This month's spotlight feature is on Nicole Gonzalez of Sweet Craft Jewelry. If you're a lover of sweets, food, and fashion accessories (and who isn't?), then you're in sweet luck!
We first met Nicole through Mujeres Mercado's The Vibrant Community shop (1414 E. Commerce) in November of 2014. We instantly fell in love with her work and loved how her unique designs resonated with some of the popular foods of San Antonio. Nicole started her jewelry business in 2013 and has been gaining popularity ever since, creating local favorites like chili-covered mango and watermelon lollipops, conchas, pizza slices, avocado halves, corn dogs, cupcakes, and even SA's staple bean and cheese tacos. Yum!―if only they were edible too! The creations are all handmade using polymer clay and go through a baking process before being fashioned into wearable earrings, necklaces, rings, and key chains.
We recently had the opportunity to ask Nicole some questions. Here's the scoop!
BarbacoApparel: How did Sweet Craft Jewelry come about?
Sweet Craft Jewelry: It started when I was in my baking phase back in the end of 2012. I wanted to bake cupcakes for a living, maybe have my own bakery or cupcake food truck. One day I stumbled upon a tutorial on YouTube on how to make basic cupcake earrings, and I wanted to make a pair for myself because I didn't really see stuff like that in stores. Soon I had friends asking me to make cupcake earrings for them, which I would. My first creations were not the greatest as I wasn't very skilled in polymer clay at the time. Eventually, as I practiced more and more, I created my own signature spin in the overall design into my cupcake earrings. After more experimentation, I expanded into making lollipops, conchas, and other sweet-themed items. Originally I was only focusing on sweets, hence the name, but I started getting more requests for other foods such as pizza, corn dogs & avocados so that's when I decided to be an all-food jewelry designer. Now here I am today.
BA: Sweet! Among some of my favorites are the mango and watermelon Mexican candies; I loved those growing up and still enjoy one every now and then. How often do you find yourself looking back to your childhood for inspiration on some of your designs? And, what are some of your personal creation favorites?
SCJ: The watermelon and Mexican candies were definitely a throwback that I wanted to create. Also just junk food I used to eat all the time like the twinkies and hotness cupcakes. My personal favorites of mine are the corn dogs and the avocado jewelry I do. Everyone else seems to love them just as much as I do.
BA: So many great foods and snacks! I would probably be eating all the time, or while working. Do you find yourself often getting hungry after working on a cupcake, corn dog, or whatever beckons? How do you do it?! Also, can you tell us a little bit about the creation process? How long does it take you to create an avocado or, say, a bean and cheese taco?
SCJ: Yes, usually I do get hungry or I'll even buy a certain food to study it and then eat it afterwards. You can often find me staring in the baking section of H-E-B or taking pics of fruits or vegetables. My creation process is really I just sit down at my work station with my mountains of clay and get to sculpting. I make one item in bulk then move on to a next item. I try not to make too many at once cause I find myself getting burnt out on that one particular item. So I try to shuffle as many things at once so I can keep my mental energy going. Most of my items have taken lots of practice and also a lot of failures. I try to make it perfect the first time but that's not always the case. I go through a few rough drafts before I think a design is perfect.
BA: Can you give us any hints or teasers on future designs? Anything you may be working on or experimenting with?
SCJ: Bean and cheese tacos have started to make their appearance. I'm also gonna try chalupas . . . and hopefully mangonadas & snowcones.
We can’t wait! To get your Sweet Craft kick, you can find Nicole set up at the Pop Up on Pearl on Saturday, June 6, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. You can also check out her Etsy page, and other social media, below.