Every Monday now through December 16 I am interviewing other artists and crafters in the hopes of spreading some handmade love and appreciation. You can read more about it here. The month of November features jewelry and accessories.
I am thrilled to present another fellow Boston Handmade member, Liz Stewart of Lush Beads, this week. Liz makes quite an array of jewelry that features intricate beadwork and unexpected hardware (think nuts and washers), in addition to really impressive handmade spider pendants. As an experienced jeweler, Liz has also personally offered some great advice to this novice. I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to get to know Liz and am happy to share her work with you today!
How did you get started making jewelry?
I started making jewelry in 2000. A friend of mine was involved with a medieval reenactment society (SCA) and she had just learned some beading techniques. She was so excited that she invited a bunch of us over to her house so she could teach us what she had learned. I made my first bracelet that day and I have been hooked ever since.
I started making jewelry to sell in 2002, and opened my creative business (a beading supply shop) in 2004. I have taken a few classes here and there, but I am mostly self-taught.
I love the freedom that comes with being my own boss. I can do what I want when I want, and I don’t need to go through any bureaucracy to have it approved first. Everything I do will help me forward my business and directly affects me. It’s a great feeling to know that everything I do directly helps my bottom line!
The biggest challenge is focusing on the big picture when you are mired in the day-to-day details. Sometimes I need someone to pull me back and make me see the forest for the trees.
I really enjoy putting colors and patterns together, so that definitely inspires me. Lately I am inspired by merging my geeky past with my creative present, and seeing what results. It has been a great adventure!
What do you think motivates others to buy handmade?
Buying handmade is a unique experience in many ways: You get to meet the object’s designer, manufacturer, and marketer (usually the same person), and discuss the origins and processes used to create that object. The enthusiasm of the maker is infectious, and makes you excited to want to own that object. Not to mention that the object itself is often unique. All of these things together create an experience that you will not find when buying at a big box store. That motivates people to buy handmade – the human connection.
What is your favorite handmade item you have bought or received?
I have several quilts that my mother has made me over the years. My favorite is one where she wrote quotes and random messages on each block. It is very special to me.
(I can’t even count the number of handmade items I have received or purchased in my lifetime, and it is amazingly difficult to pick out just one. I had to go with mom!)
When you are not working in your shop or making jewelry, what do you like to do with your time?
I bead a lot in my spare time. No, really! Otherwise, I love going for walks, playing with my dear cat Miss Cleo, getting lost in a good story, spending time with friends, and staring at pretty buildings.
What is something people might not know about you?
I’m not quite as extroverted as I seem – this will come as a shock to folks who know me. Also, my hair is naturally curly.
What is one piece of advice you would offer to others with their own creative business?
Enjoy it! It is a lot of hard work and it will take up more time than you can imagine….so enjoy it!
Thanks for joining me on my blog, Liz, and be sure to check out her shop!