Squidhouse Designs: Jewelry That’s Better Than Babysitting Created by Katina Jones on 5/27/2013 10:10:19 PM
SPC Correspondent Katina Z. Jones interviews 16 year old jewelry designer Julia Denniss.
One of the perks of writing about Steampunk jewelry is that I often wind up purchasing some of the artists’ pieces for my personal collection. However, sometimes it happens that I already own a few pieces, and then serendipitously run into their designer at a place like MomoCon. Such was the case with Julia Denniss of Squidhouse Designs—and I’m not sure which of us was more excited to meet the other, especially since I was actually wearing some of her work when we met at the event.
Since AnachroCon 2012, I had heard inspiring tales of this bright, articulate 16-year-old entrepreneur and had seen much of her work at various Steampunk venues. Julia makes and sells all types of jewelry, including earrings, brooches, necklaces, cufflinks, rings, pins, and more—and she also take jewelry commissions.
Not surprisingly, I’ve decided to let this highly talented young jewelry designer tell her own story.
Q: How would you describe your work? Who finds it most appealing, in your opinion?
A: I’d describe my jewelry as kind of an industrial, mechanic style. I use delicate bits with bigger, clunky pieces, all with a strong Victorian influence. I’ve found my jewelry to be very popular among teens and young adults. I keep my prices very affordable, since I know what it’s like to operate on a tight budget. Most of my items are $15 or less. I’ve been trying to expose my jewelry to a larger male audience by making cufflinks, tiepins, and larger rings as well.
Q: What are your primary influences (fashion, art, music, life, culture)?
A: I’d say I'm greatly influenced by art and the people around me. Every convention I go to, I see so many new and interesting things, concepts that I could try and work into my jewelry. I’m also a fan of many Steampunk writers, musicians, and other artists; they’re an inspiration to me as well as a strong influence. I really love how open the Steampunk community is about sharing ideas.
Q: Where do you sell your jewelry?
A: I sell my jewelry on commission at the Boiler Room in Duluth, Georgia. Most of my sales happen when they take my jewelry to conventions. I recently opened my Etsy shop, Squidhouse Designs, as well. It beats babysitting by a long shot!
(Editor's Note- the Boiler Room is now closed.)
Q: Are you planning anything new and exciting in the next few months?
A: I’m definitely planning on expanding my Etsy shop, and I’m looking to find another place where I could sell my products on commission. I’m always trying out crafts and DIY projects from books and articles online; they keep me from getting bored. I’d really love to learn the basics of prop making, since I know that’s a big subject in this community.
Q: What do you enjoy most about being a jewelry designer? Are most people really surprised to learn that you’re only 16?
A: What I love most about designing jewelry is the constant challenge and interest it brings. Nothing is mundane or routine, and it’s unlike any job I’ve ever had before. I am always excited to receive new supplies and parts in the mail; my room is becoming cluttered with countless metallic bits and pieces. Yes, I’d say most people are surprised to learn how young I am, but I consider it a good thing. I’m so glad I was able to get into this business at a young age, and now I know it’s something I truly love. Like I said before, I really enjoy the Steampunk community. They are very welcoming of me and don’t treat me differently because of my age. I’ve met some really amazing and talented people through my business.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to our readers to know?
A: I first got interested in the Steampunk genre when I bought a clockwork ring at a community art fair. I remember turning it over and realizing that it wasn’t as complicated as it had seemed. I thought, “I could make something like this.” At the time, I was involved in raising money for a charity, so my jewelry sales helped me reach my goal. By the time that was over, I was hooked on Steampunk. I didn’t want to give it up, so I kept working and eventually developed my own business. I was introduced to the Boiler Room through a friend, and their talent and craftsmanship awed me. From there, it wasn’t really very difficult! I just kept on doing what I love and trying new things all the time.
With lovely, affordable pieces like hers, coupled with a natural business sense, there’s no doubt Julia will be able to keep her business going well into the future.
All photos courtesy Squidhouse Designs / Julia Denniss.
Katina Z. Jones is owner of GetGoingPlaces.com as well as an author of 26 books on a variety of business and lifestyle topics. She lives in suburban Atlanta with a menagerie of kids, dogs, cats and one very patient husband.