Thursday, August 28, 2008

Blind Spot Jewellery

Janos, of Blind Spot Jewellery, is an amazing artist who works mostly in Iron. His pieces are often kinetic, full of texture and patina, and always incredible. You can find more of his work in his Etsy Shop.

1. Where do you live, and where are you from?

I am from Hugary, Budapest. After getting my degree on agriculture I moved to England where I lived for 3 years. Then I came to Italy where I live now, near Genova, in a small, pretty village in the mountains, called Campo Ligure.

2. How did you get started working with metal?

I started to experiment with metals -mainly iron - in Hungary. Then in England I took an evening class of jewellery and I started to work with silver and other metals too. I built up my first workshop there and sold pieces in local galleries. I learnt a lot from exchanging ideas with other jewellers, from books and from continuous experimenting.

3. What are a few of your favorite pieces at the moment?

I really enjoy to make poison rings - or container jewellery. I love them because they give you the feeling that you can protect and keep safe something at least. As the jewellery we wear becomes a part of us, so the contained treasure we place in it. As long as we survive, so does the treasure.

4. What inspires you (artists, objects, interests)?

I am inspired by any old metal objects, matured metal surfaces. There is that state of mind, when the whole word becomes a potential source of creation: all the shapes, the materials around us.

5. Do you have any other artistic interests?

I like to write in my language. But because I live abroad I write less and I prefer nonverbal arts, like jewellery is.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

In the Studio with Noform Design

I've been super excited to this In the Studio post. Paul C. Phillips of Noform Design is a metalsmith living in Chicago. His work is so different from anyone else's in EtsyMetal and I was intrigued by how different his studio is from everyone else's.

1.) tell us about your studio. how long have you been there? where is it? (in your home, arts center, store, etc.. and city)

my studio is in the basement of the chicago 3 flat we live in. it's a great space. it's a typical chicago basement, so it's a little dark, a little damp, and could use some work, but it's perfect for what i do. we've lived here for about 2 1/2 years, but i moved my studio here about 2 years ago after my landlord offered the space free of rent. he's a retired dentist (in his late 80's) and enjoyed woodworking. he's allowed me to use his woodworking equipment since he doesn't use it much anymore. it's a pretty sweet deal. you can see from the photos that i'm not the tidiest, and cleaned up a bit to get it looking like the organized mess you see. but i know exactly where everything is...even the tools that have never been unpacked.

{overview and lathe}

{work table}

{work table}

{grinding room}

2.) what is your favorite tool you have? why?

it's a toss up really. my cnc mill is capable of so much that i have yet to try doing everything i want with it. my lathe appeals to my machinist side because of the hands on aspect. i really don't think i could have one without the other...but if forced, my cnc mill.

{cnc mill}

{mini lathe}

3.) what do you listen to or do while working? music, news, or nothing- i'm concentrating!

i would have to say all of the above. it all depends on the mood i'm in, and whether or not the metal gods are being good to me. if it's music, then i've got my ipod or computer playing my music. if it's the radio, npr. tv...occasionally. if i've got some silly band to bang out, then nothing, as it takes only 15-20 minutes.

4.) what time of day is your favorite to work?

anytime of day is good for me. when i'm able to work, however, is a completely different answer. being a stay at home dad, i usually only get nights and weekends to work on stuff, and then it's only the orders i get from the boutique i do custom work for. hopefully that will be changing soon.

5.) do you have an inspiration bulletin board or something else that you keeps you inspired? do you have a picture of it?

inspiration usually just happens for me. i don't think i've ever been stuck for an idea. i meet with people who want custom pieces all the time, and i usually have to come up with at least one design for them before the meeting is over.

6.) can we get a little sneak peek of what you're working on right now?

um, i have to make a 9mm wide brushed stainless steel domed band...anyone can find them online for far less than i charge, but i always get orders for bands. it's one of those bread and butter type things. i wouldn't want to bore anyone with a picture of it.
Thank you Paul! Go check out his etsy shop and website!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

EtsyMetal News 08.26.08

Landscape Sample Rings by Sarah Hood

A bit of local news for me and news for other EtsyMetal-ists as well!
The Bringing the Band Back Together Ring Show is on display at the Georgia Museum of Art in Athens, Georgia. You can also check out photographs of all the rings on flickr.

Sarah Hood and Colleen Baran both have rings in the show! Even though I got to see it in Savannah - I'll have to swing by and see it there too. The University has a new art building that is right across from the museum and I haven't gotten to check it out yet. Sadly, the jewelry and metalworking department didn't get a spot in the new building...

Chuck of Down To The Wire Designs is starting a new project of creating and listing a new ring every day! What an inspiration. Check out more information here and of course his shop for all the new rings!!

