It all started while on vacation in Arizona at an earring-making workshop with a friend. Four hours of playing with beads and earrings blossomed into 15 years of jewelry making for her little business Jewels by Jules.
Julie Bischoff's goal behind her jewelry, and you could say her life, is to make people happy. A social worker by day and a jewelry maker by night, she balances the stress of social work with the relaxation that jewelry making brings her.
“This is my part-time relaxation creative outlet,” Bischoff said.
Jewels by Jules specializes in wire wrapped and hand stamped jewelry, greeting cards and nature photography.
Her jewelry and greeting cards might have started out as a hobby but now she is showing at arts and crafts fairs. Bischoff recently participated at the 33rd Annual Shorewood Arts and Crafts Fair at the Shorewood High School. She has participated at the event for the entire length of her jewelry-making career.
“In order to buy more beads, I had to sell some of the jewelry,” Bischoff said.
The director of the arts and crafts fair is happy to have Bischoff as a long-time participant of the event.
“She has been with us for a very long time and has been able to witness the growth that the event has seen,” Bonnie Adams said.
Shoppers at the craft fair described her work as “unique, and creative.”
The 42-year-old, longtime Shorewood resident was born and raised in the village — only leaving to attend graduate school at Arizona State University.
Her mother and her brother also grew up in Shorewood and graduated from the local high school.
“It’s a family thing to live in Shorewood,” Bischoff said.
Bischoff’s grandmother also lives in Shorewood. Her grandmother’s wildflower garden is part of the jewelry maker’s inspiration for her greeting cards. Bischoff takes all the photos seen on her cards herself.
Bischoff dedicates about 10 hours a week to her jewelry making. Not only does she sell her creations at craft fairs, but she also has her own site on etsy.com and she takes many custom orders from customers.
The inspiration behind her creations stems from bright colors and patterns. She also attends events such as Beads and Buttons, another craft fair, to get inspired. Her favorite materials to work with are sterling silver, Swarovski crystals, hand stamping and glass beads.
“The beads just come together," she said. "A lot of the times its what I think I would like. And other times I think, OK what would other people like."
Bischoff’s greeting cards start at $3.50, and her jewelry ranges anywhere from $8 to $80 depending on the material. Her jewelry can be found at www.juliebischoff.etsy.com.