1/25/09

Meet the Team - Interview with Christine Street


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Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
My name is Christine Street. I always enjoyed making things as a kid but it was never encouraged. I came from a family of accountants and nurses. Finally my last year of high school I was allowed to take one elective class of my choosing. I took ceramics and knew that I had found something I loved. I enrolled in college to become a nurse and dropped out after one year to go to school for Fashion Design. I have been pursuing some sort of a creative career ever since. Ă…fter having my son I decided not to return when maternity leave ended and I began “Chocolate and Steel”. One of the best decisions of my life (next to marrying my husband).

Have any special hobbies?
I enjoy sketching and taking photos. I am considering buying a fancy SLR camera so I may actually take a photography class to learn the in’s and out’s. As of now, I just play around with my camera until it works. My other hobby is drinking wine. My husband and I started a blog called www.brownbagsommelier.com. We meet once a month with friends and do wine tastings of wines under $13 (hence – brown bag).

What is your business name and website address?
Chocolate and Steel at www.chocolateandsteel.com and my shop address is www.chocolateandsteel.etsy.com

Do you sell in any shops other than etsy?
Yes, I sell on Shopflick and Dawanda.

How did you find out about metalclay and then start working with it? How long?
If I remember correctly I read about it on the Rings n things website. I asked my family for money for my birthday and Christmas to buy the tools that I needed to start. I think I had $120. I got it and then got scared. I finally tried it after almost 1 year. The first thing I made broke the minute I put it on. I didn’t understand the firing procedure. Then I saw a one day class that was being taught by Lora Hart. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Delicious Apple
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What drives you to make jewelry?
I really just like to make things. Jewelry has been the thing I have stuck with the longest. At first I think I got into jewelry because it was small and didn’t take up too much space. I could make something and then pack up all my supplies in a little box and put it away in the closet. Now of course my “hobby” has taken 1/4 of my living room. I am most “driven” to make jewelry when I just sit down and play around. Sometimes the pressure of this being my business can really zap my creativity. I have to just allow myself to create when I feel like it. Rainy days really help too

Are you disciplined or do you go with the flow and work when you feel like it?
I try to be disciplined because I want to help my business grow. But in the end, it’s not really how I work. I’m best when I just allow the creativity to flow.

My Heart Belongs to...
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Do you do any other type of art?
All of my hobbies are art related. I love to make cards, knit, draw, take photos, make robots out of play-doh, collage with glitter, glue, and googlie eyes (ok, the last two things I do with my son)

What is your art sensibility - precise or organic?
My gut is to say organic, but the simplicity of my designs also is a tiny bit precise.

When did you feel you had more confidence in your abilities?
Maybe next year.

What is your favorite tool for working with metalclay?
Cocktail Straws – great for making bails and tiny little bezels

Where do you work?
I have taken over the corner of our living room. I tried to make it stylish so it doesn’t look too cluttered.
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What is your favorite thing to make?
Rings!

Do you ever add commercial components?
Yes, probably just stones

How do you work, and when? (for ex. assembly line or one at a time)
Depends. Wholesale orders are usually done in an assembly line. Everything else I take as it comes.

Do you have any kind of creative ritual?
I love to listen to my iPod when I work. Although usually I realize halfway through the day that I’ve been working in silence. Maybe subconsciously I like the silence.

How do you hold onto ideas that you don't have time to pursue NOW!
sketchbook

Twinkle
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Do you ever teach classes?
No, but I take them.

Do you make a living at it?
Yes. I pay myself a salary so months when I make more can fill in for months when I make less.

Do you do custom orders?
Absolutely. I really enjoy custom orders. It usually gives me the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone and do something a little different.

What are you working on currently?
Currently I’m using my time to get organized. Do taxes, book shows, research casting options. None of the fun stuff.

What's next on your agenda to make?
More rings.

Petals and Dew
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How do you make time for everything you want to do?
Good question. I’m still trying to figure that out. Recently I’ve decided that I don’t need to be available every moment of the day. I allow myself to not respond to emails on Saturdays and Sundays.

Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself?
I love this group

Thank you Christine,
It has been a pleasure getting to know you.

1/19/09

Meet the Team - Interview with Lis-el Crowley



Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I've always been interested in making stuff. As a child, I believed you couldn't be an artist unless you could draw really, really well. I never quite felt I could draw well enough to be an "artist", so I never tried. It took me many years to realize that artistic expression takes many forms. It springs from the depths of the soul and brings us closer to our inherent Divinity. Once I had that realization, there was no stopping me.

