First off, tell me a little bit about yourself.
I am a 39 year old mother of one very gorgeous 8-year-old girl who owns and runs La Femme Jewels and RMD Jewelry. I am married to an Australian Air Force member and move regularly so have lived in a few different locations around Australia. I usually work as a Legal Secretary.
I have taken time out from my usual occupation to continue exploring the world of metalworking, enamelling and jewelry making, a rather exciting journey for me at this point in time. I am focusing on building my two sites, La Femme Jewels and RMD Jewelry. I attend classes at a Goldsmith School to continue my training and expand my horizons, I have been training as a silversmith for the past two years and learning enamelling since Dec.
How and when did you start making jewelry and your other items?
I originally started making beaded jewelry by accident. As my husband is in the Air Force we are expected to move alot, this makes it difficult to maintain a job and a career so I started wondering if there was a better way for me, my husband supported to family so my income is really just an extra boost and my spending money, so I started looking for things I could do from home that I could take with me every move and then fate stepped in.
Over 5 years ago I bought some books from a travelling book salesman who came to the office where I was working at the time, whilst he processed my order and payment I was flicking through his book selections and came across this beaded jewelry making book with great funky designs, it was on sale and I bought it. It completely turned around my thoughts on beaded jewelry, like alot of the public at that time thought of beaded jewelry as a bit junky but this book was completely different to what I thought of as beaded jewelry, it was trendy, funky and just gorgeous. Like I said, fate, I fell in love with the idea and 2 days later rushed out to our local craft store to fill a basket full of all the supplies needed to try out the designs in the book. The rest is history and my desire to learn jewelry making grew from beaded jewelry to metalworking and enamelling.
I started training in metalworking about 2 years ago when I attend a full weekend workshop run by a local silversmith. It was fabulous, I love shaping the metal, watching a creation come to fruition and the scope was endless. I fell in love with metalworking on that weekend and my passion has never waivered, I have always had a yearning to do something with my life that had a creative direction and now I had found it. I spent 6 months attending workshops, weekend classes and anything I could find before finally obtaining a weekly spot at the Goldsmith School in Bardon, QLD where I spent nearly a year learning the basic techniques of metalworking, shaping, filing, polishing and setting stones before my husband was transferred from Brisbane to Sydney. On arriving in Sydney I immediately searched for and found another similar school and now attend weekly classes at a Goldsmith School in Leichardt.
I also discovered enamelling in December last year. I love the freedom to add colour to any design without the high cost of stones, the ability to create a picture with colour is exciting. I am completely self taught in the use of enamels, through research and online videos, Youtube is just fabulous for this. I love the ability to add colour to an item giving it a whole new feel and am always adding new enamel items to RMD Jewelry. I have recently discovered a whole new range of techniques which I am most excited about and can’t wait to trial them all, RMD Jewelry is going to be chock full of new designs in the coming weeks that are a little more advanced than my current items. Although I have always leaned towards clean simple modern styles as this is what I wear and love to look at, I am very keen to have a go at trying to create some simple modern Cloisonné designs now that I have seen the process in action.
When and how did you originally find Etsy?
I found Etsy initially as a supplier. When I joined back in 2008 it was as a buyer, there are so many great suppliers on Etsy, it was a joy to shop here. I originally sold my items from a website (I still do) and it was only in January this year that I decided it was time to expand to Etsy as a seller not a buyer. My original reticence about becoming a seller, not just a buyer, was the competition, when I first started making jewelry I was intimidated by the talent on Etsy and convinced that I could never compete with these people whose skills were so much more advanced than mine.
These days I realise that I don’t need to compete, I just need to make what I love and hope the buyers love it too. Both La Femme Jewels and RMD Jewelry are my passion and I think that is the most important thing, if you do what you love, you will eventually be successful.
What is unique about Etsy and what about the website do you like the most in regards to your shop?
I love the facilities on Etsy and the Community, the support and help everyone gives. My team on Etsy, the DUST (Down Under Street Team) is just fabulous, supportive and encouraging. I love the Treasury facility to create a list of gorgeous items to share with the world and there is nothing more exciting that finding yourself in a Treasury by a stranger, it tells you that they like what you do.
I like that Etsy allows you to create your own personal space within their site allowing for customised look whilst still maintaining a clean overall feeling to the site. I love that anyone can get started for no more than 0.20c, no big joining fees, no monthly set fee that has to be paid up front. You can choose how much you pay by choosing how much you list, great for starters.
What inspires you the most in regards to your creations?
Everything, I am inspired by everything, my ideas will come to me at the strangest time, especially my RMDJewellery designs, I will find myself coming up with an idea in the shower, at 3am in the morning, lying in bed at dawn watching the light reflecting on the roof thinking ‘that would make a great pattern to enamel’. These days I keep a pad and paper by me bed because sometimes when my mind is at rest I get some great ideas and if I don’t jot them down there and then I can’t sleep. I have a whole book of designs that have come to me at the oddest moments that I want to create, one day each and every design will come to life.
What is your favorite piece you’ve created and why?
My favourite item is currently in progress so I can’t show it to you, it’s an enamelled leaf design pendant but I am hoping when I finish that it will as fabulous as the image in my head, but my favourite finished design is the Sterling Silver Moon Pendant.
What do you want to accomplish with your online shop?
Success! Corny I know, but isn’t that what we are all after. What does success mean to me, well to me to succeed in my dreams I want to recreate the part time income I had as a legal secretary so my goals are quite small. I really love the creative process, love the uncertainty of it and the excitement it creates when you design comes out just the way you wanted or even better. I want to do this for as long as I can, so to be successful to my would mean making a profit that allows me a small income but most importantly, the my craft pays for itself so I can continue to buy more supplies, continue my training and continue to grow creatively.
Do you have any new creations in the works? If so, what can shoppers expect to see from you soon?
I do have a lot in the works at the moment, I love working with the clean lines of the circle and square as you would see with my current works. I am currently trying to move into designs and shapes that are not so geometric, my current design is a leaf pendant and I am quite enamoured of the design shape and concept and I am just preparing to enamel it. I am expanding my circle and square range as well. Most excitingly, I am testing and trying out new techniques that allow me to create more controlled enamel pieces, almost image like designs. This technique may take some time to perfect and I am waiting on some new equipment, but it’s a very exciting time for me right now.
Where can readers find out about more information regarding your jewelry and other creations and where can readers find additional info and special offers? (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc).
My jewellery is currently available at a number of places, www.lafemmejewels.etsy.com for beaded fashion jewellery, www.rmdjewellery.etsy.com for my metalwork and enamel jewellery, www.lafemmeboutique.com.au for both, I am on facebook and twitter. I have a blog too and I run regular giveaways and competitions on it so it’s a great place to visit or follow.