Hello, fabulouses, and welcome back to the blog!
Today, I have a super fabulous interview to share with y’all from an extraordinary jewelry artisan–Jessica Klaaren of Jessica Klaaren Jewelry.
I had the absolute pleasure of meeting and interviewing Jessica at the 2014 Blue Plum Festival in Johnson City, Tennessee after our mutual friend Rachel Leathers of Hearts of Stone Jewelry introduced us via Facebook. Oh, don’t you just love the internet *wink*
Jessica Klaaren is a very unique and talented jewelry artisan who works with a variety of mediums to create little wearable pieces of art. As soon as I caught a glimpse of her booth at Blue Plum, I immediately fell in love with her beautiful multifariousness of design. “I try to mix it up–I like to use different kinds of metals, and I especially like playing around with different styles. Two of favorite styles are Steampunk and nature, so, you will see a lot of gears, upcyled pieces, earth tones, and nature-inspired items incorporated into my jewelry,” explained Jessica Klaaren.
VIP: How did you get your start as a jewelry artisan?
Jessica: If you can believe it, I was a Realtor for over ten years–it helped pay the bills, and I enjoyed it; however, it was not my passion. I had always wanted to be an artist, but I cannot draw to save my life….In high school, when I took art, no one told me that there are other art mediums out there to explore…they do not teach [these other options] in a general art class. I accidentally stumbled upon the art of jewelry making about ten years ago when my husband was teaching me how to knot hemp necklaces, which is actually what lead me to go into a bead store for the first time. From there, I began learning how to do different things like make earrings–I started out with small, simple earring, and then began challenging myself with more complex pieces. I was constantly learning how to create new things because I did not want to just string beads–I wanted to create cool art pieces.
VIP: Describe Jessica Klaaren Jewelry in five words.
Jessica: Colorful, eclectic, unique, statement, and individuality.
VIP: How long have you been a part of The Artisan Group?
Jessica: I became a member of the Artisan Group in 2012.
VIP: How does it feel being a member in The the Artisan Group?
Jessica: It is absolutely amazing, and it has totally changed my life. The artists that are in the group are so amazing and so widely varied that my being accepted into the group was a huge boost of confidence for me! Being a member of The Artisan Group has also lead me to a lot of opportunities I would have never had otherwise. Just like when one of my Steampunk pieces was featured on Parenthood–that was an extremely exciting moment in my career that would have never been possible without The Artisan Group.
VIP: What is your favorite piece you have ever designed?
Jessica: I would have to say my Steampunk, clock work pieces are my favorites because each one is different. I take a lot of pride in these because when I started making them, there was not a whole lot of artisans working with the Steampunk style to make it fun and wearable everyday….Whenever I go to festivals or markets, I always put one of these pendants at the front of my booth because it captures peoples’s attention–they have never seen anything like it, and you always hear them comment on the pieces, “Oh, that is so cool–I love it! Look at all the little gears.”