We had the good fortune of connecting with Jaime Foley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jaime, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
To be honest I never wanted to have my own business. It seemed like a lot of work and responsibility and I thought I wanted to be able to check out at the end of the day and be free until my next work day. I constantly have this need to be creating things and there are only so many of those things you can store and keep for yourself, especially if you want to expand your options of materials and skills. So my decision to start my own business came pretty organically with not so much of a decision but more of a natural series of steps that led to just having a business. If you want to create and create without limitations you have to have a way to financially sustain your habit and selling my work was the only way I knew how.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art is a culmination of many interests I’ve had through all different stages of life. Much of my work features things like teeth, bones, fungi, feathers, and other natural treasures. Almost all of my work features gemstones. Much of my creations have been inspired by Antiques and old world craftsmanship. These are all interests that I adopted during different periods of my life and through Silversmithing I’ve gained a craft where I am able to combine them all. My work has taken a path that brings together these raw natural elements and presents them in a refined and beautiful way. Humanity has journeyed far from our natural roots in so many ways. Most of the natural elements I include in my work are generally overlooked by people completely, if not just disregarded as waste, when historically they are the items that our first tools and jewelry were made from. I hope to reconnect people to the gifts that surround us. To possibly consider changing our perspectives on where we place value and why. I like to frame the beauty of the elements in the piece I’m creating as well as the history these elements have through this life and the cycles they have gone through in the other forms they’ve taken through all of time. I feel that a stronger connection and a more open view point to the earth and the things we are given from it can start to change our values and hopefully enable us to make the changes needed to care for and repair the planet. I hope that my work can inspire people and open them up to possibilities they once didn’t consider. I think that trust in the process and excitement for learning and expanding skills is what has helped me get to where I am now. It’s so easy to be hard on yourself as an artist, I am certainly guilty of it. Holding myself to impossibly high standards at times has been a challenge for me. I’ve learned that accepting the current situation and not holding onto expectations you have, of how a creation or situation will go, has helped me greatly in my journey as an artist and a business owner. It allows me to let go of the stressors of holding myself to invisible standards. This leaves me space and time to set goals and be reasonable when holding myself accountable with the business side of things. Its hard to manage a whole business on your own but managing your expectations and time, I’ve found, are the two most important things. It’s an interesting experience to start out with an idea of what you want to make and watch yourself and your work grow and develop and morph over time. I still consider myself to be just starting this journey. Just about three years in the Jewelry Industry is nothing and there is no limit to the things I can learn within it. I feel a little bit like a child looking around in wonder but with the knowledge of an adult knowing that I will continue to surprise myself and the things I will create in the future will be more than I can imagine now. I think that knowing this is just the beginning and that it can always be ‘just the beginning’ is one of the most exciting parts of my career.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Whenever friends or family come visit Austin my number one priority is food. Who am I kidding? My number one priority is always food! There are definitely some cant miss spots. I am a huge fan of Vera Cruz Miags Tacos for breakfast, best in town. If we’re looking for a more laid back hang and relax type breakfast Bouldin Creek Cafe is great and Vegetarian/Vegan friendly! As a native North-easterner its been a hard transition into life without real egg sandwiches- that was until Nervous Charlies opened up. I highly recommend heading over and getting yourself a bacon egg and cheese on a bagel (if bacons not your thing they have plenty of dietary options)! After filling up on breakfast I like to take people around to check out some of my favorite stores. Local Art is a must of course and Art For the People is a great one stop shop/gallery for the work of amazing Austin Artists. I also love the co-op Yarrow and Sage. It’s filled with all kinds of magical and spiritual handmade goods and run completely by the members whose work you’ll find on the shelves. While there you can satisfy your sweet tooth by stopping by Zucchini Kill (in the same building as Yarrow and Sage) and grabbing a few of their vegan baked treats. They are seriously a weakness, I can never say no. It wouldn’t be a trip to Austin without a few stops at some of our amazing thrift and antique shops so I love to bring people by Uncommon Objects, where you’ll find curiosities galore. Room Service Vintage is killer for furniture and home goods, and Stardust Vintage has a great selection of clothing. If there are readers in my group theres nothing like a trip to Book People for their incredible selection and then Half Priced books for great deals! If you’re looking for some fun outdoors there are so many options around Austin like the numerous spots on the green belt, kayaking on ladybird lake, or checking out McKinney Falls. If you’re willing to drive a little out of town Pedernales Falls State Park is great for hiking around and beautiful swimming, or Hamilton Pool (which you’ll need a reservation for), its a sight to see! Now we’re talking lunch and dinner options! for something more casual I love a meal at Valentinas Tex-Mex and BBQ they’ve got daily specials and they never disappoint. If you’re looking for the best burger in Austin Golden Tiger has you covered. Their food truck is located at Whistlers which is a great place to grab some grade A cocktails incidentally. I would say its not only the best burger in Austin but maybe anywhere- its my favorite at least! Not only do they have great burgers but a delectable Thai Chicken Sandwich, a Tofu Sandwich for the vegetarians, and fantastic Cheese Fries. And when you’re done there Liberty and Shangri-La are two laid back bars that are a lot of fun and friendly to the wallet. As far as drinks and food truck dinners go both those bars have excellent options in their back yards! I also love a trip to St. Elmos Brewery where you’ll find the food truck Soursop that is Thai fusion and super tasty. If you’re looking for a fancier night on the town there’s nothing like a meal at Sway. Sway is a Thai restaurant with a modern twist and EVERYTHING is delicious including the cocktails and desserts! Another incredible meal is Suerte. Yes, you will spend money but damn if its not worth every penny. I’m also a sucker for the small plates they serve up at Odd Duck and it’s a fun meal to share with a group. And if you’re looking for a night in, take out options are plentiful but Asiana restaurant is the best Indian in town, and you’re not missing out on the atmosphere! Driving down South First at night to check out all the neon signs is always a great time too!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to just say that without my husband, Jeremy, I would not have the freedom to create my art as my profession, the skillset I’ve acquired, or even had the thought that this path was a possibility. Without the generosity and support of teachers and friends like Deanna Pastel and Steve Kriechbaum, I have to ask myself where I would be.
Olivia Olszewski (Photos that I am in)