Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Member Spotlight: Cristina Hurley Jewelry

Cristina Hurley in her studio
Cristina Hurley has been a member of Boston Handmade since 2009, and in the past several years she has worked tirelessly to help promote, support, and encourage all of her fellow members. In this spotlight we asked Cristina a few questions about her art, her inspirations, and her retail art and craft gallery. Read on to learn more about this dynamic local artist...


BH: How long have you been a professional jewelry artist and when did you first realize this was your true path?

CH: I have been making jewelry professionally since 1996. I started making jewelry years earlier though. I took a class in 1990 and knew then that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Right after the course, I began an apprenticeship with the teacher, Jeannette Fossas. She is a RISD alumna and suggested I apply to RISD. I did and got accepted into the Jewelry and Light Metals Department as a transfer student. It was a wonderful experience! Right before graduating in 1996, The head of the department at the time, Louis Mueller, got me a job in New York City as a Goldsmith, and I have been making jewelry for myself and others ever since.

BH: Where do you get your creative inspiration and how do you stay inspired?

CH: I get inspiration from my environment, what is around me at the time and what catches my eye. I am always looking at the bigger things, buildings, temples, trees, the sun, the moon, the things that produce a reaction and a sense of AWE in me. But the little things produce that feeling in me too. It can be flower or a pebble I pick up off the ground. Tiny objects fascinate me, and even if I am influenced by a big thing or a small thing, I make a little wearable sculpture that is my interpretation of it. I am also always influenced and inspired by the symbols that have been created by humans over time. The heart, the cross, the clover. People put a lot of meaning into something simple and it becomes something big and meaningful. that is why I am so fascinated with making pendants like the Universal Pattern Pendant, because there are so many symbols in the one image and it can mean many different thing to different people.


BH: When did you open your first gallery location and how did you make that decision?

CH: I opened my first studio/shop on Rockland Street in 2010. My business was taking over my entire place. My husband and daughter complained about the noise constantly. It was a nerve wracking idea to move out, and it took me almost a year to make the final decision. I looked at the space twice before making up my mind. I walked by it everyday and peeked in the window and would think, my bench can go there, my table can go there, etc. The third time I called to see it, the landlord was so nice and patient, but that time she said "You gotta decide Cristina!" So I took the plunge. You would not believe how happy I was to get my home back. The business had taken us over completely. We had so much room, and I was able to compartmentalize my life. You see, because my job was in my home, I worked all the time, day and night... I overworked. I felt guilty if I wasn't sitting at the bench while eating dinner with my family. It wasn't healthy. The new space gave a lot of my family life back to me.

BH: How has the new, larger gallery space been for you?

CH: Oh my, it has been so amazing. There were many wonderful things about the smaller space, but this new space is just perfect for my bigger picture of what I want the business to be. It also is so much more visible to the clients and customers, and it is a more inviting space. I am also allowed to do more events in the new location, and represent many more artists. As far as my studio space is concerned, it is a more comfortable work space and I already feel more organized and productive as a result.


BH: What advice would you give jewelry artists just starting out?

CH: I would say don't try to follow trends. Make jewelry you want to make, jewelry that is unique to you, what you think is beautiful and would want to wear yourself, even if it may not be what everybody wants at the moment. Chasing trends can make you crazy because they change so fast in jewelry. I don't look at jewelry magazines or other artist's work very much as far as jewelry is concerned. I don't want to be influenced by what every one else is doing. Be different and don't be afraid to be so. It will benefit you in the long run. It takes time to make it work, and for people to find out about you and buy your products. But as long as what you are producing makes YOU happy and brings you joy and you feel creative, it won't matter if people buy it or not. However, If you are true to your heart and what you love to make, it will be reflected in your work and as a result people WILL buy it at come back to you over and over. That is my experience as a studio jeweler.

1 comment :

  1. Congratulations Cristina! Well Done!

    ReplyDelete

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