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Om Shanti Handcrafts

Posted by Ivonnardona on 08/05/2008

I’m not the best with keeping up with my blog and posting these interviews but I had a few minutes and decided that I would go ahead and get one in. Here is an interview from a fellow Coloradoan from Mile High Etsy Street Team. Kate is from Colorado, which is where I live and I really enjoyed reading her interview. I really enjoyed the quote from a friend on question #2 and she makes some really great points for question #9. I know you will enjoy her writing skills!

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I’m a seeker, a writer, an herbalist and a maker. I’m owned by three cats and two rats. Moved here to Colorado a few years ago and am loving every minute of it! I started Om Shanti Handcrafts as a way to make things, perhaps make a little money, and hopefully escape my truly awful job.

2. Tell me a bit about your background and how long you have been an artist/crafter.

Oddly enough, I was always a science geek growing up — still am; I bring my rock hammer and lens along on hikes to look at the rocks.

Never thought of myself having any creativity and still feel a little weird about the idea that I do. I can do no better than to quote a

friend:

I was positive that I was not creative/could not make art for most of my life. Nobody ever told me that if I practiced, I’d get better.

Nobody ever told me that just because my art didn’t look like “fine art” that I saw in museums, it was okay. Nobody ever told me that everyone is creative and has their own unique vision to share with the world.

It never occurred to me to make things until fairly recently. Since then, though, it’s like a whole new world has exploded in my mind (and all over my apartment).

3. What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?

I’m sure I made things when I was a kid — nearly everyone does — but the first thing I _remember_ making by hand was a piece of medieval-style clothing for a friend. We were camping at the time, so no sewing machine, and he needed some help getting it done — I found I had a talent with the needle and that I preferred making it by hand to using a machine. That was about it for a long while, though.

4. What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?

My jewelry ideas come from songs — mostly by Dar Williams or the Indigo Girls so far though there are a few outliers. One was inspired by a song in a Star Trek book, of all things (How Much for Just the Planet which I highly recommend). Sometimes it’s as obvious as a color mentioned in the lyrics, sometimes it’s a lot more subtle than that.

My herbals are different. Anything medicinal especially is more influenced by what herbs have what effect than by what smells nice together, though every once in a while I’ll have a ‘feel’ that a particular herb should go in. Usually when I do the research I find out that I was right and sometimes for a totally unanticipated reason.

I do make an attempt, in my bath salts and teas, to balance scents with what does what. In my Long Day Working salts, for example, every ingredient is beneficial for tired and strained muscles in one way or another, but they also just smell good together. My lip balms, on the other hand, leave the beneficial effects to the olive oil and beeswax and just unashamedly smell good.

5. What are your favorite materials?

In jewelry, lapis lazuli, hands down. I have to make an effort not to use it in every piece. It’s my absolute favorite stone. I also like the silver wire I make my clasps out of; I plan to start using it for more decorative things in my jewelry as well.

For the herbal stuff, lavender has got to be near the top. I thought I didn’t like lavender for years — I finally realized that it was the awful synthetic stuff I didn’t like, not the real thing. The real thing has a sharpness to it that the lavender fragrance oils just can’t match.

A recent favorite is spearmint. I asked a friend at work what kind of lip balm she’s always wanted and could never find; she replied that peppermint’s easy but why doesn’t anyone make spearmint? I stopped on the way home to pick up a bag from the local herb shop and spent the rest of the ride home with my nose practically in it, it smelled so good!

6. What is your favorite color? What colors are you drawn to?

Lapis blue, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. And jewel tones in general — those deep, rich colours.

7. If someone were looking to take up a craft, what advice would you give them?

Don’t hesitate, don’t second-guess yourself, just _do_ it, see how it comes out. And when your first try is awful, don’t despair. Try it again and again — if it were easy, it wouldn’t be worth the trouble, would it? And you _will_ get better. Just keep at it.

8. What is your area of interest in crafting? What do you specialize in?

Beaded jewelry, and herbal bath and body stuff.

9. What would be your top 5 tips for a beginner?

5) Do not bring credit cards to the bead show. Ask me how I know this.

