Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Interview - meet Meghann - from etsy shop Little Studio Jewels

A while ago I received a very beautiful handmade ring all the way from Canada. It fitted perfectly and was stunning - sparkling brilliantly in the sunlight!

I showed my Chinese Horse the ring and he was amazed too. As he admired it I felt a scraping on the ring - and looking closer I spotted Priceless clinging to the everlasting Chinese knot - making small assults on the green swarovski crystals!

Priceless still had his apple fixation! tut tut!

However, the crystals are still perfect! and I was the owner of a beautiful piece of jewellery by the very talented Meghann of Little Studio Photography and Jewels. I also have one of her rich flower photographs.

As a member of Etsy For Animals I like to include fellow team members in my treasuries and when searching fellow members sites I came across etsy shop Little Studio Jewels where there was the most amazing and intricate wire wrapped and beaded jewellery and lush flower photographs.

I was pleased to meet Meghann and become acquainted with her blog Little Studio Photography and Jewellery and her gorgeous dog Arwen.

I was also very impressed with Meghann's excellent copywriting skills. She has a natural talent for writing compelling descriptions and this professionalism compliments her exquisite jewellery well.

Arwen has heard her name mentioned but is playing it cool!
Isn't she beautiful and look at all those wonderful grey hairs on her muzzle. Arwen is a youngster though she carries the grey gracefully.

I know Meghann works hard running her etsy shop, charitible giving, blogs and looking after her family so I was very thankful when she agreed to take time out and answer a few of my questions for everyone who kindly stops by here.



Tell me a bit about the animal organizations you support and in what way you support them.

I support a few animal organizations, both by giving 10% of my monthly sales to charity and also by giving a certain dollar amount in some items to certain charities.
I currently try to support Epic Farms (http://www.epicfarms.com) which is a great Horse rescue in Alabama,
the Country Cat Sanctuary (http://www.countrycatrescue.com/) in Oxford Station, Ontario,
the Lanark Animal Welfare Society (http://www.lanarkanimals.ca/) in Lanark, Ontario,
and the Rideau Valley Wildlife Sanctuary (http://www.rideauwildlife.org) in Ottawa, Ontario.
I do also try to donate to the National Wildlife Federation (http://www.nwf.org) as they are international helpers of animals.

What motivated you to get involved with them?

I love animals. From early on in my childhood I was taught about endangered species around the world and how we need to help them, as well as helping animals in need here, whether it is an abused cat, abandoned dog, or neglected horse. Every animal has feelings, even if they can't express them the way we can, and I feel very strongly that someone needs to speak up for them.

Do you have any stories?

My parents’ cat Sheeba is a Humane Society rescue and I love that.
Animal shelters everywhere do such great work and provide animals with a second chance that they might not have otherwise have had. She is living the good life, and is now 16. Though she is slowing down, she is still happy and well loved.


Arwen with her seal!

You have a very beautiful dog called Arwen. How old is she and where did she come from?

Arwen was a birthday present from my fiancĂ©e Brennan a little over 5 years ago. We had just bought our house and realized that our cat Gandalf wasn’t enough of a space-taker and we needed another set of paws to truly make our house a home.

I found an ad in the paper about a litter of puppies for sale (yes, bad, I know) and drove over 2 hours to find her. She was the last of the litter; the owners were feeding her really bad food. Her coat was rough; she was shy, and not very alert.
Dog books tell you that right there that you shouldn’t take a dog like that, but I knew that I needed to ‘rescue’ her.
Sure enough, we brought her home, got her some really good food, bathed her, brushed her, cut her nails and gave her a good meal and vet checkup and within a week she had doubled her weight, her coat was shiny, eyes bright and she was friendly and playful!

