Tracy Gonzales has a degree in art and a widely varied art and design background. She is currently enjoying an intensive bead education working for TierraCast, where she is frequently up to her elbows in jewelry making. She has a crazy busy but happy life, and two beautiful children who constantly amuse and amaze her.
Katie Hacker is an artist and writer who started designing her own jewelry as a teenager when she couldn’t find fashionable clip earrings for her un-pierced ears. She turned her pastime into a business and now makes a living doing what she loves best — making jewelry and sharing her ideas.
A prolific author, whose books have sold more than half a million copies, Katie provides beading advice as the presenter of Beading Lessons on the PBS series Beads, Baubles & Jewels. She free-lances beading projects to a variety of national publications and is the editor of Creativity, one of the world’s largest, free crafting e-mail newsletters. She has been commissioned to create original designs for Beadalon, Pure Allure, and other companies.
Katie is passionate about demystifying jewelry making, and she specializes in projects that are fashionable and fun. Her approachable style helps new beaders feel less intimidated and more empowered. “I love helping people find their source of creativity through beads,” she says. Her workshops at national venues like the Bead & Button Show feature easy-to-learn techniques for creating boutique-style jewelry.
Bonnie Ogilvie-Apra grew up in the jewelry business, but she tried out a few other careers before realizing that the jewelry world is where she feels at home. Bonnie says, “Funny how some things go full circle!” As a sales representative for Garlan Chain, Dakota Stone, Leather Cord USA, Unit Tool, RBC and RG Flair , Bonnie has had the opportunity to experiment with a lot of amazing products over the past ten years. She’s discovered that she loves to create! She enjoys the process of design, from figuring out the best way to highlight a special stone to learning new techniques. When she isn’t working for the family business, she’s surfing, watching her daughter play sports and reading crime novels.
Jamie North has been designing jewelry and instructing jewelry making classes since 2004. She is an avid beader (SRAJD 1310) whose designs have been published in numerous beading magazines including Bead & Button, Bead Style, Bead Design Studio, Step-by-Step Beads, Stringing, 101 Bracelets Necklaces and Earrings, Creative Jewelry, Beadwork and, most recently, the book Crystal Jewelry Inspiration. Jamie instructs classes both in Canada, the United States and The Bahamas and is honoured to be one of only 3 CREATE YOUR STYLE with Swarovski Elements Ambassadors in Canada.
An active designer for Unicorn Beads, Jamie enjoys receiving all the new beads from them to create with. She has also designed for Helby/BeadSmith, is featured on Artbeads.com, and has projects on various other vendor sites.
Jamie’s background includes diverse and extensive experience as a Human Resource professional with particular focus on recruitment and training. She has developed and delivered many courses on a variety of topics – now happily confining her training to jewelry-making and design.
Jamie has one son and daughter-in-law and she is a proud western Canadian girl. She resides in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her life partner, Kevin, and their four precious ‘fur babies’, Max, Tessa, Jewel, and most recently, Winston. Jamie and Kevin also participate with Pawsitive Match Rescue Foundation helping dogs rescued locally, from Mexico, the United States, and the Northwest Territories.
Laura R. Timmons, a Create Your Style with SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS Ambassador, travels the world internationally teaching her unique creations. Teaching in faraway places such as Bangkok, Seoul, Guadalajara, or her own backyard, Laura incorporates her passion for design, the joy of inspiring others, and of course her obsession with crystals. Feeding her love to write, for four years she has been the Fashion Editor for Bead Design Studio magazine: “Your 911 to the Fashion 411”, and you can find a Swarovski Elements sponsored design in each issue as well. Laura also is a regular contributor to a new magazine Bead it Today, with a column called “Junk to Jewels” which focuses on upcycling projects. Many of Laura’s designs have been in several other trade publications throughout the industry. Teaching on many previous cruises, Laura was a teacher on the first ever SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS Cruise in November 2009, and the April 2011 cruise. Laura’s most recent ventures have been on television, featuring her designs on Beads, Baubles, and Jewels, and Jewelry TV. She has been an instructor for SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS for the past nine years, in Tucson, as well as Bead and Button. Laura is also proud do be a designer for Beadalon, and honored to be a part of their elite design team. Please visit www.vintagemoon.net for finished pieces, kits, and information on all of her adventures in crystal!
Kristin Oppold has been making jewelry for more than 10 years. She calls her style Earthy Urban Chic with a Modern Bohemian or Tribal Flair. She started her once hobby for fun and for free until friends told friends which lead to YaY! Jewelry. It is named after saying YaY! , I get to make jewelry today when her kids went back to school after a long summer break. Her style is highly recognizable and has graced the cover of Belle Armoire Jewelry Magazine along with securing the designer collection. She has also been featured in Stringing and Bead Trends Magazine. Kristin’s jewelry has been seen on TV. One of Kristin’s necklaces graced actresses Claire Holts neck who plays Rebekah in The Vampire Diaries Season 4. Kristin states she will be making jewelry her lifetime, she loves it that much. As long as I stay open to this ever evolving art and my hands and body are able I will be making jewelry.