Introducing JLynn Jewels ~ "FEBRUARY JEWEL"
Jennifer Justman ~ Soul's Fire Designs
Before we get into my interview with Jenn...
A little bit about my Sandbox...
is a community of creative people
sharing common goals, interests, skills & values
The concept for this project is simple...
To inspire, educate, and support all things creative
It's my way of giving back for the many blessings
and opportunities that have impacted my life because of
my numerous years in the creative industry
In the upcoming months...you'll be introduced to:
~ Ta-Dah Tutorials/Tips ~ Play-Days~ Inspire Me ~
~ Energy Boosters ~ Organize It! ~ Popcorn Products ~
our Monthly "Jewels"
featuring a variety of designers
Now...for our star feature...
Introducing...our FEBRUARY JEWEL
Jennifer Justman from Soul's Fire Designs
Like the sun hiding behind a BIG cloud...waiting to burst out...Jenn popped into my life like a major beam of light. My first thought when one of her happy, sunshine filled posts appeared on my wall, was "WOW...I'm lovin' this gal...and I don't even know her" -but I felt that connection almost immediately. You see she is one of those people that you feel like you've known forever...a kindred soul. I felt her warmth and positive attitude across the miles and it has been a real joy getting to know her. I feel privileged to have her as one of my people that I count on for a long distance hug, camraderie of support, and general inspirational splash! I hope you will enjoy my feature of Jen and getting to know a little bit more about her and her jewelry designs.
When I asked Jenn about how she got started designing, she explained that it was close to eight years ago. She remembers a time, when she was in college trying to finish her degree, working full-time, and attempting to plan her own Wedding. Life was crazy for her, but she was determined to find the perfect necklaces her bridesmaids. As time drew closer, she grew frustrated trying to stay within her budget...so, she purchased some Sterling Silver pendants, some beads and created them herself ~ and she has been designing ever since. Jenn said over the next several years, she never really thought about selling her jewelry until last year...when her friend and husband talked her into it! Jenn opened her Etsy Shop SoulsFireDesigns last Spring (April of 2011).
What caught my eye first about Jenn is her love of FallenAngelBrass findings, and her unique style in how she uses their findings. I also loved the fact that she used a variety of other Artisan components in her designs (including JLynnJewels ART tiles). So I'm going to share a little of what I've learned about Jenn including just a few of her many designs...
As a designer myself, one of the things that I've always loved to do...is use everyday findings as an actual design focal element...it's amazing the looks and styles you can come up with. In this romantic necklace, the use of tiny jump rings up the one side really cinched it for me...as it was an offset tiny design element that spoke of something mysterious...fun...and unique. I simply love it...you certainly would not find this in a department store...and that's the point - Artisan Jewelry is one-of-a-kind.
Valentine Red Crystal Heart Necklace with Key
If you are true Artisan...
Designs ideas come to you through feelings, inspirations, and colors
"It is always better to be an original, than an imitation"
~ Theodore Roosevelt
I chose some pieces here that just seemed to blend so well with each other - and gave me such an overwhelming feeling of peace and happiness...hope you enjoy!
Sometimes design inspirations come from focals...
and sometimes the focal makes you think about a particular song...
In this case...the inspiration song was..."Only Hope" by Mandy Moore
Jenn created this beautiful double strand bracelet,
packed with gemstones, Swarovski Pearls, Wood pieces, and my
Jenn is inspired by Color Palettes...and visions from the sea
this beautiful bracelet features Agate gemstones
and luscious ceramic beads from Gaea
Mother Nature herself also inspired Jenn...
this design features my 3/4" ART tile
After the storm...
When the dark clouds begin to move away
and there is a patch of brilliant blue sky...
all above a bare autumn tree whose
naked branches stretch to the blue sky...
to the sun's rays...peace falls upon the world
Now let me share a TRUE story...when I first saw the below design - I thought of Colbie Callait's song "Brighter than the Sun" - and low and behold when I read the description (just click on the picture) - I learned this was the inspiration song for this design). You see Jenn and I have another common connection - and that is we both have backgrounds in music - specifically singing. So it's always fun to hear what song she has playing on her iPod...or what song inspired a certain design...or what song just kept the flow going for her when she's designing.
These bright and sunny earrings feature
ceramic pieces from Marsha Neal Studio
Have you guessed one of Jen's favorite colors yet?
Ocean inspired Blues and greens from the sea...this bracelet reminds me of the Carribbean beaches and skies...featuring a 1/2" double sided
mini-heart JLynnJewels ART tile - so sweet!
Now, as designers...we purchase things and hoard them...Jenn is no exception...
Maybe a better phrase to use, so we're not given a bad rap...
is that we purchase things that "speak to us"
and sometimes we need to wait until they call out to us...
or the right inspiration comes along that has us digging for that special piece...
The below earrings feature beautiful Boro beads but I'll let you read more about the inspiration behind these earrings when you visit her Etsy store.
But I simply love these stacked drop earrings with dangles!
Like many designers, Jenn is also inspired by another Designer's creation...
and that component and feel to it...becomes the inspiration for the design,
as is the case with this gorgeous bracelet featuring a beautiful leaf
Polymer Clay focal piece from Heather Powers
When I asked Jen what her favorite thing
in jewelry design was...she responded with...
" I love wire working, I love to bend and twist and shape...and I've gotten to a point where I make all my own ear wires and many of my headpins too"
Here's an example of one of her own Ear Wires...
Did I forget to mention that another favorite design color for her is RED?
