What do you make?
In a nutshell, I make jewelry and accessories from wire, metal and fibre, usually as wire crochet incorporating glass and gemstone beads with fibre elements. I also sew, knit and crochet with more traditional materials. Two new skills are art clay silver and metalwork which I hope to use more frequently.
What or who inspires you?
My parents’ garden in Scotland, where I grew up, still inspires me. The fibre bug came about after meeting Tanis Alexis at the first Vancouver Etsy sellers meet up, way back in summer 2006. I got her felted cuff and handmade felt in the crafty gift swap. Artists Deebs and Kirsten Chursinoff both inspire further fibre adventures, and William Morris for the sheer beauty of design.
How did you get started?
I needed to mend the jewelry that my son was breaking! I was also homesick and wanted to wear some of the seaglass from Scotland and Northumberland brought with me to Canada. Once I got started I found that settling down with something crafty kept me occupied and relatively sane as a new mum.
Following a house move from Vancouver, life got even more frustrating. As a diversion I took a beginner wirework class at my local bead shop and found that I could wire wrap my seaglass and wear it. Then I discovered Etsy and ebb and flo was born. My hobby had to be financially self-sufficient right from the start and selling online/at craft fairs seemed to work.
What are your favourite materials to work with?
wire …. any kind of wire that will yield to the crochet hook (artistic plated wire, sterling and fine silver, copper, brass), hand dyed roving (alpaca is a firm favourite), glass (handmade fused or beach glass)
What is the hardest and most favourite part of crafting?
The hardest part is finding the time! I craft in, around and in spite of my family in an effort to stay sane … but family life does come first. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to pack it all in and by evening I’m often too tired to do anything other than snooze.
My favourite part of crafting is seeing something take shape in my hands where it has only existed in my head up until that moment. Usually it works (but there are some hideous apparitions best left in the closet …). I also love selling in person – nothing beats seeing a buyer snatch up one your pieces and get totally excite about finding it! I have had some very passionate customer!
List a few of your favourite links and why you like them
Flickr: it’s great! an online gallery and portfolio (stick to the ‘no selling’ rulle though!) which you can blog from, order prints thru, join in social networking, make slideshows …… need I go on?
Twitter: another multi-function social networking site (are you picking up a theme here? I try to be efficient with my time since it’s in short supply). Within your twitterverse and with just a few widgets and applications you can publicise your blog and etsy, etc. listings, update your Facebook status, share interesting news items, promote yourself, and so on
Maille Artisans: I don’t look at many how-to’s for jewelry on the web but this site is a great one for learning new chainmaille weaves
Giant Hamster: I tweet with a capybara, what more can I say?
Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
Keep a simple accounts sheet for your business, detailing all expenditure and incoming cash. It will help you plot what is working and where your profit is coming from (or being spent on). Do it right from the start! and be diligent!
Art vs. Craft – Are these terms different? Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter?
I think inwardly there is no difference between the terms. If you consider that art is something that makes you feel accomplished or is beautiful/thought-provoking/satisfying then it’s easy to apply to your own work. However, as an external label it’s much more difficult to categorise. I think a lot of craft is art, but the distinction seems on a much more personal level. There certainly does seem to be a snobbish cachet about being considered an artist but since I never went to art school it probably flies right over my head.
(photo images courtesy of Amanda)
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