A beautiful alternative to sometimes questionably-mined diamond rings.
Look who I found in the Gallery! Birdland Creations.
TQB Designs: I have been making my beaded rounds for almost 15 years now. I am self-taught in the art of bead weaving and developed a system to create these textural rounds, ovals, squares, cylinders, and barrel shaped beads.
I meticulously weave each bead myself in the traditional gourd stitch and each woven sphere contains anywhere from 50 – 700 individual seed beads.
I also create many of the metal worked components. I found it more and more difficult to find the exact commercial part that reflected the look I wanted with my jewelry. So, I decided to start making my own that conveyed my aesthetic and found it so much more satisfying taking the time to make something,for example, as simple as a beautifully designed ear wire.
You may be familiar with the annual South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) that happens every year around this time in Austin, Texas. Originally meant to be a showcase for music, SXSW has now become a first stop for the newest technologies on the block–Twitter was introduced there in 2007. As a nod to the festival I thought I’d showcase some lo-fi indie talent from the world of handmade. Technology is cool and all, but mostly because it gives me more access to unique handmade stuff that I can’t get anywhere else.
Necklace: Amy Holton combines turquoise, tiger’s eye, and mother of pearl in this lovely necklace. Amy left the corporate world to start her business creating wearable pieces of art.
Dresses: Ivana Krejci designs her peasant-inspired garments using repurposed, reclaimed, and new notions. I could see myself spinning around in the Alps signing the hills are alive wearing one of these dresses, what about you?
Hand Stamped Fabric: Malka Dubrawskyis the author of the book Color your Cloth: A Quilter’s Guide to Dyeing and Patterning Fabric. She also sells her hand stamped fabric in her online store, which is excellent in case you’re like me and not as talented as Ms. Dubrawsky. But if you want to give it a try, she also sells autographed copies of her book.
Flowers in Your Hair: When I read about Tiffany in her shop profile, I immediately thought about the movie Giant, and the role Elizabeth Taylor played–Leslie. Like the movie, Tiffany says that she always felt a little out of place living in Texas and loving the fancy frills that define the roaring twenties. But I think these blossoms are bold enough to make a big splash, even in the great big place like Texas.
I create inspired handcrafted jewelry and pet accessories at my home in coastal Maine. I love working with natural materials (seaglass, wood, etc.) and also recycling vintage materials (especially buttons).
How did you get started? Have you worked in other creative areas before the kind of work you’re doing now?
I started making jewelry quite by accident. Back in 2005, I moved to Maine and was having trouble meeting people. I decided to sign up for a jewelry class as a way to meet new people and ended up loving it.
The hands-on process of manipulating metal and ending up with a completely wearable piece of art were so gratifying to me. I gradually began purchasing tools and supplies one by one until I had my own little studio.
Is there a story behind the name of your shop?
My studio is located in the loft of my house, so Lofted Designs seemed like a natural fit. I also like the double meaning…I hope when people wear my jewelry it will loft their spirits and attitude.
Another cool thing–my initials match the initials of my company!
Do you work alone? With a team? Do you engage your family or friends in the work? What is your process? How do you ensure you get your work done yet still have a life?
Although I started making jewelry as a way to meet new people, it ended up being a completely solitary endeavor for me. I almost always work alone in the studio, but I often consult friends and family for advice on my ideas and designs. And even though he doesn’t wear much jewelry, my husband is a great problem-solver when it comes to design and engineering issues.
It is challenging to balance a full-time job, my jewelry studio and still have a personal life, but when I need to (like, when I receive a bunch of orders) I can really focus my energies and get it done.
Where do you sell your work? Which venues are your favorites? Do you prefer selling online or in person? Do you attend shows or fairs? Is your work in a gallery or brick-and-mortar store?
I sell my work on Etsy — lofteddesigns.etsy.com — as well as in person at craft fairs and art shows. I love selling online and shipping my jewelry all over the world (very exciting)! But selling in person is amazing too, because I absolutely love talking to people about the process and inspiration behind my work.
Do you have any favorite handmade shops or sellers you’d like to recommend?
Patti of Posy Studio (Bar Harbor, Maine) makes amazingly creative miniature diorama jewelry.
Colleen Kinsella‘s prints are moody Maine masterpieces — I’m amassing a collection of them.
Amity Joy (Odd Showroom in Portsmouth NH) crochets and sews what I consider to be one-of-a-kind wearable art. She also paints amongst other talents.
(In case you couldn’t tell, I’m all about supporting local artists!)
What inspires and motivates you?
This sounds cliche, but I’m constantly inspired by nature. I also draw a great deal of inspiration from traveling to new places and from listening to music.
What do you wish I had asked you?
It’s very important to me that Lofted Designs is not only a creative outlet, but is also a socially responsible small business. Each quarter, a portion of the proceeds from my jewelry is donated to a non-profit organization. Many people have supported me in the creation of Lofted Designs and this is my small way of paying it forward.
Thanks Lori. And if you would like to be interviewed next, just go over to DIY Interview.