||Meet the Designer-Artist
Where do you live?
Desert Hot Springs, California
Describe your artistic style.
Eclectic, whimsical and doodly! I love to play with different materials and see what happens!
What inspires you as a designer-artist?
Mostly nature--I love things that are feminine and flowery or remind me of woodlands and peace :) Other than that I tend to work to create things that will withstand being a full-time mommy to my six month old!
What materials do you most enjoy working with?
I love beads and wire--I love the flexibility that wire offers in making curves and twists and how it can flow or become strong enough to turn into rings and suchlike. I'm really big into vintage beads right now and buttons also feature in my work!
What is the name of the piece you submitted with your success story?
What inspired this design?
I went through a stage of making a whole bunch of rainbow items and I LOVE charm bracelets. I wanted to combine my love of bracelets with the functionality of a watch so I did!
How did it come together?
I had the idea in my head first because I had made charm bracelets previously, but adding the watch where I did came as I made the piece as I felt that mounted in the middle would detract from it and divide the bracelet design unnecessarily.
Share Your Background
When and how did you begin making jewelry/beading?
It's a long and on-going story that can be found on our website (www.jeraly.com) but initially I bought a charm bracelet in 2006 from eBay, thought "I can do that" and set out to do it! My now husband and I were trying to find a way to make a bit of extra money so he could visit for longer as he is American and I am from England and we were living in separate countries at the time!
Who introduced you to beading?
No one really except maybe the seller on eBay!!!
Do you have an artistic background?
I have a Bachelor's degree in education, specializing in art and design. I've been arty from a young age, drawing and painting mainly, then focusing more on 3D and installation work through college and university.
How did you discover Fire Mountain Gems and Beads®?
Once I moved to America from England, I wasn't able to work for a while until my authorization came through from immigration. I got bored of playing games after a while and decided to start making jewelry again--I set myself a small budget, searched online for wholesale supplies and up popped Fire Mountain Gems! That was in 2008 and I've been a customer since then!
What other hobbies do you have?
I'm a gamer! I love role-playing games such as Final Fantasy and Elder Scrolls, although I rarely get much chance to play now, I have a baby! I also enjoy reading fantasy novels and going on play dates with a local mom's group.
What role does jewelry-making play in your life?
It keeps me sane (and sometimes drives me insane!!)! It has featured strongly in three key stages in my life--to make money so I could spend more time with my now-husband, to keep my fingers and brain active, while also making a little spending money for myself when I wasn't able to get a job in this country and now I am a full-time mommy it provides a little escapism from baby-talk and again, keeps my brain active as I work on designs, marketing and promoting my work and website!
If you used jewelry-making as a way to bring in income, how are you selling yourself and your jewelry?
After spreading myself too thin when I first moved here and promoting myself on a variety of sites that never drove traffic to my shop, I have started focusing mainly on Facebook for networking and marketing. I sell my jewelry at http://jeraly.etsy.com because the story behind Jeraly is such a rollercoaster; we also have a website at http://www.jeraly.com that contains a blog, our story in chapters and a link to our Etsy shop. I've been entering auctions and giveaways and have made some great contacts through networking on Facebook including a couple of great photographers who are also helping to promote my work.
Do you participate in any charity fundraisers?
No although it is something that I am considering in the future.
Any advice for aspiring jewelry-artists?
Just be yourself and take inspiration from everything! If you have an idea, give it a go--the worst that can happen is that it doesn't work out and you might even learn something in the process!