Sunday, July 31, 2011

August Challenge - "Inspired by Alexander Calder"

Our August team challenge due to July 31st was

Inspired by
Alexander Calder
Please show us the inspiration piece and yours!

We have AMAZING entries this month !

Inbar: "From the first moment this brooch caught my eyes and I've decided to go for it.
I didn't want to make a brooch.
 I like it look in a way like a paisley and a peacock feather.
I've decided to follow Calder technique - wiring, hammering, cold connections... "
***
Andrea: "Growing up in my family with our metal smith dad, Calder was always a hero & household topic of discussion. Later in life, I lived a couple of towns away from the Calder homestead in Roxbury, CT. Not long after my move to that New England cottage, my dad sent off to me a copy of the wonderful book ‘Calder at Home: The Joyous Environment of Alexander Calder’, by Pedro E. Guerrero, which showcases the amazing Calder residences including the Roxbury home. Soon my parents made a visiit to my new home and a ride by the Calder home was a must on our list of things to do. Sure enough, we found the residence, pulled over and very quietly and carefully peeked though the wooded border at the roadside to catch a glimpse of the house. What a sight to behold - the yard held a number of Calder’s famous ’stabiles‘, huge shapes in bright colors, unmistakeable through the woods. I’ll never forget it. In response to this month’s EM challenge, I leafed through that favorite book and settled on making this little figure as homage to the famous Cader circus... created with fond memories."
***

Evelyn: "I'm so inspired by all of Alexander Calder's jewelry, I could do this theme every month! 
This bangle is forged, drilled, and given a liver of sulphur patina. The spiral ends are each forged then curved into a spiral, hammered flat, then enameled on both sides. "
***

Mark: "It was hard to not just do rip off pieces... (i like his work so much) 
hopefully this is more mine than his... "
***

Sue: "I'm always nervous of wire work ( just not very good at it, I think) but I loved the idea of drawing with wire and am smitten by Calder's wire sculptures. 
So this brooch is a sketch of my son, Luther and his wild thatch of curls. To which his response was "you are THE most embarrassing mother, ever". 
***

***

Esther: "Here is my inspiration...what an incredible piece and impressive photo...Angelica Huston...wow.
 Brass disc, Sterling wire, Oxidized and Antiqued.
I was sort of trying to emulate the entire photo of the inspiration. Meaning, I tried to re-create the head and shoulders of Angelica, as well as the forged neckpiece. I hope it came through! "
***

***

***

Victoria: "For this months challenge the subject was excellent inspiration for me. Alexander Calder was an amazing creative artist. I am strongly drawn to his basic rudementary forms and his ability to make something supremely beautiful and raw from simple lines and materials. 

My goal with this challenge was to use shapes and concepts for my inspiration and still impart a strong sense of myself into the pieces." 
***

Renee: "Alexander Calder has always been an artist that I have been able to return to again and again to help me envision the world around me in simpler forms. 

I created this piece with Calder's body of work and over all feel of his work in mind without directly translating into a Calder looking piece."
***

WOW !!! AMAZING EVERYBODY !!!

Thank You!

Our September Challenge due to August 30th is: 
World Heart day September 25th 2011 theme is  "One World, One Home, One Heart".

New Member Profile - Aroluna

This week I have one new member of Etsymetal to introduce you to. Irene of Aroluna joined us in July of 2011. Here are a few pieces by Irene and some information about her life and work in the studio:

Maga Bracelet

Intuition Pendant

Sol Bracelet



I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and since 1999 I've lived in south Florida, the US with my family: my husband and our two sons, 17 and 20. I am the hands behind aroluna @ etsy.
When I was 18 I had my first permanent booth in an arts and craft show in Buenos Aires. I realized then that I loved making and creating, and that my hands were going to be my tools to earn my living. And also realized that I was drawn by the way of living as what I consider myself to be, an artisan.
In my twenties, I became hooked by metal when I learned how to shape and solder and transform sterling silver into a functional and beautiful piece of jewelry. Metal and jewelry became my way to apply the passion.
I attended two years of jewelry classes at Escuela Municipal de la Joya in Buenos Aires, where I also took a special course on chains, and then continued learning by myself and with friends metal smiths. All of the pieces at aroluna are made by me one by one, except the Primitive line, these originals were also fabricated by me with sterling silver, and then molded for casting with lost wax.
I am attracted by circular lines and asymmetry; my pieces are rustic and organic, sturdy but smooth. Often times they are bold, but I always want them to be perfectly comfortable, able to become part of the person if she or he wants to wear them at any times, and defy the passing of time.
I find inspiration anywhere and everywhere, books, nature, films. Errors and mistakes are great teachers, they show me new ways or shapes and they've helped me perfect my signature pieces. I take great pleasure in making one of a kind creations as much as I enjoy making pieces that may seem alike but are always different, like my knots bracelets, which are always evolving and have the particular impression of the moment they were created.
I'm proud and elated with the fact that so many people are currently wearing and appreciating pieces that I made with love and great care.

Thanks for checking in this week! See you next week!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Project Runway Season 9 Begins!

I am so excited to announce that we are starting up our next Project Runway challenge. For several seasons now, EtsyMetal has played along with the Project Runway challenges and invites others to participate as well.

Here is how it works: the day after the show airs we will post a translation of the challenge here on our blog. Participants have one week to make a piece and must submit it by midnight of the next Thursday, when the show airs.

And now, for our first challenge!

Episode 1: "Come as You Are"
Air: 7.28.11
My Lifetime, Thursdays, 9pm PST.


The Project Runway Challenge:
The designers had to use the clothes they slept in the night before plus one of their bedsheets to create a new look. They also had access to dye and trimmings.

For our EtsyMetal Translation:
Since this challenge was all about using what you have in an unexpected way, and since most of us don’t sleep in jewelry, the challenge this week is to make something only from material that is sitting on your bench! If you don’t have a bench or access to your studio, then choose another area like your desk. Since the designers got a sheet, we get some sheet metal. You are welcome to use enhancements like stones from your supplies. But the final piece should be made of a majority of your found pieces if possible. Ok now, make it work!


Can't wait to see what is in store for us next week!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Workshop with Marilyn and Jack DaSilva

Last weekend I attended a workshop in Detroit, hosted by the Michigan Silversmiths' Guild, with Marilyn and Jack DaSilva. They are both accomplished metalsmiths and professors of metals at universities in California. I spent the first day with Marilyn. She is known for her colored pencil techniques. She encouraged us to play around and try everything. We started with samples of copper squares. Some of the copper samples were textured first with various methods- i.e. rolling milled, hammered, stamped. The key to this technique is to have the surface sandblasted first. Simple sanding is not enough. The surface must have a good tooth in order for the pencils and gesso to hold. Some of my samples started with a gesso surface, others did not. You can apply the gesso in thick textured patterns or simply brush it on. It must be thoroughly dry before anything further is done to the surface. You can then apply all manner of color to the gesso surface- paint, prismacolor, stamping inks, etc. These can then be layered or worked wet. You can also do the same without gesso, simply applying the color directly to the metal surface. Really, the sky's the limit. I really enjoyed this technique and do plan to incorporate some of it into my future works. Here are the samples I made in class-




The second day was spent with Jack, who specializes in raising. He demonstrated various techniques of synclastic and anticlastic raising. He starts with annealed bracelet blanks and marks the areas for raising with Sharpie markers on the inside and outside of the blank. He uses simple wooden blocks or handmade delrin stakes for most of his work. Final planishing and crisping of the details is done on a metal stake. He are some of his images as well as some of the more finished forms.






Hammering parallel to the groove in the wooden block





Some finished forms


My favorite tip of Jack's was to make a "shoe" for his anticlastic stakes out of copper strips. This technique can be used for any horizontal stake or mandrel- it's so simple yet effective. It keeps the stake from moving all over the place when you are hitting it. I can't believe I didn't think of it myself!
Here's a picture of that "shoe"-






I had a terrific time with the DaSilvas who were most generous in sharing their wealth of knowledge with us. Thanks Marilyn and Jack!

L. Sue Szabo

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"On Creativity" with Maria Whetman

In our blog series "On Creativity" each week we will feature one of our members and their perspectives on keeping their creativity alive.

