Meet the maker
Hannah Welch shares with us her journey into jewelry making.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I was born and raised near Detroit, and I moved to New York City when I was eighteen to study fashion. I've been studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology for the past three years as a business student and am finishing up my Bachelor's degree this year. In New York, I got my feet wet with several different internships at design houses and magazines before starting my current internship with a jewelry designer. I actually didn't start selling my jewelry officially until roughly a year ago!
When did you start creating? What has made you want to pursue it?
I've been creating for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I loved having my hands busy with anything; chalk, paint, knitting, sewing, jewelry making - you name it. I knew that I wanted to pursue some type of creative career, and it ended up transpiring into fashion by the time I moved to New York. As a business student, you don't always get the chance to be creative with your work. Making jewelry slowly turned into my outlet. I've been drawn to jewelry for the longest time, and for me it has always been my vehicle for individuality. When I was living in Paris for a few months last year, I had a lot of time to be introspective and materialize these floating thoughts in my head of a possible jewelry business. Upon coming back to New York with some ideas sketched up, I made a trip to the bead store and then dove right in! I think what makes me want to continue pursuing it is that there is still so much that can be discovered in the process, and there are no limits creatively.
Do you have a favorite project or piece that you’ve created?
My favorite piece that I've created so far probably has to be these abstract face earrings that I make from wire. They were a product of me just creating mindlessly and curiously. I think that's what makes them so awesome. They all look a little bit different, and each face is its own little personality.
Can you share with us a few artists or makers that inspire you or your work?
I'm really inspired by Frida Kahlo, both her work and her personal style. There's a pair of hand earrings that I make that were directly influenced by the ones that she used to wear. There's so much inspiration to gain from her outfits alone. She was seriously incredible.
What is your creative process like?
My creative process differs every day. For some pieces, I have an exact plan of what I want to make that I plot out in my head for a while before actually making it. For others, I just sit down and start bending wire and something magically transpires from it. Sometimes I just see things on the street or read something in a book that flips a switch! I think the best places I can go to get the gears turning is at the Met or a small coffee shop. Espresso is truly my magic potion.
What is the hardest part about what you do?
The hardest part is being adept to the connection between what you want to create and what your customers want to buy. I think it’s easy to overthink how other people are going to perceive your designs, especially if they are investing money in them.
Do you have any advice you’d give a young artist hoping to embark on a creative path?
Well, I'd say that I am myself a young designer trying to still pursue this as my career in some way! However, if there are other young people trying to further a creative passion of theirs, I would tell them to go for it. Pursuing something creative can be intimidating, but the feeling you get when others appreciate your work is so worth it!
What is your workspace like?
My workspace is my apartment. Lots of beads. Everywhere.
What are you working on right now?
Right now, I'm working on a lot of astrology-centered jewelry. Astrology is a passion of mine so to be finally incorporating that into my jewelry is super exciting!
If or when you find yourself in a creative rut, how do you get yourself out of it?
I see a creative rut as sign to step back or give my mind a break. Meditation, reading or a really long walk help me clear my head and make room for fresh ideas to come in. Talking with friends can help as well. I find that sometimes I have to go beyond my own head to find inspiration.