Five Questions With: Jen Hilton

Jen Hilton
Jen Hilton is the owner of JLH Jewelry, one of the sponsors of the 2010 Geek Gala. Some of Jen’s original jewelry designs are featured in the book “Steampunk Style Jewelry” by Jean Campbell. She was also featured in issue 13 of Make Jewellery magazine. In addition to her Jewelry-making, Jen is involved with the Raleigh Browncoats and is the founder and organizer for the Raleigh Jewelry Meetup Group.

 Jen and I have been chatting back and forth via email the past few weeks, and she recently sat down and answered 5 questions for me after recovering from her first NASFic.    

Q: How long have you been making jewelry?    
A: One of my earliest memories is making a necklace, stringing the little plastic beads, and then playing “Cinderella” with it. My invisible step-sisters ripped it off my neck and the beads went all over the family room. Unfortunately, there weren’t any talking mice around to gather them back up, and no fairy godmother appeared to help me. I was really bummed out by the loss of those beads. I sometimes wonder if my lifelong obsession with jewelry was to compensate for that early childhood disappointment. 

Q: Where do you get your inspirations?    

A: From everything in life — people, literature, nature, art, movies, music, history, mythology. Sometimes I dream about jewelry. I think in jewelry. To me, it’s a kind of language, and when I create pieces, I’m telling a story. With many of the things I see or experience, I think, “How could I tell this in jewelry?” Last year, I won a writing contest with a short story called “Wren & Wood.” So, I made myself a pair of earrings with small brass wrens and ceramic tree branch charms. I’m weird that way.    

Q: How long do you typically find yourself working on a piece?    

A: The physical act of making the piece can take anywhere from five minutes to five years. It really depends on the item. Earrings can happen almost instantly — I see two matching things and I put them on earwires. Other creations, such as my steampunk or relic pieces, they can sit on my work table, in process for years. But, really, even the “five-minute” pieces have years of thought, technique, and creativity behind them. As I mentioned, jewelry is constantly on my mind.    

A: I heard you recently attended your first sci fi convention – what did you enjoy the most?    

A: If I’d seen a Narn, that would have been the best. But I didn’t. So, I’d have to say the enthusiasm of the participants. Everyone there was so NICE. It was that family feeling, that sense of community, like I feel with the Browncoats. I’ve been involved in the Raleigh Can’t Stop the Serenity for five years — three years as coordinator, one year as a global sponsor, and this year as sponsor/co-organizer. I’ve met the most incredible people in the Firefly fandom.    

Q: If you were to suddenly find yourself in the League of Evil, what would you want your villain name to be?    

A: That’s a tough question for me, because I admire acts of personal heroism and people who stand against injustice. I’m much more like Penny than Dr. Horrible. If I was in an elite cadre, it would probably be the “Mystery Men.” I love that movie. I’d be “The Jeweler” and my weapon would be a chasing hammer. I’d wear lots of necklaces, which I’d break and throw the beads on the floor so my nemesis would slip and fall.    

Find out more about Jen Hilton and JLH Jewelry online at www.jlhjewelry.com    

About Joey 107 Articles
Joey moved to Charlotte in 2008 and loves it here! She started the Charlotte Geeks after returning from Dragon*Con and whining "But I don't want to wait 360 days to hang out with my people again!!" Self-dubbed the GiddyGeeker, her geekdoms are Doctor Who, Marvel, Boardgaming, British TV (MisFits, Orphan Black, Sherlock, The IT Crowd, etc) and she is slightly addicted to FUNKO pops. Check here out here or listen to her on the Guardians of the Geekery podcast.

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