We had the good fortune of connecting with Dawn Lucero and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dawn, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
1. Be flexible. The thought process begins for me with a picture in my mind. Its a picture of perfection in my thoughts, in which it has no boundaries or limitations physically or financially. Usually inspired by something seen. I relate the process to a dangling carrot. It’s enough to get me to engage and try in all my humanness and limitations to create that in which I see. Along the way, I have learned to allow the process of limitations to take the piece where it wants to go, instead of me forcing the image to conform to the vision. It has served me well. I am always striving for perfection, but knowing the outcome is always different and many times, better. 2. Be authentic. It creates trust. The world has many knock offs and imitations. People can tell the difference. 3. Be available. People love knowing they can communicate with the artist. It builds long lasting and far reaching relationships. And often times, fuels the creative in me. 4. Maintain quality and value. A very easy rule for me. I find this invaluable in life and in my business. People do not mind spending money, if they know the quality of the product is good, and that they are not being taken advantage of. 5. Listen. Keeping my creative ear and minds eye open to ideas others may have, and not fearing where it will take you. I have found over the years, that people also have creative thoughts and love to share them with someone who may make it look like what they see.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My inspiration was from a picture I saw in National Geographic Magazine of a White Whooping Crane made entirely from Sushi for a Japanese wedding. The picture showed the Crane with its wings spread, stretching 6 feet across the table from wing tip to wing tip. Each wing was made of white translucent curled sushi strips formed into feathers. Oh, how i wish i could find that picture again! The impact of that picture 35 years ago transformed and changed me forever. The desire to create something in the form of that Crane was powerful. Completely self taught, I started to experiment with plasters and clays, which lead me to the polymer clays that had just been introduced in the USA. The possibilities were endless in the flexibility and the colors were perfect. I made my mother the first pair of Whooping Crane earrings, which she wore on a trip to Carmel by the Sea, California. She had shop owners asking her about them. I was so inspired that people liked them, that I started to look and then design and create many more birds from pictures in magazines for reference. Shorty after finding the right medium to create with, I decided to enter a crafts fair for fun. During that time, I was invited to and attend a Bird Show the following weekend at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. I had never heard of such an event dedicated to only parrots. Being as my focus was on birds, it was an easy decision to attend. The response was overwhelming. People were coming to me with their beautiful exotic birds on their arm, asking if I could make them something with their type of bird/s. They were handing me feathers for coloration, pictures and books of parrots for reference. At that time, there was no internet. From there, I fell in love with the bird world, and the people who love them. It was easy to be inspired by the colorful and passionate people who owned, cared for and dedicated their life to the conservation and well being of these amazing creatures. The interesting thing is, I didn’t start off making my Birdjewelry to build a business. Actually, it was quite organic. It was just so natural to have the material in my hands and the ideas in my mind. I loved finding design balance, troubleshooting and figuring out designs that would be wearable and at the same time creative while keeping the bird colors and shapes anatomically correct. To me, the quality and uniqueness of my art was far more important to me than the idea of making money. Looking back though, it may have been easier to actually have had a plan and go to the bank and get a loan for things like product photography, brochures, building a website, social media advertising and trade shows. But I have to be honest with myself and say that for me, learning each of those things myself was important, but a also. But, it has been a much slower process. I don’t know if I would have wanted to be under the pressure of having to make art to make a loan payment. I personally make each and every bird using 5 types of polymer clays, blending the colors to capture details of the species. The bird pieces are strong, lightweight and washable. No molds or paints are used. For special designer Birdjewelry pieces, I have incorporated my fused glass elements and added semi-precious stones, crystals, and various vintage and ornate elements to compliment and complete each set. My pallet is endless with the varieties of birds in the world. The colors, and differences of the thousands of species will hold my attention and keep me fascinated until the my end of days. I have rarely ventured creating anything beyond what you would see in the bird world, whether that is my Birdjewelry or my Fused Glass Avian art. When you purchase a piece of my art from me, you are getting a one of a kind piece made by only me. I hope to leave the world a little more colorful and sparkly as a result of my creations.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We would spend a day visiting Wildlife Images Rehabilitation and Education Center visiting the wonderful staff and animals. Klamath Bird Observatory would be another day trip to see the local bird population. Red Lily Vineyards for lunch and maybe dip our feet in the little river running through it. DANCIN Vineyards another place for a wonderful late lunch or wine tasting Stone Ridge Golf Club to enjoy the mountainous hills of this wonderful course. Crater Lake National Park a nice drive to see the stunning blue water of this crater. Also know for the deepest lake.