Monday, August 2, 2010

Featured Shop FantasyDesign

This week’s shop feature is on FantasyDesign ( Chris creates one of my favorite lines of jewelry called Gems of My Heart. She had shared the story with me, about how the name of the line was born, and it is so wonderful, I feel very privileged to share it.

So here is my interview with Chris.

Anne, I know you really like my Gem of my Heart Jewelry line, so we’ll start there. I have my jeweling room connected to my bedroom upstairs in my big old double story house. It’s like a separate part of the house that I keep very private and I always have incense or candles burning. I love my rooms to always smell wonderful. It is my “fantasyland” to work my designs and play with gems. I live on 7 acres of land in a tiny town with many other artistic people. It’s funny how a lot of talented people have been drawn to this specific area. There is no grocery store except a tiny little market, no traffic lights, and no stop sign. There are no liquor stores, no theatres, no hotels and no restaurants. There is a Baptist Church, a Grange Hall where the whole town can gather for spaggeti dinners and square dancing.

The Gem of my Heart jewelry line is pretty special to me. My Grandaughter Star is five and lives here with her Dad, my son Nate, and me. She is Grandma’s little miracle. She has given me a reason to be happy again since my husband of 28 years died. Star loves to watch me jewel. She is learning all of the gem names and her favorite gem is a Ruby. I was working in my room one day, and Star was there at my side watching. I attached a small ruby to a little shell heart and she loved it. She looked at me very seriously, she is child full of love but does tend to be serious, and said “Grandma, I know why you made this. It’s because I am the ruby gem of your heart”. I looked at her with teary eyes, hugged her, and a jewelry line was born.

I think I stand out a bit, because my line of jewelry is so different. For the most part, I do not use chains for my designs. I do use silver chains for a few sets that I mount gems for. I will set up some amethyst, peridot, citrine, Mexican fire opals, blue topaz, and get them mounted on post earrings to match necklaces. I love the gems alone and simple like that. Just one gem dangling from a chain and mounted on a simple setting. I love showing the bright rainbow colors standing on their own, but even better, and this is different, I love to string gem beads together and watch the play of colors with silver or gold. To take the gem beads and build from a center “Show”, up the sides that show off the center, and then place second “Show”, with smaller beads and gentler colors, so they compliment and enhance each other, but the smaller “Show” still stands on it’s own.

When I’m starting a new piece, the story usually starts when I am gathering beads, bead charms, and perhaps an animal bead. As I am getting the pieces together, something can trigger a thought, as if I am walking in the woods and see a beautiful butterfly with purple flashing on her wings, so then an amethyst comes into play. Then I notice that the butterfly has landed on lavender, and there are only a few flowers under the tree, so I only use three lavender beads. It can go like that. I also have numbers in my head a lot. I have three children so three beads in a row with thin silver slivers in between can represent my children. If I am making a longer necklace, seven will come into play because it represents my favorite number and represents me.

Every piece of jewelry I make is time absorbing. I never rush it, ever. Sometimes it can take a few days to go where I want it to go. Sometimes I get taken on an unplanned trip with a piece and it seems to put itself together, and I am just along for the ride. A lot I times, I restring something a few times because it just doesn’t feel right, and I don’t like it. I will not keep something together that I don’t like myself. I will cut it up, and start over instead. I have never given up when some creation drags on and becomes difficult. I just keep trying until I get it right. Once in a while, I hope someone will come along that understands what I have put into a piece.

I guesss in the long run, it’s not just about money for me. I wish to bring peace and gentle smiles to people when they come into my shop, then later when they are gone, they remember something I said, and it will bring another smile. Or perhaps they will have seen something I created and they will remember the beautiful gems sparkling together and it will still bring them joy and a sparkle to their eyes to match the gem. A soft gentle smile of inner peace and joy. Not necessarily an outer smile, but a true smile from the heart.