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Thursday, April 15, 2010

sugar and spice :: Good Girls Studio

Do you ever find yourself looking at some sweet find at your local flea market and wondering WHAT ON EARTH WOULD I EVER DO WITH THAT? If you are Raleigh jewelry designer Johanna Ely you probably have this running through your mind daily. 

Ely is the proprietress behind Good Girls Studio, the uber fabulous collection of treasures created from repurposed jewelry. Some of her designs range from simply sparkly rings to richly layered and texture filled necklaces perfect for any tea party or social event. Heck I would wear her pieces just doing the laundry because they are so freaking fabulous! I had the chance to interview this talented diva about her works and this is what she had to say about Good Girls Studio.
Johanna Ely inside her studio with her treasure chest of Good Girls' designs

When and how did you first become interested in jewelry design?
 As far back as I can remember I have loved to play dress up, putting on every piece of mother's jewelry collection and parading around modeling for all to see :)
As I got older I could never find any jewelry that I really liked and was stuck in a rut of silver bangle basics! I taught myself some foundations of jewelry design and from there it has been a fun roller coaster of trial and error!

The Bright Side - Yellow Floral Collage Necklace - link

How long have you been an designer and are you doing this full time?
About 4 years ago I started playing around with jewelry making and toying with the idea of selling my creations. I launched my line in Spring of 2007 after the company I managed liquidated. I have been at it full time for what will be 2 yrs this August.

Engaged - A Wedding Necklace - link
Did you go to school for anything artsy and if so, where?
Nope, self taught.
Project Runway - A Fashion Designer's Necklace - link

 What is your favorite piece of jewelry in your collection?
My favorite changes all the time, right now I am super excited about one top secret design for the Redress Fashion Show! An ongoing favorite is my Eve collage necklace (pictured below). She embodies womanhood!

Eve - A Born Again Virgin Vintage Necklace - link
 What is your favorite time of day to create?
That's a tough question as there is no rhyme or reason for when a design will strike me . Early afternoons and late at night is when I am my most creative.
 Janie's Got a Gun - Pistol Necklace - link
What is a typical day for you like?
Not typical! Some days are spent mostly marketing, others I'm designing or taking photos, some days are spent scouring flea markets sourcing new goodies for my work!
 Supercute Purple Butterfly Necklace - Image courtesy of Hathir Pfau - link
How much do your designs sell for?
My work starts in the  $20 price range for rings and bobby pins and ranges up in price to $500 for an ornate collage necklace. My mid price point is $52-98 for most necklaces.

 Sense and Sensibility No. 3 - Vintage Rhinestone Necklace - link
What was your most challenging piece to create?
Every piece I create feels like the most challenging! Whenever I sit down to create I get this feeling of weight like "I will never be able to make another __________ again", "how in the world did I do that before?" and Then I'll put on some music (usually something old like The Beatles or Van Morrison) and start piecing things together. I'm always astounded when  I complete a new piece. I have to sit back and look it and go "I made that?..What?". And once again I'll be drained and the process starts all over. Creativity energy is a roller coaster in and of itself!

 Pretty Blue Flowers - Vintage Necklace - link
What is your biggest accomplishment to date?
His name is Tyler and he's the sweetest 8yr old boy you'll ever meet!
Oh wait, you meant work related...
Quitting my day job has been thee biggest accomplishment so far!!
Paying rent from playing with jewelry every month deserves a happy dance :)
Next up... Putting together this runway collection and getting ready for Redress has been a big learning curve! It will be my biggest accomplishment once those glamazons strut my pieces down the catwalk :) 
 Falling For You - Orange Floral Collage Necklace - link
What can you absolutely not go without?
God and caffeine (in that order!)!
  Time For Change - Vintage Watch Necklace - link
Places/Events you are scheduled to show to this year:
Redress in Raleigh (THIS SATURDAY April 17th) and after that I am pretty wide open. I have a few trunk shows in the works but I typically don't do a ton of craft markets.

Who or what inspires you?
All the good girls in my life serve as constant inspiration!
 On The Rocks No. 10 - Vintage Necklace - link

Who are some of your favorite designers?
 Most of my designer lust is directed towards indie designers on Etsy.
 Hot Mess No. 10 - Coral Tangled Chain Bracelet - link
Can you describe your process when it comes to creating your gorgeous necklaces?
The revamped vintage collages take the longest time. They each start off by my building little collections, either by color or theme and that alone can take months to curate. I've held on to pieces for over a year because they never felt "right" with any collection and then one day they find a home and fit! 
I play with the design construction for hours (or days) until I can really start to see it weave together and as I do, a little story begins putting itself into words in my head. Each piece is meticulously placed and edited until it makes sense with the story/theme. I think the biggest compliment I've received is from a shop owner: "You take the most random assortment of stuff and weave it into a well thought out design where every intricate piece appears to have belonged all along".
 More of Good Girls Studio's lovely creations
Is there a story behind the name Good Girls Studio?
I am Thee Good Girl :) Just ask my parents, they'll corroborate my story! 
I'm also the middle child so the Good Girl is really a default title
(you other middle child people will know just what I'm talking about!)!

 Good Day Sunshine - A Vintage Collage Necklace - link
Favorite type of cake/cupcake?
mmmm...lemon cheesecake (but only made by mom!)!

 Coffee or tea?
 Definitely a coffee addict!
To see more of Johanna's lovely works please visit her links below. Thanks Johanna!
shop  •  facebook  •  etsy  •  blog


Good Girls Studio on April 15, 2010 at 2:23 PM said...

Thank you my dear! you are officially a Good Girl ;)

Anonymous said...

I love Johanna's work!

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