Meet the Team - Interview with Teresa Swanson

Since we are so new at this blog, a few times a month we are going to take some time to get to know one of our current members. Today I want to introduce Teresa Swanson.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

I've known since I was nine that I was going to be an artist. At the time, my goal was to be the next Van Gogh, then I realized that I really don't enjoy working with oil paints. I'm too impatient to wait for it to dry. I like finishing a project more than I like beginning one.

I'm a character animator by trade, but my passion is making jewelry. I became interested in jewelry making about 4 years ago, when my best friend was diagnosed with breast cancer. I launched a project called "Time For a Cure", where I designed, made and sold watches, donating 50% of the proceeds to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Once I picked up that first bead, I was hooked!

I recently discovered PMC, or Precious Metal Clay. I've only been using it for a few short months, but it has quickly become my favorite medium! It is so versatile, and you are only limited by your imagination. Well, that and your budget! With the price of precious metals going up, it affects the price of metal clay as well.

Have any special hobbies?

Since my real job is animating, I consider jewelry making my biggest hobby. I also love to draw and paint (anything but oils!), and mosaic furniture.

What is your business name?

TZTUDIO (pronounced T's Studio)
My friends call me "T" for short, so that's how the name came about.

I have four website addresses:
http://www.tztudio.etsy.com/ my shop

Do you sell in any shops other than etsy?

I have recently had a couple of requests from privately owned jewelry stores to carry my items, but I've been so busy I haven't had a chance to pursue that. I am hoping to expand my items to retail stores after the first of the year.

I also sell jewelry at home jewelry parties. Those are always a huge success!

How did you find out about metalclay and then start working with it? How long?

I've been making mosaic items from vintage china plates (furniture, mirrors, picture frames) for several years. It only made sense to incorporate my love for vintage china into my jewelry. I wanted to incorporate silver into my broken china pendants, and during my research, I ran across some information on metal clay. I realized that was the medium I was looking for! My metal clay work quickly expanded from china to other pieces of jewelry.

What drives you to make jewelry?

Well, it certainly isn't the money. Although it is thrilling when someone likes one of my pieces well enough not only to wear it, but to buy it!

I not only have a desire to be creative, but it is a neccesity for my sanity. I absolutely HAVE to do something creative every day, or my head will explode.

Are you disciplined or do you go with the flow and work when you feel like it?

I have no discipline whatsoever. I work on my jewelry when I feel like it, and fortunately, I feel like it just about every day.

What is your favorite tool for working with metalclay?

My fingers! That is one of the reasons I love the medium so much, you can manipulate it easily with your hands.

Where do you work?

I have converted our dining room into my studio.
We actually eat in the living room off of TV trays!

What is your favorite thing to make?

I can't say that I enjoy making one type of jewelry over another. Variety is key in keeping me interested in jewelry making. I could never mass produce items. The boredom of it would wear me out.

Do you ever add commercial components?

Absolutely! Primarily gemstones and findings such as earwires.

How do you work, and when? (for ex. assembly line or one at a time)

One at a time. Once an idea hits, I work on that one thing until it is finished.

Do you have any kind of creative ritual?

I try to envision the end result, then I make sketches. The first time I opened a packet of silver clay, I was scared to death I was going to make something really ugly, and just waste my "precious" clay! I've made lots of mistakes, but fortunately, many of them have been "happy" mistakes : )

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

I have sketches of ideas on everything from cocktail napkins to hotel stationary to post it notes.

Do you ever use a sketchbook?

Yes, and it is crammed full of cocktail napkins, hotel stationary, and post it notes : )

Do you ever teach classes and where?

I do not teach. I have such little free time, and I am very selfish with it.

Do you do custom orders?

Yes, I love custom orders! I am working on two of them right now.

What's next on your agenda to make?

I recently purchased an antique china plate that has a gorgeous center.
I am going to make a pendant combining that and precious metal clay.

How do you make time for everything you want to do?

I don't.
I really could use a few more hours a day : )

Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself?

I live in San Diego with my darling husband. We literally fell in love at first sight!
We have no children, but one big fat happy cat, who turned 16 this summer.

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

interview by Catherine Witherell of HappyDayArt!


TZTUDIO (T's Studio) said...

Thank you Catherine!
: )

Ruth said...

Great to get your know you better T - and good to put a face to you too.

soulharborjewelry said...

Great job with this interview! So cool to actually see our members faces and to get a little glimpse into each other's work spaces and worlds!

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