In the Spotlight: Lady Gem and Pearls
It’s my pleasure to present Shimae, of Lady Gem and Pearls, a busy Mom with heaps of talent and lots on the go!
My name is Shimae Parks and I was born and partly raised in California; the other years of my life I bounced from Michigan back to California.
During that time, when I was very young, I started drawing. Everything was drawing and my mother knew I had some kind of talent so she pushed me along.
It was my dream to go to art school, but unfortunately I did not graduate from high school. But that did not stop me.
I went to a charter school and got my diploma not a GED, but that didn’t stop me either. I finally got the chance to experience College, taking many classes through different parts of my life and knowing art was what I wanted to do, haha, until I found food. It was an accident. I wasn’t looking to become anything but an artist but some things change just like that and you will never be prepared for it.
One night at a restaurant would change my life for ever - done with art - here came culinary. Every talent that I find that I have is something of a Whoa where did that come from, but I never stopped with the other found talents. I just made them all better and better.
So much of my art background has to do with my grandfather and my dad, both very good at computers and photography - art just runs in my veins.
Well to get to my jewelry, let me go back just a bit. I think it really started when my mother made me help her with my own wedding dress go figure. I thought she was going to make my dress. She said yes but you’re going to help haha. That made me see just what kind of work a seamstress puts into making one of those things but for me I think I bit off more than I could chew. I took Swarovski crystals and embroidery and glued and sewed and glued and sewed. I tell you that was the last time I would make a dress with my mom haha. But it taught me how to do it for later on in life. My jewelry emerged into what it is today - an ever-learning experience that I keep working to master every day.
Do you have kids, pets?
I have 3 children two girls and one boy and a puppy dog named Max that is very very active.
What do you like to do in your spare time (in addition to crafts)?
When birthdays come around I spend more time creating food. I draw a blueprint of what I want it to look like. Then from there I make creative cakes.
How would you describe your style?
I think my style isn’t in the category list my work is so unique that you won’t be able to find them in a store or anywhere for that matter. I decided long time ago that I wanted to be different and that I wanted to make jewelry with a statement. Some new ideas are to take children’s characters and make them into upscale earring designs but that is my next collection – I haven’t yet figured out when I will bring it out. I take fabric, anything that I can use, to make my work shine.
What are the steps in your creative process?
The first step in my creative process is sitting very quietly and looking at my bead collection, letting the item come to me. If I can envision it then I can create it. Every piece I make is done this way, sitting in my chair looking at the bead collection, looking at my beads and any items that I see that would make a great addition to my starting piece, then from there it is piecing and seeing, piecing and seeing until something tells me to stop its finished.
What has been your favorite work so far and why?
My favorite work is my wedding earrings They took a long time to create but I love how they sparkle and hopefully someone will love them as much as I love them.
Do you find it hard to part with your creations?
No and yes they are my babies but you know the feeling that I see when someone puts them on it makes me look and say wow it looks as great as I imagined it to be on someone and that is a fulfilling feeling.
Do you work full or part-time?
Right now I work part time hoping to make this a full time job, trying to get my jewelry out there for people to see.
Where are you going next? Future plans?
My next plan is to open a store front and then opening multiple stores as well as exploring my other talents in the market place.
Would you like to share any crafting techniques or tips with our readers?
The number one thing that a crafter or a new crafter or even a watcher should take away from anyone is to “feel”.
What do I mean by that?
I mean to never take up something without feeling the emotion. Take your craft, sit it in front of you and look at it. Feel the energy that it possesses. There must be a connection between you and your masterpiece - once you feel it then you can create it. Some people hurry to create a craft but you mustn’t do that! Walk away if you have to and then come back to it, then take your time. Slow and steady wins the race! I stand by it until this day. If you don’t feel it don’t do it, if you don’t see it don’t do it, you will miss something and then when you finally do walk away, you see you missed a piece or you’ve sewn something in the wrong place, or it doesn’t look good at all.
So my tip for you is to STOP, FEEL, and then MASTER.
Excellent advice, Shimae! Thank you for sharing your story with iCraft readers.