My name is Nancy Butler. Born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, I have been creating jewelry as a hobby nearly my entire life. Both of my parents are formally trained fine artists. From an early age, I was surrounded by and taught to recognize and appreciate form, composition and color. My love of jewelry started as a young child when, to keep us quietly occupied, my mother presented me and my sister with a box of beaded necklaces that had once belonged to our grandmother. I haven't stopped playing with beads since. Neither has my sister who now resides in Los Angeles and runs a successful jewelry business of her own. She and I meet once a year in Tucson for the world-renowned gem shows. For nearly two decades we have been making our annual pilgrimage to the Arizona desert. It is there that for a few days each year we immerse ourselves in all things jewelry and in the end, we take home with us renewed inspiration that we incorporate into our own jewelry designs and creations.
I established Alley Cat Jewelry Studios in 2012 and am scheduled to participate in several local artisan craft shows this year. The Alley Cat name was inspired by my two real-life alley cats that my husband and I rescued several years ago from the streets of downtown Wilmington. Both cats also love to play with beads and string and often accompany me for hours at a time while working at the bead bench.
I design and handcraft unique original one-of-a-kind beaded jewelry. I work primarily with semi-precious stones, pearls, crystal, lampwork and Czech glass, sterling silver, vermeil, copper, base metal and lead-free pewter. When designing jewelry, I let each piece develop naturally, often taking inspiration from the beads themselves.
In 2017 I had both the honor and the privilege of being showcased on WHYY's First Experience. The YouTube version of that First Experience segment can be viewed below and the link to the WHYY Newsworks article with additional photos is here. Many thanks to director Brian Drouin, photographer Paul Parmalee and all the staff and crew of WHYY - they did a fantastic job!