Balancing Crystals With Pots

By Beacon Staff

“I love beads,” says Kristi Veseth. “I can’t stop buying beads, and I have to do something with them.” Veseth does do something with her beads. She designs jewelry.

But like many local artists, stringing glass and crystal beads doesn’t pay the rent. Many hold down several jobs, bending around work schedules to produce their art. But Veseth is lucky. When she’s not creating necklaces, she’s selling pottery, paintings, photographs, and her jewelry, too, at Whitefish Pottery and Stillwater Gallery on Central Avenue.

Balancing both jobs, Veseth runs the retail at the shop three days a week and works at home on her jewelry the other two. “They didn’t make a potter out of me,” she laughs, referring to the rest of the production staff at Whitefish Pottery. “Let them get dirty in the studio, and I’ll just sell the pots.” To learn about pottery, Veseth threw pots at the studio for a while. “I got a full immersion there,” she says, turning to a customer to discuss a glazing.

Veseth also organizes Whitefish Gallery Nights shows for the shop’s gallery. She rounds up the art and sets up the displays. For this year’s first show in May, she is corralling works from 30 potters for the Flathead Valley Clay Show.

On her off-shop days, the Flathead Valley native designs necklaces, earrings, lariat-style leashes, and hanging crystal prisms. Light dances off Austrian Swarovski crystals placed in between unique colored beads imported from San Francisco and Indonesia. It’s even hard to talk to Veseth without starring at one of her chokers gleaming purple and silver around her neck. She soon hopes to add bracelets to her line that she has dubbed “Lovepuppy Designs.”

Veseth’s jewelry is only sold in the shop and online (www.lovepuppydesigns.com). But she hopes to expand to other gallery shops in Montana. In the meantime, she juggles the two jobs with a big smile.