Light of Day Jewelry is Helen Benham Gallagher's latest venture. She is a California-based mixed media artist with a love for color and shine. For her jewelry venture Helen takes what is old and brings new life to antique bottles and broken jewelry. She gets a kick out of digging through boxes of "junk" at flea markets on the hunt for gorgeous bits of hidden treasure. Each of her pieces is a unique labor of love. She is a mom, yoga teacher and master gluten-free baker.
SFEtsy: Please tell us about the items in your Etsy shop. What do you make? How did you learn your craft? What is involved in your creative process?
Helen: I create new jewelry from vintage jewelry. It's a tear it apart put it back together kind of process. One piece of jewelry could have parts of 4 or 5 different things... very Frankenstein !
My favorite part is hunting for the bits and pieces that I will use to create something one of a kind. The more broken and battered the better. I love flea markets, garage sales and thrift stores- really anywhere you can find discarded items that still have some shiny vintage goodness.
SFEtsy: What's your work schedule / routine like?
Helen: The first thing I do in the morning is to meditate for 10 minutes. It sets the tone for my day. Then I hit the gym or a yoga class to help balance the time I sit working. I find that my creative process is really improved by physical activity. There is nothing like a brisk walk to get through an artistic block.
On a typical day I will spend 4 to 5 hours working on new designs, marketing on social media and answering emails. One of my favorite aspects of my work is going on field trips to search for the vintage pieces that I use in my jewelry. I find that a little time away from my studio helps me feel inspired again.
SFEtsy: Tell us about your work space - where do you create?
Helen: My studio space occupies the tiny spare bedroom in my home. What it lacks in square footage it makes up for in beautiful natural light and a view of my garden. There are several crystals hanging in the window that create rainbows all over the place. It is a cozy, quiet , inspiring place for creative work and I really love it.
SFEtsy: What tools do you use that are absolutely essential and makes a huge difference in your day today process?
Helen: I have an assortment of tools on my workbench. Needle nose pliers, bead crimpers , and diagonal cutters are all essential in jewelry design. I also use my Dremel for cutting metal and then grinding down the sharp edges. ( While wearing my safety goggles of course ) Investing in really good quality tools has made such a difference for me.
SFEtsy: How did you get involved with Etsy?
Helen: I was having lunch with my friend , Amy Fox ( Foxwild on Etsy) , in April of 2008. She told me that she had found a great website where you could buy handmade items and craft supplies. As soon as I got home I became an Etsy member and then I proceeded to spend the next two hours exploring all the fun things that were available.
When I decided to sell my handmade jewelry Etsy was my natural choice. I like that it is a world-wide community of artists and people that appreciate hand-made goods.
SFEtsy: What are your favorite tools or apps that help you with your business?
Helen: I have recently begun utilizing the Shop Update feature which is available on the Sell on Etsy ap. It really works well for letting my customers know when I have a new listing. Also, being able to click on the item and shop makes it easier for my customers.
I also like a photo editing ap called Photo Grid . It's great for creating photo collages and resizing my pictures to fit perfectly on Instagram. Of course , I use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to promote my work as well.
SFEtsy: Share with us one lesson you have learned as an online seller
Helen: I think I have learned that there is no such thing as too much promotion when it comes to your handmade work. Utilize the power of social media!
You can we find out more about Light of Day Jewelry at the following sites:
Friday Features are run by Raji of Red Kerria Designs. To see your own shop featured, please contact her.
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