How did you come up with the name of your shop?
It was a two day event for me. I started with the idea that I wanted something with rocks in the title. So I wrote down a number of names with rocks in it and searched the web for any possible conflicts with people who might already have a website with that name. My main component at the time in jewelry was semi-precious gemstones. So after many frustrating searches and realizing I couldn't use MJ (my initials, because of Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan affiliations) and "rock" or "crystal" was used in multiple ways, my husband said how about gemmed. I liked that word and I truly love giraffes and so the name was born, "The Gemmed Giraffe".
What Kind of items do you sell?
I design and make handcrafted jewelry from semi-precious gemstones, crystals, glass and precious metals. I have a variety of techniques I use when making jewelry. I started with stringing beads, moved on to wire-wrapping and most recently learned how to do a beadwork technique called right angle weave. My studio is located on Artfire.com http://www.thegemmedgiraffe.artfire.com My website is located at http://www.thegemmedgiraffe.com My blog is located here
What inspires you?
My inspiration comes from many sources. I use natures color palette from my gardens. Flowers gardening is a real challenge in Texas but if you choose native Texas plants you can find a number of hardy plants that will survive winter and summer and with some beautiful colors. I also subscribe to several magazines like Bead and Button as well as visit local bookstores to browse through some of their textbook. Sharilyn Miller and Irina Miech both have several texts that provide wonderful skill development projects as well as some very pretty designs.
I really like the items you make, how did you learn to make them?
I was self taught at the beginning. I used a lot of textbooks, read a lot of forums, joined several website groups and continue to build my skills using these same venues. However, I enrolled in The Sheffield School in February of this year and will continue to learn more about jewelry making through the course I am taking.
You have so many gorgeous pieces do you have a favorite?
I have to say my favority piece is a Teal Freshwater Pearl Bracelet I made and sold.
Do you have a special place you get to work on your items?
Why did you choose this type of craft?
I chose the craft because it is something that I like to do. I enjoy creating and designing new things and this fits the bill. As a young child, I sewed, crocheted and knitted. As a young adult I moved into needlecraft and jewelry making has just been the next step in my creative journey.
Is there anything else we should know about you?
I play doubles tennis. I've played tennis for many years and enjoy the challenge and competition of league tennis. I love to travel and prefer traveling in the United States above international travel. I've married to my wonderful husband for 28 years. He is very supportive of any endeavor I chose to take on. We have a great home and a 15 year old Bichon Frise, who is the love our lives.
These are some of my favorite items that Maria has made