Let’s start by telling us a little about yourself.
I’m a 51 year old mother of 2 - a daughter, 24, and a son, 20. I’ve been married (to the same man!) for the past 28 years. We have 5 house rabbits, and are currently caring for my parents’ overweight (33 lbs) orange cat to help him lose weight. (If only someone would take ME in and limit MY food…)
Do you have any formal training or are you self-taught?
I’ve always been artsy-crafty and musically inclined - it was a toss up between music and art in college, but art won. I got my BA in studio art in 1980. I became involved in beading and saw some cool handmade Fimo™ beads by a local artist at our bead store. The design went all the way through the bead! I thought back to those hard candies we used to get at Christmas that fascinated me the same way… how did they get that design all the way through the candy??? I had to know.
I attended a class at the bead store (I think it was around 1994) by the artist that made those beads. I was hooked. I’ve learned most of what I know about polymer clay from books, the internet, and trial and error.
What challenges have you faced in your work?
Depression and lack of self confidence have been the biggest obstacles in my life and in my work. The challenge has been to push past them and take the risk of “putting myself out there” by sharing and selling my work. With the support of online friends, and the inspiration of other artists I’ve met online, I believe my work has improved dramatically; I’m enjoying the process and the results. It has helped me to be able to help others and be the encouraging one from time to time! Now the biggest challenge is to push myself to expand my art beyond my comfort zone…. take some more risks!
What things do you do to market your business?
I participate in groups on ebay and street teams on Etsy. I also have an online blog: http://jaelsjewels.blogspot.com, oh and my mother is one of my biggest supporters - she’s always buying my work to give to other people! I wish I could say that drummed up business, but it doesn’t… however, the support of family is worth so much more than the marketing ever could be. It’s a good thing I don’t have to rely on my sales for a living!!