I am proud to present my interview with the amazing Rachel Leathers! Why is she so amazing, you ask? Well, Rachel creates beautiful handmade jewelry with which even celebs have begun to fall in love! Rachel is an impressive artist with a true passion for making wearable pieces of art.
- Share with us a brief bio about yourself.
I have been in the costume industry for 22 years, mainly as a seamstress. I’ve dabbled with costume design, but I didn’t like it and it didn’t like me! I’ve been a wardrobe supervisor, costume shop worker-bee, and the manager of a vintage costume house where I fined tuned my restoration skills on vintage garments. (Real vintage; garments as old as 150 years old, up to the 1960’s.) I’ve altered and created garments, props and everything in-between for theatre, film, TV, ice shows and parades.
- What made you want to create jewelry?
I’ve always dabbled with other handcrafts my whole life, and attempting jewelry was something new to try. I began self-teaching myself over 9 years ago, and since I absolutely adore anything gemstone, I chose gemstone beads to play with. I began with several shapes, but the hearts became my favorite and visually more appealing, so I stuck with those. It was just another hobby at the time!
- What are some of your favorite hobbies?
When I was a kid, I loved doing needlework, tried and failed at crochet, did some sewing and embroidering. These days, since I’ve made my living sewing, I hardly ever sew for myself anymore. I do enjoy it, but I’m not necessarily missing it either, right now. Since I turned my attention full-time to the jewelry, my past-times these days are more about spending quality time with my honey. He works SO much, and is so dedicated to his own business, that our time is precious and very limited. Not to say he’s my hobby! But, being a one-woman operation, the only free-time I have, I spend with him!
- Who inspires you?
George, my honey is my biggest inspiration and supporter. He has always had an entrepreneurial spirit unequaled by anyone else I’ve ever known or met. When I couldn’t find work in my field (which has been almost impossible thanks to the economy of late) I really wanted to try the jewelry again. He said, do it! That was November 2009, and I haven’t stopped yet. This has been the most creatively satisfying thing I’ve ever done! I’m loving it!
- How would you describe your own style?
I’ve had the hardest time trying to pinpoint my style. I don’t really know what to call it! Other than contemporary, sometimes boho chic, sometimes Asian, modern? minimalist? I can’t pin it down to one. Every design seems to fall into its own category. Other than being handmade by me and made with gemstones, I can’t find a descriptor!
- What type of metals and rocks/minerals do you use when making your jewelry?
I use gemstones, natural stones, metal beads, crystals and czech glass, and keep the metal findings simple; brass, copper, silver and gold plate. I don’t use precious metals. I’ve been critisized for that before, but it doesn’t bother me. When I started, I couldn’t afford the precious metals, so I found a way to work around them. I’ve never regretted that, and still don’t find a need to specialize in precious metals. In my work, the stones do all the talking!
- What is your best selling item?
By the numbers of how many I’ve sold, I’d have to say earrings.
- Do you listen to music while you work, if so what genre or what artist(s)?
I listen to music and also the TV when working. I’ve been a jazz lover since I was 17, so that’s my staple. Favorites would range from Horace Silver to Art Blakey to George Shearing to Ella Fitzgerald and on and on!
- What special events have you made jewelry for?
The most significant special events I’ve become involved in happened after I joined The Artisan Group, and I have gifted celebs and others at the Golden Globes last month, and will again at the Academy Awards the end of this month! I am beyond estatic to be able to do this, and am having a blast participating. We also gift charity auctions, a few of which I’ve been a part of, and really enjoy that as well.
- What made you name your business “Hearts of Stone”?
When I first started to actually sell the jewelry I made to friends and co-workers, I didn’t have a name. That’s when I started liking the heart shaped stones the best, and stopped using other shapes. It just seemed a natural fit, using hearts made of stone, hey! I’ve got hearts of stone! It was very tongue in cheek to me, which is me in spades, so it stuck. It cracks me up to see people’s faces at shows when they figure it out; it is so literal, yet such a pun!
Rachel Leathers also mentioned to me me during the interview, “I was once on a reality TV show as a seamstress; the one sewing job I wanted extended and never was! Shucks…”
I told you guys the interview with THE Rachel Leathers was going to spectacular! It was such a joy to get to know her better! I wish I could own everything that she has in her Etsy shop!
Tune in next time for a helpful DIY on converting a jean jacket into a spring staple item!
Want to own some of Rachel Leathers magnificent pieces of jewelry? Check out her Etsy shop! http://www.etsy.com/shop/HrtsofStone?page=5
Other links that you might find interesting…
The Artisan Group- http://theartisangroup.org/
You must follow Rachel on facebook to find out which actress is the new owner of one of her jewelry sets…that’s all I am going to tell you…the rest you will have to find out for yourself!- http://www.facebook.com/#!/HrtsofStone
Check out another blog in which Rachel Leathers was featured… http://sanikicreations.blogspot.com/2012/02/meet-rachel-leathers-of-hearts-of-stone.html
I encourage you to follow me on twitter @Abbysauce_ and Instagram @vintagepassionista to keep up with my fashion tips, things that inspire me, and my randomness!