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.”
VIP: (VIP Question) What is one item in your closet you would never toss out and why?
Jessica: Ooo…that’s a tough one!
VIP: It can be anything from the first pair of heels you ever bought to a coat you bought at a thrift store just because you liked it so much!
Jessica: I have a dress that I got a couple of years ago that I absolutely love–it actually doesn’t fit me…but I cannot bare to throw it out because I remember how pretty and great I felt when I wore it in my twenties.
Connect with Jessica Klaaren Jewelry and Shop in Your PJs with the following links:
I am so excited to share with y’all all the fun at Blue Plum + the fabulous people I met that I could not wait until Monday to post this blog! Oh–Blue Plum was plum-ty of fun–see what I did there *wink*
WOWZA! This is just a peek at a few of the terrifically talented graffiti artists that were at Blue Plum 2014. Be sure to check out Sweet Sorghum Living for interviews with some of the artists + photos.
I had a total BLAST at Blue Plum 2014. Next year, I hope to see my two favorite music artists/bands there–Gabriel Tajeu and The Bonfire Orchestra *wink* Now, that would make for an absolutely blissful Blue Plum *wink*
To help celebrate the two year anniversary of VIP, I decided to follow up with another one of my favorite handmade jewelry artisans. This fabulous jewelry artisan was the SECOND PERSON I EVER INTERVIEWED, and today is Throwback Thursday…soooo… *drum roll* Rachel Leathers of Hearts of Stone! Yay!
I absolutely love Hearts of Stone Jewelry because Rachel creates magnificent pieces with natural stones such as agate, jasper, and geode. Each piece is beautifully unique which makes her jewelry very appealing to the VIP–I am always a sucker for one of a kind pieces *wink* To be perfectly honest, I simply adore everythingin the Hearts of Stone Etsy shop. My goodness! How will I ever decide which new piece to add to my collection? Hmmm….
Now, while I go browse Rachel Leather’s Etsy shop, y’all enjoy this fabulous VIP follow-up interview with jewelry artisan Rachel Leathers of Hearts of Stone Jewelry. :)
VIP: What’s new with Hearts of Stone?
Rachel: The newest thing that happened for HoSJ this past year was a new collection, the Black Hearts Collection. I had a heart-breaking break-up with a man [George] I loved who I thought I was planning a life with, but I found out he was seeing someone else whom he married. I discovered what a black-hearted person he really was, so the name of the collection was easy to come by! I wanted to take a bad and ugly situation and turn it into a positive situation, on many levels. Taking the black and gray hearts I already had, I came up with the collection as a way to spill my guts and do some healing along the way. Being busy and creative did the trick, and now I can add to the collection and continue to make pretty things, regardless of the original inspiration.
VIP: Are you working on any new projects? If so, spill the beans! *wink*
Rachel: My newest project for HoSJ is making a necklace to be gifted to the stylist for the next season of “The Bachelorette” in hopes it will be worn on the show! I have made a beautiful white jade heart that I plan to pair with lots of tiny crystals and smaller hearts, and call the necklace “Falling in Love”. Cascading chains will drip from the heart and create a waterfall effect. I’m excited about it and can’t wait to give you a picture! I’ll have duplicates available for sale in the shop, along with a rose quartz option.
VIP: What is your 2014 inspiration?
Rachel: My inspiration for 2014 is renewal and reclamation. Before I met George, I was a happy and content with myself, and part of my discovery after the break-up was the surprise that I wasn’t even happy when we were together. I had accomplished so much in my personal life before we met, and I want that back. I’ve already reclaimed my personal happiness, and now it’s time to get back the skinny body! Finding my joy again has been huge for me, and it will only show itself in my work. I haven’t really created much for HoSJ since the Black Hearts Collection…So, I’m so excited to make a necklace inspired by love, and I want to carry that over into an entire line. It will be a good year!
VIP: What is your 2014 motto?
