It’s summer and my kids are home every day with me and I couldn’t be happier! I love having them around, I love watching them play, and interact, and I love getting to have time with them each day encouraging them to grow and mature into the people they will someday be. And I love watching them create! They play in the yard, and are constantly in a world of make-believe. They sit at our kitchen table and draw and color and cut and glue and design. Our sliding glass door is decorated with marker drawings almost to the point that you can’t see outside. It makes my heart full.
As I was reading through Linnea’s interview something stood out to me. She said that she has been able to make and sell things since she was 10 years old because of her mom’s crafty endeavors. What a sweet encouragement her mom must have been to her! I hope that I can be the same to my kids as they dive into the things that they want to do! Meet Linnea Oliver and check out her creations!
Please introduce yourself.
Hi my name is Linnea Oliver + I’m a jeweler living in San Francisco, CA. I grew up in the Midwest + since I was a wee little thing, I’ve spent countless hours at craft shows with my mom (who is a full time crafter), and as such, have been making + selling different types of art/crafts since I was ten-years-old.
What do you make or do?
I make modern wooden jewelry for men + women. I hand-paint + layer thin pieces of intricately cut hardwoods together to create my one-of-a-kind jewelry.
Where can we find your creations?
Is there an interesting story behind the name of your business? How did the name come about?
Well, I’m a bit of an anglophile + thought their nonchalant term for a woman as a “bird” was humorous. Around that same time, I was designing my Braille necklaces that are inscribed in different virtues (ones which I am striving to live my own life by). So, Bird of Virtue is a marriage of those two concepts, a reminder to be the best you can be + do good in the world.
How long have you been creating and is it your full-time job?
Heck yeah! Do 80+ hour weeks count as full time? 😉 I did the corporate thing for 15+ years while trying to make a go of my business on the side, but ultimately I knew that in order for me to succeed with my business I had to really put myself out there. As in, no security blanket of a paycheck, health insurance or vacation time. So, after quite literally about a decade of “thinking” about just making art full time, I finally did it. And I’ve never looked back.
Did someone in your family, a friend or teacher introduce you to your creative side or have they helped you along the way?
Yes! I come from a long line of incredibly crafty entrepreneurs who dabbled (and sold work) painting, woodworking + sewing.
If money wasn’t an issue how would your life change with regards to your art?
I think I’d spend more time taking risks + engross myself more in design development. As a one-person operation you can, at times, get bogged down with the business side of your business + less with the art. Finding that perfect balance of creative vs brainy is what I strive for.
What would be your perfect day off?
My absolute favorite thing to do is to get mud baths in the Napa Valley. Somehow I always come home with a ton of new designs after spending a day there.