This week we are talking to
Maria of Fluxplay


What inspires you?
An event, a place, an object, an artists work, a material....This brooch was inspired by the peninsula of land that I live on which is surrounded by sea and two rivers on the edges of Cornwall & Devon. The pottery shards were found on the shore, remnants of busier times on the peninsula. The boat reflects the maritime history of the place....now most of the boats are pleasure craft, fishing as a pastime. I made it specifically for showing in the Jewellery category at the small, annual village show where I live, a real community show of jams, vegetables, cakes, flowers and local crafts, a celebration of the community. Last year I won 2nd prize in the "savoury flan" category (my jam was a flop) Wink

How does your design process work/How do you come up with new ideas? There is always a starting point of a story for me, a narrative.

How do you stay motivated?
As long as I am not tired then I am motivated by my inspirations...the key is not to work to exhaustion.

Do you ever find yourself in a creative rut? If so how do you get out of it?
I very rarely fall into the creative ruts, but when I do, all I have to do is look through my many sketchbooks, scrapbooks, materials or the wonderful books on my shelves. The hard part is staying focused on just one idea...that's why I call myself "Fluxplay", "flux" means change and movement, "play" infers that I am not seriously focused enough to make a range and stick to it, even if something sells very well I find it hard to keep making it...my mind wanders to the next idea........

Do you make other things besides jewelry? I make clothes using my 1971 Bernina. I crochet clothes too. In more time-free days I used to work on my house and garden, building, constructing, decorating, accessorizing....those days are long gone! I teach metals at a college 4 days a week so a lot of my energy goes into that job and looking after my daughter. The problem is finding time to make my own work, this is only the 2nd thing I've made since January. 


Bere Boat on stand

Bere Boat in fingers



Monday, July 25, 2011

Etsymetal Finds - My Taste Test

I just recently took Etsy's "taste test" for the first time and now I understand why it's so addictive!!! WAY better than "items you might like"!!!! It's uncanny how many of the taste test items I just love. Here are a few I found today.



I also created a Treasury with all these items. There, you can check out all these great pieces from fantastic Etsy shops! Check it out, click around and add these great pieces to your favorites!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

New Member Profiles - Jane Font and Deborah Lee Taylor

Thanks for checking back! This week I have two new members to introduce, Jane Font of Daisy Jane Designs and Deborah Lee Taylor of e5jewel. Both Jane and Deborah joined Etsymetal this summer and we are so glad to have them!

Here are three pieces from Jane's Flickr stream and a little bit about Jane herself.

RAW 21/52

RAW 19/52 Nebula

Urban Beautification - Sterling Silver and Copper Bell Flower Bangles

Throughout my life, I’ve been surrounded by art. My mother painted, my grandfather painted and did the most beautiful leather work, and my grandmother was always doing interesting art crafts with us. As a child, I always said I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. It didn’t really matter what kind of art: just art. Since then, I’ve dabbled in just about everything from painting, to sculpture, fabric arts, lampworking, etc. But I never felt like I was good enough at any of them to do them for very long. I did nails for awhile. Not because I particularly care about beautiful nails, but because I could be artistic. I loved shaping them until they were perfect, and I did sculptures and images with the different colors of products. I entered a few nail art competitions, and always placed. I just didn’t like doing the same old thing on hand after hand.

I’ve always loved jewelry, but never really considered making it on my own because I figured it was something machines did. However, a few years ago I was confined to bed for a few weeks because of mono. I could really do nothing but watch TV all day. One day, I saw a program about metalsmiths, and I was blown away by what could be done with relatively simple tools, and at home! I was immediately hooked and bought stacks of books on the subject. I started with metal clay, but within a year or two, I started feeling confined by it. My New Year’s resolution for 2011 was to learn metalsmithing, and that’s exactly what I’ve done!

Being self-taught has its advantages and disadvantages, but it has been amazingly fulfilling! I can’t see feeling confined in my art, but I do feel like I’ve found something I’m good at! I can’t wait to branch out and learn everything I can. From etching to casting, I want to do it all!

My goal for next year is to become my own boss. Fulltime metalsmithing is the life for me, and I feel very fortunate to have found a team of likeminded individuals to share my love of metalworking with.

