Student Success - Jeanette Bobby

By NYIAD Staff on September 12 2013

The following is an Interview with Jeanette Bobby, jewelry design student at the New York Institute of Art and Design, and recent 1st Place Winner of the Pinterest 2013 Fall & Winter Fashion Trends Award.

Link to Jeanette Bobby's Pinterest Board: Jeanette's Winning Pinterest Board

Jeanette in her studio with 2 helpers

How did you become interested in jewelry making?

My first introduction to jewelry making took place in my backyard during the summer of ¬2005. A close neighbor made jewelry for weddings and other upscale events. Her outdoor studio consisted of a small folding table and an old rocking chair. I was in-between jobs at the time and would watch her for hours during that long hot summer; toiling away creating one breathtaking masterpiece after another. I was captivated by what she could do with a little wire, glass beads and pearls. I had no idea that, within a few years, I would start creating masterpieces of my own.

What do you enjoy most about designing jewelry?

I find the whole process of creating jewelry both relaxing and stimulating. The thought of fabricating something beautiful out of some beads and a few other things, never ceases to fascinate me. My most enjoyable moments are during the designing process when I pull out all the beads, findings, spacers, color schemes, stringing materials, clasp, chains, wire components, or anything else I need to complete my next piece of jewelry. Essentially, I create a collage; a project the New York Institute of Art and Design requires in Course Units One and Five. When designing a piece, this activity helps to keep my creative energies focused in the right direction and also helps me re-discover jewelry items I purchased long ago and may have forgotten about.

Do you have any advice for jewelry designers just starting out?

It is so important to always keep in mind the New York Institute of Art and Design's Three Guiding Principles which are emphasized throughout all of its units: Technique, Style, and Function. When I create my jewelry pieces, I am continually reminding myself of these elements. If one of the elements doesn't seem to be working, I make changes until it does work. I would not call myself a perfectionist; I just want to produce the best quality pieces of jewelry that I am capable of creating.

I have realized that taking excellent photographs of my jewelry cannot be underestimated. Through photos, I am able to project my outstanding craftsmanship and the overall quality of my pieces. I splurged and purchased a light box and a good camera. Many days were spent gathering information on how to photograph still life objects and how to use my camera to its fullest potential. I highly recommend that all new jewelry designers take the art of photography very seriously; it can literally make or break a sale.

Are you selling your work? And if so, where?

In November 2012, I took the plunge and started my own business "Distinctlee Different Jewelry by Jeanette Bobby". I designed my logo, created my business cards and set up my own Etsy Shop: I have sold a number of pieces on Etsy, but the majority of pieces I have sold so far have been purchased by family and friends.

In March of this year, I rented a space at a nearby mall for my very first Craft Show/Art Fair. It was a three day event and, although physically exhausting, turned out to be quite an inspiring and worthwhile experience. I sold several pieces and received much valued feedback from onlookers.

Sometime in the near future, I plan on developing my own website. This new website will incorporate not only my jewelry, but blogs and other interesting topics such as 1920's fashion, famous people, events, etc. I am expecting this will be quite an undertaking, but I know I am up to the challenge. Thanks to all the direction, guidance and training I have received from the New York Institute of Art and Design.

What are some of the challenges you face with designing and selling your work?

One of the major challenges I face is carving out enough time in my busy schedule to design and create jewelry. Overwhelming stress can cause a person to become exhausted, both mentally and physically. To prevent stress from taking over my life, I have learned to set "attainable" weekly goals. These goals are not overwhelming; they are just meant to make me to feel as if I have accomplished something. This allows my creative juices to continue to flow and helps me maintain a high energy level.

In addition to finding the time to design and create jewelry, it is very important that I keep myself up-to-date in the marketplace in order to remain competitive. A great amount of my time is spent learning what to do and how to do it: i.e. blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and so on. I need as much exposure as I can get to generate interest in my designs.

Why did you pick the New York Institute of Art and Design for your training?

I did a lot of research into schools that offer training in jewelry design, and none of them even came close to the outstanding reviews the New York Institute of Art and Design has received. I cannot say enough about the excellent study guides, textbooks, designer profiles, projects, tips, and (of course) the first-rate student advisors. It is everything I expected, and so much more! It was very important for me have the flexibility of the convenient home-study approach so I could study whenever and wherever I wanted. I especially liked the ability to have access to top professionals in the field of jewelry design who are willing to share their own expertise and experiences.

The New York Institute of Art and Design not only offers serious training in the art of jewelry design, but the business aspects as well. They provide the necessary experience to help students succeed - which was exactly what I was looking for.

How has your New York Institute of Art and Design training helped you?

The training I have received from the New York Institute of Art and Design has given me the hands-on training, skills and knowledge which I needed in order to create and sell my own unique jewelry designs. I learned (and practiced many times) the proper techniques used when making quality jewelry. These techniques are the building blocks on which all jewelry should be structured. My techniques were gently critiqued and I was encouraged to explore other areas of jewelry designing I was not familiar with. Invaluable to me are the New York Institute of Art and Design's Three Guiding Principles: Technique, Style, and Function. I always, always, keep these principles in my mind when developing my designs.

Unit Five of the Jewelry Design Course required that I create my own original complete line of jewelry focusing on using the techniques I have learned so far throughout the Course. I fell in love with the right-angle weave stitch after being introduced to it in Unit Three. I was encouraged to "let my imagination take wing"; be brave and curious and discover all the endless possibilities the right-angle weave has to offer. With this in mind, I pushed the materials and techniques and created my amazing "1920's Inspired Jewelry Line".

Thank you New York Institute of Art and Design for helping me discover and develop my own vision and passion as a jewelry designer.

About Jeanette

Jeanette lives in Milwaukee, WI with her husband Jim, 2 Siamese cats and 28 tropical fish. She started creating jewelry 5 years ago making pieces for herself, family and friends. In October of 2011, Jeanette decided to turn her hobby into a business and enrolled in the New York Institute of Art and Design Jewelry Design Course. When creating her jewelry, Jeanette loves to listen to Jazz music in her studio often accompanied by her 2 Siamese cats Boris and Natasha who are more than willing to lend a helping "paw" when needed. You can find Jeanette's work on Etsy at: