After my last interview with AriaImages, the response for more was quite overwhelming! Having searched through a variety of posts in the Etsy forums, and viewed a multitude of very cool shops, I chose to interview Amanda of PallinaDesigns. Amanda is a jewelry designer from New Zealand. Since there's nothing like international variety to spice things up, read on and enjoy!
How did you get your start making jewelry?
I've ALWAYS loved jewellery (love of sparkly things runs in my family!) With 2 kids and a mortgage etc., finding jewellery that I could "afford" was really hard (cos I have expensive tastes), so I decided to have a go myself. I started making simple "illusion" necklaces and basic earrings, as I'd never taken a class or anything. A craft shop I visited had a couple of free leaflets on how to make basic necklaces/earrings, so I grabbed those, bought some beads and wire etc, a couple of pair of pliers, and went from there. Once I got a bit more adventurous, I started searching the internet for ideas and how-to's. As my "collection" got out of control, I started toying with the idea of selling things. Now I have a website, as well as my Etsy store and I attend the odd craft fair in my area as well.
How did you find out about Etsy?
I was doing an internet search for places to sell my jewellery - I kept seeing the Etsy link come up and popped in for a look...I was hooked! When I saw two of my favourite designers/suppliers also had shops (JennaAppleton and AnneDundas), I trusted their judgment so I opened my own store :-)
What is your favorite thing to make (both for selling and for yourself!)?
I really love anything with wirework. It scares me but I find it invigorating! I hate duplicating anything, as wirework is such a individual journey - I invariably start out with one idea in mind, then it goes horribly wrong, and to save the past few hours of my work, I try to salvage it by changing the design! I always love what I end up with though (very rarely do I discard anything entirely.) If I don't like it and wouldn't wear it myself, I won't make it - so you can see by my eclectic range that my personal style is all over the place!
Where do you like to shop for beads/gems?
I use Etsy (of course!), and I also have a handful of favourite sites that are Australia-based. We have very few reasonably priced suppliers in NZ, so most of my supplies are imported. I also have a local friend who has a great selection and she'll drop in goodie bags to me at work if I'm desperate. Also, Lindy Nicholls is a good friend and an amazing glass artist - I get my super-special beads from her!
What do you love about this piece? [Aphrodite bracelet]
I'd had this design in my head for months and months. It took me about 8 months to get all the components together, from various suppliers in various countries. It's just so "me" - pretty (I like girly things), dangly bits (who doesn't love that feeling on your wrist?!), eyecatching (all those interesting charms to look at!) and - best of all - the materials in this bracelet mean that it can be passed down to several generations of a family who could be wearing and loving it years down the track.
Where do you get your inspiration?
That's a toughie! From all over the place really. Living in NZ, we have beautiful scenery so sometimes it's just the way colours play together that makes me think of making something up using those hues. At the moment, it's autumn in NZ so the leaves are changing colours and it makes me want to make things in browns, reds, oranges and yellows! In the summer I do alot of blues and greens together because of the sea and how sparkling it looks on a summers day. :-) I also see other designs and think of how I would change this or that element, or use a particular theme on something else. When I'm actually MAKING something, mentally I'm thinking 2 steps ahead - already I'm compiling my supplies list for my next piece! I find it hard to concentrate and finish one thing sometimes!!
How and when did you start your collaboration with Lindy Nicholls?
I've known Lindy for about 18mths-2yrs now. We used to attend the same regular craft market and began chatting after she bought a necklace off me once. When she said she was going to start making glass beads (she was a potter with 33 years experience then), I was so excited! I kept on at her until she had something to show me! She is so talented, it's incredible! Now we see each other pretty much every weekend, as she has a holiday home at the beach where I live - my kids think of her and her husband as part of the family :-)
Are you involved with any other crafts?
What I haven't tried yet can probably fit on the back of a postage stamp! I have a craft cupboard that is testimony to my exploits (it's a real mess!) I have made my own cards since I was a child (birthday cards, thank you notes etc.) I have also done mosaic, crochet, photography, graphic design, calligraphy (my title pages at school were incredible!), collage, painting (which I suck at...but at least I tried!), creative gift-wrapping (my Mum does this waaaay better than me!), scrapbooking, paper toile, dressmaking, quilting...the list just goes on and on! I'll give anything a go :-)
What is your favorite weekend activity?
Spending time with my husband and children (aged 3 and 6), Saturday afternoon's and a bottle of sparkling wine at Lindy's house, a bit of beading (of course!), going to the beach (if it's lovely and warm) or cozying up in front of the fire and watching a movie (if it's cold.) My least favourite is housework (thank God for my cleaner!)
What do you love about New Zealand?
Where do I start?! The clean air, the beautiful scenery, the laid-back lifestyle, the friendly people, the fact that my family are all here now (I lived in Scotland for 5 years and missed them alot) and never being far from the beach! I'm a redhead with freckles, so I burn easy - but I love the beach! Yay for SPF30 sunscreen!
PallinaDesigns Suggested Bead Websites: