Featured designer, Toni Brundage of CreationsbyToni on Etsy, gets much of her inspiration and motivation from nature and experimenting with colors! She first learned about jewelry making when she was 19 while working in a jewelry store, and has since been making her own awesome pieces to share!
1) How long have you been creating jewelry?
When I was 19, I worked for a couple that owned a jewelry store called The Goldsmith Shop. They had a carefree, hippie-style spirit. Although I was hired as a cashier, Rina taught me the basics of jewelry making. She would call me to the back of the store and let me watch her string a necklace, showing me the steps and explaining how it was done. I was amazed at how they could take a string of beads and turn them into a lovely necklace or a pair of earrings. One thing she told me that really stuck with me was, “If everyone else is doing it, do the opposite.” In early May of 2005, I was a stay at home mom and for Mother’s Day I asked my husband for money to buy beads. I began beading as a hobby and the first piece of jewelry I made was a pair of earrings. It was fun! I began making more jewelry to give as gifts to family and friends and then I began receiving custom orders. The positive feedback I received encouraged me to learn more about jewelry making so that I could start selling my jewelry.
2) Where do you find your inspiration?
I am inspired by nature, especially sunsets – it is a constant source of inspiration. I love photography so I spend a lot of time photographing birds, flowers, etc. and I like how everything in nature has its own unique identity. There is always going to be that one thing that is different, making no two trees the same, no two birds the same.
However, I would give most of my inspiration credit to my dad. He was always making something and had no shame in grabbing something from a dumpster, cleaning it up and turning it into a beautiful piece of art. When I was little, he brought home a pair of old fire extinguishers and turned them into lamps! Every year we would go to the beach and he would collect seashells and driftwood for various creative projects. He was not one to sit back and do nothing; I have many fond memories of his creativity.
3) What are your favorite beads to work with?
I love working with gemstones. Before choosing my beads, I check the gemstone information to see the meaning behind the beads and I like thinking about the meaning behind the bead chosen when I design. I also like working with natural and organic beads because it helps me feel closer to nature. Every weekend growing up, my dad would take the family to Ocmulgee National Monument, also known as The Indian Mounds, and instead of driving to the Big Mound, we would hike through the woods. The long walk gave me a chance to see nature at its most raw. I believe adding a natural or organic bead to gemstones gives that piece character.
4) What is your work space like?
My workspace is neat; I do not like clutter! I will put my main focal beads in the center of a paper plate and then I will add beads of different colors around those beads to see how the colors will blend. I call it my bead soup palette. I like to have background noise while beading, too. I will put on a playlist of upbeat music, but the television causes me to want to watch if the show is exciting!
5) What are you working on now?
I am currently working on creating new spring and summer designs. I follow the Pantone color guide and the Spring 2015 colors are described as…”cooler and softer color choices with subtle warm tones that follow a minimalistic en plein air theme, taking a cue from nature.” There are two colors on the list that I will be using, Treetop and Woodbine which are both shades of green. In addition, a local boutique has asked me to create a line of tassel necklaces for their shop. I’m very excited about the opportunity and I will also be adding tassel necklaces to my online Etsy shop!
6) If you were a bead, what would you be?
That’s a good question. I would definitely be Garnet because it is also my birthstone. From Egyptian times, garnet has been associated with passion, love and loyalty. Some people believe that garnets help to purify the body and enhance imagination and creativity.
7) Do you have a favorite quote?
“Dare to be different.” My dad said that a lot to us kids. He would say to us, “Dare to be different. I don’t care if everyone is doing it, you better not do it. Be a leader and not a follower.” With that in mind, in a world of mass production, I enjoy making a piece of jewelry that will be uniquely its own.
Thank you for sharing your work, creativity and motivations with us, Toni! Remember to head on over to her Etsy site and give her some love at CreationsbyToni!
Category : Featured Designers