Jeanette is one of the 20 incredibly talented artists and designers that form part of a mastermind group I am privileged to belong to. We met up in September in New York and shared stories of inspiration, courage and drive. Jeanette has an extraordinary empathy which helps her form connections with her clients to create jewellery that often encapsulates precious memories and sentiments so dear to its owner. Using ancient sand-casting techniques, she often takes old pieces of jewellery or heirlooms and re-purposes them into a new piece that carries with it the sentiments and stories of the wearer.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love to repurpose client’s sentimental jewellery, by extracting the gemstones and melting down the gold to create a new design with new meaning. I especially love to work with women who have experienced a loss and are ready to convert their wedding set into a right hand ring. When the time is right it can be a cathartic and healing experience.
What’s your signature style?
I’m a third generation metal smith and keeping the tradition of using slow ancient jewellery techniques alive in my studio is important to me. By way of sand casting, granulation and amalgamation of metals I create contemporary designs with an “old world” feel. I live on an Island and walk the beach at least once a day, my designs reflect the random flowing nature and textures of ocean waves, beach sand and pebbles.
What inspired you to start your business?
True happiness arrives when I am designing or building something by hand. I can completely escape into the zone when creating. As a child I didn’t really enjoy playing with dolls or a barbie but I loved to build doll houses, sew their clothes and (to my mother’s horror) cut their hair. This passion continued into my adult life, I still enjoy doing home renovations, making my own clothes and (to my mother’s horror) cutting my own hair. The 80’s were expressive and wild times, I made colourful Piranha earrings and wore them as I bartended. My customers loved them and I started selling them…after producing thousands of fish, cow, snake earrings I decided to enrol in jewellery college and started my serious jewellery business upon graduation.
What’s the best business advice you were given when you were starting out?
If you think you can then you can…if you think you can’t then you can’t.
When you’re facing a challenge or moment of self-doubt what do you rely on to overcome it?
Every morning I do deep breathing exercises and meditate for about 20 minutes. I get calm, clear my mind then ask the universe a single question….”what do I need to do to improve my situation” (in regards to a specific situation or challenge). The answer will often present itself to me in a thought or action or offering sometime soon that very day or soon after. I also often say “ I am worthy of all that is good and I’m ready to accept, appreciate and expand in every way”. Helps give me courage and strength.
Do you have a favourite story to share about how your business came about or things you have learnt along the way?
The best thing I ever did for my life and my business was to seek out mentors and a tribe of like minded women who were open and willing to offer support and share their experiences. Working alone or as a team leader can be isolating and lonely, my world opened up when I took the risk to show my vulnerabilities, share my experience and learn. It’s empowering!
What is your definition of success?
Waking in the morning looking forward to the day ahead and appreciative of the many blessings in my life.
And finally, from someone who is inspiring and creative a few of your favourite things;
BOOK or BLOG: Book – Women Who Run With Wolves
MOVIE: Tim Burton’s “Legend of Sleepy Hollow”
TRAVEL DESTINATION: I want to winter in the artist community of San Miguel De Allende in the mountains of central Mexico where Fire Opals and Silver are rock hounded and mined. I want to create a collection using these indigenous materials and teach the occasional jewellery making workshop at the art college. I want to sip tequila, live on fresh avocado and tomato salsa and make friends with the local dog population and their owners.
To learn more about Jeanette and her incredible work you can visit her website at http://jeanettewalkerjewellery.com/custom-jewellery-design/