With that said, I had a wonderful time getting to know more about Rachel Leathers, a Jewelry Designer extraordinaire, Rachel specializes in Semiprecious Stones and her talents can be found in her company, Hearts of Stone Jewelry. Rachel is also a fellow member of The Artisan Group and I am delighted to feature her work today.
How and when did you discover your love for your craft/art?
I have always been involved with sewing and needlecrafts, but I wanted to do something else and starting playing around with making jewelry. I didn't know anything about it and just dove in and taught myself! I have always loved rocks, so gemstones were a perfect medium for me.
Do you remember the first piece you ever made?
I do remember my first piece, and wouldn't want to show it to anyone! Yeesch, my first pieces are not good. But, they were the first stepping stones (no pun intended), and when I look at them, it shows me just how far I've come and how much more I know about my craft. They act as validation and encouragement now!
|"Whole of My Heart"|
My process starts with the stones; when I find a heart that makes me tingle, the process has begun! I then start to pair it with other stones and beads and just ride the wave. Any stone can do that to me, and I build from the initial feeling.
When people start doing their craft/art, they tend to try a lot of different things before settling down to something that resonates with them. How has your work changed since you began?
When I began, I was using all shapes and sizes of gemstones. The hearts became more visually appealing to me, and I kept saying I have hearts of stone! So then the name stuck with me, and I've built everything around that. It was such a natural progression; so literal yet so tongue in cheek!
The stones inspire me creatively. This is the most satisfying thing I've ever done creatively speaking, and all stones resonate with me. It is just such a perfect fit. My other inspiration is George, my honey. He has been a self-employed businessman for over 25 years, and he has the encouragement and insight that keeps me going; his attitude helps to keep mine in check, and now I see what I would have previously thought of as a failure as just another lesson learned and not at all a negative.
Can you tell us about some important goals you have achieved with your work?
I am so thrilled to have been accepted into The Artisan Group. Doing the gifting to the celebrities and charities gives me instant cache, and being shoulder to shoulder with other artists that wow me has been validating. Being featured on blogs and in an online magazine are also successes to me! To still be doing this 2 1/2 years after beginning it is also an achievement.
|"The Lucky Buddha"|
I love any crafter/artist who truly does their work. By that I mean someone who works with metal, metal clay, or can shape stones, or knit or crochet or sew. I get so riled with people who claim to be handmade artists when all they do is put a charm on a chain and call it a handmade necklace. My line of chokers is basically that, but those exist as a complement and price point to everything else I make. I'd love to rewrite the definition of 'handmade' and compare it to 'hand-assembled'. I love any artist who's work makes me say "Wow!" and then makes me wonder just how the hell they made it!
Any goals for the future you would like to share?
My goal is to find the secret to making more sales. Which sounds trite, but it is oh so true. I do have another dream outside of the jewelry, and that is to have a shop that is half costume shop, half garment construction. I would of course have a private room for jewelry-making!
|"Sweet and Simple 110"|
My spare time is devoted to spending quality time with George. He works so much, and our time is limited together, so I spend as much of it with him as possible. Other times, I might just spend the day in front of the TV and try to decompress. I am a one-woman operation and that gets overwhelming and tiring. Althoguh I did manage a mani/pedi with a girlfriend I haven't seen in awhile the other day!
If you are displaying or selling your craft/art? Where?
As of right now, I sell online on Etsy and in a brick and mortar in Pasadena, CA. I do want to expand that and will try to get into more retail outlets this year.
|"Simple Lapis Lazuli Choker"|
My biggest challenge is finding a balance to time spent at the worktable and the computer! Some days I have a plan, other days I wing it. I've found that having a loose plan like that helps my sanity. Too rigid a plan would frustrate me and kill the desire to accomplish anything.
What advice would you give to someone who want to start out or start a business in their craft/art?
If you want to create and sell something, just jump in and give it a go. You'll never know until you try. Have fun with it, take seriously the business side of it, and be honest with it. Whatever 'it' is, be passionate about it and it will love you back. And take good pictures...
*****Thank you Rachel! Be sure to check out Rachel's beautiful jewelry creations at these sites:
|"Oscar's Copper Dreams - 2012 Academy Awards Luxury Gift Lounge"|