Friday, May 16, 2008


Here is a really striking necklace by Jan Bajgier of JANSJEMS. Jan has so kindly taken the time to tell us a little about herself and her wonderful jewelery. Be sure to visit Jan's shop to see more of her work.


My name is Jan and I live in beautiful Western Massachusetts. Having worked many years in a busy office, multi-tasking and regularly putting out small fires, I’ve maintained my sanity by doing a variety of creative things at home. Gemstones and jewelry have always been a passion and I managed to infect both my daughters with this addiction. Often unable to find jewelry in the appropriate colors or styles, we all started making custom jewelry a few years ago. Now the jewelry boxes are filled and we’re making jewelry to sell.

What led you to start creating your art?

It's all my kids' fault. I've been interested in gemstones for years, took some classes, and have accumulated a small collection, some of which I've had set into jewelry. So as the girls got older, to spend a little quality time with them, I'd take them to gem shows. We bought some jewelry, but with all the beads and findings at these shows, the girls decided they could make more customized pieces themselves and cheaper. Now why didn't I think of that? So I started making jewelry too, bought some books, examined other peoples' techniques, took a class, etc., until I developed a technique and my jewelry box was full to overflowing. My oldest daughter, thankfully, found Etsy which gave us an outlet for our creations. Both my daughters also still make pieces for Jansjems when they find time.

How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?
I love gemstones and the wonderful colors and patterns that are naturally created in the earth. And what better way to display them than to wear them. Since I'm not a metalsmith and couldn't set them, gemstone beads were thed default option. I've started experimenting with more intricate wrapping and I do hope to learn to do some metal work in the future, which will give me more creative options.

What aspect of creating your art do you find the most enjoyable?
Some of my designs are simpler because of customer demands. But I really like combining colors and textures in small and large clusters, and then creating a design to show them off. It's probably a lot like creating a mosaic or a flower arrangement. I see them as little abstract paintings that change as you move.

What message, if any, do you want to convey with your art?
My art has no message, no philosophy, and it's apolitical. Making jewelry makes me happy. I just hope that people find my designs and color combinations visually appealing and that wearing one of my pieces makes them happy too.

What advice do you have for other artists?
I'm not sure I've been doing this long enough to be qualified to give advice. It has only been in the last couple of years that I felt comfortable putting mywork out there and selling it. But I'll share something that I learned in that short period of time. Have faith in your art and your ideas and your designs. Not everyone will appreciate them and that's ok. You'll find plenty of people who will. The most important thing, however, is that creating your art fulfills a need and makes you happy.

Jan, thanks for sharing your thoughts and art with us. If you want to see what Jan has in her shop be sure to click on the link below the photos, or click on a photo to go directly to that item in her shop.

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