Thursday, March 03, 2005

Who IS Jonara Blu?

Part of my reason for starting this blog is so that my customers can get to know The Jamee part of Jonara Blu better as a real person. The Jamee part of Jonara Blu not only makes much of the jewelry but she is also the one whom you communicate with whenever you order something or have an inquiry. So for one of my first posts I'll tell ya a little about me....and since the other part of Jonara Blu is my sister and she's not here to speak for will just have to get to know her a little through me :)

People always call me Jonara...I don't mind at all...I think it's a really pretty name :) But if you wanna know the truth...Jonara is actually me and my sister's last names put together. Jones = 'Jon' and Aihara = "ara"....hence we came up with "Jonara".

I'm the 'Jones' part of Jonara...My name is Jamee, I'm 36 and have lived on Maui for 12 years. I was born and raised in California but came out here to Maui when both my husband's parents and my parents moved out here. We have one child...a 13 year old son named Cameron whom I homeschool. My husband's name is Paul...he owns and runs a window tinting and auto customizing buisiness. I guess you could say that while I make people jewelry, he makes car jewelry ;-) My sister, Kimberlee is 10 years younger then me. She is married and has two children, one 8 and one a year and a half.

I've always been involved in arts and crafts in one way or another. For me I need a creative outlet so I can deal with the rest of what life serves me. It was a little difficult being crafty while my son was real young..but I found an outlet through doing art with him whether it was finger painting, collage, even paper making (which is great to do on a hot summer day) or just glueing all sorts of strange things together. As he got older he became more interested in computer graphic type we enjoy working on photography manipulations in photoshop.

Types of art I have done include: oil and acrylic painting, ceramics (low fire to make ceramic beads), abstract inkings, sketching, print making, mosaics, regular high fire ceramics (I'm brand new at this...taking a class right now), computer graphics and of course jewelry making :) I've been beading since I was about 8 years old. A baby sitter I had would bring her beads over and let me bead with her. Then one day she gave me her bead stash..she said she wouldn't be using it anymore. That was one of the happiest days of my life as a young one :) I used that bead kit till it dwindled down to absolutely nothing!

For the years to come I mostly did sketching and inkings. I found that I loved working with children and art when I had the opportunity to teach art classes to a 4th grade class I was working as a teachers aid at a grade school in Hunington Beach California. Once the teachers found out my interests, many of them had me designing their bulletin boards. That was an amazing opportunity and so much fun!

About a year after I was freinds grandmother taught me to make earrings using seed beads and a peyote stitch. She hardly spoke a word of english but even so, it was quite easy to learn from her! This newly aquired skill awakened my need to bead again and so I finally discovered a local bead store and continued to bead off and on until I became pregnant. I was pretty much sick the whole time so beading was not an option :(

I didn't start up again until my son was probably around 4 years old. This is when my sister, Kimberlee, began beading with me. Soon we both started working for a local artist here who has her jewelry in local art gallaries. We did mostly stringing for her at first and later learned to make and paint ceramic beads as well as making polymer clay beads. Eventually we started working on our own as we wanted to explore new styles and work with components that this particular artist did not use. We were very confined to her style and not able to excersize any of our idea's with the types of components she used in her jewelry. We started out at the local swapmeets and about after a year of that we were up online at Ruby Lane as well as doing local craft fairs.

It's great working with my gives us an excuse to spend quality time together. Not that sisters need an excuse..but life does get so busy sometimes that it's hard to find time to spend with loved ones. We work excellent together and have similar tastes in jewelry. Our idea's seem to flow together and we can always pick up where the other left off. Kim was able to spend much more time creating things before her little one, Nakoa, came along. Now he pretty much takes up most of her time..however she still creates beautiful pieces whenever she gets the chance.

Being involved in this art with her and creating our own business from it has been a blast! It's awesome to be able to support our very expensive hobby by doing what we love best! And the best part of it all is the wonderful people we've met and the awesome thanks they've sent us. I'm always grinning from ear to ear when I hear back from a customer :)

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