Art, believe it or not, can be more than canvases, sculptures or murals. The beauty of art is that it can be found essentially anywhere. Wearable art is one of many alternative forms that can be interpreted in many different ways. Fashion, make-up and jewelry. Surpassing the basic styles of metal geometric shapes, jewelry is one of the most expressive forms of art that has the ability to reveal a lot about the wearer’s personality.
Liza De Jesus, the owner of the brand Howdy Bonita, just recently found her place in the jewelry-making business, but in only a year she has gained a large following of customers who can’t get enough of her creations.
“I began at the very beginning of the pandemic, around March when everything started shutting down. I, like many others I think, started to look for a hobby to do. First, it was baking, I love to cook, but then I saw a post of these beautifully made polymer clay earrings, and I thought, ‘I can definitely give that a try,'” De Jesus says.
Hobbies can be dangerous as they often reveal how skillful and successful someone can be. No different in De Jesus’ case, she discovered that art does not have one definition that fits one type of person. The art she stumbled into introduced her to a new mindset any aspiring creators could benefit from.
“I have always loved art, but never actually saw myself as a creative prior to this year. For some reason, I had a different definition of what creative was, but as I have started my journey as an artist, I see that creativity really is in everything. Everyone is absolutely creative,” De Jesus says.
Howdy Bonita, De Jesus’ jewelry empire, now features everything from her signature bold earrings, wire necklaces, rings and anything else she’s in the mood to design. Her pieces are made to stand out and combine fun with fashion.
“I love to make a variety of pieces; mostly I am influenced by nature and pop culture. I love color and anything with patterns or texture. With nature, there’s an array of different elements that I love to incorporate such as butterflies, clouds, flowers and even the weather,” De Jesus shares. “I consider my pieces to be a form of wearable art. Every piece is so unique to the next and the possibilities are endless.”
The awakened artist in De Jesus is not afraid to push limits and continue taking pieces to the next bold level. It’s a mystery how De Jesus has not been a creator for more years because the attention and time she puts into the smallest feature is akin to a sculptor.
“Any of my detailed pieces are my very favorite. Detailed pieces are earrings with florals and very small intricate designs. They are so fun, delicately made and most of the time very one of kind since I only make one to two pieces of them. It can be therapeutic just turning on some music and really paying attention to every single detail,” De Jesus shares.
After only around a year of designing, creating and finding her groove, Howdy Bonita has acquired over 5,000 followers on Instagram from all over the country. Making jewelry has not only made De Jesus into an artist but a businesswoman as well.
“I typically do one or two launches per month and showcase pieces via Instagram a few weeks prior. I work one month ahead, so I always have prototypes made and finished to show for the next collection,” De Jesus explains. “Each pair of earrings, depending on design, can take two to three hours to make; if they are elaborate they can take a few days. I always think of color palette first, then design. It can definitely be quite the process.”
Settled in, De Jesus is forging along and continuing to grow her name. Howdy Bonita has made vendor appearances at local events, will soon be featured at Dandelion Home and Garden in Little Rock and has a steady growth of customers eager to get their hands on their own statement pieces.
“The art/small business community is so nice and has welcomed me with open arms. There’s always someone so willing to give advice or help out. It’s truly so gratifying and I’ve made so many friends not just locally, but also worldwide,” De Jesus says. “The most challenging part is keeping myself organized and focused. It’s hard to keep myself on one project when there are so many things I wish I could do or start. I just wish I had more hands and hours in the day.”
De Jesus is of the new entrepreneurs who built a business during the pandemic and succeeded. She tried her hand, made her name in the community and now encourages others to take that chance as well.
“Something very important a fellow maker told me was to always be true to my pieces. In the beginning, I was so worried “What if no one likes this detail or that?’’ But really we all have so much in common compared to our differences. I find that my customers are so much like me, and I always think that’s so neat.”
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