My name is Carolyn Raich and I am an artist and resident of Arlington, Virginia, where I live with my husband, two boys, two dogs and a hamster. I was an artistic and quirky child who grew up in Northern VA. I went to the Savannah College of Art and Design (BFA 1991) where I discovered (and fell in love with) the fine art of collage and decoupage—and the beauty and texture of paper.
I took my BFA to San Francisco where I worked for a popular gourmet coffee company. I learned how to make the best espresso, how to manage a store, and above all, the importance of excellent customer service. I later worked in the buying office where I learned about merchandising, product development, and packaging design.
Fifteen years (and a lifetime) later, I discovered the beauty of beads, and the simple, almost Zen-like feeling of putting them on a string. The seed of my happiness started as an artistic craft I could easily do in my small moments of “me time” while I was home raising my children. As many before me, I became hooked on an ancient art form that has been around for 38,000 years!
I continue to learn about new beading techniques and materials and I love to share my knowledge of beading design with others. I am member of The Beading Society of Greater Washington and the Northern Virginia Bead Society where I share my passion for beads and beading with likeminded people.
When I realized that I wanted to turn my hobby into a business, I started Brighter Day Beads, where I get to do all the things I love:
- Design, make, and sell artisan beads and beaded jewelry
- Celebrate creativity, color and happiness by bringing jewelry-making activities to birthday parties and girl scout meetings other events
- Inspire children to develop their creativity and fine motor skills by teaching jewelry-making classes in after school enrichment programs
Soon after I started beading I was inspired to make my own beads. After some trial and error, I developed a unique two-sided bead design that is carefully handcrafted with four simple ingredients:
- Beautiful paper
- A base bead
- Decoupage glue
- Nontoxic jewelry resin
(My technique and attention to detail is so impeccable that many people think my beads are machine made, but they are not!)
My friends and customers can easily see that I am inspired by color and all things kawaii.* My bead designs have a childlike whimsy that appeals to all ages.
I have developed a huge catalog of graphic designs that I use on the front side of myhandmade beads that include:
- Wide-eyed animals
- Smiling cupcakes and sweets
- Multicultural fairies, princesses, ballerinas and superheroes
- Robots, ninjas and sea monsters
On the flipside of my handmade beads I use beautiful art paper. My favorite papers to use on my beads are origami paper, Japanese washi paper, and Italian tissue paper.
When I design and make my beaded jewelry, I use high-quality beads, stringing materials and findings. My favorite beads to use are fire-polished Czech beads, and I love the wrap-around style of memory wire.
All my beaded jewelry includes one or more of my beautiful artisan beads.
*Kawaii – As defined by www.urbandictionary.com: An adjective in Japanese meaning: pretty, cute, lovely, charming, dear, darling, or “pet.” Anime and manga fans commonly use kawaii. (Think of Hello Kitty!)
What Is a Bead?
“A bead is any object that can be strung to adorn or decorate a person, thing, or place. From early beginnings people have worn beads to proclaim their identity, status, and kinship; to bedazzle others and to please themselves. Beads have been used to tally property, pay for goods, and record events.
Beads invoke protection and well-being. They declare power and wealth. They tell of those who make them, wear them, pray, pledge, love, mourn, and celebrate with them.
Our fundamental human needs have found expression through beads. They reflect the history of Earth’s people and continue to be a part of our lives.”
As copied from the website of The Bead Society of Greater Washington