hi everyone! please welcome joanna from twisted whimsy designs to the savvy summer interview series!
tell us a little about yourself, what do you create and how did you get your start?
Hello loves! My name is Joanna, I’m a graphic designer by day and a maker in metal by nights/weekends (and anywhere else I can squeeze it in!) and the owner of Twisted Whimsy Designs.
In my shop you will find a piece of my soul and items to adorn your sacred space and journey with. Jewelry to carry with you each day, full of earthly elements and gems and stones that heal and lighten your steps as well as art to fill your home with and create your own sacred space with.
from where do you gather inspiration?
I have this strange knack for finding inspiration everywhere. My eyes are always open and looking for new colors, shapes and textures. I love being outside, nature never fails with her every changing beauty. I also draw a lot of ideas from my Native American heritage, the fabrics, designs, tools and sacred traditions are a huge part of my jewelry designs.
what does your typical day look like?
I still have a full-time day job, so Monday thru Friday from 8-5 I’m in the office being a corporate graphic designer for a health care company. But I carry my journal with me to the office and jot down ideas and sketches throughout the day. In the evening I work on freelance graphic design projects and post to my blog or social media.
Weekends are creating time for my true passions. I wake up early. I drink a big mug of coffee, sit outside for a bit and watch my two golden retrievers play and I plan my day. Next I typically head to my studio and fill orders first, then I let my muse take over.
Some days I wake up with lots of new jewelry ideas and I get right to cutting and forging metal (especially when putting together a new line), other days I have digital art ideas screaming to come to life. In between, I put a presence in on my social media avenues like Instagram (@twistedwhimsy), facebook and pinterest. Sharing ideas, peeks at new items, sales and inspirations.
I always sneak in more play time with the pups at the end of the day, a jog or yoga class and round the day with a glass of wine back in the yard with the pups playing.
what is your creative process like?
I am mostly self-taught, and therefore I don’t always follow the processes they teach you in school. If I’m working on a jewelry project I tend to gather inspiration from everywhere. I have tons of folders and notebooks of images, patterns, textures and colors. I like to sit with them for a while and see what bubbles to the surface. Since I’m a graphic designer I’m most comfortable on the computer and I sketch out shapes and designs for my jewelry there. I’m such a visual person that I tend to create a lot of different prototypes to see how all the pieces fit together. Sometimes it doesn’t work and quite often it leads to new, different ideas.
what first made you want to become an artist?
As a little kid I was always had a crazy imagination and loved making books, writing stories and drawing. But we didn’t have much money and moved almost every year so survival was more important than creating. When I went to college I didn’t even know that art was an option. I studied Microbiology and eventually got a job in the marketing department of the American Red Cross. It was there that I started to do some graphic design work. All of my foundational work was self-taught and as I dug deeper into taking classes and surrounding myself with inspirational people, I fell in love with the idea of creating as a career. In 2005 I took a metal art jewelry class and I haven’t put my saw and hammer down since. When I cut metal it’s like meditative music and I love every bit of it. There is nothing like seeing a vision through to a wearable piece of art or taking a snippet from a dream and creating a print.
what’s your biggest dream?
I want a simple but joyful life and sitting in a cubicle 40 + hours a week doesn’t fit into that vision for me. I dream of seeing my jewelry and designs in stores and boutiques around the country (dare I say world!) To be able to sustain myself financially off of my own creations, be my own boss and always chase my dreams.
what do you do when you’re not working?
I have two dogs, Crosby and Remy and I so love going for walks with them and hanging out in the backyard with my hands in the garden. I also have 4 nephews ages 9, 5, 3 and 1, that I am madly in love with. So every chance I get I enjoy seeing their sweet faces and hearing them laugh.
what advice do you have for someone who is trying to start their own creative business?
Be patient, be humble but confident in yourself, work hard, never let fear stop you, try not to compare your beginning to someone else’s middle and above all, love what you do and find gratitude and happiness in your days! Etsy has been a wonderfully positive place to begin my creative business. There are teams for support, tons of workshops and great worldwide exposure. Their site is super easy to use and set up, especially if you don’t have the web design skills or time to create your own online store.
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