Arts on the Square Spotlight: Meet Billie Jean of Designs by Billie Jean

Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Designer Billie Jean Williams creates custom jewelry that's perfect for everyday or the most special event in your life. You should definitely stop by and see what she creates for Arts on the Square!

Tell us a little about your company and what inspired you to start it.

I am Billie Jean Williams and I am Designs By Billie Jean. I have been designing and making jewelry for about 5 years. I live in Scranton, Pennsylvania and have a wonderful man by my side, a son and daughter-in-law, and a beautiful granddaughter, Rylie, who one of my bridal sets is named after.
I started selling at local craft fairs which lead to customers requesting me to custom make pieces, especially for a special event or outfit.  My customers like that most of my jewelry is one of a kind.  Although I do everyday jewelry, I also have a line of bridal and prom jewelry, and now am available for home parties.

How did you learn your craft?  

I have always been creative and my love of jewelry is what inspired me, and lead me to create my own line of jewelry.  Being mostly self taught, I took one class to learn the basics and have read many books and watched a lot of tutorials to learn the techniques I needed.

What kind of materials do you work with? 

I only use real natural gem stones, and Swarovski crystals. When I shop for beads, I am thrilled to see the many styles, colors and textures.  As I’m purchasing the beads, I’m already creating things in my mind and I can’t wait to get these beautiful beads home and start making them into something that someone will one day wear.  The beads are what make the necklaces, earrings and bracelets. 
Sometimes, I will sit down and start working and before I know it I have a finished product in front of me, and other times, I will rework a piece again and again, until I get it to where I am satisfied with the outcome , and where it just naturally flows. This year I traveled to the Tucson Gem show in Tucson Arizona, where I found a wealth of amazing beads from all over the world.

What items will you be featuring at Arts on the Square?

 Recently I have started working with wire.  I love the way it bends and creates a warm beautiful necklace from just a piece of wire.  This is new for me, and exciting at the same time, as it is a step outside the box.  I have created several new pieces that are going to be featured in the Arts on the Square festival.  Each one is unique and different in style and shape, and indeed becomes a piece of art.

What are your can’t live without craft room essentials?

My tools!  There are several different types and styles of pliers that I use to make jewelry, especially the wire jewelry.  But then, I also love my hammers. One must also have good lighting and a very comfortable chair.

How do you make your workplace an inspiring place to be?

An inspiring place to be is a place where you want to spend hours creating. But most importantly it must be a room just for jewelry making, a place to work without being distracted and where you can start a piece, leave it and come back to it.  I also love music, so I have music in my room, along with my books and DVDs all containing fashion and designs to give additional inspiration.  And many, many containers of beads, findings, chains, and clasps!  Plus I have a window that looks out on my backyard filled with flowers. And hanging on my wall is a poem which reads:  “He who works with his hands is a laborer, he who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman, he who works with his hands, his head and his heart is an Artist.”

Is there any other information you would like us to share about you or your work?

As I move forward with new designs, and techniques, I await the completion of my website, which should be online by the time of the Arts on the Square takes place.  This site will feature my bridal jewelry not only for brides, but the whole bridal party.  The site will also have prom and holiday jewelry as well as my everyday jewelry. 
I take great pride in my work, and love creating each piece of jewelry, and most importantly, love the look in someone’s eyes, when they try on my jewelry and fall in love with it.  What a great job I have!

Follow Designs By Billie Jean
Location: Scranton, Pa
Facebook: Designs By Billie Jean

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