LJS: What’s your background? How did you get into jewelry making, and when?
HW: I have been a stay home mom ever since one year after I graduated from prestigious Parson’s school of design, I wanted to be a top notch high end fashion designer back then. Instead I spent the past 20 years build my family, I have 3 beautiful kids, and loving husband. Somewhere along the way I found out that my love was in metal, not fabric. It started when I was browsing Ebay back in 2007 and was fascinated with all the jewelries and with not much money in my hand to indulge my new obsession, I purchased a piece of handmade necklace, made by the seller, a necklace of multi-link opaque freckled earth tone square stones with hand cut grove all around and wire wrapping that fit in the grove and some wire pattern that later I found out were made by using a tool called jig. This the very first piece of jewelry that inspired me to start making my own, because I said to myself, I’m not gonna spend rest of my life drooling over my expensive obsession and get torn inside because I wouldn’t be able to afford it. So I came to a solution: I’ll make my own jewelry. After I tried to bend a piece of silver wire, and ball up the tip with a butane torch, I could never stop.
LJS: Describe your process, from inspiration to final product. Do you draw a design first or do you just start creating? Is it different everytime?
HW: I’ve been selling what I created on Etsy for 8 years and recently shifted direction to go pro and do wholesale. So the design process is very different before and after. But either way my inspiration is alway technique driven. Before, I make whatever I want to, randomly. Through out the years I’ve alway been self teaching, so Etsy became a great platform for me to learn, practice, and sell what I created. When I wanted to test out a new technique, I usually do lots of research and then I came up with what I wanted to do. I never sketched out ideas, just picked up my silver stock and start working, and I’ll say it’s the working process that inspired and guided me, and I let the design take shape gradually, step by step. It’s a painful process because some time it take lots of attempts, but I work till I can please myself. Now with enough skills and techniques to deliver the designs that’s truly original, I design with much clear direction, I plan out the whole collection before I start working. I will focus on one design detail and expand that concept to the whole collection, and I found its a very good way to keep your design cohesive.
LJS: Do you ever hit creative road blocks? How do you remedy that?
HW: This also has a before and after difference. Before when I sell on Etsy, I got creative road blocks all the time!! Main reason was lack of design direction, and also because of the mindset that I wanted my creation to be different. What I did was I had to see a lot, and I slept on it, and eventually I would get a light bulb. For now, I feel that I’ll never run out design idea! I already have 5 or 6 collections sketched out and only waiting to be turned into reality! I can’t wait! But I constantly look back to my random pieces I made before, because there were lots of originality in those earlier creation and I believe I can further expand and explore and turn those into collections.
LJS: What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever made?
HW: My favorite pieces I’ve ever made are very often the last piece I created. That makes me want to create me more. My favorite piece for now is the first project we did in the Introduce to Wax Carving class with Kate. It’s the biggest ring I’ve ever made, carved out in wax first then casted in silver. I had no idea what to make at the beginning, simply follow along the process until 30 minute before the session about to be done, I got the light bulb, and start carving these stripes and dents all around the ring. It turned out great. I was lucky I got it done on time. And now I want to explore more on that and work on a collection base on the same concept.
LJS: What class(es) have you taken at Liloveve?
HW: I took Introduction to Wax Carving class with Kate, and the Business for Designers workshop with Caroline.
LJS: If you could collaborate with another designer/artist, who would it be and why?
HW: I would love to collaborate with Jeanette K. Caines. I have been an admirer for years, and I’ve been saving money to take her classes! I’m fascinated with her intricate fusing and granulation on high karat gold technique. I’m more into metal smithing than stones I think that’s why!
LJS: Where do you exhibit / sell your work?
HW: You can view my work at wholesalecraft.com and my artist number is 28587. I will be also showing my latest collection and expecting 1 or 2 more collections. I’ll be in JA New York March show at the Jacob Javits Center.