4) Olive oil is slippery.

3) Cats and loose beads combine poorly. (It’s kinda funny, though.)

2) Follow the instructions on the bottle of lye. I don’t care how much you hate safety goggles, wear em.

1) It’s clich√©d, but: Just Do It.

10. What would be your top 5 items of essential equipment?

5) A good glass measuring cup.

4) A wide variety of pliers.

3) Funnels. It’s hard to have enough.

2) You can use hardware organizers for beads too.

1) My brain.

11. Can you recommend a technique or ‘tips’ book ideal for a beginner?

I’m ashamed to say I don’t own a single jewelry book, not even one.

For herbal stuff, Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal is absolutely the best. It’s what got me started, and I still refer to it regularly.

12. Can you recommend any brands to look out for, when buying equipment or kit?

I get my beads in so many places it’s hard to give an answer there.

That said, if you can find a nearby bead show the variety and prices both will be much, much better than what you can get elsewhere.

Camden-Grey is a lovely source for essential oils and other supplies; I’ve done quite a bit of business with them. Majestic Mountain Sage has some fine things as well.

13. Do you sell your work, or is it purely for pleasure?

I sell it — if I didn’t, I could never wear all the jewelry nor use all the bath salts, and I think my mother is already getting sick of beaded jewelry for every gift-giving occasion. ūüôā

I still get a lot of pleasure out of making it all, though. When I don’t, that’s time to stop.

14. What is your Etsy shop address and name? Where else can we find you?

Om Shanti Handcrafts at http://omshanti.etsy.com .

You can also find me at the Creative Cafe Showrooms at

http://www.creativecafesalesrooms.com/storecatalog.asp?userid=31 .

I also have a blog at http://omshantihandcrafts.wordpress.com .

Posted in Interviews, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

LRS Originals

Posted by Ivonnardona on 06/19/2008

It is amazing that being only a senior in high school that LRS Originals creates beautiful pieces. Make sure to check out her shop.

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I am a home schooled senior in high school and have been making jewelry for 3 or 4 years. 

2. Tell me a bit about your background and how long you have been an artist/crafter.

 I started making jewelry 3-4 years ago when I got a jewelry-making kit for my birthday.  Then after a little while a couple of people actually paid me to make something for them!  This gave me the confidence I needed to start doing a few craft shows 2 years ago, and now I have a jewelry business and an online store.

3. What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?

The first craft I remember doing is painting plaster ornaments to give to friends and relatives for Christmas. (My painting was, and still is, atrocious) 

4. What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?

My ideas for jewelry generally are inspired by the materials themselves.

5. What are your favorite materials?

Glass, amethyst, rose quartz, swarovski crystal and gemstones, as well as wire.

6. What is your favorite color? What colors are you drawn to?

I would have to say that pink and purple are my favorite colors.  I am also drawn to jewel tones, especially emerald green.

7. If someone were looking to take up a craft, what advice would you give them?

Do what you love! It will show in the quality of your work, especially if you are planning it as a business venture.

8. What is your area of interest in crafting? What do you specialize in?

I love making jewelry and learning to use new techniques and materials.  Recently I have been playing with sterling wire. 

9. What would be your top 5 tips for a beginner?

Don’t expect perfection at first, many of my early pieces I look at and wonder what¬†I was thinking!

Buy materials that speak to you, even if you don’t know what to do with them.¬† Unless, of course, ¬†you can’t afford them. ūüė¶

Buy the nicest tools you can afford.¬†¬†Trust me, my $3 craft store pliers wore out fairly quickly and marked¬† up my wire.¬† The cutters¬†and round-nose pliers wore out the fastest, so if you can’t afford an entire¬†set, I would advise getting these two.

10. What would be your top 5 items of essential equipment?

round nose pliers

cutters

flat nose pliers

crimping pliers

bench block and rubber mallet/chasing hammer

set of crochet hooks for making bails/coils/jump rings

11. Can you recommend a technique or ‘tips’ book ideal for a beginner?

There are so many good books and magazines on stringing that it is hard to pick one or two.  For wire I would suggest Bead On A Wire by Sharilyn Miller.

