Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Talent Spotlight: Gwendolyn 'Trends By Gwen' Riley

Our feature profile today is Gwendolyn Riley. Gwen is the founder, owner, curator, and designer of Trends by Gwen. Gwen is also an aspiring model, a full time middle school teacher, and an artist. Gwen studied at Texas Southern University, where she graduated with a BA in Music Education.
Gwen Riley wearing custom large yarn diamonds
(photo: TheLennzBennett Photography)
For Trends By Gwen, Gwendolyn hand makes jewelry using natural materials including leather, yarn, beads, glass and metal. The jewelry designs range from simple circles and discs to ornate arrangements and shimmering hoops. For her art, she focuses on painting and sculpture. Below is a brief biography, pictures from her modeling portfolio, and excerpts from my interview.

Name: Gwendolyn Riley
Company: Trends By Gwen
Hometown: Houston, TX
Lives/Works: Houston, TX
Active: Founder/Owner/Curator/Designer at Trends By Gwen jewelry designs; Model; Artist; Teacher
Trends By Gwen 'Fancy Feathers' (photo: Gwen Riley)
Q: How long have you been designing jewelry?

A: Since August 2008

Q: So, 5 years. Is this something you always dreamed of doing?

A: I have always been creative. Doing something with art, music, fashion, education, and I am an artist, a musician, a teacher, a jewelry designer, and a stylist.

Q: How did you get your start?

A: I started by just playing around with yarn and templates. Then in 2009, I went to beaded and glass. 2010 I started doing the Paparazzi Earrings, and in 2011, I started working with leather. 2012, I started working with felt pieces.

Trends By Gwen Custom blend hoops (photo: Gwen Riley)
Q: Would you call this your ultimate passion? Who or What inspires your creativity?

A: It's my passion to make artwork. My jewelry is what I consider my "wearable art".

Q: So, you're an artist first, and you translate your visions and inspirations into jewelry?

A: And abstract artwork. I have a creative mind. I just go with what I feel on each piece.

Q: What is your art medium? Sketching, canvas and oil, photographic collages?

A: A little sketching, canvas with oil/acrylic/watercolor, oil pastel on Bristol Board, and sculpting. I mainly paint and sculpt.

Q: How many different types of jewelry do you make?

Solid color 'Dangloos' (photo: Gwen Riley)
A: I have studs (unisex), bracelets, wristbands (unisex), rings, circles, rectangles, diamonds, diags (diagonals), zigzags, curves, hoops, loops, rips, sticks, fans, slices, flags, music notes, my leather traps (trapezoids), and my felt ties. My yarn pieces have stepped out of the box, and soon to come cufflinks in yarn.

I do custom earrings, necklaces, and bracelets in beads, glass, and wood for ladies, as well as custom made sets. I make Paparazzi Earrings and bracelet sets (for women). My leather traps and felt ties are for women as well.

Q: How has being on FaceBook helped your endeavors?

A: It has brought me more clients. I advertise specials/sales bi- weekly, and I get decent feedback.

Q: So, what's next for you?

A: I've done Dress Houston 2010-2012. That's when selected designers around Houston Display our Designs/Lines during Houston's Fashion Week. I actually won First Place in 2011. The event is put on each year by Vincent Powell, former American Idol Contestant.

I've partnered up with Spoil By Design - Dionetta Chargois, and we're working together.
(photo: TheLennzBennett Photography)

Q: What style advice would offer to women?

A: Wear what fits your body well, not what you want to wear.
Now, about those cuff links...
Check out Trends By Gwen on FaceBook and find out more about her amazing jewelry designs!
She welcomes your inquiries and order info as well by email: trendsbygwen@yahoo.com


Additional credits: Pictures of models and merchandise were used by permission. Photography by TheLennzBennet where watermarked.

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