Artist: Jessica Poundstone
Web site: Jewelry by Jessica
Etsy: Jessica Poundstone
Location: Portland, Oregon.
What do you create?
Professionally, I create my jewelry line, Jewelry By Jessica. In my spare time, a whole lot of different stuff - paintings, toys, drawings, photographs, one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces, knitted things, books, etc. - some of which is up for grabs at my Etsy site. I can’t seem to shake the desire to make lots of different things.
What is your first memory of being inspired to make/craft something?
As a kid I had (and still have, actually) a little book called “Fun With Paper.” I remember loving the idea that, just by following a set of very simple instructions, you could make something really cool out of nothing but a sheet of paper. I’m still pretty inspired by all sorts of instructional books for kids, actually! My mom and my grandmother were also always making neat things – drawings, paintings, crafts, etc. – so perhaps it’s just in my blood : )
When and why did you decide to start your business?
About three years ago I saw a picture of a pendant someone had made by transferring their own artwork onto a piece of polymer clay and decided I’d give it a try. But after reading the detailed instructions, it just seemed too involved. So I got to browsing around the art supply store and ran across a packet of clear shrink plastic. And so the two ideas collided: jewelry and shrink plastic. Next thing I knew, my house had turned into a jewelry-making factory. Once I got brave enough to wear what I was making out in public (no one else I knew of was making jewelry from shrink plastic at the time, and I dreaded the question “are those Shrinky Dinks!?”) I started getting a lot of questions about it, including one from a store owner who asked if I’d be willing to consign with her. I did, and things just sort of kept expanding from there. Basically the jewelry was a creative outlet that had the side benefit of adding some extra income to our household.
Where do you get your inspiration for your projects?
Beautiful things anywhere and everywhere I see them: pictures in books and magazines, plants and flowers, things in my neighborhood, images made by friends, my old sketchbooks, all kinds of web sites, etc. etc.
Which of the tools you use is your favorite?
What is your favorite part of your creative process?
It’s a tie between idea gathering (another way to say looking at all sorts of things I find to be beautiful) and the process of actually developing and executing a particular idea.
What keeps you motivated?
Making something beautiful that’s never been made before and the chance to share it with other people.
How do you get the word out about your work?
Up until about a year ago, I was working 40+ hours a week, so I wanted to keep the business small. After having my daughter, I moved to doing freelance work. I now have a bit more time to spend on making — and promoting — the jewelry, so I’ve been doing a few things here and there, like sending inquiries to a few stores, putting it on the radar of people who write shopping blogs, hosting an occasional Jewelry By Jessica open house, and doing a craft show here and there. But mostly I’ve gotten the word out by living my life online - just meeting people who often turn out to like my work. That’s by far my favorite way to get the word out.
What is your main goal for the next 6-12 months?
Working to increase the order stream a bit, and creating new designs!
What advice would you give to someone starting a creative business?
Start doing the thing you want to do, learn all you can from other people who have done something similar, be patient, have high standards, and learn as you go. Also, make the up-front time investment of truly figuring out your costs. I find the book “Wishcraft” by Barbara Sher to be an amazing resource for information and advice on practical steps to take to accomplish anything that might seem out of reach.
What’s the most important thing you’d like people to know/understand about your work?
I guess that everything I make comes from my heart. I know that sounds kind of goofy, but it’s true : ) And also that anything I sell will have a high quality of workmanship and be built to last – those things are really important to me.
What adjectives would you use to describe your work?
I try to make things that are simple and beautiful.
Who are some of your favorite indie designers/artists?
Anja Boretzki, Natascha Rosenberg, Keri Smith, Cynthia Korzekwa, Jessica Ji Williams, Dan Price, , Jen Corace, Rena Tom, Lena Corwin, Maki Squarepatch, Christina Bissell (ScissorStitch), Mariana Massarani, and Kate T. Williamson, to name a few!
If money, deadlines, scheduling, etc weren’t an obstacle what new project would you like to take on?
Finally publishing an art-related book I’ve made, and maybe dabbling in some metalsmithing.
What's your definition of a perfect day?
Have eggs benedict for breakfast while reading through the Sunday NYT and doing the crossword puzzle, visit my favorite galleries, draw some stuff, take some pictures, make some notes on ideas, have some pizza, go see a movie in a theater, camp out in Powell’s magazine section, head to a French restaurant for dinner, then home to watch Conan O’Brien.
Thank you Jessica!