Next, I'd like to share some of Deborah's work. Here are three of her favorite pieces and some information about her and her Etsy shop.



A little about me: I have always had the need to be doing something creative..as nail artist, interior decorator, color consultant, to creating jewelry. I feel I have finally found home for my creative passion! I feel blessed doing what I love and sharing my work with the world.

About e5: I create one of a kind handmade wearable Art
My jewelry reflects the love of wabi sabi, 'talismania' energy, and one of a kind silver and mixed metal jewelry.
Each piece is hand fabricated by me, in my studio. I work mostly with copper, and mix this beautiful metal with sterling, metal clay, fine silver and at times, brass. I use natural and lab grown stones, depending on what the design calls for. My work includes pieces that hold a symbolic meaning by intention, words or the metaphysical properties of the stone used. I feel a one of a kind piece jewelry is like finding a lost treasure, waiting to be discovered by it's wearer. I believe when a stone, crystal or piece of art resonates with you, it speaks to your soul. The beauty that comes from that is magical, timeless and unique, as the art itself.

Thanks again for stopping by the Etsymetal blog. I'll be back next week to introduce a few more new members!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Charm Swap 8 - week 16

I still have no idea what I am going to do for my charms and it seems like I am not alone. With only about 10 weeks left or so and 22 charms to make Victoria Takahashi from Experimetal says she is still working on making the die she will need to make her charms and Betsy of BetsyBensen says she is getting a little concerned that she is not as far along as she thought she would be by now...

But this does not mean that some of the others are not on top of their charms for the charm swap. We have an update from Evelyn of Evelyn Markasky that her charms are actually FINISHED! Not only am I totally impressed (and jealous) because she is way ahead of the game but I am also now inspired to get moving on my charms.  Evelyn you rock! Here are her finished charms.




And even though Victoria Takahashi hasn't done much in the way of her charms as of yet does not mean that she has not been busy with other charm swap business. She has been working on and just completed the bracelet blanks for the charm swaps and they look great! I love her little bird tags! Now all they need is the charms added to them. Once the charm bracelets are complete they will be listed in the Etsy Metal Team Shop so keep an eye out for them. In the mean time check out the team shop to see some of the amazing charms from past charm swaps that are available for purchase.



Until next week!...and hopefully with some work started on my charms....Michele Grady

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"On Creativity" with 2Roses

We are starting a new blog series "On Creativity". Each week will feature one or more of our members and their perspectives on keeping their creativity alive.

This week we are talking to
John and Corliss of 2Roses

What inspires you?
Oddly enough, everything, all the time. Finding inspiration has never been a problem. Stopping and focusing on one thing is the challenge. We often get going in one direction and become interested in something else mid stream.

How does your design process work/How do you come up with new ideas?

Our design process is very spontaneous. We carry sketchbooks everywhere. We are never without one. While we draw constantly, deigns frequently change during the execution.

How do you stay motivated?
The problem for us is stopping, not starting. Left to our own devices we will work in the studio till we drop, sleep for a few hours,get up and do it again. We will typically force ourselves out of the studio after 3-4 days of this. The net result of getting out of the studio is being immersed in the big world of inspiration - which drives us back into the studio.


Do you ever find yourself in a creative rut? If so how do you get out of it?
No, we do not stay in one place creatively long enough to get into a rut. We throw ourselves into new and unfamiliar experiences constantly. If we find something on the menu we've never had - that's what we're having. We'll do things even when we don't think we'll like it - just to have the experience (most of the time we discover new things we like). Even when we don't enjoy it, the experience teaches us something and inspires something.

Do you make other things besides jewelry?

Yes. We are actively engaged in a wide variety of media and disciplines. Current projects include video production, publication design, furniture, clothing, a writing project, three tool development projects, and recipe formulations.



Carved bone and spontaneous body modification earrings.
Back story here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

New Member Profiles - Silent Goddess, Tkmetalarts

This week I'd like to introduce two new Etsymetal members: Lane Clark (Silentgoddess) and Theresa Kwong (Tkmetalarts).

