This week, we interviewed Laura of Laura Salisbury Design. Let's go!
Tell us a little about the items in your shop. What do you make?
I make handcrafted jewelry (mainly necklaces, bracelets and earrings) using silver, brass, gemstones, pearls, lampworked glass and other bits and bobs. I really enjoy working with unique natural stones so a fair amount of my necklaces are on the chunky side with a sort of Dr. Temperance Brennan feel to them but I also like doing smaller, more delicate designs as well. I love playing the colors of the stones off of each other and coming up with unusual but complimentary combinations.
What is your creative process?
The creative bit is trying to evoke things or feelings with design and color - the color of morning sunlight as it's filtered through leaves on a tree, the way candlelight reflects off of a wineglass, the brightness and variety of colors of the neighborhood flowers in the Spring, the gray subtleties of an overcast day at the beach, the dry heat of a desert, you name it. Color is a huge part of my inspiration and I generally end up spreading all of my stones out and look at them as a palate. The process bit is more mundane. Sit down and look at the stones, get up to make tea, sit down, answer a question from my son, turn back to my worktable and stare blankly, get up to go to the bathroom, come back to remove a cat from the middle of my stuff, push a few stones around, go off in search of a snack. Eventually, I'll settle into a good place and see what speaks to me. I'll chose a main focal stone or some really cool components and play around with pairings until I find something that just feels right. Sometimes I choose stones solely based on color but other times, especially for custom pieces, I'll go more on the intent or meaning behind the stone. When I get on a good roll, everything else just drops away.
Which Etsy Teams do you belong to?
PDXEtsy and TeamBPAL
When you are not creating things, what do you do?
My mom showed me how to knit a little while ago and I'm finding it to be very fun. I love to read and frequently have my nose buried in a book (recently I've been devouring all of Christopher Moore's books). I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time on the computer doing things of questionable worth. When I have a working sewing machine, I like to sew. I have two of the most awesome cats in the world that I love cuddling up with. Since it's summer now, I've been spending a lot of extra time hanging out with my son and husband, which has been really lovely.
Tell us two random, interesting things about you.
Random? Certainly. Interesting? Debatable. 1 - I was on the track team in high school even though, bizarrely, I have no real memory of it. I only rediscovered the fact after an old friend from high school made a reference to it on Facebook which prompted me to pull out a yearbook and look up the team pictures only to see myself there. Brief snippits of memories have since come back but it's all very strange and makes me wonder just what else I've forgotten. 2 - I am capable of eating obscenely inhuman quantities of the following in one sitting: guacamole, ice cream and breakfast cereal. Its disturbing, really.
What has been your proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?
I think my proudest moment was the first time I was asked to make someone's wedding jewelry. She wanted me to make her jewelry and the necklaces for all the bridesmaids as well, all of them unique. I was so excited and nervous and when they were finished, and she loved them as much as I hoped she would, I felt so very happy, privileged and proud to have contributed something special to her wedding day.
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Professional-looking item photos are crucial. Learn a bit about lighting and learn about the manual settings on your camera. I, myself, am finding this to be a thing easier said than done and continue to struggle with getting good photos. I've had days where I wanted nothing more than to smash my camera with a sledgehammer but I really do believe it's worth the extra effort.
What handmade possession do you cherish?
The jewelry I made for my wedding will always be close to my heart even though it's not exactly an example of my best work. It was made while thinking very happy thoughts and it made me feel beautiful. It still makes me feel beautiful every time I wear it. One other handmade thing that I cherish is not technically mine and I didn't make it. When my son was born my father made him a special quilt that he designed himself. It turned out beautifully. He'd never made a quilt before and did it with the help of a friend and every time I see it I see all the love that went into it. There are so many other things...the dolls my mother made for me when I was little (I still have them), the teapot cozy a good friend knitted for me, my husband's paintings. Personally, I think that when someone makes something for you, and they focus all of that care, attention and intent on what they're doing, they instill a bit of themselves - a bit of their own uniqueness - into whatever they make. Handmade items have a spark in them that makes them very special.
If you could have any item on Etsy regardless of price, what would it be?
This gorgeous French Style Curved Front Antique Bed. I'd probably paint it black if I got it but I love this bed!
What other skill or talent do you wish you could possess, if you had not taken this creative path?
My dad's a professional musician and I love music but the talent skipped me. He tried to teach me any number of instruments as I was growing up but none of them took, mostly because he was my dad and I was stubborn. Now that I'm grown I could kick myself for not sticking with it. I've always wanted to be musical in some way, either by singing or playing an instrument. I'd love to be able to dance. I also have an inexplicable desire to learn how to weld.
Where can we find you on the web?
Thanks for the interview, Laura! We'll return once again in two weeks with another interview.