Wednesday, November 2, 2011
November Artist of the Month~ Lauren Beacham, jerseymaids
With all that is going on in the world economy today, it is so *great* to see someone who can step out of a comfortable spot in life and follow their (he)art in a full time business. Lauren Beacham is a craftsperson who focuses on items made from the images of her Polaroid photography. This creates a truly unique look as no one else will have these photographs. Earlier this year, she made the huge step to focus on her craft full time.
Read on to find out what other life decision has been shaping her product line.
Q~ How did you get started?
A~ I got started on my first piece of functional art when I went on a fruitless search for Polaroid jewelry, coming up empty handed. With that disappointment, I decided to make my own using my Polaroids on shrink plastic and they were adorable! I got so many compliments, gave a number of them as gifts and I finally realized I could probably try selling them. What would it hurt? So the jerseymaids shop on Etsy was born in July 2007. Since then, it's been quite an adventure.
Q~ Do you have any special training or education?
A~ I have a bachelor's degree in photography and computer imaging.
Q~ Do you have a favorite material, medium or substrate you love to work with?
A~ Being a photographer at heart, Polaroid film is my number one favorite tool to use and it's the film I use exclusively in all of my public work. The medium produces a nostalgic dream-like world that has always captivated me. Merging these images with vintage and antique inspired materials, such as jewelry, results in a very fun and easily enjoyable line of products.
Q~ Why do you continue?
A~ For the sheer love of it and the knowledge that I would not function as a normal human being if I didn't. That love and drive has also brought me to a point in my life and business where I was able to leave my job and focus on my art as my entire livelihood.
Q~ What is a greatest success story?
A~ For me, thus far, my greatest success was coming to the realization that I could do this for a living. The preparation time was stressful and full of doubt. When I finally made the plunge in July of 2011, it has been nothing but an uphill journey since. Knowing I can pay the bills, put food on the table and still have some left over based on my hard work is the most gratifying feeling in the world. And I got here on my own terms - without depending on anyone else.
Q~ Where are you based?
A~ I'm in the DC metro area, Frederick Maryland to be exact.
Q~ Where would you live if you could live anywhere?
A~ I actually really love where I live right now. It's a big city with a small town feel and a great community - particularly in the arts. It has everything we need and love - great food, good friends, easy access to DC, Baltimore and family. So, right now, I can honestly say I don't have an enormous desire to LIVE anywhere else. Although I am dying to go spend a bout of time in Italy.
Q~ What would you be doing if not this?
A~ If not doing this, I would probably continue down the career path I began on - in the gallery directing and curating line of work. Right out of college I had the good fortune to be hired as a gallery director in a great place in Frederick (which is what brought me here in the first place.) Without being given the opportunity and gaining the experience I did, I really believe I would not have been nearly as successful as I have been. Seeing the world of art from a business perspective, while maybe a harsh awakening to the starry eyed art student, was a very important bundle of knowledge I needed to have in order to succeed.
Q~ What is next?
A~ Next? Well...as jerseymaids, I'm extremely excited about the holidays. This is the first year I've offered personalized items in my shop and think they will be a booming success this holiday season. My wedding line has been a great new success for me this year, so I plan on giving that more attention in the coming months. I also hope to push myself outside the box for shows in 2012, trying new things I had not thought of before.
For me personally, I just got engaged! So the new year will also be full of lots of wedding planning, crafting parties, and getting ready to share the rest of my life with the man I love. All very happy and exciting things :)
Contact Lauren on the following websites:
Now that you know more, and since you just *have* to order something, Lauren is offering 15% off for the month of November on everything. Order through her Etsy shop and use the coupon code “happyholidays”, valid only November 1-30. Personalized, handcrafted jewelry? Who wouldn’t want that!
Isn’t it curious that Lauren’s wedding line just happened to be popular the year she gets engaged? Perhaps in a few years, the baby picture items will be taking off!
There has been an image flying around online lately:
While we all can’t help but shop at a few ‘big box’ stores, this holiday season, perhaps we can also try to frequent some smaller stores and boutiques, support artists and local businesses. Look around your neighborhood, where you live and work. Has a new business opened recently? This holiday season will be of the utmost importance for them. Help make the business solvent by supporting them in your shopping decisions.
I’ve already started my shopping by getting some earrings from Lauren, as well as a custom made book from Sande’s Handmade Books, some bath products from Interlaken Soak Company and soap from the Bunny Butt Apothecary. I love giving special, hand crafted items to people I love, as I think those things are more personal and endearing.
Buying from local craftspeople and business helps keeps your dollars local, where it matters most!
Happy shopping! ~Jen
Green Tip~ Save time and money at crafts shows this holiday season
There is probably a school or synagogue or community center in your neighborhood that is having a craft show or holiday bazaar in the next few months. In shopping there, you are supporting the crafters, that organization and the community at large. Save time and money with one stop shopping, instead of driving all around town!