Fire Mountain Gems and Beads' Jewelry-Making Contest 2010 featuring Pearls, Organic Beads or Kato Polyclay™
||Meet the Designer-Artist
Where do you live?
I live in beautiful center Pennsylvania, nestled between two mountains.
Describe your artistic style.
I am as eclectic as it gets, so defining my style, I would have to call it AnJulism. It's a bit of Art Nouveau with hints of modernism and minimalist styles.
What inspires you as a designer-artist?
I am inspired by my children and husband. The energy and giggles of my children make me slow down and enjoy the simple things like watching a firefly spin around a glass jar. I see movement or motion and I want to capture that in my designs. My husband's designing and engineering abilities inspire my designs too because I am always looking at his work. I see the lines and shapes as not a wall or an elevated platform but rather a box pendant.
What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I love pearls and gemstones. I try to use many other materials but I always find myself coming back to pearls and gemstones.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
What inspired this design?
My children inspired this piece. They had collected the shells from the beach while our family was on vacation and I wanted to make a piece of jewelry that would last a lifetime to remember the wonderful time we had. My children loved the purple inside of the shells so much that we pretended they were the most precious thing out of the entire ocean. When we got home, I asked both of them to pick out two of their favorite shells and I created the pendant. I knew the necklace design had to be as intriguing as the pendant. The result was nothing short of seashell opulence.
How did it come together? For example, did you plan it out or did it define itself once you began working?
The pendant is a work of my children's imagination with a few touches of my favorite material, pearls! Once the pendant was finished, I began planning the necklace and stayed with the design I had drawn out on graph paper. I designed the necklace very thoroughly so the measurements were very close and the design didn't need any tweaking. I am always thankful when it works out this way.
Share Your Background
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I began designing jewelry in 2006 with my sister, Julie. We took the leap of faith and founded our company, AnJules, in 2008.
Who introduced you to beading?
Julie introduced me to beading. It was love at first bead!
Do you have an artistic background?
I have always been a very creative person, the medium would change as time went on, but the desire to create always remains.
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
I heard about Fire Mountain Gems and Beads through beading magazines.
What other hobbies do you have?
I enjoy many hobbies. With two children in my life, my current hobbies are anything that I can do with them! I occasionally get a break when they are napping and then I take advantage of the time to do my favorite hobby, reading!
Do you belong to any beading societies or beading groups?
Mainline Bead Society.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Jewelry creating and designing has become a huge part of my life. What was once a hobby has become my dream job! Julie and I founded AnJules as a way to support our addiction to jewelry and also educate and inspire our community. We use our creative abilities to show people what they can do with a little time, material and a whole lot of gumption. Being a business owner and a designer has brought a unique sense of accomplishment to my life. I can see the fruits of my labor when I create a stunning piece and I have sense of pride when a customer falls in love with it.
If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
We sell our jewelry online and at fine arts and crafts fairs. Just recently, we have also found our niche doing private home shows. We sell our jewelry in many places but have found that just showing up is only one part of the "sales" side of business. We dedicate about 30% of our time to marketing our designs and keeping our customers wanting more. The more customers want our jewelry, the more they talk about it and wear it.
Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
We support many local and nationwide charities and non-profit organizations through donations of time and jewelry. I believe that our contributions to society will be returned in some wonderful karmic way.
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
My advice for aspiring artists: Stay true to yourself and don't become discouraged. If you want it bad enough, you will find a way!