First off, tell me a little bit about yourself.
I am the creator of Van Dyke Jewelry. I am a 41 year old father of 3 very energetic boys married to a wonderful and very patient woman who keeps us all going in the right direction. We live in Asheville, North Carolina where we landed about 10 years ago. I am a proud owner of a very nice gallery in downtown Asheville that displays the work that I do along with other fantastic craftsman from the region.
How and when did you start making jewelry and your other items?
I am a second generation craftsman and have been making jewelry for over 20 years. I started playing around in my fathers workshop as a way to earn money for college when I was 19 and within 2 weeks knew that was my calling. I reluctantly finished my college degree, in psychology of all things, and started making jewelry full time in 1992. I travelled the country in my twenties doing jewelry repairs for mom and pop shops until realizing that with some credentials I could earn credibility and increase my options. I went to the Gemological Institute of America in 1996 and upon completion started taking my profession seriously. Since then my goal, between doing repairs and custom orders, has been to try and sell my work.
When and how did you originally find Etsy?
I have known of Etsy for quite awhile but never had the time to really check it out. Just this year I made the decision that I really want to start focusing on making all the designs that I have floating in my head. The only way to do that is to sell some of the work that I already have. Etsy seems like an opportunity to get my work in front of people that appreciate hand made and unique goods.
What is unique about Etsy and what about the website do you like the most in regards to your shop?
I see Etsy as an opportunity to educate the general public. I feel that there is a real disconnect between buying products and realizing that there is a real human being behind these things. The term “Hand Made” is thrown around so much that it no longer means anything. Having Etsy filter out the mass produced goods is a good first step for people to see what is being done in the craft community.
What inspires you the most in regards to your creations?
I find that my inspiration comes from making a number of pieces in a row. I get an idea for something and start making it. While I am working on that piece I get ideas for the next and so on. It is a real evolution. Eventually that idea reaches its peak, usually when I turn out a dud, and I start over. I guess you can say the process itself is what inspire me.
What is your favorite piece you’ve created and why?
I really enjoy the clean lines of the silver work that I have and I get a lot of satisfaction making those pieces but I have to say my favorite right now is sculptural piece. It is an over the top pendant that has its own stand and, when together, integrate so well that it is not obvious that it comes apart to be worn. It is the type of work I would like to do more of. For what it is worth I try to imbibe each piece I make with that type of balance and style even if it is the simplest of rings.
What do you want to accomplish with your online shop?
I want to find my people. Other craftsman that appreciate good workmanship and hopefully customers looking for good quality and a unique look. I really feel excited about the silver work that I have posted on Etsy because it is durable, pretty and affordable. I hope that is the right combination to find and appreciative audience.
Do you have any new creations in the works? If so, what can shoppers expect to see from you soon?
I have so many ideas in my head that it comes down to how much time I get to work. I have some very involved silver earrings and pendants that involve a lot of negative space to accomplish volume without being heavy. I also have a silver ring with a trillion shaped stone that I have been mulling over. So much to do, so little time.
Where can readers find out about more information regarding your jewelry and other creations and possible special offers (including additional websites, blogs, facebook, etc)?
I have my own website at www.vanydkejewelry.com. It is important to know that I have several artists on my site and only work under the name Van Dyke in the categories list is my work. I have links to my blog, facebook and twitter at that site on the top of the page.