Artist: Sojung Lim
Web site: maryandjane.etsy.com
Location: Portland, Oregon
What do you create?
Where and when do you do your creative work?
I work from home. I have a workbench in the corner of my living room. Nothing fancy, but I like it.
Do you have another "day job" or did you leave one to pursue your art?
I used to be a teacher in my home country. I have had a couple of different jobs since I came to the US in 2004, and making jewelry has been my hobby/part time job since then. Fortunately, I became a full-time jeweler last summer. Yeah!
Where and what did you study?
I studied Early Childhood Education and Teaching English as a Foreign Language in South Korea. A lot of people who have known me as a teacher for long time were all very shocked when they found out that my career had totally changed. It was quite fun to see their reaction.
Where do you find inspiration?
I hate to say it, but I have to repeat what artists all over say to answer this question: everywhere! I wish I were more creative with my answer.
What motivates you?
Finding something that I love to do and that I am good at. Plus my mortgage.
When did you start doing this?
About three and a half years a go, when I moved to the United States. Since I had no friends here, I started jewelry making as a hobby. I had no idea how big it was going to get.
Do you remember getting into art as a kid?
I always liked to make things with my hands. My first memory of me really being into it was knitting. My mom was a knitter, so I started learning it at the very early age. I had fun.
When and why did you decide to start your own business?
I started going to local, outdoor crafts shows here but, all things considered, they were a lot of work, and only for what actually amounted to only a few weeks of selling days per year. Since everything can be done online these days, I thought: why not me? I think that was the way to go.
How did you choose the name for your business?
I initially made a pair of girl figurine earrings and somehow decided to name them Mary and Jane. I guess I liked them a lot, and I decided to keep the name and use it for my online shop.
What do you love most about creating your work?
Making jewelry has been a process of learning, discovering, and exploring not only materials and skills but also myself.
What's the most fascinating place you've been?
Paris, France. I was there a long time ago, but I vividly remember the lively energy and artistic atmosphere (and cute guys!)
A book you love:
I love travel memoirs. There’s a Korean writer of this genre — who’s never been translated, I’m sure — who has several great books about her journeys around the world. She writes with an open heart and you can feel that. One thing I’d love to do (a kind of personal goal) is to translate her books into English.
What is the most interesting thing about you?
I’m a very intuitive person (be careful when you’re with me!).
What achievement are you most proud of?
Unexpectedly having an online shop that I could run full time. I’d never planned on “being an artist,” so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had it in me.
What advice would you give women starting their own business?
Don’t give up. I know it sounds trite, but it’s true. When I find something that I’m interested in, I put my heart into it, take my time, do the necessary research, and then just stick with it. It’s tough but can be very personally rewarding. Most likely, nobody will come along side you and show you how to do things, so there’s a lot of trial and error, and it can feel a little lonely and frustrating at times, but don’t give up!
What's the biggest challenge you face in your work?
I work alone from home, often for many hours, which means no socializing during work hours! Someday, my dream is to have a shared studio, with other artists.
What do you love to do in your free time?
I love yoga, walking, and watching movies.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve had quite a lot of time off from work during the last few months, due to my pregnancy, so I guess you could say I’m busy with that!
What do you hope to achieve next?
Being a successful, jewelry-making mom (with a shared studio space!).