I began my creative life as a child when I sewed doll clothes by hand and built my own scrabble set out of scraps. I’ve always wanted to make things—to sew, to build, to quilt, to paint—I wanted to do it all! So in college I minored in Art and continued my creative life. Even though my career was as an English teacher, my heart and soul were happiest when I made things with my hands.
I began creating jewelry and established my first design business in 1995. In August, 2005, I went into business with a friend, but beginning in 2013 I have been busy doing various arts and crafts shows alone, and my February-through-November calendar has been full of traveling. The whole year is devoted to designing new collections for my websites, social media, and the galleries that represent my work.
Many of my original designs have been published in Stringing magazine and several Interweave jewelry publications.
I have been adding tools to my studio/workshop, and my new favorites are a Smith Silver Smith acetylene torch which allows me to use enough heat to really change the appearance, shape, and beauty of various metals; a Smith Little Torch for the smaller, more fiddly pieces; a rolling mill to texture metal; a Porter-Cable drill press; and a metal shear to cut metal precisely. And my collection of hammers and pliers is enviable.
All the materials and components I use in my jewelry are of superior quality. My first design style was (and still is) Boho--glass beads, big color and contrast, drama and excitement. My most recent endeavor has been into metals, and I have created a line called Molten Mojo. I gild and stamp hot metal onto various metal bases (some found or recycled) and create original elements for bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. I also do torch-work to design fused and reticulated metal objects using argentium and sterling silver, copper, and brass. Extensive wirework is also part of my work to connect elements and to design new pieces that work as embellishments.
Probably the best way to describe my overall presentation is Ecelectic-Style Fun! I use materials bravely and with passion. I will try almost anything with metals, wire, old glass, leather, and found objects to see what I can learn from the experience. And adapting traditional techniques to new materials (like hand-knotting and macrame, for instance) inspires me to try new and exciting designs.
New projects happen almost daily, and if I could get away without sleep I’d be able to create a lot more. I’m a firm believer that every life needs a passionately creative outlet, and I know I’ve found mine.
ABOUT ME I have been designing jewelry since 1995 when I started with a small box of glass beads, some inexpensive tools, and a spot to work in my sewing room that became, you guessed it, the beading room. I was still teaching high school English then, so I worked in my spare time. My first business name was "To Bead or Not to Bead" (clever, huh?), and I began doing small shows around the Portland OR/Vancouver WA area where I live. Well, things changed. I retired from teaching, converted the basement rec room into my studio, and chose a new business name ("BeadWares") which stuck till 2005. In the summer of 2019 I decided to design an on-line store website, and this is it: Toni McCarthy Designs www.tonimccarthy.com I still work at my home studio and make every single piece myself, take my own photographs (please respect the copyright), design my advertising materials, and manage my website and social media. ABOUT THE JEWELRY Each piece is OOAK--one of a kind, handmade by me, one bead and wire loop at a time. I pride myself on choosing only the most interesting materials to work with.
ABOUT PAYMENT & SHIPPING Payments are through PayPal. I ship USPS First Class only to the United States at this time. Items can be combined up to 13 oz in one padded envelope shipped. If you need international shipping or want expedited shipping, please contact me first. Washington residents pay sales tax.
ABOUT CUSTOM JEWELRY . . . a change . . . I will no longer be making custom designs. Occasionally I may agree to make earrings to coordinate with another piece of my jewelry, but they will be my design and need to be paid for upfront. (Sorry . . . some recent experiences have precipitated this decision.)
TAKING CARE OF AND ENJOYING YOUR JEWELRY I take pride in making every piece carefully, professionally, and with the nicest materials I can find.
I guarantee my work for a year with normal wear (just don't sleep, bathe, do dishes, exercise or swim while wearing it though please). And always use the clasp on your bracelet! Anything that is knotted with waxed linen cord should NEVER get wet. It weakens the cord till it eventually breaks.
Things happen, of course . . . All Sales Are Final . . . but If you need to return something, contact me to work out the details. Returns or exchanges are accepted within 10 days of your purchase date. The customer is responsible for return shipping and insurance (for full purchase price) of the item in its original, unworn condition.
Below is a YouTube interview that I did with Fire & Rain Gallery in Folsom CA.