NewslettersRuby Lane's newsletters are designed to celebrate the antiques and art, vintage collectibles and jewelry communities around the world. Our Past Times newsletter focuses on antiques and collectibles. Our Creative Hands newsletter celebrates fine art and handcrafted jewelry on Ruby Lane. Our shop owners are frequent article contributors, sharing their expertise and their passions for the items they collect and create. Enjoy!
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Ruby Lane's Creative Hands Newsletter for January 2007
IN THIS ISSUE:
- SHOP SPOTLIGHT: Unique Designs by Nora
- MONA HAIR of Mona Designs
- Share Creative Hands With A Friend
SHOP SPOTLIGHT: UNIQUE DESIGNS BY NORA
I've been intrigued by color and fashion since a very young age, which brings me to being a jewelry designer today. My very talented Mom has always been very good with her hands, which is why she chose to be a professional interior decorator/designer. My Mom would take my sister and I along with her to many of her decorating jobs. We would often watch her as she designed and created the many floral arrangements she used to decorate the homes and offices she was working on. Because of my Mother's work, and being surrounded by arts and crafts most of my life, I developed an eye for color and design.
I first started designing jewelry fifteen years ago, for friends, family; and myself but I didn't start selling my designs until eight years ago. Often, when wearing one of my jewelry creations I would be asked where I had gotten the piece, so I decided to sell my jewelry designs to the public, and the rest is history. My very first designs were made using glass and plastic beads. I still have three of my original bracelets.
Today, I make all of my designs with semi-precious gemstones, fine lampwork beads, and sterling, vermeil, gold, and gold-filled findings. My favorite designs are the very colorful rondell and wire designs. I am also very fond of the designs I make with the massive one-of-a-kind Druzy pendants. I also tend to make one-of-a-kind pieces, designs that cannot be duplicated.
I will work on a design until it is perfect. I sometimes take the piece apart and redo it several times before I list it in my shop Unique Designs by Nora at Ruby Lane. I am a perfectionist, so you will always receive a perfect piece. I do not sell anything I wouldn't wear, and I do not skimp on quality. I only use the finest stones I can find from around the world. And, I am always looking for the newest beads on the market, so I attend all the gem shows in the area. I want my designs to not only be perfect in construction, but also to be fresh and inspiring.
I sold my jewelry at a well-known auction site for six years, and then decided to venture onto Ruby Lane. I do not regret this move for one minute. I love all my Ruby Lane customers, and especially the Ruby Lane system.
My sister, Cindy Vela, also works with me designing jewelry for my Ruby Lane shop. Cindy works at jewelry designing part-time; it is a full time job for me. Our work is featured in two books: Organic Beaded Jewelry by Susan Ray, and Secrets to Lampworking by Karen Leonardo. Both books can be purchased online or at any bookstore. Our jewelry is sold across the United States in finer boutiques, and you can feel confident when making a purchase from Unique Designs By Nora my Ruby Lane shop. Because each jewelry creation is a one-of-a-kind piece made with pride and attention to detail.
MONA HAIR OF MONA DESIGNS
Often I am asked, "How did you begin designing jewelry?". It is a story filled with clichés' born of truths as old as mankind. The faith of a mustard seed; prayer works; He carries us when the load is to heavy for us to cope; foot steps in the sand; bad things happen to even the nicest people. Yes, a very hard luck story. In a nut shell and with some attempt to preserve my dignity, I will share this much, I was experiencing a devastating life situation, had twenty dollars in my purse, and a young son to care for. I sat in my car in front of a craft store and cried for hours. I prayed deeply, devoutly, reverently, and profoundly for help.
The rest is a haze with no strong recall. I know I went into the store, I spent all of the twenty dollars...on faith. I went back to the car, still numb, and got in. In all truth I can tell you that I have no recollection of how the choices were made for what went into the bag. I had never in my life even considered designing a piece of jewelry. As I sat down in the car and closed the door, I peered into the bag wondering what it was all about. I went home, dumped the contents onto my dining table and said, "OK God, I am ready. Please show me what to do with this." Two days later I had two hundred dollars cash in my wallet and knew I could care for my young son adequately until my next payday. Then I prayed, "God, can we do this again, You and I?" My prayer for help was answered abundantly and with a gift of a talent I had never experienced before. Even today, ten years later, I feel humbled, grateful, astonished, and amazed.
Since that time, I have avidly studied, practiced, taken classes, and grown in so many directions that sometimes I wonder if I can keep up with all of the wonderful ideas and concepts that are flowing through my head. Every single facet of jewelry design fascinates me. Not only the colors, textures, light refractive properties, mechanical compositions, and varieties of styles, but also the science of creating a design that is wearable. Considerations of comfortable finished weight of a design is as important in an earring as in a necklace or bracelet. Curiosity and concern about the mechanical performance of a design while being worn has prompted me to offer free jewelry to friends on the condition that they would report back to me on how the jewelry performed while being worn at work, in the shower, while dancing, etc. I have personally worn design prototypes to verify and document for myself that the jewelry was meeting all of my personal criteria for what constitutes a good design that is beautiful and exhibits durable quality. Whether a jewelry design is being rendered in what is classically considered "Non Precious" goods, or in precious metals, pearls, and gemstones, a design should be a good one.
Jewelry designers are not necessarily "Jewelers" although some are. As a whole we are designers that take delight in manipulating any and all media into wearable art. We are a society of entertainers who offer a piece of permanent evidence that an entertaining event occurred. A design was seen, it was acquired, and then it was treasured for a while, hopefully for a life time. To bring joy through this act to others is an experience that is humbling, exciting, and fulfilling.
There are many societies of jewelry designers on the internet that span the globe. Some groups are even very specialized in their work. Enclaves of beaders, polymer workers, precious metal clay artists, chain maille artists, and metal workers all meet together with a common goal. To improve their crafts and professionally grow. We discuss and share our designs, collaborate on designs, share discoveries, support one another through designers block, come together in fund raising events for important causes, and collectively grow our craft as individuals, as well as groups through peer support!
When I am asked what inspires me I become effusive. Literally everything inspires me. Nature, science, poetry, architecture, life experiences and many different types of art trigger an inspired moment in which a design is born. A really great book I am reading will infuse my work temporarily. A wonderful movie I have just seen will somehow find it's way into my work. A memory of a trip to a foreign country will inspire a particular design. I might awaken in the night, driven to my work bench to capture a design from a dream before it is gone and with no understanding of where that design came from. . If my studio was stripped and I was left in a forest with nothing but twigs, leaves, and stones....still I would create something in wearable art. Designing, for me, is as elemental and necessary as breathing. Mona of Mona Designs
SHARE CREATIVE HANDS WITH A FRIEND
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