Hello designers, and welcome to this month's Spotlight!
Halcraft Collection is excited to announce Jackie Smith as our April 2020 Spotlight Designer! Armed with beading wire and beads, she can conquer the world. What originally started out as a fun hobby took on a whole new life (literary!) Her mix of earthy nuggets and stone beads will make you swoon.
Read on to learn more about Jackie and her classic designs featuring Bead Gallery® beads by Halcraft Collection.
When did you first start beading? Tell us about yourself.
Jewelry making started out as a hobby for me about 10 years ago. After creating my first pieces, I started receiving requests from friends and family. Word of mouth helped me grow my business. In the beginning, I kept at it on a small scale, while still working full-time for a local college. A few years later, my husband and I learned we would not be able to have children. We discovered that our path to parenthood would be very financially and emotionally taxing. Jewelry making became my personal form of therapy through infertility treatments and helped fund the costs. From there, I continued to ramp up my business. It has been booming ever since, and we welcomed our sweet miracle girl, Channing, in September of 2017.
Tell us about your jewelry business.
The name of my business is Jackie Blue Handmade. As I mentioned in a previous question, it started as a hobby and then transformed as friends and family started buying my creations. I am blessed to have people in my life that have cheered me on and supported my business from its humble beginnings. As my jewelry business started to grow, it became the reason we were able to grow our family through infertility treatments. From there, it has grown to a full-time passion and business with an employee and 25+ brand ambassadors.
What is your favorite project that you've recently finished and why is it your favorite?
My favorite project I have completed recently, although not a jewelry design per se, is the creation of my website. I have been operating through social media and custom orders up until recently. The site was a long time coming. I am so excited about how it has transformed my business. Another one of my favorite projects is an old vintage camper I recently purchased. I use it as a prop to display my jewelry designs. We bring the camper to art shows throughout the year. My time is limited, so the shows are few. When I do have the occasion to pull up my camper filled with my designs at an art show, it is a sight to behold.
What are your favorite beading techniques and materials?
My favorite materials to design with are gemstones. I love mixing colors and creating bracelet stacks, necklaces, earrings, and setting stones in ring settings. I am partial to using stretchy string for ease of creation. I also love mixing in chain link and statement gemstones like druzy and agate.
What are some of your favorite beads or components on the Halcraft Collection website?
Some of my favorite items HalcraftCollection.com are the gorgeous agate slices and nugget beads. These stones are so striking and really make standout pieces. A statement stone can transform the heck out of a simple piece of jewelry.
Where do you get your beading inspiration? What most inspires you?
I am inspired by my customers. It's a joy to be challenged by their requests and ideas. I love to sit down at my workspace and see all of my beads/components in one space. It allows me to start piecing different bead colors and textures together. I'm always so excited to see what comes of experimenting. Another inspiration is nature and colors that I see around me in normal everyday settings. One could be at the grocery and see a gorgeous array of colors in the produce section that inspires a bracelet stack. Even driving past an old building with rust and muted colors will get me thinking of how to reproduce that particular color vibe.
Do you have any tips for the readers regarding building their social media reach?
My most significant piece of advice to grow your reach is to collaborate, collaborate, collaborate. Not only will it allow you to reach new people, but you get to work with some of the most talented people along the way. I have worked with so many great photographers, supported some fantastic causes, created pieces to fundraise for people in need, held jewelry making classes with young ladies, spoken at state level young professional events, and so much more. These events and collabs have taught me so much about my community. I love using my talent to inspire, support, or aid others. God gave me a talent and I intend on using it for good and you should too!
If you had room for only two tools in your bead kit, what would they be?
Give me some stretchy string, wire cutters, and I’m ready to rock (literally and figuratively). It may seem simple and easy, but I can crank out some gorgeous pieces with just a few materials. I love the ability to make striking, ready-to-wear items at affordable prices. I want everyone to be able to enjoy my creations.
What jewelry trends are you excited to incorporate into your beadwork?
Stones are always on-trend! I’m a sucker for natural druzy, agate slices, and gemstone nuggets. Regardless of size or color, they can really turn a simple piece into a statement. I like to keep my pieces versatile, so they can be worn with anything. Many of my designs are neutral but always add an unexpected touch.
What jewelry techniques would you like to learn?
I would love to learn how to solder jewelry pieces. Also, I'm super impressed by artisans who wire wrap very intricate pieces. Although it doesn't necessarily match my personal jewelry aesthetic, I would like to learn and understand this technique better.
Jackie resides in Owensboro, Kentucky, and feels like she is living in a dream world.
She is insanely blessed with a loving, hard-working husband, a healthy daughter, a supportive family, and great friends.
Her jewelry business provides her the ability to work from home and watch her sweet, miracle of a daughter grow.
Jackie Blue Handmade jewelry can be found in boutiques across the United States.
She attended Western Kentucky University and obtained a Bachelor of Arts and Masters in communication.
Wants one day is to teach at the collegiate level (again) (which she did for 6 years after graduating.)
She thanks God everyday for her many blessings.
Are you interested in being in our Designer Spotlight?
Join our Beaded Jewelry Facebook group today and tag us in your projects on Instagram with @halcraftcollectionbeads, #Halcraftcollection #beadgallery #halcraftprettypalette #prettypalette!
We choose a new designer to spotlight each month and would love to celebrate you!
Denise Yezbak Moore is a self-taught artisan. She is a senior jewelry designer for Halcraft Collection and loves to create jewelry with bohemian flair. Denise resides in Orange County, California, and enjoys hearing from fellow beaders worldwide. Be sure to follow her on Instagram @deniseyezbakmoore