Polymer clay beads and handmade jewelry, Interview with Jetta Sellers (Jettabugjewelry)
This month my guest in my series of interviews with bead artists is the very talented American Polymer clay and jewelry artist Jetta Sellers.
Jetta creates lovely whimsical jewelry and polymer clay beads which she sells on Etsy under the name Jettabugjewelry. Her work is published numerous times in magazines like Stringing. I admire her work for a long time and yes, her beads found their way into my not so little stash as well. Some of her gorgeous pieces as well as one of my pieces with her gorgeous beads will be published in the 2014 issue of 101 Bracelets, Necklaces and Earrings. So I’m thrilled and honored Jetta agreed to do this interview.
Q: Can you tell us a bit of the beginning of your career as an artist. When did you start your career and what did you do before. Was this transition difficult?
A: A 50% off sale in the bead section of my craft store is how I fell into making jewelry. I had always loved working with my hands: flower gardening, needle art- cross-stitch, crewel, embroidery, and historic costume making but I had never thought of jewelry making. But that day in the store I just went for it and bought some beads and a stringing chain. I was happy with the results but it wasn’t until my mom, literally, took it off my neck for her own that I contemplated making jewelry. I became more confident as time went on and decided to try a contest in Stringing Magazine. Iwas picked for editors choice! My confidence was boosted to try my pieces for publication after that. Then my closet of jewelry grew until I had to try and sell it or stop making jewelry- gasp! So I opened my Etsy shop with my fingers crossed.
Q: Are you self-taught?
A: Mostly. I am very visual and have loads of books and magazines that I go to for inspiration. I am always game for experimenting with an idea and seeing where it will lead. I started out my jewelry making journey with bead weaving projects- seed beads were an inexpensive start. Then I noticed my tastes veering toward chain maille and dabbled with that until prices of silver became too high. But one magazine I came across had polymer clay projects that really captured my whimsical nature. I visited my craft store again years later and bought a rainbow of polymer clays and started to play.
Q: Why did you choose the medium polymer clay? Are you planning to explore other materials as well in the future, like glass, ceramic or metal?
A: I love the feel of the polymer clay in my hands, shaping it between my fingers. It is the one medium I have tried that allows for mistakes, to reshape and try again. I sculpt and shape each bead individually, taking up to and over an hour per critter. I feel like I breathe life and personality into each piece. I am so proud of them when I place them in their box and send them off to a new home. I won’t be giving up polymer clay anytime soon!
But like most artists, I am tempted to try new things. I am very intrigued with metal clays and would love to give that a go one day if I can find a kiln to borrow. But the one thing that I really want to experiment with most is enameling. One day when the children are older I will buy a torch and some enameling powders and play.
Q: What inspires you in your work?
A: Nature, texture, shapes and colors. My grandmother loved the great outdoors. She taught me all the names of our native birds and could do their calls. I think of her every time I create a bird bead. The texture of feathers or flower petals is exciting to see come to shape in my hands. And I have had lots of wonderful suggestions from customers who inspire me to make a critter that I had not thought of before.
Q: I am curious: what does a typical day in the life of Jetta Sellers looks like?
A: Ha, ha…ever changing, patience is a must! I wake up between 5:00-5:30 and try to get as much done as possible before my children, Andregg 6, Wrenn 4, wake at 7:00. I made the huge decision to home school my son for kindergarten this year. My time creating has changed a lot. I do get to return to my work room at nap times and check my emails before heading to bed at night. I am not producing as much now but I am happy to be able to work on projects I love and spend my days seeing my children blossom. I have a very fulfilling life.
Q: There are a lot of bead and jewelry artists. Is there a particular artist you admire or who you consider a role model?
A: Such a personal question, it makes me think of so many lovely artists inspiring and encouraging me. For polymer clay it is almost 100% Christi Friesen’s magical polymer creations. Hers was the project in that magazine long ago that caused me to buy my first block of clay- the way I approach blending my clay and the whimsical realism of my critters are inspired by her work. But never once did I think to make my polymer clay creations for my Etsy store until my good friend, Teresa Hulley of Bo Hulley Beads saw this bracelet using her beads and one of my first birdhouses. She loved it and suggested I make more and see how they do in my shop. She was also the one who said, “Let’s try birds.”
But for jewelry personal style shines through in everyone’s work. I love Anne Perry’s clean lines, Kristy Abner’s way of evoking a since of the past in her pieces, Erin Seigel’s love of fiber and Lorelei Eurto’s bold and unerring since of color, shape, form and sizing.
Q: Do you have a next goal you want to accomplish?
A: My biggest goal is to streamline my time and use it more wisely to be more productive. Ideas are always swirling around in my head and making it onto paper in the form of little sketches. I plan on making jewelry on a more regular basis with my many boxes full of gorgeous artisan beads. I am also challenging myself to make at least one polymer bead a day.
Q: If you were not a bead/jewelry artist, what would you be doing?
A: Jewelry and bead making are so a part of my daily life and such a joy to play with every spare moment. I’m not sure what I would be doing…I definitely miss working on my cross-stitch and embroidery project. But I was running out of wall space and I couldn’t wear any of them. In college I wanted to write novels and did make inroads into a manuscript. I would love to go back to it when the kids go off to collage to fill my empty nest.
Q: Do you have a life motto and if so, would you like to share this with us?
A: Keep searching until you find what you love to do, the missing puzzle piece. And then throw your whole self into it. If you love what you are doing others will, too.
Q: Do you have tips, tricks or advise you like to share with us?
A: Find friends who share your interests. There will be times when you feel stuck, lose your focus, or feel you are not good enough. My beady friends have given me advice, insight, and support that helped create a better me. And always let your instincts guide you.
Thank you so much for this lovely interview Jetta. I love to read how you started your business and your life motto is a very good one.
And of course this interview would not be complete without a give-away.
The first give-away
Jetta is generously giving away these gorgeous critters. To be honest, I was tempted to keep these all for myself. Aren’t they just the cutest beads ever?! But I will behave so you will be able to win these.
The second give-away
I made two bracelets with those super cute bunny beads from Jetta. The winner can choose.
1 Polar bunny
I paired the polar bunny with soft blue agate, off-white Czech glass and a handmade lampwork bead by Grace Ma in the same blue hues as the blue eyes of the bunny and the blue agate. This bracelet reminds me of the glaciers we saw in Norway.
2 Spring Bunny
This cute bunny is jumping around in the woods (old Nepali Bodhi prayer beads) with some spring flowers (Ceramic bead by Golem Design Studio and glass teardrop beads by Unicorn).
All you have to do to enter is comment on this post, to get a change to win one of these give-aways. yes, it is that easy.
There are lots of ways you can increase your chances of winning too…
Do any of the following and leave an additional comment each time and you will get an extra entry for each one (yes you will enhance your changes of winning, so please do):
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Don’t forget to leave a separate comment for each method to maximize your chances though!
Please don’t let the captcha scare you off. It is to prevent the spam robots enter this give-away as well.
The draw will close at 10am GMT on Sunday June 8, 2014 and I will randomly select and announce the winners later that day.
The next artist in this series of interviews with Bead Artists will be Linda Newnham, well known for her beautiful lampwork beads.
Thank you for visiting my blog and I hope to see you next time.