Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Featured Artist - Venetia Boucher of Venetia Jewelry

This week’s featured artist is fellow EtsyNJ member Venetia Boucher, of Venetia Jewelry, www.venetiajewelry.etsy.com. Venetia creates jewelry and hair accessories with elegance and edge (see above for a sprinkling of her signature pieces.) Featuring one-of-a-kind ribbon necklaces as well as beaded bracelets and colorful hair pins, her shop is sure to have something to please the discerning fashionista on your gift lift this holiday season. So, drop in and see what’s in store. You may just find a gift for yourself!

1. The Tote Trove (TTT): In your Etsy shop profile, you mention that you love wearing your own accessories. When did your love of accessories begin?

Venetia Boucher (VB): I’ve always been obsessed with fashion and jewelry, and I especially love accessories because you can start off with a pretty basic outfit and create a completely unique look by adding accessories. My sister and I used to have so much fun playing dress up together, raiding my mom’s closet and trying everything on, and I’ve always loved creating different looks. Accessories are such a great way of creating your own look and standing out from the crowd, because it’s all down to the way you combine them and how you wear them. I often get bored with the clothes I have in my closet and hate to re-wear the same outfit, so I’ll stand there and think, if I pair this scarf, this belt, and this bracelet with this sweater, then it will look totally different from how I wore it last time. Plus, accessories are so fun to play with, and picking up a new ring or pair of earrings for $10 is much cheaper than buying a whole new outfit and is just as gratifying.

2. TTT: How did you become interested in making jewelry? Did you learn your craft from someone, or are you more self-taught?

VB: I am completely self taught. I’ve always had this belief that (with most things) if someone else can do it, then I can do it, too (conceited, I know). So, it’s mainly trial and error. I’m very determined, and when I get an idea I see if I can figure out how to make it happen. However, I would love to take some jewelry classes and learn some proper skills, especially silver smithing. I think that would be amazing. One of these days I will find the necessary time and funds.

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

VB: I used to make jewelry for myself – bracelets and whatnot – and my friends would tell me they loved them and could I make them one? So, I started making commissions for people and then it was kind of a word of mouth thing, and these particular bracelets I was making got really popular, so I decided I better have some business cards made and it went from there! I would still call it more of a hobby than a business; I squeeze in time whenever I can to work on my jewelry and accessories line, but it’s still very much at ground level.

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

VB: That’s a difficult question to answer, as it changes all the time! Right now I’m loving these tassel necklaces I made (will be listing soon on Etsy), but the items that I probably wear the most are the semi precious gem stone earrings. Oh, and I love my flower earrings too!

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

VB: I would love to add knitwear. I enjoy knitting but am still fairly new to it, and it takes me so long to knit something that I don’t think it would be cost effective. I also really enjoy making homemade bath and beauty products and am debating starting to sell those.

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

VB: I don’t really have a routine to speak of. I have a lot of different ideas, so I am forever writing myself little notes and to do lists. I don’t have very much free time, so I order most of my supplies online and make stuff and take pictures when I can.

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

VB: The best thing about running my own business is working for myself, which is also probably the worst thing. It’s very time consuming doing everything by yourself, and I tend to push myself to try and get as much done as possible. But I love having creative control over everything I make.

8. TTT: How did you discover Etsy?

VB: I discovered Etsy about a year ago through different blogs that I read. I was so impressed by the standards of talent and the huge and varied selection of things people were making and really started to pay attention to it. I was a buyer before I became a seller.

9. 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?

VB: I do sell stuff outside of Etsy, but mainly to people I know or friends of friends. I would like to try doing a craft fair, but I work full time and don’t really have enough time to create all the inventory that I would need.

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

VB: All of my friends and family have been incredibly supportive. But my boyfriend has been especially supportive, as he has spent a lot of time helping me photograph my jewelry. Also, my friend Missy is always commissioning me to make her different pieces. I call her my no. 1 fan!

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

VB: Yes! I always want to try new things and learn new skills. I’m trying to learn crochet, and I’d like to take more art classes.

12. TTT: Your blog features many posts about cooking. Where do you find your best recipes? Which are your favorites?

VB: I love to cook. It’s really a passion for me, and after a long day at work I find it amazingly relaxing. I find recipes all over – I love watching the Food Network and scouring cook books. There are also some cooking blogs I love to read like “Smitten Kitchen” and “Bakerella.” RealSimple.com is great for quick and easy weeknight dinners. My favorite recipes are probably my grandmother’s or my mother’s because they have a lot of personal history, and I equate them with a lot of good memories. I have a book where I keep recipes that have been given to me by friends and family, and those are my favorites to make. Some of my favorites include shepherd’s pie, lasagne, and toffee pudding (all hearty fare!), and anything I haven’t made before. I also love baking. Who doesn’t love warm cookies straight out of the oven?

13. TTT: Tell us about life outside of Venetia’s Jewelry.

VB: I work in finance, and that keeps me pretty busy. My hobbies include knitting, drawing, cooking – anything creative, basically, that I can make with my hands. I also love photography. I bought myself a DSLR camera a year or so ago and have been teaching myself how to use it. I also fish with my boyfriend, and I love taking classes at my local gym, especially yoga. I also love fashion and putting outfits together, if you can call that a hobby. I don’t have any pets right now but would love to get a puppy in the future when I can spend more time at home.

14. TTT: What are your hopes for Venetia Jewelry in the future?

VB: I would like to take jewelry classes and really get Venetia Jewelry off the ground to the point where it’s a successful company. I will always use my free time to do what I love and create, but I would love to get to the point where my business could be my main focus.

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!)

VB: It would have to be peanut butter. I am such a peanut butter fiend and I eat it straight out of the jar (gross, I know). I go crazy for Skippy’s all natural peanut butter. For a drink I would choose iced tea, and for a dessert bannofee pie (very English – it’s made with bananas, toffee, and cream, and is absolutely delish!)

Thanks for stopping by to chat with Venetia! For more on her accessories line, please seek her out in her corners of the Web:

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/venetialouise/

Twitter: VenetiaJewelry

Facebook Fan Page: Venetia Jewelry

Myspace: www.myspace.com/venetialouise

Blogspot: http://venetiajewelry.blogspot.com/

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