Lane joined Etsymetal this past June and we are so glad to have her on the team! Here is a sample of Lane's fabulous work:

Dogwood, Tree Hugger, and Twigs and Berries are three wonderful pieces from her Etsy shop. Here is a little bit about Lane:

With towering trees just feet away from my studio window, I don’t have to look far for design ideas. But sometimes inspiration is sparked from an industrial edge. I like to let the metal tell me what to make. Maybe a design needs graceful curve of a flower petal or it needs an angular bend paired with a stone. Or maybe not. That is pretty much the story of my life. I usually take the road less traveled. I love to constantly change things up and I take advantage of that every chance I can get in my art and in my daily life.

My metal journey began about 2 decades ago when I took a beginning jewelry making class. After just one night of hands-on metal manipulation and torch lighting I was hooked. Now years later I have taught myself most of what I know just through trial and error (some of the best “errors” turn out to be the coolest successes)! I am very blessed to have a great in-home studio where you can find me whiling away my days knee deep in metal and stones.


The second new member I'd like to introduce is Theresa Kwong of Tkmetalarts. Theresa joined our team in January of 2011 and has been a very active member. Here are three pieces very representative of Theresa's work:

Rectangle Moonstone Pendant, Japan Relief ring with garnet and Steel Blue Flowers with Larimar ring are all from Theresa's Etsy shop. Please read on to learn more about Theresa:

Theresa Kwong is a metalsmith based in the San Francisco Bay Area. It started off as a hobby but soon became an obsession. She now splits her time being a bench jeweler and an architect. She enjoys the design and technical challenges offered by both. Her inspiration comes from both the natural world and the built environment.

At the Revere Academy, Theresa learns to work with traditional goldsmithing techniques (forging, sawing, filing, fitting, soldering, polishing, stone-setting, etc). Her designs are simple and have a timeless elegance. She prefers fabrication and working directly with the metal sheets/wires instead of waxes and castings, ensuring the uniqueness of each piece, whether it is one-of-a-kind or limited edition pieces.

Thanks for taking the time to read about our new members. I will be profiling a few new members each week to please check back!


EtsyMetal Featured in the Ganoksin Exhibition - Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

I'm excited to share a new online exhibition that includes many of our own Etsymetal Team members. The photos below are just a taste of the great pieces you'll find in this collection so please take a few minutes to view the complete exhibition here.

"Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder", showcases 247 images chosen from entries from over 55 artists that are working with non-precious materials, questioning today's perception of value and beauty. Participants range from professional jewelers with international reputations to students just learning their craft. The exhibition is hosted on the Ganoksin website, the world's largest internet site devoted to jewelry-related topics, conceived Beth Wicker, and curated by Beth and Hanuman Aspler, founder of the Ganoksin Project.



1 Cynthia Del Giudice
2 Su Trindle / Quercus Silver
3 Michele Grady
4 Shirlee Grund / Lichen & Lychee Jewelry
5 Rebecca Bogan / Adobe Sol Designs
6 Theresa Kwong / TK Metal Arts
7 Meg Auth / simplymega

Ganoksin Exhibition - Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Keeping or Quitting your Day Job:

I am curious, regarding the idea of Keeping or Quitting your day job, how EM members refer to their work, and define themselves. Some people refer to themselves as, artists. While others may call themselves a craftsperson, jeweller, dabbler, etc. Some may even prefer no definition.
For some of us a 'day job' is necessary to keep a studio space outside of our homes, maintain supplies, food in our stomaches, etc., etc.
Some people that have work (day/night jobs) aside from their creative pursuits often hope or dream of a time when these creative pursuits will be able to take centre stage.

Etsy Metal members share their stories of the work they love, sacrifices made (or not made) in being artists, metalsmiths, makers, etc.
This series is about achieving a fundamental sense of fulfillment and purpose, of finding your place in a community of your peers. It's about sharing the truth of what it is to be an artist in the 21st century, in all of its forms. We all walk different paths in the expression of our work, yet we came together through Etsy.

Current interview with, Catherine Chandler

EM: How do you define yourself? For instance, do you refer to yourself as an Artist, Maker, Silversmith, Metalsmith, Goldsmith, Truck Driver or Jeweller?

