Meet the Maker
This interview was from Septemeber 17, 2014 by Natalie McKenna of Creative Bead Chat blog and is a very thorough treatise on who I am and why I do what I do.
Tell us a little about you and your business, how it came to be what it is today, where did it all begin?
The name of my company is Tesori Trovati which is Italian for ‘treasures found’.
I started making jewelry as more than just a hobby back in 2006. At that time my college roommate had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I had a vision of making a charm bracelet with a variety of healing gemstones on it all wire wrapped. Of course, I had no idea which gemstones and I had never done a wire wrapped dangle, but that didn’t stop me. I knew from that moment on that I loved making things that had a sense of purpose, told a story or exuded positivity.
The first piece I ever submitted to a magazine in 2008 was selected and from there things just kept on going strong, including appearances in books and magazines, winning contests and writing for blogs, like my favorite Art Bead Scene (www.artbeadscene.com).
In 2010 I had a very successful collaborative art exhibit at our local art gallery named Gallery Q. It was called ‘Inspired by…’ where I took my love of art and art beads sparked by Art Bead Scene. Seven Gallery Q artists gave me eleven works of art which I sent pictures to thirteen different bead artists around the world and invited them to create whatever inspired them. I had not quite two months to make the collection of 78 art-bead-filled creations for this unique collaborative exhibit.
Later that year I decided that I wanted to challenge myself to come up with a line of components that I would like to use in my own creations and the Simple Truths were born. Simple Truths are whimsical polymer clay creations set in metal bezels colored in a bright but soft color palette born of inks, stains and paint and then sealed. Many of the Simple Truths include a message. The very first ones that I made were selected by the Beads 2011 publication as well as gracing the cover of Stringing Summer 2011. I continue to morph that line into an ever-changing set of hand-made components that are sold to designers around the world. This year is the 5th anniversary of the Gallery Q and we just opened up the collaborative exhibit that I suggested called ‘Brought to You by the Letter Q’ that features over 40 pieces of artwork, each with a hidden ‘Q’ in it. I am very proud of collaborative efforts and look forward to doing more!
Color is a huge influence for me! I have been described as a ‘color addict’ and I have taken that passion to a monthly color palette challenge on the Halcraft blog (www.halcraft.com/blog) as well as my highly anticipated Challenge of Color blog hop each November. 2014 marks the fifth anniversary of that blog hop! I will have to do it up big this time!
My sense of design has evolved over the years. I started out with just simple patterned necklace but quickly got bored with that so I started pulling together looks that included found objects, repurposed materials and even hardware store finds. That is where the name ‘Tesori Trovati’ developed, as a way to name my line of found object jewelry. But the name soon became synonymous with everything I made, so it sort of stuck! I like to say that each piece I make is a treasure waiting to be found by the right wearer and it makes me so happy when people tell me that what I created feels like it was made just for them.
I am hugely influenced by nature, architecture, music, world cultures and poetry. The poetry and my childhood crush on Mary Engelbreit and her whimsical illustrations paired with heart-felt quotes inspired my Simple Truths line.
Creating something from nothing is a huge rush for me. However, there has to be a back story to every piece that I make. I have to be inspired by something. Sure, I can crank out pretty jewelry made with pretty beads, but if it doesn’t tell a story then it is not infused with life and is therefore rather hollow to me. Fortunately, there is no shortage of inspiration!
The most frustrating aspect is that there is no shortage of inspiration! I only have a very limited number of hours in each day to create – I usually say that this is my 9-midnight foolishness – so I have to be choosy. I have so many ideas and would love to work more with metal (every single class I ever take is devoted to metal work in some way), crafting each piece in my art jewelry by hand, but I often have to sacrifice a fully hand-made piece to one that completes my vision in the limited time I have.
You create both jewelry and components, which do you prefer?
Jewelry is where I got my start so it is really what I love to create. I love the meditative effect of going to my bead cabinet (or bead bowls or bead bins or bead bags – truly, I have a sickness!) and finding just the right art bead to start the process. From there I love to put together unexpected color combinations, play with textures and shapes, mix metals and materials, and make a piece that has a life of its own.
From the moment that I started making my Simple Truths, I loved them! Originally, I had the idea that there would be no two alike, but that became hard to sustain. Now I only
make limited runs of the pieces that I make so that keeps them special and helps me to never settle for boredom.
I love to come up with new pieces to add to my Simple Truths line. I try to stick to items that I would like to use and not so focused on following trends, but sometimes I get lucky, like with my new ‘Wanderlust’ series. These tribal-influenced pieces are perfect for the gypsy soul and I love the bright pops of color that make me feel happy! They feel very retro but also very now.
In 2012 I started offering the Simple Truths Sampler Club. This subscription service is limited to only 20 participants per month and can be purchased in 3-, 6-, 9- or 12-months. Because the participants are few, I get to know them like treasured friends (read a lovely testimonial on the Club from Sarajo Wentling and Ann Schroeder). In 2013, I decided to stretch myself and vowed that I would use the Art Bead Scene art as my inspiration. I think that I have created some of the best Simple Truths from limiting myself to this art! I also challenged myself to find new-to-me methods of working with polymer clay, from creating canes, making reliefs, using gold leaf or carving my own texture plates. I am working right now on both the July Sampler and I am very excited to be bringing this one to life!
To me, handmade is heartmade. Focusing on hand-crafted beads and findings and putting a personal stamp on everything you do, that is what gives a piece the heart. I would love to make all my components (clasps, chain, etc) by hand, but that is not realistic for me at this time and not necessary for me to believe that it is handmade. If it is a design that truly comes from the heart you will know it when you see it!
Where can we find out more about you and your work?
Etsy: www.TesoriTrovati.Etsy.com – For one-offs, samples and very limited edition Simple Truths
Web: www.TesoriTrovati.com – for custom, made-to-order Simple Truths and available jewelry
www.ArtBeadScene.com – where I am one of the editors and write weekly posts
www.earrings-everyday.blogspot.com – where I host a montly We’re All Ears challenge on the first and third Fridays of the month
www.halcraft.com/blog – where I host a monthly color palette challenge called Pretty Palettes generally on the first and last Wednesdays of the month, including inviting another blogger to be my Pretty Palettes partner for the month