Artists ~ Jan Cal ~ Providence

Artist's Name: Jan Cal
Shop Name: Yesterday Gets Better

1. Tell us about your work:
About my work: I design and make one-of-a-kind jewelry. Unique mixed-media pieces handcrafted one by one with any combination of natural stones, freshwater pearls, precious metals, silk velvet, as well as mint-condition vintage jewels and ornaments from Rhode Island's history as "Costume Jewelry Capital of the World," along with my own chainmaille, wirewrapping and beadwork.

2. Is there a story behind the name of your business?
The name of my business, Yesterday Gets Better, comes from a Charlie Brown cartoon I saw decades ago. I only remember that in the final panel Charlie responds he is still waiting for yesterday to get better, and that idea both tickled and intrigued me. It is well-suited for my work, which often combines new and old, and frequently looks "vintage."

3. How did you come to be a professional artist/crafter/designer?
I knew by age five that I was an artist. What my media would be, that has changed and evolved throughout my life. I studied painting and sculpture at four art schools, but I turned to jewelry design about 20 years ago, and have stuck with it longer than any other art form.

4. Where do you draw your inspiration?
My inspiration most frequently comes from the materials themselves -- I usually start a piece by selecting an exceptional natural stone, and then design a piece around it to showcase it. Other influences range from Stephen Sondheim's music to the textiles of William Morris.

5. What’s your favorite item to create?
My favorite item to create would be a necklace with a rare and evocative natural stone, like a chalcedony rose that really looks like a rose frozen in stone, for instance, or an especially nice lodolite pendant that looks like a magnified tidal pool scene.

6. What’s your best seller?
My best seller? Since each piece is one of a kind, I don't have any..

7. How long have you been in Rhode Island?
I moved to Rhode Island in 1988, a lucky year for me! I love it here.

8. What do you {heart} about Rhode Island?
What struck me straight away about Rhode Island was that I'd never before seen a place that combined farms and the seaside -- there are places here where farmland meets the sea.And everything is so close by, so you can live in a capital city and yet the beach or the woods is a half hour's drive away. The best of all worlds!

9. Favorite place to take out-of-towners?
Favorite place to take out of towners would be Horseneck Beach and then to a Portuguese restaurant.

10. Any advice for new/wannabe makers?
Advice for new makers: make what you like; you'll get better at it as you go.


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