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Medusa's Stones

Sheila Papaioannou

Artist Statement & Biography


As a child, Grandma's jewelry box seemed to have the most incredible treasures.  I could get lost in there, fascinated by the colorful gemstones, creamy pearls, flashing crystals and sparkling rhinestones.  In my eyes, these elements always blended together beautifully in that box.  It was a treat when Grandma allowed me to look at her precious things, and I was honored and proud when she would place jewelry around my neck.  I remember feeling beautiful, confident and special wearing her jewelry.  I think of this as I create jewelry with my own hands and hope people feel the same way when they wear my pieces.

My favorite jewelry designs combine a forgotten piece of vintage jewelry with newer elements to create the kind of beauty I saw in Grandma's jewelry box.  I love to take something old and make it new again.  Vintage crystals, antique earrings, old enamel pieces and vintage pottery shards transform into unique wearable art in my hands.  Each piece of jewelry that I make with vintage elements has a piece of history in it.  I mix these elements with quality gemstones, precious metals, Swarovski crystals and my own torched glass beads. 

I began melting glass in 2003, and it sent me down a new creative path.  I started torching so I could make the size and color beads I envisioned for a particular vintage piece, and it has turned into an obsession.  It is mesmerizing and soothing to watch the glass move as it is heated by the flame of a torch, and it is empowering to turn this molten glob of glass into a work of art.  Each bead is individually created and balanced in the flame, then fully annealed in a digitally controlled kiln to ensure its strength.  Before I work on the torch, I find inspiration in the vintage items in my ever growing collection.  The colors, shapes, textures and designs influence my work with glass.

A junior high school advanced art class is where I began learning the art of jewelry making, and I have returned to this hobby many times throughout my life.  After spending 12+ years as a Registered Nurse specializing in Pediatric Intensive Care, I decided to try and turn this life long hobby into a career.  Medusa's Stones began selling hand made jewelry at art shows in the Chicago area in 2001.  My jewelry can also be seen at select boutiques and art galleries in the Chicago area.


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Medusa's Stones

     by Sheila & Mitch Papaioannou

Artisan Glass & Jewelry