What Inspires Your Jewelry-Making?
Q&A with Tammy Jones
I don't know about you, but I love knowing what makes people tick. What inspires a designer/writer/artist, and where did they come from? Knowing this background information gives me a deeper connection and understanding of their work.
Tammy Jones, editor of Jewelry Making Daily, and I usually chat about artistic techniques, design, and how to score more crystals! Here's our latest chat featuring Tammy's fascinating jewelry making background.
Kristal: How did you become inspired to start making jewelry?
Tammy: I've been crafty ever since I was a little girl; I don't even remember when I first started making jewelry! I do remember when I was lucky enough to get paid to do it! I was the crafts editor for HGTV for seven years, and during that time I wrote and edited project instructions for every segment of the Carol Duvall Show, That's Clever!, and other craft shows. Naturally, I got hooked on making jewelry after watching designers such as Lisa Pavelka, Tim Holtz, Donna Kato, and Suze Weinberg make jewelry on the shows. I started with beading and some wirework–mostly wire and strung jewelry, all made of sea glass or just about any pretty little thing found on the seashore.
After HGTV, I worked for a large jewelry retailer creating gemstone education and jewelry-making content for their website. That's when my true gem geek came out; I studied gemstones from the Gemological Institute of America for three years and started dabbling more seriously in jewelry-making techniques such as beading, metal clay, mixed-media jewelry, and wirework. Soon after that I started Southern Baubelles, my jewelry shop on Etsy, and soon after that I became the editor of Jewelry Making Daily. I've been so lucky to have creative careers that encourage my crafty side.
Kristal: What was your best jewelry-making day?
Tammy: I feel so lucky to have been taught metalsmithing by Lexi Erickson, a frequent contributor to Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. She is so gracious and such a wonderful teacher, and after she taught me the basics that I didn't know, she let me do slightly more advanced work than I could have done in a regular class.
I think being given freedom to play after learning basic skills like that is fabulous; my lampwork instructor, Marcy Lamberson, did that as well. I'm usually a fast learner, and I have pretty specific ideas about what I want to make, so I get frustrated in classes if I have to adhere to a set progression of projects. Being able to use my newfound skills and advance at my own pace was a wonderful learning experience for me and, both times, has resulted in some of my favorite jewelry work so far.
Kristal: What's your favorite type of jewelry-making?
Tammy: In the past two years, I've finally learned two jewelry-making techniques that I'm really excited about–silversmithing (metalsmithing) and lampwork-glass bead making–and I love both of them. My favorite though, has to still be metal clay. It's simply magic! I felt that way when I first discovered it, and I get that same feeling every time I make metal clay jewelry. Most of the jewelry I make and sell for Southern Baubelles either involves stringing gemstones, metal clay, or both.
Kristal: If you could take a workshop from any jewelry guru (dead or alive), who would it be?
Tammy: Oh my gosh, I've been so lucky to learn from so many wonderful designers like the ones I've mentioned above, and there are many more! Kate McKinnon and Hadar Jacobson are favorites for metal clay, and someday I need to get Helen Driggs to teach me some of her cold-connection and metal fabrication magic. I'm in love with Susan Knopp's enamel jewelry designs, too. If we're going to span space, time, reality and all that, though, I'm going to have to really get big ideas! I love Cathy Waterman's designs, especially her Love of My Life line, and Paula Crevoshay's work is beautiful–so full of colorful gems that I love. Early Tiffany & Co. designs by Jean Schlumberger are inspiring to me; I'd love to meet the man behind them.
Thanks Tammy! Now it's your turn to take the first step in learning how to make metal jewelry with a subscription to Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist.