What are you striving for at the moment and what are your future goals? I want to learn some new techniques. After all the more public ventures I just spoke about this must sound weird. But one thing I constantly battle with as a self-taught jeweler is the feeling that I'm inferior to those who went to, say, RISD or Pforzheim. I can teach anything; but I always want to be able to do everything. I don't like the "those who can, do; those who can't, teach" mentality that so many people unwittingly cling to. Otherwise, I am also involved in another book project way out of the realm of jewelry. More on that later!
Now to go off topic and away from jewelry, in an effort to see more who "YOU" are as a person tell us who "YOU" are! I'm 43, married and have a six-year-old son named Rijk. I was born and raised in RI and say it like Rhode Islanders do: "road-Eyelan." I went to Moses Brown School and tried as hard as I could to break the mold of the prep school student. Just to prove I was 100% weird, I chose Hampshire College. I love mid-century modern design, particularly Paulin and Jacobson; I have a weakness for Louis Vuitton; a favorite dinner is nachos and a margarita followed by pink cake from Amy's Bread in Manhattan; I will never say no to a jellybean; I almost exclusively listen to punk, old and new. My favorite bands are New Bomb Turks and Distillers plus lots of the archaic hardcore from the 1980s; favorite colors are orange and purple; I have a 1981 BMW R65 but it doesn't go; my favorite plants are cacti; when i feel truly unhinged, I get my ears stretched. Somehow this sort of lunacy grounds me. I will end up with 1" plugs when I'm in my 50s, and it's not going to be pretty! My favorite places are Bryce Canyon, Paris and the beach; favorite authors are Jean Genet, Oscar Wilde, Georges Bataille and Pat Barker. For fun i love yard sales and flea markets, going out for drinks, the occasional mosh pit even though I am way to old, eating to much popcorn at the movies with my son and, corny as it is, long uninterrupted hours in my studio.
To end this can you give fellow jewelry makers and designers a bit of advice? What do you feel is the most important thing for them to remember? Never give up. Never! There have been many times I have thought about giving in and trading entrepreneurship for a "real job." It is so freaking hard sometimes. You just have to be able to keep clear in your vision no matter how many people try to push you this way or that, or just flat out tell you no. Train yourself to look at every challenge as an opportunity. Every single thing, from "oh no, they're out of the metal I wanted" to "Vogue Magazine said no to the samples I sent for a story for the twentieth time" to "I'm not going to be able to pay my bills this month." Learning this resiliency does NOT come easy and at first it's hard to weather. But you MUST learn how to convert a no into a yes. And you MUST do it again and again. And when you have truly mastered that, you will be successful.
So much for emotional advice. From a practical standpoint, every designer needs a business arm of their company/craft. Whether it's a friend with an MBA who can help you with the basic P&L sheet to an expert in capitalization, you need someone. Why? Because without a business plan, the stresses of running a company will erode your creativity and you will be depleted. There are lots of people in your life who can fill this role, if you can't afford or don't want to hire someone and they want to help. Let them! Give them some beautiful pieces and it will be a 100% win-win.
I want to thank Victoria for doing this amazing and inspirational interview with me. There were some key points in it that I needed to hear as an artist, and I hope it can help others as well. You can find her on Twitter at @chicmetal and find her amazing jewelry on her etsy shop chicmetal and if your looking for her book here is the direct link Chic Metal Jewelry Making