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Tamara Allison – Beadwork Jewelry Creator

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If you are wanting some unique jewelry that is artful, glamorous, and funky, Tamara Allison is the lady to see. Her jewelry is primarily bead-work, although she does use unexpected items in her work, such as ceramic and glass tiles, sea glass, and washers of all sorts.

She started doing bead-work on a lark while visiting a friend at the age of 13 and fell in love with the intricacy of that medium. Before that she loved jigsaw puzzles and warns that if a 2000-piece jigsaw puzzle is fun, then beading might be for you. To share her love of this art, she gives private lessons and sells how to tutorials.

Her jewelry can be found at Down the Rabbit Hole Vintage Collectibles on Lamar Street, and she can also be found there a couple days a week, but her full-time job is creating jewelry which she does from her home. She also has a presence on Facebook under her business name, Vanishing Pearl, and a store on Etsy.com of the same name. She is also a regular at the Farmer’s Market and at local events, like the After Hours Artwalk. She travels in the area to other events like the Bowie Artwalk. Tamara added, “I am going to try this year to do video tutorials. I have been streaming live on Twitch, an online community, and hope to get on YouTube this summer.”

She has won several awards for her jewelry from finalist to 2nd place, and photos of her wares have been published in several magazines, as well as some of her how-to articles. She is self-taught, although her mother also does bead-work. In fact, some of her first creations were with beads she “stole” from her mom she said mischievously. Eventually her mom started making Tamara buy her own beads. Tamara originally checked out books from the library and learned from the same magazines that she would later be published in. “I did take 2 workshops on beading though from 2 instructors that I really admire,” she said.

For 16 years she has been honing her craft. She also started selling in galleries at the tender age of 15. She has sold art locally at several stores and at the Kemp Center for the Arts. However, she is now exclusively at Down the Rabbit Hole Vintage Collectibles.

Her mother often attended craft shows, and in some of them Tamara was able to sell her own beaded jewelry. “I was probably 15 when I was setting up shows with my mom. I would sneak in a little card table and sell from there. They weren’t very good pieces and they weren’t well displayed, but I was a teenager, and I got enough pity sales to want to continue,” she said with a laugh.

Tamara is originally from Taos, New Mexico, lived in Tennessee when she was a teenager, came to Wichita Falls to go to college at Midwestern State University, and has made this her home. “I ended up here because MSU has a good website. I majored in Metalsmithing and minored in Painting, but I still prefer the beading. I paint sometimes and then may not paint again for 2 years. I doodle a lot and sketch in my journal. I used to write down instructions, but now I write my dreams down in it and use it for many things, like fitness trackers, which I don’t like, and habit trackers which I don’t use,” she said with a grin.

“I bead almost every day, or I am doing things like promoting my jewelry on Facebook or updating my Etsy page. I take lots and lots of commissions. I’ve had people ask me to make a roadrunner, lady bugs, bumble bees, ice cream cones, beaded buttons, and a cactus, out of beads. A lot of it is motif based. Customers ask me to make this picture or their favorite object with beads, and I can do that for them. I had one lady ask me to make some jewelry for her out of beach glass she and her daughter found 13 years ago. It was a memory piece.”

Tamara can capture your memories in a piece of jewelry, or you can have that unique one of a kind necklace, bracelet or earrings that will set you apart. Check out her inventory or have a piece of wearable art designed just for you.

-Cindy Thomas