Designer Spotlight: Heather Jean
A brief story of what you do and why you do it. HOW DID YOU GET INTO JEWELRY DESIGN?
In late 2009, I had what was supposed to be a quick and relatively easy knee surgery. I should have been back up on my feet in 6 weeks, but instead I was in agony, barely able to walk even with crutches. I needed something to do with my time, to distract me from the pain and problems that came along with unexpected medical complications. Somehow, I stumbled on to a book about jewelry making, and thought, “Hey, that looks like fun.” Here we are almost 4 years later, my leg a complicated, painful mess; the future I had envisioned for myself no longer attainable; and an unexpected dream taking root. Losing mobility in my leg changed everything for me, and the news that my other joints may someday suffer the same fate as my now fused knee was devastating. Making jewelry was, and still is, what gets me through. I like to say that life gave me lemons, and I made jewelry 🙂 The truth is, I really believe that everything happens for a reason. Everything I've gone through, all the medical problems, it's changed me and the way I see life, and the way I relate to it. I don't know if this creative person breaking out of her shell would have ever been able to do so if my life hadn't jumped the rails some 4 years ago.
What makes your collection unique?
To be honest, my earlier pieces really weren't all that unique. But the more I make, the more I feel like I'm finding my voice. I think I'm really finding a home in working with metal. What makes my newer pieces unique, I think, is their simplistic beauty. A lot of my pieces have a distinctly primitive and minimalist feel, but they still maintain a sort of quiet feminine beauty that let's them stand out from the crowd.
What are your inspirations?
I'm inspired by everything. By life, by people, by nature and the world around me–all of it holds some kind of inspiration for me. There are feelings and shapes and voices that strike some secret cord in me and feed my desire to create. My current obsession is circles–the idea of infinity, a beginning within an end, of interconnectedness…these are ideas that strike near my heart, and I find I really enjoy playing within these themes. By playing, of course I mean working. 🙂
How are you making a difference in your life?
I have this “pay it forward” attitude that I like to think makes a difference in my life, and in the lives of people I get to meet and interact with. I like to share my knowledge, even if it's in the form of “I did this foolish thing, here's how not to do it.” I'm not shy about sharing my success as well as my failures. I like to think all that positive energy comes back to us somehow, in some form or another.
What's something unusual about you that makes you “you”?
Haha, this kind of question is always hard for me to answer. I'm sure I'm a little on the quirky side, but my quirks always seem normal to me.
What's the biggest struggle in running your jewelry business like a business? OR What is your biggest success in running your business like a business?
(Struggle) Long term planning. I tend to freak myself out a little bit when I start thinking long term plans for my business, so I just sort of shy away from them. I have a handful of short term goals, but ask me where I'll be 5 years from now, I and I just freeze up
(Success) I'm actually really good with numbers, which I'm told is strange for creative people. I'm really good at working up a budget, and seeing where the holes in my current spending are, and I actually enjoy all that bookkeeping stuff that comes along with running a business.