Fellow Artisan: Studio Luma

I made the online acquaintance of Annie from Studio Luma via an online artisan group and started following her Instagram feed, interested at the time in her year abroad, but later totally won over by her gorgeous products. Studio Luma makes glass and silk jewellery, and will be joining me and many others at the Honsberger Estates for the Christmas HandMade Market in just over a week down in Jordan, ON (November 13-15), where you can grab some wood fired oven pizza, sip some wine or microbrew, and do your holiday shopping in lovely Niagara. I can’t wait to see her lovely work (and self!) in person.

(please click on images below to see larger versions)

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Studio Luma

Products: handcrafted jewellery from glass, silver, and silk

Price Range: $9-$180

How did this all begin?
While on maternity leave with my 2nd child (2011), I decided to take a 2-day lampworking class because while noodling around on the internet I stumbled upon lampworking. Up until that moment, I figured glass beads came from factories (most likely in China) and I had NO IDEA how they were made and that a regular person could make one. So I convinced my husband that I should leave him at home with the 2 kids (one of them being a nursing 6-month old!) and headed from Peterborough to Toronto to see what this all was about (don’t worry, I returned to Peterborough each day so the nursing baby and I were both fine! 😉 ). By the time that I was making my third bead, I realized that I could do this – like, for a business! So, I built a lampworking studio in my backyard, took some silversmithing classes at the Art School of Peterborough, and have been happily growing my little creative empire ever…

What inspired/s your work? 
In my previous career, before becoming a Creative Entrepreneur, I was a French Immersion teacher for the public school board. I had the Dream Career coveted by so many: a full-time permanent teaching gig with good (and consistent!) pay, an amazing benefits package, a powerful teacher’s pension – all of the things that we are supposed to have when we “grow up” and get a “real job”. But I was completely and utterly miserable and developing anxiety and stress issues (I strongly believe that many people who have “grow up” and have a “real job” suffer as I did…). So I resigned from that life and job and embarked to make Studio Luma a full-time gig. Whenever I am getting worried or stressed about an upcoming show or not getting something done for my business, I remind myself “You COULD be writing report cards!!” and I feel loads better!

What inspires new products? 
Most new products come from having free creative play time in the studio… I have a background in professional photography and while studying, we did a lot of different kinds of art classes, so I really love experimenting. I realize that when I let myself start to play with materials (whether it is at the torch trying out something new with the glass or playing around with my bits of unused silk) new products come out on their own.

What is the most challenging part of your work?
I am a roaring extrovert and all of my previous careers (I was also an environmental educator for MANY years before I became a classroom teacher) had me working with other people. Now I sit by myself in my studio, get lost in another world as I listen to audiobooks to keep me company, and sometimes don’t talk to other people all day… I’m always looking for ways to connect with other Creative Entrepreneurs and get out and have face to face contact with them!

Do you have a creative routine?
Sorta… I’m an “up with the birds” kinda gal and am often up and working (whether that is office work or studio work) before 6am (the house is quiet, the kids are sleeping, it is a good time!). Over the years, I have learned that if I don’t get started on my day immediately, I’m not as efficient as I could be. It would be really easy to let Studio Luma consume every minute of my day, but I am working very hard to carve out actual “business house” where I work (even if those hours are at 5am…!).

What’s the most fun part of your work?
Making the colourful glass beads! No – taking them out of the kiln and then playing with them! No – dyeing the silks! No – going to a show and meeting people who LOVE my jewellery! Hmm… I actually find most of my work fun (well… maybe not preparing my taxes to file…)

What do you do when you’re not working on Studio Luma?
Family life obviously fills up most of the time not spent on Studio Luma… My kids are now at the ages where we can do fun things as a family – for example, we are REALLY excited this year to have a family cross country ski membership for all of us at our local cross country ski club and the kids are signed up for lessons (which means an hour of FREE ski time for me and Señor Luma!!).

You can find Studio Luma on the web at studioluma.ca and on Instagram @studioluma.

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(All photos used with permission)

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