Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Interview Series: Week 3 - Joyananda

This week, the third in my interview/feature series from the crazy chick trying to make handmade mainstream once again, I bring you Joyananda of A Different Kind of Pretty! From cute to anime inspired, practical to fantastical, this artist brings us many different things in many different ways.

Name: Joyananda dasa Gi - designer behind A Different Kind of Pretty
Craft: Indescribable Handicrafts and Concept Art
Favorite material: Pure copper wire, Czech glass flowers and vintage beads
Most Popular Seller: Wicked Lady Charm Bracelet. I think I've probably sold ten of them in the last year, but unfortunately the bow that is used on this bracelet is discontinued! So i suppose it could technically be called a Collector's Item now!

Wicked Lady Bracelet
I absolutely love this design, it calls to mind everything a wicked lady needs, as well as the character for which it is named!  It's a shame it seems to no longer be available!

What got you into your craft?/How did you learn your craft?


I've been into making crafts for as long as I can remember. I started out with wreaths and faux floral arrangements. However, it wasn't until I was 23, when I survived an assault, that I really got into crafting. After the attack, my body was receiving physical therapy, but I needed something that would get my mind past the assault. So i poured myself into making jewelry and learning new skills, which I taught myself, like wire wrapping and polymer clay sculpting. I really believe i wouldn't be where i am today, creatively, without the circumstances of my past. At least, this is the thinking that helps me move forward.

 What about YOU? Who is the artist behind those wonderful items?

 I'm a work-from-home artist, and I live with my partner Matthew and two cats, Talula and Pygmalion. Matt is truly my rock in this life, but I also have great support in my friends, many of whom also make jewelry and crafts. Matt is also my "Creative Consultant." We pick out beads and supplies together, and together we come up with Concept Art based on the colour schemes or shapes of the beads. The notion behind "Concept Art" is that any piece of jewelry or craft can be themed after a beloved person, favourite place or treasured thing simply by re-creating the concept using colour schemes and shapes. For instance, the concept behind the Sanrio characters, the Little Twin Stars, is a pastel colour palette with soft geometric lines. With this concept in mind, I created a rosary that is themed around the Little Twin Stars.

I love the colors in this! The copper brings out the softness in the pastels with striking contrast.

What is a typical "working" day for you? How does it usually start and end? How many hours do you spend crafting? How many hours do you spend on other things? What about distractions? I know we all have them! Do you usually accomplish all you wanted to?


Typically, I do wake up with the sun, but i usually bum around in my pjs until inspiration strikes and then I start making jewelry and other crafts. The design process comes down to simple steps: Roll out my supply of beads, which are organized by colour and shape, and pick out everything that inspires me for a particular project. Even if i don't end up using it for the project, having all the things that inspire me about the project in one place before I begin is usually immensely helpful to the creative process. I usually work all day long, but in 20-minute stints, taking frequent breaks and working when the inspiration is there. When it's not there, I usually fill my time with gardening or home improvement projects.

What happens when you Oops? Everyone gets one sometime or another! Do you get frustrated and destroy/start over, or do you go with the flow and see what comes out in the end?

Sometimes, when OOPS happens, it really works out in the end. For instance, sometimes i make things that don't even have a name until later. I had a client recently contact me with an urgent request for a rosary, which was intended for her Great Aunt, whose husband had just been transferred to Hospice with cancer. That morning, i had already created a rosary using silvery gray glass pearls and a brass locket embossed with angel wings. At the time i created it, I thought it was an OOPS. I wasn't sure what to do with it, or what to theme it after, or what to name it, until I received that client's email. I then knew that the rosary was for her, and named it Archangel Raphael (picture attached), the Angel of Healing.

 Archangel Raphael Rosary
Gorgeous work.  The way it found its home is also inspiring to all of us who have the occasional mistake - even mistakes are just things made for someone out there and we don't realize it!

My favourite line in my store is the Pamela Coleman Smith Collection. These pieces are themed after paintings by Pamela Coleman Smith for the Arthur E. Waite Tarot Deck. It is such a pleasure to make these pieces, as I love Tarot Cards and have been reading them for over 12 years. I also read Tarot, on the first Monday of each month, at Professor Java's Coffee Sanctuary in Colonie, NY. It is such a fulfilling task to give prospective insight to Querents (that's Waite's term for "seeker of Truth").

Ace of  Pentacles
9 of Wands

Two more stunning pieces, only one of which is still available!

What is your greatest roadblock, be it government regulation or that little frustrating thing that just likes to sneak up and stop you in your tracks? Broken needle? Jump ring jumping out of your pliers? Thread knots? Cats? Dogs? The family hedgehog rolled about in your yarn basket?

My greatest roadblock is Depression. In 2005, when i was attacked, I fell into a deep Depression that affected my ability to function in the workplace. I tried everything, from traditional to experimental therapy, to address the Depression. Finally, after five years of endless therapeutical pursuits, in 2010 I received an experimental therapy that worked wonders for me. It completely turned my life around. Ever since then, and I continue this therapy to the present day, I have been able to really grasp Depression by the handlebars and steer my own course. Depression is still present in my mind and body, but it no longer controls my life. 

The all important pricing... Do you have a formula? Do you wing it? Do you feel your work justifies your prices?

My pricing policy has certainly changed since I started. First, I was only doubling the cost of my materials. As time went on, I started adding $5 for labour to every piece. That cost of labour has grown to $15 an hour. I believe that the quality of the materials and the workmanship presented speak for themselves. For instance, I may spend $5 in metal and $5 in beads on a piece. Doubling that, it's a $20 item based on materials alone. Adding $15 for labour, you are left with the $35 price which is the average of my store, i believe. I have attached a picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Rosary, which is an example of that pricing technique. Of course, there can be minimal materials involved and the entire thing could be labour-intensive (such as the Shivering Isles ring, which took such a great amount of labour that I had to charge more than the original goal of $15).

Sacred Heart of Jesus
Rosary - OOAK
The Shivering Isles
Ring - OOAK

For the prices asked on these gems, I certainly wouldn't hesitate! The quality and workmanship certainly show, as so few people appreciate other than fellow crafters.

Thank you, Joyananda for such an in-depth glimpse into your world, which judging from the work you do, is a beautiful and fantastic world indeed!  There is a little something for everyone here to be sure!  Make sure you visit Joyanada at A Different Kind of Pretty on Zibbet!


luvncrafts said...

Another great feature. I am new on zibbet, and it's nice to learn more about some of the other sellers there.
Beautiful work!

Kalla said...

luvncrafts - That's what I'm striving for! I have put this on other sites also, so you'll see people not only from Zibbet :)

It's always wonderful to get to know more about the people behind the crafts, and this shows that there are human hands behind the work, not just some product a machine made, or a production line made. Each piece I have on my blog came from a hand-craft artist, each one made with love for their craftsmanship, and each one top-quality.

My goal is to bring more of this to light, to bring out the hand-crafting community, and make buyers more aware of the product they are buying. After all, one cannot display this kind of thing for something purchased at a Big Box Store like Wal-mart or Target. They would not be able to answer the questions I pose, nor would they ever be able to tell you which individual put their heart and soul into the items they sell.