With a designer who creates handmade using handmade...
This week we will be learning a little more about Kristi Bowman-Gruel who comes to us from Snohomish, WA. I think that you will agree that Kristi's jewelry designs are unique and her handmade components are definitely something that are worth checking out!
When Kristi is not creating, you can find her hanging out with her husband, playing with her two Miniature Dachshunds, gardening or perfecting her photograghy skills. Kristi is also a newlywed, with her first anniversary coming up later this month, so spending time with her new husband is a priority. He is a busy guy too, so it is not always easy. He is one of her biggest supporters while she spends so much time building her little business.
Kristi, I must start off by asking.... How did you come up with the name Dreamsome?
Well that was a complete and total accident I guess you'd say. When I started making jewelry and decided to sell it I had to name my shop. I had no clue in the beginning where I would go with it or that I would end up working so hard to make a go of it. So as I was signing up for my Etsy shop I just decided to use my part of my email address. I've had the email for years and it was one of my favorite songs DreamSome by Shelby Lynne. I liked the way it sounded so I thought why not. These days I'm trying to be known by KristiBowmanDesign but unless and until Etsy allows you to change your shop name DreamSome will probably always be around.
I see from looking at your shop that you create with metal, bronze and copper clay. Am I missing anything? Could you tell us a little about the process?
Yup,metal all the way with silver, bronze and copper clay, or precious metal clay (PMC). It begins as clay which is basically extremely fine particles of metal in a binder base. You shape it texture it and form it while it's moist, let it dry. Then you can carve it, file it or add pieces to it. Next it goes in a kiln and is fired it at 1500 degrees or more depending on which clay you use. Each one has a different temperature and length of time it needs to be fired. In the end, the binders burn away and you are left with a pure metal piece that can be drilled, hammered and soldered. It's quite magical!!!
It looks like you have at least been creating components and jewelry for quite some time? When and how did you get started?
I have been creating components for my own jewelry since 2008. It's only been the last 6 months or so that I began making components for other artists to use in their work. It's been so much fun to see what beautiful items are created!! You can check that out by clicking HERE.
I've made note that you are a member of various "teams." What are the advantages of being a member? Is there much extra work involved in something like that?
Teams are great fun, a wonderful way to make friends with people who have the same interests as you!! The support and help of a team can't be beat. There are often challenges that push you out of your comfort zone. People of all different skill levels can be a great resources if you have questions. It's also just one more way of promoting yourself and I enjoy promoting others as well.
You sell jewelry at both Etsy and Artfire? Is there a specific reason for that? If so, what is that?
I started on Etsy with my Metal Clay jewelry. When I started using more beads on some of my creations it didn't feel right to fill up my Etsy shop with them. So I created my Artfire store for my non Metal Clay Jewelry. I belong to the Etsy Metal Clay Team and it just felt right to keep my Etsy Shop primarily Metal Clay. I love playing with beads but Metal will always be my first love!
Have you set any goals for your future in terms of creating and selling?
I am in the middle of accomplishing one of my goals which was to create components. That is going very well so far so I am constantly trying to come up with new and different ideas for that. I think a never ending goal is trying to find ways to get my work out there. Social media is a big one and one of these days I want to submit more of my work to magazines. I still feel like such a baby in all this, so much to learn!
Are there any tips that you would like to give to disigners who are new to selling online?
Join groups, find friends to share with. I think designing jewelry can be very solitary work, but it doesn't have to be. There are so many places to get out there and socialize with it and it's great fun. Everything you do is a learning experience, drink all of it in as much as you can and have a good time doing it!
You can find Kristi at all of the following places on the internet: