I create artisan jewelry using different bead weaving techniques, working primarily with seed beads, Czech beads, and Swarovski crystals and pearls. My stitch choice dictates the structure of my pieces. Right angle weave has flat, cubic and prismatic variants. While I use all versions of right angle, my preferred variant is cubic right angle weave. I use it to build a framework on which I can then play with shape and color or embellish with other beads and stitches. I weave some pieces as one, but I also weave beaded beads that I assemble into a complete work.
Paula Cathcart Nettleship was born and raised in Ventura, California. She is the oldest of four children and spent 12 years in Catholic school. Her mother is first generation Mexican American and part of an extended, multi ethnic family. This early exposure to a range of cultures and languages continues to influence her approach to art and life.
She attended UC Santa Barbara, majoring in European History. She supplemented that curriculum with art history and theater costume design courses. None of these choices were surprising given her lifelong love of all things British and royal.
It was at UCSB that Paula met her husband Ian, a post doc in Materials Science and Engineering and British. They spent 2 years in Champaign Illinois where Paula worked in a bank and learned to drive in snow. Ian found a permanent faculty position at the University of Pittsburgh in the School of Engineering and they relocated in 1992, halfway between their respective families.
Their first child was 10 weeks premature after a difficult pregnancy. Paula decided to quit work, stay home and take care of Robert. This sabbatical lasted 12 years during which they welcomed another premature child Claire.
Things began to change in 2006 when she and her youngest sister Robin formed designs2C jewelry, the “2C” representing the two of them and a nod to their family name Cathcart. Robin moved to Scotland in 2007 but Paula kept the business going. Growing up she had learned to sew, embroider and knit. These skills came in handy as she moved from basic strung jewelry to more intricately woven pieces.
Drawing on her interests in European Royalty and love of historic jewelry she is especially inspired by Edwardian and Indian jewelry. Their shapes and colors influence the designs and overtones of her pieces. For example, the shape of her early “Loop” necklace was inspired by an early 20th century English tiara. The materials and stitch gave a classic form a clean, modern vintage look. The rich jewel tones and use of pearls in her jewelry are reminiscent of the subcontinent. It’s a modern vintage feel.
While Paula makes statement pieces worthy of art shows, she designs for everyday wear. A favorite quote by Marc Jacobs sums up her design philosophy. “The customer is the final filter. What survives the whole process is what people wear. I’m not interested in making clothes that end up in some dusty museum.” designs2C jewelry is functional, beautiful, and ultimately wearable.
Robert and Claire are healthy and all grown up. The business grew with them. While in high school and college, Claire worked summer shows with Paula and they cherished their time together. Now Ian charms everyone at shows with his British accent. When not beading, Paula enjoys cooking and searching for the ultimate cookie recipe.