Being unemployed has its’ up side, as Krista (Kri) Wood of Keaki Designs found out one summer day when her mother gave her a box of beads and supplies titled “How to Make Jewelry” while Krista was in the process of job hunting.
Originally, it was the two of them, mother and daughter, in the process of learning how to make jewelry, but since Krista was the main designer the business fell into her lap. That was two years ago in August 2012, and Krista has been working on perfecting her craft ever since as she attends college, majoring in business and designs jewelry on the side.
“To me, this is a hobby, although I do this part-time professionally while going to college,” Krista said.
Krista works selling her jewelry in her Artfire studio, but jewelry is not the only creative expression that interests her. She has a passion for photography, knitting, crocheting and she enjoys painting in the traditional Japanese brush painting, Sumi-e. The Japanese and Koreans inspire Krista.
“For some reason, my heart feels at home with Japan,” Krista said. “I use the fashion that Korea and Japan sell and form around their idea for fashion. The harajuku style and Ulzzang style, although completely different, are the ones I’m most interested in.” She also enjoys the business style of the Japanese.
Her interest in the Orient can be seen in her Origami earrings and brooches.
Orange/red Origami Fan Brooch
This beautiful brooch not only has been created with Origami Washi papers, it is in the exact color scheme that Krista’s grandmother, Vergie Harrell, loved.
Modern Orange and Red With A Splash of yellow Necklace and Earring set
This piece is closest to Krista’s heart and created for her grandmother.
“Her favorite thing to do was working in a garden of flowers, and her jewelry or clothing always had a piece that was either red or orange,” Krista said. “My mother later told me that her favorite color was orange and red and her favorite seasons were spring and fall because that’s when the flowers are in bloom.”
Krista believes the piece is as elegant as her Southern Belle of a grandmother. She will always envision her grandmother picking flowers.
When Krista is designing her jewelry, she will allow the pendant or focal bead to coax her hands in the direction that is right for the piece. Unless she is designing for a specific person, her designs are drawn from the stones and colors themselves. If she is designing for a custom order, she likes to know the person she is designing for in order to get the right feel for the design. She will draw upon her own personal relations to capture a feel for a gift and the recipient.
The shell inspired wire wrapped pendant is one of her favorite pieces in her studio and the shell and the wire designed it with Krista’s hands following the natural flow of the shell. This piece was one of the first pieces she ever created. It had a companion piece that sold as Krista was working on it at the local art festival. Alas, she has no photo of that piece.
Sea Shell Sand Dollar Illusion Pendant
She also favors a piece that she has in her gallery of sold items. This was the second piece she ever created, and it was the result of not being able to sleep the night before the finals. She may have been a little sad to see it go, but she derived great pleasure in knowing that someone was also in love with the pendant.
Hanging Beside The Lantern Necklace - Purple and Blue/white
Krista attributes the artists that have gone before her and left their legacy as her inspiration. She believes their path paved the way for the next to learn. She enjoys reading books about techniques and learning to master the simple things in order to move on to more challenging aspects of jewelry creation.
“Never give up. Always seek advice from other artisans that have done this for a long time. Never be afraid to take criticism because this criticism does help in the long run, but never take it all at heart,” she says of giving advice to new jewelry designers.
Krista also advises to keep all creations, no matter how bad she feels they might be. She feels that practice, practice, practice will help in perfection of her craft. She enjoys looking back over her creations and marveling at the way her skills have grown in a short two years.
Krista is in love with the act of selling as much as she is with the act of creation. The idea that someone would love to own a piece that she worked hard to create is equal to falling in love. “Just the sheer idea someone wants to buy something from my store gives me the butterflies like making that 100 on a test you thought you would fail,” she said.
Wire Wrapped Swarovski Crystal Sword Pendant
Krista adds that her dragons and swords are some of her designs she would like to see sell.
Krista may say she works part-time at her hobby, but she still puts in a 20 to 30 hour week, but only creates Monday through Friday. She spends a lot of her time marketing and when her class schedule permits, she does put in 40 to 50 hours in her studio.
Keaki Designs is derived from a childhood nickname of Krista’s, Keaki, and she designs.
Krista is a resident of Huntsville, Alabama, home of the arsenal and a mobile community. She tries to sell at local festivals when the option is available and she works for the anime convention when it comes through town. Next year, she will be selling in the Artist Alley of the convention.
She enjoys reading and outdoors when she is not involved in a video game. She is active in the Deviant Art community where you can see some of her photography and paintings. She uses her portfolio to show off her jewelry designs and direct people to her Artfire studio.
Krista admires those who can work with seed beads and would like to learn to do beadwork at some point. "I tried once, and I got impatient with the needle and the bead,” she said. She loves working with soft fleece and can be found all snuggled up in the fleece as she works on her knitting or crocheting project.
Krista is a number #3442 of the Self-Representing Artist Jewelry Designers (SRAJD) and a member of The Checked In Today! Guild on Artfire. Artfire is her first online selling venture.
Add Krista to your social network by liking her page, following her tweets and adding her studio to your market.