Well hello. My name is Leila West, Owner of Leila Nicole Designs, and participant of B'sue Boutiques Build a Line Challenge. This is the first installment of this amazing master class generously offered by Brenda free of charge and I am excited to get started. We have quite a few participants and I can't wait to see what everyone creates. I look forward to seeing everyone back here for part 2 on Feb 20 and part 3 on March 20 in these big reveal blog hops. Everyone is working so hard to put together a cohesive line of jewelry as we reveal our thought processes in designing our chosen lines. At the end of this journey we will reveal our complete line of jewelry which encompasses a minimum of 5 pieces in our chosen style.
So why is there some funny looking surreal art as my first picture?
Because that is where my story begins. I grew up doing all sorts of arts and crafts. We were actually pretty poor, but my parents scrimped and saved to be able to afford to put us into sports as well as provide us with supplies to be creative. That is where my foundation started and what kept my siblings and I out of trouble growing up. I lost my creative drive once I reached college age (
boys learning), but when I met my now husband, the spark was re-ignited. I fell into digital collaging and participated in many challenges and met many amazing people online. But I'm like a squirrel that sees its next nut and I watched a youtube video of a lady making a wire wrapped tree of life pendant and I wanted to learn how to do it. I used to make beaded wire trees when I was younger and had even sold a few and I thought it was pretty darn awesome that I could turn what I did back then into an actual wearable piece of art ....and that my dear friends, is where my passion for jewelry making begins. Only natural really, my grandmother was a great traditional artist as well as a jewelry maker altho her career was a school teacher. She took us on many outings and encouraged the artist in us. I wish I had had a chance to study jewelry under her, I would've loved to have learned some of her techniques.
So I taught myself from the ladies instructional videos and began making Tree of Life pendants. This was the first one I sold of my perfected design. Oddly enough, I kinda miss it. It's really pretty, but this is from 2010 and my photography was very amateur. I've gotten much better lighting since then and those are more of a ruby colored bead, if you couldn't tell. ;-)
....but like I mentioned earlier, squirrel.....I got bored and searched for more. Then I came across Brenda's youtube and I couldn't get enough. So many free mini courses teaching me all sorts of techniques to satisfy my squirrley tendencies. I became hooked. I made a comment on a video one day thanking her for teaching me the most awesome technique and was quite surprised to see a response inviting me to their Flickr group. I had joined but was never able to post because of some weird Flickr glitch and then she moved everyone to FB. And a wonderful community was born where all sorts of learning and sharing is happening every day.
And now I make pieces like this (sold to someone who got a very nice Christmas present):
And that, everyone, is an incredibly fast explanation of how I have landed here. In this fantastic master challenge.
My goal in this challenge is to absorb as much as I can but my focus is in developing a practice or method to creating a line that could be instantly recognizable...and affordable. I want people to see my piece and instantly know it's mine. And I want to make them fast enough that I can grow beyond my little Etsy shop.
So here is what I'm starting with, my basic pieces for the design I have in mind. I'm not sure if I want to add more to make it a mini assemblage or if I want to leave simple. Still tinkering there.
My goal with this piece is to keep the design the same and change up the colors. It's actually an idea I had been toying around with in my head for months after a simple comment Brenda had made to another design I had posted. A simple comment that sparked an idea that I saved for later because, well, squirrel.... Well now it's time for me to bring it to life. Around the bottom and the sides I'll be using the stamped solder technique. I love playing with my torch and I think it will add a fun design element to the piece that I have not seen many use, so I feel it will be unique enough to catch a buyers eye and use their curiosity to reel them in. The center where you can still see brass I haven't quite decided on, but you won't see brass...because that would just be boring. ;-)
For more of a visual, here's the beginnings of that solder bit. Don't mind the other stuff, I'm always multitasking. I would show me actually stamping the solder, but I don't have a 3rd hand and my partner in crime is on graveyard shift, so he's not available and my boys aren't allowed past the doorway of the garage.
Now giving my line a name, I'll be totally honest and that is something I've always struggled with. It's an odd concept to me to name a piece since I never think about the name of the piece I wear.
However as I was looking at the rose and mulling over colors and layout I started humming "Kissed by a Rose" sung by Seal.
Then I started thinking of solder and how gilded is another word used to describe solder and decided I want to call this line I create The Gilded Rose Collection.
Now one of the only challenges I see to making my collection is time. Many of you already know I work full-time. But the majority of my time is dedicated to my boys and the only girl I will have. Our new rescue Tina. Between the 3 I stay pretty busy, but I'm so excited for the next reveal days and hope to see you return! If you wouldn't mind, won't you leave me a comment and let me know you stopped by? Until next time. XoXo....squirrel!
Other places you can find me:
If you're so inclined, I have several options where you can follow my blog on the right hand side. I love when people leave me comments and I do reply. If you have the time, please take a moment reblog, share, tweet and help us get the word out about this blog hop. The more the merrier!
The Blog Hop starts here. Please check out all these talented designers and don't forget to leave a comment and let us know you visited. Happy Reading!
Brenda Sue Lansdowne, B'sue Boutiques
Mary Katherine Deis
Jennifer Merrill Williams
Denise Lussier Poirier