Meet the Team - Interview with Barbe Beaty
Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
My eclectic journey began as a small child living in a world of diverse influences.
As a black child (African American/Native American), adopted at the age of three to a Caucasian couple in the 70's, I was exposed very early on to the varying views on culture by our society. Through love and guidance, my parents not only brought awareness of our sameness to the forefront, but opened the doors to celebrating our differences. These experiences have shaped who I am, giving texture to my art.
I am a self-taught, mixed-media (graphic design, & precious metals) artist. My organic works are inspired by my cross-cultural experiences, brought to life through self-expression and symbolism. Each organic piece is hand-etched, from my original graphic drawings, or hand-sculpted.
Have any special hobbies?
Photography, creative writing, graphic drawings, traveling, finding great eateries!
What is your business name and website address?
Njia Studios (aka: Souly Yours) and my blog is at www.soulyyours.blogspot.com. My shop address is Soulyyours.etsy.com and njiastudios.etsy.com
Do you sell in any shops other than etsy?
A few small specialty shops throughout the U.S.
How did you find out about metalclay and then start working with it? How long?
I discovered metal clay about four years ago. Long story short, I had designed a line of angel pins and had consulted with a local pewter manufacturer/artist to produce them. After attending an art show, I fell in love with the work of a metal clay jeweler. She shared the details of her media and the rest was herstory! I decided to maintain total artistic control over my designs and attempted my first clay piece on the stove. It later cracked. I’ve since invested in a kiln.
What drives you to make jewelry?
My will to create… my desire to explore my creativity without boundaries. The ease in production. The opportunity to present my graphic designs in a tangible fashion.
Are you disciplined or do you go with the flow and work when you feel like it?
I tend to be very AD, and struggle to find balance… Although I crave stability, I get bored with routine. I am either very lazy or a workaholic! No in-between! I do find that I work best with a schedule. As a new mom, time management is particularly important. I have a 1.5 year old. So, it’s more like I work when she feels like it, i.e.: when Chelle is sleeping!!! I also work fulltime (retiring in 7 years—yeah!!), so I’ve had to become extremely creative with my time.
Won any awards for your jewelry? for anything else?
Other than juried art shows, I tend to stay away from entries… personal thing.
Do you do any other type of art?
My more intricate designs are derived from my original graphic designs.
What is your art sensibility - precise or organic?
I have been working at giving myself more permission and courage to develop my pieces into less refined designs… more connected to my spirit… Naturally, organically me.
When did you feel you had more confidence in your abilities?
I believe that every artist struggles from time to time with self-doubt. It’s a human affliction.
What is your favorite tool for working with metalclay?
Where do you work?
I have an in-home studio, but very often, to spend more time with my family, I find myself toting tools throughout the house… next to the crockpot… by the commode… on the air hockey table.
What is your favorite thing to make?
Hand sculpted beads
Do you ever add commercial components?
Although I would love to make each and every component incorporated into my designs, commercial ones allow me to focus more of my time on creativity and production. I purchase my smaller jumprings and chains. I do, however, make my earwires, larger jumprings, and chokers.
How do you work, and when? (for ex. assembly line or one at a time)
Custom items I make when the orders arrive. My most popular designs, I make several of. I spend one day each month (the last Friday—about six hours) in studio (from designing, to firing, to finishing) to work on designs for the next month. At 5:30 a.m., 12 noon, and 5 p.m. I check emails, convos, relist/renew. I usually ship on Mondays/Fridays (preparing items for shipment at 5:30 a.m.). Sundays, my favorite day of the week, I spend at least an hour blogging, photographing and listing new designs (now weekly).
Do you have any kind of creative ritual?
In that space in time, right before falling to sleep, my mind is manically creative… but in a good manic sort of way. I keep a tablet by my bed, and use my Blackberry to light the path of my pen so as not to wake Jeff.
How do you hold onto ideas that you don't have time to pursue NOW!
Pens/paper throughout the house, in my purse, in my van…
Do you ever use a sketchbook?
I wish I could, but I’m weird about sketches. I may have ten of the same design… perfecting each better than the last. I’m not very good at drawing. Against the better judgment of my artsy fartsy friends, I pitch all but what I feel is the best. I’d end up with a sketchbook with no pages.
Do you ever teach classes and where?
Through various community organizations, I’ve facilitated avenues for others to create through the many challenges that life often presents us with. Through these experiences, I’ve realized how much more life has to teach me.
Do you make a living at it?
I make a surprisingly good income selling my designs online, in shops, and at summer art shows. It still amazes me, with each and every sale, that my dream from yesterday is alive today. It’s very easy, when so busy, to get caught up in being an observer, forgetting to live as a participant. The freedom to create is priceless.
Do you do custom orders?
Although, I have enjoyed the custom orders I’ve accepted, time does not allow me to fulfill them on a regular basis. The majority of custom requests I’ve received have been for designs sold previously.
What are you working on currently?
Lots of new stuff for 2009!
What's next on your agenda to make?
Tune in to Etsy to find out!
How do you make time for everything you want to do?
I don’t. There is always something or someone demanding more time. My personal mission is to be comfortable in the realization that I will never strike a perfect balance between work and art and family and friends and self and pets. It’s being able to feel guiltlessly “o.k.” with the now… I think that if we all sit back and take an outside look at ourselves and the world we’re creating, we realize that some things are just not that serious! So what that the dishes are piled up, and my daughter’s clothes are mix matched because the cute ones are in the laundry! Her hugs still feel the same in those clothes, and the dishes are like a faithful old dog… always there waitin’ for ya tomorrow!
Goddess of Intuition
Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself?
My hope is that my journey will someone gift a spark on your path. Thanks for allowing me to share my story.
Thank you Barbe,
It has been a pleasure getting to know you.