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Life and Work with Ariel A. Ortegon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ariel A. Ortegon.

Ariel, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
While on a trip to Lightening Ridge, black opal mining area in Australia in 2009, I remember being impressed with all the beautiful opals and jewelry. I mentioned to my husband that we should make jewelry. About 2 years later, I took a few basic jewelry making classes and was hooked. I started with stringing jewelry and loom jewelry and 5 years ago started selling at local shows. My first show ever was Arts in Bloom in McKinney on a side street. I loved the interaction with people and especially the appreciation for my work. The bead market from the Czech Republic began to explode about that time and bead designers began to create patterns with all these new shapes. So, I changed over to beading though I still occasionally string jewelry. My husband and I went on a beading tour in September of 2017 to the Czech Republic along with a group of about 50 other bead addicts. It was the trip of a lifetime. Not only did we make some great friends, but we toured bead and glass factories. Of course, I came home with quite a few beads.

In the beading world, I would probably be considered a 2 hole beader because of my utilization of these Czech glass beads. I primarily use patterns designed by others but put my twist on them and one of my biggest talents is a good eye for color. One pattern can use as many as eight or more types of beads so this process of finding the right colors takes a while. My husband came up with an idea to make my jewelry displays on his 3D printers, so I use these for my jewelry at shows. Together, we sell at local shows and festivals. I took my daughter to a beading class a few years ago and she also became hooked on the craft. She occasionally comes out to shows to help us out and to sell some of her work.

I look at my work now compared to a few years ago and I can definitely see how my work has grown. I am currently practicing more traditional beading stitches so that I can incorporate some of this into my work. This summer, I will start selling in a space at the new Frisco Fresh Market and am looking forward to that experience as it allows me to sell my jewelry year round.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Making beaded jewelry is such a joy for me to do and I am lucky I do have some talent for it. I began to sell it to help pay for the hobby and have found I enjoy the interaction with customers. There is a lot of competition in the jewelry making world. There are lots of people out there who make jewelry. It can be discouraging to be turned down for shows but I just keep applying. There are plenty of places out there to sell and you do have to find your market. I speak with other vendors at shows and we all support each other and pass on information learned along this journey of being a maker and selling your products.

Please tell us about AriGar Designs.
To begin with, I am a bead addict. I am a beader specializing in making jewelry with Czech glass beads. Although I have met lots of beaders online in beading groups, I have only encountered a few people out in the world of arts and craft shows who sell the same type of jewelry I make. Together, my husband and I are doing something different. When I am at a show, my jewelry displays are 3D printed not traditional black velvet displays. I also utilize these displays when photographing my jewelry.

Who have you been inspired by?
My mother inspired me with her strong work ethic. Actually, both my parents did. My mother is not artistic at all so I was pleasantly surprised to find this quality in myself though it is a bit late in my life as I am at the end of my career as an RN. The nurses I have worked with over the years have been inspiring to me with their dedication to their patients and I would like to think I did the same with mine.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
3D prints made by Garth J Olivier

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