Work by more than 100 Artisans inside new Carmel more

Handmade sterling and fine silver jewelry incorporating lampwork beads
Carol Watson

Out of necessity, Carol also learned silversmithing, and today her work consists of handmade sterling and fine silver jewelry incorporating her lampwork beads.

Well over a decade ago, after “floating from one craft to the next” as she describes it, Carol Watson went back to high school. “I saw an ad for an adult education class on making glass beads at our local school,” she said. “I thought it sounded perplexing and wonderful at the same time, and I was right.”

Since “finding glass,” she has been in many classrooms – taking workshops, continuing to learn and continuing to practice. Once she began gaining recognition for her unique bead work, Carol said, “I had no idea what to do with them. Out of necessity I had to learn silversmithing,” and today she combines the two in creating handmade sterling and fine silver jewelry incorporating her lampwork beads.

Reflecting on her art career and how it led to jewelry making, she said, “Growing up in the Northwest corner of the state, money was sometimes tight, but I never knew it. If we couldn’t buy something, making it was always an option.” She says her father was a “Jack of All Trades, Master of None. Nothing intimidated him,” she said, “and I think some of that rubbed off on me. I think hot molten glass would intimidate most people.”

Perhaps continuing to “float,” but now always on to better design and craftsmanship within the media of glass and silversmithing, Carol’s work is recognizable for unique style and quality, and for that she was recognized by the State as an Indiana Artisan. “Inspiration comes in different ways,” she said. “Sometimes I sit at my torch, and once the glass starts melting, inspiration comes in color, shape and function, and it continues throughout the process. It can change from when I start the bead to the end result. For example, an earring bead can easily become a pendant.”

Carol’s beads take on an organic appearance, and from the start she says she treats them as if they are a natural stone to be used in traditional jewelry. “I like to bezel-set cabochon beads, much like you would a gemstone, then make a fused silver link bracelet to accompany it,” she says. All of Carol’s pieces are handmade and one-of-a-kind.

A dental hygienist by day, Carol said making glass beads is a passion, and that her long-term goal is “to do what I love every single day.” The time she does find for jewelry work provides enough inventory to participate in local juried shows and to be part of Zionsville’s Art In Hand Gallery.

“As silly as it sounds,” she says, “I don’t design jewelry to please other people. I design what I like. If others like it just as much, and they’re willing to buy it, that’s icing on the cake.” She said having the Indiana Artisan honor lets her clients be assured they are purchasing a quality item.

“I applied to Indiana Artisan because I believed my art is worthy of the brand,” Carol said. “It’s important that my art is represented as quality work locally, but being part of this organization expands that representation.”