Friday, 19 October 2012

Shop Local - Stone Willow Jewellery

Nicole from Stone Willow Jewellery has a distinct and elegant style. Her pieces are simple and timeless and there is something in her collection for every taste and style.

Simple Beauty Earrings
1. Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about how you started creating.
Hi, I'm Nicole of Stone Willow.  What you would normally expect from a jewellery designer would be someone who is always dressed to the nines, hair and makeup done,  pushing sales upon everyone who walks by.  This is definitely not me.  You may catch me out hiking.  More than likely,  I’d be wearing a bandana so I didn’t have to style my hair.  Make-up?  Only a little on a big show day.  I love outdoors,  I love all things natural, I yearn for a peaceful co-existence with nature.   Most of all, I am obsessed with creating beautiful things just for you.

I had left my career after years of juggling family life and work responsibilities.  We wanted a better family life and decided that I would stay at home with our little ones.  As time unlocked its door to me, my creative spirit indulged.  I began crafting once again.  As I have always had a passion for stones and natural products, I began making my own jewellery pieces out of gemstones and sterling silver.

2. What inspired you to move from creating as a hobby to creating as a business?

My hobby and obsession with stones quickly turned into a money making option, which isn't such a bad idea since I had left my career.  It was something I could do from home while still being with the kids.  At the start up, there was very low overhead costs as well.  I had made my first jewellery on my coffee table and used a tea towel so the beads wouldn't roll away!     My mother saw greatness in my jewellery and began promoting me among her contacts.  With successful results, Stone Willow was born in Bragg Creek, Alberta.   Several years later, Stone Willow can be purchased through retail stores, galleries and online, yet still a one woman show.

3. Show us a few of your favourite pieces and why they are your favourites?
Photo 0002 - Poppy Necklace
Photo 0002 is of my "Poppy Necklace".  I love the playful connection with nature with this handmade flower pendant of gemstones and sterling silver.  I make this style in many different colours.....more listings on Esty to come soon.

Photo 0022 - Sterling Silver Leaf Stud
Photo 0022 is my sterling silver leaf stud.  Funny how nature pops in again.  I have handformed the shape, forged it slightly, hardened, polished and filed the metal.  I love making things totally from the raw materials and creating what is in my visions.

Photo 0105 - Healing stone charm bracelet
Photo 0105 is one of my healing stone charm bracelets using gemstones chosen  for their healing natures.  I love to put colour combinations together that you wouldn't normally see, but still look like they belong.  This bracelet jingles and sways nicely when worn.  If feels nice on.

4. What does shop local mean to you and why is it important (or not important)?
It is nice to support an individual.  Someone who is making a good quality, handmade item and local is a bonus!  If we support what we have locally, we support our entire economic system which is what will carry us on into the future.  We also don't want to loose the skills of crafting, creating and building.  What will we do when one day no one is left knowing how to knit, metal smith, grow vegetables, build, make paper products?  We don't want to loose our heritage.  But, I'm also not against buying from overseas.  I have a beautiful mix of both.  I will spend the extra money on something precious and handmade, but also wear the less expensive imported product.

5. Is there any one moment or experience in developing your art or your business that stands out in your mind? Why?
When first starting out, there was doubt in myself and my designs.  Others commented that there is so much jewellery out there and you can't make any money selling it - especially competing with imported product where wages are lower.  Something kept me going.  I would lie in bed at night and I couldn't stop thinking of colour combinations and designs.  This obsession kept me creating and my creations developed further.  The design visions still continue when I lie in bed trying to get to sleep.  This keeps me obsessed.  If I had to pay myself per hour, it wouldn't look so appealing, but I love the creative process and I can have a flexible schedule from home so I can be there for my kids.

6. Do you have any of your pieces in a local shop or in an artisan market? Tell us where and when.
I have had my jewellery in many stores, galleries and online.  Currently, I am supplying a local store in Bragg Creek called Angela's Attic, and  the gift shop in the Whyte Museum in Banff.  I have my online shop on Etsy, as well, attend many different art and craft shows.  During the fall 2012, I will be at 10 different shows  which are listed on my blog and facebook page.  The following are still upcoming:

    Oct 20 - Calyx Art Show Calgary

    Nov 3 - Calyx Art Show Edmonton

    Nov 16-18 -Kananaskis Christmas - Redwood Meadows

    Nov 24 - Festival of Joy - Waldorf Faire Artisan Market  - Calgary

    Nov 22-24 - Christmas in the Country - Dartique Lodge north of Cochrane

    Nov 23-24 - Holly Days - Harvie Heights near Canmore

    Dec 8 - What The Craft - Calgary




Nicole can also be found here:
Website:  www.stonewillow.ca
Etsy shop: http://stonewillowjewellery.etsy.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/stonewillowjewellery
Blog: www.stonewillow.blogspot.com

--Ann