Wednesday, February 4, 2009

This Week's Featured Artist: Jamee Jones creator of Jonara Blu Maui

Name and Business name: Jamee Jones - Jonara Blu Maui

Tell us a little about yourself and your business: When I was about 9 years old I inherited a shoebox full of colorful beads. My babysitter gave it to me as well as taught me some beading basics. I've been beading off and on ever since. I've taught myself and picked up things over the years from others including my friends grandmother who spoke no English but managed to teach me how to make brick stitched earrings.

Since moving to Maui in 1992 I have been very inspired by this beautiful island and especially it's many beach brides. I think my work has definitely captured the feel of romance here on the islands as well as it's kick-back relaxed atmosphere. While using many different semi precious gemstones and metals, my favorite components to work with are pearls, shell and silk. This is what I use to create my specialty... romantic, feminine beach wedding jewelry with a beachy-organic appeal.

What made you get started in your business?: I had a long break from beading as I was busy with other artistic endeavors as well as getting married and having a child. My addiction to it was renewed when I started working w/ a local Maui artist stringing jewelry for her and painting intricate patterns on her ceramic handmade beads. Working for her got me excited about designing my own styles again so by 2002 I had collected enough of my own stash again and started selling at local craft fairs. Finally in 2003 I started selling online.

I have to say though that a big reason for doing it as a business is probably the same for a lot of's an expensive habit and you have to find some way to support it! But beyond that it's been a definite help to my family since I was a stay at home homeschool mom and now I take care of my son who is chronically ill. It gives me a way to make a little income with out having to be out in the work force.

Anything else you’d like to share: I am quite shy so I have a hard time marketing myself in real life. The internet has been wonderful and has given me opportunities I would have never imagined. I have been fortunate enough do some corporate gifts orders. One I did was for Volvo Trucks which involved making 250 bracelets for their employees going to Tahiti. While I mostly make one of a kind pieces I was able to come up w/ some styles for them and follow a similar look for groupings of the bracelets. It was a blast to do and the company was wonderful to work with. Also a really cool shop in Poole England called "B-Side the Sea" found me and has been carrying my jewelry there for about 2 years.

As far as Etsy Teams, I have just recently gotten involved in one that invited me. It's called 'Create Ability' and it is for artists that have disabilities, or are caregivers of those with disabilities. I do not have a disability other then being a bit scattered...but as mentioned above I am a caregiver for my son. I've already been in a few treasuries through this team and I'm looking forward to learning more of whats involved and helping to support it.

Tell us about your favorite item currently listed in your shop: This necklace called "Abalone Island" is probably one of my favorite pieces right now..I just love working with paua abalone shell..the color is so amazing:

Links to your Etsy shop, website and/or blog:

Twitter: jonarablu

My favorite from Jonara Blu Maui: I love rings, and Jonara Blu's Purple Crazy Lace Agate ring is beautiful. The copper really sets the stone off and stands out from standard silver and gold.