Rachel: My motto for 2014 is to just give it a try. Regardless of what “it” is, I do best when I just jump in feet first and give something a go. Personally or professionally–it doesn’t matter. You never know until you try, right?
VIP: What color best describes you?
Rachel: Blue has always been my favorite color; however, these days red is what makes me happy! I want a new car and have my eye on a bright red one, my phone cover is red, and I bought a red raincoat that made me feel bold, LOL! Red is a passionate color, and I feel passionate about life right now, so…red it is!
VIP: What is your favorite song of 2014 thus far?
Rachel: My favorite song for this year is one that was a favorite five years ago when I was originally losing weight–Boz Scaggs’ “Get On The Natch”, from the album “Dig”. It’s like an anthem for me, and the song basically says small steps add up when you’re working towards a goal. It has a funky groove to it–it might not be a typical Boz song, but it speaks to me. I’ve been listening to him since I was 17, so his music has been part of my life’s soundtrack, and it is a kick-booty song to work out to!
VIP: Tell us a little bit about your new shop.
Rachel: The new shop is called Genuine Leathers Designs, which confuses a lot of people because there are NO leather garments or accessories! When I was in design school 23 years ago, it was a name I came up with for an assigned collection I designed. My instructor scolded me over it, since I only had one leather garment. I simply said, “but it’s my name.” She looked me in the eye and dead panned, “that’s funny.” How could I not use that to my advantage? And I understand the confusion, considering it is a line of men’s shirts made from 100% cotton!
My hope is to add to the line over the years and not just make shirts. They are fun casual shirts based on bowling/Hawaiian styles–I like to call them “A new twist on an old favorite!” What makes my shirts different is that I use bold prints, but instead of using the print all over the shirt, it is only on the front and back yokes. I then add coordinating solids at the rest of the body and collar to make said print stand out even more. I think a bold print needs a frame to make it special, and by only using the prints sparingly, I accomplish that. Several shirts also include coordinating prints, so each shirt has its own personality. They’re great for any age, from the hipster to the oldster!
VIP: What inspired you to start Genuine Leathers Designs?
Rachel: The inspiration for opening the new shop was to put myself back to work. I’ve been a professional seamstress for 24 years, and the economic downturn really hit me hard. The majority of my career was in the costume industry and work has been beyond sparse. I like the idea of working for myself, and if possible, hiring others to work for me for a change. I’d love to be able to put others back to work as well as myself, and since I’ve been active in the Made in America Movement, that has become part of my mission. Being an entrepreneur never crossed my mind until I began the jewelry and then the shirts. It has been very eye-opening and scary, but so very worth it. I just jumped feet first! Also, I recently participated in the 2014 Golden Globes gift lounge with GLD, displaying miniature shirts and gifting handkerchiefs to the attendees. I’m hopeful this will bring much needed exposure to the brand. 2014 should be a good year for shirts, too!
Check out the VIP’s first interview with the jewelry artisan here.
In love with Hearts of Stone Jewelry? Shop online here.
In today’s post “Christmas in My Mailbox- Part Dos”, I will show you the jewelry I ordered from Rare Daisy Jewelry and Hearts of Stone Jewelry! Enjoy:)
Rare Daisy Jewelry on Etsy makes “healing crystal jewelry” such as anklets and stretchy bracelets. I enjoyed shopping for my set of mystery hemp anklets from Rare Daisy! I picked eight words to describe myself, and Rare Daisy made my anklets especially for me! This makes me feel special:) I also love the fact that Rare Daisy’s jewelry is very eco-friendly! Save our planet:) I cannot wait to order some more jewelry from Rare Daisy! You should get some too!
Rachel Leathers is the owner of Hearts of Stone Jewelry. I was very honored to have interviewed her as my second VIP Guest! Rachel has made jewelry for the Oscars and is a part of The Artisan Group. She creates handmade gemstone earrings, necklaces, and sets. They are truly elegant and gorgeous in every single way! I have fallen in love with everything that Rachel has for sale in her Etsy shop! To aid in my shopping addiction…I need a credit card with no limit!
