The Handmade Feature today is an interview with the owner of Jocale Design on Etsy, which is a shop that sells jewellery made with individually handcrafted lampwork glass beads:
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Hilary and I live in a small market town between the beautiful Cotswolds and the historic cities of Bristol and Bath.
I have been making jewellery for a couple of years now and a year ago began to extended my skills by learning to make Lampwork Glass Beads. I love creating beautiful things and am constantly looking for ways to develop my skills.
Alongside making beads and jewellery, I work part time as a Business Analyst for a local charity, look after my husband, three children, and two cats and enter the occasional running event.
How did you get started in your handmade business?
I first started making jewellery purely for myself. I was just happy to receive admiring comments from people I met.
It was not long before I realised that I could never wear as much jewellery as I wanted to make. There were so many different styles of jewellery that I wanted to create. Not all of these styles would suit me, but would look great on other people.
Whilst making different pieces I started to think about the people I know and the styles and colours that would suit them.
It was a while before I plucked up the courage to show anybody my jewellery – even my close friends. When I finally did I was pleasantly surprised by their favourable comments. I was then given the opportunity to run a jewellery party at a friend’s house, closely followed by a stall at the local Carnival. Both of which were very successful. From then on I haven’t looked back.
What first made you want to become an artist/craftsperson?
I started making jewellery a couple of years ago following a running injury. I had been training for months in preparation for the Disney Marathon and was just 6 weeks away from the event when I suffered an injury to my foot. At the time I was devastated. Not only was I unable to take part in the Marathon, but I could not even walk half a mile!
I needed to find things to do that allowed me to sit down – most frustrating to someone who was previously running 15 miles and more!
It was at this point that I started to make jewellery and I have never looked back since. My injury is now fully recovered thankfully, and I am delighted to have discovered a real passion for creating unique, beautiful and very wearable jewellery.
Apart fom crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy running – on a very low key level these days. I enter about one small event a year. Last year it was the local 4 mile Fun Run, where I was beaten (by nearly 4 minutes!) by my 9 year old son! Needless to say we will be entering again this year….!
How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?
I have been making jewellery for 2 years and lampwork beads for just about a year.
I have been selling online for about 6 months.
How many different places do you sell from?
Have any pets?
Yes – one very fat but lovely black cat and his very pretty sister. We also have a dwarf hamster.
How did you come up with your shop name?
I knew I needed a name to give me and my work an identity. I also wanted a name that would give me the chance to develop beyond beaded jewellery should I decide to at any point in the future.
It was actually my husband who found the word Jocale – meaning jewel or play thing.
I then played around with ideas like Jocale Jewels, Jocale Jewellery, Jocale of Thornbury etc. In the end the one that seemed right was Jocale Design.
Do you have another job? What is it?
I work part time as a Business Analyst for a local Brain Tumour charity. It’s a fantastic place to work – the people are lovely, the work rewarding and varied.
What are three tools in your workspace that you could not live without?
For Beadmaking it has to be:
– My torch – I can’t melt glass without it!
– My Kiln – without it my beads would not be strong enough to sell.
– Tweezers – I am for ever using these to pull very thin rods of glass (called stringers) which I then use to decorate beads.
Any other handmade shops you’d like to recommend?
I recently received some Ninjas from another Etsy shop – they arrived very quickly and are as good as the pictures. Very pleased.
I was taught to make lampwork beads by Julie Fountain (Lush Lampwork). She’s a lovely lady and her beads are beautiful.
I hope you enjoyed the interview today!