Ayla Pizzo and FinolaOnce upon a dreary Illinois winter, Ayla found herself in an art store and at a crossroads. She was bored with winter's confinement and seleced two art kits: one for pottery, the other for beading. At home, she randomly chose to try the beading kit first and she fell in love; alas, the pottery kit was never opened. In 1996, Ayla was taking stock of her life when an opportunity presented itself: the bead shop where she had been purchasing materials closed. She thought, "How cool would it be to play with beads all day? and decided to take a big, crazy chance. Within months of its closing, she reopened the shop as Ayla's Originals and moved the location in Evanston, IL.

The store is now a treasure trove of beads, gemstones, and jewelry for scores of designers. As a result, Ayla's has become one of the top bead stores in the nation. Creating her own jewelry line, Ayla's Own, Ayla discovered an artistry she never knew she possessed. Her love of beads grows every year as she discovers even more shapes, colors, and techniques to express her art. Ayla's Own Jewelry collections have been featured in Chicago's world-class Field Museum in conjunction with the special exhibit "Pearls", as well as The Art Institute. Ayla's Own Jewelry can be found in numerous boutiques across the country. Ayla has designed jewelry worn onstage in several productions at the prestigious Northlight Theater in Skokie, Illinois. Ayla’s jewelry has been featured in numerous magazines, including Bead & Button, Bead Style and Women’s Wear Daily.

Ayla, her husband Joe Pizzo and loving Papillion Finola, reside in Chicago.

Stop in the store and say hello!

photo: Joseph Studios