Artbeads is proud of every designer we feature on our site. Our purchasers research each and every artist and their offerings in order to determine which products our customers would like best. We always keep our designing customers in mind because we are designers ourselves. Jill MacKay is one of those artists whose work is so amazing that we have built a great relationship with her and have great adoration for her components. She designs and manufactures clasps, findings, chains, beads, chandeliers and more, and is known for innovation in the jewelry-making marketplace. We’d like to share with you the person behind some of the great components we supply—Jill MacKay.
Jill admits that there isn’t a time in her life that she hasn’t been creating. “Basically I owe my career to my high school art teacher…she encouraged me to improve upon my talents and had me selling my work to local audiences at a young age. This taught me very early on that I could make money by doing the work I love.” It was in high school that MacKay learned silversmithing. She loved jewelry making from the start and loved learning all the different techniques, from casting to fabrication. “The beauty of that glowing moment when a solid piece of silver turns to liquid and allows you to change its shape and form was just thrilling, still is” she exclaims.
Her resume is nothing short of amazing: she’s most recognized as being the jewelry designer for The Guiding Light and working on Paramount’s Star Trek: The Next Generation, and has sold her lines of components in all the major craft chain stores under her own name. Jill is a self-proclaimed “bead freak.” She still loves working with silver, but recently has branched out into stainless steel and bronze. Learning the new techniques required of designing in new metals is exciting for Jill because she loves to learn and it teaches her how far she can push a medium. “There’s been a learning curve especially with the Stainless but I think I’ve got it now!” When asked to pick a favorite piece, Jill explains that the end results are secondary to the process. This journey to a finished product is the best part for her. “I am all about the process of design. Spending time drawing and envisioning things in 3D that do not yet exist is a great workout for my brain…If you take care of the process, the end result will be successful.”
The inspiration for her designs comes from the patterns, forms and colors found in nature. As Jill puts it, nature is always right there to observe and study. Life is always evolving and changing, as is Jill’s work. “Paying attention to beauty in nature is how I spend an enormous amount of [my] time.” One of the most important things Jill would like others to know about her is that she’s been a self-employed, creative person for 29 years now. “Next year when we reach 30 we are going to have to have a party!” It’s that fun, expressive personality that makes Jill MacKay a wonderful artist to work with. We love carrying her products! You can get your hands on Jill MacKay jewelry supplies and find out for yourself what makes her pieces so special.