Lush Jewelry is the brainchild of local gal Barbara Wheeler. Her wares have grown quickly to be one of our best selling jewelry lines. She has mastered the balance of delicate design work with a subtle rock and roll vibe.
Here is our interview with Barbara Wheeler the founder of Lush Jewelry
So, What’s the story behind the name?
Ack! I’m a little uncomfortable with sharing this one with the whole interwebz😂 I used to drink a lot when I was younger, I even screen printed my own vintage bowling jacket to say “lush” on the back. Also, my sister & I always used to say “That’s so lush!” when something was really gorgeous. 😋
~How did you get involved with making jewelry?
It’s pretty cliché, actually. I’ve always been a super crafty, DIY kinda gal but 11 years ago, when my daughter was a few months old, I dug up some of my mom’s old beads that she used to sew on her costumes for roller skating and dancing competitions and I threw some earrings together. After that, I was hooked! I’m totally self taught and I’m not a big a fan of drawing out my designs first (just like I don’t like sticking to recipes, reading instructions or rules in general…) I just envision what I want to create and go with the flow.
~Do you have any favorite materials to work with?
My favorite gemstones are moonstone, labradorite, kunzite & crystal quartz but I don’t get to use kunzite as much as I’d like to, due to it’s rarity and cost. As far as metal goes, I try to stick with higher quality ones so my customers have long lasting pieces (and so they don’t burn me at the stake for turning their body parts green)
~Do you specialize in any particular type of style or technique?
I like to add texture to certain parts of my designs to make them more unique, but unlike most designers, I use my pliers, not a hammer to texturize the wire.
~If you could make a piece of jewelry for one famous person (current or past) who would it be and why?
Funny you ask that! Just the other day, I was thinking, if Jim Morrison were alive today, he might dig my Fringed Concho Belt. I’ve had lots of modern day celebs wear my designs and that’s great for marketing etc…, but the real magic happens when everyday women find their new favorite piece of jewelry. My designs really come to life, in my eyes, when I see them on a customer. It’s a really remarkable feeling.
~If your jewelry were featured in a fashion show today with your current collection, what music selections would your models walk to?
This is a tough question! I find it really difficult to design with one theme in mind, therefore I find it hard to lump my designs into collections. I do notice that my designs tend to fall into a few larger categories…not so basic “basics”, luxe/bohemian, mystical/witchy, ethnic/world traveler/gypsy and my turquoise pieces with a Native American vibe. My taste in music is all over the place too, but 90% of what I listen to is Classic Rock. It was hard to narrow it down, and maybe this is just what I felt like listening to as I answered these questions, but here are a few songs I chose…
Solitude – Black Sabbath
Alabama Song – The Doors
Witches Promise – Jethro Tull
Mother’s Little Helper – The Rolling Stones
Going To California – Led Zeppelin
Ventura Highway- America
~What is your favorite jewelry piece you’ve ever created? Are you keeping it or selling it?
I’ve had a few throughout the years, and I eventually ended up selling most of them. My OOAK pieces are tougher to part with. I have a ring that has been sitting in my studio for a while now. It’s a gorgeous, double terminated Tibetan Quartz, wrapped in sterling silver. I know I won’t find another stone exactly like it so it’s hard to let it go!
~The age old question… how do you stop yourself from keeping everything?
When I first started, everything I made was one of a kind and I did have some difficulty letting go of some of my creations, but today, I buy many of my supplies in bulk. That way, if I create something really nifty, I know I can make it again. That doesn’t always mean I do. I still make OOAK pieces, but I usually know ahead of time whether I’m making it for myself or making it to sell.
~What tips would you give to someone interested in making a business out of their craft?
The advice I’d give someone today would be slightly different than the path I took. I started my business before the recession and before Etsy was even a thing, so my path has been interesting, to say the least. There’s been a real boom in self employed artists since the recession hit, so the market can feel a bit oversaturated at times. Make sure your product is desirable by seeing how it sells at street fairs and/or on Etsy. A lot of people make a decent living just by doing that. Take your products around to local stores and see if they’d be interested in selling it. Once you have an idea how successful your product can be, you can saddle up, but be prepared for a wild ride!
How can people reading this find your work?
Select pieces available at La Loupe Vintage
Heather Barnes is the creative genius behind Stoneywear jewelry that can be found at both La Loupe Vintage locations. She has been part of the La Loupe family of artists for 3 years. Her pieces never fail to excite the imagination. What we love about her jewelry is that it’s always different. Her style is forever changing. She has a thoughtful way of making something raw and beautiful at the same time. Every strike on the metal and every “flaw” is purposeful. We are so proud to carry her work. We had the opportunity to interview her recently:
What’s the story behind the name?
The story behind the name goes like this…. I was a big stoner 13 years ago when I named this company ..and I also used mostly semi precious stones in all my jewelry, so it is a play on words. Still a big advocate of weed not much has changed in 13 years.
How did you get involved with making jewelry?
Jewelry making has been an interest since I was little. I remember camping in Mexico with my parents and friends I was probably 8 or so and I collected a bunch of white shells that had natural holes in the center of them. I cut our friends sleeping bag string and strung up all the shells. It was really heavy and my dad’s friends couldn’t tie up his sleeping bag when it was time to leave. My dad still has it hanging in the house.
Do you specialize in any particular type of style?
I don’t specialize any particular style, I guess my jewelry tends to be more on the boho style, but I like everything, so whatever fits my mood.
Do you have any favorite materials to work with?
Turquoise and crystals are my favorite stones to work with, I love all metals and I seem to have a slight obsession with anything spear shaped.
If you could make a piece of jewelry for one famous person (current or past) who would it be, and why?
The first person that comes to mind to make a piece of jewelry for his Johnny Depp, i could see him rock a vintage inspired turquoise ring, and I would love to make statement pieces for the Olsen twins, I wish i could hate them but they have such mad style. Imagine if we could raid their closets?
If you’re jewelry were featured in a fashion show today with your current collection, what music selections would your models walk to?
music for a featured show, definitely David Bowie.
The age old question… how do you stop yourself from keeping everything?
I don’t keep everything cause in this world we need money :(. believe me, I give most of my pieces a test run.
What tips would you give to someone interested in making a business out of their craft?
If you’re interested in making your craft into a business, don’t get lost in just the craft, to have any type of success, small or big your going to have to have some business sense. Marketing and a Planning has to be a priority.
Thank you Stoneywear for the words of wisdom.
Find her works here:
or visit us at :
La Loupe Vintage
3337 Adams Ave. San Diego, CA 92116
4646 Park Blvd #1 San Diego CA 92116
We invited a few friends to the shop and decided to let them go bananas and style themselves for our first ever photo shoot. We wanted different girls with individual personalities and styles. Here’s a little behind the scenes pic of the fun that ensued. Stay tuned on our social media to see the pics as they are posted. IG laloupevintage http://www.Facebook.com/laloupevintage
lots of 90’s and modern sun dresses. Men’s flannels and more denim jackets. Lots and lots of denim jackets.