We are so pleased to introduce everyone to fine jewelry artist Rocky Pardo! You can find Rocky’s work in her Happening Hands shop, on her website, and her Instagram @rockypardo. Read on to learn more about Rocky and her beautiful work.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What’s the story behind you and your business?
I have been in love with jewelry for as long as I can remember. I used to join my mom when she would go into her local jewelry store and admire the work. That’s where I saw the work of Roger Rimel and I remember exclaiming: “That’s what I want to do!” I worked toward that goal from that moment on. I was taking metals classes by the time I was 13 and didn’t stop until I graduated with a BFA in Metals.
After college, my journey came full circle when I earned a position as a bench jeweler under Roger at that very jewelry store. After several years there, I yearned to be making in my own studio. I was not very good at keeping diligent hours in my own studio while working full time. I loved my job, but I was sometimes disheartened to create jewelry that I couldn’t even afford. When envisioning my business, I wanted to create quality work that you could find at a jewelry store but at a price that makes it accessible to everyone. I recycle metal and other materials as much as I can, I hand pick stones at wholesale, and buy in bulk. With that in mind, I wanted to see what the life of a self-sustaining artist going to juried shows would be like. I’ve been on that path for the past 5 years and last year I even won 4 awards! I’m excited to see what the future brings as I learn and grow.
Where do you draw inspiration and motivation from? How do you stay creative?
I love circles. I love to observe my surroundings and see what is made up of circles or patterns of circles. Circles can create texture, pattern and create entire forms. I also like to know the materials that I work with on an intimate level. I really enjoy the process of melting, rolling, forming metal and being inspired by the different look and property of it at every stage.
What does your creative process look like from start to finish?
There is a little bit of everything and a lot of learning involved. I’ll start with material in the rawest form that I can work with and will use my torch, rolling mill, a variety of hammers, a flex shaft, and so many others to melt, push, pull, fabricate, and form the metals to my will. Stone setting is the last thing that I will do on my bench before taking my pieces to my polishing lathe where I hand polish everything!
What’s your current favorite podcast, music, or tv show that you’re hooked on and why?
I devour podcasts and audiobooks in the studio! My favorite is always whatever I’m currently listening to but the podcasts that I stay current on would have to be the Moth or Snap Judgement. I love the little vignettes into other people’s lives. I love people and especially now, in isolation, I like to feel like I’m meeting new people when I hear the stories of strangers.
Do you have any business challenges and/or goals you’re hoping to crush over the next 6 months?
In the next 6 months, I would like to have a good online strategy for making my work known and accessible. I think jewelry, especially fine jewelry, is hard to sell through a medium where people don’t know you and don’t know the product. I want to build relationships with potential clients like I would have at my shows. So feel free to reach out just for a chat!
Do you have any advice for all the small handmade business owners out there who are just getting started?
I wish I could have told myself at the beginning to take it slow and not worry about where I’m not in the moment. I still have times where I have to tell myself this now. I think it can be hard to feel like you’re not going anywhere, especially when you’re working on your business full time. Think about where you were last month even, so much has changed in so little time but there’s always so much yet to do that it can be hard to realize all of your little steps.