I'd like to share with you an interview with Cielomar Cuevas, owner and designer of Cielomar Jewelry. It was our pleasure, Anat and I at Silvera Jewelry School, to be a small part of her beginning with the craft of jewelry. She's graciously allowed us to share her story of how she has started her gorgeous jewelry line and new business, to help inspire our students and budding jewelers.
(Silvera Jewelry School) How did you get your start making jewelry?
(Cielomar) I’ve always loved art and design and enjoy collecting unique jewelry during my travels. When I moved to California in 2010, I took an intro to jewelry class at CCA where I learned the basics about jewelry making. After taking the class several times, I decided to seek other learning opportunities in the Bay Area where I could learn a variety of jewelry making techniques in order to build expertise and hone my craft…and that’s when I found Silvera Jewelry School! I started by taking torch enamel classes with Anat and I fell in love with the school. Soon after, I set a goal for myself to take every single class that interested me and that I could possibly fit into my schedule in order to accelerate my learning and develop my style. I took a great amount of classes including Torch Enamel, Lost Wax Casting, Keum Boo, Stone Setting, Chain Making and even a fantastic workshop with Jayne Redman were I learned about making multiples with blanking dies and making jigs. In 2014 I established my home studio and launched an online shop, as a response to my love for making jewelry and the incredible support from friends and family for my jewelry designs.
(SJS)Your degree is in graphics and design. And you're currently a full time art director. How does your graphics background influence your jewelry design?
(C) My graphic design background drives the way I design and make jewelry in many ways. I’m inspired by bold geometric shapes and develop my designs in terms of the components that create the overall piece. I always start with a loose sketch and then take the design to the computer to create templates whenever precision cutting is required. In addition to this, my full time job influences my jewelry designs greatly since I’m always searching for the latest fashion and cultural trends as well as researching unique materials and techniques to apply to my work.
(SJS) You have a wonderful website. Any advice for jewelry artists starting out on the best way to make a professional looking website?
(C) First and foremost, I think that a website is a never-ending work in progress and once you are ok with that idea the pressure of having a perfect website goes away. I’ve been working on my website for about a year now, always adding new features to improve the way customers experience my brand. I use Squarespace as my platform and I find it very user friendly and I love all of the integrations that it offers including: Mailchimp, Xero, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Lastly, but actually most important is to have consistent photography that is well lit and reflects your brand. Since the customer is not seeing the piece in person, you have to help them understand everything about your jewelry through your images including: color, texture, scale, value and even and how to style it.
(SJS) This month you're donating part of your sales to benefit research for a cure for breast cancer. I can tell this is important for you. Can you talk about why?
(C) In recent months two close people in my life have been diagnosed with breast cancer and knowing that they have to go through this process has been very difficult. I decided to partner with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in order to do my part in finding a cure for breast cancer. During the month of October, I’m donating 10% of every sale completed through my website www.cielomarjewelry.com and I also have a fundraising page where people can donate with no purchase necessary. If you are interested in learning more about our fundraising you can also visit, give.bcrfcure.org/cielomarjewelry
(SJS) You're balancing a full time job AND a jewelry business. Any advice for artists who are just starting and looking to juggle the same or similar commitments?
(C) I’ve been able to balance a full time job and a jewelry business by being consistent with my schedule and allocating time for work, jewelry making and family. I make time every day to work on my jewelry business and I divide my tasks by day in order to make the most with the time that I have available. Tasks include designing, ordering materials, jewelry making, accounting, photography and website updates. I also make sure to go to bed by 11:00 PM in order to get enough rest and be productive the next day. Another important thing when starting a jewelry business is to surround yourself with other jewelry makers that are developing their own businesses and understand your needs. Find a local school, an online jewelry community or even an industry organization like SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) where you can talk to other makers, ask questions, stay up to date on the latest in the industry and connected with your community.
(SJS) How do you find inspiration for your designs? Is it a favorite artist or jeweler? How do you get those creative ideas flowing when you're a little stuck?
(C) I’m always looking for inspiration everywhere I go and I love photographing things that inspire me including architecture, street art and sculptures. I’m especially inspired by Joan Miró and Alexander Calder because of their minimalistic style and unique shapes. Additionally, I always have a pencil and a post-it pad close by to keep track of the design ideas that pop into my head on a daily basis. I review them afterwards and select my favorites to develop depending on my line needs…although sometimes I make things because I love them and they excite me. Time on the bench should be fun as well!
(SJS) And what does the future hold for Cielomar, in say 5 years?
(C) I’m currently focused on developing a jewelry line that is more production focused in order to fabricate inventory at a larger scale. I recently started collaborating with a local mold maker and caster, and they are helping me to develop components for my line that I can then use to create a variety of jewelry designs. I’m also looking to expand my brand presence to boutique stores that fit my brand aesthetic as well as museum stores across the US. I’m excited to continue refining my brand aesthetic and connecting with other unique women who love to make a statement everyday!