Friday, 12 September 2014

Materials and Techniques: Jewel Divas

Every fortnight, I chat to another designer about the materials and techniques that go into the creation of their handmade pieces. This is a great way to meet new artists, learn new skills and get some hand hints about the handmade business. Today I am talking to Tiara who runs a jewellery business, Jewel Divas, in South Australia.

Please tell us a little about yourself. 

My name is Tiara King and my business is Jewel Divas. I have a style blog called Jewel Divas Style which is the second tier to the Jewel Divas brand. I began making jewellery way back in 1990 when I was 16 but never thought about selling it or starting a business. I did some short WEA (in Adelaide) courses on silver jewellery making and how to set up a business, and so started Jewel Divas in 2008, going live on my own website in 2009. Since I care for my mother, times have gotten tough over the years and after some advice I moved my store to Madeit in 2013.

I am a jewellery, accessory and fashion designer, creator, collector and consultant as well as a wardrobe stylist after doing style courses last year. I’m also a self-published author, having written and self-published four novels and two e-books under my nom de plume since 2011, and now two e-books under my own name.

What materials and techniques do you like to use?

I do it all by hand using jewellery pliers and lay it all out beforehand to get a general idea of how each piece will look. And then it could completely change when I make it. I’m willing to use any material and don’t have a favourite (although Swarovskis and semi-precious stones are gorgeous) but it all depends on the ideas I have for a collection. When I come up with an idea for a collection I think about what I want and decide how it will be.

An older collection, “African Safari”, featured semi-precious stones, resin and glass beads in orange, yellow, brown, black, white, gold and silver, all colours to represent the African desert.

The small four piece collection I released back in March, “Walk like an Egyptian”, consisted of two bracelet stacks and two bracelet stack and earring sets, full of semi-precious, glass beads and rhinestone encrusted snake bracelets.

My latest collection, “Opulence Royale”, based on the French Royal court of centuries gone by, features 61 pieces of jewellery smothered in Swarovski pearls and crystals with cameo lockets and pendants, birds, butterflies, dragonflies, fleur de lis and fans. Each piece has a royal title and name.

What challenges have you faced in the creative process?

In making and creating there have been no major issues; it’s all been in the business side of things.

  • Decide if you want a hobby or business. You may prefer to start as a hobby and see how it grows. I started looking at my business as a business, yet with all the stress of caring for my mother, my own health issues, and not having as many opportunities to sell my goods lat markets or stores, it never really got off the ground. It was a struggle to do it all on my own with no support in any way, shape or form.
  • Really nut out whether you have that support to start a business, otherwise start off selling as a hobby and give it a year or two to see if (1) you can give it enough time and energy, and (2) if it becomes successful then turn it into a business.
  •  Make sure you can afford the start-up costs as they can be brutal. In fact, all of the business stuff can be brutal. 
  • Also, if you get an ABN and business name then make sure you put in tax returns even if you don’t make any money. I didn’t have any business advice and no one to turn to for help and so I stuffed this bit up royally.

What drives you to create?

I think it’s just a matter of the right idea coming at the right time. Like in 2013, I had no plans for a new collection but I’d been buying some beads for myself and was thinking how pretty they were and they’d make great bracelets. I raided my jewellery stock for all the jewellery I had sitting around and turned it into the “Golden Age of Hollywood” collection. That idea simply came from looking at some glamorous beads.

As for what drives me, I love jewellery, I love making it for myself, I love making things no one else has, I love looking at it, buying it, wearing it. I’m so completely obsessed with jewellery and I have no idea where it comes from.

What is coming up next?

Another collection next year. More jewellery is planned for this year. My priority is getting my e-book, “How To Be A Jewel Diva: Tips and Tricks to Buying, Wearing and Caring for your Costume Jewellery” formatted for Kindle and getting it into paperback. It’s already available for sale in my Madeit store as a PDF, so there will be more formats and sale venues by the end of the year. I also sell my other book, “Carers Need Help and Support Too”, and two e-books I wrote under my nom de plume of Lady Jewels Diva for a limited time only. But that’s a long story in itself.

Jewel Divas Madeit Store
Jewel Divas Facebook
Jewel Divas Pinterest

Jewel Divas Style Facebook
Jewel Divas Style Twitter
Jewel Divas Style Instagram
Jewel Divas Style Pinterest
Jewel Divas Style Tumblr
Jewel Divas Style Google+
Jewel Divas Style YouTube

Would you like to share your creative process? Leave a comment below.
Browse through the archive of materials and techniques interviews to learn more creative skills.

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