Makers for Makers: Jonesing For Jewelry
I stumbled upon Jonesing For Jewelry some time ago on instagram. Carin's feed is filled with her stunning unique handmade jewelry. The pictures instantly drew my attention with their earthy presence and the clear passion being shown behind the craft. It was a pleasure to dig further into Carin's background and hear her thoughts about being a true artist. Her heart beautifully shouts that she is focused on her individual journey as a maker and encourages others to take control of their own path to see where it may lead. You just never know, right!? That's the best part of living a creative life—It's never dull.
Have a read and I promise by the end, you will feel inspired by her art and empowered by her words. Enjoy!
Tell us about Jonesing For Jewelry.
Jonesing for Jewelry is store front in which I share my art. I am on a journey to find my true artistic self and voice. What becomes of the process, I put into the shop and share with the world. I am first an artist and second a business owner.
What made you realize you needed to bring this dream to reality?
Look, I've always been a maker. It's who I am to the core. For years, I struggled against the urge to make full time, driven by money and societal pressures.
Although I didn't decide to be an artist, I did decide to bring the shop to life and share my work with the world. Both in hopes of giving myself an broader outlet, and supporting my work and life financially so I could go deeper into the field.
I suppose ultimately, the urge to create just got too strong to resist anymore. My unhappiness in a 9-5 "normal" job grew. I was eventually lucky enough to have everything align for me in my life which allowed me to explore the option of opening the shop.
What are the core beliefs, values, & overall mission that drives your company?
I'm just really committed to my craft. I'm learning everyday. Passionately struggling to find who I am as an artist and what I what I want my life to look like. Those values, drive business decisions on a daily basis.
It also means I like supporting artists, makers, and farmers alike directly. I suppose I'm a sap for the underdog. My work is the "farm to table" of the jewelry world. None of my work is anything but my own. Plus, I'm the marketer, the social media expert, the model, the photographer and the accountant.
Over the past year people keep advising me that I should be running it more like a business, and less like an art. I should learn Quick Books, I should hire an intern, and I should use a 3rd party to cast my designs in bulk and sell them wholesale everywhere. I politely deny their offerings, and instead dream becoming even more "farm to table." I dream about digging up my own stones, cutting and cabbing them, poring my own silver ingots from scrap and rolling them into the sheets and wires I need. There is something so lovely and utterly magical about focusing on the art and having the business aspect a side note. From my hands to yours that is what I'm about.
What was your biggest obstacle when starting out?
My biggest obstacle is myself. Always has been, always will be. I am the limiting factor to all of it. Not just the ideas I come up with, but the quality to which I product them, and the quantity in which I am cable of making.
Jonesing for Jewelry is figuring myself out. Not just building physical skills, but also figuring out who I am as a creative being and how that also translates into a career. Because the art comes first and foremost, the business will always come second.
My biggest challenges were learning how to be a creative & business person. The 2 seemed polar opposite, but somehow I've learned to combine them harmoniously.
However, sometimes I find that I swing too far to the creative side. I become a hobbit and rarely leave the studio. I'll take a few days to answer emails and stop all social marketing. But when I emerge from the studio, my cup of work is overflowing. The ideas are solid, and I am the happiest.
Other times I shift out of balance the other direction. I focus on more pedestrian work. I find the stuff I churn out when I'm in that state of mind is more generic. I seem focused more on how it will be received rather than what I feel in my hear of hearts needs to be created.
This however I don't believe this is solely a struggle in the beginning years, I think any working artists struggles with this regularly throughout their life.
I suppose my biggest beginning obstacle was allowing myself to be a working maker. To take myself seriously as an artist. To believe I had all that it took, and be ok with the choice to follow a less worn path. I always felt a sense of shame when I talked about quitting my day job. Like I wouldn't be doing my civic duty, or my life long work wouldn't be important enough. I felt the pressure of society to do something "meaningful": become a doctor, save animals from going extinct, or at least make good money.
Ultimately for years, even up until recently, I have justified my work with myself and my family by saying it allows me to stay at home with my son. Look at that last sentence, from just an ever so slightly different angle, and I'm saying "I'm first a stay at home mom that has a side hobby crafting." It's as though the art isn't enough to justify itself. How sad is that?
I will not deny, I love that the career allows me to be the best mom I can be. It is absolutely a benefit, but offspring or not, being a creative maker is enough. It is important. I am fulfilling my civic duty to the community around me. Understanding that has been my biggest hurdle.
Did/Do you have any mentors? Or Makers you admired that have inspired you?
Oh, I absolutely have lots of mentors. We all should. I have mentors in every aspect of life. Watching people, observing and noting what they excel at, and bringing those elements into your life is how we evolve as a species.
My aunt and uncle are the best of parents.
My grandfather is incredibly wise.
My father is the hardest worker, and will never, ever let anyone tell him what to do.
Artists all around me who have gone before and bravely chose this creative life.
We need those people to draft off of, to make ourselves, myself a better person.
What does your typical day as a Maker look like?
Well, undoubtedly this is the best part of a creative life. There is no typical. While attempting to work your average 9-5, I learned something significant about myself.
I am the hardest, most passionate worker when there is work I deem meaningful to get done. I don't care what the job is, it could be art work, or it could be setting up for a garage sale. Once I find the work meaningful I will do it.
I will do it early in the morning.
I will do it late at night.
I will work 12 hours on end with no breaks....
but, if I find the work pointless. If I think it's "paper pushing for paper pushing sake," I will fight tooth & nail not to do it.
The best part about my work is that when there is work to be done I am there. Up early, all nighters... The unions would be furious. However, when there isn't work to be done, I am as far away as possible even if it's "business hours."
I don't have to stay just because I should, or my boss says I have to. No, if there isn't work to be done, my husband and I have lunch dates. When there is a sun break, I take my dogs on a walk or to the park. I get to pick my son up from school, I get to go on field trips.
No routine is my routine.
What do you love most about being a Maker?
It's fulfilling in a way nothing else is. I am convinced that I was born to be an artist. Fitting myself into a confining job just wouldn't work for me.
What advice do you have for Makers just starting out?
I would tell them, you get to design your life.
You get to make the choices.
What do you want your life to look like?
Maybe you're creative, but not business minded.
Maybe you're business minded, but not super creative.
If you are one of the few who are both, do you also have the drive? Because without a doubt your commitment to the work will be tested.
If so, do it with great passion. Make to your hearts content and then some. Strive to be better than the day before. Leave your mark on this temporary, beautiful place.