CC: I am a metalsmith. It is in the core of my being, it is who I am, who I have become. I could have become a hundred different things, but I chose that path that spoke directly to my heart. And of course, when I tell people that I am a metalsmith, I get an inquisitive look, and have to explain that I make jewelry and small metal sculpture :D I usually wear my own jewelry, which helps others to understand just what kind of jewelry I make.




EM: Would you [do you] describe your work as Art, Craft, Jewelry, or are there different categories dependant upon outlet/venue, mood?

Usually when I am describing my work, I am speaking of the jewelry side of things. I don't create a lot of sculpture at the moment, and what I do is generally wearable (which gets *really* interesting looks from the public!)

EM: Do you have a day job, part time job or is being a(n) {fill in the blank} your full time job?

CC: I do have a day job, and thankfully so, as I am the main breadwinner in our little household and my jewelry simply doesn't sell well over Etsy. I work as a nanny, and have for nearly 6 years. I kind of fell into the job, honestly. I had moved to Portland, OR from Hood River, OR to finish my degree (which I had started in Australia) and had sworn off being a barista ever again. I had some experience in the caregiving field, and a friend set me up with a family she knew who needed a nanny. The job was flexible and paid much better than caregiving, and was fun and ever-changing (who doesn't love to get paid to go to the zoo?!). I didn't intend to stay on as a nanny for as long as I have, but when my intended plans didn't pan out (my attempt to go to grad school is another long story), I saw no need to leave a stable job and income. The flexibility of being a nanny has given me time through the years to continue working on my jewelry and metalwork, without being dependent on the sporadic income it brings. When my fiance lost his job last October, with no prospects of a new job and no unemployment insurance, I was even more grateful to have a great job that pays well and can get us through these hard times. Without my 'day job', we'd have been out on the streets for sure, and one of the things that this whole experience has made me realize is that I want a career. Not as an artist, but as a teacher. I want the security of a stable income, and I want to teach metalsmithing, so I am going through the hoops in order to pursue that.




EM: What sacrifices have you made (do you feel you’ve made or still make) in order to pursue creating/making your work?

CC: I would say that the most common sacrifice that most artists/makers make is their social life. Especially if they have a day job! My social life has definitely taken a toll, and at times I really miss the ability to just go out for drinks after work, but then again, I would not trade the satisfaction that my art gives me. It is like my missing piece. Some people find that missing piece in religion, or partying, or shopping....I find it in metal. My friends and family have learned to accept and understand my bouts of disappearing when I'm working on projects, and are always welcoming when I come back up for air.

EM: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself or someone considering a similar path knowing what you know now?

CC: I studied for my original BFA in Australia. Then, I came home to America thinking I would just jump into an MFA here. Boy, was I ever wrong. The discrepancies between the two countries' qualifications is huge, and I am now set to complete 3 more years of an American BFA just so I can get into an MFA and pursue my dreams of becoming an instructor. I would advise anyone considering going to school overseas to seriously think about their future plans and check into whether things will line up once they are finished. Having to eat 3 years of tuition is a hard thing, to say the least.

Other than that, I always tell people to follow their heart. If their passion is in creating, then go for it. I figure that if we're going to spend the majority of our lives working, we might as well do something we enjoy
.

EM: Is there anything else you would like to share?

CC: I strongly encourage people to hang on to their day job as long as possible. It is a great source of reliable income to get you through the rough patches, because there WILL be rough patches. I have seen multiple people in the last few years who have gotten raises, or started a different job, and decide to buy a house, or move, or make some other large purchase, only to lose that job, or that raise, and be financially stuck and struggling. If you are going to quit your day job, have LOTS of money in savings, or a very secure back up plan, because you never know what will happen.

Thanks Catherine!
Make sure to visit Catherine's Etsy shop and personal website!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"On Creativity" with Michele Grady

We are starting a new blog series "On Creativity". Each week will feature one or more of our members and their perspectives on keeping their creativity alive.

This week we are talking to
Michele Grady Designs

What inspires you?
Being a self taught silversmith most of my inspiration comes from the colors of the metals and stones I use, along with my desire to learn as much as I can about how the metals can be manipulated, textured and shaped. New pieces usually are born due to my experimenting with my tools and new techniques.