I am married with 3 children and one grandchild. I am an interfaith minister, and have worked as a graphic designer as well. I currently own and operate an artisan art gallery/studio in Windsor, CT where I show my own work and the work of many other local artists and artisans, as well as teach a variety of classes.

Have any special hobbies?
I started as a potter, and then got into metalsmithing, glass fusing, lampworking and metal clay. I also meditate and love to read.

What is your business name and website address?
My Etsy Shop is heartofthefire at www.heartofthefire.etsy.com. My Gallery is Art & Soul Gallery/Studio and my website is www.artandsoulct.com

Celtic Elements
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Do you sell in any shops other than etsy?
I sell in several local art galleries/shops in CT, including Wesleyan Potters, Farmington Valley Art Center, Brookfield Craft Center, Windsor Art Center, Wadsworth Atheneum Gift Shop and my own Gallery.

How did you find out about metalclay and then start working with it? How long?
I think I read about it first and bought a package and just tried it. I loved it right away. I made a decision to immerse myself completely in it about 3 1/2 years ago and became a wholesale distributor for Art Clay.

What drives you to make jewelry?
It's such a wonderful creative outlet. I love making beautiful things that sparkle. The possibillites are endless.

Are you disciplined or do you go with the flow and work when you feel like it?
I am totally a go with the flow kind of artisan. I don't pre plan or make sketches, I just take out the clay and see where it wants to take me. A lot of my work is demonstration work from classes and I don't often have time to just make what I want to make, so I cherish those moments.

Won any awards for your jewelry? for anything else?
I have never been one to enter competitions, though I did have a piece selected by Art Jewelry Magazine in the 10 gram challenge on Etsy. I would like to enter some competitions in 2009.

Do you do any other type of art?
I am a potter, fused glass artist and work with fiber, though I would say Metal Clay is my current primary mode of expression. I also want to explore mixed media work and encaustic painting.

What is your art sensibility - precise or organic?
Definitely organic.

Dragonseye
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When did you feel you had more confidence in your abilities?
Wow, that's a tough question. I don't think I can put my finger on it. I definitely feel confident now, even though I know there is always a lot more to learn.

What is your favorite tool for working with metalclay?
My handy/dandy coil roller, which is an acrylic rectangle.

Where do you work?
I work in the back room of my gallery where I also teach classes in metalsmithing, fused glass, metal clay, mosaics, and whatever else I can think of.

What is your favorite thing to make?
I don't have a favorite. I love different things about making different things. I love rolling coils though.

Do you ever add commercial components?
I use cubic zirconias and commercial earring wires and jump rings. Even though I know how to make my own, I feel they are tremendous time savers and allow me to focus on the more creative aspects of my work.

Faerie Medallion
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How do you work, and when? (for ex. assembly line or one at a time)
I work on each piece individually. Sometimes I will focus on a particular type of work, i.e. rings, or earrings, and do several in one session, but I treat each one as one of a kind.

How do you hold onto ideas that you don't have time to pursue NOW!
Unfortunately, I don't. I'm always full of ideas, but don't take the time to write them down. Sometimes they stay with me and I realize them, and sometimes they don't. But I don't really ever feel a lack of ideas. Very infrequently do I use a sketchbook.

Do you ever teach classes and where?
I teach a lot of classes, mostly out of my own business. I have also taught at Wesleyan Potters, demonstrated at trade shows, and am scheduled to present at the Art Clay World Conference in July. I don't have time to do much more than that.

Do you make a living at it?
Not yet, but I'm hopeful. If I didn't have the overhead at the Gallery, I'd probably be able to make a modest living, but the rent there is very high and the current economic situation in this country has been a challenge. However, I am reaching out to many people who have no other creative outlet and love everything that I do.

Do you do custom orders?
Yes. I recently completed two baby feet for a customer who was inlaying them on a wooden keepsake box for her grandchild. That was lots of fun.

What are you working on currently?
My main project right now, other than demonstrations for classes, is completing my 3 independent design projects to complete my Senior Certification in Art Clay. I have 2 of the 3 done. I am also looking at new class ideas for 2009.

What's next on your agenda to make?
I am looking forward to doing sculptural work in Bronze clay. I love making vessels and boxes but find the silver clay too expensive to work in the scale I'd like to.

