Last month a few friends and I made our way to First Friday in Old City. We made our way in and out of several galleries, shops, past fire breathing clowns who almost got hit by a car (all fact), and of course dozens of vendors. One vendor in particular caught my eye. A jewelry designer by the name of Alison Andrews of AMA Jewelry Creations. This week I got to speak with Alison about her craft. I got to learn that she is an art virgin (she went to school for biology yall and never would have self described herself as creative or artistic), this is her first time at being an entrepreneur, that what she knows now about herself and business is far from what she knew when she started, and much more. Take a read.
Phreedum: Who are you in 5 words?
AA: Outgoing, intellectual, creative, loyal, spiritual.
Phreedum: When did you first fall in love with jewelry design?
AA: Two years ago. I was just experimenting and creating things for myself. Rom the moment I created my very first piece I knew that this was what I was supposed to be doing. Which is kind of funny being that I went to school for biology. I honestly didn’t think I had a creative bone in my body.
Phreedum: When did it go from a hobby to a business?
AA: So I was making pieces for myself initially. Then people would start asking me to make pieces for them. I think the business actually launched itself. It was less than a year from when I created my first piece and decided to leave my job and design jewelry full time.
Phreedum: How do you stay motivated and inspired?
AA: Doing the work helps me stay motivated. When I am at shows and events vending and people stop by and express how beautiful the piece is or that they’ve never seen anything like it helps me stay motivated. As for inspiration- I find that everywhere. I think you just have to stay open and you will find inspiration and beauty everywhere you are. I find it in my family, a painting, nature, a stone, television. I could go on and on. I just try to stay open and see how I can incorporate various things into my jewelry.
Phreedum: And what about support? Who supports you as you pursue your dream?
AA: My husband and kids are so very supportive. They are really understanding when I’m not home or an event interferes with things they want to do.
Phreedum: What has been one of the biggest lessons you have learned as an artist?
AA: Realizing that what I do is valuable. You run into people who don’t understand/appreciate art and devalue you and your work. It has been a painful lesson but a very valuable one. I have had to grow to a place where I understand that I have something and have to command that price and respect as an artist.
Phreedum: What has been a highlight for you as a designer?
AA: I was commissioned to create a piece for one of the 2012 Grammy Award musicians' wives. I actually created two pieces. Two of my pieces went to the 2012 Grammy’s. Now that is a highlight.
Phreedum: How does your work change the lives of others?
AA: I like to think I create pieces that when worm and complimented, the person wearing the piece feels good and special. I like to think I change people’s live by adding a little happiness and specialness.
Phreedum: What are some of the sacrifices you’ve had to make?
AA: Money. I had a job that was really secure with great benefits. I went from that to zero dollars, cents, benefits, and zero 401 K. My business is really something I love because if I didn’t I wouldn’t do it.
Phreedum: What would you consider your greatest resource?
AA: I don’t know if I would say it’s my greatest resource because I think I have a lot of really good resources. I can say I really appreciate having a business mentor who has been helpful in terms of understanding business, trade shows, and being a smart business woman. But I have a lot of resources, both things and people.
Phreedum: What do you think people under estimate about the work you do?
AA: The amount of time and the love that goes into it. I think people who don’t appreciate art under estimate it. People who have an appreciate it get it. I think the masses under estimate hand crafted thought and time.
Phreedum: What one piece of advice do you hold on to as you continue to pursue your work as an artist?
To phind out more about Alison or to purchase her jewelry please visit www.amajewlerycreations.com