I am so happy to feature Debbie Bruce of www.beadifulworld.etsy.com in this week's TeamSC artist profile. Debbie is from my neck of the woods in SC and we are practically neighbors!
Where in South Carolina do you live, and were you born here? If not, how long have you been in SC? I've lived in Aiken since 1977, but born and raised in the northwest corner of Indiana, just spittin' distance from Chicago.
What do you like best about living in South Carolina? I love everything about South Carolina. When I moved to Aiken in 1977 it was such a nice change from "the big city", life was much slower-paced. But that could have also been due to the fact that I didn't have children yet. Life seems to pick up speed after kids! I also love the climate here and don't care if I ever see snow again. I especially love Aiken. It has the charm of a small town but offers so much more. It's a beautiful city and I'll never leave.
How long have you been involved in your craft, and how did you get started? For years I have suffered from chronic low back pain due to sitting behind a desk all day long. Doctors told me I needed to stop sitting, to stand up more. When I would come home from work, I couldn't sit down to relax. I needed to find something to occupy my evenings that I could do standing up at my kitchen counter. I've always have an obsession about jewelry, so making my own jewelry just seemed the natural thing to do. Of course I started off just making jewelry for myself, but beads have a way of taking over the house, and pretty soon you realize you need to start selling some of the jewelry to help pay for all these beads! So, in 2002 I began making jewelry to sell to others.
Do you work from your home, or do you have a brick and mortar store? I work out of my home. When our daughter moved out of the house, she left behind an empty "hot pink" bedroom, which became my studio. When you need to feel creative and energized, spend some time in a hot pink room! My main outlet for selling my jewelry is an adorable gallery in town, Aiken Center for the Arts. Over the years, Aiken has become quite a tourist town, especially with people looking for a place to retire, so the downtown shopping district is thriving and the gallery is right there in its midst.
Who or what inspires you? I absolutely adore lampwork beads, and often they are the inspiration for many pieces.
Do you have a method for remembering ideas you want to implement, such as a notebook or tape recorder, etc.? I use a journal to jot down design ideas, plus I clip out pictures out of magazines, catalogs, etc. and keep them in a binder.
What do you do when you hit a brick wall creatively and nothing is working? Take a break from it for a little while. Everyone needs some time away so they don't get burnt out.
What is the most rewarding, interesting, or even weirdest thing you’ve ever been asked to make? I have a very dear friend who loves jewelry (probably as much as I do). She has bought alot of jewelry from various places over several years, and finds that time has taken their toll and many of the pieces have deteriorated. Recently she brought me a necklace that she's had for several years, and she knew that she would never wear it now - styles have changed, her tastes have changed, etc. The necklace was made up of low quality blue glass beads mixed with white and blue ceramic patterned beads (kind of like the pattern on blue willow china). She never wears just navy blue, but she wears alot of earthy colors, so I mixed the blue/white beads with browns (tan-colored Mother of Pearl, Pietersite to pick up some of the blue hues, and a Maple Jasper pendant). Now she absolutely loves it and wears it all the time. Seeing the look on her face to see what I did with her old necklace was very special.
What are some of your goals for your craft, and where do you hope it will take you? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In five years, I'll still be having to work at my "real" job which pays the bills since my husband is retired and we still need a regular income. I would like to retire in 6-10 years, and would love for my jewelry business to provide enough income to live comfortably. However, with the economy and price of silver, that probably won't happen!
What are your hobbies, or how do you like to spend your free time, assuming you have any? According to my family, all my free time is spent on my jewelry business, whether it's making jewelry, organizing for a craft show, or working on my internet store. I love doing craft shows, so whenever there is a local one, I'm probably there.
Favorite color? Turquoise
Favorite food? Pizza - Atlanta Bread Company has an amazing Margherita pizza (tomato, basil and oregano) that is out of this world!
Favorite song or musical artist? Josh Groban - he has an amazing voice!
Favorite book or author? I don't have time to read at home, but occasionally I spend a few minutes during my lunch break at work to read. I just finished a wonderful book by Victoria Hislop called "The Island". It's set in Greece during a time when leprosy was rampant.
Favorite movie, actor or actress? Stereotypical chick flick - "An Affair to Remember" with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. I cry every time I watch it!
And most importantly, Clemson or Carolina? Neither (sorry, I didn't go to college here, remember).
Thanks, Debbie! Be sure to visit Debbie's shop at Etsy to see more of her beautiful jewelry designs!