I am 24, an Art Student graduate with a fondness for the jewelry and culture of the vikings and Anglo-Saxons, and super-modern streamlined design. I have a myriad of hobbies and a very few close friends, and one cat who *obviously* rules the house. I'm still trying to find my permanent place in the world. Chicago is starting to look pretty good.
Growing up, I had several artistic role models. My Mom had art all over the house, and one of my Aunts liked to engage me in kid's crafts when I came to visit. I believe in the Output Requires Input Theory; I need creative input in the form of music, books, new sights and tastes, in order to stimulate creative output.
For my creative process, I'm a big fan of variation. I like to start out with a process, then change the color, or one material, or a part of the method. One reason Viking Wire Weave appeals to me so much is that there are so many different results you can achieve with one basic technique. In studio jewelry, I was very fond of the Lost-Wax casting process, and wax-molding, because the wax doesn't always mold right and the casting doesn't always flow right, and then you get these results that are half what you expected and half something totally new.
Meet Alyssa Yeager from Guidestone Jewelry...
I'm a musician with the band Telling Point (we play some locally, but mostly tour the festival circuit) and a certified music therapist. I practiced at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital for several years before deciding to pursue my art and music full time.
I love pursuing creative avenues from jewelry design to songwriting to abstract art. One of the nicest things about my business is that it allows me to combine working with stones to design jewelry, writing a story (description) about each piece, and finding ways to help people in difficult life situations. Being in any creative field also increases your time spent with other creative and thoughtful people, which is a great bonus!
I look at situations where people are struggling in their lives and design pieces to support them through their own process. For example, a good friend of mine was getting ready to leave her job and begin a new position that she was anxious about. I wanted to design a piece that would help her to remain calm and take things day by day, instead of allowing herself to feel overwhelmed by all the changes that were happening at once. I looked up a variety of stones that had calming properties and chose African Jade to create the piece "Flow".
Meet Elizabeth Beeson from Quite Clever Jewelry...
I am a bench jeweler who works in sterling silver, brass and copper. I love what I do and I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to be creative in my everyday life. I started my business after losing an art teacher position due to budget cuts in my district. As art teaching jobs were being cut across the state, I decided to try my hand at making and selling my creations. I put together a studio and started creating metal jewelry, not knowing if I could actually make a living. I have learned so much since I started and, even though I have struggled at times, I am so proud that I am able to support myself with my business
I get my inspiration from everywhere, though lately I have been creating inspiration boards for different lines of jewelry. I usually post images, fabrics, textures or anything that may give me inspiration and direction for a certain line of jewelry pieces. My latest line is inspired by Art Deco patterns and the idea of multiplication and distortion. My inspiration changes from instance to instance. Sometimes I will even dream a design and then wake up and hurry to the studio to see if I can capture it. Other times I may stumble onto something successful through mishaps with other pieces. I always try to keep an open mind to the possibilities within each piece, and I'm always willing to change designs over time to make them more versatile or fitting with my aesthetic. Being a former art teacher helps as well, because I tend to constantly critique my work from the perspective of a teacher, focusing on art elements and principles.
I started my own business after I was laid-off from teaching. There were no art teacher openings in my area. I decided to take a leap of faith and try something I had always wanted to do, making a living with my art. I was lucky to book a huge show in my first year and my business took off from there. It has been a whirlwind of activity ever since, and I learn something new every day. I feel so lucky to be able to do something I love. Even though I don't make much money, I love creating and there is a certain pride in being totally self-sufficient.
Meet Kaley Kleinman from Odds and Ends...
Creating has been my passion for as long as I can remember. Nothing makes me happier than working with my hands to create a finished product that is completely unique. I like to try lots of different things, and so I named my jewelry business “Odds and Ends.” During high school, I took a woodworking class and a metals class, which were, by far, my favorite high school courses. What brought me back to jewelry (I messed around with it when I was much younger) was my fascination with sea glass. I have been collecting it my whole life in hopes of making a giant mosaic table one day. I’m not sure where I first saw sea glass jewelry, but I started to make wire wrapped pendants and earrings, and the rest of the jewelry I make began there.
So far, my favorite item I have created is my Celtic Trinity Necklace. I’ve always been really attracted to Celtic, and medieval styles. Celtic knot work is absolutely beautiful, and looks awesome with my favorite gemstone, labradorite.
The advice I have to others about starting a business is just to jump in and start doing it. I’ve found that I learn the best through experience and, unfortunately, mistakes. I learn tricks all the time that help me improve upon what I do.
Check out these vendors this winter at the 2012 Winter Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show. This eclectic show will feature 100 of the most talented artisans and crafters. A portion of the show's proceeds will be donated to Stewart's Caring Place, an organization that supports families touched by cancer.
2012 Winter Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sunday, January 29, 2012, 10:00am-5:00pm
Wagner's Country Inn
30855 Center Ridge Rd.
Westlake, OH 44145
For more information, contact Becki Cooper, at firstname.lastname@example.org.