Supportive Friends Helped Me Reach Further ~ Chapter Two
My jewelry story continued...If you are just now joining this, go back one post to catch the beginning.
Many of my friends who had received one of these original pieces suggested that I should try to sell them! I had never thought of that! ... But, six months later, I was selling them at a cool, little store called Jordanica in the Greystone Exchange building on High Street in Columbus, Ohio's Short North that was owned by a fellow jeweler and my good friend, Ben Jordan.
Several months later, I did my first show at Community (Comfest) Festival in Columbus with my two best friends of then and today!, Traci (Green) Kraft and Mikal (Mike) Winn. They had also started making jewelry in their own version after I showed them my technique. We all influenced each other with our experiments, creating and designs, in those early days. Our work was wired with raw, youthful, renegade energy! Over time, we all developed our own distinct styles, though, working and selling right alongside one another much of the time.
In 1990, Traci and I started a partership called Brook and Ivy where we made independent pieces but we sold our jewelry together under this same name for 15 years. Over that time, we built a cult following scattered throughout the Midwest through festivals and gallery shows. Mike would join us for a Comfest here and there with his pieces or sell them at Jordanica under the name "Sometimes Sam".
Every year at Comfest, Traci and I would experience euphoria from making unique connections with fans and customers with our work. This intense feeling was really particular! And, I continue to feel this with my customers today. I consciously work to keep clean, positive-minded energy, while I am building pieces, so that the wearer feels something 'good' or 'touched' in them. I am always so happy, when new viewers and customers pick up on this. They often tell me they sense something 'spiritual' or 'very special' in my pieces. For 25 years, my most common comment is ' Your work is really different. I have never seen anything like it.' This note is important, as it is telling me that I am doing 'my work'. I believe we all have a purpose(s) in life and this is one of mine. I have and continue to learn a lot from my customers!
In 2004, torn between maintaining a 3.9 GPA in college, working a non-art job part-time, making jewelry & doing shows, and my marriage, I realized some part of my life had to be sacrificed. The stress of overworking for years was taking its toll and I rarely had free time with my husband, David. The decision was not that difficult. Every time I considered giving up the jewelry, it pained me. I thought that I had so much more to do and learn from it. I thought, I will pursue it full-time, along with working my part-time job. I told myself I will keep doing it until I become bored with it. And it was one of the best decisions I have ever made!
After several years of considering doing the jewelry full-time and with David's full support, in 2004, I made the leap! As Traci didn't want to do the jewelry as a career, I began making and selling my pieces independently, under the name, Pavanne Jewelry. Many of our folllowers were attached to the jewelry as "Brook and Ivy", Lori AND Traci. Several frowned afterwards and said, that I kicked Traci out. Not true! She just didn't want to do the jewelry in this fashion.
Of course, starting my own business had me working 80 hour weeks quite often, anyway. And it wasn't without stress...probably more actually, for quite awhile. I sold my pieces during this time at Midwest festivals and galleries.
And Mike, had already started making and selling his own jewelry and belt buckles full-time under the name Mikal Winn Designs, a few years before me. When he had moved to West Hollywood, he became self-employed as a wholesale jewelry designer selling to high-end boutiques. When I was on the fence to make the switch to full-time, he inspired me to do the same!
Stay tuned...the next section will be posted September 1st.