought you described yourself as “sitting outside with a box” and I had this vision of a hippy chick sitting on the city sidewalk with her box of goodies making necklaces to sell. Maybe this is a good description of you. I kinda like it. I am the same way, this month I have done jewelry, made clay flowers and am also working on dragons. Working on multiple things helps keep all the ideas fresh. I love the skull bead and I’m well past the age to like such stuff. Keep surprising us, I think we will all grow along with you.

  7. Cindy Lietz, 14 May, 2009

    @Zuleykha: Thanks so much! You are sweet! Also thank you for putting me in your blogroll on your Russian site! That was very exciting when I saw it there!

    @Ken: That is so funny! I can just see it. Maybe it’s a more plausible combination than I thought. Love hearing about your theater exploits. It’s fun to get to know you.

    @Joyce: Well aren’t you a sweetheart! Love the Discoverer reference. I could get into that!

    @Jocelyn: Thanks! You may be right about there being almost nothing I won’t try. In bead making that is! :-) Sure you can wire up your beads that way if you like. The holes in the pirate beads I’m sending you will accommodate a heavy gauge copper wire nicely, which may be a very durable and manly way to create your lanyard!

    @Susan: I’d be happy to sit outside with my box! Sounds fun! Maybe you and your dragons will join me? :-)

  8. Jamie, 14 May, 2009

    You didnt think I wouldnt chime in with my 2 cents on this topic did you Cindy? Muahahahaha! Seriously though, the way I see it is that with any “trend” or “style” somebody has to go first dont they? Someone has to set the bar for others to aspire to. So who better than the woman who promised to “make the mistakes so we dont have to”? And you are doing an admireable job IMHO. So why not have a dozen different styles or two? Who wants to wake up the same old person every day anyway, or stay that way all day long? I know I dont. And you know what the nice thing about you and your website is? No matter who I am today, I can always find something to appeal to me here. Now, about that graffiti mokume gani…. XOXO Jamie

  9. Cindy Lietz, 15 May, 2009

    Knew you would Jaimie! :-)

    I think you’re going to love the graffiti mokume gane! It’s pretty cool looking!

    Thanks for the support on my ‘Style ADD’ (attention deficit disorder)! It’s nice to know that you like all the different directions my brain seems to take me!

  10. Zarah, 16 May, 2009

    The skull bead is so rock star! :) Very inspiring, thanks! /

  11. Beverly Smith, 16 May, 2009

    Cindy I love all the styles you come up with and they all seem to resonate with me, as with your reader/fans.
    I want to do it all and am constantly looking for new ideas and methods for my beads.
    They don’t have to be fancy or difficult, just different and fun!
    To create one’s own style can put you in a box, and I am always looking outside the box to find that different twist, to an already used or not concept.
    Curiosity, Research. and just awesome imagination is what it is all about!
    You Rock! and we all get to Rock along with you.
    Thank you for your dedication and wonderful sense of humor.
    I wake up each morning wondering what you will come up with today. Miss you on the weekends. LOL
    I always feel like you are my New Best Friend and I know you so well.
    Thank you for being you!

  12. Anna Sabina, 16 May, 2009

    Beverly, you did an excellent job describing how I see Cindy’s style.
    You are absolutely right, they do not have to be fancy or difficult of extremely time consuming. Just different fun and something i know I can do!! I have several PC books and get Polymer Cafe. i love the projects but many of them are multiple steps and then I get overwhelmed reading the direction: but the pictures sure are pretty.

    When I wake up in the morning I the first thing i do is check for the new blog..LOL.
    Actually, I start the coffee first and go to the blog while it is brewing.
    Later I go to my “day job” and dream of the day when I can stay home and play with clay !!!

  13. Cindy Lietz, 16 May, 2009

    @Zarah: Thankx!You Rock too!:-)

    @Beverly: I love your comment! What an honor to be spending coffee time with you every morning! Thank you for being you to!

    @Anna: One day you will Anna! One day! Until then we sure love having you around! I agree, things do not have to be complicated to be awesome. Why muss things up with fussy when they can be simple and beautiful?!

  14. squash, 18 May, 2009

    Hi, Cindy! I think you appeal to everybody because of your complex style.
    Al Pacino was saying in Scent of a Woman: “The day we stop looking is the day we die”. He was alluding to women .Can you say the day we stop looking for something new is the day we die? You are just like that, Cindy, always looking. And therefore so alive and vibrant in your creations.
    I admire lots of artists who found their style, but I can’t stop sometimes of finding their latest work kind of boring. A style implies a certain technique that an individual can improve until it reaches perfection. Then what? Variations on the same theme? And again and again, only now it’s not blue, it’s pink?
    Isn’t your style much better defined, despite its richness? What’s wrong with working on such a multitude of different projects? It’s just wonderful. You couldn’t teach us so many concepts if your thing was only millefiori.
    Oh and compliments on the pirate bead, have I told you it’s one of the best beads ever? In fact it’s this beautiful bead that encouraged me to comment on this post. It needed some attention. It’s a bead so very “you”. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  15. Cindy Lietz, 19 May, 2009

    How eloquently put squash! One of the things I have always admired about your work is the sheer magnitude of styles and techniques you produce.

    I hadn’t really thought of it before, but you’re right, sometimes I do think artists get stuck in their voice and become stale.

    This way when you’re trying lots of new things, you may never reach true perfection in one style only, but your skill will develop and get honed, just the same. Plus there is much less risk of becoming bored or stagnant!

  16. Cindy Lietz, 20 September, 2009


    bellydancefairy [Sandra Takaro-Miller] — I love your pirate beads. I use to live in Sedro-Woolley, WA and one day hope to go back. It is so beautiful up there. You have great ideas

    PolymerClayTips [Cindy Lietz] — Glad you like the pirate beads. They are very fun to make! And yes I agree… the Pacific NW is beautiful country (when it’s not raining :-)

  17. Christl Pelikan, 30 May, 2011

    Hi, Cindy, this is what it’s all about: forever reinventing ourselves, being curious and adventurous. After “playing” with PC for 20 years, I never stop trying out new things and thanks to you discover new ways all the time. Thank you for your inspirations! How lucky for all of us to have found this wonderful medium with its sheer unlimited possibilities and, of course, to have found YOU! Happy Claying!

  18. Cindy Lietz, 30 May, 2011

    @Christl Pelikan: It is so nice to see your smiling face in your new avatar Christl. Looks like you are wearing some fabulous jewelry!

    Thank you for saying what you did. It doesn’t matter how long you have been working with an artistic medium like polymer clay, there is always something new to learn and get inspired by. I agree, this medium is truly unlimited. I find myself being excited and inspired by its possibilities every day. I am very happy you are enjoying the journey right along side me. That really makes it fun and rewarding. So thank YOU for being YOU!

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