This week we get to talk with BBEST's Magdalene Jewels. [I was going to introduce her as one of the Boomers' more serious voices of reason until I learned how many tattoos she has!]
What kind of items do you sell? My shop consists of many different types of jewelry, all of which I design myself. One can find necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. I just started making “personalized bracelets” which I have in my shop. They have to be custom ordered. So far I have done 12 and last night got another order for three more. I also have added some neck warmers and scarves which are either knitted or crocheted. (Of course, they are seasonal only.)
How long have you been engaged in your craft? Since I was very young, I was always into doing something creative. I started with embroidery – I can’t even count how many pairs of jeans, etc., I embroidered for friends: you have to be of that era to understand! From there I started crocheting, knitting and quilting. It has only been three years since I learned the craft of making jewelry. Every craft I have done, as well as my jewelry, have all been self-taught. I never use patterns; when I get an idea in my head, I just start creating.
Do you consider yourself a hobbyist or a professional craftsperson? I don’t know if I could categorize myself as either. I am doing something I truly enjoy.
What inspires you? I imagine that my inspiration evolves from what one would term my very vivid imagination. All my pieces are made with Swarovski crystals. Often I see a beautifully colored crystal, which when in the light can reflect so many possibilities. I think my personality inspires me the most. Those that truly know me will understand this.
Please share with us what a typical day is like in your workshop or studio. Since I don’t work outside of the home, my time is my own. I am usually up by 5:30am everyday, which I find the most peaceful time of the day. It is then that most of my ideas come to fruition. Once I start working on a piece, I create it until finished. There are often days when I have no inspiration – I call these my days off! That is when I will do a lot of my writing, which is my other passion. I also like to work late at night; again, it is that peaceful time that opens my mind to all sorts of visions.
What keeps you company while you’re working on a project? My main audience are my two cats, one of which sits next to me continually and loves to help by trying grab the wire as I am beading, or trying to run away with my yarn if I am knitting. Since I truly love music, I have to have that on all the time.
What is your favorite task related to your craft? The completion of something I started, and knowing that I put my whole self into what I have been working on. My favorite thing is when I find a totally different color crystal, or pendant. It is truly exciting to be creating something of beauty.
What is your least favorite task related to your craft? My least favorite thing is time. When I know I have to complete something, I start to feel the pressure. That is usually when I work at the last minute. Guess that goes back to my days in school when I would have a month to do a report, and then get filled with angst, and find myself up to all hours the night before doing my report.
What are some of the venues you use to promote your shop? I have two different blogs which I love to write in: Magdalene Jewels and Magdalene Jewels Blogs. I belong to the Bbest team, Etsy Bloggers, Flickr, Twitter, and just yesterday joined Pluggers United on Flickr, which are mostly members of “Blockhead Rod’s” radio group. Although I have only just joined Blockhead Rod’s radio groupies, we have a great time, and do a lot of promoting there also. Besides being on Etsy, I also do a lot of shows, and promote a lot of my work through my many YouTube videos from which I have gotten many custom orders.
Related to your craft, tell us about a funny, strange or unusual situation you found yourself in. My most enjoyable part of my craft is the Christmas Fair in my parish, which starts tomorrow for three days. What I truly enjoy is on Friday the children in the school come to do their shopping. The little ones come in with $2 to spend, which to them is like a million dollars. Last year a little boy about five came up to me and said he wanted to buy something special for his mommy. Of course he picks out my most expensive necklace. I took a pair of earrings that were about $10 and said, "Oh, I think these are $2!" The smile on his face was worth all the money in the world! So I am truly looking forward to the little ones shopping tomorrow.
Tell us something about you that we wouldn’t necessarily know about you by talking to you in the forums. I have three great children (ok, one of them really keeps me on my toes, perhaps because he is so like me) but they are my main support and best friends. As a single mother since my boys were toddlers and my daughter was four, we have truly lived through a lot of ups and downs through the years, which has only brought us closer. I have also been on disability for the past six years, but as I say, “I am the happiest unemployed person,” I can now do all the things that I love to do! I also have five tattoos!
What’s your favorite book, favorite movie, favorite kind of music? I am an avid reader, at times reading 2-3 books at a time. I do not like fiction. I love reading about Russian history and early Christianity. As for movies, I still love the old classics – Casablanca, and any Bette Davis movie. I am a diehard Beatles and Janis Joplin fan. I also love Guns 'n Roses. Finally, after 14 years, they came out with their newest and long-awaited CD last week.
Would you care to share any words of wisdom with other aspiring artists or crafters? “The smile you send out always returns.” This is a very old quote from a little book called Indian Wisdom. It was given to me on my 17th birthday, and I still carry that book with me everywhere.
Please let Magdalene know you've dropped by and leave a comment for her!