And of course there have been loads of front pages of fabulous etsymetal pieces - Just today LunasaDesigns and Gemmafactrix were on the front page, thanks to Sophie of Duckduckgoosestuff who created the list! How fun is that?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Weekly Review: Metalsmith Exhibition in Print Controversy

There seems to be a constant debate that goes on within the craft community at large, and definitely within the metalsmithing community. The general themes center around, as Danielle Miller put it:

Art vs. Craft
Academic vs. Production
Metal vs. Alternative Material
Fine Craft vs. Indie Craft
Professional vs. Hobbiest

The latest hot topic in the metalsmithing community comes to us via Orchid Digest. On August 15th, James Binnion, a metalsmith noted for his mokume-gane pieces, posted a scathing review of the lastest Metalsmith Magazine's Exhibition in Print (to continue reading the thread, click on the link "thread next" above the post). His criticisms were regarding the relevance of the pieces juried in the EIP to the metalsmithing community, and the SNAG community specifically. This lies somewhere in the "Academic vs. Production" and "Metal vs. Alternative Material" spectrums, as well as "Wearable vs. Non-Functional".

Gabriel Craig, a well-read and written fellow metalsmith, posted a fantastic reply to Binnion's review, and it can be viewed in the Orchid Forums as well as on his own website, Conceptual Metalsmithing.

The benefit of debates like these is that they open up the floor for discussion, and possibly solutions to problems. The downside, is that these debates never seem to really get us anywhere...there is always a debate, there are always "sides" for people to gather on and throw mud at others. But then again, I guess that's what happens when you gather together many individuals with varying ideals, and throw them into the 'pit' together.

(The image shown above is by April Wood, and appears in the current EIP.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Erica Stankwytch Bailey

Oval Pendant / Break

Erica Stankwytch Bailey is a new member to Etsy Metal. She creates intriguing forms with color, texture, and shape. You can view more of her work in her Etsy Shop, as well as on her website.

1. Where do you live, and where are you from?

I live in Fayetteville, North Carolina and with the exception of college and a couple short but sweet adventures abroad I hav always lived here, born and raised.

2. How did you get started working with metal?

I took my first metalsmithing class when I was 17 years old, but it wasn't until I was in college and took a metal design class that I knew it was where I wanted to be. I was and still am absolutely enamored with the way that metal moves, the malleability of it.

Climb Bracelet

3. What are a few of your favorite pieces at the moment?

I am creating some new work right now- really using the hydraulic press in new ways. This is such a great time in the creative process- my bench is full of new ideas and successful experiments- so these pieces (though unfinished) are really high on my list. I have also been doing a lot of asymmetrical work lately and I really like the juxtaposition that is created between the wearer and the work.

4. What inspires you (artists, objects, interests)?

There are so many things that inspire me: all things ocean/reef (echnoids, jellyfish, coral, etc.)- there are so many creatures in the sea that are truly beautiful but equally as dangerous-that relationship intrigues me. I can spend days on the beach picking up fragments of shells- never actually using the shard itself in a piece of jewelry but being moved my the process of decay- worm holes, wear, etc.Fossils are another big inspiration- I once spent an entire day looking at the oceanic fossils at the Smithsonian in DC. This could be a really long list so I will stop here.

Coral Earrings

5. Do you have any other artistic interests?

As for other artistic interests- I am pretty much a full-time metalsmith- though I do shoot my own work, so I dabble in photography.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Artist Feature - Tinctory.

Tinctory makes wonderful, wonderful things. A Czech textile artist originally from Prague and now living in England, her current obsession is smocking. As she says in her etsy shop:

The smocked jewellery is inspired by the intricate needlework seen on historic textiles. Each piece is made entirely by hand using old elaborate techniques which I think gives it a certain magic.

This interest in textiles isn't new: My interest in textiles probably dates back to a silk painting kit I got years ago as a birthday present. Painting on silk led me to batik, dyeing and shibori. With shibori the focus shifted to manipulating fabric into 3D textures rather than colouring it and that sparked off the search for ways to make the texture permanent so it could withstand wear and washing.

It was this permanent, textured, alt-shibori work that I first noticed on Etsy - it's a totally unique, remarkably beautiful and instantly recognisable signature - and unsurprisingly, it proved very popular. Despite the vibrant colours and the crisp, futuristic lines of these pieces, I have always had a feeling of space, stillness and calm from Tinctory's work. I think it's partly because these qualities come across so beautifully in her very accomplished photography, but it's also due to the completeness of her work - the wholeness of each piece, if that makes sense.

As interest in these pieces grew, Tinctory's work changed from the ultra-modern to an old, traditional European technique of gathering and manipulating fabric - smocking. But smocking with a modern twist...

