Jen: I've always loved being "crafty." Making things. DIY projects. I started playing around with rocks about 5 years ago and something just clicked. I've always loved, loved, loved jewelry ever since I was a wee thing. My Grandma had loads of beautiful jewelry that my sister and I used to dress up with, so it's in my blood. I don't have any formal training, just a ton of books and bead magazines and lots of hours of trial and error.
Jen: I really do have an emotional attachment to a lot of my pieces. : ) Silly but true! My favorites change all the time. If I have to pick ONE favorite, it would probably be a piece named Harper...which I ended up keeping. No soup for you!
Shan: You use a lot of turqwaaaz and coral. Do YOU like how I spell turqwaaaaz? No, for reals, are those your favorite stones to work with?
Jen: I LOVE turqwaaaz. Funny, that's how my daughter says it too! First, because it's just a beautiful stone. And second, because it comes in a lot of variations, depending on where it's mined. Some is bright blue, some more green and some has a lot of brown in it. Coral is the same...pink coral, red coral. You get the idea. I think I also adore turquoise and coral because I love stones with texture. Some of my other favs are freshwater pearls and anything Swarovski. I'm a big fan of the sparkle! A lot of the time I design a piece around a stone or pearl. I love the ones that are especially rustic and lumpy.
Shan: Where/how do you draw inspiration for your designs? Do you collaborate with customers/clients, or are they totally your independent design? Do you lie awake at night thinking up fabulous new designs?
Jen: I get inspiration for designs everywhere! I keep a notebook to jot down ideas and sometimes when I'm looking at catalogs of stones, it will just hit me. (Yes, I said "catalog of stones." Receiving a new catalog of rocks is as exciting for me as the new J. Crew catalog)! A lot of my pieces are things I've created specifically for a customer. I think this is a completely different challenge. There's a certain pressure in creating something special for a specific person and I'm a perfectionist when it comes to my work. Jewelry is such a personal thing and you won't ever wear anything you don't really LOVE.
I DO obsess over designs. And sometimes, it keeps me up half the night! Anyone who does something "creative" for a living, whether it's writing or painting or designing, has a fear of not being able to come up with an idea. That's part of the reason why I started doing a lot of research on fashion. It gets the creative juices flowing.
And, not to repeat myself, but I do use the actual stone at times to inspire what I come up with. Sometimes, I create something that just doesn't work out the way I saw it in my head. But sometimes, it comes out even better!
Shan: Do you ever get "jewelry-maker's block?"
Jen: Definitely! And sometimes, I get stuck in a rut where I design something only to discover that it's very similar to a piece I've done before. That's when the box of wine gets tapped and...voila...the block is broken.
Amy: What did you want to be when you grew up?
Jen: Well, for many years, I wanted to be a journalist when I grew up. Maybe even a tv journalist. But I was worried about writer's block and changed my mind. Then I wanted to be a marine biologist. But seeing as how I live in COLORADO, I decided that might be more difficult then I originally thought. For too many years, I worked in a bank doing credit analysis. I hate math. I hate accounting. I am much better suited doing something that gets my creative juices flowing.
Amy: Do you believe there is life on other planets?
Jen: I'm pretty sure with the universe being as big as it is, we are not alone...........
Amy: One piece of advice for someone getting started?
Jen: Be persistent! The work isn't only in the making and designing but also in getting the word out there. Don't get discouraged! If you put the time and the effort into something you love, it will pay off.
Amy: Red, White or Pink Box Wine?
Jen: Ooooooo, yes please! But preferably a Red box!
Shan: And finally, when will we see the Shannan and Amy added to your line? Or maybe the ShanAmy? Or the MerciBlahBlah? I am on PINS AND NEEDLES waiting!!!!
Jen: I am ALWAYS looking for new names...I kinda used up my entire family and friend base. The MerciBlahBlah...has a nice ring to it!
Shan and Ames
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