Monday, October 26, 2009

Featured Artist - Lauren (Saraswati) Zavlunov of Jewels of Saraswati

This week's featured artist is fellow EtsyNJ member Lauren (Saraswati) Zavlunov of Jewels of Saraswati, (See above for pieces of Lauren’s out-of-this-world jewelry.) Jewels of Saraswati offers an eclectic array of yoga-inspired jewelry transcending the everyday designs typically found at big box stores. So, if you’re looking for something unique to wear or a conversation-starter gift, then pop into Jewels of Saraswati. You’ll be glad you did!

1. The Tote Trove (TTT): How did you come up with the name Jewels of Saraswati for your business?

Lauren (Saraswati) Zavlunov (LZ): After recently receiving the beautiful name of Saraswati from my dear yoga teacher and friend, I thought Jewels of Saraswati encompasses what I do perfectly. The Hindu goddess Saraswati is the goddess of music, knowledge, and the arts – so fitting!

2. TTT: Were you always interested in making jewelry? What sparked your interest?

LZ: I have always loved creating, whether it was art, sculpture, crafts, sewing, graphic design, or music. My serious interest in creating jewelry started this past year after being frustrated with commercialism. I was finding it difficult to find unique jewelry items of good quality – until I discovered Etsy! It really inspired me to create my own jewelry, which then inspired me to create malas for my meditation practice.

3. TTT: How did you decide to turn your passion for making jewelry into a business?

LZ: It just somehow evolved from this amazing desire to share. Making meditation malas seemed to ignite my interest in sharing handmade creations.

4. TTT: What is your favorite item in your shop?

LZ: That is a hard one! Usually it is whatever item I just posted!

5. TTT: What items, if any, would you like to add to your shop?

LZ: I wish I had more time to create more malas! I enjoy making those the most.

6. TTT: In your Etsy shop, you introduce your jewelry as yoga-inspired. How did you make the connection between yoga and jewelry, and what role does yoga play in your life?

LZ: Yoga plays a huge role in my life. Not just the hatha or physical practice, but the beautiful philosophy behind it. I have several items with Hindu “Om” charms, and many of my items have names derived from yoga scriptures and Hindu deities. But I think the meditation malas are what really connects my store with the yogic lifestyle. Japa malas are used to count your mantra whilst meditating, something I wholly enjoy doing!

7. TTT: In your Etsy shop profile you mention that you are a conservatory-trained flutist. What is it like to be a jewelry artist by day and a musician by night? How does your involvement in the arts influence your life?

LZ: The arts are a wonderful influence in my life. Yes, I am a professional freelance flutist and educator. The wonderful thing about it is that it constantly drives me to reevaluate myself and learn to communicate and connect better with others on a daily basis. Music and life have so many wonderful parallels, and I try to absorb valuable lessons from both.

8. TTT: Describe your creative process. Do you follow a routine, create when inspiration strikes, or a little bit of both?

LZ: I have to say it just happens when it needs to and I go with it! I can be pretty intense when the mood strikes me, and then I can work for hours and hours. Being a musician, you need a good deal of structure and dedication, so I let myself indulge when I create in other areas.

9. TTT: What is the best thing about running your own business? The worst?

LZ: Well, I am pretty bad with numbers and tend to dislike keeping track of money. I would say this is the worst part of it. Often I feel like just giving my stuff away! (I have giveaways to satiate that desire. J) The best? Being able to do your own thing!

10. TTT: How did you discover Etsy?

LZ: I think I was looking at an artist’s work online, and she was selling on Etsy. It was love at first sight!

11. TTT: Do you sell your work in venues outside of Etsy (i.e, other sites, craft shows, etc)? If yes, then how does selling online differ from selling in person?

LZ: I just sell on Etsy but would like to have my work displayed in other venues at some point.

12. TTT: Who is most (emotionally) supportive of your business?

LZ: So many people! My husband is at the top. He is the most patient and supportive man I know. And my parents. They have been passing out those business cards to all of their friends! People seem to think I have left the music business!

13. TTT: Are there any new artistic/creative skills you’d like to learn?

LZ: I would love to learn silver smithing, but perhaps in another lifetime. I am still trying to hone the skills I have now!

14. TTT: What are your hopes for Jewels of Saraswati in the future?

LZ: I hope more people come visit the shop so I can make some new friends!

15. TTT: BONUS QUESTION. Just for fun, if you were stranded on a deserted island and had to eat the same thing every day, what would it be? You can pick a drink and a dessert, too. (I find that dreaming up a whole meal makes this game more entertaining!)

LZ: Easy. Chocolate.

Thanks for joining us and getting to know Lauren and Jewels of Saraswati! For more exciting Jewels news, check out Lauren’s corners of Facebook, Blogspot, and Twitter:




Don’t forget to check back next Tuesday for another exciting artist feature. Interested in being featured yourself? Just email me at for details.

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