June 16, 2024


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Jewelry Making Inspiration with Kieu Pham Gray | Jewelry


Jewelry artist Kieu Pham Gray began making jewelry to complement her outfits when she was working in a corporate job more than two decades ago. Since then, she has taken up metalsmithing and become a sought-after instructor and co-owner of TheUrbanBeader.com.

Above: Kieu Pham Gray and a pendant from Fragments, one her Bead Fest workshops.

Kieu takes an innovative approach to creating multiple income streams from her passion for jewelry making, including teaching at Bead Fest.

Jewelry project from Kieu Pham Gray's Daydreamer Bead Fest workshop
Daydreamer, Intro to Basic Metalwork workshop by Kieu Pham Gray

Kinetic Inspiration

Kinetic Inspiration
In the past few years, Kieu has added kinetic jewelry to her concentrations. When a student asked her how to make a fidget ring, Kieu set out to create one. It began with a visual image and the process grew from there. Kieu says, “most anybody can make static anything . . . but when you get into things with moving parts, you really have to think about the engineering of it and what it takes to do that.”

With kinetic jewelry, it’s especially important for each layer of the project to be just right or it won’t move like you want it to. She says that she enjoys tackling difficult projects to elevate her skills because it makes her a better artist and instructor—and it’s a fun challenge for her brain.

Jewelry project from Kieu Pham Gray's Swirly Pearl Bead Fest workshop
Swirly Pearl workshop by Kieu Pham Gray

Makers Gotta Make

Kieu lives outside Cleveland, Ohio, and just a short walk from trails in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. When she is not busy making jewelry or immersing herself in the forest, she is cooking. Kieu, as she says, loves making in all its forms. She does not restrict her creativity to only jewelry making. She finds time to create delicious Vietnamese meals, and even made a leather purse last year.

Related: Kieu Pham Gray on Jewelry Artist Podcast

Kieu explains that we are all makers, saying “which form of making we choose is just different from one person to another . . . Food is really a great way to show love to people and it’s also not frivolous which is something I fight with making jewelry.” At the beginning of lockdown, she had a lot of time to think about food waste, and being an environmentalist, has minimized her waste in not only cooking, but jewelry making. She says, “I make things and try to make things that are functional.” She strives to make jewelry that will be worn many times.

Jewelry project from Kieu Pham Gray's Linear Accents Bead Fest workshop
Linear Accents workshop by Kieu Pham Gray

Learn with Kieu

When COVID-19 lockdowns began, Kieu began to hold online broadcasts to supplement her lost in-person teaching income. She says, “I started on Facebook and then we went to two channels, and now I’m on four channels . . . that became the business.”

She now teaches a wide range of online and in-person courses, from beginner to advanced courses at VirtuallyEverCrafting.com and elsewhere, including Bead Fest. Learn a new jewelry making technique or push your skills to the next level with Kieu!

All images courtesy of Kieu Pham Gray.

Interweave Projects from Kieu Pham Gray


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