I still remember the first night we tried to have her sleep in her crate in our bedroom – she was pretty attached to me from the start – and she kept whining, so we put her in a rectangular laundry hamper full of folded towels right beside my side of the bed. She kept whimpering in the most pathetic little way and kept trying to climb up the side of our very high bed. Eventually I put her up in the crook of my arm on the bed, right next to the cat, and she fell asleep right away! She even snored! Since then we have been inseparable.

She is a lab/border collie/husky and the border collie/husky breeds are very much ‘one person’ dogs. She does suffer from separation anxiety if we leave for even an hour, but our ‘reunions’ are always that much more special. She is my bud and I am hers :)

What is her favourite toy, food, game and sleeping place?

Her favorite toy is a stuffed seal that my late cat, Gandalf, had used as his ‘special toy’. During his lifetime they always stole it from each other, and after his passing, she has become even more attached to it – I really do think it reminds her of the cat – she had really loved him in her own way. She and the seal are now inseparable (check out this blog post to see how inseparable!) – when I wash it in the washing machine she is really out of sorts!

Her favorite food is without a doubt peanut butter. Put a bit of peanut butter in her Kong and she goes nuts. It is also great if she has to have medication of any kind – stuff the pill in some peanut butter and it is GONE.

She loves to play fetch, but loves to play ‘keep away’ even more. She will smile at you while you chase her around the house or yard, trying to get her ball, or stuffed toy away to throw it for her. It usually ends up being a long game!

Arwen loves to sleep on our bed. At night she sleeps at my feet, but if I have to nap during the day (my fibromyalgia leaves me exhausted more often than not), she will sleep in Brennan’s place, putting her head on his pillow and staring out the window. It is super-cute :)

Do you have any more fur friends or wild visitors?

We have many different wild birds coming to our feeders (I fill them even in the summer to get many different types), and we do occasionally get wild hares (cute!), foxes (startling), raccoons (annoying!), deer (amazing!), fishers (scary!), wolves (also scary) and more, since we live in the country. We have more wild animals than neighbors!


What is your full time job?

I am a full time artist/housewife/dog slave.
After I got sick with fibromyalgia, I couldn’t work outside my home and had to stop going to college. I needed to figure out how to bring in some sort of income (being able to buy food is a good thing!) so I decided to push my photography and jewellery full time.
I had been selling part time as a hobby (and to keep the house from collapsing under the weight of all the jewellery I had stored), so taking the plunge to sell full time, although scary, was sort of a natural thing to do.
I am still learning each day, but the friends I have met, and continue to meet, are fabulous and very supportive, as are my family.
As for the house wife thing, well, I figure that as my husband is pulling in most of the money right now, and thus is supporting us, the least I can do is to try and have the house clean and laundry done when I am feeling well. He is very understanding and doesn’t mind if dinner isn’t ready when he gets home – he knows that I can feel really ill some days, and is actually always really happy when I do something, even if it is just swiffering the floors.
And the dog slave, well, from reading about Arwen, you will know I’m not really a slave. I love my dog and do my best to make sure that she has the best life I can provide for her. I do need to take her on walks more often, but, honestly, she really does run around like an idiot when we play fetch in the hallway, basement or yard, so she is in pretty good shape.

How did your etsy shop come about?

I heard about Etsy from a few friends and thought I really should give it a try. I had been selling on my own personal website with some success, but I really wanted to sell internationally and get more people seeing my work. Etsy has been perfect for that, and so much more.


When did you start to make jewellery?
I started making jewellery when I was a kid – you know, gimp and friendship bracelets made from embroidery floss and that sort of thing, but in high school I didn’t have much money and I really couldn’t stand the cheap jewellery marketed to teens, but couldn’t afford the nice pieces that I really liked in the fancier jewellery stores –I started to make my own instead.
It wasn’t until I got really sick and left my school and other job, however, that I really started to make jewellery for fun and income.
When did you start to take photographs?
I have always been fascinated by photography. I can remember when I was about 9 I got a Barbie camera that took the most horrible pictures (maybe it was me, I don’t know!) but I had SO much fun. When I was 13 I was invited to drive across Canada with my best friend and her family – it sounded pretty cool.
What was wonderful was that my mom got me this little point and shoot camera and 6 rolls of film (remember film??) – One for each week I would be travelling. I took a TON of photos, some of which were so good I sell them to this day. I was hooked!

