What is your name?
Where are you located?
I live outside Chicago in the suburb of New Lenox.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm the SAHM of two kids -- Justin (almost 7) and Jenna (3) -- and married 11 years to Paul, the most awesome husband in the world! I've been creative since I was very young, dabblng in pencil and pastel drawing; painting with oils, watercolors, and acrylics; ceramics; clay/pottery; fiber arts; sewing ... I really should have majored in art in college, but I graduated with a degree in communications and a minor in music. I love to sing, and I play the piano. A few years ago, I took my first jewelry class, and I was hooked!
|Autumn Color Pendant|
What type of merchandise will shoppers find in your shop?
I have two shops on Etsy: Exhausted Creativity Jewelry and EC Rosaries.
ECJ features classic and fashion jewelry primarily for women, and I also have accessories for men and teens. I like to try my hand at trendy pieces, such as dictionary illustration pendants, robin egg nest pendants and earrings, and wire-wrapped pendants and rings with crystals. But I also enjoy making more classically styled pieces: multistrand beaded necklaces, hand-knotted pearl and gemstone necklaces and bracelets, classic tie tacks, and elegant gemstone drop earrings just to name a few. I guess you could say I make everything from boho to bridal! If it isn't listed on my shop, just ask...I can probably make it!
My other shop, ECR, has Catholic and Anglican rosaries, rosary bracelets, chaplets, tenners and religious jewelry. There I primarily use gemstones, pewter, sterling, and bronze. I make beaded, hand-knotted, and both traditional and modern wire-wrapped pieces.
|Christian Prayer Beads (Anglican Rosary)|
How/why did you get started?
After I took a couple of jewelry classes at a local shop, I started making jewelry for every occasion I could think of. I gave it as gifts and made pieces for myself. People had such nice things to say about it, and some even encouraged me to sell it. So back in December 2010, I decided to take the plunge and open an Etsy shop. It's a desperately needed creative outlet, and my goal is to be successful enough to support the household with the income.
How long have you been crafting?
I've been making jewelry for the past 4 or 5 years since taking my first class. I spend a lot of time learning new techniques, and the quality of my jewelry has improved immensely, even since opening my shop.
What is your favorite thing to make?
It's hard to say what is my favorite thing to make. Every piece is important to me, and I so thoroughly enjoy the process each time. I like to make rosaries because there is a "formula" to follow, like a recipe. But I also enjoy the dynamic process of taking some gorgeous beads and allowing the creative process to dictate what they become. I make and remake pieces until I am happy with them. I don't sell it if I wouldn't wear it myself.
|Octopus Pendant - Vintage Dictionary Illustration|
What are your favorite materials to work with?
My favorite things to work with are sterling silver, bronze, and all manner of natural gemstones. I prefer gemstones for their earthy, organic quality. Each gemstone possesses a natural energy that can enhance the finished jewelry piece. I also use a lot of Swarovski crystals in my work because they add shine and "bling" to my work.
What inspires you to create?
I am inspired by nature, personal history, and circumstances when creating my pieces. Nature is the perfect color and texture palette, and nature provides the best resources and materials. By history and circumstances, I mean that I am moved by personal experiences and events around me, especially when creating my rosaries and chaplets. For example, I purchased a beautiful rosary center of Mary nursing baby Jesus, and I was so moved by the image to make a rosary bracelet intended for breastfeeding mothers. It reminded me of the beautiful bond between my children and I that was shared when I was nursing them. There is a lot of emotion in my work!
|Aqua Blue Chunky Two Strand Necklace|
What is one thing you need to have with you while you craft?
One thing I have to have when I work is relative quietness. I prefer to work while completely alone (hard to do with kiddos!) but the one thing I ask is that everyone keeps the noise down. I think and pray while I work, and it is a personal time of reflection for me.
How do you balance mothering and running a small business?
I am still figuring out the balance of mothering and work! Let me know if anyone perfects it because I don't think it's possible. Mothering IS work, and I feel like mothering is my ultimate call. Any time my attention is away from my children, I feel guilty. I know my children are learning self-sufficiency during times that "mommy can't right now." But I try to keep those times to a minimum, and I work mostly at night ... that's why I called my shop Exhausted Creativity.
What is your favorite thing to browse Etsy for?
I browse Etsy for everything, but my favorite thing is to look for goodies for my kids! In fact, my daughter's birthday is this weekend, and I've been shopping for amigurimi dolls. I love it -- so much fun to browse and get ideas.
|Genuine Amethyst, Sterling Silver and |
Swarovski Crystal Dangle Earrings
When you're not crafting, what are you doing?
When I am not crafting, I am usually doing household chores and doing things with the kids. When I'm not doing those things, I'm squeezing in time to list new items and shop for supplies.
Where can we find you?
I am found many places. My shops are:
www.exhaustedcreativity.etsy.com and www.ecrosaries.etsy.com
I have a facebook page: www.facebook.com/pages/Exhausted-Creativity-Jewelry/103651389718640
I have a twitter account: @JewelryEC
And I have a blog: www.exhaustedcreativityjewelry.com
My plan is to have pieces available at local businesses and craft shows as well, but that is still undetermined yet.
What is your favorite shop (not yours) on Etsy currently?
My favorite shop on Etsy? I can't pick just one! I love AmyPerrotti - she makes gorgeous prints of matryoshka dolls in all ethnicities. (I have six of them in my daughter's room!) StorybookStyles makes wonderful costumes and clothing for kids. And I just discovered EvesLittleEarthlings with her Waldorf-inspired creations. From a creative standpoint, I am very fond of Watchings, PureOXFaith, TaviaSanza, SunnySideUpStudio, TuckooandMooCow, PrayerBedes, KSickles, FlorLarios, and Skrynka.