As a Neonatal Intensive Care Registered Nurse in 1985, I desperately needed to find a hobby as an escape valve for the stress of a very high pressured job. Having been interested in collecting rocks from childhood, I had a large uncut and unpolished collection. At the time I thought “if only I could learn how to cut and polish them and make beautiful jewelry”. The idea was born, and I soon had a basement full of saws and cutting and polishing equipment. Attending a Rock and Gem show one weekend, I was fascinated by a lady who was making jewelry with wire and small hand tools; I found out this was called “wire-wrapping”. I begged her to teach me, which she reluctantly agreed to do and over the next two weekends, I learned the basics of the craft.
I began to practice with copper and brass wire and made sun catchers using transparent and translucent slabs of agate which I had polished-I thought they were beautiful. I also worked on making rings and pendants in brass before moving on to Gold-filled and Sterling Silver wire. It is funny, but when I made my first piece of jewelry with the Gold-filled wire, my hands were shaking and sweaty; I kept thinking “what if I mess up”, the wire was so much more expensive than the copper and brass wire I had been using. I continued to practice and in 1986 I did my first craft show at the local Wal-Mart. I had done some jewelry, sun catchers, pen holders, book ends; just a combination of “rock” stuff, but it changed my future. My once interesting hobby became a full time financially rewarding career which has provided a living for me all these years.
At one point, I learned how to carve wax models, make rubber molds and cast jewelry in Sterling and 14K Gold using the lost wax casting process, but it was very expensive and time consuming. Faceting gemstones was another art I learned, but I was too impatient for that. I also learned fusing Dichroic Glass and had three kilns going at one time, producing small pieces for jewelry and larger pieces for hanging in windows such as sun catchers, flower vases and window art pieces.
Over the years I have shown & sold my jewelry in hundreds of juried Arts and Crafts Shows, Gem and Mineral Club Shows and Private Home Showings. Some of the notable shows I have attended were the Big E in Springfield, MA; Gatlinburg Craftsmen’s Fair, Gatlinburg, TN; Christmas Made in the South shows in Augusta, GA, Savannah, GA, Jacksonville, FL, and Macon, GA, (the spring and fall shows); Florida State Fair; Yellow Daisy Festival, Stone Mountain, GA; Fort Armstrong Folk Festival, Kittanning, PA; Virginia Highlands Festival, Abingdon, VA; Claytor Lake Arts & Crafts Show, Claytor Lake, VA; Kutztown German Festival, Kutztown, PA; and Country Christmas Craft Show at Opryland Hotel, Nashville, TN. Many Gem & Mineral shows have filled in my schedule also, from Exton, PA to Fort Myers, FL and all places in between. I have won many 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards over the years in places like Kittanning, PA; Yellow Daisy Festival in Stone Mountain, GA.; Virginia Mountain Craft Guild shows in Salem, VA; and the Tuscarora Lapidary Society, Exton, PA, just to mention a few. I had lived in Tennessee during my Show years from 1986 to 2009 using that beautiful state as my home base.
The journey and transition from Tennessee to Texas is a most interesting and exciting tale. Although a native Texan, I moved away in my mid-twenties and didn’t look back. While living & working in TN, I was widowed in 2005; and went through the grieving period for several years. In late 2009 my high school sweetheart from Ranger, TX found me and after several months of courtship via cell phone, proposed; we were married Dec. 19 and he moved me back to Texas. It has been the best move ever! Wanting to continue with my jewelry business, I decided to go the Internet route and leave the traveling to the younger generation.
The learning process and the crafting of my product over the 25 years I have been in business has been very enjoyable and rewarding; it has fulfilled my love of color and given me an outlet for my God given creative talents, but my greatest joy has been in the thousands of customers and fellow crafter/vendor friends I have made in all my years of travel. Although I will now be “traveling through cyberspace”, I look forward to the new customers and friends I will be making in this continuing journey.
