One of the great parts of this job is getting to know creative & interesting people like Nancy Schindler of Round Rabbit! Her ornate and beautifully crafted porcelain pendants are gorgeous and it was a no-brainer when it came time to find the right artist for Dragonfly Pool! Her story is truly inspirational to all of us and should give encouragement to anyone just getting started.
• How long have you been designing (selling) beads?
- I started selling beads and components about four years ago as a side business to my line of porcelain jewelry which was my primary business at the time. As my stamina and joy for doing endless craft shows dwindled and my component sales increased I decided to focus my attention on beads. Those who know me well know that I had a difficult time making the transition from primarily a jewelry maker to a bead maker, creatively speaking. I have, however, come to appreciate and cherish what I have learned from making that transition. Making beads and components has proven to be the best way to continually learn from my medium, clay, and to take techniques and my skills farther than I would have had I remained solely a jewelry maker.
• What is your background and how did you get started?
- My background has always had a foundation in art of some sort. Many years ago I had a successful stained glass mosaic business that was primarily a wholesale business. I sold to shops and galleries all over the northeastern United States. I sold that business and decided to go back to school and earn a degree in Art History. During that time I took a pottery class with a friend and knew instantly that I wanted to work with clay for the rest of my life. It did not happen over night. A divorce, dropping out of grad school, financial crisis and the realization that I needed to grow up all came before my hobby of making porcelain jewelry morphed into something that would be able to support me. Over five years ago I discovered Etsy and began selling my jewelry there and at craft shows. And that’s how this became a full-time gig.
• Where do you find inspiration for your lines and how often to you introduce new ones?
- I find inspiration everywhere. I’ve found inspiration in the produce section of the grocery store, at the local scrap metal yard, in the mold in my leftovers at the back of the fridge….I’m easily inspired, I guess you could say. Color and texture are endless sources of inspiration. Shape is another simple thing that gets me rather excited. The fact that what I make is intended to be worn is also a fun challenge that keeps my ideas evolving.
About two years ago I decided to no longer repeat designs or have specific lines. I found that production work was causing me to lose my mind so I made a grand declaration that I would no longer be repeating anything and that I would be making everything in limited editions only. I have kept to that declaration, for the most part, and it has proven to be the best creative decision I have ever made. I average around 15 brand new designs in limited numbers every month that I introduce through my blog (http://therabbitmuse.blogspot.com/) and then in my Big Cartel shop (http://roundrabbitextra.bigcartel.com/). Once they have sold I rarely repeat them (though I will if there is enough public outcry…I can’t have sad customers!).
• Do you have a similar design process for each line?
- My design process is pretty fluid. I will often go into my studio with a idea already in mind and that design, more often than not, springboards into the next. Sometimes if I don’t have any clear ideas at the start all it takes is getting the clay out and then the ideas flow. I find clay to be a very inspiring medium. Its possibilities are endless!
• What kind of space do you design & create in?
- My studio is in my home which is an 1870s Victorian house. I have devoted nearly half of my second floor to my studio; one half of the room is for metalsmithing/jewelry making and the other is for clay. It’s a wonderfully huge space (it was originally three rooms!) with very high windows and lots of natural light. It’s a work in progress (as is often the case with old, crumbling homes) but I love it and the thought of working there makes me happy. When I know I will get to have an entire day in my studio I get a warm, fuzzy feeling.
• How often do you get to design jewelry?
- Not nearly often enough. Making jewelry is my true passion so it can be rather frustrating to not be able to focus on that as much as I would like. When I make beads and components I usually have ideas in mind as to how I would use them in my own jewelry. It’s a bit like being locked in a bead shop and not being able to touch anything. Torture!
• What are your favorite Vintaj products to use with your beads?
- I absolutely love to stock up on basic findings such as jump rings, clasps, headpins and chain. The antique patina found on Vintaj pieces is right up my alley since I am very influenced by eras gone by. I make most of the molds I use in my pieces from antique and vintage goodies which coordinate perfectly with pretty much everything Vintaj has to offer!
• Is there anything you can add about our theme, Dragonfly Pool?
- Dragonfly Pool is a perfect theme! I am currently in the throws of a pretty heavy duty winged-insect obsession so the timing is just right. All of my components that the Vintaj design team chose work incredibly well with the Vintaj style. I have always considered my work to be a modern interpretation of a classic, antique aesthetic and I can’t think of a better pairing!
To learn more about Nancy & Round Rabbit visit…