I'm really excited about this post. This morning, I asked my Facebook Fans to ask me any question they wanted. Here are their perfectly awesome kick-ass questions:
Seven Oaks is your business name. How did you come up with the name? It's very catchy!First of all, Jennifer, thanks for that lovely compliment! Anyhoo, I grew up in the UK in a small town called Morpeth. It's a gorgeous town, the river Wansbeck runs through it, and it's surrounded by woods...and oak trees. They were always my favourite as a kid. I loved everything about them - the acorns, the shape of the leaves, the sheer size of them, the amount of shade you got from them...they're just awesome. When I was naming (or I should say, renaming my business), I knew it had to have something to do with Oaks. The "seven" part was easy. There are eight people in my immediate family, including myself. Eight Oaks didn't sound quite right, so I knocked myself out of the equation and named the business for the number of people around me who have always supported me, loved me and my work, and given me all the strength of an oak tree...Sappy, I know! Thanks for your question, Jennifer :) x
Fay and Carla asked:
What inspires you? Where do you get inspiration from?This is a tough one. Lots of things inspire me. It could be a colour I see (I use colour swatches as inspiration quite often!). Sometimes the shape of a leaf or something similar might spark an idea. Recently though I've found inspiration in movies and TV shows (yes, I'm a huge Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings fan LOL). Music is always a huge inspiration to me too...it might be a lyric or something that just resonates with me and from that there's a spark of...something...and then I spend a night just sort of letting it sink in. Then I create whatever it is that's been buzzing around in my head. I've started sketching my ideas before making them and that's proving to be quite the inspiration too (it also stops me from going off on a tangent and never actually making that piece!). I’m also the one scrolling though page after page of celebrity photos to look for ones that I can do a “how would I accessorise that look” sort of thing. Different styles really inspire me too. Right now I’m really into steampunk but also faerie like, fantasty, elvish sort of stuff. Lastly….contests and challenges help so much. Right now I have a few on the go, which are helping with creativity and inspiration a LOT. Hope this helps a bit. Thanks for a great question, ladies! x
How did you get into jewellery making??I started jewellery making in 2010 after sort of falling into it. I had been at my local craft store looking for stuff for my kids to do over the long 6 week holiday (as if their Christmas pressies weren’t enough!) and I found myself in the jewellery aisle. There wasn’t much there but a starter kit caught my eye straight away. I had a friend who also made gorgeous jewellery and I was admittedly jealous, so I figured I’d give it a go. If I sucked at it or hated it, then all I’d lost is a few bucks and a couple of hours. So, I got the kit home, made a couple of pairs of earrings (they were HORRID), and was hooked. The obsession love of it started there and has continued ever since. I keep saying “I must really think about giving it up to make room in the house” but just can’t bring myself to do it. It’s my life now, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Thanks for your question, Emily! x
What was the first piece of jewellery that you made?Wow, this is a tough question! I mentioned above that I made a couple of pairs of earrings the day that I bought my first starter kit – so technically those would be my first pieces. Ohhh they were awful. They were made with pink, silver and white glass pearl beads, strung on these really gawdy looking hoops. They were horrid but I remember being SO proud of myself for making something that I actually wore them for work the next day! I don’t have a photo of them, luckily for you!
Most of my first pieces were earrings – I still have LOADS that I’ve never been able to sell because they were my first ever batch and weren’t really of a great quality. I just can’t bring myself to get rid of them yet. My first necklace was a disaster – I decided to try to do a floating bead design and it sucked. The wire was basically fishing line (which I’ve heard can work really well in jewellery but obviously not when you’ve been doing this for 5 minutes!) and it bunched up, wouldn’t like flat, tangled up….it was terrible! It still got some interest though. It didn't sell and I eventually tore it apart. Thanks Stephanie for your question! x
What are they made from?My jewellery pieces are made from a range of materials, but it really depends on the specific design. Most necklace and bracelets are made from semi-precious stones or metals (occasionally wood, but since I live in the tropics I try to avoid using wood as much as possible. The humidity here plays havoc with it). Earrings are nearly always made with sterling silver ear wires; I’m slowly eradicating silver plate altogether, except for components that don’t actually make contact with the skin such as headpins. I adore Swarovski Crystal so 9 times out of 10 if a piece has some sparkle, it has some Swarovski in it. I don’t use stretchy stuff to string with – I don’t trust it. Instead, I use high quality beading wires such as Softflex and Accuflex – they’re much stronger and give a lovely drape, especially in necklaces. Recently I’ve begun using polymer clay to make pieces with, which I absolutely love and am now totally addicted committed to experimenting with more often. Hope this answers your question, Shirley! x
I would like to know what colours are your favourite to work with?This is tough! The short answer is….. all of them. My absolute favourites though are pinks, purples, blues and black. Of course this changes on a weekly basis – and again it really depends on what I’m doing. I’m heavily inspired by steampunk style at the moment so I’m looking at lots of brass, copper, brown, and gold tones. Then there’s the fantasy side of me which is all metallic blues and purples and pinks and faerie like goodness. I also really love the simplicity of black and white. I have a whole range of stuff that is just black and white – because I got on a roll with the monotone look and basically couldn’t stop! It varies a lot. I’m totally open to all colours but really don’t like yellow. I tried to do shopping for yellow beads the other day because I don’t have any, and couldn’t do it! They just irritated me (and yet buying yellow clay for a project I have in mind didn’t bother me in the least – go figure!). Hope this answers your question, Angela! x
Where did you learn to make jewellery?The short answer – in my living room on YouTube lol! Seriously. I live in a city, but it’s so far away from “civilisation” that it’s positively scary. We don’t have many places to learn arts and things and what there is, is very expensive (I wanted to do a Polymer Clay course here, but at $300 for a two day workshop, I had to pass!). So, I spend a lot of time watching YouTube, reading books and magazines and chatting to and learning from other designers. There’s a few really AMAZING groups that I’m involved in, my favourite being Self Representing Artists in Jewelry Design, which has taught me SO much and been so supportive that I can’t see myself furthering my jewellery career without them. Hope that answers your question, Amber! x
What or Who is the biggest influence in your designs?Right now, I adore the work of Laura Bracken (she's one of my idols and I want to be just like her!!), Cindy Lietz, and a few other artists who are experts in polymer clay. I really love Emily Green's work too - her use of colour is awesome. Diav Draconia is another one who I adore and am learning so much from through her YouTube channel. Style (or genre) influences me more than people though - I don't want to be another Laura, or Emily....but yes I adore their work and will happily gawk at it for hours lol! x
So there you go. All your questions answered! If you have any more you'd like to ask, you can do so in the comments below, or on Facebook!