Monday, December 14, 2009

Today's interview is with Jill DeCrenza of Moonlight Beadwork, she specializes in handmade jewelry - beading, steampunk and mixed media. She is also a member of Handmade Artists' Forum Etsy Street Team.

DM: Jill, welcome to Your Daily Muse News, we want to thank you for taking the time to share your passions with our readers !  Tell us what is your artistic medium and where can your art be seen?

JD: I have many artistic mediums including beads, metal, reclaimed vintage and found object including watch parts and gears. You can find my work at

DM: When and how did you first become interested in your medium?

JD: I have been obsessed with beads since I was young, so much so that I quit an office job I had for 15 years to open my own bead store. I was in business for just over 10 years. I happily skipped to work each day to play with beads, design, create and teach. I am basically self-taught, but do refer to books and magazines for ideas and inspiration.

DM: Out of what you tried, was there any particular thing that you would recommend to someone just starting out?

JD: Beading is a great way for anyone to start out in jewelry design, since even a simply strung necklace, though easy to do, can really show the artistic side of anyone willing to try. From there you can move on to more intricate bead weaving projects.

DM: What do you enjoy most about working with your medium?

JD: Although I have been totally obsessed with beads for many years, over the past few I have really enjoyed working with metals like copper, silver, precious metal clay, soldering, etching, and also make lampwork beads and fused glass pieces. I have also become very fond of the Steampunk style designs and have a vast collection of vintage/antique pocket and wrist watches along with other little vintage treasures for use in my designs. The best part is that the possibilities are endless.

DM: What do you find the most frustrating?

JD: The most frustrating part to me is the fact that there are just not enough hours in a day to learn and create as much as I would like to.

DM: I know we can all relate to that one !

DM: Where do you find your inspirations for what you create?

JD: For me, inspiration in beading comes from the beads themselves, whether in the vast choices in seed bead color and finishes, or the endless selections of shapes, sizes, and color of beads in glass, stone, metal, etc.

I find inspiration for my other pieces from the treasure hunt through either my own collection of little vintage goodies, or when I am out at a tag sale or antique shop and see something that catches my eye and the ideas start flying through my mind.

DM: Tell us a little about one of your favorite creations.

JD: One of my favorite creations started with a piece of brass which I stamped, etched, and oxidized. I cut the little spider web design that I created to fit inside and under glass of a vintage ladies watch case. I then needed a tiny spider to put inside. Using a couple of tiny holes punched out of brass for the body and 30 gauge wire for the legs, I put together these little pieces, under a magnifier since it was so small, and then painted it black. It was the perfect size and fit for the piece and I was extremely happy with how it came out.

DM: Sounds totally adorable ! Not sure if this is the same piece but this one from her sold items really caught my eye !

DM: Have you ever experienced artist block and how did you overcome it?

JD: I don't know if I have had actual artist block, though if I have difficulties deciding what to work on next, I start to sort and reorganize my collections of beads, vintage treasures and supplies. This is very relaxing to me and as I look at each item as I sort, the ideas start coming.

DM: A gal after my own heart, I know they say a clean desk is a bad sign but I agree with JD, when my Muse takes a break, sorting and cleaning is the quickest way to get those creative juices flowing !

DM: What is the biggest mistake you have ever made as an artist? What did you learn from it?

JD: My biggest mistake is not realizing earlier in life that my "art" was more than a hobby. I used to make beaded jewelry for myself, as gifts and sell here and there. It wasn't until I opened my bead store, when I was in 30's that I realized this is what I should have been doing all my life.

DM: Would you please tell about your studio set-up?

JD: I have what my family calls "my bead room" a spare bedroom where I have a desk that has my tools, soldering iron, hand torch, punch and die set, doming block, vice, and various other work related pieces. On the other side of the room is a table that has my glass torch and kiln for lampwork beads, precious metal clay, fused glass, etc. I also have a tray table in my living room in front of the couch where I work on my bead projects. Sometimes I work at the kitchen table when doing PMC because it has the most room for spreading out. I have a wonderful old library card catalog cabinet that my husband got me for Christmas many years ago that has about 40 draws in it filled with my "treasures" that I use in my designs. Its a big piece of furniture and the only space we had for it was in our dining room. So actually, I guess use almost every room in my house as a "studio".

DM: Isn't it great to be able to just spread out all over the house ! I envy you and the old library card catalog cabinet, sounds like a great place to keep all your goodies ! I begged Jill for a pic of her library card catalog.... talk about a treasure !

DM: When is your favorite time to create?

JD: Although maybe not my favorite time to create, most of my work is done at night. I still need to work during the day - my husband and I sell vintage and antique items on-line, at a shop and at shows. I also have 3 teenagers, 4 dogs and an African Grey Parrot, so time really escapes me during the day and leaves mostly nights for creating. It has actually always been that way and that is how I came up with my business name "Moonlight Beadworks" There is a skylight in my living room and while I work late into the night, I can see the moonlight coming through the skylight.

DM: What advise would you give someone starting out in this medium?

JD: I would advise anyone interested in jewelry design to just enjoy what they do and try to spend as much time as possible learning new techniques and trying new mediums.

DM: Are there any artist that inspire you or that you admire?

JD: I am in awe of and get inspired by many artists, and not just jewelry - pottery, woodworking, sculpting, sewing, etc. I love going to art & crafts shows and browsing the pages of Etsy and other art related websites.

DM: Anything else you wish to share?

JD: I really appreciate being included on your blog. As I have mentioned before, I find promoting my work, one of the hardest parts of being an artist. Besides wishing for more hours in a day, I would love to be able to sell enough on a regular basis, that I could "quit my day job" and just create all day and night.
DM; Again, Jill we thank you for taking the time to share, I really enjoyed learning more about you and your work !
Till next week's interview... everyone keep creating !
Tina aka Daily Muse


amy said...

I've loved Jill's creations since I found etsy! I'm thrilled you have interviewed her. One thing I wanted to mention is that her prices are VERY affordable...I hope everyone checks out her shop! Truly, an incredible sense of color and form she has.

MoonlightBeadworks said...

Hi Tina, thank you so much for showcasing my work this week. I really appreciate the support and I'm grateful for the exposure. You were extremely easy to work with and it was a pleasure. Thanks Again! Jill, Moonlight Beadworks

abby said...

After I read the interview, I went to Jill's shop to see some more of her work, and I was struck by her incredible versatility. It seems like she can do almost anything, which I think is rather unusual. I'm not a big fan of steampunk, but I really liked some of the things she did which were interesting and made steampunk more attractive to me. Her seed bead creations are lovely, and because I am a gemstone freak myself, I particularly liked her use of stone and glass. She has some beautiful bracelets which I'm thinking might make nice Christmas gifts... Thanks for introducing us to someone else who is so talented.

EyeDesire said...

Very creative and talented artisan! I enjoyed reading about Jill and her work.

Your Daily Muse News said...

Thank you all for the feedback, Jill is an amazing artist and as Amy mentioned her prices are so great you can pick up more than one item and get a great deal for anytime of the year !

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