|Meet the Designer-Artist
Where do you live?
I currently live in Bronxville, New York, but I am from Durham, North Carolina.
Describe your artistic style.
I would describe my style as ethnic elegance.
What inspires you as a designer-artist?
I am inspired by Africa. I like creating pieces with a variety of materials that remind me of Africa. I love walking through New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art to gain inspiration for different pieces. Egypt is one of my favorite cultures to explore. I can't wait to travel around the world to gain inspiration from other cultures.
What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I enjoy working with gemstones, freshwater pearls, Swarovski crystals, sterling silver and vermeil.
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
What inspired this design?
This piece was inspired by my walks through the Egyptian Art section of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I hope to go there one day.
How did it come together?
I usually draw my designs out first and then I figure out how to make it happen.
Share Your Background
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
I began making jewelry about six years ago. I have often searched for creative outlets for dealing with life's many trials. I have always loved jewelry and have fashioned my outfits around a beautiful piece of jewelry.
Who introduced you to beading?
I don't remember who actually introduced me to beading, but I remember when I first became interested in beading. For years I was involved in African dance, and I remember one day a lady came to my dance class to sell handmade African jewelry. That's when I started to investigate beading. I bought books and went to craft stores to get started. Soon after, I attended my first bead show. That day sealed the deal!
Do you have an artistic background?
I have a very artistic background. I am a professional jazz singer. I also minored in dance and recently obtained my master's degree in jazz vocal performance.
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
I found Fire Mountain Gems and Beads by doing a search on the internet. I have been satisfied since then.
What other hobbies do you have?
I enjoy singing, painting, making my own cosmetics and cooking.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
Currently, I am able to spend quite a bit of time making jewelry. Making jewelry is very meditative for me. It helps me think about life, and the decisions I am making. It also helps me forget about the things I can't change and focus on the things I can.
If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
I am working on using jewelry as a way to bring in income. I currently have a store on etsy.com. You can find my store at www.jazzijua.etsy.com. You can also view my designs on my webpage at www.jazzijua.com.
Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
I am in the process of creating my ''coral for a cause'' line of jewelry. My Aunt suffers from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. I would like to donate part of the proceeds from my ''coral for a cause'' line to the Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis Association.
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Create without boundaries and gain inspiration everywhere!