Friday, March 19, 2010

March Featured Non-Member - Windy River - Sylvia Windhurst


Your Name: Sylvia Windhurst

 The name(s) of your shop:

Also check my blog: for updates on my work.

Where did you get the name for your business?

My daughter who was 13 at the time wanted to name my store - she really wanted to paricipate in the process!

What inspired you to create the business you own?
I have been a full time graphic artist for many years, but I actually have a degree in Fine Arts. A few years ago, I really had the urge to get back into making unique, one of a kind items. I had been doing life drawing (sketching the nude model) for several years at a local artists group to keep my drawing skills fresh.

When I was a kid, I made hundreds of little dolls with fancy clothes and beaded jewelry and embroidered things too. I thought it might be fun to get back into making something along those lines, so I made some beaded items, and it quickly evolved into making unique jewelry, which became a passion for me. I found I was making so many items that it might be nice to try to sell them, and after selling on line for more than a year and a half, and doing several craft shows, I feel more inspired than ever to pursue the creating and selling of unique art to wear.

How long have you been designing jewelry? Do you design any components of the jewelry you make?

I have been creating jewelry for over 2 years. I don't use a lot of commercial components except for clasps. Mostly I work with tiny beads in either beadweaving or bead embroidery. I do purchase cabochons to use as focals, but am also starting to explore using found objects and making my own focals with polymer clay.

Do you feel an emotional connection with the designs you create?

Yes - the kind of beading I do is so time intensive that I really get attached to the piece I am working on. It's tempting to keep them all for myself, but I can't do that!

What types of materials do you use to create your designs?

Many tiny beads, fabric, thread, suede leather, gemstones, crystals etc.

Do you feel that each of your creations expresses a certain part of you?

Yes - sometimes I want to be bold in my design and color, other times I want to express a softer, more romantic feeling.

Have you ever won awards or been published in a magazine or book, or asked to join Any type of organization overseeing information distributed to the public?

I have yet to be published in a book or magazine, but I have been fortunate to have been featured in several well regarded blogs.

What is a typical day in your life like?

I work full time, so I don't get into my studio until after dinner. But on the weekends, I do as much work in my studio as possible. My husband thought it was a little odd at first, but now he sees how much I enjoy it and is very supportive and often makes suggestions concerning the business side of my jewelry making.

Do you ever deal with Stress, Fatigue or Fear during working on a project?

No fears, but sometimes stress if you have an image of what you want but the materials just aren't cooperating. Sometimes you have to be willing to rip something apart and start over again if it's not working. Also, it can be hard on the eyes - but I always enjoy myself when I am in the studio.

Would you design jewelry again if you had a choice? If Not, why?

Absolutely yes - I love designing unique items to wear.

What advice would you give to other women who are afraid to take that step toward making their dream happen?

Don't be afraid - you won't have any success unless you try. Sure, sometimes it's frustrating - like when weeks go by without a sale, or you hit a creative wall so to speak, but if you love creating art - in this case jewelry - you have to find a way to incorporate what you love into your life. And jewelry is such a commercially viable creative outlet - and there are many ways to create jewelry on a smaller budget - using alternative materials etc. - so that you can start exploring your interest without investing a huge amount of money.

How would you advise them to stay on track so they maintain and healthy outlook?

One thing is you will never appeal to everyone's taste, so you can't get discouraged if people don't always purchase your products. Personally, I try not to worry too much about trends. When you are starting your online jewelry business have reasonable goals. Figure out a budget - do you want to spend on outside advertising, or would you rather save the money and allocate more of your time to online networking to get your product seen etc. It's a lot of work to sell online, so be realistic about what you might be able to achieve. There are a lot of artists with wonderful products competing for attention, so bear that in mind. Many artists who sell online also do craft shows, consignments, wholesaling etc. so you have to be willing to explore many avenues to achieve success with your business.

What other types of businesses or Hobbies are you involved in?

I am a full time graphic artist and I also enjoy gardening and cooking. My daughter is an avid horseback rider, so although I don't ride myself, I have learned a lot about horses and horseshows, which has been very interesting.

What do you advise about keeping it balanced?

Always remember that you got involved in the making and selling of jewelry because you enjoy making jewelry. Don't let it become a chore!

Here are some excellent examples of Windy River
jewelry!  If you are not blown away and
further inspired with regard to your own ability to
just GO FOR IT! I don't know what to tell you!
(I have to admit this bracelet blows me away!!!!)


Anyone blown away yet??  I have to admit, this type of jewelry design
intimidates me!  But I love featuring it!


Oh, and how I hate to say the next picture is the last one - but please check out
Windy River's Etsy shop and her Blogspot!
You can go right to her Etsy shop by clicking on the banner
at the top of the page!

Thank you, Sylvia, for being patient with me
getting this up!  I needed to feel better
in hopes of doing you proud!
We appreciate the opportunity to share you
beautiful designs!


  1. Congratulations on the feature Sylvia! Your work is so fabulous !

  2. Thank you for featuring me on your wonderful blog! I truly appreciate it.

  3. yes! Sylvia does beautiful work. Absolutely luv her beaded cuff bracelets! I hearted her etsy.