It is - and don't these just look HOT - RED HOT! Fun in a classy way :)
As Jewelry Designers, Artisans, Craftspeople...there are many that have unique qualities and traits that make a Designer stand out...that "soul" that speaks without words...and that spark of creativity that just never rests. Jenn is one of those people. You know it is said that those that are true Artisans...those that create from a vision...are able to have unique relationships - even with the very people that most would consider a business competitor. Like me, Jenn takes great pleasure in other designer's successes. She is such a cheerleader in many ways - it's a very special feeling to be surrounded by people that can whole heartedly celebrate your new creations, compliment you, and gladly help you with learning a new skill or technique if they can. Creativity is a constant quest for growth and trying of new things. So it's inspiring to see her striving to try new things...so being curious...I asked Jenn what it was that she wanted to "dabble" in this this year...she responded with...
"I have many ideas whirling about as to where I'd like to go with wire this year! Plus...something else I've been dabbling in, is metal stamping and I love it! I want to do more this year, because I find it a bit tricky but so rewarding".
In addition, she also added that she would like to work with Patina and Etching so that she can start creating some of her own focal pieces. Ironically, metal stamping and etching have been calling to me too - and I confess that I have a set myself from BeadEducation that I still have not played with yet and it's a year old...so I'm hoping that seeing some of Jen's inspirational pieces, inspires me to dabble a bit too :)
The below picture is one I took of a special piece that Jenn sent me as a comfort gift when I lost my Sister this past November...I love the organic feel to it and when I'm not wearing...it has a place of honor hanging off my desktop lamp off this gorgeous iron hook...I LOVE it and it reminds me every day to "Just Breathe".
Also love her "wrap" bracelets too...
All of this of course left me with wondering a bit of our shared likes of what I call "Component Designers" - these are Artisans creating beautiful focal pieces, links, beads, and other eye candy for Jewelry Designers to utilize in their projects. Well not many surprises...some I've already linked above - like Fallen Angel Brass, Marsha Neal Studio, Gaea, Heather Powers, and of course JLynnJewels ART tiles. But the other neat thing about fellow Designers (well at least the "cool" ones) is that we LOVE to share our finds and promote another Artisan. There is no such thing as keeping "mumm" about a favorite component designer...and all through the year, you will be seeing a lot of sharing of not only some of my favorites...but my featured designers' favorites too!
Here is something that Jenn created using a precious component from a new designer... Tree Wings Studio - brand new to me and when visited their Etsy store, I wound up purchasing a pretty neat pendant and some "wheel" links that were calling to me - cannot wait to design with them. Anyways...here is an adorable fox bead from Tree Wings Studio that Jenn designed...
I just LOVE Jenn's enthusiasm and outlook on life...
We joke often about having that same optimistic "Polyanna" personality...
but in the good positive ways and being thankful for all of the things in life.
So where does this leave us on this interview??? GOALS...
When we talked about goals...I was upfront with Jenn that I wanted to know her creative goals (and not numbers). Because I feel that in this day and age, it's easy to get caught up in the numbers game..."x" amount til I reach this..."x" amount of fans (both of which are not a true indicator of success or failure) - but they are in fact for me...both numbers that are associated with people, and since I'm a major PEOPLE person...I have a hard time classifying anything or anyone as a "number". Don't get me wrong...all business plans need forecasts and P&L statements. Coming from an Accounting background (Tax Para)...and also a Marketing background (which had me analyzing sales and trends to successfuly make improvements in key areas through relationships and creative education), I can tell you numbers are extremely important...BUT I also believe that anything number related (including dollars, weight, and age) are best left behind closed doors.
So - yes, Jenn has goals for sales and fans I'm sure...
but do you want to know her main goal for this business year???
"To enjoy it!
And remember that I love what I'm doing,
and to put those feelings into everything I create"
And I for one am SINGing her praises ;)
So in closing, I asked Jen to share some things she likes about my tiles too - because as a designer...I know what goes through my head...I know why I create my ART tiles...but I'm not always sure why people purchase them or what they have in mind for a design - but since I absolutely love the designs she has come up with using my tiles, I was curious...and asked what she loves about my tiles...to which she responded with...
"What I love about your tiles? That they are so versatile without losing that special classiness that is all you. I love that JLynn Jewels tiles come in many sizes and shapes and patterns, and yet I can always look at a tile in a piece of jewelry and know it is one of yours. Each tile tells a story and the best part? Each story is open to many interpretations, each tile can be taken in to use in our own creations... to tell our own stories. I love how holding a JLynn Jewels tile in my hand has that moment of infinite possibility and then... then it speaks to me and tells me what it wants to be. I am positively giddy over all the new shapes and I love how each shape can be drilled more than one way... oh the possibilities. They spark my imagination and let my creativity flow."
THEN...I asked her why she wanted to play in my SANDBOX...she said:
"Why do I want to play in your sandbox? Because you have the best toys! ;) Janice, you are generous, fun, creative, kind... you share my Pollyanna view of the world and life is too short not to see and embrace the goodness! So please, please, may I play in your sandbox? "
NEEDLESS TO SAY...my answer was a resounding YES!
Now you begin to understand why Jenn is such an everyday life pick-me-upper - a pure ray of sunshine and happiness.
So do yourself a favor...go check out Jenn's links here - and especially become a fan of her page...not because it's a "number" but because your life will be that much more enriched by having her in it!
I leave you with this message from Jenn...
"I am always trying to get better, always, I think one of the best parts about designing jewelry is that there is no end to the possibilities. There are always new techniques to try, new mediums, new people to meet, new ways to push yourself. Being a designer for me, means sharing my soul, my vision with the world. It is a terrifying and beautiful prospect. But I've found many of the best things in life are the most frightening to dive into. "
HOPE YOU ENJOYED MY
FEBURARY JEWEL...and my special friend