Monday, July 12, 2010

Profile of a Mad Scientist: nikhajewelry

The Mad Scientists of Etsy present the seventh Mad Scientist Profile. Who are these people who both love science and love to create? What does science mean to them? How do they make the things they do? Well, we're going to tell you!

As part of our on-going series, Ana from ScienceKitty interviewed Nirajan of Nikha Jewelry.

I love Nirajan’s wire-wrapped pieces. It is difficult to restrain myself from buying her Mystic Quartz Amethyst and Opal necklace. In addition to making absolutely gorgeous jewelry, Nirajan is studying to be a Geologist. She just got back from Geology summer camp a few days ago.

Your wire-wrapped pieces are beautiful - how long does it take you to make one of your necklaces?

Thanks! It takes about an hour to do a simple gemstone chain, about an hour to do a netted bezel cabochon, and up to 3 days to do the really fancy wire wrapped designs!

Where/when do you make your creations?

I’m located in Santa Fe, NM. I make jewelry when I get a chance in between school and being a mom, usually on weekends. I have a little corner of the house with my jewelry “bench” and all my supplies. Always need more space though!

What area of science have you studied? Do you work/play in science now?

I’m studying to become a geologist. I also have a small research job on campus that allows me to do some work in my field while I study. I’m especially interested in volcanology and fault mechanics. I’m also a life-long rock hound and love going to neat places to hunt for minerals and interesting rocks!

How does you scientific background effect your creations?

Oh, it does! I have some pieces that I made that were directly inspired by geology – I make an erupting volcano wire wrapped necklace, earthquake focal mechanism pendants, ripple mark bracelets and have ideas for TONS of other jewelry ideas directly from geology/science! Now if I only had the time to make them all! I call my geology inspired creations “GeoJewelz”.

To which Etsy Teams do you belong?

I belong to Mad Scientists of Etsy (of course!) and JET, the Jewelry on Etsy Team.

Please tell us about the items in your Etsy shop.

Right now I have mostly wire wrapped items in my shop, but I also make sterling silver hand stamped and personalized designs, strung pieces, knotted pearl strands, and some simple metal worked pieces. I have the equipment to cut my own cabochons, but just need the time to do it! I learned to make jewelry by teaching myself mostly, although I have taken a silversmithing class (hollowware out of metal) metalsmithing (to learn basic soldering etc) and one ArtClay class, years ago! I am also learning to facet gemstones with the New Mexico Faceters Guild, which is fantastic! I have also learned some techniques and skills from on line tutorials and from magazines and books. My creative process usually starts with me making sketches in a book I keep by my bed…then, when I FINALLY have some time for making jewelry, I sit down and take out gemstones and beads that I think look nice together. Often, the rest just sort of happens, if I’m lucky!

Tell us two (or more) other interesting things about you.

Hmmm. Well, I’m not sure if this is that interesting, but I used to be a diesel truck mechanic in the US Army. So I work on my own vehicles now and then and help my boyfriend with his FedEx truck when he needs it! I’m also the mom of a wonderful 9 year old girl who is the light of my life and is the inspiration for me to go back to school to study geology – how can I encourage her to follow her dreams if I’ve never done it myself??

How did you get involved with Etsy?

A friend had told me about Etsy back in 2007. I didn’t have a good camera at the time, and really just let my lack of pictures stop me from going forward with an Etsy shop. I’ve been making jewelry since 1999, and finally got around to learning how to use my camera to get decent pictures and then just went for it!

What is your biggest challenge related to your Etsy shop?

Definitely not having enough time to create all the jewelry I have in my mind! I would have at least 400 items on Etsy if ONLY I had the time to create all my ideas!! I would love to create items and list them daily, I think this would be very beneficial for promoting my work and getting my shop noticed, but alas, I do not have the time to devote to it at the moment! I would also like to have more time for participating in my teams, promoting other shops and making treasuries. Maybe some day!

What is your favorite item in your shop?

My current favorite piece is this necklace of chalcopyrite and smoky quartz. I love the colors, they go with everything! The design just popped out one day and was a joy to make. The stones are heavy and earthy and gorgeous!
If this one doesn’t sell, maybe I’ll keep it for myself!

What advice do you have for other folks selling or buying on Etsy?

Take good pictures, write interesting and accurate descriptions, DON’T compare your shop to others and get discouraged, just find your niche and make it work for you. Still working on all this myself!

What crafting skill(s) do you wish you had or hope to learn someday? Do you have any future plans for your Etsy store?

I would like to learn lapidary arts, stone setting and cutting as well as pmc/artclay work. I have ideas for wedding jewelry, prom jewelry, men’s jewelry, religious jewelry, music related jewelry, science jewelry, chain mail jewelry, copper and silver mixed jewelry, birthstone jewelry etc. etc. Someday, these may be shop sections if I ever get to create all the items I would like to!

If you could have any items from another Etsy shop what would it be and why?

Well that is a tough question! I have a huge appreciation for the wide variety of art being created and sold on Etsy. Etsy is an amazing community of artisans and I’m always delighted at how creative and talented people are. For practical purposes, I guess some of the gorgeous beads, stamping tools and other jewelry related items from my favorite supply shops would be good for my store! But there are gorgeous summery clothes, jewelry, lingerie, art, bath and beauty products, hats, children’s toys etc. that I would love to indulge in if only I had the money! I also love the recycled/repurposed/found object items people create. I try to buy handmade presents for people when possible (If I’m not creating them myself, of course!) and love supporting other Etsians!


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