Bedazzling Dancers Part 1 of 2
The vast majority of jewelry artisans I know don't depend on the craft for a living but work on their passion in their free time.  But  Marsha Wiest-Hines of Minnesota is lucky. She has a double jewelry life! By day she designs ballroom dancing gowns and jewelry. In her spare time, she makes stunning beadwork jewelry as the artisan behind Haute Ice Beadwork.

Marsha has a theater background. She earned her fine arts degree from the University of Montana and then her MA from Purdue University specializing in costume design. She launched her own costume design business catering to competitive ballroom dancers called Made for Movement in 1987. If you love sewing and costumes or are aspiring to be a ballroom dancer, do check it out. She averages 30-35 gross of rhinestones per dress - sometimes as many as 100 gross!! That's a lot of sparkles but then dancers want to bedazzle in more ways than just in their dance moves.

I found her blog post "When Worlds Collide" a fascinating read because she describes how she designed one of her ballroom dancing gowns and the accompanying jewelry. She shared a picture of her lovely client, Randee (above) wearing her new purple Latin gown. Notice the simplicity of design - unusual for a ballroom dancing gown because the only sparkly bits are actually the jewelry pieces themselves.

Here is a closeup of that purple dress. Marsha explains she goes for mirror backed crystals - the "maximum dazzle for dollar". She also mostly glues them onto ultrasuede bases for speed in order to keep the cost down. Dancers already spend a few thousand dollars on a dress so Marsha has to make the jewelry cost effective.She not only designed and fitted the ultrasuede base to Randee but she also made sure it stayed in place even when Randee is dancing.

Her beading store is cleverly named as it combines elements of her two worlds. Haute is French for high (haute couture = high fashion) and ice is slang for jewelry.  Here are my favorite picks from her Etsy store :

For her Elizabethan jabot inspired pendant, she used a Peruvian opal focal and bedecked it with beaded pearls, Czech bead and lots of Swarovski crystals:

This dramatic statement design, Sticks and Stones Choker necklace is a stunner! Marsha is not an ex-theater student and repertory player for nothing. She used bronze stick pearls, Swarovski volcano triangles and every beading stitch she knew - peyote, herringbone, brick stitch, netting and fringe.

Last but not least, her creation for the Etsy Beadweavers May Challenge, "Hollywood Red Carpet Creations":

Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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