Tell us a bit about yourself (name, location, affiliations, personal stuff).
My name is Lara Jordan. I live in Virginia Beach, Virginia. I have 4 children, 3 boys 1 girl ages 22 thru 17. My husband is very supportive in all my ventures. I have a Bachelors degree in Psychology and taught Special Education to students with emotional/behavioral challenges for 3 years before taking time off to continue my education.
My story of how I became a jewelry designer/artist is a simple one. I fell in love with the beauty of semi-precious natural stones at the first bead show that I attended. I went to the show with a friend that had been beading for some time. We walked into a room filled with endless tables of stones from nature that cannot be improved on by man made materials. This is why I use semi-precious natural stones in all of my designs. I have increased my knowledge in jewelry design by attending a metal smith class for a year. The ability to add the use of wire and metal to my designs has opened a whole new world of creativity. I enjoy designing and creating beautiful pieces of jewelry for all occasions. I am a jeans and t-shirt girl myself, but occasionally I like to get dressed up for a night out. This is why I design a variety of pieces that can be dressed up or down. I have found that even a pair of old jeans can look great in pearls and semi-precious stones!
What is your etsy shop address and name? Design by Lara Studios ~ http://www.designbylarastudios.etsy.com/
Do you have a blog (and what is its address)? No blog
What is your favorite color combination? I like to mix things up a bit. I find myself throwing different stones and combinations of color into a bowl and discover there are unlimited possibilities.
What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it? I think the first thing I made was a beaded bracelet. I thought it turned out great. When I look back now I can see that experience has brought my designs to a whole new level. I made the bracelet just to see if I could do it.
What inspires you? I am inspired by all the beautiful colors in the natural stones.
Where do your ideas come from? My ideas come from many sources. Sometimes I find a stone and immediately know what I want to do with it. Other times I actually have dreams about a creation. I wake up first thing in the morning and put it together.
Does the atomsphere affect your creativity?The atmosphere does not affect my creativity. There are times when I just put things aside for a while and others when I’m non stop creating.
Where do you create, in a workroom/ studio or in a park? I have a workspace in my home. Thanks to my wonderful husband I have all the tools and supplies I need right at my finger tips.
What are your favorite materials? My favorite materials are natural stones, freshwater pearls, sterling silver and solid copper. I will one day add gold.
What is your favorite thing to do with your creativity? I know many artists draw their designs before making them. I am terrible at sketching so most often I just jump right into making the piece.
Why should people buy handmade?
People should buy homemade because they know they are getting a distinct design. The creation of a piece of jewelry that was from start to finish the concept of one persons vision is a powerful thing.
Any tips of wisdom on selling handmade stuff? The biggest lesson I have learned is to wear the jewelry that you make and carry business cards. I have gotten compliments from everywhere; a restaurant, doctors office, grocery store, you never know where a sell can come from.
Apart from creating things, what do you do? I am continuing my education in psychology. I also spend as much time as possible with family and friends. I love riding on the back of my husbands Harley, scuba diving, back yard BBQ’s, and road trips.
What have been the most valuable lessons learned from other artists on Etsy?I think my biggest lesson is to list often. Not all at one time, but once or twice a day. I am still working on doing this consistently.
Read any good books lately?I unfortunately have not had the time to read. Right now I am working on art and wine festival supply and I am also working on getting my pieces into some local stores.
Any other links or information you want to share? I have several internet links where people can view my work and keep in contact with me.
Email list link ~ http://designbylara.com/_wsn/page14.html
Photo link ~ http://www.flickr.com/photos/designbylara/
MySpace link ~ myspace.com/designbylarastudios
I also have a second Etsy shop where I sell my handcrafted jewelry findings & components Design by Lara ~ http://www.designbylara.etsy.com/
Do you have any current projects that you want to describe, techniques to share, give picture of? I most recent design is a 2” copper cuff with sterling silver cross embellished with a Kingman Turquoise.
I made the cuff using a 6 ½ x 2 inch piece of solid copper. Hand sawed, filed then sanded. I then soldered the handcrafted sterling silver cross and added the Turquoise using a bezel setting. I felt it needed more so I added a sterling silver scroll on each end of the cuff. It was then buffed and polished. The last step was to add color to the copper by heating the cuff with my torch.
In ten years I'd love to have my own studio and retail shop. Not only would I like to be selling my designs to the masses, but I’d also like to teach kids with emotional and behavioral challenges how to make jewelry, start a business, and be successful members of their community. I want to reach these kids in any way I can. Sometimes just having faith in their abilities and helping them to meet their goals will change their lives.