How does your design process work/How do you come up with new ideas?
Sometimes I sketch a thing or two but that is rare unless I am working with larger one of a kind stones. Sometimes ideas come to me while laying in bed or driving in the car. Usually I just play around with the metals and tools until I like the end result.

How do you stay motivated?
It's hard to stay motivated sometimes. A custom order from someone who loves my work, a reorder from a gallery, a write up in a newspaper or magazine, or even acceptance into a certain show that I have been trying to get into for a while all help kick me back into gear.

Do you ever find yourself in a creative rut? If so how do you get out of it?
Yes, every so often I do find myself in a creative rut. When this happens I try to take a break from my normal every day work routine. Sometimes I go out for a run or walk, take a trip to a museum or spend some time with friends. Participating in RAW and some of the Etsy Metal challenges have also helped. When I do come back to work I then try to set aside at least a full day to just to sit and play around with new ideas and techniques.

Do you make other things besides jewelry?
I have dabbled in quite a few things here and there. I have taken painting and drawing classes all throughout out my elementary and high school years, and as I got older I moved onto more 3D art such as paper mache and pottery but jewelry is still my passion.


"Sunburst Ring" made for the RAW challenge. The ring's design was created to incorporate a stone and brass spikes.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

EtsyMetal Blog Carnival 7.11.11: Artists' Work That Has Influenced my Own



July's Blog Carnival is here!
The topic is:

Artists' Work That Has Influenced My Own

Tell us about it and give some examples

Click on the following links to see what EtsyMetal members have to say. You will find very interesting and diverse writings on this single topic!

New Member Profiles - Betsy Bensen and Adobe Sol

We recently discovered that we had let the new member profiles slide. Whoops! For the next several months, I will be replacing the Sunday Etsymetal Finds post with profiles of some of our newest members.

We would love to welcome Betsy Bensen who joined Etsymetal in January of 2011.

Betsy 0300

oregon beach agate rings

Nevada boulder turquoise and pink tourmaline ring in sterling and 18kt gold

Here is a little about Betsy:

I grew up in the Great Lakes state of Michigan but bee-lined it out to Oregon once I finished college. I’ve lived here ever since and everything about it suits me well. When I was in school, and college, I took many different art courses, but never jewelry. When I graduated with my degree in Art history, I considered an Art Conservation program but couldn’t bear the thought of 4 more years of school so I worked with a career counselor and over the course of several months it became apparent that jewelry might suit me just fine. I enrolled in classes at the Oregon School of Arts and Crafts and after a long period of struggle, things finally fell into place for me and I was hooked.
I worked for several years for a well-respected bench jeweler in Portland, before starting Betsy Bensen Jewelry in 1987. I work mostly in sterling and gold, and use stones a lot in my work. Non precious stones in particular, like jaspers and agates, which I love and buy way too many of. I’m sort of hooked on pearls as well…

I work less with a sketchbook than I thought I would. If I have a particular problem with a piece that I’m trying to resolve, then I will sketch options but mostly I play around with the elements I want to use in my head. The time when I just lay my head down at night is when I visualize what I want to do in some specific way with a piece in the studio the next day. For me it’s a good time to work through designs and helps me relax and fall asleep. I’ve noticed over the years that my metalwork has become sparer and cleaner to allow the stones I love to work with to do most of the talking.


We would also like to welcome Rebecca from Adobe Sol to Etsymetal! Rebecca joined in January 2011 as well.

TeePee Canyon Agate Necklace

Sea of Green

Desert Garden

Here is what Rebecca would like you to know about herself and her work:

Born and raised in Southern California I now reside in the high desert of New Mexico. I've lived in, and visited, many US and European cities. My love of mountain biking, traveling and hiking put me in touch with the colors, shapes and textures of nature. All of those experiences have a great influence on my metalwork.

My design concepts are inspired by everything. New ideas and methods are always in the works. With a desire to learn and constantly expand, I seek education, new techniques, unusual materials and interesting metal finishes. I'm in a perpetual state of artistic growth and I'd have it no other way!

My work is meticulously hand fabricated using traditional metalsmithing techniques along with the highest quality metals, stones, vintage buttons and various other ingredients. My creations lean towards earthy and rustic with plenty of texture and depth. I love creating one of a kind art jewelry you can wear and pass on to the next generation.
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