When Jill Trinchero had her second child, she needed to find work she could do at home. "I had to fit work into my life," she said, "rather than fit my life around work." She had always loved fashion, and making jewelry seemed like a natural thing. But she had to start small. "I started out making jewelry at the dining room table," she said. "Then a table in the basement. Then I got my own room."
Her home studio today is a cheerful green. Her gemstone necklaces hang brightly on pegs. Her designs are simple, letting the beauty of the stones take center stage.
Jill grew up in Red Bluff, California, on the Sacramento River. As a child, she claims to have had "more interest than ability" as far as art was concerned. Most of her time was spent playing outside: biking, swimming, and with animals. Her dad was a rancher, and she grew up around horses, sheep and cattle.
She started making beaded jewelry for fun during college. At Chico State she majored in cultural anthropology. Then came a career in sales and product development in Portland, which she enjoyed.
But making jewelry is her passion. "Gemstones speak to me," she said. "I love the character of gemstones and their healing and mythical properties." One of her favorites is carnelian, an orangey red stone which has long been valued for its protective qualities. It has been used in chest plates of soldiers, and was buried in Egyptian tombs as part of magic armor. She also likes amazonite, a blue/green stone said to attract money.
Her daughters, now five and six, help make jewelry. "We have a deal," Jill said. "If they follow the pattern and string the beads, I pay them. It's a good way to spend time together. Without violating child labor laws, I hope."
Spiritual values influence Jill's work. She loves the way yoga makes her feel, and appreciates the sentiments represented by the Buddha and the peace sign, symbols which frequently pop up in her work. She sells some of these pieces on Portland's Yoga Lizard website, which also offers Ayurvedic advice, recipes, and yoga products. Acceptance is key to Jill's philosophy. It is important to her to respect all people's spiritual values. "If you believe that it works," she said, "it will probably work for you."
Her belief in positive thinking extends to advice for other artists. "Trust in your work," she said. "If it's what you love to do, you're bound to be successful."
While she makes some sales over websites, Jill's favorite way to promote her jewelry is through trunk shows. "I go into people's houses, meet their friends and family," she said. "It's a super casual environment." If an organization wants to host a fundraiser, she'll donate a percentage of the sales from a trunk show. "It's a way to give back," Jill said. "I feel so fortunate. If I can help others through it, I'm extremely happy to do it."
Like many artists, Jill enjoys producing more than marketing her work. She recently hired an assistant to help her with the business end, including getting her jewelry into more stores. She currently sells to stores in Oregon and California, but would like to expand to cover more states. She doesn't seem worried about keeping up with the demand. "I could sit and make jewelry 24 hours a day," she said. "I love it so much."
—by Teresa Bergen
Visit Jill's Profile Page where you can read her Artist's Statement,
view more images and find a link to her website.