I’m Leslie from Leslie O’Neill Designs, and I am passionate about creating chic, wearable jewelry from seed beads. I started working with seed beads over twenty years ago when I was working as a jewelry designer. I asked my mom, a life-long artist and art teacher, to help me find a creative outlet. I wanted something that didn’t need special equipment and didn’t take up too much space. She recommended bead weaving, and she taught me basic peyote and brick stitch. A few years later she taught me how to set up and use a bead loom. She also introduced me to Miyuki Delica beads, and I’ve been collecting them ever since.
For a decade I slowly worked on large projects in my spare time, mainly evening bags that would take a year or more to complete. Then twelve years ago I unexpectedly found myself a stay-at-home mom with a special needs child. I realized I needed an outlet for myself during this time, so eventually I picked up my beads and started making jewelry.
I started very small; I put a few items in a local artisan shop and I tried out a few small craft fairs. It’s so challenging to put oneself out there, but I was encouraged by the feedback I received from customers. My business has grown quite a lot over the last ten years, and continues to expand. I sell at craft fairs in the northeast and online at my website. I now have a YouTube channel, and I hope to start selling patterns as well.
Seed beads are my creative rocket fuel! I especially love Delica beads, and I have a sample board with about 250 colors and finishes. I often start my designs there. I also love seed beads, Swarovski crystal beads and stones, pearls, shell beads and natural stones.
My design choices are informed by my work as a jewelry designer. Elegant, tailored, versatile designs that are meticulously finished are my signature. I want my pieces to look like they came from a colorful jewelry boutique. And I want my customers to be able to wear my jewelry with yoga pants, work clothes or evening gowns.
I like to challenge myself with design. Since working with seed beads is like sewing together tiny mosaics, I find it easiest to create jewelry that has a Victorian, detailed feel to it. It is more challenging to figure out seed bead jewelry with a sleeker, more contemporary feel. Whimsical jewelry is also a way I stretch my abilities. I have a great time figuring out designs for plants like fruits and vegetables, birds nests, stars and similar.
I also like to explore techniques. My particular interests include dimensional peyote stitch, peyote stitch with negative space and beaded bezels. For bracelets and necklaces, I prefer an integrated clasp that doesn’t break up the design. I use buttons, snaps and toggles to keep the look consistent.
Customers tell me my jewelry makes them feel beautiful, and that they get lots of compliments on their unique pieces. For me that’s really what it’s all about!
Please find me online:
YouTube tutorials: https://www.youtube.com/seedbeadbliss