The pendants, rings and beads she has been making recently are as unique and instantly recognisable as her previous shibori work; though in direct contrast to that the materials are all natural and the techniques and tools centuries old:

...I wanted to find something that would work on natural fibers ... and came across smocking. The principle of smocking is that the fabric is pleated and the gathers are held together by embroidery stitches. It is decorative but also practical and was often used to gather the neck or cuffs of loose clothing. I enjoy the fact that smocking has minimal requirements for specialised tools and materials (all you need is fabric, needle and thread), instead it demands time and concentration...

...The process involves several stages. First, fabric preparation - washing, ironing, cutting and sewing. Then I gather the material into fine, even pleats (by stitching it - no pleating machine). After that comes the fun bit - choosing the colour combinations and smocking several rows (the smocking stitches hold the pleats in place and also add colour and texture). Finally, the fabric is threaded on silver wire and made into a piece of jewellery...

Right now I'm really excited about what's called North American smocking. The textures are stitched on the wrong side so the right side shows only the intriguing lattices and other patterns and doesn't give away how they're held in place. I'm working on bracelets made with this technique.

It's impossible not to be delighted by Tinctory's work; as well as being beautiful it's very intelligent. She trained as a Art (and English) teacher and the discipline and rigorous, slightly sparse aesthetic are very apparent. As well as her Etsy shop she has a flickr page - but beware, only visit when you have much time to spare. I can spend hours looking at the photographs; they are wonderful.

all images copyright Tinctory; reproduced with permission.

Tip #10 - Sanding Disc Window

I use my flex shaft for all kinds of jobs---but mostly for clean up. Here is a neat trick for those of you that use snap-on sanding discs.
If you cut a small section of the disc away, it becomes a little window.
When the disc spins, you can see through the window and see your work underneath!
Just be careful not to snag the window on any edges. It could tear the paper disc and will probably throw your piece across the room!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Etsy Metal Finds

According to Wikipedia, "the circle has been known since before the beginning of recorded history. It is the basis for the wheel which, with related inventions such as gears, makes much of modern civilization possible. In mathematics, the study of the circle has helped inspire the development of geometry and calculus." So, why wouldn't we love such an important shape? The following etsy finds are showin' a little circle love.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

EtsyMetal News 8.16.08

What a busy summer it has been! So busy its hard to keep track of everything. But there are a few things for sure - Ashley of AshleyJewelry and Lena of lenastudio will be at the Show Pony Show in Dallas this Sunday from 11 - 7. It looks like a lot of fun, so you should definitely check it out if you are near there.

I missed it last week, but Sara Westermark made over 1000 hearts. That is such a huge landmark - congrats Sara!!

Brooke Medlin is working on collecting info through a survey on artist shopping habits. Won't you help her out?

This is not specific to EtsyMetal - but metal prices have been dropping over the past week. And that is incredibly exciting. After prices steadily going up and up and up, its nice to have a bit of a drop. I wonder if its just a tease though and will make a u-turn and start to climb again. Hopefully not before I order a little stash!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Beth Cyr Jewelry

Beth Cyr creates wonderful organic jewelry from silver, gold, stones, and pearls. Her work can be found in her Etsy Shop, as well as on Flickr. Here she divulges her roots and inspirations...enjoy!

1. Where do you live, and where are you from?

I live in Athens, GA and have been here for 9 years. Which is almost the longest I've been anywhere! I was born in CT, but moved when I was little. I grew up in a little town called Palmerdale, Alabama - we had a pond and woods to play in and I think is largely responsible for my love of nature. When I was a teenager I moved to northwest GA.

2. How did you get started working with metal?

I actually didn't start working with metal until I was in college here at the University of Georgia. That was in 2000 and I started as a jewelry and metals major in 2001 and graduated in 2003.

3. What are a few of your favorite pieces at the moment?

My most recent favorites have been sold already. One set of rings was a commission, but they were so lovely I hope to make more!

And this dandelion pendant too! I usually try to do a random pattern, but a few were kind of stuck together in this fan shape, so I went with it and loved how it turned out.

This ring hasn't been made for sale yet and I think will just end up being the place holder for a custom order piece. I made it my size so I think it just wants to stay with me.

4. What inspires you (artists, objects, interests)?

I feel like I am inspired by everything! I've been doing a lot of custom work recently, so I'm finding that my customers are inspired by my work and in turn give me something new to work with. Its kind of fun to be given a new project - and the time to work on it! I've had customers send me a stone to set, some leaves or other natural material, and right now I'm waiting on items from a gal who wants Coney Island themed wedding bands! I'm excited for the package of sand and shells and driftwood.
Overall, I would have to say most of my work has some base in nature, plants and trees tend to be my favorites. If I'm working with stones, I try to just be inspired by the stone, either the pattern, color or shape of it. When I have a chance to just make something, I like being inspired by the materials, different scraps of metal often give me an idea. Occasionally architecture finds its way in, but old ancient forms, not so much modern clean lines.

