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STYLIN' SUNDAY...

...A PEEK INTO THE CREATIVE MINDS OF JEWELRY ARTISTS...

Alexandra Salkeld from Rock Water Jewelry comes to us from the outskirts of a *tiny* town called Harmony, California, population 18.  She and her boyfriend stay at a rent-free secluded pet-boarding facility called Estrella Kennel in exchange for his work with the animals.  Besides her jewelry making she also works at the Cambria Library just a few miles away, having graduated from UCLA with a bachelor's degree in American Literature and Culture in 2001.  I think you will find Alexandra's interview very interesting. 

*See more from the artists who created the pendants in the items featured below at the end of this interview.  
*Thanks for following Beads-of-Clay. 

The name Rock Water Jewelry seems to be very fitting for the organic style of your jewelry. How did you come up with that name?

"My boyfriend Raymond came up with the name, actually. The title evolved from my earlier business name, Sand & Stone. The more Raymond got to know me, he seemed to hone in on the essence of my work, and the quality of my product evolved too. I love the smell of wet rocks (I even used to suck on them as a child), and I've always been a swimmer, so Rock Water also conveys elements that feel integral to my physical being."

I noticed that you had once worked in a bead store while in college. To someone like me, working in either a bead store or candy store could create some 'forseen' issues. Were you as interested in jewelry making when you got that job or was that a job that you were drawn to because of your love of jewelry?

"The store itself is what drew me. Ritual Adornments is a very authentic place, lined literally wall-to-wall with beads, dripping with strands that hang in clusters of every color. The selection is incomparable, with jewelry making supplies from all parts of the world arranged in old typesetting drawers, vintage armoires, and antique display cases. I knew little of beading before I started working there, but I really wanted to learn how to work with all those wonderful supplies! And so I did, acquiring the tools of the trade on-the-job, learning techniques from the owners and employees, eventually teaching classes. Granted, plenty of my income recycled itself right back into the store when I would splurge on buying inventory at a discount!"

How did you get started with your jewelry sales business on Etsy? Was it a surplus of jewelry or something that you thought you would want to do right from the beginning?

"My computer-savvy friend Rachel told me about Etsy years ago when it first started up, but I was barely even checking my e-mail at that point! Technology intimidates me far less now that I've taken the leap to discover the tools and opportunities of online shopkeeping. I'm thrilled enough with Etsy as a sales venue at this point that I've been dragging my feet to start my own web-site and blog, which I know are the next steps toward furthering myself as a professional craft person."

I noticed that you use many artisan ceramic beads in your designs. Certainly, that makes many ceramic bead artists happy.... What is it that you like about ceramic beads/pendants that work with your designs?

"Organic is a good word to describe ceramics, and that element of the natural and hand-crafted is something I'm always trying to incorporate into my pieces. I like the earthy look and feel of stoneware, and I've been having a wonderful time sourcing centerpieces from other Etsy artists, often trading finished pieces of my jewelry in exchange for focal pendants that strike me."

Do you often have a plan in mind when you sit down to create something or are you like me as just wing it, take it apart, wing it for round two, etc.?

"My favorite way to work is to source handmade beads and pendants from other artists, and let my pieces evolve from there. I'll often come up with color combinations I never would've otherwise considered when I'm creating a necklace around a pendant or centerpiece. Admittedly, I have a lot of jewelry in a stockpile that's ready to be taken apart and reinvented in a way that better suits my style currently. While it's tiring to dismantle my old work, it's also satisfying and energizing to watch new creations rise out of the ashes."

Are there certain pieces of jewelry that you like to create more than others. For example, are you drawn more to bracelets vs. earrings? Why?

"I do more with necklaces now that I'm fixated on creating my pieces around the focal elements of other artists. Pendants just seem to lend themselves to my bead work. However, I'm also finding it more fun to accessorize in sets, creating earrings and bracelets specifically to go with certain necklaces."

I ask this question often, but I find the different responses interesting. Most artists don't like the business end of this. What is your favorite part of this business and what is it that you like the least about it?

"Ugh. The fact that I balk at even answering this question is indicative of my reluctance to deal with the business end of crafting. Pricing my work is always a drag, as I'm never sure if I'm asking too much or too little, especially in today's economy! And yet, I would like nothing more than to make loads of money doing what I love, and just make art for a living. There's definitely a happy balance to find here, and I often wonder if it requires teaming up with someone who does possess good business sense. I suppose that's where a rep comes in, which I'm familiar with, having worked for designers who've gone that route. Ultimately, I'm not into big sales and assembly line production. Maybe I should be!"

Are there other venues that you sell at other than Etsy? If so,
could you tell us a little about that?

"Etsy, the occasional craft fair and a couple of local art shops are the scope of my public sales. Friends and family also provide some opportunity for commissions and gifts, which falls more within my comfort zone. My goal at this point is to increase my online sales with a website and blog, and market Rock Water Jewelry to more stores in this quaint, artsy beach town I call home."
Thank-you Alexandra for the interesting interview!  I wish you the best with your Etsy Sales...  Please click HERE to view more of Alexandra's jewelry.

Similar ceramic pendants to the ones shown above can be found at:



8 comments:

  1. Wonderful interview and so nice to 'meet' Alexandria. Her jewelry is beautiful and the photos and staging are lovely.

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  2. Very nice interview and a chance meet Alexandria. Her art is appealing and draws me in.
    Thanks for sharing with all of us.
    Nicole/Beadwright

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  3. Great interview with Alexandria. What a great place she comes from and love her business name. Great use of ceramic pendants in your pieces Alexandria. I agree with Summer Studio, your photo set ups are stunning.

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  4. Great interview with Alexandria. Beautiful work and wonderful pictures of it! I'm from around the area she lives and I loved Harmony. Very beautiful work.

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  5. I'm lucky to work with Alexandra at the library and have been the happy recipient of many of her wonderful pieces. She is a talented designer and artist and we all know she'll go far.
    Erin

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  6. Lovely interview with a lovely artist! I am so pleased that Alexandra chooses to incorporate some of my little treasures in her work. She takes them to new heights:)

    Thanks so much for the mention in your interview...you are a treasure!

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  7. Great interview. I have known Alexandra for many years and lucky enough to own many pieces of her jewelery. Not only is she a talented artist, she is a wonderful woman. I wish her success and happiness in her newest adventure

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  8. I want to confirm how real this excitement is over Alexandra's jewelry designs. I experienced first hand people seeing her jewelry for the first time and getting hooked immediately. They would keep coming back to see her new creations. This excitement is real and her designs exemplify natural beauty. I hope those who miss finding Alexandra's jewelry in Claremont can continue shopping using these beautiful pictures. Selecting a gift for someone who has fallen in love with Rock Water Jewelry is fun.

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