Artists ~ Jennifer A. Cronin ~ Charlestown

Artist’s name: Jennifer A. Cronin
Shop name: jacjewels

1. Tell us about your work
In my studio I am a bench jeweler, designer, model maker and shop photographer for all of my work. All of my jewelry is handmade to order in sterling silver. My jewelry line is “simply pretty” it can be worn with a tee and your favorite pair of jeans or worn to dress up an outfit for an evening out! I use geometric shapes, things found in nature and different textures that have helped me create the jewelry line I have at this time. I love to mix n’ match the different textures and designs when wearing my pieces and I encourage buyers to do the same. As my business grows, I look forward to adding 18 karat gold as well as precious and semi-precious stones.

2. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
It started out when I was studying at LIU/Southampton in their Fine Arts department, wanting to be a sculptor. One semester they offered a jewelry class taught by a local jeweler. I loved sculpting, but after taking the jewelry class, I knew jewelry was what I was meant to do! To pursue this, I was lucky enough to work for the teacher who taught the jewelry class in her studio that summer. This gave me the opportunity to work on pieces to help build a portfolio, which I could present to the jewelry department at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in NYC. I was accepted into their Jewelry Design program and started in the fall of ’94. This was a 2 year program where I learned a little of everything; from drawing jewelry designs, to learning the basics of jewelry making, and gemology to name just a few of the courses. It was an intense program and I was taught by teachers who were well known in the jewelry industry for their skills. When the 2 year program was over, FIT found me a full time job with a New York City jeweler; Jane Bohan an award winning jewelry designer. This is where my skills as a jeweler were perfected. I was a bench jeweler for Jane for 4.5 years (in studio for 2 yrs. – my home studio for 2.5 yrs.), working in sterling silver and 18k gold. I assembled her jewelry from start to finish; cleaning castings, assembling, soldering and finished with polishing. While working for Jane, I continued my studies taking wax carving classes, bead stringing classes, and stone setting classes. I did eventually move on to start my own business, while still working for Jane from my home studio.

Although I started out wanting to be a sculptor, I feel I did not stray too far from it – I feel every piece of jewelry I’ve made is a tiny sculpture - I’ve carved, shaped, formed, and created it to be a beautiful piece of wearable art.

3. Where do you draw your inspiration?
I get my inspiration from all things around me. Whether it be a flower or the pattern on a bug. I am always taking pictures of everything and anything that I think might help inspire me to create a new design. I love patterns and the textures you find in nature and in architecture. I’m a big fan of Pinterest, I pin patterns you find in textile work as well as patterns in nature that may inspire a new creation. Rhode Island has been a big inspiration for my nautical line. It’s hard to ignore, living in the BEAUTIFUL ocean state - surround by nautical inspiration daily!

4. What’s your favorite item to create?
I can’t say that I have a favorite, but I do love when I have someone who loves my work and requests a custom piece. It challenges me to think outside my comfort zone at times, while still staying true to my design style. It’s always exciting to see a customer so happy with a one of a kind piece made just for them! I guess I really just love creating new pieces!!

5. What’s your best seller?
I just launched my jewelry line in July 2014 selling to two local shops and opening my Etsy shop. It is hard to say in such a short amount of time, but my two Starfish rings have been a top seller at the local shops. My Mini Initial Pendant necklace as well as my Double Band Anchor ring are tied for the bestseller in my Etsy shop.

6. How long have you been in Rhode Island?
I moved from Long Island, NY to Charlestown, RI in September of 2000

7. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?
Living in South County, my family and I enjoy having the beautiful beaches, gorgeous state parks, wildlife refuges, and adorable little towns with great shops so close by! Yet, in 45 minutes we can be in Providence to enjoy all the city has to offer!

8. Please include anything else you’d like to add:
Selling at Zero Wampum in Wakefield, and Mills Creek in Charlestown
You can follow me on Facebook and Instagram for new items being added to my Etsy shop, as well as any special offers I might be offering. Now thru the holidays I’m offer a Deal of the Week in partnership with www.everythingetsy,com.


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