This interview with Brandswife Creations is from May 2015.
1. Tell us a little about yourself
I am a mum of three grown up children and one grandchild, with another due any time now. I work full time for the NHS as an administrator. I spend as much time as I can crafting in my craft room which is a converted bedroom. I waited a long time to get the space to do this and it only became possible when 2 of my children left home. My time to craft is sometimes limited by my health issues. I have congenital hip dysplasia and sciatica which means I have chronic pain issues.
2. What is your “inspiration story” — where did your interest in jewelry all begin?
My interests in craft have been many and varied. From a young age I have done whatever took my interest, from wool craft to baking, from cross stich to quilting and card making. I often found myself getting bored quite quickly with each of these and I think it may be because of the limitations of them and my limited skills. I became interested in jewellery making about 2 years ago when I watched a demonstration on a craft channel I was following at the time. After watching a few more programs I realized that I was hooked and went to my local craft supplier for tools and supplies. Like most newbies I started with glass beads and elastic cord. I even pinched some of my husband’s fishing line!
I have progressed and now prefer to use genuine gemstones and precious metal wire where possible. The thing I love most about jewellery making is the wide variety of methods and techniques so I never get bored.
3. What is your dream project?
One of my dreams would be to open a shop that crafters can sell their work in without all the hassle of having to do craft fairs and the like. Crafters could rent a space for a small fee and display their work for customers to browse. They would get the price of the sale minus a small admin fee.
4. What has been your greatest challenge so far and how did you overcome it?
My greatest challenge so far has been a customer who asked me to do all her jewellery for her wedding. That was fine, all the usual type of things, necklaces for her and the bridesmaid and a hair comb for herself. The challenge was she had seen a pair of decorated shoes online for an exorbitant amount and asked if I could replicate them! I planned to do them using polymer clay but I struggled to work out a method for attaching it to the shoes. It took me months of agonizing over this as I didn’t want to spoil the shoes, which she had provided. I bought a pair of shoes myself to experiment on and realized very quickly that putting the clay on the shoes and baking them, even taking extreme care did not work. I eventually created the design as individual pieces and glued them on after they had been baked. Luckily enough she was extremely happy with the result. I can’t thank her enough as it has given me another avenue to explore.
5. What is the greatest gift that jewelry-making has given you?
Freedom of expression and the chance to create pieces that hopefully give my customers as much happiness wearing them as it gave me to create them. Most other crafts I have done before have been a bit limiting, or took so long to produce, or were not something somebody would treasure. This left me feeling a bit let down by them. With jewellery I can make something unique to my style that will be treasured and will be seen by many not just the recipient.
6. What words of wisdom do you have for someone beginning to make jewelry?
Don’t give up too soon. I nearly gave up not so very long ago as I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere, and now things are looking so good I am even beginning to wonder if I might need to reduce my hours at work to have more time on building my jewellery business.
Also never stop learning, practice, practice, practice.