Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tuesday's Treasures - Lune Artisan Jewelry

Pin It This week I'm featuring a fabulous jewelry artisan, Keirsten Giles. Keirsten has some beautiful pieces for sale in her shops on etsy and artfire including these:

Let's get to know Keirsten better....

1. If there’s one thing that defines you, what is it?
Well, of course there isn't just one thing, but what pops into my mind right away today is that I usually "march to my own drummer", i.e., I pay the most attention to my own "inner voice" (or I try to) for every decision I make, and this is becoming more and more the case as I get older. If something doesn't feel right, or I think it will divert me from a direction I am wanting to go, I don't do it. (Or at least I don't do it for very long!) Oddly enough this has always been something I've had to work at; my inner voice is often kind of quiet and hard to distinguish from other influences.
2. What role does your family play in your art?
My boyfriend is my best cheerleader--he lets me know regularly that he's proud of my work and what I'm doing to market and sell it, and he's willing to help with whatever I need. My mom is one of my best customers, and she and my stepdad let me know all the time that they believe in me and love my work. It's a great confidence booster to know they're behind me. They even bought me my first Dremel!
3. Where do you live and what is it like?
I live in a small resort town in northwest Montana called Whitefish; it's surrounded by towering mountains, glacial lakes and endless green. The lifestyle is pretty laid back, and most people come here for the lifestyle and scenery. Our summer playground is Flathead Lake, which is about an hour south of Whitefish by car. We try to spend as many weekends there on our boat as we can. We live extremely simply, in a very small house that keeps us from accumulating a bunch of useless crap, and we like that. I love small houses.
4. Where did you learn to craft or are you self taught?
Couple years ago I was frustrated that I couldn't find the kind of jewelry I wanted to wear. It seemed that everything I found was characterless and mass produced. I started making some pieces for myself and quickly realized I didn't know what I was doing. I signed up for Tammy Powley's email "Crash Course" in jewelry making on about.com, and started practicing those techniques. I found other instructions here and there online too. I found I really liked it, and had a lot of ideas. Too many ideas for just me to wear, so I decided to give it a go selling it and took the plunge in December of 2008, designing a little collection of pieces and opening shops on Etsy and ArtFire. Every technique I use I have learned either from online instructions, looking at other people's jewelry, or occasionally video tutorials.
5. How long have you been working at your craft?
Well, I'd been dabbling in jewelry making for about a year before I decided to get serious at the end of 2008. So I guess it's been about two and-a-half years.
6. Where do you receive your inspiration, in general?
Oh, everywhere. Nature of course--that's really plentiful around here. But sometimes I'll see somebody wearing an outfit and I'll love the color palette; or a plateful of colorful food will inspire me; or a building, or an oily puddle, or a photograph, or even a feeling I want to capture. I once designed a necklace around the carpet at the gym where I work out.
7. What is the best piece of advice you can give other artists?
Well, I'm kind of a practical sort with an analytical bent, so my advice would be to research the crap out of the practical aspects of whatever you want to do. If you are hoping to make money at it, or at least practice your art without it being a financial drain, figure out how you're going to make it work. Is there a market for your art? Where is it? How much does your art cost to make? Can you get your money back out of it? How long will that take? Do you have the cash to invest in it? Can you afford to spend that cash right now? How much time can you give it right now (not just the creating part, but the selling/business part too) based on your other commitments? Scale it appropriately to where you are in life; starting small is OK--just get your bearings, and don't put too much pressure on yourself. Treat it as reconnaissance! A little intelligence gathering sortie--and if it snowballs into a full-fledged business, well, right on!! Talk to other artists, find out what this kind of commitment entails. Choose a selling venue that suits your personality, and when you're confident with that, start pushing your boundaries. "Follow your heart" and all that is fine advice, definitely do that, but frankly your heart is going to need help with things like pricing, marketing and record keeping.
8. If you won a thousand dollar craft shopping spree, what would you spend it on?
Check out Keirsten's work at the links below:

1 comment:

lunedreams said...

Thanks Lea! I'm honored to be featured on your blog!