LauraLynn Meet the Designer-Artist

Where do you live?

Grants Pass, Oregon

Describe your artistic style:

Eclectic. I like to do a little bit of everything. I have three main styles: big and chunky, wire-wrapping, and everything rainbow. I also love working with Swellegant!™. You can take any piece of material and turn it into metal: paper, acrylic, glass...anything.

What inspires you as a designer-artist?

The products, nature, and sunsets. A visiting artist, Jody Young, came to Fire Mountain Gems and filmed a how-to video on bead embroidery. Her style inspired me to create Design Idea L53E.

What medium do you work with mostly?

Wire, gemstones, crystals, and Swellegant!™

Have you entered contests with your jewelry?

Since I have worked at Fire Mountain Gems, I have entered jewelry into three employee contests. I placed at least second in all three. That was a clue to me that maybe I should go to work making jewelry.

When and how did you start making jewelry?

Before I started working at Fire Mountain Gems in 2009, I didn't wear jewelry. I didn't even know what a head pin was. I was hired as a Spanish-speaking Customer Service Representative and I was assisting customers on the phone. I took every employee beading class offered at Fire Mountain Gems and learned everything I could there. Then, I took a class with a local artist, learned wire working from her, and fell in love with it.

Who inspired you?

When my late father-in-law saw my first necklaces, he was impressed. He thought I had talent and wanted me to make jewelry and sell it. He wanted me to have supplies. He gave me a budget of $500, then he gave me another $500, so I could buy everything I needed. He was the best--my hero.

Do you have an artistic background, other hobbies?

I have always been creative. I took classes in choir, arts, and electronics while in high school. Every teacher said I had talent and encouraged me to continue. Growing up in Puerto Rico, I did macramé with my cousins. We made hanging tables. My stepmother was a grade schoolteacher and I would help her do the artwork for her classes. My aunt was a seamstress and with her help I got to design and make the dress I wore to a prom one year.

I am also a beer brewer and won second place with a chocolate mint stout in a national competition called Queen of Beers.

What role does jewelry making play in your life?

It is paying my bills. After 10 years working in Customer Service, I am now making jewelry at Fire Mountain. I am thrilled about being able to work with an endless amount of supplies. I am in awe that at the age of 55 I had the opportunity to change my profession and do something that I love to do. Who gets that chance? I am a novice compared to the others on the team and I appreciate the chance to learn on the job.

If you use jewelry to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?

Although I am not selling jewelry right now, I did have an art show at a local health spa where I had 45 pieces on display for one month. One month later, I had $450.

Have you donated your jewelry to charity fundraisers?

I have donated pieces to raffles for the German Club fundraiser at the local high school when my son was in the club. I also donated jewelry to the Hellgate Homebrewers, where I am a member.

Advice for aspiring jewelry-makers

Just go with what you feel. Don't be critical of what you make. Even if you don't like it, it might be perfect for someone else.

View all of LauraLynn's resources available in the Jewelry Maker's Library.