Marilyn Gardiner is a welcome fixture in the Toronto GTA beading world and further afield to the United States! As an established artisan, Marilyn has brought beading and chainmaille to many of students through her easy-to-understand kits and classes that lead her students to exquisite jewellery.
Being creative was a family tradition in Marilyn’s family. “My grandmother did embroidery and rug hooking”, explains Marilyn. “My mother was an excellent seamstress and made all my clothes, including my wedding gown.” In addition to on- and off-loom beadweaving and wirework, Marilyn crochets and has worked with stained glass.
Marilyn has always loved jewellery and, while working, amassed a large collection of purchased jewellery. Soon after retiring, we visited a bead show in Tucson, Arizona, just for something to do, she explains. “I was totally enthralled! While in Tucson, I signed up for every class at a local bead store. That summer, I took a week-long class with William Hodge in Haliburton. I also bought kits from Maria Rypan and Cathy Lampole”, adds Marilyn. “I devoured beadwork books, especially those by Carol Wilcox Wells. I continue to take classes from experts in all areas of jewellery making.”
Marilyn actively collects and records ideas for future projects and classes. In addition to learning about new chainmaille weaves, she also decides how to best show off the patterns. “I love to acquire special beads, such as art glass focal beads, gemstones and crystals, to combine with a weave for a new piece, explains Marilyn. A project may also be the result of problem solving or a challenge such as a multi-strand bracelet or an asymmetric design.
“I’m inspired by colour, texture and geometric designs. In an effort to record ideas I sketch, take photographs, make notes and collect web references. I collect them in Evernote, a free software program”, adds Marilyn. “I do get behind in these tasks so I end up with notes all over!”
An accomplished instructor, Marilyn enjoys teaching. “I love seeing beginners walk away excited and happy. I also get to see experienced chainmaillers happy that they’ve mastered something
new or have learned a different way of doing something they already knew.”
When she’s not in the classroom, Marilyn (and her team) are busy doing all the background work that it takes to run a successful business including preparing for bead shows; working on her website and on-line store; creating, writing instructions and preparing kits for new projects.
Marilyn is excited to be presenting Staggered Byzantine Bracelet, her newest design at Bead-Treat. “This is the most impressive new bracelet Ive made for several years. It expands and contracts like an accordion and feels so good on my wrist! I love this unadorned version, but I can also see a version with beads added in the middle openings, or even drop beads along the outer edges.”
To see more about Marilyn’s class, click here.