Hello everyone! Today we're back to an interview, instead of my crazy rambling. At the time I'm writing this entry, this interview is the last I have. :( There has been some renewed interest in the forums I've posted in, however, and I am hoping this means that I will have another interview to put up two weeks from now! If not, I can just ramble and post random people up until I have responses!
Today I bring you Diane of RainboWire on Zibbet. Her motto of "Colorful, Creative, Fun" certainly holds true to her work. But I'll let her, and her images, tell her story.
Name: Diane Schoenstein
Craft: RainboWire Jewelry
Favorite Material: Colored Copper Wire
Most Popular Seller: New Zealand Paua Shell Earrings
My intention was to pursue “papermaking” as an art form. In the process, I was encouraged to try something else. I started with one book on wire jewelry, ordered a handful of tools, some colored copper wire, and a small amount of beautiful gemstone beads. In short time, I found out I really not only enjoyed creating the jewelry outlined in the book but also handling and working with gorgeous gemstones. I became hooked as I ordered more beads and tried more jewelry ideas ---page after page!
I had never taken a formal jewelry class in college, but years later I tried a few non-credit classes using copper sheeting, soldering, and enameling. I didn’t take that route though. Instead, I taught myself the basic wire jewelry steps through a multitude of jewelry ideas outlined in wire jewelry books. I progressed into different gauges and colors of colored copper wire using only hand tools. I knew in time I would develop my own “style” of work. In the meantime though, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire tactile and learning process including the wonderful world of gemstones and oceans of beads. After doing some craft shows, I happily found that my work sold and was enjoyed by others. Therefore, I became a business the following year in 2004!
Handmade Hammered Copper Teardrop Earrings w Amethyst Wirewrap & Metallic Bead
Simple, but very elegant, incorporating lots of complimenting and contrasting color!
I knew as a child that I wanted to become an artist. I loved to paint, color, do crafts, sew, crochet, bake-- so many artsy things. After taking only one art class in college, I knew what I wanted to major in and pursue! I eventually took a papermaking class which turned out to be the medium I loved most of all! Years later when I finally had a chance to make my dream come true—what did I do?? I got sidetracked to try wire jewelry making. As it turned out, I loved to create in 3 dimensions—something tactile—something with “line, color, shape, texture, form”. Papermaking could also easily fit into that category---but that would have to be in another lifetime. I’m too involved with my wire jewelry right now!
Handmade Crochet Wire Necklace Set w Assorted Green Glass Beads
Unbelievably intricate, indisputably dazzling!
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?
After breakfast, sometimes I draw a new idea originating from a daydream…believe it or not! I check e-mails and do some social networking. Then I head for my studio to tackle paperwork ?, work on new earring designs?, decide on color combos for pins, or complete some piece started the night before. It’s usually fun stuff—that’s why I do what I do!
I enjoy a daily walk—to get away from it all, and after dinner, I head back to the studio on work for my craft shows, gallery, or online items. After supper, I social network, marketing research, or read about business topics in magazines or books. Presently, I am broadening my horizons with local business classes. I guess the only thing I’m not crazy about is the paperwork—probably like most artists!! Definitely not my “forte”! I can spend 7-9 hours a day on work. Distractions include: housework, phone calls, e-mails, and home paperwork. I have been trying earnestly, to get a schedule down, but it’s hard when you work at home. I do try to stay on my designated business path and, from time to time, fight the urge to be distracted.
Occasionally, I will try out a new design when it just doesn’t work out. Yes, it’s frustrating—especially when a good deal of time was spent on it. If there is no hope for it, I abandon it. There are times, however, when I see how I can overcome the challenge, and I go from there.
Handmade "Bead Dancer" Pin w Bronze-Colored Bead
I love the Bead Dancers. So adorable, and very eye-catching pieces!
My ideas come from daydreams and anything that I see that makes me take a “second” look. It could be the line, shape or color combo in a person’s jacket. It could be a “part” of an image I see in a magazine. I’ll sketch or take notes and put it in my notebook. When I try something new, it may just work out: the color scheme, technique, and the time spent. Luckily, I have a number of previously developed techniques that I can just “tweak” for a one-of-a-kind piece! With those endeavors, I change the color or gauge of wire, color/type/amount of beads to get a new look. There’s nothing like a wonderful outcome—as all well know!
Handmade Sterling Silver Tortoise Charm Earrings w Green Wirewrap
Adorable little things aren't they? For every turtle/tortoise lover, or any nature lover!
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?
I have to admit, it is frustrating, at times, to have to stop for my daily walk…especially when I am in the middle of something. Other than that, I might not have “enough” of a certain bead, wire gauge, or ----worse--- a particular wire gauge color! I may be in the middle of drilling shells and discover I don’t have another drill bit in the size I need. Other times, I may have a new craft show in mind and find out after talking with the promoter, that they accept “commercial” items. Oh well, I do my best to only enter shows that deal with hand-crafted work….and only shows that are “art/craft” events…not car shows, or wine festivals with emphasis on something other than arts or crafts. I suppose my “roadblocks” are classified as normal ones.
Since I am a business, I can’t “wing it” when it comes to pricing. I read a lot about pricing when I started, and in time considered four categories: salary, overhead, profit, and raw materials to base my selling price on. I have my salary (my price/hr), the overhead (all that is necessary to create my jewelry: electricity/internet/fees/office materials/etc.), a set profit percentage, and the raw materials used in every item I create. I use Excel software on my computer with a created formula to include the “four categories”, and it is a real life-saver! Everyone has to decide how to do this on their own with the help of some research. Good luck!
--And yes, I feel my work does justify my prices. It is a balance between a fair price, cost-effectiveness, and what I think I am worth as an artist.
Handmade Mica Quartz Necklace Set
Very earthy, and a perfect compliment to nearly any outfit!
If you are thinking about pursuing an endeavor in jewelry making because you think there is easy money in it, please note that you will be entering a field that envelops the most popular medium. This translates into “major competition” for the artist which disperses jewelry customers. You have to develop your own “niche” to survive. If it is---your passion---then, by all means….go for it! This can result in a very satisfying creative outlet. Creating wire jewelry has its challenges but also---its rewards!
I certainly would feel rewarded after making such wonderful work! I don't think I've personally ever seen work like this done with so many colors and such a range of materials all worked around and with colored copper wire! Thank you Diane, for sharing your story, and your work!
You can visit Diane at RainboWire Jewelry on Zibbet to see more of her stunning work.
Until next Wednesday, thank you all for reading!