Q: How did you get your start in creating jewelry and what have you learned over the course of being an artist?
A: In reality I started creating jewelry in junior high school I was the go to person for friendship bracelets. I have always loved jewelry a trait I inherited from my Grandmother, Frances, whom I was named after. I did not start working in metal; however, until 5 years ago and I was hooked! I have learned that it is OK to make mistakes. Sometimes a well intended design just does not turn out wearable. Earrings may be too heavy, necklaces may not lie right. It’s OK to recycle and start over. I have also learned to have a very thick skin. In this business there is a lot of competition and; therefore, a lot of rejection.
Q: What is the inspiration behind the Jewelry By Francine collection?
A: There is so much which inspires me. As you can see by my pieces, I like a lot of diversity in jewelry. I definitely think that it should not take a one size fits all approach. Jewelry should change like our moods. A lot of my inspiration comes from my childhood and jewelry that both my Mom and Grandmother wore. I know that if they were alive today they would be my biggest fans.
Q: What do you love most about designing and creating your own jewelry?
A: Just thinking about a piece I have on my mind or in my sketch book makes me happy. Actually getting into my studio to make this piece a reality is what it is all about. I also love love instant feedback and that’s why Facebook and Etsy are so great for me!
Q: What gives you the most pleasure in your career as a jewelry artist?
A: There is so much pleasure involved in creating wearable artwork. I enjoy talking to customers about how my pieces are created, I love working with customers on a custom piece but I think the best part is when I see a customer actually wearing one of my pieces! I also love being able to donate many pieces throughout the year to various
Q: What are some of your favorite materials to work with and create with?
A: I love sterling silver! I also love all metals, copper, gold, bronze, brass, you name it! I also love mokume gane which is a mixed metal laminate with distinctive layered patterns. It was first made in 17th century Japan to embellish swords. I also love keum boo. This is an
ancient Korean technique of fusing gold to silver.
Q: If you could sum up your look and aesthetic in three words, what would they be and why?
A: First and foremost jewelry should be fun to wear. I love creating pieces which are conversation starters. My tiny tile necklaces are a great example of a fun piece. They are colorful and people are always amazed at how tiny the tiles are. Secondly, my look is different. I am constantly getting feedback from people that my jewelry is unique but not too funky. I think that this helps my jewelry appeal to people of all ages. Oops, you asked for three words – sorry about that!
Q: Is there a piece from your collection that you’re most proud of? If so, why and what does it mean to you?
A: I have to say that my Tiny Bubbles Keum Boo cuff is my favorite piece, I even love the name. I am not sure that it means anything to me, other than I just love it’s simplicity and the fact that so many people are wearing it out there!
Q: What advice would you give someone who is interested in becoming a jewelry artist?
A: If you were not fortunate enough to have attended an art school and graduated with a degree in metal or jewelry arts, take as many classes as you can, either at your local art institute or art center. I also encourage people to find a mentor who has been in the business a while who genuinely wants to help you grow as an artist, and is confident with his or her own style enough to want to share techniques with you. Believe in yourself! If you do not think your pieces are worthy, then neither will anyone else!