"Hello, my name is Nealay. I am a designer, author and instructor."
In his freshman year of high school, Nealay was enrolled in a Business Technology class. A task was assigned to him to form a team and market an actual product. As the leader of his team, Nealay delegated his fellow classmates to handle the paperwork and he would create the physical product. After considerable thought, they decided marketing jewelry would be the best option for them and so Nealay set out to shop for the materials that he needed to make a few pieces. The project was a success and he found himself hooked on a potential new hobby.
In the following summer, Nealay remembers watching a craft show that featured a brilliant designer who created impressive wearable art. Completely inspired by the idea that he could try this, Nealay found various beading patterns online and put himself to work. Eventually, he began to manipulate various beading techniques and stitches and began composing his own designs.
With the support of his teacher from the Business Technology class, Nealay participated in various arts and craft shows, but found no satisfaction in selling his work. Instead, Nealay submitted his works to various beading publications, asking them to have his designs published as patterns. Not too long after, Nealay started teaching bead-work locally at various locations and realized that he really enjoyed it.
Nealay discovered that he loves to solve beading problems. Nothing has given him more pleasure than creating something that is beautiful, very wearable, and easy for others to make. Nealay says “Each design is like solving a puzzle. Sometimes I see the finished design in my head, and then it suddenly shatters into a thousand pieces. My mission is to pick up those pieces and arrange them back together to complete the design.”
His first book, Jewelry for the New Romantic, introduced many new ideas in using beading wire as the central element of design. “Creating the designs, dabbling in creative writing and working with a great team at Kalmbach was just the tip of the iceberg.” Nealay says.
Authoring his second book, Jewelry designs with Knitted Wire, explored combining knitted wire with beading. This made yet another landmark for Nealay's accomplishments.
Since then, he has had the opportunity work with Soft Flex wire, Jesse James Beads, SilverSilk and BeadSmith and has appear as a regular guest on Jewel School, which is a show for jewelry makers on Jewelry Television.