Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Featured Crafter: Laura Wilson with Cheeky Jezebel

Jewelry is incredibly popular in the crafting world. It seems like almost anybody can do it and jewelry crafters have to work very hard to make sure that what they are making and selling is different from all the competition.

So when I was contacted by Laura I wasn't so sure that I needed another jewelry person in out store, but one look at her website and I was sold, because Laura actually designs and makes the pendents herself!

I wanted to learn more about Laura and her work so of course I just had to interview her:

When and why did you start crafting?

I’ve loved art and creating things ever since I was old enough to use crayons! Unfortunately I kind of gave it up when it was time to attend college and I definitely wish I hadn’t. My parents have always backed me in my decisions, but seeing my friends going off to well known schools and with all the pressure from my teachers to do the same, I eventually gave up pursuing any artistic dreams. I attended community college, got an associates degree, went through a couple jobs while deciding what college to move on to, but something was missing. Passion. Last summer I really started to draw again and figured out a way to make jewelry from my designs and from there got a website up. It took me awhile to see what truly made me happy but now I wouldn’t give it up for anything. One thing I’ve learned is never let others make you think your dreams aren’t worth trying for.

Cheeky Jezebel is a very catchy name, is there a story behind it?

The summer I started to take up my art again I would call people “cheeky” when they would say something sassy, so it was stuck in my head around the time I had to think up a name. Actually I believe it started because I saw the old Michael Myers SNL skit where he plays the little boy Simon and calls people “cheeky monkeys”! As far as the name Jezebel I always thought it was a pretty name and it seemed to fit well with “cheeky”. I get asked about the name a lot. I used to try to come up with a more profound answer but really in the end I just liked it and now it’s kind of become part of me :)

What is your favorite design and why?

Right now it’s probably my baby hippo because he has a face only a mother would love! He has two little teeth sticking out and the big black eyes like a lot of my animal designs do, but to me he looks even more innocent than the rest. When I started working on him in photoshop I honestly thought he would be my least liked of all the animals but as it turns out he’s my favorite!

What makes your jewelry different?

I think mainly that I use my own drawings. Each piece I create is an idea from my mind put onto paper and then it grows from there. I try to make things fun, colorful, and often cutesy, to look at.

What new projects are you currently working on?

I’m doing the finishing touches on my “Sammie Cat” necklace. I made one so far and now have to go back and make a few changes. It’s in memory of my cat Sammie who passed away earlier this year. I’d like to eventually make a design of her holding a heart and give the proceeds to an animal charity in her honor. Along with that I’m also attempting to make a bird design with a vintage/kitschy feel, plus just finished the sketches for some dinosaur necklaces and for my “Kissing Koi Fish” necklace. I have a tendency to work on many designs at once.

What would be your advice to someone who wanted to start making jewelry?

Jump in. Experiment with different kinds of jewelry until you figure out what you enjoy most and what feels right to you. Incorporate your own style and creativity into your work. Don’t be afraid to stand out or go against “the norm”. Above all have fun with it because I think it really does affect the final outcome of each design. If you love what you’ve created I think it’s easier for other people to love as well.

What is the biggest challenge you face in the craft market today?

The ups and downs. It’s a broad statement but true. It seems like with arts and crafts one week could be the best week ever (financially, more recognition, etc.) but then the next could feel so slow. I’m still learning to push through the days when I feel like nothing is going right because I know they’ll be another day when something great will happen. You really have to have confidence in yourself, and that isn’t always easy because even though in some ways you’re trying to make others happy, in many ways it’s also about making yourself happy.

What has been your experience working with Handmade Specialties?

I love it. There is such a wide variety of things to see there and so much talent. The owner, Raeanne, is very nice and encouraging. She really tries to get to know the artists and their art so she can tell customers what they’re looking at and some background behind the pieces. It’s the first store that my jewelry is in and so it’s very dear to my heart.

See more of Laura's designs at or stop in and visit her display.

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