Friday, May 4, 2012

Featured Craft artist of the Week: Korie from SeaglassReinvented

This week I would like to introduce Korie from SeaglassReinvented. She use genuine sea glass, discovered on the beaches near San Francisco, CA, along the Pacific Ocean. The more rare colors such as cobalt blue she  found on Puerto Rican Beaches. All of her jewelry is handmade, and crafted with the greatest care and attention.

1.What would you like us to know about you? I’m pretty sure I was born to create. Focusing on a new creation is a meditative-like exercise that helps me remove myself from my stress and worries. Even though I have only been making jewelry for a short time, I’ve been involved in many creative endeavors throughout my life and I still am. I also write music, sing, play guitar, shoot amateur photography, and make cute fuzzy animals out of felt. Currently all my creative focus has been on my jewelry.

2.When did you discover Etsy?

I discovered Etsy last year when I was shopping for gifts. I fell in love with all the beautiful handmade items on Etsy and felt like I wanted to be a part of it.

3.What prompted you to open an Etsy Shop?

I’ve been working on sea glass jewelry for about 4 months, so I’m just starting out. I fell in love with sea glass jewelry last year, but I felt like most of the jewelry was made with store bought charms and with very little personal attention to detail. Once I realized that California has such a beautiful supply of sea glass on the beaches, I decided that I would learn how to make my own jewelry with these beautiful surf tumbled gems. There is something really special knowing that you’re wearing a unique piece of sea glass that exists nowhere else. Each piece of sea glass has a history and traveled through the waters to make it into my hands. Usually it takes anywhere from 30 to 100 years for sea glass to become smooth from the surf and sand.

4.What do you sell?

I sell genuine sea glass jewelry made with sterling silver and antique brass. Finding sea glass can involve many hours of beach combing. Not all sea glass that I find can be used in my jewelry. Most sea glass I find hasn’t been tumbled long enough and has too many sharp edges or smooth surfaces that haven’t been frosted from the sea. Only sea glass that is completely round with no nicks or sharp edges can be made into jewelry.

5.How did you come up with your shop name?

Well, the idea for Seaglass Reinvented came from the fact that the sea invents the glass into something new, other than what man intended, and then I reinvent the sea glass into jewelry.

6.How would you describe your shop?

The jewelry I make is focused on simple, minimalist style pieces that are elegant and flowing. A great amount of time and effort goes into my handmade silver work pieces, and I hope that it shows in my jewelry.

7.What inspires / motivates you?

Finally finishing a piece that I’m proud of and that I feel really represents my best is what motivates me. When I see a completed piece and it takes my breath away, I know I’ve done something right.

8.How has Etsy changed your life? 

Every day I’m thinking about sea glass I can find or purchase, new jewelry techniques I can learn or that I want to try out, or better ways that I can promote my shop. Every day I feel so excited and motivated to continue creating and improving as an artist, and it brings me so much joy to create wearable art that includes a piece of sea tumbled history.

9.Where else can we find you? (Do you have a website or blog outside of Etsy?)


10.Is there anything else you would like to share?

I’ve learned that making jewelry requires a lot of patience, dedication, hard work, and the willingness to make mistakes. I realize that building a successful business can’t happen overnight, but I can definitely celebrate the little victories I see every day. Today, I had my first repeat customer make another purchase from my shop! The little things help keep me motivated in spite of all the challenges.

Tips you might give other thinking of opening an online shop: 

11. When you get a new idea, how long does it take you to execute and list it?

Finding the sea glass from the beach can take many hours, as it can be based on luck. After I find and select a piece of sea glass for jewelry, I drill a tiny hole in the glass to suspend it as a pendant or earring. Then I decide what sort of silver bail or silver charm I can make to suit the piece. I often will practice this design using craft wire so I don’t waste the precious metal, as it is costly. Practicing this design could take 20 minutes or up to 2 hours, depending on how well I’m able to make my idea come alive in the piece. Sometimes my idea never really shapes like I thought it would, and that’s okay. It’s all a part of the process. I craft the piece only after I’ve decided on a design and feel confident I can replicate it using sterling silver. Once the piece is shaped, I typically forge the silver to flatten and shine the metal. The forging only takes a few minutes. Finally the silver is placed in a jewelry tumbler (not the sea glass) for 2 hours. Fortunately, the tumbler does all the work. This hardens and shines the silver. Now the piece is ready to be attached to my sea glass and worn as jewelry. In order for my work to be sold, I then spend about an hour more to photograph the piece, edit the photo so the image is clear and bright, write up a description, and post the piece for sale on Etsy. After the jewelry is posted, I promote it on various networking sites as well. Promotion may take an additional hour.

12. How much time do you spend on your shop each week?

Most of my free time is spent making jewelry, learning new jewelry making techniques, shopping for supplies, combing the beach for sea glass, photographing my work to post on Etsy, and promoting and marketing my shop. I spend about 30 hours per week on my shop, in addition to working a full time day job.

13. How do you promote your shop?

Facebook, Twitter, Blogspot, Flicker, Instagram, Pinterest, Wanelo and Stumbleupon are the main sites that I network on.

14. How important is social media for your shop?

Networking on social media definitely helps drive traffic to my shop. My advice is to promote your work on as many sites as possible.

15. Do you have any coupons or sales going on in your shop?
Anyone who favorites my shop on facebook will receive a coupon code for 10% off anything in my Etsy shop.

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