except this week i'm a little late so temporarily renamed: wonderful wednesday
Please introduce yourself …
My name is Tracy and I live in Eastbourne on the South East coast. I've lived here for 24 years now, the longest I've stayed in one place! Before that I lived in Preston, Lancashire, (still got the accent) Toronto in Canada and Chippenham in Wiltshire where I was born. I work part-time as a private carer and spend most of my spare time making wirework jewellery and avoiding doing the ironing.
How would you describe your work / style?
I started making jewellery about 5 years ago and taught myself the basics in wirework and stringing. I now concentrate mostly on wirework jewellery using Sterling Silver and Copper wire. I use a variety of beads - Semi-Precious, Lampwork, Freshwater Pearls, Glass and Swarovski Crystal, anything I can get my hands on really! I've always been a silver person as opposed to gold, although copper is pretty cool as well. It was always my practise wire but now I use it a lot in my "proper" designs.
I suppose I would describe my style as modern. It has been described by other people as bold, different and unusual! I find it hard to make delicate, small jewellery, I'm always drawn to the larger beads for some reason!
Who, or what, inspires you?
The book Bead On A Wire by Sharilyn Miller inspired me to start making wirework jewellery about 3 years ago. I love her designs and the freedom working with wire gives you - you are only limited by your imagination. I've always loved swirls and spirals in design and working with wire means you can create almost any shape you want. Spirals feature a lot in wirework so it's a good job I love them!
There are lots of other wirework jewellery makers I love too - Connie Fox and Lynne Merchant. There's also an Etsy seller called Mel (www.etsy.com/shop/wireartbymel) who produces the most beautiful wirewrapped wirework jewellery - very intricate and absolutely amazing, each piece must take hours to make. Please visit her shop and you'll see what I mean!
Do you sell your work? If so, what helped you decide to start selling your work?
Yes I sell online and to friends and family. I originally sold on eBay after seeing lots of other handmade jewellery there and thinking "I could do that!" I also started selling online to justify buying more beads!
Where can I buy your work?
I have a shop on Folksy - cinnamonjewellery folksy shop and an Etsy shop which I have woefully neglected recently! cinnamonjewellery etsy shop
Do you have a website or blog address?
I recently started a blog - cinnamonjewellery blog
How did you learn your craft? How long have you been creating?
I've been making jewellery for about 5 years and basically taught myself with the help of books and the internet and a lot of practise! I did take a short evening class in silver jewellery making which included soldering, pickling and annealing, etc which was great but not very practical for me to do at home. I still have the twisted silver bangle I made there!
Is there any other craft skill you would like to learn?
I'd love to learn how to make jewellery using PMC (Precious Metal Clay)
Anything exciting planned for 2010 you’d like to share?
Not exactly planned for this year but I would love my jewellery to be featured in a magazine and I keep meaning to pluck up the courage to approach a few local gift shops with the view to selling my stuff! Both of which will only happen if I do something about it!
If I wasn’t doing this, I’d be …
A landscape gardener or chocolate taster at Cadburys/Thorntons - preferably both!
What do you do to relax?
I love getting out in the garden, it's actually only a backyard but I can dream! I just enjoy pottering and planting and tidying up....... I can spend hours out there. I also enjoy horse riding again after a break of 26 years - God did my legs ache after the first time back in the saddle! I also spend way too much time on the computer!
Marmite … love it or hate it?
Absolutely hate it!
What animal would you be, and why?
A bird, I'd love to be able to fly.
What’s your weakness?
I am a self-confessed chocoholic and must eat it everyday. I'm afraid I'm not one of those people who can eat a couple of chocolates then put the box away - I have to carry on until they are all gone or until I feel sick. I also eat Nutella out of the jar with a spoon.
How do you keep motivated?
I've always liked fiddling about and making things. It's totally "my time", when I can get lost in what I'm doing and forget everything else that's going on.
I must admit there are times when I sit down to make some jewellery and nothing happens. I'll have an idea for a pair of earrings but it just won't work and before I know it 2 hours have passed and I've produced nothing that I like. Or sometimes I just won't be in the mood. Thankfully this doesn't happen too often. When it does I'll have a break for a while, do something else or look through magazines and books for inspiration. I always keep a notebook handy to sketch ideas and make notes which comes in handy for those times when inspiration just doesn't strike! I even do it in the car sometimes if I see something like a pattern in a wrought iron gate that I think I could reproduce in wire. I have lots of ideas floating round in my head, sometimes too many, and I do find myself thinking about a design at totally inappropriate moments!
I think the greatest motivator is someone complimenting you on something you've made and actually wanting to own it themselves.
What do you wish you’d known when you first started out?
Selling handmade jewellery is very competitive. You have to develop your own style or you'll get swallowed up! This doesn't always happen straight away, the jewellery I make now is very different to the stuff I made 5 years ago. I don't believe in rigidly sticking to one style, you have to progress and learn all the time. There are so many new techniques and designs I want to try, such as wirewrapping and PMC. I still have so much to learn.
What advice would you give to someone just starting out?
With regards to opening an online shop - be patient! Lots of people think all they have to do is open their shop and the sales will flood in. Unless you're very lucky this just won't happen. You have to let people know you are there by promoting and advertising your shop. Another thing is don't be afraid to ask other sellers for advice. When I started selling on eBay 5 years ago I got in touch with another jewellery seller and asked for her opinion on my stuff. She was very honest and told me my loops were sloppy and inconsistent (which they were). It did hurt a little bit, but it made me practise my loops till they got better!
thanks so much for taking the time to have a chat tracy, i really love your jewellery :) i'm afraid i'm with you on the chocolate too, i thought i would have 'grown out' of eating chocolate till i feel sick but no ...