Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Member Profile: JKA Designs

This marks the first installment of (hopefully) many itsy-bitsy interviews of the wonderful members of REST.
I had the honor of getting to know Janice Alexander of JKA Designs. Go ahead and give a peek at her store and blog!

How did you first become interested in jewelry design & crafting?

I started my company, JKA Designs, Inc., as a graphics design artist on the computer for local corporations and printers. Seeking a break from the computer (after many years on it) and a way to express my creativity in a different way is what led me in the direction of creating sterling silver jewelry and fused glass pieces.

What are your major inspirations?
When I am not in my studio I spend a lot of time in my flower garden so most of my inspirations come from nature in my kiln-formed glass pieces and my silver work. The different forms of nature … shapes, textures, beautiful colors of flowers, birds, and even the insects are what inspire my pieces.

What are your favorite materials?
My two favorite mediums to work with are sterling silver and fused glass.
It is so personally satisfying to take a flat sheet of silver and hand forge it into a piece of jewelry. I love working with tools … hammers, saws, my rolling mill, and of course my torch! I feel just as passionate about working with glass.

What advice do you have for people who wish to get into jewelry designing & making?
Just go for it! Experiment and play around with different mediums until you find the one you are most passionate about.
My journey in creating jewelry began with designing beaded necklaces and earrings and creating wire wrapped jewelry. Then I played around with Precious Metal Clay for a little while which led me to trying metalsmithing. While I was on vacation one year I saw my first piece of fused dichroic glass. Absolutely fell in love with it, gorgeous sparkling colors! So when we got home, I did a lot of research on fused glass, bought a small kiln, some books, and started fusing glass. I have even tried making lamp work beads.
Although I liked working in all of the different mediums I experimented with along my journey, my passions are forging silver and kiln-formed glass. I still do some beading because I love the colors and textures of natural stones.
So my advice would be to find the medium you love to work in, enjoy your journey getting there, have fun along the way learning new things, and love what you do!

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