Through just a few emails, I knew immediately I would connect with Nina Forrest. Early on, she asked, “Did you ever see Love, Loss and What I Wore by Nora Ephron? I just had the pleasure of seeing it here in Albuquerque. It's brilliant.” Somehow, I knew then, she and I had much in common. When I saw her jewelry designs, she captured me. I am inspired by the beauty of her designs, and also by the way she lives her second half of life with joy, strength, and fun. Her jewelry is just stunning…I drooled over so many pieces on her website, and Nina sent me the necklace above which I have already worn several times. But, ladies, you first must meet Nina. We had the following online chat:
1. Please give us just a little background about Nina!
I am 66 years of age and have been married to my second husband for seventeen years after being widowed in 1984. We have lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico for 15 years. Including both of my families, I have four adult children and six grandchildren. I have also lived extended times in Atlanta, New York, and Philly, where I grew up.
2. When did you begin designing jewelry?
At 58 years of age in 2005…although I recently found a necklace from almost forty years ago where I strung beads on leather (LOL)
3. Why jewelry? What is it you love about this trade?
It is the most endless source of creative expression I have ever experienced. I love “the aha” moment when the piece is completed and it is just the way I want it. And the satisfaction I get when a client says: I got so many compliments when I wore the piece I purchased and I LOVE it!
4. Where do you get your inspiration for pieces?
I see inspiration in everything….the bead stores, fashion websites, home décor magazines, museums, nature.
I am mesmerized by colors, shapes and textures. My mission is to combine these elements into stunning, bold pieces of jewelry for the woman who want to be noticed. If you love clothes but wear them as a backdrop for gorgeous, striking, signature accessories, my work will resonate with you.
At heart, I am a fashionista. As a child, I spent my days gazing into a makeshift armoire, organizing my dresses and daydreaming of beautiful outfits. My Saturday shopping expeditions and visits to museums with my mother in downtown Philadelphia became a means of exploring the world of great design. (It was the era of elevator operators with white gloves, wooden escalators and no cost shipping of all the parcels you couldn’t carry sent to your home the next day by UPS!)
I’m inspired by everything from an Armani dress to a Matisse painting to a humble paper clip. When my husband Jeff and I moved to Albuquerque in 1998, I discovered an exquisite blend of artistic culture, beauty and diversity. And the sweeping vistas, New Mexico sunsets and Santa Fe art became another wellspring of design inspiration for me. I actually loved the color purple of a box of Kleenex I bought in Walmart and used it in one of my pieces :)
After years of being a passionate crafter - sewing, knitting, painting and dying textiles - my jewelry design journey began one day in 2005 while visiting a local bead shop. I spotted some simple necklaces: silk cords strung with crystal beads. Taken by their easy elegance, I picked up a few supplies, starting stringing my own necklaces, and was soon swept up in a creative whirlwind that took me from metal smithing to wire wrapping to enameling.
Like a stylish mad scientist, my curiosity and boldness ignited a love for design experiments. I wrapped wire willy-nilly around stones. I hammered into metal surfaces and created one-of-a-kind textures. I fused gold on silver, a Japanese technique I taught myself, known as keum boo. Combining the unusual with the unexpected became my passion: wood with jade, rhinestones with recycled glass, shells with smoky quartz.
And with each day, as the sun rises over the New Mexico Mountains, I continue to find inspiration and create new one-of-a-kind designs--for women like myself, who want to journey through life boldly and colorfully. (YES! - Pam's editorial comment!!)
5. What do you think makes your line different from others?
I gear my collections to the over 50 woman, who is very interested in fashion and the world around her, wants to be noticed and not stay in the background, is artistic and appreciates hand crafted objects. I pay close attention to some of the difficulties of wearing jewelry for the women of a certain age, by using front toggle clasps for easy on, lighter weight earrings, larger, and adjustable easy to maneuver back clasps.
6. What advice do you have for middle aged women who would like to pursue their passions?
Be realistic. Decide if you want it to be a hobby or a business. Determine if you want to work on it part time or full time
Discuss the passion with the significant people in your life and tell/show them what it means to you. Enlist their support.
Think of how you would feel if you did not pursue it and it was a lost opportunity.
If it is a business look into what it will take to get a particular business model working (ex, service or product, retail or wholesale, is it a non-custom or custom service or product) and get advice on implementing that particular model.
Determine what time it involves in addition to the creation of the product or service (i.e. travel, web site creation, marketing, etc.)
Know you can’t do it all yourself and figure what tasks to outsource.
7. How do you overcome the fear associated with pursuing your passion?
Get inspiration from others who have already done it. read HUFF PO REINVENTION!
Read blogs and solicit feedback from blogs where “seasoned” women frequent (like over50feeling40) for support.
Just do it!
8. Do you believe it is possible to reinvent yourself later in life?
Absolutely. Reinventing may be finding a passion you never thought about before or it may be revealing/igniting a passion that has always been inside you but you have never pursued.
NINA FORREST is living her dream. She wants us to walk feeling strong, fabulous, and visible…so as a special gift to you, the readers of www.over50feeling40, she is giving 20% (instead of the usual 15%) off your first purchase until June 30 for everyone who goes HERE and signs up for her email list. So after you sign up, please use the code OVER50 upon checkout.
Now, make sure you visit the other amazing women of VISIBLE MONDAY and WATCH WHAT I'M WEARING! and MONDAY MINGLE….also enter to win the necklace at the top of the sidebar from another over 50 inspirational woman…and please have a wonderful day…how can you fulfill your passions this week??