Sunday, October 23, 2011

Get to Know Carol...

by MaryAnn Carroll

Welcome to our Sunday morning interview.  I'm going to start by saying that I got a little discombobulated in recent months, so if I discussed an interview with you, please let me know.  Thank-you for understanding.  I also want to give some kudos to blogger for this new interface.  I'm not sure if this is just new to me, but WOW, it is sooooo much easier to work with.
Now, that I've gotten those off of my to-do list, I'd like to introduce you to my new online friend Carol Dekle-Foss.  I asked Carol to share a little about herself, so my introduction will be left to her.

Meet Carol~

For starters I am a wife to a great man who not only puts up with my crazy ideas but supports me, and a mom to a full grown son who is currently in the Air force in Afghanistan.

I have always been passionate about art and design and when my son turned two I went to college and got my AA degree in Interior Design.  I have worked for many different design studios and my last employer was Thomasville furniture where I worked for 8 years as a senior design consultant. I began to feel unchallenged and started working on my own consulting business that focused on environmental interior design.  Then my life was turned upside down when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I faced my mortality and in doing so realized what is important in life my and threw out all the rest. I changed my life completely. I quit my job, started a home-based jewelry business and now work part-time with my father as an electrician’s assistant. (Yes, I wear an electrician’s tool belt) I love my life and smile everyday just knowing that I am free to do whatever I want. I now live in the moment and am grateful for each and every day. Ok, minus the braces.


What I found very interesting is that you have a wide range of interests.  One that stood out to me was your interest in chickens and gardening.  Please tell us a little about that.

What I like most about having chickens and a garden is saving money on my grocery bill! Everything I do is organic and I grow lots of heirloom varieties. There are so many advantages to raising chickens and having a garden. Even if you have two or three hens and a little garden plot, you can save money, eat healthier and get exercise. I get so much more out of having a little farm than just veggies and eggs. Next is a goat!

What you design is very unique.  How were you first introduced to sand carving?  Please summarize a little about what sand carving is.

I am an intuitive type of person and try to listen to all the signs that are put before me. I love the earth’s elements. Water, fire, air, earth. So sand carving designs onto semi-precious gemstones seemed like the natural thing for me to do. I am self-taught sand carver, and my husband and I built most of my equipment from scratch. I go through a lot of steps before I get to the finished product. I am working on a tutorial for my blog that is going to give detailed step by step instructions with pictures but for now I will give you a brief summary: I start with a design, either hand- drawn or manipulated royalty-free graphics. I then expose onto photo-resist paper and wash it out with hot water. After the film is dry I place it on the stone and sandblast!  I mix and match acrylic paints to get the effect for each stone I am working with and then airbrush the stone.

 You are fairly new to selling on Etsy.  What has that experience been like?

 Etsy is perfect for an itty bitty biz like mine. The fees are reasonable, and the platform is easy to work with. I have had only a few sales so far, but I am working on building a clientele base and that just takes time.  I love the fact that I can reach people all over the world. So far I have clients in Italy and Sweden. That rocks!

Another interest I noticed was photography.  Do you have any tips to offer our readers when it comes to taking pictures of beads/components or jewelry?

Photography has been a challenge for me because I am a perfectionist and I could never get the shots I wanted.  My son loves his mama very much and bought me a Canon Rebel. I studied all I could online about photography and now can shoot in manual. We built a light box but I ended up using natural light for all my shots.  I use a 50mm lens most of the time so I can get real good close ups and set my aperture so I can get a shallow depth of field. I am still learning about photography, but what has worked for me is a good camera and learning how light influences the shot.

How has your background with interior design carried over to jewelry design if it does?  If it doesn't, what are the differences and difficulties when you have been trained on a large scale to transfer to a small scale?

As an interior designer I try to get an intuitive sense about what the customer wants with their designs and I utilize as many different elements as I can to create variety. With jewelry, it’s very similar, just on a smaller scale. I also have a passion for environmental interior design and will possibly pursue this in the near future.

What are any words of wisdom that you might have to share with our readers regarding selling jewelry based on your own experience?

First, I think you have to really like and believe in what you are doing to be successful at selling your handmade goods. Second, what I have learned from Love My Art Jewelry and other blogs is that you have to sell in many different venues such as boutiques, craft fairs, Etsy, home parties etc. I am still trying to figure out what is going to work for me, but for now, I am enjoying the creative process of making my jewelry.


Do you participate in shows?  If yes, please tell us about that.  If no, is that something that you see in your future?

I have done one show, it was a local parade and I sold 4 necklaces. I have signed up for two craft fairs in November and I am very excited to see how they go. Wish me luck!

What is your favorite part about creating handmade with handmade?

There are so many reasons to purchase handmade. It affects us all on a global level. The handmade market place has seen a huge increase over the last few years and I am happy to be a part of that movement. It is very healing for me to create handmade wearable art, and when someone purchases my jewelry I feel like I have given them a little piece of my heart.

Carol, Thank-you for sharing so much about yourself. 

The following picture, I thought, went along with Staci's post about home shows and displays.  Carol offers a tutorial walking you through the necklace displays that you see here.

I also thought I would share Carol's impressive packaging.  I'm always amazed by those of you out there that make an art in the packaging alone!  Me.....  well......  My grandson's latest gift came wrapped in the Babies R Us bags...  It was a big gift......  but.....   Nonnie, please........

To learn more about Carol, please go to her blog~

Terra Rustica Design

And for items offered in her shop~

Terra Rustica Design


MaCarroll Beads said...

Carol, I really enjoyed doing this interview with you and also enjoyed learning more about you through your blog.


Patty said...

Congratulations on your triumph over breast cancer, Carol. Your love of life is reflected in the things you create. I enjoyed reading about you!

mairedodd said...

beautiful work, carol, and a heart warming story... it is amazing how we come to learn the lessons - the trials we endure, only to come out the other side...
thank you for the glimpse into your world...

stacilouise said...

So nice to meet you! The thought you put into each piece, and your love of earths elemenats really show in your work. Thanks for sharing your story with us, its awesome to hear how you overcame breast cancer and all you learned.

Carol Dekle said...

Thank you ladies. I have so much respect for all of you. You are so talented and supportive of each other. I am grateful for the chance to share my story, and hope I have motivated others to go for their dreams.

Barbara said...

Carol, What an amazing process! I can't wait to check out your blog! and I LOVE those necklace stands! I'm also an aspiring little gardener and while I'm not sure I can commit to chickens yet, I currently have my fall veggie garden started and go out with my coffee each morning to inspect its progress! (I'm in Florida, so our growing seasons are a bit different!) Thanks for sharing with us!

In the Light of the Moon said...

Such a pleasure to meet you.Your work is beautiful and made from the heart!!Thank you for sharing so much of yourself.Hugs,Cat

Carol Dekle said...

Barbara: I love it when new seeds germinate and start to grow. Chickens can be a challenge but very worth it! I had so many compliments on my stands at my first show. What's nice is you can make them your own and reflect your style.

Cat: Thank you Cat, and nice to meet you too!

Abeille à miel said...

What a great interview to read!! Very nice to meet you, Carol!

Kelli said...

Wonderful interview! Carol your story is so inspiring! Thanks for sharing your beautiful work with us!

Carol Dekle said...

Nice to meet you too Abeille, and Kelli I have admired your work for awhile now. Nice to meet you!

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