Tell us bit about yourself.
My name is Elzbieta Frydel. I’m the owner of Mayahelena Jewelry.
I was born in Gliwice and spend most of my life in Silesia. Places close to my heart include rural areas surrounding Tarnow and Cracow, where my mom’s family comes from and where I used to spend every summer as well as Polish Baltic Sea area with Miedzyzdroje.
I have been living in Franklinville, New Jersey for 11 years now. I’m married to a wonderful and supportive Chinese man named Albert and we have 2 daughters: Maya (7) and Olivia (4) and 2 cats: Taco (orange and evil) and Gaza (black and sweet).
Apart from being a jewelry designer I’m also a mosaicist.
Place that you live in.
Franklinville is a small sub-country (as I like to cal it) town in south New Jersey, and there’s nothing interesting here other than short driving distance to Philadelphia, Atlantic City (for some) and the Atlantic shore. Philadelphia offers a variety of cultural experiences for all ages and we are happy to explore them. It’s also not far from New York and Washington.
We live in a house with a big backyard that provides a lot of work all year round. There’s a couple of playgrounds and parks in the area which we often visit. The weather in this part of US is very hot and humid in summer, which I despise deeply and miss Poland the most.
Apart from creating, what do you do and what your days looks like
My daily life is divided between taking care of my family and our dwelling, part time work as a graphic/web designer and creating. My girls are the center of my universe. As they grow and discover the world I rediscover it with them.
In the morning I get the girls ready for school. Once they set off on their way I check my email. Morning is my most productive time of the day so I try to devote it to creating oriented activities. It’s also a good time to take pictures: natural light, no kids around, just our black cat Gaza trying to turn my photo light box into her nap bed. A psik, poszla!
After a couple hours it’s time to go to work – usually around 12. I work in a small advertising agency with great people, casual atmosphere and flexible hours (lucky me J). When the weather is warm and there’s no storm in sight I take a bike to work.
After work (5pm) I pick up my girls from my parents-in-law and come home. Then it’s homework, dinner and taking care of the house, spending time with the kids and getting ready for the next day. My husband is a good and willing cook so he often takes care of the dinner (The other theory is that he doesn’t like my cooking).
Bedtime for the girls (and often for me) is around 9:30. And if I don’t fall asleep with them, I try to catch up on emails, Etsy or catch a movie.
What first made you want to become an artist?
My father was an artist and I grew up watching him paint and draw. Our apartment was full of his paintings. I always liked to draw and paint and had interest in art. Strangely enough, though, my parents didn’t encourage me to pursue my passion seeing it as a deterrent from “real education”. My father used to say that if you truly liked doing something you’d find a way to do it.
So I completed my real education and worked in the teaching profession long enough to realize that I didn’t want to deal with 32 Tenses, Indirect Speech and educational system for the rest of my life. I saw the opportunity in changing my career when I came to the US and I was reborn by this decision.
My adventure with mosaic and jewelry design started as a hobby and grew for over 7 years to became a very important part of who I am. I am completely self-thought in all aspects of these crafts with the help of the Internet and the literature on the subjects.
Describe your creative process.
The inspiration comes in many forms: nature, work of other artists, the environment, my family…
I divide my creative process in two kinds: “mind first” and “hands-on”.
“Mind first” approach starts with a notebook, which I carry everywhere I go. Whenever I see something interesting or an idea pops in my head I make a drawing with a caption. I sketch in it all the time… This way many ideas evolve on paper first before I take to the “production” stage. While working on the piece the idea can evolve even further or it can get to a dead end… If I’m not happy with what I have made I put it aside and give it another try later. A couple of days, weeks or even months can provide you with a fresh perspective.
The “hands-on” approach is more direct and practical. I just play with materials, arrange them together looking for interesting combinations and effects. This happens often spontaneously as I clean up my studio.
How do you promote?
I’m still trying to figure that out.
I use the tools within Etsy, I have accounts on Facebook, Flickr, You-Tube and my own website. Blogging will be probably the next thing to do. I try to use Google Analytics. I also occasionally do craft shows, as it allows me to meet other artists-sellers and people face to face.
In 10 years, where would you like to be?
Living in an old house with a mature shady garden in Boston, Massachusetts, while running a successful online business selling my creations and owning a vacation house in Nova Scotia, Canada. I would also like to try pottery.
Your favorite products and favorite seller on Etsy
There’s so many! I’ve been inspired by many but Linda Garbe’s ability to tell the story about her creations and with them provided the most striking experience.
If you'd like to find out more about Elzbieta and her unique wire wrapped jewelry, please remember to follow her on Facebook, Flickr or You-Tube and don't forget to check out her website.