Meet the Team - Interview with Christine Childress

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I am a happily married, 29 year old, living in Champaign, IL. A transplant from Massachusetts, my husband’s job moved us to the mid-west. He works for a company that makes Play Station 3 and X Box 360 games. I work for a small engineering firm and have my BS in Civil Engineering. I do not have any formal education in the arts. Most of what I do is experimentation and what I have learned through the massive amount of books I have accumulated.

Silver Peacock Pendant

Have any special hobbies?
Working with Precious Metal Clay, fused glass, gemstones and seed beads is my hobby. I really shouldn’t say working; I usually tell my hubby that I am playing with clay.

What is your business name, shop address and website address?
I named my business the Clever Endeavor. I am currently working on a website that hopefully will be up this winter.

 I currently sell all of my items via my Etsy page www.cleverendeavor.etsy.com. And my blog can be found at www.cleverendeavorshop.blogspot.com.

Do you sell in any shops other than etsy?
I sell some of my pendants at a local bead store.

How did you find out about metalclay and then start working with it? How long?
I am relativity new to metal clay and started working with it for the first time in January 2008. I got a bunch of books on the subject for Christmas and after I bought my little ultra-light kiln and my first bag of clay I was hooked. My husband got me a larger kiln for my birthday and things have escalated from there.

What drives you to make jewelry?
I think I like the problem solving aspect of it. To me the fun is figuring out how to execute an idea. As a result I am constantly reading and looking on the internet for solutions and inspiration.

Are you disciplined or do you go with the flow and work when you feel like it?
I love creating! If I am not in my craft room working on something, I am on the internet researching an idea. I’m afraid I am addicted to the internet and Etsy has just compounded that problem with having too many beautiful things to look at and too many talented people to chat with.

Lotus Pendant


Won any awards for your jewelry? for anything else?
I have not entered my work into any juried competitions yet. It is on my to-do list for this year.

Do you do any other type of art?
I have taken two fused glass courses, so I am having fun making fused glass bowls and plates. I am currently experimenting with fused glass pendants. I like working with seed beads and gemstones, which I guess is in the same genre as jewelry making.

What is your art sensibility - precise or organic?
I love detail. I love precise, realistic detail but most of my pendants are items that are found in nature. My shop features quite a variety of different animals and plants.

Vintage Tulip Pendant


When did you feel you had more confidence in your abilities?
In July of this year, after lurking around Etsy for three months, I finally decided to take the plunge and list my work on Etsy. The positive feedback I got from fellow Etsians boosted my confidence. I have a great deal more to learn and hopefully my work will improve with more experience and experimentation.

What is your favorite tool for working with metalclay?
Two part silicone mold and my razor blade. I am addicted to making molds of antique buttons, pins, found objects. I currently have a million molds in my craft room. To break me of my ebay vintage button addiction, I have turned my attention to photo polymer plates. I am hoping to turn some of my sketches into stamps or molds with the photo polymer plates.

Where do you work?
I will send you a photo after I clean it. I am a slob; I don’t know how I get anything done. Though occasionally I get inspired from the clutter on my desk, like "wow, those beads really go well together don’t they?!".


What is your favorite thing to make?
Whatever is the current idea I have in my head.

Do you ever add commercial components?
I have added fine silver findings and gemstones to my work.

How do you work, and when? (for ex. assembly line or one at a time)
I work on one idea at a time after I get home from work.

Do you have any kind of creative ritual?
No not really. At the beginning of the week I make a list of the things I want to accomplish and try and plan the week according to my goals and schedule.

How do you hold onto ideas that you don't have time to pursue NOW!
I have a list of ideas and inspirational photos I keep in my sketch book. It holds all of my ideas, my expanding list of goals and the list of all the tools and books I want. I then look for ways to accomplish these ideas.

Do you ever teach classes and where?
No I do not teach. I probably should add getting certified on my to-do list. Unfortunately there are no certification classes close to where I live.

Do you make a living at it?
No. I am definitely keeping my day job but it would be nice to sell some of my pieces to support my ever expanding obsession, I mean hobby.

Do you do custom orders?
I am open to doing custom orders.

What are you working on currently?
The Thanksgiving holiday and work have gotten me way behind in my bench work. I have ten pieces on my bench right now. I am mostly remaking the items I have sold recently but hopefully by the end of this week, my pirate ship pendant, King Arthur pendant, turtle pendant, tree frog pendant and Victorian charm will be back in my shop. I will also add a bouquet of flowers pendant, a scallop shell pendant and rose pendant as well.

Bronze Flower Bouquet Pendant


What's next on your agenda to make?
I am experimenting with fused glass and silver overlay paste. I am also working with photo polymer plates right now. Hopefully I can make some original custom stamps. I have made one decent “heart with wings” polymer plate that I am happy with.

How do you make time for everything you want to do?
I make a list of things I want to accomplish for a given week. Since I do have a full-time day job I do most of my work on the weekends or at night.

Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself?
I am new to this whole experience of marketing oneself. One of the most eye opening things I have found is how much work it takes to sell one’s work. My goals for this year are to create a website, keep my blog up to date, and expand my knowledge.

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

Victorian Cross Pendant


Lora Hart said...

Well hello Miss Chris! So nice to meet you in *person*. Love the photo. You're a cutie pie.

Clever Endeavor said...

Thanks Lora. That is the cleanest my little studio has ever been. My husband was in shock. Its been a crazy month, hopefully I will get some more items out soon. I am working on a bronze peacock feather right now.

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