How do you make time for everything you want to do?
It's a struggle. I have fibromyalgia, so my energy levels are sometimes quite low. I am also dealing with non-invasive cervical cancer and have had to have a couple of surgeries and may need a hysterectomy in the near future. That has slowed me down somewhat, but I feel when I get to the other side of this situation, I will be able to do more.

Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself?
As an interfaith minister, I embrace the truth underlying all faiths and beliefs. I believe we all have a higher purpose which involves bringing greater love and light to the world. I am dedicated to living a life of purpose and facilitating others in doing the same. I lead a weekly meditation group and teach classes and workshops and lead retreats in spiritual awareness and growth.

Serenity
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One of my favorite quotes is from Bill Moyers -
"Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous." May you find the marvelous inherent in every moment.

Thank you Lis-el,
It has been a pleasure getting to know you.

1/14/09

For the Love of Metal Clay Trunk Show

The Etsy MetalClay Team will be hosting their second Trunk Show on January 29th at 7:00 EST in the Etsy Virtual labs. This Trunk Show will display the work from eleven of the MetalClay Team members. All of the fine, handcrafted jewelry that will be presented during the Trunk Show will have a Valentine's Day theme. We will be giving away nine door prizes during the Trunk Show via Valentine's Day Trivia. So if you have fast typing hands and a quick wit, you will win jewelry created in fine silver and bronze. Hope to see you there.

1.Reversible Moonstone Pendant 2. Black & White Hearts Necklace

3. Stormy Surf Fused Heart Necklace 4. Lovers 5. Am I the Key to your Heart

6.Winged Heart Charm 7.Pink Ophelia Earrings 8. Aqua Split Lentil Pendant

9.Topkapi necklace 10. Desire 11. Side View Valentine Heart 12.My heart belongs to....

1/12/09

Meet the Team - Interview with Martha Sanchez


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Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
My name is Martha Sanchez and I live in Honolulu, Hawaii and soon will be moving to Fort Wayne, Indiana. I'm married to Ray and recently celebrated my 8th wedding anniversary. We live with my son, Ben and his fiance, Shayna.

Have any special hobbies?
I love arts and crafts but jewelry has always been an obsession.

What is your business name and website address?
My business name is Amor De Plata, which means 'Love of Silver" in spanish. My website is http://amordeplata.com and my shop address http://amordeplata.etsy.com

How did you find out about metalclay and then start working with it?
I saw a unique piece of jewelry in an ad, clicked on it, which led me to Etsy. I read about the silver clay and started researching. This is how I started with Art Clay Silver and have been working with it for three years.

What drives you to make jewelry?
I've been designing jewelry since high school and wished there was a medium I could use to turn it into jewelry. Most of my designs were flowing soft sculptural designs.

Valentine Heart
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Are you disciplined or do you go with the flow and work when you feel like it?
I'm more go with the flow and can't work when I don't feel the inspiration.

Do you do any other type of art?
I love drawing, pen and ink, painting, graphics and most types of art.

What is your art sensibility - precise or organic?
I think I'm a bit of both because some of my work is organic and some precise. I'm trying not to be such a perfectionist.

Fig Dream
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When did you feel you had more confidence in your abilities?
After I took my first introduction to metal clay class.

What is your favorite tool for working with metalclay?
I don't have many toys yet, mostly use my exacto knife, paint brush and hand drill bits.

Where do you work?
I currently work at a small school desk with plastic storage bins on the desk and on each side. I just dismantled most of it for my move to Indiana.

What is your favorite thing to make?
I love making pendants, but I'm looking forward to making more earrings, rings and maybe bracelets.

Tiny Shells
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Do you ever add commercial components?
Jump rings and chains along with some cubic zirconia. I tend to like simple, pure designs.

Lava Bead necklace
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How do you work, and when? (for ex. assembly line or one at a time)
I tend to do one at a time with an occassional extra piece once in awhile.

Do you have any kind of creative ritual?
I really don't have one but once I get into my groove and start creating, I don't want to stop for hours on end.

How do you hold onto ideas that you don't have time to pursue NOW!
I usually do a little sketch on a post it with a couple descriptive words and arrows.

Do you ever use a sketchbook?
Yes, I have a small, red silk sketchbook that I transfer all of my post it sketches to and I date each sketch.

Reversible Wood Lentil Necklace
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Do you ever teach classes and where?
I am a "Level 1 Certified Art Clay World Instructor" but I don't teach at the moment.

Do you make a living at it?
Not yet but I plan to begin this year.

