When I was six, I asked my grandma if I could have her jewelry when she died. I guess you can say that I have always been interested in sparkly things.
I'm Paula Cathcart Nettleship, the designer and creator of all things designs2c. I was born and raised in Ventura, CA but have called Pittsburgh, PA home since 1992. designs2c began in 2006 as a collaboration with my youngest sister Robin Cathcart, hence the "2c" in designs. But Robin had a baby and moved to Scotland. While I miss her family, I've continuted with the business we started and still love every minute of it.
Although my degree from UC Santa Barbara is in history, I supplemented that curriculum with many art history courses and costume design for theater. These passions and interests converged in my love of all things British and royal and are reflected in my designs.
From the beginning, my art has been driven by color and texture. I use primarily glass seed beads, Czech glass beads, and Swarovski crystals. Their consistent size and range of colors and shapes lend themselves to these pieces. Czech glass beads, in particular, drive new and innovative design. Their colors are extraordinary, and they introduce new bead shapes on an almost daily basis. However, my seed bead pieces are formed by stitch choice rather than the bead shape. Right Angle Weave stitch is my favorite. It is an extremely basic, even simple, but versatile type of structural stitch that allows me to create a framework of loops or bars on which I can then play with shape and color or embellish with other beads.
My art is inspired by more than simply beads and stitches. Edwardian and Indian jewelry are lifelong interests. Their shapes and colors influence the designs and overtones of my pieces. For example, the shape of my recent “Loop” necklace was inspired by an early 20th century English tiara. The materials and stitch gave a classic form a clean, modern look. The rich jewel tones and use of pearls in my jewelry are reminiscent of the subcontinent.
While I make statement pieces worthy of art shows, I also design for everyday wear. I am happiest when they are one and the same. A favorite quotes is by Marc Jacobs. He said, “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.” That too is very important to me. I make jewelry that is functional, beautiful and ultimately wearable.
Today, I am married to a Brit. While he isn't royal, he is a prince among men. We have two grown children.