Designer Interview – The Jewelry of Jennifer Morris

1. What is your personal name, business name, website and location?

hello there! my name is jennifer morris. my business name is jennifer morris beads.
my website is http://www.jennifermorrisbeads.etsy.com/ (not the most imaginative of names, i know, but it is basic and to the point!)i live and work in a beautiful old house built in the mid-1800’s, surrounded by walnut trees, in an small historic town in upstate new york.

2. What kind of jewelry do you make? What types of materials do you prefer? what kinds of art beads do you use?

i am inspired by vintage jewelry and design, and so my jewelry really reflects that.
most of my designs incorporate vintage components (such as filigree, chain, beads and reclaimed brooches and found objects..) i mix the vintage beads and components in with gemstones and my own handmade polymer clay beads and components. the focal points of my jewelry are usually my polymer clay pieces…so i suppose you could say that i use my very own art beads!

3. How did you get into jewelry design? What are some of the important things you do for your business?

i have always been interested in jewelry.i remember digging through my mom’s jewelry boxes (much to her dismay!) as a little girland started collecting vintage jewelry when i was a teenager.i studied sculpture in college, but took some small metals classes and fell in love with working on a small scale,and so started making my own jewelry then.

the most important thing i do for my business is to keep my ideas fresh.i keep my creative juices flowing by staying active, in my personal life, and in my business life.i prowl around antique shops, go to art galleries and museums and spend lots of time (too much time?!?) on the internet finding inspiration and staying on top of what’s happening in the creative world.

another important thing i do for my business is to circulate…through meeting other creative people, connecting online (through flickr, etsy, discussion groups, etc..),
and doing shows around the country.i try to develop and maintain relationships with the shops and customers i do business with.i think this is important for any business, and it adds a whole other dimension to the work.

4. What is your workspace like and how do you work in your studio? What is a typical day like?

i really love my work room.it’s a corner room on the second floor at the front of the house.it has 11 ft ceilings and two huge windows, so i have lots of natural light.
i found beautiful velvet curtains, in my favorite shade of teal, for the windows and i filled the space with beautiful and inspiring things.it is, by far, my favorite room in the house. (not to mention, it’s all mine!)i work at a large steel table.it’s very streamlined and simple..and easy to clean,which is important while working with the clay.

a typical day starts with a smoothie and cup of tea in my studio.the morning light is gorgeous in here,so i usually get to work first thing in the morning.i work in my pajamas until lunchtime (!)then after lunch, i shower, get dressed, and get back to work.my work days are usually 12-14 hours long.(i’m a bit obsessed with my work!, much to my boyfriend’s dismay)

i try to divide my workday into creative time and business time.it’s important to have at least several hours worth of ‘making things’ time each day.

5. How do you stay inspired and motivated?

creating is such a way of life, and a huge part of who i am,so staying motivated is usually not a problem.if i ever get into a slump though,i’ve learned that you can’t force it.getting away from the workspace and getting involved in ‘life’ is the best remedy.

inspiration is everywhere.looking at textures and colors in nature is a great place to find ideas.also, going to vintage shops and antique stores, and looking at the beautiful and careful way people used to make things,is a big source of inspiration.
i love strange and interesting color combinations,so sometimes i’ll play with scraps of fabric or paint chips and see what ideas flow from seeing serendipitously odd colors together.

seeing movies and going to restaurants are other great sources for ideas.food and music are always inspiring.

6. What kinds of art beads do you look for? Is there a bead you wish an artist would make for you?

i adore vintage beads. obsess over them really. murano and millefiori glass is amazing, and i adore lampwork glass as well. there are so many incredible artists working right now,we’re really lucky to have access to so many of them through the internet.

i dream of going to italy someday, and studying old lampwork and glass-blowing techniques.i’d love to have some delicate hand-blown glass beads made just for me, by an old master bead-maker.

7. What beady plans do you have for the future? Do you have new designs or ideas you will be exploring soon?

ooooh….plans for the future…i am playing with two exciting new ideas right now.

one involves ‘dia de los muertos’ themes.using really lush mexican folk images, i’m creating dimensional beads and pendants with skulls and flowers in vivid colors, in time for halloween and ‘day of the dead’.

the other new designs explore the other end of the spectrum.i’m revisiting simple designs inspired by mod/atomic age images from the 1950switch really bold and contrasty lines and shapes.it will be a big stretch for me,
from my usual ornate baroque/victorian style.

Written by Cindy Gimbrone, glass beadmaker and admirer of Jennifer Morris Jewelry

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7 Comment

  1. Joy aka Goddessjoy
    August 27, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    So happy to see this article when I stopped by today! I’ve been drooling over Jennifer’s work for over a year now. The detail, textures, and colors that she uses are just amazing.

    I loved her answer when asked about staying inspired and motivated! It makes me feel not so guilty when I don’t sit at the bead table every day.

    Thanks, Cindy!

  2. Lori Anderson Designs
    August 27, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    AMAZING work, and incredibly creative!

  3. rosebud101
    August 27, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    Her work is amazing! I am very much inspired by what I have just seen. Great interview, Cindy!

  4. thebeadedlily
    August 28, 2008 at 12:00 am

    I remember the first time I saw Jennifer’s work in a magazine. Her style is so definate, delicate and recognizable. Kudos to her!

  5. Cindy Gimbrone
    August 28, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Hi Joy and Rosebud,

    Yes, isn’t Jennifer’s work awesome?! It’s got a lovely antique feel to it and the beads are to die for! Love them! Glad Jennifer did an interview with us so you all could see her lovely work.

    Keep creating, everyone!

  6. Debra
    August 31, 2008 at 2:43 am

    OH ! MY ! GOSH!
    So very glad to see another polymer clay artist finally ! Not that I don’t enjoy the others or admire their work because I do and that’s why I love this site so much! I love , love love this lady’s work and would love to email her! I am also a polymer clay artist and addicted to bead work as well.So keep it coming! Happy Claying and so nice to see your work!

  7. Ann Di Iorio
    September 9, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I am so impressed with your work. I've been working with Sculpy for almost 35 years and couldn't come close to what you do! I think all your pics are wonderful – they'd make great art prints and notecards, but I think the backgrounds are a bit too busy for your jewelry. I hope this doesn't sound harsh, but a plain background with such elaborate designs would make your jewelry pop. Again, use your creativity to make more money by selling your pics as notecards and your jewelry separately.

    Anne Di Iorio

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