Off the Clock: Linehan Has Found a Gem of a Hobby

Posted: November 18, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Colleen Kearney Rich

It began innocently enough. Tere Linehan was just window-shopping at Tysons Corner and lingered a little too long in front of a bead store. The cool lime of peridot and the saturated blues of lapis lazuli drew her in. Soon Linehan was enrolled in a bead-stringing class, and the next thing she knew, she was an entrepreneur.

What started off as a pastime for the College of Arts and Sciences director of development soon became a passion and a business. Her line, Handcrafted Jewelry by Tere, features necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and watches of semiprecious beads.

Five years into making jewelry, the beads have slowly begun to take over Linehan’s home, mainly the dining room and kitchen where she stores them. “It’s an addiction,” she says. “I have to sell them so I can keep buying more.”

Tere Linehan with jewelry
Tere Linehan shows off her line of jewelry made with natual stones.

Linehan has taken her show on the road and received a great response to her work. A member of the Northern Virginia Handcrafters Guild, she has been featured in a number of craft shows throughout the area. She has also gained access to juried craft shows, which is not an easy task for one so new to the business. Linehan believes her use of natural stones has made her one-of-a-kind pieces more attractive to craft show jurors.

“There aren’t as many jewelry artists using these kinds of beads,” she says.

Entering into the business of craft shows isn’t as simple as it might sound. Crafters also need to work on their displays, which involves purchasing tables and lights to properly exhibit the wares. Then there is the financial end to consider. “People are more likely to buy more items if you can take a credit card,” she says.

Linehan admits to pricing some items higher if she isn’t ready to let go of them. “Sometimes when a piece is still new, and I especially like it, I’m not sure I want to put it out there,” she says. But Linehan isn’t above cutting up a necklace or bracelet and starting over if she isn’t happy with the results. “It has a lot to do with symmetry for me. That’s part of the reason I don’t like to take custom orders. It needs to look right for me.”

Her Yorkshire terriers, Precious and Snuggles, are definitely pleased with their mistress’ hobby. To design her jewelry and string beads, Linehan must be seated, which is just fine with the Yorkies. Frequently the two are her creative companions through a jewelry-making session.

Linehan says she receives positive energy from the creative process and working with the natural beads. On weekends, when she makes her jewelry, she says, “Hours can seem like minutes when you are focused on the perfect design for your next creation. It’s 2 a.m. before you realize it.”

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