Friday, June 24, 2016

May & June Challenge Winner Interview: SunShine Sturtz- OfYourLove

See all the beautiful original submissions!

May & June

Check out Sunshine's Shop here

Congratulations on winning the May and June challenges. Your bracelet and necklaces were a wonderful realization of the themes.

I see you have a fondness for the whimsical in your jewelry. How do you come up with your designs?

My designs are almost always inspired by my components. I love components!! I rarely set out with very much of a plan other than a few key components laid out then it grows from there. This can sometimes backfire because sometimes I get many hours put in in and then I will want to do something else that wont work because of bad planning. This does however push me to get creative sometimes: "how can I make this work without taking it apart."

I love your May challenge piece, it interpreted the theme beautifully in a way that wasn't overdone. The energy of the gemstones make it seem magical. I found a few rough gemstones in Colorado when I was there years ago. Do you ever use found stones or objects in your work?

I have a collection of found objects, I have a collection of all kinds of things that I see as "beading components" that I will "use someday" :-)

Your jewelry is bold, colorful and fanciful, and carries well over distance. do you have a theatrical background, or other training in the arts?

I don't have any "training" in any of the arts. I was in a few shows during my first attempt at college. I love theater, and I would get into it again if I had the time and/or there was community theater where I live.

The materials and style of jewelry sometimes encourage a first hand look. Do you have any other outlet like galleries or craft shows that allow people to see your work in person, and possibly drive sales to your Etsy shop as well?

I am a terrible sales person! Once in a while I bring out my dog related pieces to a dog show, but I rarely even attempt to sell things. I am not a very good business woman! I would rather invest the time in making more things. As a result though, I don't sell much. My next step in that kind of growth is to learn better photography.

Do you have a favorite stitch to use or type of jewelry to make?

I am addicted to Bead embroidery now. There are no rules. I can use any components, any beads, and it is very forgiving... there are no "mistakes"

How long have you been making jewelry, and is it your main focus in crafts or life?

I started playing with beads when I was about 12. I had recently acquired a step sister who was about my age, and she taught me the basic brick stitch earrings she had learned. Then for my birthday she and my step mom gave me my first little red toolbox with my first needles, and pliers and a few beads. But I only discovered BE about 5 years ago and that was the game changer. I wouldn't even say jewelry is my main focus with beads. I like to make "bead paintings" and I have big ambitions of making something sculptural soon! It's not my MAIN focus in life... It is probably tied with Newfoundlands. (hence some Newfy pieces in my beadwork.)

What are some of the challenges and joys you have faced with respect to your jewelry making and Etsy shop sales?

I barely have any sales in my etsy shop. Actually, the only reason I even opened one was to participate in the challenges. I think I have only had 6 sales since opening. But again, I am bad at marketing. The challenge has been to not worry about sales, and trying to make something that someone might buy. When I am driven by sales, I just get depressed that my stuff isn't selling, I tell myself "nobody likes my stuff." Instead, I just make things that _I_ like to make. that I WANT To make... if it sells, cool, if not, it is just added to MY collection. :)

Who is your favorite artist, be it in beads, painting or even music?

I am lucky to live near, and consider myself to be friends with two of the BEST bead artists in the universe: Kinga Nichols, and Heidi Kummli. Heidi was my first B.E. teacher, I am amazed by everything she makes. She has a knack for finding really unique components. I was honored to be invited to her first Shaman Bead Workshop, at her house which was amazing!! A very small group (5 I think) and two days spent up at Heidi's house in the most beautiful location!! (to me anyway, because I am a 'Mountain Kid') I met Kinga shortly after taking up BE, and I saw that she lived in the same town as me. at first I was intimidated by her awesomeness! Her work is incredible! The colors!! The textures!!! the critters!!! Turned out she was also simply amazing as a person!!!

And my sister. She is my favorite artist. She can do anything. She often helps me with designs, has made several components for me when I can't find exactly what I want, she makes it for me!! She can draw better than I can, so she has often sketched out my bigger ideas for me to work with. She is actually my favorite person in general. :)

Is there anything else you would like to add or say to the EBW community?

Thank you all for being awesome!!! The people I have met in the bead community, the friends I have made in this community are all awesome! Nice! Supportive!!! It's a fantastic loving community!!! THANK YOU !!!

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