August 29, 2009

Meet Your {NewNew}

Meet Jill of J Davis Studio!
Shop name: J Davis Studio
Shop address:
In a nutshell:
Sterling silver and gold plated jewelry
sterling silver, brass
I transform them into: jewelry
Tell us a bit about yourself :
The J in J Davis is for Jill. I'm from Ohio originally. I received my BFA in Metalsmithing from Syracuse University. Then I moved to Michigan and worked for a mall jewelry store whose name we all know, doing repairs and polishing and being miserable for a couple years. Then I moved to New York and got my Associates in Jewelry Design from the Fashion Institute. Then I moved out to Brooklyn, met the love of my life and I've been here for 2 years. I work part time for two different jeweler's here in Brooklyn while working on my own business as well.

What is the first thing you remember making?
I remember in preschool our teachers took pictures of each of us in front of this awful plastic fake wood wall. Then we pasted them on pink hearts and decorated them with stickers and what have you for Mother's day. I remember being completely fascinated with the laminator. Then we stuck magnets on the back of them and the one I made hung on our fridge for years. My Mom recently found it again a couple years ago and it's back on the fridge for all to see. Little me in my favorite cupcake dress.

What part of your life do you find is/was the most creative? Do you think back to these times when creating your work?
When I was an art major at Syracuse University, I was very creative. Not only because I had to be creative every day for 4 years, but because I was really inspired by the people around me, the challenges that were introduced, the art I was forced to look at for hours at a time. I also had plenty of time to make things, and design, and think about art (in between keg stands of course).

Did you have a creative mentor?
A teacher or role model that taught you about creativity or simply inspired you to be creative?
I have so many mentors, from professors, to friends, to artists and designers I've never even met. A lot of people have helped me along the way, whether they know it or not! I'm obsessed with reading success stories, whether they be artists, designers, musicians, chefs, or business people. I love to hear how people "made it." It's very inspiring and it really pushes me to find that perfect balance of being happy with your career and making a living at the same time.

What is your creative process when making your product?

Things just kind of evolve. I'll get one idea, and I'll make it. I might like it, I might not. It might change from my original idea as it goes from a drawing to a three dimensional piece. I might love it, but when I put it on, sometimes it just doesn't work as a piece of jewelry. So things change, ideas lead to other ideas. The process defines itself. I have no control!

Do you have any creative thinking tricks you'd like to share?

Again, things just kind of evolve for me. When an idea strikes, it goes down on paper. I might not even look at it again for a few weeks. Then I go back through my sketch book and see what pops out. I continue to flesh out the winner ideas and see where they go.

When you get stuck, how do you get out of it?
When I get stuck, I just walk away. Things always look different with fresh eyes.

What is something about yourself that surprises people when they find out about it?

I was voted "Most Likely to Lead a Disco Revolution" Class of 2000. What can I say? I had a penchant for loud colors, platforms, big jewelry and crazy patterns in high school.

What inspires you?

My house jewelry, specifically, is inspired by my love for all things miniature. I wanted to be an architect when I was younger, but I'm not a huge fan of math and straight lines. I was very into dollhouses for a long time, even through high school. I was always making furniture, tiny food, dolls. Then I fell in love with silversmithing and there was no going back. There's just something magical about tiny things, especially when you're a child. I wanted to take that feeling and put it into sophisticated jewelry for adults without losing the magic.

What are your current projects and what is on the horizon?

Oh, things are brewing. That's all I can say right now.

Why should people buy handmade?

Support a person, not a corporation. It's a great feeling to know that the item you bought was made by hand, just for you. The quality and attention to detail cannot be matched by commercial products.

What handmade possession do you most cherish?

I don't have this in my possession per se, as it lives at my parent's house. It's a macrame Santa face, complete with big wooden black bead eyes and a beard and hat, of course, that my mother made in the 80s. It's actually pretty ugly and very dated, but it hung at the top of the stairs every Christmas for as long as I can remember. My brother and I, every time we went down the stairs, would see how far up we could reach on Santa's face. When we were younger and were still growing, we could reach further and further every year. I unfortunately stopped growing in 7th grade, so it kind of lost its appeal. But to this day we still make my Mother hang it up. It's a reminder of growing up in that house and it just doesn't feel like Christmas without it.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I like food and cooking (but mostly eating). If it weren't for Food Network and I'd have a lot more time on my hands. I always have a good book to read. I love scouting around the city and pretending I'm a tourist. I love sitting in dive bars with cheap pitchers and a quiet-ish atmosphere, talking with my friends.

When and why did you start your business?

I started my business officially in June of 2007. I love making jewelry. It's all I know how to do! I am also very interested in business. I love researching, doing paperwork (pathetic I know), brainstorming new marketing ideas. I love being in control of what happens to my designs and handiwork.

Do you make all the products yourself? How long does the production process take?

I do make all the products myself. Depending on the item, they can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours.

What are your your best-selling items?

It changes all the time. My sterling silver does the best online and my gold plated jewelry does the best at fairs.

In ten years I'd like to be...

Working on my business full time. My boyfriend and I are currently fighting about where we want to live in 5 years. (His vote is San Francisco so far.) I also want a dog and a little backyard where I can grow herbs and grill and where my dog can pee.

-MaryAnne LoVerme


KimmChi said...

Great to know more about Jill, I have admired her work for so long!

Karina said...

I love your work Jill. May your business continue to thrive and grow!

Amanda K Lockrow said...

I went to college with Jill and still wear my tiny house ring! Thanks for sharing, I love reading interviews like this.