Julie is a local-to-me artist who designs unique jewelry for craft shows and an Etsy shop called ModJules. Mod Jules specializes in jewelry and gifts that speak to you. Julie says she loves finding and designing images and sayings that fit individual personalities. Her handmade jewelry incorporates a variety of techniques and materials, including upcycled game pieces (scrabble tiles, mah jong tiles), hand-stamped metal, rubber stamping with inks, embossed and riveted metal, and digital collages.
If you are looking for jewelry featuring Les Miserables, Downton Abbey, Sherlock, Doctor Who, Jane Austen, Dr. Seuss, the Hunger Games, English Grammar and more, this is the place! She's absolutely open to new ideas--just let her know if there's a subject for which you need jewelry!
Tell us about your background. What path led you to the work you do today?
My love of words, basic graphic design, scrapbooking & stamping have all combined into my jewelry style! I have a very liberal arts background; I was an English major and eventually got a graduate certificate in Linguistics. At one point, I was looking into doing web graphics as a job change and took some basic classes in web design and graphic software. When I had kids, my interest in scrapbooking took off and then I eventually got into stamping as a creative outlet. About four years ago, I tried making pendants with initials on them out of little travel checkers for my daughter’s birthday party goodie bags (I’d seen an idea online). I thought that was kind of fun and started experimenting with paper, stamping, different games pieces and resin. People started asking to buy what I was making and before long, I had myself a small business.
How do you come up with new designs and ideas for your jewelry?
Although my etsy store mostly has my scrabble tile pendant designs, I’m always trying new techniques and experimenting. At my craft shows, you’ll see I’m really all over the place with wire-wrapping, other game pieces and embossed, riveted, and stamped metal jewelry--rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. I just come across some new product or technique online and have to try it! As far as my scrabble tile designs are concerned, I take inspiration mostly from popular culture such as TV shows, movies, books, and music that interest me.
How do you combine your work and your family life?
I’m lucky in that part of my work can be done on the computer around my family (4 kids ranging in age from 10 to 2); I’m not writing the great American novel so I don’t need complete concentration! My jewelry is also made in stages so I can disappear into the craft room for an hour during nap time or at night or on the weekends when my husband can take over. I don’t have a schedule; I just make the time when I have an order. During the holiday craft season, my family tries to come visit me at my shows. It’s become a family tradition that when the show is in some quaint area, we go exploring nearby afterwards and get dinner (subsequently spending what I just made! lol). Also, my kids have their own craft area and it’s fun for me to see them trying to make their own things and be little entrepreneurs; I’ve made pendants from dominoes my son has colored and my daughter makes barrettes to sell at my shows.
Is this contemplative work for you? Do you listen to music as you create? Favorite creative soundtrack?
It’s contemplative in the sense that I NEED it to stay sane, lol. I mostly listen to the radio when I’m working—usually a pop rock station with dancey music I can bop along to.
Can you suggest ideas for Mother's Day? How about graduation gifts?
I do have a few mother-themed scrabble tiles
; I also make custom stamped metal pendants with kids’ names on them that are popular
. For graduation gifts, I make stamped metal pendants with a name and birthstone or (and this is true for moms too), if the person has any particular interest, they might enjoy a pendant with a saying that relates to them personally—maybe they love rescue dogs, want to be an English major, play Minecraft , plan on attending UVA or are a Downton Abbey fan! I can take any picture or graphic and make a custom pendant too.
What's the product you are most excited about in your shop right now?
Usually I’d say whatever I designed last but one series of designs I really love are my Jane Austen scrabble tile pendants. I absolutely love her books and I had so much fun choosing the quotes, finding the graphic elements and putting them all together. I had a happy accident where I’d inked the sides of the tile to get an antique look and after the resin hardened, it reacted with the ink and created this really cool unique swirled look—almost batik—so every pendant is different!
~*~*~*~Giveaway Details and a Special Offer~*~*~*~
Poke around Julie's store and come back and tell us which item you like best. You'll be entered to win any one scrabble tile pendant in the etsy store and a chain or cord of the winner’s choice (value is $16.50 with shipping).
For the special, you can take 10% off a minimum purchase of $8 with the code FOSS10 good through May 5. Think spring gift giving:-).