On my mini road trip to Starkville/Columbus, Mississippi this weekend, I went into what is probably my new favorite store…Deep South Pout! Oh, how I love Deep South Pout! In my next blog, I will be sharing with y’all the ADORABLE things I got there! You can follow them on twitter @deepsouthpout and find them on facebook to get a peek at what they have to offer….Be warned…They are addictive!
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Also, if you have any ideas for future blogs, or things you would like to see on the VIP blog, shoot me an email!
The MAC event was one of the most darling things I have attended thus far on my V.I.P. adventures. It was such an honor to be invited to blog about this makeup extravaganza! Watching the makeup artists show off their impressive skills was fabo! “Look here. U got the look (U got the look). U must’a took (U must’a took). A whole hour just 2 make up your face, baby” Oh excuse me… UGot the Look by Prince just totally had to be sung there…while I am off topic…I gave up fried foods for Lent this year…oh, how I love fried chicken sandwiches from Jack’s…don’t judge me!
You might be wondering how MAC was started…well, in 1984 two men by the names of Frank Toskan and Frank Angelo put their heads together and decided to found a fantastical cosmetics business. Frank Toskan was a legit fashion photographer and makeup artist, and Frank Angelo was the owner of a chain of hair salons. With both men having a marvelous knowledge and experience with makeup, fashion, and hair, their business was destined to succeed. Frank and Frank wanted to design a line of products that would not only appeal to the unique needs of professional makeup artists, but also one that would be diverse enough to stay “in style” forever…and ever…and ever…(I whispered that…Oh, how I love iCarly…)
One of the most interesting things I ascertained with my computer while researching the history of MAC was the establishment of the MAC AIDS Fund, which provides help to men and women that are living with AIDS. All the proceeds from their “Viva Glam” collection goes towards the MAC AIDS Fund…how inspiring…
This exclusive MAC event was held at the Belk in Trussville, Alabama by appointment only. These incredible ladies adroitly created personalized looks for each customer. As I watched the artists perform their magic, I was amazed! Michelle, who helped me pick out my makeup, shared with me a little secret about the brush they all adore and use for everything! Please see picture below… as I said before, it is a secret…”secret…. agent….man….” that’s all the words I know…I don’t even know who sings it, and I don’t feel like looking it up right now…because I really want a Jack’s chicken sandwich, but I gave that up for Lent…I’m…I’m okay with that…
I had such a great time talking to these MAC girls. What a privilege watching them in action! They all called each other Boo…how precious!
The purpose of this MAC event was to introduce the new limited edition line of blushes, lipsticks, nail polishes, and eyeshadows…I am the proud owner of Optmistic Orange blush and So Vain lipstick, which is part of this limited edition line. The theme of this event was “vintage”–perfect for a V.I.P. They all looked so adorable! I wish I could have gotten a picture with all them; however, my goodness, they were sooooo busy with clients! I shall have to visit them again soon…I can always come up with an excuse to go to Belk;)
At Birmingham Fashion Week this year, MAC artists worked exclusively backstage! I have to give them props for a wonderful job! I cannot wait for Birmingham Fashion Week 2013!
Below are some of my favorite pictures I took at the MAC event…Hope you enjoy!:)
Remember when I told you guys I was going to show off pictures of me in the 1964 dress…Well, it is a verbose and humorous story involving torrential rains, a bad hair day, and aching feet…It was a hapless day; however, from it was born a brilliant idea for a blog…I will not get into the details, but it involves an abundance of shoes and accessories… I want to apologize for my mom’s poor photography skills… Bless… she is a great artist, but she cannot take a decent picture to save her life…sorry, Mom.
Next time, I will be blogging about my interview with Rachel Leathers, owner of Hearts of Stone Jewelry! Rachel is a part of The Artisan Group and has made jewelry for charity and celebrity events. I feel like such a celeb wearing them…I am so pumped up about sharing Rachel Leathers’s interview and pictures because she is truly extraordinary!
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