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Q & A With Local Artist Teresa Nelson

IN THE April 10 ISSUE

FROM THE 2021 Articles,
andArts & Entertainment,
andLorie Lewis Ham
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by Lorie Lewis Ham

This Valley is filled with creative people of all kinds–musicians, actors, writers, artists, and more. This week we are chatting with Sanger artist Teresa Nelson.

KRL: What type of art do you do?

Teresa: I create mixed media jewelry with a bohemian, vintage, eclectic, and whimsy aesthetic look to it. It’s the best way I can describe it.

I started with soldered jewelry and it is one of the basic techniques of most of my jewelry. It is a technique melting soft lead free solder with a soldering iron around a piece of glass or on metal. The glass can have an image sandwiched between them and creates a charm like piece of jewelry, which you can use as a pendant or ornament. You can also melt on metal and stamp an image onto it to create an interesting pattern. The ideas are endless when it comes to using this technique. I now work with many other materials as well to incorporate into my jewelry such as resin, glitter, rhinestones, leather, and many others to create a unique piece of jewelry in the end.

Teresa Nelson

KRL: What medium do you use?

Teresa: My favorite is soft lead free solder. But I also use many other mediums in my jewelry such as clay, paper, paint and many more.

KRL: What led you to create the kind of art that you create?

Teresa: I have always beaded, made crafts, and have even painted. In 2008, I became fascinated with the technique of jewelry soldering after I saw a book about the subject in a boo store and from then on, I was hooked. I researched every topic I could find on the subject but back then, there wasn’t a lot on YouTube. Fortunately, the artist of the book, Sally Jean Alexander, offered a video online to learn about the technique. I signed up right away and absorbed everything I could about it. Since then, I have taken many online courses about the technique and it also led me to many other forms of jewelry making. Today, there are many YouTube videos to learn any technique of jewelry making.

KRL: What do you feel is unique about your art?

Teresa: It would have to be the technique of the soldering and how I apply it to my jewelry using vintage, religious, bohemian, and whimsy imagery and embellishments to create a unique, one of a kind piece of jewelry or ornament.

KRL: How long have you been an artist?

Teresa: I always loved creating with my hands since I was a child. Art was my favorite subject in school. I chose graphic arts as my major in college because it was the only career I could be creative in. Sadly, I didn’t finish my classes in college, but I have dabbled in Photoshop, and many other art/craft resources that have led me to my passion today.

KRL: What first inspired you to become an artist?

Teresa: Seeing beautiful artwork done by other artists. I wanted to create beautiful artwork too which comes in many forms. I have tried many mediums including watercolors, acrylics, and oil painting. Clay, woodworking crafts, papercrafts, and found that jewelry making was my favorite.

KRL: Where do you get your ideas and inspiration from?

Teresa: Books, social media, movies, nature, other artists and even in my dreams. Yes, I have had dreams of finished pieces and I’ll wake up and note them down on paper or on my phone before I forget (Haha). I’ve also taken many online and in person courses on jewelry making and mixed media crafts to help me perfect the technique.

KRL: Do you have a day job?

Teresa: Presently, I’m not working outside of my home. I care for my family and fur babies full time and I have time for my jewelry making too. I’m also in the process of turning my dining room into my studio.

KRL: What other careers have you had through the years?

Teresa: I’ve always held office work positions when I’ve worked. I was a stay at home mom for many years raising our two daughters. My husband travels a lot with his career so I was blessed to be able to stay with them full time. I also worked part time with our county Fair for six seasons in two exhibit buildings where I was able to offer my creative side sometimes.

KRL: What do you love most about being an artist?

Teresa: I have an inner peace when I’m working on my jewelry. I wake up early in the mornings, after I grab my coffee I gravitate to my studio area and work in my studio on a piece or pieces in progress. I love when my vision of a piece comes out the way I envisioned it to. I love making jewelry for others too. I have done many custom orders for birthdays, weddings, memorials, fundraisers, and many more. To see how happy my customers are when they’re finished brings me so much joy.

KRL: What is the hardest?

Teresa: I can’t create fast enough. I wish I had a production line. My family has helped me in the past on some orders when they could. It can take hours, days, and sometimes weeks on a project. I can get creative block sometimes and I have to walk away from it until I can concentrate again. If a customer wants a piece in a few days, that can be challenging sometimes unless it’s a simple piece. I want to deliver to them as fast as I can with happy results.

KRL: Where are you from?

Teresa: I have lived in Sanger for 29 years but I was born and raised in Madera.

KRL: Future goals with your art?

Teresa: Right now, I’m still trying to figure out online stores and social media to help the sales of my jewelry. I want to continue creating as long as my eyes and hands let me.

KRL: Is your art available online?

Teresa: Yes, I have an Etsy store and I’m on Instagram and Facebook. All are under the name Blue Desk Studio because I started on a blue painted vintage desk with many drawers for supplies to create my jewelry. I felt the name explained it all.

KRL: Where can people find you online?

Teresa: BlueDeskStudio on Etsy. Blue Desk Studio, handmade jewelry by Teresa Nelson on Facebook. Blue Desk Studio on Instagram.

KRL: Anything you would like to add?

Teresa: I have met many people over the years who want to learn how to make something but say they don’t know how. I always tell them to just go online to sites to teach them. Anyone can learn whatever they want. Never say you can’t learn. I’m still learning and want to learn more and more!

Check out more local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section.

Lorie Lewis Ham is our Editor-in-Chief and a contributor to various sections, coupling her journalism experience with her connection to the literary and entertainment worlds. Explore Lorie’s mystery writing at Mysteryrat’s Closet.

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