Conversations with Artists

September 5, 2013

HandMade in America talks with CSA artist Q Evon

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When did you decide to become and artist and why?
I do not think there was ever a point where I decided to become an artist.  I came from a very corporate family.
My university years were spent in the business department. That said, I began making jewelry in the 6th grade when I started collecting old necklaces from garage sales and turning them into something I could give my friends.  This continued until I took my first metals class when I was 16. I certainly caught the bug but never thought about it as an occupation.  As a member of a big business family, art was not something you “did,”  it was something you purchased.

Why or how did you choose your medium?
It chose me.

If you weren’t doing this work, what would you do?
Architecture.  Unfortunately, my math skills were wretched and I did not have the focus needed to pursue this avenue. But one of the greatest compliments I ever received was a quote about me by the NY Times.  They said that I was more of an architect as opposed to a jeweler . They called me an “architect for the body.”

Could you talk a little about why you love what you do?
Someone once said “if you have your own business, you get to pick which 24 hours a day you work.” I love what I do 99 days out of a hundred. I get to create beautiful things that people value and love. I decide which direction I want my collections to go and then decide how to bring that vision into three dimensional form.
There was a time, when the economy first started to crash, when I was not sure I could keep things going.  My husband stepped in to partner with me and we have built the business stronger than ever. Creativity is not only about the jewelry. You must have creativity in the invention, reinvention, and growth of the business as an entity. My husband showed me how to find joy in that.
These days I also have three absolutely wonderful women who work with me. We are a good team and they make everything better. Most of my experimentation is done on days when I am completely alone, but I value this team greatly and appreciate their contributions to keeping my business moving forward.

How has your work changed over the years?
My work has changed greatly over the years.  My original collections where much sharper / tougher when I was living in NY full time. Today there is more fluidity to my work.

How have you changed as a consequence of your work?
As my business grew in its success, I gained the confidence to become more playful and take more chances in my work.  I knew my production work would continue to sell well and it freed me to begin experimenting again.

What is the most challenging thing about working in your medium?
Maintaining my focus. I have also designed jewelry lines for other companies. My ideas are endless and there are many times when I try to do too many things at once.  As my business coach says, “just because you can design anything, does not mean you should.” This is a constant challenge for me.

Who or what are your major influences?
I never really know how to answer this question. When you’re an artist you are influenced by everything you see, taste, and feel.

The following pieces were inspired by the CSA that leases some of our acreage for growing food and flowers
image7 image6
What didn’t you know about your career before you got started that you wish you did?
The importance of customer service and follow through.  In the beginning I just wanted to make pretty things and have someone buy and appreciate them. Even having attended business school, I had no idea how much “the business of the business” would require from me.

Any words of wisdom for those starting out?
Heheh. I have been teaching two day workshops on this exact topic for the last five years: You can get in touch with me (or HandMade in America) for more information.

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