Where does your inspiration come from for all your jewellery pieces?
My jewellery inspirations come to me at the oddest times. I live in a forest and the forest, nature, seasons and animals all inspire me.
Currently I am working on a new collection named NeoAmour. It is based on powerful women of the past, but redesigned for women today.
I researched the most amazing women – Marie Antoinette (horribly misunderstood), Elizabeth 1 (so determined), Boudicca the Celtic Warrior Queen (talk about triumph in the face of adversity) and so many more.
I am making about 1-2 pieces per week just in this collection, so be sure to check my Etsy store and my blog regularly for new pieces and updates.
and the inspiration for your photographs?
Honestly, my dog and cat (when he was alive) keep me in hysterics, so it is easy to get inspired by them.
The flowers and landscapes of my country setting do the rest!
Do you have a creating 'ritual'? if so - what is it?
Oh my! First, I need my house/workspace to be clean. I can’t concentrate in clutter (I’m currently trying to save up and redo my office as it is not conducive to creativity at all, so I work mostly in my living room now!)
Everything around me needs to be tidy. Not show-room tidy, but clean. I need to be comfortable, so a comfy chair or couch is in order, as well as having a glass of water, music or the TV at a low volume, and I will lay out all of my supplies in front of me. Then I can begin, but I need to take frequent breaks to make sure I don’t get too sore or frustrated – I always want things to be done Now, and some of my latest pieces are taking hours and days to finish – breaks are definitely required!
What has and hasn't worked for you?
Advertising in papers was a disaster. I lost sooo much money it was ridiculous. The only calls I got were from people wanting to sell me adspace elsewhere !!
Also, I can’t make what I don’t like or just isn’t ‘me’. I’ve tried it, and it just doesn’t work.
I have had such a hard time coming to that realization. I can’t make jewellery thinking that someone into the ‘goth’ trend will like it, or because I want to look ‘cool’ (that is a hard one for me – I was never cool and wanted so desperately to be the cool one, instead of the geeky one!)
I make “pretty” jewellery – when you look at it you go “Aww! That is so pretty!”
I’ve tried to make ‘goth’, funky, punk, etc., but it never works, or sells. My mind just isn’t in that sort of creative space I suppose. Many people can make amazing ‘goth’ or punk or funky jewellery, I’m just not one of them. I love it all, in fact I am often sort of in awe of the people who can make so many different types of art. Maybe I will be one of those people one day, but for now, I have to go with my heart and my creative head space and do what they tell me and make PRETTY things.

What is your favourite item in your etsy shop and why?
Oh that is so tough!
I would have to say it is my MarieAntoinette Pink Daisy Lace Necklace
I have actually had this design in my head, in one form or another, for over ten years, but it wasn’t until I started researching Marie Antoinette that it finally ‘gelled’ and came out the way I wanted it to.
Where else do you sell / exhibit / show your work?
I sell also on my iCraft store, and Artfire Store.
I am trying to come up with a way to sell an ‘Item of the Week’ on my blog; I just need to find the room!
I also sell some items in a store near Toronto called Rose Charm, a spa in Spencerville called Petit Retreat Spa, and I occasionally have jewellery for sale and teach jewellery making classes in the Bead Store in Kemptville.

