jewelry by NaLa Interview by Handmade Jewelry Club

Interview with Jewelry Artist, NaLa

This Irish Eyes earrings made of green Swarovski and silver wire was recently featured on Etsy front page during the St. Patrick's Day. This is just one of those fantastic creations of the jewelry artist who likes to be called NaLa. The artist recently resides in Chicago.

NaLa specializes in making delicately elegant jewelry. The Apricot Calla Lily Antiqued Brass Flower earrings above is a representation of the artist's elegant jewelries.

Then we have here the Thrive Antiqued Brass Celtic Knot Pendant Necklace. According to her, wearing this would inspire everyone, both the wearer and those who see this to "Thrive". Life is hard but to see a positive message once in a while is really inspiring that we can make it through somehow, right?

I know you all want to know a little from NaLa and her creations, so better read on the interview and find some inspiration.

Jane: What are the teams that you belong to?

NaLa: I'm a proud member the of Etsy Street Teams: HAFteam (Handmade Artists' Forum Team) and Indiejteam (Indie Junction Team). Both are supportive, promotional forums filled with amazingly talented artisans.

Jane: What do you sell?

NaLa: I sell what I refer to as "delicately elegant jewelry." I believe mydesigns speak to women who want to make a beautifully subtle, feminine statement with their jewelry. My collection is 100% designed and handmade by me, and I try to keep duplication to a minimum so that when someone is wearing NaLa jewelry, they know they are not likely to find anyone else wearing the exact same piece.

Jane: How did you begin creating?

NaLa: I was never what anyone would consider remotely "crafty" or artistic growing up. I believe my artistic abilities began to emerge when I first got satellite TV in 1998 and began watching all the "how to" programs with people such as Lynette Jennings, Carol Duvall and Christopher Lowell. They absolutely hooked me on the notion that I could "do it myself." I began with small projects in decorative painting, drawing and decoupage. You name it, if it was DIY, I was gonna try it! A friend of mine refers to me as Martha Stewart, but I really don't think that label fits. I'm more intoaffordable DIY stuff, and I really enjoy the "hands on" part of creating. Nothing against Martha personally, I just see her as more of a TV personality, and she doesn't always create projects that most of us can afford to try. I'm also not a fan of using and wasting food, like huge vases full of lemons or large baskets full of bread, simply to create a nice aroma in your home. That's just not me.

Jane: Why do you enjoy creating?

NaLa: If I told you that creating gave me a rush, it would be an understatement. Nothing makes me happier than going down a new artistic path and finding out I have a talent for it--and nothing surprises me more either! If you would have told me when I was younger that I was capable of all these DIY and handmade types of things, I would have said, "Wow, you don't know me very well, do you?" Now it's a way of life for me, and I don't know what I would do if I couldn't create something beautiful.

Jane: How long does it take you to create a piece?

NaLa: When it comes to my jewelry, which is where most of my creative energy goes these days, the time it takes me to finish a piece varies widely depending on what type of piece it is. Learning a new technique takes the most time and patience for me. Some skills are easier than others to learn and perfect, but as with most everything, they get easier the more you play around and practice with them. You should see me in the shop as I wrestle with a new technique, practically breaking out into a cold sweat as I strive to get it just exactly right!

Jane: When do you do most of your creating?

NaLa: All my intentions are good. I always plan on getting up early in the morning and going to work like "normal" people do. That may be the plan, but I find that I'm the most creative late at night. I tend to flitter the day away more often than I'd like, wasting precious time. When evening comes, I turn into this mad woman, suddenly energized to get absolutely everything done. I guess if I had an outside job, I'd be more productive on the swing or midnight shifts.

Jane: What is the most popular item in your shop right now?

NaLa: I never really analyzed it, but I don't think there's a particular favorite or much of a pattern to the items I've sold. I use a wide variety of materials including sterling silver, brass, freshwater pearl, Czech glass, jasper, quartz, hematite, and Swarovski crystal, and I've sold a little of everything. Currently, the most popular item in my shop are my Irish Eyes Swarovski and Silver earrings. They've been featured in many places, including Etsy's front page and have been sold to locations as far away as Australia. It blows my mind to think that my jewelry is being worn and enjoyed on the other side of the world.

Jane: What advice can you give to other online sellers?

NaLa: I think doing your own thing is important. Don't try to adopt anyone else's style, because when it comes to creativity, it's really what's in your own heart and mind that's important. Sure, you can get ideas and inspiration from all sorts of different places, but then use that inspiration to create something that's unmistakably you.

The other key to success is marketing. Ummm, I haven't quite figured that one out yet! I'm trying to do the networking thing on places like Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Stumble Upon, Handmade Artists Forum, Indie Junction, etc., and I'm constantly on the lookout for other quality sites that are supportive of the handmade community.

Jane: What is your favorite part of being a member of Etsy?

NaLa: I get a tremendous feeling of camaraderie from being a member of the Etsy community. There's this sort of "we're all in this together" feeling you get when you open an Etsyshop. The sellers there are so wonderful and supportive of one another and eager to help you in any way they can. I get a very real sense of pride from being part of that community. Suddenly you find yourself among this amazing group of talented artists and craftspeople, and you can't wait to tell everyone you know that you're there. Another extremely important factor for me is that the people who run Etsy seem to realize that the cost of "owning" an online store is a very important factor for online entrepreneurs. I previously tried other online selling sites, but they were too expensive for me to show the amount of things I wanted to show, and they didn't display them for four months likeEtsy does. Etsy takes some of the sting out of having an online store with multiple items. In that very important sense, they are a real friend to the handmade community.

Jane: How do you balance creating with your home life?

NaLa: Everything in life is a balancing act. I just develop a list of priorities and try to go from there.

Jane: How do you organize things?

NaLa: I used to be a world class organizer. Everything HAD a place and everything was IN its place. That facet of my personality seems to have diminished in direct correlation with my artistic growth ... hmmm, I wonder if there's something significant about that! Now I'd rather create than worry about what's where. Don't get me wrong, I do try to keep things neat and orderly, because I can get more done that way, it's just that shiny objects tend to distract me from time to time ...

Jane: What inspires you?

NaLa: I don't know. I just know that I am inspired. I'm inspired to create. Period. I wasn't born with it, it was somehow thrust upon me--and I love it.

Jane: Who are your other favorite online sellers?

NaLa: I have many. I won't mention any of my own personal favorites, because what interests me isn't necessarily what would catch someone else's eye, and I wouldn't want to distract them from finding their own personal favorite shops. Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, and I dare anyone to search the Internet and not come away with more than a few favorite shops of their own. No matter what one's own sense of taste or style is, there is definitely something for everyone.

Jane: What are your future goals?

NaLa: To continue to create while learning the secrets of Internet SEO. I want to be able to continue doing what I love doing, which is creating and making jewelry. I figure the only way I'll be able to do it is by coming up with designs that people love and want for their very own, being able to find my target audience, and enjoying a sufficient amount of financial success in the process. I'm not askin' for too much, am I?

If you think this interview is not enough for you to know the artist behind NaLa jewelries, please visit these sites:


  1. Great interview NaLa. I liked the way you decriveded how DIY changed your life.
    Good luck.Yael