- jessy25522 is a creator of beautiful jewellery, often inspired by the trees of Middle-earth. You can find them in her gallery here, or even buy them in her own webshop, JessyHerc.
1. Hello! For the beginning, could you tell us something about yourself?
I’m 31 years old and I live in Slovenia with my boyfriend and our goofy German shepherd. I used to be a school teacher but now I’m a handcrafter and a proud owner of JessyHerc jewelry.
2. How did you enter Tolkien's world for the first time, and what impression did it leave in you?
I actually saw the movies first. I was about 14 when The Fellowship of the Ring movie came out and I was fascinated with all the creatures and the world itself. A few years later I read the books as well and after that I was completely hooked.
3. What creates the image of Middle-earth in your mind? Is it more influenced by the books or movies, or maybe other artists, and did it change over time or remained the same?
I would say it’s a mixture of all these things. I started with the movies, then read the books, and when I started making Tolkien inspired jewelry, I also checked out a lot of other artist. All this then mixed into my own image of Middle Earth.
4. Some of Tolkien's books can be hard to read, being more of history annals than beletry. Do you enjoy the scholarly side of studying Tolkien's world as well?
I do. I find the world which Tolkien created so interesting, that I don’t mind that some of it is written as a history book. However, I do usually skip through the lists of names, because I know I won’t remember them anyway.
5. Who is your favourite Tolkien character and why?
I don’t have an absolute favourite character, but there are a few that stand out to me.
Gandalf is one of them, for example. I love his wisdom in everything that he does and says, and in the way he uses his powers. I also remember that his “all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us” speech made a big impact on me when I first read The Lord of the Rings.
Luthien is another character that impressed me. I guess I have a thing for strong, capable women in literate.
I also like the Ents, but I can’t really explain why. I think it has something to do with the way they were portrayed in the movies.
Oh, and Tom Bombadil! When I read the books, I actually got angry with the movies for leaving him out.
6. Now, could you tell us something about your jewelry? When did you start doing it, and is a job for you or a hobby?
I’ve been making my own jewelry since I was little, but I didn’t start selling it until about 5 years ago. At first I treated it as a hobby that happened to bring in some extra spending money, but after some time it grew into a full time job. So I quit the job I had at the time and focused solely on my business, and I’ve been making a living with my jewelry ever since.
7. Do you rather keep to the techniques you are familiar with, or do you experiment with new ones as well?
I’ve been using a technique called wire-wrapping for the last few years and haven’t experimented with anything else for a while. There are two reasons for that. First, wire-wrapping is perfect for creating my favourite design – a tree. Second, I can see that I’m still making progress with my wire-wrapping skill and that there’s still much room to improve and to create new designs, so I want to see how far I can take this technique.
8. Trees are a leading theme in your jewelry. Are trees special to you?
I love nature and a tree is a perfect symbol of nature. I also like the shape of trees itself, the way the trunk can grow straight or crooked, the way the branches divide and twist. Every single tree is shaped differently and I find that beautiful. And I like the simple shape of a tree leaf as well, so I also created a design for that.
9. What about your most often depicted Tolkien related topic - Telperion and Laurelin? How do you always come with a new and unique variation of this theme and do you think you will ever have enough of them?
The new variations of the same piece of jewelry go hand in hand with my growing skill as a jewelry maker. The very first Laurelin pendant that I made for myself was very basic and simple, not because I couldn’t think up a more intricate design, but because it was my first attempt at wire-wrapping and that was all I was able to craft at the time. But as my wire-wrapping skill improved, I was able to make more and more intricate designs, so I ended up with many variations of the same theme.
I don’t think I will ever get tired of doing the two trees, because the story surrounding them is very special to me. I’m even thinking of getting a tattoo of them.
10. Much of the uniqueness of your jewels is in the stones you use. What comes first - stone or idea? Do you pick the best stone for an idea you have in mind or get the inspiration for it when looking at a stone?
Most often the design starts with an idea. I then go look through my box of gemstones and pick out the one I think will work best for what I’m envisioning in my mind. But sometimes I just mindlessly look through the stones and find one that stands out to me for some reason. I then just stare at it until I figure out what it “wants to become”. This is how the teardrop pendant with the tiny tree was created. I picked up a labradorite stone that had such a wonderful shine that I couldn’t cover it with a tree, but at the same time, I wanted to put a tree in there.
11. You also sell your art through your website www.jessyherc.com/collections. How does it feel to part with a jewel you created and sold? Are there some you would rather keep for yourself?
Making and selling jewelry is my sole source of income, so I get excited about every single sale I make and I’m happy to send the jewelry to my customers. But every now and then I do make a piece that is hard to let go, and sometimes (very rarely) I will keep it for myself.
12. Which piece of jewelery was hardest to make?
13. Would you like to thank somebody here? What key people in your life, (on or off of dA) have been inspirations to you, or has supported you, as an artist? You can also tell us why, if you want.
I would never be where I am as a jewelry maker if it weren’t for my boyfriend. He’s the one who believed that my creations should be shared with the world, so he set up my Etsy shop and spread the word about my jewelry through social media. A few years later, I’m living the dream of making a living with my hobby. So I’m very thankful for everything he’s done.
14. Is there something else you would like to tell to the fans of Tolkien and your jewelry?
Just that I’m thankful for all the support and positive feedback I’ve gotten from them.
Thank you for your time and answers!