Q&A with Jess of *HelloThula*

I am always on the lookout for other inspiring/beautiful/creative blogs to use up all my mom's bandwidth (yes I am still one of those youngsters living at home and loving it!). It was just another one of those days, until I stumbled across HelloThula. I was so captivated by her blog, I just had to drop her a line. One thing led to another, and I thought the rest of you might like to hear what she is all about :)


Q. Where does the name Thula come from?

I was wanting to come up with a cool name for my jewelry, but nothing seemed quite right. I left it for a few weeks and all of a sudden thula popped into my mind, I liked the word itself, and I also like that its South African.

Q. So for those readers who have yet to stumble across your *shop*, what is it that you do/make??

I design, and hand make or hand forge sterling silver jewelry. I make jewelry from scratch. I buy raw silver in little like nuggets, and then I melt it down, roll it with a machine, knock it, hammer it, forge it into a ring.. earrings.. a tube for a stone... etc. 

I then sell my jewelry on my etsy store, mostly to international buyers thula on etsy and locally, to South African customers through my blog,  where rand prices are available. 

Q. What's your favorite item of jewelry to make and why?

I would have to say my hammered heart ring, I love to make this ring because it goes against everything I have been taught as a goldsmith apprentice. I'm used to making fine jewelry, but yet I love to make rustic jewelry like the hammered heart ring because it has its own character. I can make 10 rings look exactly exactly the same if I'm making fine jewelry. But with rustic jewelry.. something can look very very similar, but not quite 100%. That is because its not filed, and sanded, and made to look identical. The way the hammer hits the band, will not be exactly the same as another rustic ring. & because it is not being "cleaned" up/ (filed/ sanded polished) Its always going to be different, and that makes it interesting.

Q How long does it take you to make something, and where do you get your idea's from?

It all depends on the item of jewelry. A rustic piece of jewelry will obviously take a shorter time to make  than a fine piece of jewelry.
A hammered heart ring can take me 45 minutes. My clover ring is about 3 hours.
I get ideas from fashion editorials in magazines, I love looking at an outfit, and designing something that would really go with what the model is wearing. I get a lot of new ideas, from designing custom orders for people as well. 

Having to look outside of myself, and think about what someone else wants, someone else's style is always interesting and helps me to develop new ideas and pieces.

Q. What's the hardest part of being a jewelry manufacturer?

The hardest part of designing jewelry is probably trying to come up with something a little fresh, and different. Something people havent seen before. Working as a goldsmith apprentice tends to make you a bit narrow-minded when it comes to designing. Typically you just do custom orders for people. You do some designing, but thats more to please them, and to design somehting specific to their own style. Ive found that having my own jewelry range is more challenging, but definitely more fun.

The hardest part of actually hand making the jewelry, is when you mess something up!

You don't get a second chance if you make a mistake, you need to start the ring, or item over. This doesn't happen very often, but it can, and when that happens it can be frustrating, and you almost lose interest in the piece. The upside though, is that this when I really learn.

Q. What's the best part of being a jewelry manufacturer?

Being able to be creative, and see something through from absolutely nothing to something special.
Thinking, planning and designing something.. and then executing the plan of how to go about making it, then finishing it off. & having the finished product to actually see, and being able to enjoy it because its tangible, and not just an idea, or a drawing.

I love working the metal, forging it into what I want it to become. Its fun, and it allows me to be very creative.

I also really enjoy doing custom orders for people, whether it be a birthstone ring, or necklace. Or something very special that they want made. Its fun, and different, something I wouldn't typically make.

Q. You're from PE, If we had one day to explore the *windy city* where would you suggest we go?

You should definitely check out Richmond Hill.. if you are looking for some breakfast, or lunch, Vovo Telo bakery (the original) is just lovely... 
Otherwise late afternoon, early evening, Check out Charlie Superstar - amazing pizza, , Bain Street Grill.. or Fushin (if you into sushi).

Otherwise, sardina bay beach is a really wonderful place to go for a picnic, or walk. Its a beautiful beach, and just a great place I treasure.

Lastly, If you could design an item of jewelry for your favorite celebrity , what would you design and who would it be for?

I'd like to design something for Blake Lively. I really like her fashion sense, and there's something ethereal about her which I think is really beautiful.

I'd most likely design a very intricate, dainty and feminine necklace, with many fine chain, linked to one, with different size gemstones. All pale, and understated colored gems placed throughout the layers of chains. Something that could be worn with something very casual, or with something very smart and formal as well.

 Thanks for the inspiration Jess...it's not everyday you get to chat with someone who designs and makes their own jewelry, and one that makes such beautiful pieces.
Don't forget to check out Jess's shop, and of course her blog for her latest offerings :)

I hope you enjoyed my first *interview* post. Let me know if what you thought about it, and whether you would like to see more :)