Saturday, February 7, 2009

Meet the Mafia - BeadJewelryShopgirl

Tell us about yourself and your business.
name is Regina Jiron (last name pronounced: Gee-ron) and I like to create beaded jewelry using bead weaving techniques which basically means, stitching seed beads together. I do refer to myself as an obsessive compulsive beader – which you have to be when you are the type of person who finds satisfaction in stitching together beads that could be as small as couscous grains!

Why did you start in business?
About 7-8 years ago an officemate of mine taught me how to make beaded jewelry using wire. It just took off and I started to explore other techniques till I encountered the art of beadweaving and I became obsessed. It never occurred to me to sell but my husband basically said that he wouldn’t buy me any more jewelry boxes to keep my creations in so I better think of how to get rid of them – so I started to sell! I think he kinda realized he put his foot in his mouth in this case!

How did you come up with your crafty name?

Bead Jewelry by Shopgirl is not really a crafty name like the other DCCM members. It’s just logical since I make beaded jewelry and I just thought about the handle shopgirl which was part of my ebay username at that time – nothing to do with Meg Ryan or the other movie.

What is your favorite item handmade by someone else?

My son taught himself origami when he was 5 yrs old. Now at 13, he is a veteran and quite the artist. We have his creations all over the house. He has even sold some in a few of the shows I’ve been to.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?
I find inspiration in the creative process itself. The construction of a piece, what colors to play with, materials to use, techniques to combine, complex or simple, what textures to create especially if there is a visual and tactile contrast, all turn me on. Like a bracelet that may look stiff and heavy but is actually light, soft and drapes well on your wrist. I never know what my final piece will look like when I start something, so it’s like going on a journey every time I create.

What are your favorite materials?

Seed beads, delicas, vintage swarovski crystals that cost an arm and a leg! It’s hard for me to part with the swarovski pieces.

What is the ugliest thing you've ever made?
It was an ugly bracelet made with wood beads and I can’t remember what stone beads I used, kinda hippie looking. I told myself no one would ever buy it and pretty much never placed it out on display in shows due to embarrassment. To my surprise, it sold the first time I brought it out. Ya never know!

What have you made that you're most proud of?
The first challenge I entered in 2006, which featured about 80 other jewelry artists and I won Best In Show with a special mention on Best Product Photography. The necklace I made wasn’t really complicated compared to my pieces now. I had just launch my business and winning the top prize was a good validation that “Hey, I must be good. They like me!”

What's your favorite thing about Washington, D.C. (or the Metro area)?
I love the museums, art galleries, monuments, the cherry blossoms in spring. I love that everything is so accessible. I love working blocks away from the White House.

What crafts do you still want to learn?
I really want to get into previous metal clay. I’ve taken a few classes and enjoy the concept of sculpting, firing and polishing pure gold and silver beads and components to incorporate into my jewelry. Other than that, I would also like to learn to sew like a professional!

What is your idea of a perfect day?
I have 2 perfect days – one is spending time on all my creative endeavors and the other is spending time with my husband and my son.

What is your favorite crafting tool?
Fireline (a beading thread) and #13 beading needle.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I have a day job where I’m constantly “putting out fires” which keeps me pretty busy (No, I’m not a fireman). So I try to squeeze in some creative time between my work and family life. Visit my website to see a gallery of my jewelry.

What advice would you give to fellow crafters?
NEVER undervalue your work.

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