Hello designers, and welcome to this month's Spotlight!
Halcraft Collection is excited to announce our July Spotlight Designer is Claire English of Copper Crown Studios. This Texas gal creates sensational jewelry! She has a keen sense of design & color, steaming from an artistic background in childhood and college. Browse through her Instagram feed... She is a master at mixing metals, glass, and stone. Her bracelet stacks are Incredibly unique!
Read on to learn more about Claire and her gorgeous designs featuring Bead Gallery® beads, pendants, and charms by Halcraft Collection.
When did you first start beading? Tell us about yourself.
I was into crafts of all kinds as a kid, but I remember my first trip to a real bead store in my hometown… I was probably about 10. I must have spent hours in there until my mother finally intervened. Back then, a few dollars would go a long way in a bead store! I loved making flower necklaces with seed beads, which are ironically back in style. What fascinated me most about beading were the endless creating possibilities - glass, wooden, ceramic, crystal, charm beads… even in a tray, they were spectacular.
Tell us about your jewelry business.
I have an Etsy shop, Copper Crown Studio. I love how it’s evolved in the course of 5 years. In 2016 I started a company with a friend based on her concept of spirit wear and handmade jewelry. Since I have a graphic design background, I was able to help market and package, but could also create the jewelry. When my friend decided to change her career, I realized how much I enjoyed the business, so I rebranded the company as Copper Crown Studio. I’m so glad I had the experience with such a great friend and partner to help lay the foundation for my one-woman-shop. I also have a retail presence with a local gift shop in Austin, Tx, and Boutique Salon in Southern California.
What is your favorite project that you've recently finished and why is it your favorite?
I really enjoy making bracelet stacks. I love using lots of different beads and seeing how they interact with other beads in a layered stack. Often a bracelet theme will start out one way, but experimenting ensues, sometimes even by accident, and pretty soon, the color theme and designs evolve. I love an eclectic edge, so the more varieties of stones, crystals, and colors, the better. I show the bracelets pictured in a stack set, but most are sold individually, so the customer can create her own look. I encourage that!
What are your favorite beading techniques and materials?
I love incorporating wire wrapping and sometimes hand-knotted strands of beads in my work. I use many mixed chains in my jewelry projects right now, but I really get excited when I can add a special bead or repurposed charm as a surprise accent. My favorite bead materials are natural gemstones - Rainbow Moonstone, African Turquoise, and Labradorite. Fossil Jasper is a great creamy neutral, and Pyrite and Hematite are mainstays. Despite having listed these more neutral-range gemstones, I am a color nut! I live for a project that involves lots of different hues and a wide range of colors. My friend teases and calls me the Color Whisperer. (I’m honored!)
What are some of your favorite beads or components on the Halcraft Collection website?
I love the new Bead Gallery® mystic moonstone, labradorite and pyrite beads that were released recently. No surprise there! I’ve been a huge fan forever of the agate beads in beautiful colors, and the crystal Swarovski is lovely. I’ve got tons in my stash and use them religiously. I love the millefiori beads and cute Peruvian ceramic beads that have just been released, too. I’ve been a fan of Halcraft Beads before I knew about HalcraftCollection.com because, as a frequent Michaels shopper, I was always leaving the store with a stash of Bead Gallery goodies.
Where do you get your beading inspiration? What most inspires you?
I will often see two colors or bead components together, and think ‘I like that, I’m going to try it.’ I don’t always have a plan, a lot of my developing ideas come from a feel.’ If a component feels like it should go together, I will explore it. If a piece isn’t coming together, I’ll tweak and play and experiment with it, and then eventually a ‘feels right design’ forms. I guess that comes from intuition, which seems to be common in artists and designers. Sometimes it takes a while to emerge. I love to have several projects going on at once, so if I get stuck in one area, I can focus on another. Patience and inspiration are key!
Do you have any tips for the readers regarding building their social media reach?
I can’t say that I have a huge following, but it has grown steadily over time. I’ve learned that patience is really key for organic, natural growth. Following trends is also important for me. I like to explore hashtags, on-trend styles, and popular posts. I suppose some of this curiosity naturally stems from my marketing and advertising background. I believe in posting as quality a shot as I can muster, with natural light on an uncomplicated background. If I don’t have that winning shot, I edit some more or try a new idea before posting. The social media avenue at first might seem an overwhelming and arduous task, but with a little time, patience and discovery, it can be a phenomenal way to reach your market in a virtually free, authentic way.
If you had room for only two tools in your bead kit, what would they be?
My iPhone is a hugely important tool, because I edit my photos via my phone, and create my jewelry listings via the Etsy app. I use the phone app more than the site on my computer. My second choice is my caliper. I’m constantly grabbing it to check a bead size or component measurement.
What jewelry trends are you excited to incorporate into your beadwork?
I am always thinking ahead, sort of by accident, because I am constantly inspired by and amazed at how many new beading components there are to discover and work with. I’d love to get back to the basics with seed beadwork and learn some new knotwork.
What jewelry techniques would you like to learn?
I recently took a metal forming class and would like to perfect this technique. I’ve thought many times about learning to solder, but frankly, there are so many talented metalsmith artists out there, I just love finding them and featuring their beautiful work in some of my designs. I doubt I could ever attain their level of craftsmanship. So the next stop will be more metalwork with beads.
Claire lives in Austin, Texas, since her college days.
She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Texas, Austin.
For 10 years, she worked in graphic design and advertising.
Growing up in North Texas was full of creativity! Her parents were both concert pianists.
Claire's Dad turned to jewelry making in his later years. She loves using some of his tools in her endeavors. She feels he's had a hand in her jewelry design career in a serendipitous way.
She's a proud Mama with two great kids, both grown. Her daughter is a talented artist in Dallas, and her son is a college student and employee for an app-based delivery company in Austin.
Her husband is an entrepreneur and has been very supportive of her jewelry business.
She is grateful to be able to do something she is passionate about.
Collage art is another hobby. Her favorite theme is abstract succulent and floral art. She crafts with cut-out recycled and painted bits of paper.
She also enjoys making travel journals.
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