Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Member Feature: Kym of Heavenly Creations

Introducing Kym of Heavenly Creations, a new & active STE member! Kym's lovely jewelry creations are skillfully crafted & are a compliment every wardrobe!!! Please check out the interview below to learn more about this talented STE artist...

Tell us a bit about yourself name, location, affiliations, personal stuff.
My name is Kym Laret, and I live in Penn Hills. In addition to designing jewelry, I am also a stay-at-home mom of two preschoolers, hair dresser, and opera singer. My husband and I met while performing and both sing with the Pittsburgh Opera. I've also done shows with Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Savoyards and sing weekly at Third Presbyterian Church.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
All of my jobs are creative! It's awesome that I get to surround myself with art all day, every day. My main job, of course, is to be a mom. That requires extreme creative thinking, since my kids keep me on my toes all the time! As I mentioned, I sing professionally, and I also read, quilt, and crochet when I have time, and am not working on a jewelry project.

What first made you want to become an artist?
I don't know that I really had a choice. Everyone in my family (except my dad) is artistic. My brother is a painter, and my sister is a quilter -- she actually has an Etsy shop as well, The Quilted House. My mom has always sewn and she sings as well, so music and art were always a part of my life. I started out with music, thinking that visual art was better left to my brother & sister, but I wanted a fabulous tiara for my wedding, and my sister introduced me to the art of French beaded flowers. A couple of years later, I made myself some beaded headbands and fell in love with the process of playing with color and beads and figuring out what works.

Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
I basically take my little containers of beads out and just let them speak to me. Sometimes I put things together to see what'll happen, and sometimes it just flows. I also get a lot of inspiration from jewelry shows on TV. It helps me to see what's popular and sometimes that sparks something. I do a lot of my work at night, after I get my kids to bed. Since I've always been a night-owl, it works out well for me. Plus, I can't really have all of my supplies out when the kids are around. Whatever I've created the night before, I photograph in the afternoon while the kids are napping. It's amazing how many photos I take to get 5 good shots for my Etsy listings! I've also been doing a lot of work in the afternoon on my sunporch instead of in my basement craft area, because working in the beauty of the day really inspires me.

I love working with sterling silver, pearls, brightly colored gemstones, and lampwork beads. In fact, I'm planning to take a lampwork class to create my own pieces. My favorite bead store is Your Beading Heart in Irwin, mostly because she has a great selection and great prices, but also because she has a classroom that you can see from the main part of the store with a TV for the kids. I pack some snacks and can actually spend several hours shopping for beads without having to worry about the kids touching things they shouldn't.

My creative process is actually pretty organic: sometimes I'll have a jewelry design in my head, and on those days it just flows. When I really have to force it, it stops being fun, so I’ll pack it away and come back later. My goal is to find a good balance between following what the market demands, trends, and all that and following my heart and making what speaks to me. Finding that balance will allow me to have fun AND be successful!

What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Probably the quilt that I made for our new bed last year. It's a king sized quilt, and I had to move all of the furniture in our living room to lay out all of the blocks. It was such a labor of love, and its beautiful! It wasn't as heavy as I wanted it to be, so I made it into a duvet cover of sorts. It's red (my favorite color), green (my husband's favorite), and yellow (the color of the room). It was also a challenge to make a red and green quilt that didn't scream Christmas.

Name your top five places to be in the Pittsburgh area, books/authors, movies/TV shows, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.


Out in our boat on any of the rivers
Our campsite in the Allegheny forest
Any of the Carnegie Libraries
On stage at the Benedum
Three Rivers Arts Festival

Stephanie Laurence
Julia Quinn
Christopher Moore
Elizabeth Lowell
Christina Dodd

movies/tv shows
Grey's Anatomy
Private Practice
Sunday's Best
Mystery Diagnosis
Masterpiece Classic

songs/musical groups
Yolanda Adams
Cece Winans
Take 6
Jessye Norman
Leontyne Price

Lima Beads
Fire Mountain
Shipwreck Beads
The Ring Lord

What advice would you give to artists who are new to the Pittsburgh craft scene?
Find a group of like-minded artists and network!

How do you promote your work?
I sell my jewelry at 2 shops in the Pittsburgh area: Crafted Treasures, in Monroeville, and Blossoms of Verona, in Verona; and I have their addresses on my business cards. I've started "accidentally" leaving them in all of the books I return to the library and I make a point of having them with me all the time so that if I have an opportunity, I can give them to someone. I also constantly wear jewelry I’ve made, especially to church. My church choir knows I make jewelry, so I make myself something new every Saturday to match my outfit. Also, I have a small display in the salon where I work -- and I make a point of at least wearing earrings when I'm in the salon so that people make the connection. Other than that, I tweet like a fiend and post everything on Facebook. I want to make a Facebook page just for Heavenly Creations, but there's just not enough hours in the day!

In five years I'd like to be...
in the black. My husband is very fiscally frugal, so he doesn't understand my obsession with beads when I'm not breaking even yet. But I've been doing this for less than a year. It takes time to build a successful business, but I'm getting there!


The Quilted House said...

Great feature of a great jewelry designer! Way to go Kym & STE!!

The Quilted House said...

And thanks for mentioning The Quilted House! Very sweet!