What ideas / works do you have planned for the future?
I am definitely going to continue my NeoAmour collection, as well as trying new jewellery making techniques and materials.
I have a line of tutorials in the works that will allow almost anyone to make their own beautiful pieces in their own home. I really want to make this my full time income, I love it so much, every day is such a blessing to be able to work for myself and meet new people from around the world!
What do you collect? and why?
I love getting art from my Etsy friends. I have met a few people and been able to buy or trade some of their works for my jewellery and photography and it is such a joy to be able to walk into my living room or my office and say,
“Wow, this person made this with their own hands, just for me!”
it is a feeling I can’t even describe. It makes me feel so special.
The quilts my mom made for me are just as special.
Again, I think anything that is made just for me is so wonderful, I feel so blessed to be able to have a piece of their passion in my possession. It’s incredible!
I also have many, many, MANY books. It may be an addiction; I’m not sure, but I LOVE to read. I love to learn from books, I love to escape the everyday with books. A book is the best vacation you will ever take – with a little imagination, you will go places that don’t exist and have the time of your life doing it.
And all for the fraction of the cost of a plane ticket.
How many of your dreams have you achieved?
Oh boy, that is tough! I am my own worst, harshest, meanest critic, so the first thing that comes to mind is that I haven’t achieved any!
I suppose however, that I have achieved a few:
I found a great guy – check!
I started my own business – check!
I taught myself how to garden and landscaped my home – CHECK!
I taught myself to make jewellery – big check!
Thinking more about this, I suppose that being sick so often has really made me think in terms of smaller things, my favorite goal being to achieve one little BIG thing each day.
This means that it might be something small to the average person, like exercising or cleaning the kitchen. For me, being sick, sore and tired means that doing any of these things is like the average person climbing Mount Everest….without oxygen.
I have many dreams that have yet to be scaled down (like having a horse farm, I’m holding out for that one!), but I am learning to be happy accomplishing small dreams, like folding and putting the laundry away on the same day.
And any dreams you would like to share?
I would love to have my Etsy store my full time income so that I can make and sell pieces every day.
I would also love to have a farm, like I said above,
and I really want to get married next year, we just really don’t have the money yet.
As I said, it is a dream, and I do believe that if you think positively enough about something, it will happen.
Arwen has taken note Meghann - and she would love to be flower girl :) !!
Here she is giving you her best side!

Anything you would like to add?

If you have a dream, make it happen in little steps.

Take a night course, read a good book, talk to someone doing what you want to do and make it happen.

Life is far too short to live in “what if’s” or “I don’t know’s”.

You CAN do what you want to do or be the person you want to be, the only thing holding you back is YOU!

Just remember to give back as soon as you are able to – if you have had help, make sure to help others, what goes around will come back around :)

Thanks for taking the time to read this; I really appreciate this and everyone reading it!
Thanks so much for doing this Annette, I really appreciate it! ~ Meghann

~
Meghann - thank you so much! for taking the time to share these insightful thoughts and very valuable pointers! and please give beautiful Arwen a cuddle from me!

8 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for featuring me on your amazing blog Annette! What a wonderful way to wake up this morning, thank you very much!!
    I cuddled Arwen, she sends you hugs back :)

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  2. thanks Meghann! :)
    glad you had a nice start to your day!

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  3. i loved reading this interview. thank you.

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  4. What a fantastic interview ~ Meghann's pieces are gorgeous ~ you can tell from her pieces that she herself is a very special person :)

    Lily

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  5. Arwen is beautiful! and I love the name *snicker* Gandalf too. My husband brought home my puppy pre-named, which is why I couldn't name him something AWESOME like Frodo or Strider. Velcro was on the table too. My dog's name is Colby, after my husband's favorite pitcher, Cole Hamels. So lame, I know.

    www.caninedesign.etsy.com

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  6. Fantastic interview :)
    I love jewels !!!
    The picture from the horse is so cute :)
    And her Dog is a sweetie :)

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  7. This is a really nice interview. I love Meghann's work. And I loved hearing about her, her pets, and her creative live.
    Thank you for sharing, Annette

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  8. thank you Kim

    and Lily, I agree, Meghann's work is special

    Arwen is a stunner Laura! a very dignified canine

    thanks Anya!

    you are welcome Elizabeth, thank you!

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