Interview with Myself: Joolz by Lisa

November 6, 2007

This seemed like it would be so much easier to do after seeing what the others came up with…but I guess I will set the bar and hope that they don’t leave me in the basement!

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

My name is Lisa Liddy and I design jewelry (Joolz by Lisa). I’m on the very back end of my 40s with a husband who travels most weeks,a 14-year-old daughter, a rescue greyhound, and a 6 pound Maltese (lovingly called “the Hairball”). I’ve run a successful book design business from my home for the last 17 or so years in a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona called Ahwatukee (The Place of our Dreams).

How did you begin working with jewelry?

My daughter had a few birthday parties at jewelry stores where the girls put together necklaces and had cake (and my house stayed relatively cake-free!). I got to know the owner of that store and started frequenting it myself, setting up trays and stringing bracelets (letting the employees finish the ends for me). A few years later, I found myself needing something to reduce the stress of having to ramp up my book design business while my husband looked for another job. Long hours at the computer left little room for relaxation. The simple act of laying out beads for 10-15 minutes at night while waiting for files to process or print let me escape a bit. “Zen gardening” with beads. A few nights later I could move the beads around fiddling with the pattern until I was happy. A couple of nights later still, I could string several pieces and finally I might finish the ends and see the results.

Jewelry became gifts for family and friends and soon I was being asked to make bracelets or watches for gifts for others to give. I had an eye for putting a different spin on things (or so I was told). And it kind of grew from there. Someone mentioned the gem shows in Tucson (a mere 83 miles from my front door) and a fanatic was born. And somewhere in there I discovered lampwork beads and the fanatic became obsessed.

Is jewelry a fulltime job or a sideline?

It’s a second business that often gets treated like the proverbial stepchild. It is not self-supporting by any stretch, but it continues to grow.  

Have  you taken any classes or are  you self-taught?

I am primarily self-taught, though I did recently attend Hooked on Wire in San Francisco and it pushed me to think more outside the box. It’s a question of  finding (or making) time to practice. I’m my own worst critic, often secondguessing myself.

What’s  your philosphy or the style behind your designs?

I find that I am less driven by the “current” trends as dictated by fashion experts unknown to me, and more driven by what I like and how it works with my style of jewelry. “Fashion and trends” go in and out of style, as much to make us think we need to keep up, as anything substantial. I like to think I’m creating pieces that will stand the test of time and trends—to be worn often because the owner is comfortable with her own style, regardless of what the magazines and online sources tell her.

I make what I like and adjust that where necessary without losing myself. I try to avoid just “making” jewelry in favor of reaching  for “designing jewelry” within the scope of the materials and skilss that I have right now.

What is your favorite item to make?

Right now that would be my cluster rings. I like to think of each one as a miniature one-of-a-kind treasure. Partly because I can rarely duplicate them if I tried.  I believe that jewelry should be seen and these rings get noticed.

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What would you like to try making, but haven’t yet?

I’d love to try fusing silver to make my own chains and other fine silver pieces. And I’d like to work more on my wire skills. My bead  friends talked me into melting glass last May and it was as difficult as I imagined—watching the flame, moving the glass, twirling the mandrel, balancing the bead. It was  a thrill to try; however realistically, I live where it is over 100 degrees more than a third of the year. Working with hot flames and a hotter kiln is hard to imagine.

Are there specific pieces of your work that you are especially proud of?

I’m most proud of my line of Melonhead Joolz right now.  And grateful for the support of many bead artists who’ve collaborated with me on this variety of jewelry. Each of the artists has created their vision of “watermelon” in glass beads and donated the beads so that I can create the jewelry. It is either sold and a portion given back to the Melonhead Foundation, or the pieces are donated throughout the year in support of fundraising efforts.

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How do you find inspiration?

That’s easy—from the materials around me: the little works of art otherwise know as lampwork beads; the varied shapes, colors, and styles of freshwater pearls’ the textures and tones of Hill Tribe and Bali silver. The reactions of others to my Joolz. 

Are you artistically inclined in other ways?

I’d have to say yes, but within the boundaries of patterns and guidelines. I used to sew clothes and other items. That stopped when I could no longer devote hours on end to starting and finishing pieces—oddly enough timed with a toddler crawling around. I’ve crocheted and decoupaged. Scrapbooked and fabric painted briefly. Let’s say I like to be busy and, for now, creating one-of-a-kind jewelry fits that need.

How much time to you spend on your art per week? Is it enough?

It is never enough time and when there is time, the creative side is not always willing. The left brain and the right brain do battle and often one side wins leaving the creative side to wait for another day. I’d love to spend an afternoon or evening several days a week working on new pieces and new ideas. So that’s the goal in the coming year. A balance more in favor of the creative side.

Where do you sell your work?

Wherever I can? No, seriously, I have the Bonded by Fire website, my own Joolz by Lisa website, an Etsy online store, home parties and a few shopping event shows. Now that my daughter is older, I hope to devote more time to boutique-type shows and possibly galleries/shops.

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Hello world!

September 17, 2007

This spot has been sitting empty too long! Welcome to the Bonded! By Fire blog, a work in progress collection of glass artists and one lone jewelry designer (though don’t let them kid you, the glass artists make killer jewelry!).

Our website evolved from online discussions of how to draw more traffic to our individual sites…and as often happens, we started off strong and then life (or lives) got in the way. Intentions are good but the road to somewhere is paved with them (repaved in some cases).

So check out the site behind the blog and then head to our individual sites (and blogs) and you will find that “glass” is more than something to fill with a liquid. It is mesmerizing in the forms that it takes and where it ends up. And little by little, we’ll start to reveal how we became “Bonded! By Fire”.