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This is a passionate blog for turning something old into something new again.
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March 29, 2011

Featured Artist Of The Week - Alabaster Rose Designs

I have had the distinct and great pleasure of stumbling (more like tripping and falling) over 
Melinda Barrowcliff-Reyes' beautiful blog and Etsy store. 
Her jewelry really captured my eye and my heart. 
I fell head over heels with her uniquely beautiful jewelry and her sweet spirit. 
She is one mega talented woman and I am so excited to post her as this weeks featured artist. 
Here is our interview.... 

1. How long have you been designing and making jewelry?
Since September 2009.

2. Are you self taught?
Yes, but not without lot's of hard work and frustration. :)

3. I think that is so cool that you are completely self taught. I really admire that in a person, when they can just pick up a skill and master it so seamlessly. Have you ever thought about teaching others your wonderful skill?
I have been seriously thinking about checking into teaching some classes, but I'm not sure how well I will do. I guess I'll never know unless I try, right?!

4. How did you get started in the jewelry making business?
I had always been interested in jewelry making but never believed it was something I could do until the year I almost lost my husband to a ruptured brain aneurysm. The whole experience taught me that life is way to short to be afraid to try new things and if you have a passion for something, go for it. So, I ordered some jewelry making supplies off the internet and that was it, I was hooked.

5. What are your favorite materials to use?
Lately I love using fine silver and sterling silver and hand texturizing it with a hammer for an aged appearance. I find I really enjoying hammering things, it's really good therapy!! And of course anything vintage, especially Vintage Miriam Haskell pearls from the 1920's and 30's. 

6. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Vintage pieces. I always feel so inspired when creating new pieces out of well loved and worn pieces from long ago. I really feel it makes such a beautiful statement and creates a piece that will be cherished for a lifetime.

6. How do you stay on top of it all being a wife and a busy mom of two?
It can be extremely difficult. Most of the time I create my pieces in the late afternoon when everyone is settling down after the day or late at night when everyone has gone to bed. It also helps to have a fabulous husband who encourages me to be creative and will watch the kids when I'm struck with a new design idea. A lot of the times, my kids will sit with me while I'm creating and give me tips and sometimes I will actually listen.

7. What are some of your favorite pieces? 
My favorite line that I have created by far is my Divine Vintage line. This is a line of jewelry with  bit of a French feel and most of the pieces in this line are adorned with the Virgin Mary. I love using the Virgin Mary in my designs, I fell like she guides me when I'm creating. This was also when I discovered Miriam Haskell, which was a jewelry designer from the 1920's and 30's who created jewelry for Lucille Ball, Joan Crawford, and a couture line for  Coco Chanel. I absolutely adore her vintage pearls, they truly have such history and beauty.

8. What one piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out?
To really and truly believe in yourself. If you are really passionate about something, stick with it. Even if it takes you a while to get the hang of something, like me with my soldered pendants, it has taken me 1 1/2 years to really be happy with the way my pendants turn out and some days are worse than others, just keep at it, with lots of practice you can become great!! Also, it's so important to get your creations out there for people to see, whether through blogging, a website, Etsy or local gift shows and flea markets. Blogging and Etsy has been an invaluable venue for my designs!

9. Any secret tricks or valuable lessons you have learned and are willing to share?
When I was teaching myself how to solder, I almost gave up until the amazing Martha Kinney from MJ Ornaments gave me some tips on soldering. She told me keep practicing and eventually I would get better. I always thought that was so amazing that she was willing to tell me some of the tricks of the trade so to speak, not many people want to do that. If anyone ever wants to know anything about my jewelry making, I would be more than happy to share it with them. That's what it's all about, helping one another, right?!!

10. One last question...How did you come up with the name Alabaster Rose? It is very beautiful!  

I came up with that name years ago and always said that if I ever had a business, that is what I'd name it. It reminds me of my mother-in-law that past away a few years ago, she adored roses, so it's kind of a tribute to her.

If you want to know more about Melinda and her phenomenal jewelry you can find her Etsy store here, her blog here and her Facebook page here.  Please stop by and say hello and look through her store. I have a feeling that you will love what you see!



Anonymous said...

Oh Kendra,
You did such a fabulous job!! Thank you so much, I am truly honored to be featured on your blog!!
Have a lovely day.

blossoms vintage chic said...

Hi Kendra, I'm a new follower of your lovely blog! What a beautiful job you did with your feature of Our Sweet Melinda. She is truly a
talented artist and the best part is, when you see her work you know it comes from her heart.
So glad to have found your blog!

Irma@CosasBellas said...

Hi Kendra, just clicked over from ARD. I am honored to say that Melinda is a personal friend of mine. We met through blogging some months back and when she moved back to So Cal I was able to meet her in person and we have become good friends. She is one of the sweetest people I know. I have seen her jewelry up close when we sold together at a local show and it is absolutely gorgeous. As beautiful as these pictures are they don't do the pieces justice.
You did a great job with your interview questions, Kendra, and you have a great blog.

Take care,

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