A little while ago, while I was researching for my Fall Fashion Forecast, I came across an amazing Etsy shop – again. I had admired her drop dead gorgeous creations before and just had to include one of her pieces in my post.
Well, I am so excited, because Kerri, the owner and artist graciously agreed to answer some questions for me about her design process and how she came to create such stunning pieces!
So here is Kerri from PerliniBella to help me kick off my new featured artist series!
*Please be sure to stop over in her shop on Etsy and pin from there!
How long have you been creating your jewelry/art?
I have been making jewelry for myself, family and friends for several years. It started out as a hobby that I found relaxing, fun and a way to channel my inner creativity. It has only been a year and a half that I opened my shop on Etsy and actually started selling my pieces.
What is your favorite medium to work with?
How did you learn to do what you do?
I have had no formal training. I have looked at a lot of YouTube tutorials, and I have scoured jewelry making books in order to learn some techniques. I actually remembered how to use the bead loom from Girl Scouts! My Great Aunt Ruthie taught me how to sew and crochet as a child and this knowledge has been invaluable.
What or who inspires you?
Everything inspires me. A beautiful piece of fabric, old vintage jewelry, household items. That may seem odd, but one of my favorite necklaces was actually inspired by a dirty dust rag that I had slung around my neck while cleaning house. I looked in the mirror and this rag was wrapped around my neck, one end hanging down, longer than the other, with strands of tattered cloth dangling down like tassels. I quickly had to stop cleaning (of course!), made a wire form for the necklace, covered it with black leather and began embroidering it with seed beads, turquoise stones and lots of rhinestones. I added a few beaded tassels and voila! a necklace, inspired by a dirty dust rag, was born.
Have you always worked as an artist or did you have a different career? If yes, what was your previous occupation and what prompted you to do what you do now?
I have always been artistic but only recently began working as an artist. I spent many years working as an infectious disease nurse. Nursing is a very intense, demanding and rewarding career but has little opportunity for creativity. A few years ago, I was on a girl’s trip to New Orleans and I had made these beaded wrapped friendship bracelets for my friends and myself. We were in a store and the owner asked where we had purchased the bracelets. I said that I had made them and she asked if I sold them anywhere. I said no, that I just made them for for fun and she said “Girl! You should sell those!” That next year, I had the opportunity to retire from nursing, and my husband and friends encouraged me to start my business. I made a few items, opened my shop on Etsy and the rest is history!
If you could go back in time, what would you tell yourself just starting out as an artist?
If I could go back in time and talk to myself as a young artist, first of all I would say “What took you so long!” I really do wish that I would have been able to start all of this much sooner but the demands of a full time job as a wife, a mother of two wonderful, very active children, and a nurse left little time to do anything else. I would also tell myself to make what you love, make it well, and not cater to what everyone else is doing. I only make things that I am proud to wear myself, and I think that the unique designs, the attention to detail, and the quality of construction have really helped my pieces to sell.
What new techniques would you like to learn?
There is so much that I would like to learn! I really think that I would like to learn how to work with metal, or the metal clays that are available. I would like to make my own clasps, especially big, chunky silver clasps for my bracelets. One of my designs just won a Bronze medal in the Fire Mountain Gems and Beads seed bead contest. I received a gift certificate and I may use that to buy metal working supplies!
What do you see yourself doing five years from now?
My five year plan is that I have no plan! I know that is not the best business tool but everyone who knows me knows that I am more of a “fly by the seat of my pants” type of gal. I would love to be able to continue what I am doing and maybe extend into the wholesale market. I am currently selling pieces to a store in Colorado and it has been such fun collaborating with them. I love doing custom work because you really get to know the customer and I adore the intimacy of finding out exactly what they desire in a design. Before I became a nurse, I worked in retail and have always wanted my own store. My shop on Etsy has been wonderful, but pictures are so limiting. A lot of the comments that I receive in reviews state that the items are even better in person than in the pictures. Having a store where people can actually see and touch and try on my pieces would be my ultimate goal.
Thank you so much Kerri for answering some questions for my readers! Isn’t her jewelry just stunning? The story about the dirty dust rag as an inspiration just floors me! See, you never know what the real story is – until you ask!
And I love her plan of actually opening a brick and mortar store some day! I am sure it will be a full blown success!
Best of luck with all your creative endeavors!
I hope you will take the time and check out more of her stunning designs in her Etsy shop! And if you know of an artist who creates stunning work – do let me know!