Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Local Featured Seller: Designed by Val

I am Val Swanson, jewelry designer for Designed by Val, and I am located in Holly Springs, NC. I design one-of-a-kind (OOAK) jewelry using precious gems, semi-precious gems, Swarovski crystals, lampworked beads, and more. My favorite place in the Triangle area is the Rare Earth Beads shop in Durham, North Carolina. It has excellent gems and findings, great staff, and caters to jewelry designers.
Designed by Val's Blue Opals, Sapphires, and London Blue Topaz Necklace When did I start creating?

Approximately seven years ago, my best friend Ann took me to a local bead store. I was convinced it would be a total disaster but, to my amazement, I was quite good at making my necklace and bracelet. This led to my making jewelry to give to friends and family which eventually led to my Etsy shop.

What is my most cherished handmade item?

My favorite necklaces I have created are in what I call the “private collection,” in other words, I kept the necklaces. First, a ruby necklace I made to coordinate with a ring my husband gave me and second, a blue opal, London blue topaz, and sapphire necklace I made to wear at my brother’s wedding. I did make a derivative of the blue opal necklace which is available in my shop.
Klimt's The KissWhy did I choose my medium?

As a young girl I would play in both of my grandmothers’ jewelry boxes. I loved the crystals and diamond rings. I thought the jewelry was very glamorous. I still have and wear my one grandmother’s diamond ring. This play gave me a love for anything sparkly and beautiful. When I became older my boyfriend, who became my husband, liked to give me jewelry on holidays. Through these gifts I developed a love for gemstones. There are so many naturally created gemstones; only a small fraction of gemstones appear in a “mall” jewelry store.

Where do I create?

I create my jewelry at my studio in my house. I have a wonderful work center created by a desk, credenza, table, and two cabinets. My fabulous husband constructed the cabinets for me; one contains gemstones and the other contains my metals.
Designed by Val's Carmel Kazuri Necklace available on etsyWhat do I do when I’m not creating?

When I am not creating new designs, I am taking pictures of my jewelry (I have a mini photo studio set-up in my library), listing new jewelry items for sale, working on SEO (search engine optimization), and finding other ways to promote my Etsy shop – such as this blog.

In addition to my shop on Etsy you may find me on facebook, on Twitter @DesignedbyVal, and on Linkedin at Valerie Swanson. Facebook fans receive a special monthly coupon code to use on any item. Starting October 4 is the Featured Item of the Day which will be one special item highlighted in my shop and on sale for 24 hours.

NC Triangle Team members who wish to be featured, please contact Shore Debris.