Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Your work is particularly subtle and gentle in appearance. What do you find most challenging about achieving this effect?
It can be a balancing act. I’m careful to stop short of too much. A piece can get overworked easily when using so many different things. It needs to stay quiet, but at the same time interesting.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Like many artists, I look to nature. I am always looking down when I walk, seeing little bits of gravel or layers of pavement and ice, or caught by the way the light might be hitting the surface of a leaf. I try to express my feelings about the “big” things in life by calling attention to the “little” things often overlooked.
What do you do when you struggle with inspiration?
Clean the studio! Sometimes it helps to do something else for awhile.
As an artist, what challenges do you encounter in making your work successful as a business?
It’s an ongoing struggle to attend to the bookwork, the marketing, the publicity, etc. It’s not a natural inclination or strength, but can’t be neglected, and it’s how I go about getting my work out there in front of people, which is really what I want to do. Making the artwork and running the business both can be draining, so again, it’s a matter of striking a balance.
What do you think are the best ways to market one-of-a-kind jewelry?
There are probably just as many ways as there are different types of one of kind pieces. My work fits well in gallery settings rather than as an accessory. I have had wonderful response at well regarded fine craft shows, where the audience is educated to seeing jewelry as art.
What advise do you have for other jewelry designers?
Keep yourself open to change – be flexible about what you do and how you approach selling or showing it. Stagnation is the death of creativity.
Deborrah's work has been published in a variety of publications and her work is shown at exhibitions including one just recently in Philadelphia. Check her website for updates on her work.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
When I attended the Pasadena Bead & Design Show in January, I thought I was in heaven when I came upon the Saki Silver booth! Their distinctive Asian influenced style was so gorgeous and unique that it was all I could do to not buy everything they had! What I especially loved were their stunning toggles, the heavy, rich silver Thai beads and the unusual ear wires. I dropped a few hundred dollars somehow, with hardly a blink...
Anyway, I found the work so interesting that I knew there had to be a good story behind the company...and I was right!
The owners, Liz and Sak Chumtong, met in Thailand, initially on a small touristy street called "Khao Sarn Road". They fell in love and needed some cash to travel from island to island and so started stringing necklaces to sell to the tourists. Before long, they were a family and then moved to the U.S. Without a lot of money, Liz worked as a waitress and Sak worked as a carpenter, cook and organic farmer. When they decided to start their business, Liz maxed out her credit card to buy silver....and Saki Silver was born.
All of their work is done in Thailand where everyone works and lives together at the studio. Sak's sister even does all the cooking from scratch using herbs from a home garden just outside the studio.
Here's what Liz has to say:
I'm always so surprised when people think we're a really big company! We only have eight employees in Thailand, and half of them are friends and family. So we treat them very fairly. They have paid vacations and health benefits. They all live at the studio, and we also stay there when we go. Everyone gets along so well, and it's always a joy to be there. It really is like a big family. All the guys call my sister "Mom". Dealing with Thai people is a joy because they're so laid back, but still hard working. They're so respectful and polite, but fun and joking, too. We go many times throughout the year, but the best time is when we take our kids, Mick and Kira, in the summer. They have so much fun and get along with everyone in the studio.
Where does your inspiration come from?
My husband studied graphic design, and I was a ballet dancer before we met. So we're very inspired by clean lines and unique details. I would say we have both been very inspired by modern asian design. Sak is completely obsessed with modern design, even our house is a Frank Lloyd Wright style. Our inspiration comes from everywhere-from tribal designs, to Japanese paintings, to old asian lanterns. I can look at anything and say-"that would make a great toggle!" We try to be as unique as possible. People who design jewelry are always looking for something different, something to set their work apart from everyone else's, and that's where we come in. It's funny when people copy our line because they're missing the point entirely. It's a success because it's different. Everyone could sell what they made if they were truly inspired by it.
What advise do you have for jewelry designers?
My advise for anyone is to design something you think is great! I like to buy beads and components I love, then figure out how they look great together. I usually start out with a pile of beads and turn it into a design. It's so much harder to come up with a design and then spend days and days trying to source the components. I always see those people at the shows, they're so frustrated and they pass up all these great new designs because it's not in the picture they saw online. Let what's available inspire you. And don't compare yourself to others! If your designs aren't selling, figure out how to improve your style, don't look to others people's style, because it will never be yours. A good designer has looked inside and developed their own unique style and that is what people can see and respond to!
Liz and Sak strike me as a couple who have figured it out-- how to work together with joy, create beauty and have fun doing it all at the same time!
Stop by their booth at the next show (a list is on their website). You'll love what you see!
It's my pleasure to share Liz and Sak with you!
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Although my new blog is going to focus primarily on the best of the best--the most accomplished jewelry designers I encounter as well as interesting news from bead shows and seminars, I can't not also showcase my own pieces! Above are just a few from my website: http://www.naked-jewelry.com/.
If you know of jewelry designers that you think should be showcased on this blog, please let me know!
Thanks for your support!