“I have enough jewelry” — No One
This is our favorite quote from our featured host today, Christy Sears. It’s not hard to tell how much she loves jewelry. After Christy moved from Texas to LA, she kicked off her career and passion project at a bead store within the walking distance of her apartment. When you are the kind of person who always has lots of creative energies flowing around you, you will eventually reach an “Aha!” moment to put them all together and spark a new chapter of your life. And that’s how Christy’s story began.
As a former VP of Consumer Engagement in a corporate company, Christy made a decision to expand the limits of her creativity from a cubicle to her own jewelry studio. Since then, she has spent several years filling in blanks with personal experiences and crazy experimentation. From time to time, Christy’s Me-Studio grows into a We-Studio to offer a wide breadth of jewelryclasses — from Jewelry Skills, Casting, Soldering, Setting Stones, toMetalsmithing, etc. It has built up a community of like-minded jewelry artists through Christy and her students sharing their passions & experiences with each other.
Learn about her story (when she fell in love at first sight with jewelry art), the secret behind her endless creativity, and how she has been able to establish her own little community in SoCal with her students below.
Hi Christy, we’re happy to have you here. Can you introduce yourself and tell us about the classes that you offer through Verlocal?
Hi! I’m Christy Sears and I have a problem. I’m a complete metal head. Literally. I can’t get enough sterling silver or gold! Which is convenient since I’m the Circus Ringleader and Soldering Instructor at The August Axel Jewelry Studio, in Venice, CA..
The Studio and classes were designed to serve a range of skills and interests, from talented tinkerers to advanced artists. We offer Jewelry Soldering,Metalsmithing, Alternative Casting Methods, Setting Stones, Cold Connections, Knotting, Wire-Wrapping, and more.
When did you first become interested/passionate in Jewelry art?
When I first moved to SoCal from Texas, I needed to find supplies to fuel my creative energy. Fortunately for me (but unfortunately for my wallet!), there was an amazing bead store within walking distance of my apartment. I took a few foundational “Jewelry Skills” classes: beading, wire-wrapping, and knotting.
Flash-forward a few years and these skills, while fun, were NOT enough! The next level of “creative-crack” was developed at OTIS, where I learned metalsmithing and jewelry fabrication. That was my Aha! Moment. I finally discovered the skills that intensely engaged my brain and hands. I was hooked!
I spent the next several years filling in blanks with personal experiences and crazy experimentation. I would constantly ask myself, “Hmm. I wonder what would happen if…”
Where does your inspiration come from? What made you want to pursue your passion and become a host?
I went from being VP of Consumer Engagement at a marketing agency to President of Creating a Better Life Balance While Pursuing My Passion. So literally, with every class that students book through Verlocal, I’m saved from the evil jaws of The Corporate Cubicle.
In addition, through the process of personal trial-and-error, I now have a wealth of knowledge to share. Since I’m the caretaker-type, I want our students to avoid the same mistakes that I made. For example, learning why you should never get cocky and wear flip-flops while soldering. Which tools are a waste of money. What glue is best for knotting. The best — and not so best — way to cure a crucible, etc.
And finally, I. LOVE. MAKING JEWELRY. Here’s my favorite quote to sum it up nicely:
“I have enough jewelry” — No One
How would you describe the link between your classes/products and the community around you?
I live and work in Venice, which is an inherently creative community. From funky to fabulous, crunchy to couture. This environment is a constant source of inspiration.
I’m also thrilled with the community we’re building through our classes. Our Verlocal students are passionate about learning and are excited to share their latest works with us and each other.
To foster this kinship in the New Year, we’re planning an Open House for students where they can connect with each other to show-off their latest work, share tips for getting noticed and deepen relationships with like-minded jewelry artists.
How long have you been living in LA? What would you recommend to someone who just moved to this city?
I’ve lived in Venice for 16 years. Maybe 17. (Hmmm. Time flies…) Long enough that I consider myself to be a Texafornian. A piece of my heart for my Home State and another part for my adopted home.
My best advice is to get out there and explore! No really, literally, get out-of-doors! We have beautiful weather all year long, so go for a hike, play in the surf, support your local farmers market, ride Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland (and scream/giggle the whole ride!).
But my all-time, favorite thing to do is to have “The Quintessential LA Evening” at the Hollywood Bowl. So, I’m going to sound like your Mama and remind you to bring a sweater because, when the sun goes down, it gets chilly. But as a potential new BFF, I’m going to remind you to bring a few bottles of bubbly! (Trust me! You’re welcome.)
Tell us about your favorite moment/ biggest achievement since you started teaching your classes.
I’m most proud of expanding from a Me-Studio to a We-Studio. There are now 4 of us who teach a wide breadth of jewelry-related classes. Jewelry Skills, Casting, Soldering, Setting Stones, Metalsmithing, etc.
Each of our Instructors has a wealth of knowledge, loads of bench-experience, endless patience…and a wicked sense of humor!
Pam L. :: Alternative Casting Instructor, Rock-Hound and Lapidary Artist
Katherine M. :: Jewelry Skills Instructor and a strong believer in Color Theory
Wendy W. :: Metalsmithing Skills Instructor, Creative Force
Our common thread — and the fuel for many planning sessions — is that we recognize a deficit within most jewelry courses. Many teach “how” but not “why.” Let’s face it, not all artists are able to parlay their knowledge into easy-to-understand actions. So that became our major point of differentiation, which also fuels our passion. We make sure we are raising up creative, secure, safe and knowledgeable jewelry artists.
What is your favorite piece of work & story behind it?
The love of a piece really stems from the depth of skills that went into it. So with that in mind, there are 3 that I adore! (But this feels like choosing a favorite child. YIKES!)
The first is a Native American-inspired naja pendant with 3 Royston Turquoise cabs. It took 17 individual joins to complete the piece so it solidified in my mind, that I had achieved a very high proficiency level with a torch. (AKA Total Bad Ass in my own mind!)
Next is an ancient coin that was my first official prong-setting. And then, last week, I returned to the simple pleasure of metalsmithing. A friend gave me some copper flashing and said, “here, let’s see what you can make with this.” So I stamped and sawed until it became a boho-chic feather. Which then evolved into a graceful cuff. I love its simple beauty, texture and flowing lines.
What are your goals for the future?
Our short-term goal is to list new Holiday-themed classes on Verlocal, a.k.a. a “DIY Holiday Series.” So, we’ll provide the space, tools, materials and instruction to get it done. Beautifully.
Long term, our plan is to continue catering to the needs of our students. As they develop in their learning paths, and deepen their abilities and interests, we’ll develop course offerings that help them reach the next-level of success.
What does Verlocal mean to you?
Verlocal is our official partner! First, they manage the bookings and payments, while we focus on developing and teaching classes.
Second, Verlocal delivers qualified leads directly to the Studio doorstep! And the people we’ve hosted have been really cool and very interesting. They love to learn and have fun. (And frankly, we’re having a blast, too!)
Any recommendations to someone who might want to start their own business?
Every day, push your business forward. Whether it’s a small step, like tweaking your SEO, or adding to your social media streams or a deeper, more time-consuming action like building a website.
Every. Day. Boom. (Mic drop. Didja feel that??)
If you happen to be obsessed with jewelry / metal just like Christy, we recommend meeting her in person when you visit beautiful Venice in SoCal. Never tried jewelry soldering before but your inner DIYer/metal head is calling you right now? Then her classes is what you need. Keep up with her latest works by following her Website and Verlocal profile.
All photos by Christy Sears
From 9/20–9/28, comment under this post and share with us: What is the biggest “Aha!” moment in your life?
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