WHERE YOU MAY HAVE SEEN ME:
When I first began my business in Tennessee, it was Genesis Lapidary and my very first craft show was at a Wal Mart in Maryville, where I lived. Over the years I changed the name of my company to Gems in Wire, Janette’s Jewelry, Janette’s, Open Door Creations and my most recent change; NJBF Creations. Most of these changes were because as I moved from one state to another, my business names were not available and I would have to change for the tax departments.
In 1987, I was fortunate enough to be chosen to exhibit in the Gatlinburg Craftsman’s Fair when it was still in the old Auditorium; I was blessed to continue doing the GCF both in July and October until 2002 with Sam & Tracy Large. I did many of the Spring Made in the South and Christmas made in the South shows with Bob & Janice Hunt in Augusta, Savannah, Macon, & Columbus, GA, Charlotte, NC and Jacksonville, FL.
For 10 years I was at Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN, from Thanksgiving Christmas day at the Country Christmas Craft Show, a beautiful place to be during that time of year, the whole place was decorated like a fairy land. I exhibited at the Virginia Highlands Festival in Abingdon, VA for 8 years; it was a 2 week show and a lovely and exciting place to be. It is the home of the Barter Theater where Gregory Peck, Patricia Neal, and Ernest Borgnine, to name a few, first performed before they became famous actors. During one year while exhibiting at the Florida State Fair in Tampa, I was able to catch Glenn Campbell’s show with his daughter. It was a wonderful opportunity and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the two of them singing together; his voice had not changed over the years and her’s is as good as her dad’s.
I was a member of the Virginia Mountain Craft Guild and for many years exhibited in their shows in Salem & Radford, VA and Claytor Lake, VA, a beautiful state park just off the interstate 81 near the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. One year during the Festival in Freedom Park in Charlotte, NC, the show was cut short by Hurricane Hugo! Who would have thought that Hugo would have come 200 miles inland and created so much damage? The park was a disaster, as was the city, and the show was cancelled after one day.
I travelled up north to do the Fort Armstrong Festival in Kittanning, PA The Big E in Springfield, MA, Kutztown Festival in PA and the Tuscarora Lapidary Society’s Gemarama show in Exton PA. Stone Mountain’s Yellow Daisy Festival in Georgia, just outside Atlanta, was another show I participated in for several years, a really neat place. I remember the first time I heard “Achy Breaky Heart” was when some young line dancers performed to that song just across from my booth at Yellow Daisy.
I did Gem, Mineral & Jewelry Shows for many years with Frank Cox Productions in Sarasota, Melbourne, Venice, Ft. Myers, Daytona, Bradenton, Clearwater & West Palm Beach, FL, Raleigh, Greensboro, & Asheville, NC, Marietta, GA & Roanoke, VA. Treasures of the Earth Gem Shows was another group of shows I did with Van & Rose Wimmer, my very dear friends. We were in Salem & Martinsville, VA, Cincinnati, & Dayton OH, Indianapolis, IN, Dalton & Marietta, GA and a few other places I have forgotten (at my age, that is normal).
There are numerous other smaller craft shows that I did in places like Sky Valley, Sapphire Valley, Asheville, Waynesville, Cary & Franklin, NC, Orlando, Indian Rocks Beach, Venice, South Miami, Naples, Cedar Key, Sarasota, Lake Mary, & Punta Gorda, FL, Knoxville, Nashville, & Maryville, TN & Huntsville, AL. One Christmas, I even drove to Texas from Tennessee to do a Christmas Show in Houston at the Astro Dome. There are many other shows I did, I can see the set-up in my mind, but for the life of me, cannot remember the names of all the towns; again I will chalk it up to age!
As you can see, I have done a lot of traveling in my 25 years in business and I decided it was time to do business on the internet, like everyone else and let the younger folks travel to craft shows. I do hope you enjoy my website, come back and visit, I will be adding more pieces frequently. Thanks for stopping by. Naomi/Janette