Sunday, September 4, 2011

New Member profiles - Michelle Grady and Winona Johnson

This week, new members Michelle Grady and Winona Johnson are in the spotlight. Michelle joined our team in February of 2011 and Winona joined later that year in June. We are thrilled to have these two very talented women on the EtsyMetal Team!!

Michelle Grady's Etsy shop, MicheleGradyDesigns, features beautiful, highly textured work in sterling silver, copper and gold. Here is some of Michelle's work and a little bit about her:

I have been interested in art throughout my life and my family is very creative. My aunt and younger sister both are painters so growing up I started working with acrylics, pastels and oils at a young age. I eventually moved on to three-dimensional art such as beaded jewelry, paper-maché and wheel-thrown pottery. When I was a teenager I fell into my first metals class by accident. It was a young artists’ workshop at Moore College of Art and Design in Phila, PA. I went with my sister every Saturday morning taking drawing and painting classes. Eventually we decided to branch out to try something new. She took the metals class while I took the pottery class. I had fun but she made this cute little ring that was shaped like an airplane with a propeller that would spin. I thought it was the coolest thing ever that you could wear something you made and that it had moving parts. The next session I took the metals class. I made 4 pieces of jewelry but had a horrible teacher and couldn’t even tell you how I made what I made but fell in love with it anyway! I eventually went back to Moore and took a continuing education adult metals class at night taught by the instructor that taught the college kids during the day. This is where I actually learned the basics of how metal worked, how to solder, set stones, etc. I have taken a few other classes here and there but most of my skills are self taught and were acquired by trial and error. My hobby has now become my job. I have been working with metal with for over 22 years and teaching classes for over 10 years now. I create pieces using sterling silver, copper, brass and semi precious stones. My ideas come from my imagination as well as the shapes, textures and colors of the stones and metals I use. My jewelry is fabricated out of flat pieces of metal and wire that I add texture, shape and dimension to. I recently have started making more 3 dimensional jewelry incorporating hollow forms and “stilts” or spacers which I really enjoy. I also love making (and wearing) rings! You can find my work on Etsy as well as fine craft shows and fine art galleries through out the US.

Winona's Etsy shop, ArtByWinona, is full of sculptural pieces made of sterling silver and mixed materials. Here are some work by Winona and a little bit about her life and work:

I grew up in Wenatchee, Washington which is a smaller town in the
central area of the state. I grew up watching my father hand paint
signs in his sign shop which he still does to this day. I knew ever
since I could pick up a crayon that I loved art and wanted to do it
for the rest of my life. I love everything from painting and ceramics
to photography. It wasn't until I went to Central Washington
University in Ellensburg, Washington that I discovered metalsmithing.
And to be honest the first time I tried it I hated it. I think I was
trying to hard at first. It took re-making a project several times
before getting the hang of it and from then on I was hooked! My
great-grandfather was a watch maker, so working with metal must be in
my blood.

I love using a variety of materials in my work. Every design in some
way is inspired by nature. Being out in nature is what I enjoy the
most, although sometimes it's hard to get away to actual enjoy it. I
also work during the day as a cake decorator which is a lot of
production. I think that is why I tend to make one-of-kind pieces
rather than production jewelry. I spend all day doing the same thing,
then I come home and just let my imagination go wild! I really like
to create pieces that are unique and unforgettable.

I want to thank both Michelle and Winona for their hard work and enthusiastic participation on our team!! Please check out their Etsy shops for more of their wonderful work!

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