It’s time to introduce you to an artist that I think is a pretty big deal. Not only does she have a great eye for color, a great knack for quality workmanship in her assembly, but she’s also got a very bright spirit and even bigger heart. Kristen has actually had her stuff for sale over at Urban Gypsy for a little while and I remember talking with Ashley about her. So when Kristen approached me about her work, not only was I already familiar, but I was already a fan. Being an even bigger fan of Urban Gypsy, however, I didn’t want to have the same work in my shop. Unnecessary competition isn’t what cool people do. Kristen not only understood but took it upon herself to talk with Ashley about it and created a very large collection just for us!
I can talk for pages about Kristen and her work and her awesome drive, but I want you to get a chance to meet her. So read her interview below and then swing by the shop and check out her work. She’s one of our best selling artists so far and we haven’t even given her the official “plug” yet . . . so you know she’s gotta be good!
Name: Kristen Reimer
Age Group: Cherry Blossom
Business Name: Peaceful Treasures (Jewelry)
Facebook Page: Facebook.com/Peaceful-Treasures
ALBH: What got you started making jewelry?
KR: After falling in love with another artist’s jewelry at a farmer’s market, I decided I could make my own.
ALBH: Would you consider the art of jewelry making hard to learn?
KR: Not yet. It has come naturally so far.
ALBH: ‘Jewelry’ is a pretty broad hobby and can be made from just about anything. What materials do you enjoy using most?
KR: I love silver, particularly sterling. I would use all sterling if it was affordable for my hobby. I use recycled paper beads made by women in Uganda who are struggling to get out of poverty. The non-profit fair trade organization I buy from is called Beadforlife. I also like glass and semiprecious stones. I enjoy making my own fabric beads in various different shapes. Lastly, I like to edit digital images to fit certain pieces of jewelry, like bracelets and earrings.
ALBH: You’ve got quite a collection – how long have you been at this?
KR: I have been creating jewelry for about a year. I have had my ETSY shop since February 2011.
ALBH: Does your jewelry require any special care?
KR: I wear my jewelry and keep it with my other pieces. I have tested the recycled paper beads by submersing them in water for a period of time. They did not distort, but I don’t recommend wearing any of my jewelry while bathing or swimming.
ALBH: What’s your long-term goal as an artist?
KR: My long term goal is to be happy and to bring happiness to others. I want the women in Uganda who are often HIV positive and war refugees to be educated to make better lives for themselves and their families. I want to be able to donate my pieces to various organizations to help others. I want people to be inspired by my jewelry and my company.
ALBH: I always have to ask – what does the word “Hippie” mean to you?
KR: Love, peace, unity, tolerance, and good music! While I don’t condone all of the activities of the actual hippie movement from the 60’s and 70’s, I tend to be a mainstream contemporary hippie/bohemian at heart.
ALBH: As a bench jeweler myself, I’m always interested in similar artists’ approach. How long would you say a typical piece take you to make?
KR: It depends on the piece and my creative energy. Earrings typically take the shortest amount of time unless they involve my fabric beads or if I have to find paper beads that somewhat match. Each bead is unique, so that can be difficult.
ALBH: What is your typical day like?
KR: I am a full time Mom. My son and I like to wake up late, between 8 and 10am. We have breakfast: coffee for me and whatever he will eat for him. When we stay at home, we play, clean, read, do crafts, snuggle and play with our dog and two cats. When my son entertains himself and/or naps, I make jewelry. In the evenings after my husband gets home, we hang out as a family. I make jewelry whenever I can and whenever I have an idea. I am constantly thinking of new designs and ideas. I am very fortunate and know it!
ALBH: It sounds like your days are already pretty full, but I always like to ask – what do you do for fun, outside of your art?
KR: I love to garden, cook, entertain and read. I enjoy a good glass of wine. I love hanging out with good friends and my family, extended included.
I can easily to speak to Kristen’s sense of charity and giving. For the silent auction that was just held for SARA, Inc, Kristen didn’t donate 1 piece of her jewelry. She donated 5 individual pieces. It’s refreshing to meet someone that is passionate about others and her community and willing to help . . . a true “Hippie!”