Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"On Creativity" with Sarah Breivis

In our blog series "On Creativity" each week we will feature one of our members and their perspective on keeping their creativity alive. 

This week we are talking to Sarah Breivis of Juju By Sarah

What inspires you?

I really like stones, so I usually get inspired on how to showcase a gem. I started making jewelry after I took my first lapidary (stone carving) class over ten years ago. I had all of these finished stones and needed something to do with them. I also get inspired by patterns I see all around me. Whether it's a geometric design on a snake, or some ancient pottery. Designs are everywhere! It's finding the time to make them all that's hard.

How does your design process work/How do you come up with new ideas?

New designs usually come in quick bursts. I'll be really busy doing some production work and need a mental break. I will put it aside and make a one of a kind piece from some idea that I've had floating around in my head awhile. It's sort of like sneaking in some fun when I know I should be doing something else. Sometimes I do sketches, but more often I will make a prototypes to see if I like the design and the proportions of a piece before I use more expensive metals.

How do you stay motivated?

Doing one of a kind pieces keeps me motivated. It's not that hard really. I worked in a corporate cubicle for sixteen years before I became a full time jeweler. I was brain dead doing the same thing every day. I told myself that I would never do that again, that I need to change things up all the time. Whenever I get down about what I'm doing (ie; gold pricing, economy, bills etc), I just tell myself that it's the most personally fulfilling work I've ever done and I need to move forward.

Do you ever find yourself in a creative rut? If so how do you get out of it?

Oh sure, creativity definitely comes in waves and I know it will come back. Whenever I'm in a rut, I just work on some inventory pieces that I need to replenish. If I get tired of metal smithing, I pull out my lapidary wheels and play around with stone carving for a day or two. Once my hands are all cold and pruned from the water wheels I'm ready to do metal again.

Do you make other things besides jewelry?

Well, I've been creating art since I could hold a pen and have tried many things. I know that I cannot do ceramics or knitting to save my life. But, I have been doing traditional woodworking for almost 20 years. I signed up for a private class called 'woodworking for women' when I was in college and never stopped. My instructor, Debey Zito, is an inspiration for woman who have worked hard in their craft to create beautiful work. It's traditional woodworking using hand tools in the Arts and Crafts style of architecture. It's very similar to jewelry making really. You need to slowly work on your joints (connections) and get them to fit just right. I've made a dining room table and chairs, shelves, side tables, picture and mirror frames and am currently working on a dresser.

I've also gotten in fine chocolate making in the last few years. I guess I just like detailed assembly work. It must be a type of meditation to want to cut and dip fifty hand cooked caramels in chocolate and then give them all away. My husband's job is to sprinkle the embellishment onto each piece.

Sparks Ring: Hand carved quartz with Garnets. This was the first ring I made after I got my lapidary wheels.

Jewelry Drawers: Walnut with forged copper handles plated in nickel. Would you believe I made this before I quit my job to become a jeweler.


jewelry drawers

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