Maker Profile: Jody Sparkes of Studio Sparkes
Meet the Maker is an ongoing series that showcases up-and-coming designers, artists and creatives. Meet Squamish local Jody Sparkes who infuses traditional First Nations beadwork into her own line of free-spirited jewelry, Studio Sparkes.
Who are you and what do you design?
My name is Jody Sparkes and I design jewellery under the name Studio Sparkes.
Tell us a bit about how you got you to where you are today.
Growing up, I learned the traditional art of beadwork in a small First Nations community in northern Saskatchewan. I think I was around seven at the time and a small group of us were taught a variety of techniques like how to sew patterns on leather, make earrings, etc. Fast forward a few years, I found myself a recent art school graduate living in Ireland, Scotland, then South Korea. I was always on the move, but still craved a way to express my creativity. I discovered some beading supplies at a local shop and started to experiment with transforming some of my sketches into jewellery patterns. It was the perfect way to have a nomadic mini studio.
Upon returning to Canada, I made my move to the Southern Gulf Islands to study yoga. Still playing with jewellery, I took a chance and signed up for my very first market, The Salt Spring Saturday Market. Looking back, I’m sure the excitement of this first market experience planted the beginnings of a creative business. Following Salt Spring, my jewellery was set aside as life became a different kind of creative whirlwind for a few years. This time included moving to Vancouver to receive my Bachelor of Art Education, meeting my husband in Squamish, backpacking around Mexico, and finishing my Graphic Design Diploma - all while having the dream of making jewellery in the back of my mind.
Finally in 2015, I decided to bring my jewellery ideas back to life under the name Studio Sparkes. I’m happy to now say that my work is in some pretty amazing shops in the Sea to Sky Corridor and I just participated in my first ever season Whistler Farmers’ Market.
If you could choose one word to describe your collection what would it be.
I’m a big fan of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron - so my mornings start with some yummy tea or a delicious coffee and I spend some time journaling. Depending on the season, I either head out to a morning yoga class or stretch at home by the fire. Then I spend some time with my dog, play some music and get to work.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find the relationship between colours and shapes from travels I’ve had, and travels I dream to have, the most inspiring. Textiles from around the world really call my name. I love everything design, conversations with fascinating people and the quiet of nature. The ability of music to truly move you and the ancient wisdom of the earth are also undeniable. I think inspiration is everywhere - it’s all about perspective.
Tell us about maintaining a balance. Do you?
At the moment I’m both making jewellery and doing graphic design. Balance seems to ebb and flow - I think I might consider this a welcomed opportunity for someone to give me some suggestions on how to maintain balance! In all honestly though, I think yoga helps me to prioritize what’s important - after that everything else seems to find it’s place.
Is there a designer or brand with whom you’d love to collaborate?
I think the Sea to Sky Corridor is home to so many amazing artists - I have an incredible appreciation for the talent Caroline Miller has as a metalsmith. I’m fascinated by some of the elaborate rings she makes - it would be amazing to somehow work with her on a project one day.
What advice would you give someone who is looking to launch their own business?
I think honing in on your strengths and working with the right people to outsource the areas you may need some help with is totally worth it. I’ve recently done some artistic exchanges with some amazing photographers who have brought to the life the look and feel I wish my jewellery to have. Keeping up to date on your finances is another important one. Whether you maintain a consistent schedule to take care of the numbers yourself, or use the services of a professional, staying consistent is key. Finally, trying to smile and not take yourself too seriously while you leap into the unknown is pretty important - it’s worth it.
What’s next for you?
I’ve been taking some metalsmith classes and would love to incorporate some techniques into my jewellery. It would be amazing to branch out and get my work into some shops across Canada and the rest of the world. I also am curious as to how my patterns and designs would translate to home decor, like wall hangings and prints.