Featured Artist: Jeana Simmons
This month, our Featured Artist is Jeana Simmons. Jeana creates handmade jewelry using earthy materials that reflect her own personal style. We asked Jeana a few questions, take a look!
A: How long have you been making jewelry and why did you get started?
J: I started making jewelry in 2015. I work in retail full time and cherish every minute of rest I can get. I came to the realization that I should be doing more with my time off, as much as I love sleeping (oh boy, do I love to sleep), so I decided to take up a hobby. Jewelry was the first thing to come to mind, since I dabbled a bit as a teenager. I like being able to personalize and detail my own pieces. Soon enough, my friends and family wanted me to make them necklaces and bracelets. I put a name on my project, earth.wire. The name was meant to stand for a collaboration between earthy materials and the silver wire I use to wrap pendants. I love being able to wear nature.
A: What is your favorite piece you’ve ever made?
J: Sometime last year, I attempted to make wire rings, and had a great idea to make cat ears! I had gemstone chips and picked through them to find "ear shapes". There were some casualties, given the fragility of the stones and the twisting of wire, but I made quite a few that night. I thought I created the best thing ever! Everyone I knew, went crazy over them, too.
A: Do you have a favorite mineral or gem? Why is it your favorite?
J: It's a tie between Opal and Quartz. I love everything about October, my birth month, and Opal is my birthstone. I think it's such a beautiful stone. For healing reasons, Quartz takes the cake. Clear Quartz is the master healer of all the healing stones.
A: What inspires you to create when you’re stuck?
J: Inspiration comes easy for me. If I get in a funk, I put some tunes on and try making different things until I have a winner. My main playlist is the indie radio on Spotify.
A: Do you have any advice for people who want to start making their own jewelry?
J: When I started getting interested in making jewelry, I watched a lot of tutorials online. Tutorials are usually made by people who are more experienced, and I definitely overestimated myself in the beginning. The best way to find what works for you is to try different things on your own. I also went through a lot of material while I was "learning". If you shop at your local craft store, I suggest using coupons!
A: You also refinish furniture. How did you become interested in that?
J: My boyfriend and I started painting and staining furniture around the same time I started making jewelry. We go to used furniture stores and markets to look for things that draw our attention. We went to a flea market one day, and almost left empty handed. On our way out, I fell in love with this old, lonely chair. I have never upholstered in my life, but was about to see if I could. After finding the perfect (bird) fabric, I created my first bird chair.
A: You also make lip balm! Can you tell us a little bit about that process?
J: I need my chapstick! I was obsessed with a specific brand, but it ended up giving me a reaction. I was super disappointed until I thought, "I bet I could make chapstick." After much research, I took on my new challenge. I don't have a double-boiler, so I boil water in one large pot, and place a smaller pot in that water to melt the ingredients. I don't use measurements when adding the ingredients together. I like to "free-hand" the formula until I find a consistency that I'm happy with. Until recently, I haven't come across any issues, but last time I added too much beeswax to the mix! Since the process is very involved, I make a lot at once, and thought other people would enjoy them as much as I do.
A: What is your favorite thing to create?
J: I'd say I enjoy making earrings the most. I love Czech glass right now! You'll start to see a lot of my earrings coming to the shop soon. I also took up baking clay recently, and after some trial and error, I think I've got it down ;) Clay is fragile, which I learned the hard way, but is very fun to work with!