(1) Tell us about yourself:
I live in a small town in the beautiful mountains of Northern California. My immediate family is quite small and consists of my husband and my sister.
We have no pets at this time. Our last two dogs were black labs and they were such clowns; not a day went by that they didn’t make us laugh. They’ve gone to the Rainbow Bridge three years ago and we have decided that we won’t have any more dogs, at least for now. They were the last of many we’ve had over the years and we just don’t want to go through that pain again, but we will always treasure the time we had with them and the memories they left with us.
As far as a typical day; two years ago, I retired from my job as an elementary school secretary and can’t begin to tell you how much I am enjoying my new found freedom. A typical day starts without an alarm clock going off which I absolutely love. Once up, I savor a cup of tea while checking email, my shop, a jewelry forum I help moderate, my blog and the news. I usually make it into my studio between noon and 1:00 and call it a
day around 6:00. The rest of the evening is spent making dinner, spending time with my husband, taking care of business related tasks and winding down before bed.
We also enjoy traveling and have much more time for it since retiring. We spent three months in Asia last winter visiting Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. It was a wonderful time and we plan to go back in a year or two.
(2) Tell us what you create:
I started making jewelry in 2006 after receiving a handful of charms in the mail from a friend who was living in France. They charms were from Lascaux which is the location of several caves that are well known for their prehistoric cave paintings. I wanted to make them into a charm bracelet but had no idea how to go about it so I visited my local bead store to find out. The wonderful employees there showed me how to crimp a crimp bead on beading wire, helped me select beads and a clasp for my project and helped me put it all together. I was hooked from that moment on!
Not long after I started beading, it occurred to me that I might be able to combine my love of painting with jewelry making so I started painting miniatures not much larger than an American quarter and turning them into pendants that were then made into necklaces.
I also found myself fascinated by wire wrapping. After trying my hand at it, I realized that I am not a natural wire wrapper, but I spent hours experimenting, practicing and consulting tutorials online. After a while, I started getting decent results and now feel pretty comfortable working with this material which is a good thing because I love playing with wire!
I work mostly with copper because I love it’s rich, warm color, but sometimes venture into silver, brass, bronze or gold if the design calls for it.
Most of my inspiration comes from nature. Because I live in the mountains, it is not unusual to see wildlife and all sorts of plants both native and domesticated and this is where I get most of my ideas. Jewelry making is a very competitive field, but I believe my little paintings help my work stand out from the crowd. Jewelry design started out as a hobby, but I hope to grow it into a successful small business.
(3) Tell us about your handmade art business:
After much thought about a name for my business, I realized that it was right in front of me the entire time. I make jewelry and art and my name is Dawn, so Jewelry Art by Dawn seemed like a really good fit.
My business got its start when friends and coworkers and even strangers started noticing my jewelry and wanted to know if it was for sale. These local sales led to consignment arrangements with several local art galleries and gift shops and eventually to me opening my online shop at Etsy.
My “studio” started out as a 3 x 3 foot drafting table in a corner of my husband’s office. As my skills, techniques and bead stash grew so did the space I needed and it wasn’t long before it was just too small a work area. This led me to claim an unused guest room that was slowly turning into a storage room. I painted the walls in shades of bright blue, chocolate brown and light mocha. My work bench is in front of a window and I often look up to see deer looking in at me! I absolutely love having this large space to call my own and feel that I’ve grown as an artist since moving in.
(4) Tell us about your customers:
It’s a hard thing to identify a target audience and I think most artisans struggle with this part. I certainly do. If I really think about it I’d say they are nature lovers, gardeners or animal people. Putting an age on my target is something I really don’t like to do as I don’t feel there are age limits when it comes to art.
(5)Tell us where I can find your art:
Currently, my jewelry can be found in my etsy shop. I also write about my jewelry journey, travels and collaborate with other jewelry designers at my blog which is jewelryartbydawn.blogspot.com and moderate a jewelry design site that is geared towards supporting and encouraging independent jewelry designers. It is known as the Jewelry Artisans Group and can be found on the internet at jewelryartisans.proboards.com
(6) Tell us about your support:
My support system comes from my husband, who happily runs packages to the post office, helps me build displays and who played a key role in getting my studio up and running. Another source of support is from one of my best friends to whom I will always be grateful she is a cheerleader, sounding board and my best customer! I would not have had my first consignment arrangement if it hadn’t been for Bonni.
(7) Tell us about your favorites:
There are two blogs that I currently follow; Echoes of Ela at WordPress and Cat’s Wire at Blogger. Both of these ladies are friends and very talented jewelry designers whose
work is very different from mine and I enjoy following their artistic ventures immensely.
(8) Tell us anything else:
Because everyone’s businesses and goals are different, my only advice to other sellers is to do what feels right for their business/hobby and to stay true to themselves and their art.
I’d also like to thank you, Margeux, for providing this opportunity and for featuring me and my work in your fabulous blog. Thank you!