Hello! My name is Sarah, owner of Mockingbird Lane Artistries. I am a one woman business from Martinsburg, West Virginia. I have been creating jewelry for a little over 17 years. My styles have changed quite a bit over the years, but I have used crystals and gemstones in my art the entire time. I started out beading with gemstones, and making chainmaille jewelry with sterling silver, all of which I still do, but have evolved mostly into soldering with gemstones. I create simple, classy, and a good bit of spooky jewelry. My gemstone pendants are made using a stained glass method called Tiffany Technique, or soft soldering; layering lead free solder over copper, and a little sterling silver. All of the work is done directly onto the stone with a soldering iron. Gemstone beaded bracelets and earrings, and vintage ephemera pendants are among the other types of jewelry in my display, as well as my original cemetery/landscape photography, and some spooky home decor, such as stained glass coffin dishes.
What is your medium of choice?
My medium of choice is soft soldering, using mostly gemstones.
Why have you chosen your current medium?
I have chosen soft soldering because the work is done with a soldering iron vs hard soldering (silver/goldsmithing) which involves using a torch. I have a fear of fire haha. When I first started soldering about 7 years ago, I was creating pendants using vintage cigarette cards (ephemera.) They have such intricate designs, from flowers, to animals, to zodiac and space cards. The process is the same as how stained glass is created, but using lead free solder so the pieces are safe to be worn. Since I have always used gemstones in my work, and had a basic knowledge of soldering, about 3 years ago, I decided to try out soft soldering with gemstones. They became really popular, very fast, and the rest is history! I get to admire beautiful stones, that I hand select, make them into wearable art, and send them off into the world for other people to love them as much as I do!
What has been the most difficult challenge for you as an artist/maker?
I have issues with time management. I am usually working all day every day, but some days I feel like I've done so much, yet didn't get anything accomplished, if that makes sense. My business is my full time job, and it is difficult to keep focus on all of the things that go into being self employed, all the time. I spend most of my days creating (the fun part of business) and then tend to fall behind on the office work part, such as accounting, keeping the website updated, etc. But I am constantly working to improve, and keep everything running as smoothly as possible.
What is the most gratifying part of making your work?
The most gratifying part of making my work is having others love and enjoy my art. When artists sell their work, they are sending a piece of themselves out into the world with each piece that has been created. And having someone like what you created enough to purchase and cherish it is the greatest feeling in the world! I have a bunch of crafter friends, and sometimes when they are at other events, I will get random texts saying "I just saw one of your necklaces on someone that walked by my booth!" It makes me giddy every time! Being able to soley support myself and pay my bills with my creations is something that I never thought would happen, but it has, for the last 4 years, and I am so grateful to all of my customers for that.
What's your typical studio playlist?
My musical taste is all over the place so my playlists vary quite a bit. Now that Halloween is right around the corner, I have been choosing different Halloween playlists on Pandora. Most normal days consist of some 80s music, some goth music, with a little bit of everything else mixed in.
Describe your work in 5 words:
Simple, Classy, Beautiful, Spooky, Colorful
Is there a story behind your business name?
I have changed my business name a few times over the last 17 years, but Mockingbird Lane Artistries is the keeper. Besides jewelry, I sell some of my original photography, and also some stained glass. If you haven't noticed, I am also into spooky things. Mockingbird Lane is the street The Munsters lived on; playing on the spooky side a little, but it also fits as a nice sounding name. Using the word Artistries also allows me to have my jewelry and other art for sale all in one place.
Shop Mockingbird Lane Artistries at https://www.facebook.com/MockingbirdLaneArt