Debra Blazer of Blazer Arts creates quality custom 14K gold and sterling silver jewelry handset with genuine stones. Many of my items incorporate what she calls "black silver," which is sterling silver that has been oxidized and then coated with a clear enamel coating.
Tell me about how you originally got into your craft, Debra.
I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in sculpture and metalworking. While I was obtaining my degree I was fortunate to apprentice under a remarkable custom jeweler, Sharon Teaman. It just made sense to me that jewelry was a great way to take my passion for sculpture and turn it into a profitable career. After over ten years working in the jewelry industry as a wax carver, stone setter, and repair technician, I began my business in 2006 when I found out I was pregnant with my first son. After he was born, I went back to work as a bench jeweler for two weeks before telling my employer that I would "stay through the Christmas rush and then I have to stay home with my little boy". I have built a successful home based business because I HAD to! Now we have our second newborn little boy and the business is continuing to grow right along with our family.
What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
Laugh with my family! In my world, my family is number one. I have a wonderful supportive husband who makes my business possible. Without him, I couldn't do this! And I am so fortunate to have two happy and healthy little boys...one is nearly three years old and the other just turned four months and is so ticklish it hurts!
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
Finding time to do ANYTHING! With two small children and a husband who is currently writing his PHD dissertation while teaching, time is our most valuable asset. When my husband and I do fight, it's over who gets to work! Needless to say, there is little free time or sleep happening at our house.
What item in your shop would you most like to receive as a gift if someone were shopping for you?
Oh boy! My newest favorite is my Ruby Picasso Ring in 14K Rose Gold. It is channel set with four beautiful round rubies and a princess cut Moisonite. I love the squared off profile. I knew this one was special when I carved it and fell in love with it immediately!
When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be an architect from the time I was around 10 until I applied to college. I actually toured a number of colleges' architecture programs in preparation. But while I was at Penn State, I fell in love with their art program and that's where I ended up--which is a good thing because that's also where I met my husband. I still have a dream of designing our house someday.
What other shops or artists out there do you love?
Oh my...there are so very many! Especially with participating in the art festival circuit, you get to know the other artisans like transient family members. I can't even begin to name everyone.
What does your future hold?
Some good times and bad, I'm sure. We are currently in the middle of moving to Daytona where my husband just got an Assistant Profesorship at a university. I'm planning to begin focusing more on museum quality work and build my name. I have a fabulous idea for a silver and gold box featuring the "four gentlemen" of chinese brush painting. It will be liberating to get back to some more sculptural work. Look for the addition of "Blazer Studios" to the Blazer Arts website. This will feature all of my metal sculpture.
Visit Blazer Arts at www.blazerarts.com or www.blazerarts.blogspot.com. She also has shops at Etsy and 1000Markets.