How to Find Your Jewelry Style by Following Your Heart

Find Your Jewelry StyleKristina Hahn Eleniak, owner of Peacock & Lime Handcrafted Artisan Jewelry, has had numerous projects published in Jewelry Stringing and Beadwork magazines. Most recently, her Global Tassel Necklace Set was in the October/November 2017 issue of Beadwork (shown above). Learn what inspires her signature style and how she gets out of a creative rut.

Q. How did you get started making jewelry?

A. I have always had my fingers in something creative, dabbling here and there with various mediums, starting from a young age. And I’ve always been drawn to shiny objects and tiny treasures. But my jewelry business, Peacock & Lime, officially began almost by accident. It evolved out of people asking me to recreate things I had made as gifts for friends and family over the years, or pieces I had made for myself. I realized that others were interested in what I made. And it was a perfect opportunity to create things I loved, have an income, and still be able to stay at home with my kids.

Fast & Fabulous Jewelry Style Designs

Q. What’s your favorite type of jewelry to create?

A. I don’t really have a favorite type. I love making it all: earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and less traditional pieces like luggage tags, page markers, keychains, Christmas ornaments, etc. But, I guess if I had to narrow it down, my collections do seem to contain more bracelets than anything else!

Fast & Fabulous Jewelry Style Designs

Q. Where do you get your inspiration?

A. From so many different places! I grew up in a very creative extended family, having a number of talented family members that have been a constant source of inspiration to draw from right from the beginning. But I also have a passion for old things and good stories. I love to make pieces that have meaning, whether it evokes a certain emotion or memory, shares a secret, tells a story, seals a wish, gives one strength, or is a motivator or reminder of dreams. These influences can come from experiences, friends, or my customers.

I also find that having friends in the creative industries (not necessarily just jewelry, but all creatives) really helps keep that spark alive and fuels ideas. Online groups of like-minded creatives are also an awesome source for inspiration. And my daughter helps with bouncing ideas off of and keeping things fresh and youthful!

Fast & Fabulous Jewelry Style Designs

Q. What do you do when you’re in a creative rut?

A. I like to get involved with design challenges, whether a color challenge or a bead soup challenge.

Q. Explain what a bead soup challenge is like.

A. A bead soup challenge is when artists send component pieces that I may not normally work with. The challenge is creating something out of them while still staying true to my style. Some of my favorite pieces have come from these challenges!

Find Your Jewelry Style

Q. How is your studio/workspace organized?

A. One thing I love to do is organize (although it may not look that way from the photos!). I have a vintage wood card catalogue drawer set and a lawyer’s file cabinet that I can label and stash away my bigger bits and pieces plus supplies like shipping boxes, business cards, wrapping tissue, papers, etc.

I also have a few wooden letterpress trays with compartments for smaller components, charms, and beads. And I have a bunch of plastic compartment boxes for the items that don’t fit in the above storage because I have too many little goodies!

Find Your Jewelry Style

Q. Do you have a favorite beading technique or tool?

A. I don’t really have any one favorite technique, but I do love mixing different metals and materials together, like leather and metal, or chain with gemstones and glass beads.

I do have a favorite tool, though—a pair of bent needle nose pliers that I use for EVERYTHING! They were actually “borrowed” from my husband at the beginning of this venture, and never made it back into his shop (much to his dismay, as they were his favorite, too).

Fast & Fabulous Jewelry Style Designs

Q. What advice do you have for beading on a budget?

A. It is so easy to walk through a bead store, or look online, and think of all the projects you could make if you only had {insert every item here!}. Think about what you could do with “these” beads, “that” leather, or a special chain. If you are on a budget, my best advice would be to design your idea first, and then purchase only the components that you need to make it (and maybe a few variations of it). If you start purchasing everything that is calling to you, chances are you are going to end up with a humongous stash and forget half of what you wanted to make with them in the first place! (Did I mention that I don’t have enough compartments to house all of my little goodies? I speak from experience!)

Q. What’s the best creative advice you’ve ever been given?

A. The best advice sounds simple, but it is to “just do it.” If it makes you happy, just do it.

When I was in art school, most of the students learned to tone down their creativity and self-expression in order to get a passing grade. Anything that was “too out there” or didn’t fit the ideal mold of what was aesthetically pleasing would not receive good marks. And by the end of the term, a lot of individuality was lost. There were those who chose to continue with their own path instead of striving for good marks. And they are the ones that are really doing amazing things now.

The same could apply to jewelry making. If you are only making things because they are popular and/or will sell, your work will start to look like everyone else’s. It’s only when you follow your own heart that your true style will emerge.

Above photos courtesy of Peacock & Lime/Kristina Hahn Eleniak

Fast & Fabulous Jewelry Style Designs

Make Kristina’s latest projects from Beadwork magazine’s Fast & Fabulous Jewelry pattern packs. (Shown above: Book of Spells, June/July 2017; Men’s Leather Set, August/September 2017; Madagascan Sunset, April/May 2017)

Get these Fast & Fabulous collections and more from Kristina in our shop: