During this week’s crafter profile we hear from Lauren Jones of Piece of Mind Design. Lauren and I went to art school together, where we both became members of Delta Zeta sorority, and we even went on an amazing study abroad winter term trip to Italy with other University of Hartford students! I had a lot of fun putting together this interview & reading her answers. Plus after looking at her photos I just had to purchase one of her collage necklaces!
First, tell us a little about yourself… Where you’re from? Your art background? Why you started Piece of Mind Design?
I am from Long Island, New York. A town called East Patchogue. I have a BFA in ceramics with a minor in Art History from the Hartford Art School. I started PoMD because I love creating things and wanted to be able to share my pieces with friends & family, and other people who enjoy handmade items. I always wanted to own my own business.
Where can people purchase your items?
Why the name Piece of Mind Design?
It is a name that came to me a long time ago. Along the lines of 'piece of my mind.' All the items I create are a piece of me, and the things that influence me.
So I know you studied ceramics in college, and now your shop is filled with jewelry — are you still doing ceramic work? Do you have any plans to include ceramics in Piece of Mind Design on Etsy?
When I opened the shop I intended to sell ceramics. I have a lot of pieces from college and some that are more current, but it is really difficult to be a productive potter when you don't have your own studio. I would love to get back into ceramics one day, but I just don't have the time/studio space that it takes right now. I love making jewelry because I can take my supplies anywhere to create.
When did you start making jewelry?
I have always made jewelry. I got a bead box with a rainbow array of seed beads from my mom when I was 5 or 6 and would spend hours crafting. I have always been obsessed with making handmade items for myself and other people.
Tell us about your creative process?
For my necklaces I like to start with a focal object, maybe a charm that I purchased or a color palette. I work on adding and taking away elements until I am happy with the product.
What are your influences?
I love fashion magazines and people watching. Sometimes I see someone wearing a piece of jewelry that I love and so I try to replicate it with my own touch. I am also very influenced by the way my friends dress, very hip yet alternative.
Favorite materials to work with?
I love beads. I can spend hours in the craft store searching for the right color or shape.
Do you have a favorite piece you’ve made since starting PoMD?
I really enjoy making the collage necklaces. They are fun to customize for people. I love when customers ask for a collage necklace personalized for their favorite color or an image that suits them. I love unique jewelry that is one of a kind and special for a specific person's sensibility.
How have your techniques & aesthetic changed since the beginning of PoMD?
I have gotten smarter about the materials I purchase. I have more intentions when I buy something so I think it makes the items look much better put together
What does your workspace look like?
I don't have an exact workspace. I sometimes work at my desk, my bed or a dining table. I keep my supplies in boxes so they are very portable. I hope one day to have a permanent work space but for now its too difficult.. I have a kitty who eats everything!
Outside of PoMD, how do you spend your time (jobs, hobbies, etc etc)?
I have been working for the last 2 1/2 years as a full time nanny, however I am starting graduate school come September for Higher Education/Student Activies. I am very curious to see if my new work environment will effect my creative process at all. As far as free time I am usually at the beach or with my friends or boyfriend. I am lucky because I have very creative people in my life who inspire and influence me everyday.
Is there a strong local art/craft scene in your area?
Yes, I believe so. A lot of people in my area really enjoy supporting the indie artists and crafters. I often attend local craft shows and galleries. I think it is important to get out and see what other people are making.
Favorite childhood craft project?
I really can't name just one… my mom was an elementary art teacher. I was her arts and crafts guinea pig as a child. I did a lot of beading, sewing, and painting.
Do you have a favorite experience since starting PoMD?
I think my favorite experiences have been getting the feedback after someone wears or receives one of my pieces. Just knowing that someone is excited to wear something I made puts a smile on my face.
How do you advertise/promote PoMD?
Finally, what advice would you give to others interested in starting their own small creative business?
I would say, keep trying. It can be really discouraging. I have been working at this for some time now and I still get discouraged sometimes when I feel like I have been working so hard to only make a few sales here and there. If you take pride in what you are creating and do your best to promote it will pay off eventually. Don't give up!
(interview has been edited)