Meet the Maker
June Martin has called a lot of places home over the years, but the Pacific Northwest is where she has settled since 2015. With degrees in psychology and biological anthropology, June has explored careers in the fashion industry and motherhood, but the two main focuses throughout her life have been nature and the arts.
In 2002, after a month-long trip to Barcelona Spain, June really developed her blossoming love for mosaic arts. Upon her return to the states, June enrolled in the Institute of Mosaic Art in the bay area where she studied for several years.
I was able to catch up with June during her busy show season to ask her some questions about her creative process and business.
Becky: First and foremost, how is Pickle? I love following the journey of your studio kitty’s adventures on Instagram. I found myself praying for Pickle’s safe return at one point!
June: Pickle is doing well! He’s actually not my cat. He belongs to a neighbor. Pickle ran away from his home due to a new dog joining his household. To make a long story short, Pickle now pretty much lives in my studio. He can’t live in our main house because we already have two cats who are not exactly Pickle fans. We came to an agreement with his real mom and installed a cat door in my studio so he comes and goes during the day. Mostly though, he hangs out next to me as I work. We lock him in at night for safety and he appears to be just fine with this. We’ve grown very fond of Pickle and he’s a great studio cat.
He seems very fond of us as well and since he’s an orphan of sorts, we treat him extra special! He gets nightly tuck-ins which he has come to expect, lots of attention and cuddles, and even toys and multiple beds and lounging areas throughout our property. And yes, when he disappeared for five days about six months ago, I was beside myself!
Becky: Is your primary form of sales for your jewelry line through the Portland Saturday Market? What do you enjoy most about this venue?
June: Yes, Portland Saturday Market is the primary source of sales for Moth & Twig. I absolutely LOVE the Portland Saturday Market. It is well structured so it runs smoothly. I have made many friends there and the overall vibe is lovely.
Though it takes me 2.5 hours to set up my booth every Saturday, I love creating a pop-up shop as I find that process in and of itself to be creative. The customers are fabulous! I get to meet locals as well as travelers from all over the world. I feel lucky to be a part of the Portland Saturday Market family. Oh, and this year I got a KILLER spot!
Becky: Do you have a favorite form of social media that you like to use? Why?
June: I prefer Instagram over Facebook because it seems easier to work with while I’m out and about, especially when I’m at the market. Instagram seems more visual to me so that lends itself well to my type of business. I’m trying to be better about posting on Instagram each day I’m at the market. By the same token, I don’t want to be an obnoxious poster so it’s finding that balance. During the week I sometimes post photos of Pickle. I think he likes it. Hmmm, maybe he should have his own Instagram page!
Becky: What are some of your challenges of running and operating a jewelry business?
June: Where do I start? Well, when I began, I remember being so excited when I sold my first item on Etsy! Turned out a friend was my first customer, but still, seeing that sale come through was fun. Shortly after that, someone I didn’t even know purchased a piece! At the time I was working full-time as a mental health therapist. I figured I would do a side jewelry business for fun and self-care. Over the past few years my business took off so now this is my primary focus and I work as a mental health consultant on the side. I’m trained in mental health, not business, so the shift, along with the details around running the business, have been monumental as my business grows. The biggest challenge has been keeping up with production and certain aspects of bookkeeping. At the beginning of the year I told myself that this year I will work smarter, not harder. Well, here we are in the middle of May and I’m still just working harder. I’m going to Costa Rica tomorrow but upon my return I have an appointment with a business consultant; someone who specializes in working with artist types. Maybe I’ll achieve my goal of working smarter this year after all. Running this business would be a lot harder though if it weren’t for my wonderful husband, Andrew. Not only does he provide some of the muscle needed (loading/setting up for shows is hard work!), he also takes care of our household so that I can be in the studio. He cooks, cleans, shops; pretty much takes care of most things and encourages me to work (play) in my studio as he tells me he knows it’s important. Don’t tell him this, but I honestly don’t have a clue as to where we keep our cleaning supplies. He works full-time as a mail carrier so he walks about 12 miles a day and then comes home and cooks for us. Thank you Andrew!!
Becky: Do you have a favorite custom order that you created? Can you tell us about it?
June: Yes I do have a favorite piece. To be honest though, they’re all my babies. This is another reason why I love Portland Saturday Market. I get to see who my pieces are going to. In terms of favorites though, I created a piece using two different glasses from Italy; smalti and millefiori. I made the piece especially for a gallery show in Bandon, Oregon. I carefully hand cut each piece of glass and layered the millefiori so that there was a three-dimensional look to it. I used yellow smalti that bordered on chartreuse as well as an amazing red. The piece didn’t sell at the gallery show but it did sell at a show I did later that year. I remember the gentleman who purchased the piece. He told me that he lived in Houston and he was purchasing pieces for women in his family. He came back to Portland recently and he visited me at the market. I immediately remembered him! I believe he gave the piece to his aunt.
Becky: Thank you for choosing Nunn Design Findings to create your handmade mosaic jewelry. Why do you trust your jewelry to Nunn Design Findings?
June: When I started making mosaic jewelry I sampled findings from various suppliers. I stuck with Nunn because of the quality and the customer service. I spend a lot of time creating my mosaics so I wanted to make sure that I place the mosaics in high quality bezels that will stand the test of time. Sure, I can find less expensive bezels elsewhere, but as I tell my customers, why would I spend so much time creating mosaics just to put them into cheaply made, sub-standard bezels. I want to know that I can stand behind my work and with Nunn bezels, I feel that I can. Also, the customer service is fantastic and I know that if I ever have a problem, it will be taken care of. When I teach workshops, I always highly recommend to my students that they use Nunn findings.
June Martin of Moth & Twig has many beautiful pieces using Nunn Design Findings used. Visit the gallery to see which findings were used.