How did you get started with jewellery-making?
I would like to say something awfully creative and inspiring like "it was my calling" or "I have been making jewellery since I was a child" or something like that but the truth is that it all started with a jewellery-making kit from my good friend Nick one Christmas. I tried my hand at it and found it so much fun and such good stress relief that I just continued and have never looked back!!
I would make tons and tons of jewellery and give it away to friends and family and then one day one of them suggested that I sell it. My initial reaction was complete horror...I was so fearful that turning my passion into a business venture would steal the pleasure from the experience but luckily it didn't so here I am today with my little corner of Etsy
Do you have a dedicated studio space? If not, where do you work?
I so wish I could answer yes to this question but alas my kitchen table and half the living room have to double as my home studio space at present.
My materials stash is rapidly taking over our living areas so I am seriously considering converting the spare room into my dedicated studio space. We will have to see what [my boyfriend] Menno says about it though!
Do you wear your own jewellery? Do you just make things you would wear yourself?
You are going to laugh but actually I can't stand wearing any kind of jewellery at all (well perhaps the odd ring). I know that sounds so strange coming from someone who makes jewellery. I have an inkling that it may be to do with self esteem as I notice that people who wear eye-catching jewellery are often very confident in their appearance. But hey I am working on it! There is one designer though for whom I make an exception and that is ishdesigns on Etsy. She makes jewellery with Japanese washi/yuzen paper on mother of pearl which she then resins to give a glossy glassy finish.
I tend to make jewellery that I find visually appealing using materials and colours that put a smile on my face. But I do try to vary my style somewhat to appeal to a broad spread of tastes but at the end of the day, because I do this for my own pleasure, my pieces inevitably end up being things that delight me (rather selfish I know) - unless of course it is a custom order.
Are you yourself as elegant and stylish as your jewellery suggests?
Hmmmmm I must admit I am never up on current trends....I tend to stick to clothing that I like and that I know suits my body whether it is in fashion or not. Back in my law school days I used to wear ponchos and knee high boots to college all the time (this was before they were fashionable) and I used to get called "Clint" (as in Eastwood) quite regularly. The same story with knee high boots...I have a HUGE collection and wear them regardless of current fashion trends :D Needless to say, I felt rather smug when they became all the rage!!
I like to think I have my own style....whether or not that is elegant or stylish is a matter of opinion I guess hahaha
What is your number one favourite material that you absolutely could not imaging crafting without. If it had never existed, how would it change your work? what might you be making instead?
Wow this is such a hard question to answer because there are so many materials I find essential for my designs. I guess the number one material would be sterling silver as this forms the basis for all my jewellery. Another would probably be gemstones. I just love the range of colours and that little added sparkle they give to any design.
I think if I didn't have access to these materials I would try my hand at making silk and hemp jewellery.
Do you ever get crafter’s block?
This question made me laugh out loud as I have been majorly suffering with lack of creative mojo of late. My frustration with my creative block growing so great that I even ended up blogging about the whole episode. I am happy to say, however, that loss of creative mojo is, thankfully, not a regular occurence. On the odd occasion that this does happen, I just tend to give myself time to step away from my jewellery-making and go off and do other things I enjoy which tends to reignite my enthusiasm for designing and making pieces.
I recently picked up a series of books by Elizabeth Chadwick at the airport and have become somewhat of a fan. Her stories tend to be loosely based on historical facts and are mostly set in medieval times with plenty of knights in armour and maidens occassionaly in distress but mostly quite fiesty!
Images in my mind from Chadwick's books have strongly influenced my most recent pieces: the "Camelot" and the "Montroi" choker/necklaces which both, to my mind, have a strongly medieval feel about them. Both these pieces were also strongly inspired by the gorgeous beads I received from Lupin via the UK Etsy swap group.
What is your favourite item in your shop right now?
Oh that would have to be my Juicy Delight bracelet with Mexican fire opals. Just looking at it makes me feel happy and the colours are just perfect for summer. Plus it's my avatar and banner for my store and I even have it on my business cards!
[Juicy Delight bracelet]
What other creative outlets do you have?
I sometimes have flashes of inspiration and just come up with a particular project I want to do.
I made a chandelier a while ago using 8000+ Swarovski crystals because I couldn't find anything I liked in the shops and knew exactly what I wanted. I tend to be rather fearless (or naive depends how you look at it) when it comes to new projects.....I never for a moment thought that I wouldn't be able to make the chandelier.....perhaps overly confident lol It took 3 months! I don't think I'd do it again hehehe
[the finished chandelier]
Menno and I go to ceramics classes every week which we both enjoy and I paint and draw when the mood takes me.
[sashimi plate by Anna]
What five words would you use to describe Etsy?
Fun, Addictive, Sociable, Colourful, Friendly
What is your current favourite shop on Etsy?
I think my favourite shop on Etsy would have to be ishdesigns. The oriental look of the jewellery really appeals to me probably because I am half Japanese. I feel like it's a small celebration of my Japanese side when I wear it. Seriously I think I have about 15 pieces of her jewellery!! Slight ishdesigns addiction!
[Anna's most recent purchase from ishdesigns]
What was your last Etsy purchase?
My last Etsy purchase was a custom order from Askey of my 2 siamese cats Maru and Luna. Askey is a seriously talented lady and a dream to work with!!
[custom print by Askey]
And finally, what is your favourite kind of cheese?
My favourite cheese would have to be Dutch young cheese which is very mild but absolutely scrummy. I can never seem to find it in the UK so have to bring back huge blocks whenever we visit Menno's folks in Holland.
More featured sellers coming soon!