Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Eight Questions with...Jessica Sawyer

by Kat Lewinski

Meet Jessica Sawyer. Jessica lives in Rochester, MN with an obnoxious cat & two horses. She works in a Physiology Research Lab and learns about how the body works which she says is pretty neat. That may be her job but she spends all day long daydreaming about new designs and photographs and video. You can find Jessica on her Etsy store, Cholula Jewelry and her blog, Jessi Makes Jewelry.

1. What types of items do you sell in your store?

Sweet and sassy metalwork. I currently have an assortment of rings, pendants, bracelets, and earrings - mostly made in sterling silver but I've been playing with copper accents and stand alone pieces as well! I love pretty stones and try to make lots of stuff with them.
2. Where do you get your inspiration?

Oh, pretty much everywhere. My walks to and from work, things I see on the ground, landscapes, the ocean, travel, a pretty pattern, the barn, my horses, loverly stones that need equally beautiful settings. It's ongoing. I daydream about new pieces of jewelry, scenes for film and photographs, little drawings. I doodle on everything all of the time and get uncomfortable if I'm notebook-less because ideas are coming to me all of the time. I finalize a lot of my work as I'm falling asleep. For whatever reason, that's when my lightbulb moments hit. I think my brain gets quiet enough that I can have those "aha!" moments when everything falls into place. The rest of the time it's racing too fast to keep up. Unfortunately I usually fall asleep within about 2 minutes of laying down (at most), so I don't have enough time to process nearly all of the day's sensory load.

Other artists are truly some of the best inspiration available - how else would we have gotten to where we are with art?

3. Do you have a specific space where you do most of your work?

It largely depends on what I'm doing. I make wax molds for casting at my apartment on my kitchen table that's never seen a meal. I have a small table set up with my basic stuff (torch, soldering board, etc) for fabrication in my dad's garage, and I usually set stones on their kitchen counter. Even with such a small, basic setup I'm only marginally limited in what I can make (mostly at this time due to my teeny torch).

4. When did you first start crafting?

Can I say since birth to simplify things? If we want to get really technical about it, I've been doing all sorts of little things since I was very young. I'm always happier when my hands are busy. My first "big" crafting project was embroidery floss bracelets...I went through a phase where I couldn't stop making them. If I had free hands they were going to town tying knots. My dad, a surgeon, said I could tie better knots than many of the doctors who knew...and I was 8!

As far as when I actually began working with metal, I was 15 when I took my first jewelry class and I was pretty awful at it.

5. Do you do any crafts or art beyond what you sell?

If I had the time I would do everything out there I could get my hands on. I go through knitting phases, mostly, again, to keep my hands busy. I have a lot of started scarves laying around from that. Recently I've become quite enamored with needle felting. I love anything fiber; someday I'd like to learn how to spin. I'm also a photographer, have mixed media projects going often, and someday I hope to be able to get back into video/film as well as sculpture. Can you see why I couldn't pick a "focus" as an art major in college? I really want to do it all!

6. What are your favorite places to buy supplies?

I only bought from Rio Grande for a long time, as I didn't realize there was anywhere else. They have the most complete collection of "stuff Jessi needs" so I still use them quite a bit. I'm always on the look out for new places to buy unique stones, and I do like buying cabs at a local jeweler. I try to shop on etsy to support other sellers on there, but there aren't too many people selling the jewelry supplies I need.

7. What is the best thing you've ever done to promote your etsy store?

That has yet to be determined. Keeping friends and family updated has probably been the most successful, but truthfully I haven't done a whole lot to promote.
8. What other etsy store(s) do you really like?

How much time do you have? I have a weakness for pottery, quirky stuff, poppies, fiber, photographs, houses, mixed media, and vintage/vintage-esque dresses. Among other supplies. Shiny things.

Here are some picked at random from my hearted collection:

Poodle Breath
Retro Repro Handmade (people should wear more hats.)
Chloe Le Pichon Ceramics
The Last Circus

I think I'll stop there, I could really go on all day!

If you are a member of HandmadeMN & would like to be featured in Eight Questions email me at katbaro at yahoo dot com.


Chris O'Byrne said...

Jessi is very honest. Her cat IS obnoxious! She's also an amazing artist. (Jessi, not the cat.)

Sara said...

It's so nice to meet you, Jessica. I liked your interview and love your jewelry. Great post!