Interview of the week: Jennifer Earles of Bijoutery Designs

Jennifer Earles is the artist behind Bijoutery Designs and also a graduate student studying geoscience. She says that her love of geology has led to her designing stone and pearl based jewelry. I don’t know if it’s the artist in her or her innate knowledge of stones and gems, but one thing is for certain, her designs are beautiful!!

Corinne: My favorite thing in your shop is this spastic pearl necklace! What is your favorite stone to work with and why?

Jennifer: I’d have to say amazonite – blue is one of my favorite colors, and there’s really no prettier blue than amazonite!

Corinne: Where do you get your inspiration?

Jennifer: A lot of my inspiration comes from nature and the world around me. I study science, particularly geology (though I love astronomy and ecology too!), and get a lot of inspiration from that as well. It gives me such a better appreciation for the materials I work with to know that a stone I may be using is millions of years old, and each one is its own little mystery.

Corinne: Wow, geoscience sounds like an interesting major! What is it, and what do you hope to do with it?? Will you still design your jewelry?
Jennifer: Geoscience incorporates a lot of the different fields that study the Earth, and the materials and processes that affect it. I’m particularly interested in planetary geology (the geology of other planets) as well as environmental geology. I hope to pursue research once I am done, though I think I would like to try my hand at teaching at some point. I really enjoy sharing what I know, and explaining just how important geoscience is to every day life.
I will definitely continue to create jewelry and art! I don’t see myself ever stopping, and maybe one day down the road I’ll get the chance to focus more on it and turn it into a full time pursuit!

Corinne: Well, I hope you don’t stop! Is jewelry the medium do you work in the most?
Jennifer: Currently I mostly do jewelry design, mainly using stones, pearls and leather. However I grew up learning a variety of art forms, and also love to painting and pastels. I found I like photography too, while in college - I took so many geology field trips that I improved a bit every time I took photos and found I just loved what I could do with the camera.Corinne: Do you do a lot of craft shows? Which do you do better at, etsy or craft shows? Jennifer: I haven't done any craft shows since I moved to Bowling Green, near Western Kentucky University, last fall. I used to do a few in my old town (which was right on the Indiana and Kentucky border), and particularly enjoyed art markets. However, I started grad school soon as I moved here and as time intensive as it is, its easier to sell online as I can work on it whenever I want from the comfort of my home! As far as which I do better at, well it depends - I can sell at lot of my smaller and cheaper items at shows, but sell more of my larger more expensive items on etsy, so they're really different markets when it comes to selling.

Corinne: What sets you apart from your competition?
Jennifer: I think my knowledge of my materials helps - I can explain a lot about the stones and pearls which people seem to always be interested in. I'm always honest about what I sell. I don't try to use any 'trick' trade names to make something sound more impressive - I don't need to, because I appreciate the materials for what they are and what beauty can be found in each one.My designs also make the best use of my materials, to show off their beauty and what is special about each component that goes into a creation.

Corinne: What product in your shop is your favorite right now?
Jennifer: My keshi petal pearl necklace will always be one of my favorites - I just love pearls and the keshi ones are just amazing. Each one is a little different in shape, size and color, its like each little pearl is its own work of art. To me its very much a "wow" piece but without being overwhelming since its all in soft colors.

Corinne: Who is the artist who inspires you the most?
Jennifer: Al Bean, an astronaut who was on the Apollo 12 mission and 4th person to set foot on the moon. He has created some amazing space art, and its just such a wonderful thing to find someone who tries to share what had to be an amazing experience with everyone else, through art. What a cool thing that is.

Corinne: What do you do to get over creative block or to take a break from creating?
Jennifer: Spend time with my family and pets, as well as go outside and take walks in the woods.

Corinne: I love your blog! Its educational and entertaining! Do you have a website also?
Jennifer: My blog http://jearles.blogspot.com/ has features about stones, fellow artisans, geology trips, and occasionally one cute bunny might pop in! I also have a web portal I'm currently developing at http://www.bijoutery.com/ that I plan to develop as a gateway to all my sites online, including my etsy store, blog, and possibly some special projects.

Corinne: I love the pictures of your big bunny on your blog! It sounds like he's your baby!! Do you have kids besides him?
Jennifer: No kids yet, just my “fids” (aka “furry kids” as one of my profs called ‘em). Maybe some day, but my little furry family keeps me plenty busy for now!

Corinne: If you could give just one tip to a newbie to selling their craft online, what would it be?Jennifer: Be sure when selling online to give your customer all the information they need - both visual and descriptive. They aren't in front of you to see and touch your items or ask questions, so you have to literally be their eyes and hands. Take the best photos you can, and include all the pertinent info about your items, to help your customer visualize it as best as possible.

Corinne: Somehow I can picture you digging in the dirt looking for rocks! If you were trapped in a cave, and could only take one thing, what would it be?
Jennifer: Super duper flash light with one of those “life long” batteries and a hand crank just in case. Believe me, you don’t want to be stuck in a cave without one! If you ever go on a tour often the tour guides will have everyone turn off their lights for a few seconds (or maybe even a minute) to get a sense of just how black it is. One time, though, I was with a group where we left ‘em off for about 15 mins or so – seemed like a lot longer! It’s very disorienting to say the least; it almost feels like this inky blackness is going to swallow you up, or like your senses are all out of wack. It definitely gives one an appreciation what the early miners had to go through when all they had were candles!

Be sure to check out the beautiful work Jennifer has in her shop, Bijoutery Designs, at: http://bijoutery.etsy.com/

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