I think the thing that strikes me the most in this interview with Jeannine of Tangleweeds, is that she finds her inspiration in the most unique place as she watches nature struggle to find its way into our world of concrete and man made materials, and uses that inspiration to make creations out of metal that mimic the delicate way of nature. She unites metal and nature in beautiful ways. Meet Jeannine and enjoy her jewelry!
Please introduce yourself.
Hello there! My name is Jeannine Komush and my small handmade business is Tangleweeds. I grew up in Livermore, a smallish suburb not far from San Francisco. I now live in Oakland and love it! I’ve lived in the Oakland/Berkeley area for most of the past 12 years.
What do you make or do?
I make brass and steel jewelry under Tangleweeds. My designs are rustic, yet elegant and perfect for everyday wear. I accent my designs with semi-precious stones, re-purposed leather, and vintage fibers. I love to play with texture especially and am inspired by ancient jewelry, as well as so many of the modern makers constantly re-inventing classic jewelry designs. I enjoy creating pieces that are slightly unusual or unique in design. One of my favorites right now is my Leaf-Petal lariat. It looks so natural when worn, almost like you have real leaves dancing in front of you.
Where can we find your creations?
You can find my work at www.tangleweeds.etsy.com and on Scoutmob: https://scoutmob.com/a/tangleweeds. I also sell at craft fairs all throughout the year. I haven’t updated my events page for 2016 yet, as that schedule is still unfolding, but once it is updated you can find it here: https://tangleweeds-jewelry.com/events/. I also sell at many shops, you can find a list of stores that sell my work here: https://tangleweeds-jewelry.com/stockists/
Is there an interesting story behind the name of your business?
The name of my business was meant to be a reflection of how I see the world: everything interconnected in this beautiful way that sometimes seems chaotic but actually has a lot of order behind it. It was also a story-telling device for me. My jewelry pieces, and the collections that I release always tell a story (one that I leave largely up to interpretation by the wearer.)
How long have you been creating and is it your full-time job?
I’ve been making jewelry for 12 years. I’ve had Tangleweeds for 6 and a half of those twelve years and I’ve been full time with Tangleweeds as my sole income for the last 3 and half years. I think that timeframe is important to emphasize. These things don’t just happen overnight! I even had another small handmade jewelry business before Tangleweeds, called Designs by a Hummingbird (that was 10 years ago). But ultimately I decided I wasn’t ready to make my art my business and I took a large step back for a few years.
Is creativity a luxury or a necessity for you?
For me creativity is a necessity. By which I mean everyday creativity. I think you can choose to get up everyday and just go through the motions, or you can get up everyday and really apply yourself to everything you do, to find the most artful way to live your life that fills your soul up. For me, that’s what creativity is all about.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in so many places, but in general I like to put it this way: I find inspiration in the way the natural environment intersects with our human one. The way little plants poke their heads up through cracks in the cement, abandoned buildings covered in ivy, that sort of thing.
What inspiring advice would you give to other creatives be they established or just starting out?
The advice I’d give to creatives, whether just getting started or well established might be a bit unexpected: It’s going to be tough. Whether or not you’re trying to turn your creative passion into a business, it’s going to be a lot of hard work. It’s going to be amazing too, but sometimes the hard and difficult times will outweigh the shiny-bright-life-is-a-breeze times. I say this because I think it was the advice I needed the first couple years of going full time with Tangleweeds. I really thought I was doing something wrong because I didn’t wake up every morning thinking “gosh, my life is amazing because I get to work for myself!” So, if you’re waking up thinking “gosh, this is really HARD,” you’re not doing anything wrong, in fact you’re probably doing something really really right. It just takes some time for it all to start paying off.
Who are the makers that inspire you?
The other makers who inspire me. . . There are so many! But to name drop really quick here: Kyla of Impressed by Nature, Marin and Julia of Blackbird Underpinnings, Amy Rose of Amy Rose Moore Illustration, and Creek and Jonny of Compass Rose Designs. But I could go on for a very long time. Anyone who’s carving out time to create something beautiful with their hands gets a high-five from me.