Denise May






Denise May


I began making jewelry as a small child using tiny shells with holes and pretty rocks, string and found bits of wire mixed with broken bits of costume jewelry from my mom and granny. Later, my grandparents bought me a beadwork belt from Cherokee, NC, and I was hooked. I studied the woven seed beads and learned how it was done. I taught myself beadwork from internet tutorials and took up the vocation of jewelry-making in earnest over 20 years ago. Before that I worked as an engineering aide/draftsman with TVA, a substitute teacher in Roane County, and I did freelance writing and editing.

I have also juried into AACC in fiber with my handmade purses, wallets, and other items. I’ve been sewing since I was 8 years old and I enjoy the structure of purses, like putting together a puzzle with reinforcement.


I took classes in metalwork & cold connections from Debra Lynn Gold and torch-fired enameling from Marjorie Simon at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts and I love fold-forming, forging, cold connections and soldering.  During the Marjorie Simon class, Arrowmont was re-roofing the metals building, tearing off the old copper roof. They gave some of the old copper to the class participants and I love my jewelry made from the Arrowmont Roof.

I have also begun designing patterns for beadwork and sewing. I sew regularly and welcome custom work–especially hats! I repair beadwork and some jewelry. 

Besides selling and being the webmaster for AACC, I sell at Locally Grown Gallery in Oak Ridge. I’m a former member of Foothills Craft Guild and TACA and the Arts Council of Roane County.