In anticipation of the Walker’s Jewelry & Accessory Makers Mart this Saturday, we’re highlighting a few of the 20 artists and 10 accessory designers whose hand-crafted designs will be on display.
Designer Jeannie Trelles transformed her hobby into her career when she created her jewelry business, Vikse Designs, in 2009. After some success selling her work at a coffee shop, she decided to devote herself to it more seriously and now splits her time between her jewelry business and teaching. She focuses on a diverse range of natural materials in her jewelry, such as semi-precious stones, gold, and feathers.
What is Vikse Designs?
My company is Vikse Designs, although I usually just use “Vikse” for branding. “Vikse” is my middle name; it’s Norwegian, and my maternal grandfather’s last name. I wanted to use my name for my brand, but not my first or last name. I design and make all of my jewelry myself.
Why did you want to become a jewelry artist?
I have always enjoyed making jewelry. I started making friendship bracelets when I was in elementary school, and in junior high I moved on to working with seed beads. I’ve always liked crafts and making things with my hands, and I have found jewelry design to be a great way to use a variety of techniques in one medium. In addition to traditional jewelry making techniques like silversmithing and lapidary work, I have also incorporated crocheted and hand-sewn elements into some of my pieces. Also, I love selecting materials for my work. Most of my jewelry designs are centered around natural semi-precious stones. I’m definitely a collector, and being a jewelry artist allows me to acquire the materials that inspire me, hold on to them long enough to turn them into works of art, and then send them out into the world for someone else to enjoy.
Describe your custom jewelry process?
When starting a custom piece, I first want to meet with a client to find out what elements of the design are most important to them—whether it be the size, cut, or color of the stone, the texture of the metal, or the significance to them of the overall design. Then I’ll usually sketch out a design and go in search of the perfect stone to be the focal point of the piece.
What is the most “far out” piece you’ve ever made?
The piece that was probably the most “far out” was one that I made for a fashion show. It was a collar-length necklace with hot pink feathers sewn onto leather, accented with sewn on 14k gold beads. It also had a chain that hung down in the back (the dress it was paired with had a low back) that had sewn-on black leather fringe and more 14k gold beads. It was not my usual style but was perfect for the event (the theme was “black and gold with a pop of color”).
What is your favorite tool and why?
My lapidary grinder. It allows me to shape and polish the stones that will be focal point of my designs. I like being able to create all of the elements that I use in my work. It is exciting to be able to turn a rough agate that I found into a finished piece of jewelry.
What do you do to creatively recharge?
I always feel the most creative when I have new stones to feature in my work, so I love shopping for new materials.
How do you bring your personality into your work?
I am a fairly quiet, introverted person. I think my personality is reflected in my work in that my designs tend to be understated. Even the statement pieces that I make are not “loud.” I try to design my settings to highlight the focal stones that I use and not to overshadow them. If you look closely at a piece, you’ll see the attention to detail and how I try to texture the metal to complement the variations of the stones, but the metalwork itself will probably not be the first thing you notice in a piece of jewelry.
What’s your greatest life lesson you’ve learned?
Not to give up. If something is worth pursuing, you will likely encounter numerous obstacles along the way. You have to learn how to persevere and not be overly discouraged by setbacks.
Want more info? Visit Vikse Designs on Facebook.