Jewelry designer Dana Evans talks about developing her collection, and her community.
ABI: How does your background in architecture influence your jewelry designs?
DE: I pay close attention to the process of design. I start with a form or outline, and then I add more and more layers, down to the details, until it feels “done”. When I’m sketching, my mind is not only designing, but also thinking out the steps to take in order to build the piece.
I like to have things planned out rather carefully, but I also allow some room for improvisation. This allows my intuition to make the smaller design decisions that really make a piece sing. In addition, I think my work has a somewhat structured and tailored look.
ABI: Tell us about the artist community you founded and the benefits you realized from it.
DE: When in architecture school and then working professionally, I got used to the studio environment – a very open, collaborative place to bounce ideas off others and ask questions and get advice. I missed having that sense of community while working alone in my studio!
So about eight years ago I started seeking out other local female metalsmiths. To my delight, others were also interested in a similar type of fellowship, and we started meeting monthly and growing our group, called the Ladysmiths. It has been enormously rewarding! Not just because we share common passion and enthusiasm for our craft, but also because we have learned together.
We do workshops together, do shows together, connect on Facebook, and help each other succeed. Last year we did a workshop where each of us laid out our “best” work and got feedback from others as to what the story was behind our work. I was encouraged to develop more of my architectural background as my image/story, and it led to me changing my business name, logo, and direction.
I since have felt much more focused in my work, and others have said that meeting has been one of the best ever. This next year we are considering starting our own Business Development Group so those of us interested in pushing the boundaries of our businesses can be successful.
ABI: How do you plan to enter the wholesale marketplace?
DE: So far my work has been mostly one-of-a-kind pieces. I have really enjoyed this because every piece I make is new, different, and has its own set of challenges. But my inventory is not plentiful enough in order to market myself to shops and galleries.
I have started to design a line of pieces that could work as rings, earrings, pendants or charms, and can be cast in small batches. This way, my inventory would increase, and I could then approach the wholesale market with a nice variety of more affordable pieces that still have great design and the same quality stones I’ve always used, just in calibrated sizes.