Enjoy these delightful designs from artist Laurel Nathanson, who talks about the evolution of her jewelry collection.
ABI: Tell us about how you combine metalsmithing and surface design.
LN: I am an artist with lots of interests and passions for many different art making disciplines, so I refuse to just focus on one medium/material. My background is as a jeweler and metalsmith, those are my roots. I also make mixed media fine art pieces that incorporate lots of color and pattern. My new jewelry line, Sugarcoat, is a way for me to combine my jewelry roots with my love of pattern and surface design. Through this line, I can work in many different ways: I get to use my old school jewelry skills, in conjunction with drawing, and my love of Adobe Illustrator.
It is very satisfying to be able to pursue so many different creative disciplines with in this one jewelry line. It also great for me because it helps to focus my time and energy. I am not trying to do a jewelry line, and to hustle art licensing contracts with my surface design, since it’s all one project so I don’t feel like I am spreading myself too thin, which I tend to do.
ABI: What stumbling blocks have you encountered as an artist?
LN: Would you believe the hardest part for me with regards to this business is actually photography?! At this point I am selling only online, so the pictures really have to be high quality. The amount of time I spend trying to get the perfect shot, the lighting, the image tweaking, even deciding what kind of background to use can be extremely challenging, for me at least. Then there is the issue of having a model, creating life style shots, all of this is extremely time consuming and expensive. I am still re-working my pics, trying to figure out how I want to best represent the jewelry.
The other challenge is of course driving traffic to the site. Oh, social media! Some days I feel as though it is a battle between me and the internet! You really have to put yourself out there, and stay dedicated to whatever social media platforms you choose to use. I have recently started an FB page, Instagram and I blog, when I can. At this point I am really trying to increase my network, which will give exposure to Sugarcoat.
ABI: What is your sweet spot?
LN: Looking at my life/career as an artist, I kind of divide what I do into three categories: fine art, surface design, and jewelry/craft. To me it’s all art, but they are three entirely different worlds that I have been straddling for a while now. Of those three realms, I would say I have had the most positive results within jewelry and craft.
Since launching Sugarcoat, I have had a lot of doors open to me. Not just with selling my work, but getting exposure and publicity. For example, I have begun to be a contributing blogger for a craft site in the UK. I am also doing tutorials in jewelry magazines. All these things I hope will contribute to really firmly planting me within this jewelry/craft sphere. I am finally focusing in, rather than being all over the place, and it’s helping to build traction.
I work all the time, luckily, much of it does not feel like work, but a lot of it does. I think to pursue any art form and to try to make a living off of it, you have to be completely dedicated and believe in yourself and your art. You have to be able to persevere when times are tough. I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life, I love creating, but I think it’s important for people to realize, it’s not easy. It’s worth it though!!