I've been in the studio a lot lately, working on a new line of jewelry and I thought I'd like to share with folks the inner workings of my jewelry designs and processes. I've had my good friend and business consultant Andrew Beck interview me here (if you're in need of small business consulting for sales, marketing, customer relations, or employee management, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org):
A: When did you first discover that you wanted to be a jewelry designer?
B: I've been making jewelry since I was a little kid. At that time it was with beads and hemp twine doing macrame on the beach. I made lots of anklets and bracelets. I must have been about 7 or 8 then. When I was in college my sophomore year I decided to change my major to sculpture and discovered the Small Metals studio and a world of possibilities opened up as far as tools, materials, and techniques. I fell in love with the process of creating and wearing my art and just kept doing it.
A: How would you describe your designs?
B: I like my designs to capture a blend of organic shapes with geometric shapes. I enjoy mixing materials which juxtapose each other - like wood and metal or leather and stone. My designs include shapes, symbols, and imagery that are related to the Earth, the divine, outer space, and the human experience. I like to incorporate plant parts into pieces because I also make herbal medicine and am aware of the energetic healing that can happen from wearing plants or stones on your body. I consider my jewelry a kind of physical medicine to be put on the body, as well as meaningful materials to adorn and add to an individuals' personal aesthetic.
A: What are you favorite materials to work with?
B: Seed beads, gemstones, and copper. Copper is my favorite metal both because of its beautiful and transformative color and its softness. It's been such a pleasure working with these Kentucky Coffee tree seeds. I have to practice patience when drilling them, though!
A: Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
B: The Earth, of course! I am generally in awe of the amazing gifts that come from the Earth and I always have my hands touching them - plants, stones, metal, bone, leather, wood - everything I make is with these gifts. I think it's easy to take Earthly gifts for granted, but if you look around right now and recognize each thing that came from the Earth, you can see how much a part of everything the Earth is (ourselves, included!). It is a beautiful planet we live on.
A: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
B: Always do your best. And our best can mean something different every day depending on how we're feeling. I try to embody that one as well as I can.
A: What is your favorite color?
B: Teal, ultramarine blue (like the color of lapis lazuli), black, gold, copper.
A: How do you incorporate color in your designs and why?
B: The blue-greens and natural browns with copper or brass generally dominate in my designs. I think they go together so well and blue-green colors feel incredibly soothing to me. I also love shiny and sparkly metallics. I've certainly experienced the healing power of color therapy and I think there's something to be said for wearing a particular color that makes you feel a certain way. I always tell people that colors (and tasting) are my favorite part of life. There's so many good ones!
A: What inspired your most recent pieces?
B: Recently I've been excited by working with gemstones and found objects. The more I work with gemstones, the more I want to. I also use gemstones for energetic healing and I really feel a strong connection to them when we work together. Found objects are treasures I find on my journeys in life and I think they tell a good story of their own. If you think about it, people have been wearing jewelry made from found materials forever. The process is still generally the same, but the materials we find these days have changed. I love objects that have history and textures that make you want to touch them. Texture really guides a lot of my work. When I enter a new environment the first thing I do is touch the surfaces around me. If you ask me, touch is an under appreciated sense.
A: What are some of the most interesting objects you've found and why?
B: I'm a fan of deteriorating found objects - like bones, rusty bottle caps, soda tabs, scrap metal, and driftwood. Driftwood is really amazing; I've found weathered lumber, roots with rocks stuck in them from being grown over, swamp plant roots that look like aliens, bamboo...whatever comes with the tide!
A: What do you hope your jewelry does for the people who buy it?
B: Mostly, I hope it brings them joy. But also, I hope it makes them feel strong, protected, creative, alive, beautiful, and expressive.
Thanks for reading!