One of the first things I noticed about Jennifer Lynch’s Etsy shop, Bella Diva Beads, was the beaded Christmas ornament. The ornament was colorful, fun, and reminded me of something I could not put my finger on. I later found out though what it was! The inspiration for this ornament was actually belly dancing. The variety of color and beads in this shop are beautiful Below is an Etsy feature on Bella Diva Beads. I hope you enjoy it and get a chance to stop in.
What is the name of your shop and the story behind it?
My Etsy shop, Bella Diva Beads, is something that was probably a long time coming. I have been beading for as long as I can remember, even if it was just pony beads and pipe cleaners in my childhood attempts! My shop includes more than just beadwork, though. I also create wire tree art in the form of pendants, free-standing miniature sculptures, and other home décor. I made the leap from designing for myself to selling my art because of a recent move and family crisis which left me wanting a job that offered more flexibility than my teaching career allowed. Also, I love making jewelry so much, and there’s only so many times you can give jewelry for holidays and birthdays before you have to find some other outlet for all of your creations!
When did your shop open?
I opened my shop toward the end of August, so I’m just celebrating one month of business.
What inspired you to create your art?
My inspiration is split, just like the items in my store. Bead work has always been a hobby of mine, encouraged by my mother, and I am particularly inspired by organic shapes and natural elements like pearls, silk, and gemstones. I began to be more serious about my beading after I decided to become a professional Middle Eastern/belly dance artist. I wanted to design and make my own costumes and jewelry, and things flowed from there. I rediscovered the hobby I had always enjoyed.
My wire trees have an entirely different backstory. Growing up, my dad worked for the local utilities company. In his office, he had a gorgeously life-like tree made of copper wire. I always admired it and years later tried my hand making my own. The leaves are my own addition– Dad’s miniature had bare branches– and I use slightly thinner wire, but I always come back to the same style I admired growing up. Who made Dad’s original tree? An artist with a beautiful studio and precise tools? Not exactly… It was made by utilities linemen on break. They used to pull old copper wire out of the scrap heap and sit and idly twist it into trees with their hands when they had a spare minute. People always compliment me on these trees and say things like, “It’s so delicate” or “it looks like something out of a fairy forest” and I thank them and smile because I imagine the dusty workingmen sitting in the shade of their heavy machinery twisting these with their bare hands as they escaped the southern heat for a few minutes. I make my trees their way– with only a pair of wire cutters and my bare hands.
Were you self taught or did you learn from someone?
I am primarily a self-taught artist. This Etsy shop has led me into another self-taught endeavor—trying to figure out product photography and marketing. Turns out that that is a lot harder than jewelry making! As I’ve grown as an artist over the years, I’ve made up some basic rules for myself when beading:
1. Choose the right thread. Color, material, weight, everything. Without the right foundation, the rest of the work is nothing. Just ask the leaning tower of Pisa.
2. Hide the thread! Even if you choose thread that is perfect, no one wants to see it protruding from the lovely beadwork. In the beading world, I’m convinced it’s like having your underwear showing.
3. Always use three knots where one would suffice.
4. Pick beautiful materials, but also make sure to pick ones that will stand the test of time!
What goals do you have for your shop over the next year?
My goal is to have 150 items listed by the end of the calendar year and to make at least two sales a week. My items are labor intensive to make and I’m a new shop, so I’m trying to be realistic for my goals.
Do you have any advice for new Etsy shop owners?
As a new owner myself, I hardly feel qualified to give advice to new Etsy artists, except maybe to say, “Keep trying!” That’s the advice I’m trying to take for myself right now. 🙂