5. Do you have any other artistic interests?

I have many other artistic interests, but not always the time to do them. I do some screen printing, painting, photography and ceramics. I even drove to Washington DC to pick up a kick wheel, though it now sits unused. One day I'd love a huge studio that I could have separate areas for all my other 'hobbies'.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tip #9 First Aid Tip

A few days ago I picked a picked up a piece that was still hot. Ouch. I put my hand in the water to quench it- this really helps because it stops the heat right away, otherwise it's like a piece of metal that has to air cool. It keeps on burning, which means more damage to your skin. Usually when you pick up hot metal there's a blister which means a 2nd degree burn, but if you get water on it right away you can avoid that, and, if you're lucky, keep working!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Friday, August 8, 2008

EtsyMetal News 08.08.08

Today is the last day of Rebekah's - LunasaDesigns - fabulous 8 day sale. Today is also her birthday and etsyversary - the reasons for her sale! Happy Birthday Rebekah! Make sure to go check it out - there are lots of specials going on - I already bought this!

Nina Dinoff will be participating in the New York International Gift Fair at the Jacob Javits center. This will be her first time at this show and she is very excited. She will be in the Handmade section in the Galleria, booth #413 - so if you can stop by and say hi!

Colleen Baran has a great feature by Anicka Quin in Vancouver Magazine's 'City Guide' 2008-09. It is available from July 2008 to August 2009!

Danielle Miller
has one of her fantastic necklaces in INDESIGN magazine!! Check it out on her blog! Amazing!

Studio Metalsmith

Dinosaur Bone and 24K Gold Pendant

Kathleen Bostick, of studiometalsmith, lives in California, and creates one of a kind jewelry utilizing intriguing stones, enamel, found objects, silver, and gold.

1. Where do you live, and where are you from?

I will be living in San Diego again in about two weeks when school starts. I am from Southern California.

2. How did you get started working with metal?

I am a 2nd year MFA student at San Diego State University in the Metals/Jewelry program. I did my undergrad at California College of the Arts. Before that I studied drawing, painting, and sculpture. Metal was an extension of sculpture for me. I never even considered metal until I saw it in the CCAC catalog and thought "I can do that!" I didn't have any metal work for my application portfolio, so I bought a torch, a few tools, and a book, made a few pieces, and took some photos, the rest is history.

The work I do academically is sculptural and sometimes functional, but usually not wearable, it's very different from the work I sell in my Etsy shop. I hope to bring some influence from that work into my jewelry beginning this fall, I have some new materials and ideas in the works.

Blue Chalcedony and Amethyst Pendant

3. What are a few of your favorite pieces at the moment?

My favorite pieces in my shop right now are those that are made with both silver and gold, such as my Dinosaur Bone and 24K Gold Pendant, along with a few others.

4. What inspires you (artists, objects, interests)?

I am inspired by architecture, geometry, pattern, texture, color, and material. I am the geek that is always picking little things up of the ground just to look at them.

Rhodolite Garnet Ring

5. Do you have any other artistic interests?

My artistic (craft) interests are wide ranging! I really have to reign myself in because I am so easily distracted by new things. Right now I am very interested in fiber and fiber techniques. This summer I learned to spin yarn, next I want to learn to do silk reeling which is winding off the single strand of silk that makes up one cocoon (crazy, I know!).
I knit, crochet, sew, and whatever it takes to complete my projects at school.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Tip #8 - Flashlight Finder

When you drop something on floor - Turn the lights off and a flash light on - run the flashlight along the floor - metal sparkles and you are sure to find it! And don't panic, its there! I've found the tiniest bits when I calm down and realize the floor monster didn't come and steal it when I wasn't looking!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Friday, August 1, 2008

EtsyMetal News 8.1.08

etsy front page 8.1.08
Originally uploaded by bcyrjewelry
i think it must be tradition to have lots of EtsyMetal members on the front page on Fridays!! Nina Dinoff (yay for new photos!), Stacey of wildflowerdesigns and Jessi Taylor were all on there at once!

In other news - we will be saying Bon Voyage to Mark Kaplan who is going on a year long adventure to Asia. We will miss him and be anxious to hear fun stories and see new pieces of work from his time away. He will be leaving tomorrow!

Rebekah of LunasaDesigns is having a super special sale. In celebration of 8.8.08 - which is her birthday and her 2 year EtsyVersary, she is having 8 days of sales. Each day will be something new and exciting - so stop by and check it out!

Cynthia Del Giudice was featured on a great blog - Daily Art Muse

And check out the Fashion Me Fabulous blog and vote for Catherine's or Ashley's earrings!

Since it is the first Friday of the month - I should be posting pictures from last month's theme, but we haven't gotten a lot of the photos in yet, so that will have to be next week! I can announce the next month's theme though which is:
riveting and/or green/recycle/upcycle
Sounds like a fun challenge to me!!
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