Mini marvels - JillMacCorkle

It's Mini-Marvel time!

JillMacCorkle is a wonderfully talented designer and super sweet lady...:) What I love most about her work is her ability to pair something rough with something elegant and come out with classic pieces every time. Her pieces all have something in them that makes them special and removed from the everyday.

I asked her to share something about herself with us and here's what she had to say...:)

I’m honored to be featured on your blog, and among such good company as your past mini-marvels! I love that aside from gemstones and jewelry, we all share a similar view on the importance of honesty and integrity in our work and our lives. I could not “hang” with people who did not share that.

I’ve always been that person who looks at something and thinks, “I could do that!” When I was very young, I truly believed I could – with age, I’ve realized that it takes more than just that belief – you actually have to work hard and fail a lot on the way to success. But my natural inclination has led me to try things that I probably had no business attempting. I’m self-taught in just about every creative thing I do, and that includes jewelry making.

I first fell in love with jewelry as a young child, and I can clearly picture myself in class endlessly doodling designs for rings and necklaces on my notebooks. I was utterly convinced that I could make my designs reality, but I was held back by my lack of a rock tumbler. You know, the ones that show rough garden rocks going into the machine and shiny polished beautiful gemstones coming out? Santa never did bring me one. Sigh.

Over time my creative impulses went into other pursuits, like sewing, art, photography, home remodeling, and calligraphy. I still work at all those when I can, which is not nearly as often as I would like. I’ve also got two kids (twelve and nine years old), a husband, and a dog, so life keeps me busy.

The passion for making jewelry reignited in me about five years ago, after I helped a friend make some bracelets for a women’s conference. It was fun, and I figured maybe I could make a few things for myself and that it would be less expensive than buying jewelry. Little did I know! I went to the local bead store intending to get a few supplies, and ran smack into the gorgeousness that is inherent in natural gemstones. My inner five year old came out to play, still bursting with all those ideas from so many years ago, and I dove in. Somehow a few beads turned into many, many into more, and these days I think I could stock a bead store myself with all my supplies. I’ve learned through trial-and-error, a few good books, online tutorials, and the wisdom of other designers.

The funny thing is, I’m not one to wear a lot of jewelry, and I’ve never been into the jewelry you find in the big fancy jewelry stores. It’s all too perfect! I like a stone with some imperfection, something about it that shows its “life experience.” When I create new pieces, I love playing with color combinations and juxtaposing refined stones with more rugged ones. I’m not necessarily married to one style or type of jewelry – I’m just as likely to make a big chunky necklace as something delicate and light – but I do strive for a look that is classic with just a bit of a modern twist.

My inspirations come from everywhere! I’ve traveled all over. I grew up in Germany, and have also lived in Washington DC, Dallas, Portland, Chicago, Paris, and currently Seattle, so there are a multitude of influences in my life from other cultures and locales. I’m an avid reader of many different genres, love a wide variety of music, and am passionate about subjects as diverse as home birth, politics, history, education, and food. I also work as a freelance copyeditor, which gives my brain its workouts. Somehow it all informs my designing, directly or indirectly.

I feel I am always evolving in my work, and lately I find myself wanting to do things that require fire to shape and join metal. I don't think I’ll try the self-taught route on that one! I hope to combine metalsmithing with stringing to bring more of the designs in my head out into the real world. Maybe one of those sketches I drew when I was just a little dreamer.

I hope you enjoy her beautiful work as much as I do!


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