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Designer in the SpotlightSandra D. Halpenny

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Sandra D. Halpenny
by Sigrid Wynne-Evans     © April 2003

Sandra was born and raised in Chicago. After High School, Sandra went to school for Dress Design for about a year and a half, but then decided it wasn't for her. She didn't want to work in a sewing factory. Being so young, she didn't realize that is where most dress designers start. Sandra still enjoyed designing, so she continued to design clothes for all her girl friends and herself. She also did a bit of designing for Barbie.

Barbie1   Barbie2

Sandra decided to get back to what she enjoyed in high school: painting. She went to a local college and took several art classes, for oil painting, figure drawing and watercolor. She also took a couple classes at the Chicago Art institute.

At age 29, Sandra went back to school and received a degree in Architectural Technology after which she got a job interning at Portland Cement Association, and then stayed on there after the internship was over. That was where she met her husband. She was working as a drafts person, and her husband was an engineer. He later moved back to Canada for a new job. They married a year later and then she moved to Canada to be with him.

Up until last November, Sandra worked doing photo retouching and restoration. She worked for about 60 photographers locally. This was a business she started when she first moved to Canada, because she was looking for a job where she could work at home and use her background in art. Last year,after 13 years in this business, she had to give up photo retouching. After having cataract surgery on both eyes, she was no longer able to see the photos well enough to retouch photos full time. She was still doing her retouching by hand and didn't want to continue by only retouching on the computer.
Restoration

Ah! But to her great surprise, it didn't affect Sandra's being able to see beads! Since she had given up retouching and the stress from trying to see, she has been designing much more with her beads and coming up with more ideas.

One of the first friends that Sandra made in Canada, loved doing craft things as much as she did, so they started to take different classes together. Some of these classes included battenberg lace making, knitting, lace making and beading.

One day, Sandra went to a Danish lady's house and went into her basement. When she walked in and saw all the walls filled with packages of beads, she was hooked. The lady taught Danish bead work, which is net weaving. At first Sandra didn't ever think she would get the hang of it, but she finally did and she never looked back.

Sandra started designing in beadwork by modifying existing designs. Then one day, she started making her own designs. She used free graph paper from the Internet and started coloring. She gets ideas every where she goes, for many years she has been collecting vintage clothing patterns, tatting books, and also crochet books from the 20's, 30's, 40's. She especially loves vintage laces and the beautiful work that went into them. Below are some pictures of things she recently bought at a salvage yard. They have beautiful designs and somehow they might be made into beaded designs.

Ideas!   Ideas!   Ideas!

One of the necklaces that she recently put on BP is fashioned after some beaded trim from her 93 year old aunt's wedding dress. All of her aunts know that Sandra loves beads, so they save her all there old jewelry and any unused beads they come across.

Item 5633

Usually Sandra's favorite design is what she is working on at the moment. But her favorite thing she has made is not one of her designs, but something she made with the Danish lady. It was made doing net weave, using size 9/0 seed beads and is about 15" square. She started making it about 2 months after she started beading. It took about 6 months to complete. It got so heavy that after about an hour, Sandra would have to stop and take a break. She feels she really accomplished something beautiful and is proud that she actually finished it.

Favorite

Sandra found BP several years ago while searching the net for bead sites. She was so impressed with all the designs that were on the site, they were all wonderful and she always thought it would be great to be one of the designers and to be able to put patterns onto the site. And of course she downloaded some of the free things.

Sandra recalls that a couple of years ago she was working on a web page for the Professional Photographers of Ontario and she e-mailed Rita about a web site question. Rita freely shared her knowledge and helped Sandra out. Sandra thought how wonderful that a stranger is so willing to share information. Sandra put up her first design last year, after about a month of trying to get her PDF files down in size, with a lot of help from Rita. Sandra says, "I feel I am a very lucky person to be with such a wonderful group of people".

Sandra has an in home office which is a converted bedroom, it used to be for photo retouching and now she uses it for beading. She usually works at her desk, but she also likes beading in the family room while watching TV. She uses Adobe Photo Shop, Coral Draw (vers. 2.5) and a bit of Beadpainter, but her favorite designing technique is paper and color pencils for designing peyote patterns. This is because she can go out side in the summer and sit and design, its very portable. Sandra has been designing a lot of necklaces lately. The weather has been too cold to sit outside. She keeps small pads of paper and a drawing pencils around every where and if she gets an idea for a necklace she can jot it down. Then later she will see if the idea will translate into beads. It doesn't always end up how it started and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but the joy for Sandra is in the trying.

Me and my Office

Sandra's advice for all beaders is simple, she says "Don't be afraid to try new and different things. Beads are reusable and thread is cheap. The fun comes in the challenge and the doing."

 
 
Sandra D. Halpenny
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Some Patterns & PDF files designed using the following: Beader's Canvas, Beadscape, Bead Tool, Bead Pattern Designer, Bead Cellar, Bead Creator, Bead Wizard, Stitch Painter, Adobe Photo Shop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Acrobat, PS2PDF, Corel Draw, PS2PDF, Ghost Script, PrintToPDF.

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