Do you do custom orders?
No I do not do custom orders. The reason for this is I like to do my own art and if someone likes it, fine and if not, well that's good too. I can't make myself do something when I'm not feeling it and custom work feels like a task to me.

What are you working on currently?
I just finished some valentine pendants.

What's next on your agenda to make?
The next time I will be able to work on anything will be after my move to Indiana around the first part of February. I have so many sketches to work on, maybe some earrings and I definitely have a few rings to work on.

How do you make time for everything you want to do?
This has been one of my frustrations, no time. I have resigned my full time job, but am moving now so I look forward to plenty of time for metal clay this year.

Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself?
I absolutely love silver and the day I discovered silver clay was one of my happiest days ever.

Thank you Martha,
It has been a pleasure getting to know you.

1/5/09

Meet the Team - Interview with Victoria Banner


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Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Originally I grew up in England, but have been living in Canada for almost 20 years, even though I hate the cold :) I'm married to a wonderful and supportive husband, no children but 2 dogs, a cat and lots of fish. I worked for many years as an artist and designer and recently started my own business VixenWare.

Have any special hobbies?
Hmmm! Not really anymore, all my hobbies turned into a full time business for me. Whenever I'm not working on jewelry designs I like to work with glass, whether fusing, lampworking or stained. I do like to garden in the summertime, I live in Winnipeg, Canada so summer is very short. I also love vintage cars and restoring my rare 72 sprint El Camino.

What is your business name, website address and shop address?
VixenWare at www.vixenwaredesigns.com and my shop is www.vixenware.etsy.com

HardRock Cherry
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Do you sell in any shops other than etsy?
I sell in a few boutiques and galleries.

How did you find out about metalclay and then start working with it? How long?
I was working with welding bigger sculptures at the time when a friend told me about it. I was more curious than anything. I got hooked, and have been working with it probably for about a year now. 

What drives you to make jewelry?
I love to create and be inspired on a daily basis. 

Are you disciplined or do you go with the flow and work when you feel like it?
Both, I create when inspired, so I'd have to say that's more go with the flow. If I'm not in creative mode then I'm disciplined. I have long to do lists and this is the time that I get everything else done.

Won any awards for your jewelry? for anything else?
Haven't entered my jewelry for any awards as of yet. Won a few trophies for my art work when I was younger.

Do you do any other type of art?
I graduated from fine arts, later from graphic and web site design. I do a lot of art from traditional painting on canvas to pottery, glass, metalwork. I like to mix medias wherever possible to create art work that is functional and usable.

Imperial
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What is your art sensibility - precise or organic?
Both, it really depends on what is inspiring me that day.

When did you feel you had more confidence in your abilities?
I guess when people were stopping me and asking about my work and then the phone calls for custom work. That made me very happy.

What is your favorite tool for working with metalclay?
I literally use anything and everything.

Where do you work?
I have a 2 room studio on the second floor of my home. One room is primarily for design and painting. My computer and photo equipment is also in this room I use this room to work on ideas, I have it set up with a couch and coffee table to help with relaxation and flow of ideas.
The other room houses 2 kilns, a sandblaster, glass and lampworking bench and on the opposite side my metalwork bench and equipment.

What is your favorite thing to make?
All my pieces are mostly "one of a kind" (OOAK) so I can't say I have a favourite thing to make. I do love making small sculptural pieces, especially florals.

Realm
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Do you ever add commercial components?
Jumprings, chains, clasps, sometimes bails if I don't make my own.

How do you work, and when? (for ex. assembly line or one at a time)
I usually start with a few ideas for pieces I wish to make and work on a few at a time.

Do you have any kind of creative ritual?
Not really, when I'm inspired I work.

How do you hold onto ideas that you don't have time to pursue NOW!
When I remember I try to sketch them, but usually I mean to and don't. Every now and again they pop back into my head when working on another piece.

Do you ever use a sketchbook?
Now and again, I really have to get better with this, lots of ideas lost.

Do you ever teach classes and where?
Have been asked to on a few occasions, but probably would never do it. I don't have the teaching personality, I'm in my own little world most of the time.

Do you make a living at it?
So far yes.

Do you do custom orders?
I do lots of custom work and most of my pieces are OOAK originals.

My Divine
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What are you working on currently?
Designs for pieces for a gallery which I am then going to make.

How do you make time for everything you want to do?
I don't sleep.

Thank you Victoria,
It has been a pleasure getting to know you.


Aphrodite
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