Crafter Interview: Bibi from Red Rock Designs (and her little dog, too!)

Posted by: Justine Benstead

Bibi Ramzan from Red Rock Designs, handmade jewelry store

A self-described fashion minimalist, Bibi Ramzan from Red Rock Designs exercises her analytical side by day, with a full time job in insurance. But over the past few years, her creative side has come to life, thanks to her chance decision to try out a jewellery-making kit.

“I’ve always been a bit creative, but I could never find a hobby that satisfied me. [But] after I made my first necklace I had this Aha! moment. I saw potential in myself that I could be better, and jewellery is so versatile I could go in any direction I wanted to.”

Even though Bibi had never considered working with fashion or accessories, she enjoyed the results. Encouraged, she enrolled in a jewellery making leisure course at a community college, where she learned the basics of jewellery making.

Several years after that first necklace, Red Rock Designs features Bibi’s handmade and hand-stitched necklaces, chokers, bracelets, and rings. Still self-taught, she says, “I learn as I go about combining different colours and materials.

“With jewellery making I feel great having this creative outlet and being able to tap into a different part of myself.”handmade hooped earring with onyx by red rock designs

Crystals and beads and pearls, oh my!

Red Rock Designs showcases Bibi’s signature style, from chain-mail bracelets for men and women to the custom stonework necklaces. And while she enjoys a variety of mediums, including onyx like the earrings pictured to the right, there are a few types of jewellery that Bibi finds especially inspiring.

“I love working with pearls. I feel like you can almost never make pearls look bad.

I also do enjoy chain-maille very much.  I’m fascinated with chain-maille because all you need is one material – jump rings – to create so many varied designs.  It’s really amazing how many different designs you can get by using just jump rings.  And once you start adding different sizes and colours of jump rings or beads & crystals, the possibilities are endless.”

Along with metal chain mail, the shop favours soothing earth tones of browns, blacks, blues, grays and greens. And according to Bibi, it’s intentional.

“Through my own style, I’m naturally drawn to colours like gray, brown, white & black, so when I buy my supplies I tend to choose these shades first, then try to find more vibrant colours that can provide that extra pop of colour.”

A custom creation that holds a certain significance for Bibi is the wide band bracelet, hand-stitched in a Lace pattern with Japanese Delica beads, pictured to the left. 

“It’s my first attempt with this type of stitching pattern; and I think I did a great job for my first try!” However, she admits, pain is beauty: “So far it’s the only one I’ve made because it’s so labour-intensive.”

So aside from the hours spent labouring over delicate designs, what are other potential challenges crafters face? Bibi explains, “There isn’t enough time in the day to create all the ideas I have.  Between working full time and spending time with my Shih Tzu, Penny, (pictured to the right) the days slip away so quickly.  I keep a book of ideas & drawings so that I won’t forget.”

red rock designs photo - shop owner's dogSometimes, however, all it takes is a little reassurance that you’re on the right track to keep you moving in the right direction.

“When I was almost finished completing the wide band stitched lace bracelet, I took it into a beading store to get advice on a clasp. When I pulled it out of the plastic baggie, the sales woman nearly lost her mind, asking how long it took and calling others over to look at it. Before I left, she said the bracelet would be something she would sell in her store. It was a great compliment, and at a time when I wasn’t sure if I wanted to sell publicly.  That compliment gave me that extra push and boost of confidence.”

So, despite frustrations or insecurities, a creative outlet is well worth the time it takes to indulge the hobby, Bibi reassures other crafters. “Most rewarding are the smiles & hugs I get when I give someone their custom order.  It’s a wonderful thing to know that you’ve made someone else’s creative idea into something real that they can wear.”

At the end of the day, it’s all about the people she can envision wearing her designs.

“People inspire me to create. It’s the women I see in everyday life at work, at the grocery store, at the mall, who inspire me.

“My hope is to make jewellery that fits into every woman’s style, that I can make at least one piece of jewellery that catches someone’s eye, whether she’s a career professional accessorizing her business suit; a fashionista who can’t live without her dangling earrings; or a stay-at-home mom who wants to give herself a little sparkle in her chaotic life.  My pieces range from bold and chunky (like the bracelet pictured to the left), to soft & delicate, so hopefully it captures a wide range of people.” 

The most sure-fire way to appeal to your clients is tried and true, Bibi says. “Just make what you love. “

Photo Credit: Red Rock Designs

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  • Jewelry
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  • Beads
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Justine Benstead
Tampa, FL, US

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