12. Can you recommend any brands to look out for, when buying equipment or kit?

I love my Lindstrom Pliers! They fit well in my hand and are high-quality. (Always pick a pair of pliers that fits comfortably in your hand)

13. Do you sell your work, or is it purely for pleasure?

I do sell my work, but I make¬†jewelry mainly because I like making it.¬†I guess¬†I sell my work to have money to buy more supplies! ūüôā

14. What is your Etsy shop address and name? Where else can we find you?

My etsy shop is: www.LRSOriginals.etsy.com

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Bella Mental

Posted by Ivonnardona on 06/13/2008

Bella Mental is an amazing artist and she gets right to the point in this here interview. Make sure you check out her shop!!

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Lisa; I’m a 32 year old mom, who is currently between careers. I’m hoping to start earning a degree in graphic arts in the near future.

2. Tell me a bit about your background and how long you have been an artist/crafter.

I grew up around women who sewed. There was always scrap fabric to play with and a sewing machine available (I wish I knew what ever happened to grandma’s old Singer….I would kill to get my hands on that thing now!). I inherited my artistic abilities from my father. I can’t really remember ever not being an artist or crafter. It’s in my blood.

3. What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?

I remember when I was about 7; I made a bulldog stuffed animal out of yellow shiny fabric. I drew the face on with a green marker.¬† My mom said I had too many animals, and I couldn’t have anymore, so I took matters into my own little hands!

4. What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?

My number one source of inspiration comes from nature. She is, after all, the mother of all crafters!

5. What are your favorite materials?

Fabric, wood, lots of things. I love discovering a new material and then using it in a way that no one has thought of.

6. What is your favorite color? What colors are you drawn to?

I love all the colors! Red would not be as striking if there was no blue to contrast it!

7. If someone were looking to take up a craft, what advice would you give them?

Look for ideas, not projects. Cast aside all the instructions and let your inner creativity take over!

8. What is your area of interest in crafting? What do you specialize in?

All things natural.

9. What would be your top 5 tips for a beginner?

1) Don’t limit yourself; creativity never fits neatly into one category. Let it spill out into any area it wants!

2) Ladies: Learn to use power tools. They can be your best friends.

3) Don’t expect to make a living at it (at least not right away). Like anything else, it takes time¬†and experience, not to mention hard work.

4) Think outside the box! Way outside if you want to….that’s how new ideas are born!

5) Don’t judge yourself too harshly. Just because your finished project doesn’t look like somebody else’s, doesn’t mean it’s not good.

10. What would be your top 5 items of essential equipment?

1) Sewing machine

2) Computer/printer/Photoshop

3) Digital camera

4) Paints & brushes

5) My eyes & hands

11. Can you recommend a technique or ‘tips’ book ideal for a beginner?

The book that I refer to as The Big Blue Book – “Reader’s Digest Crafts & Hobbies” I don’t think there is an area of crafting that is not covered in that book.

12. Can you recommend any brands to look out for, when buying equipment or kit?

I don’t shop by brand, I like to go to check out the product(s) and judge the quality for myself.

13. Do you sell your work, or is it purely for pleasure?

I have to sell my work; otherwise I’d craft myself out of house and home!

14. What is your Etsy shop address and name? Where else can we find you?

http://BellaMental.Etsy.com

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Human Touch Designs

Posted by Ivonnardona on 04/09/2008

This interview is about a very talented jewelry maker, Human Touch Designs.  I love her work and I believe you will find her to be very interesting, as well as multi-talented.  Enjoy!

Garden of LoveTell me a little bit about yourself. 

My name is Lisa Human.  I’m a 29-year old wife and mom to a wonderful 9-year old son named Kaige.  While I’m a full-time Administrative Assistant by day, I find time for my true passion of jewelry making during the evenings and weekends.  I am the Owner and Designer for Human Touch Designs. 

Tell me a bit about your background and how long you have been an artist/crafter. 

I was born and raised in Michigan City, IN, the eldest of four children to a longshoreman and housewife.  I have been crafting since I was very small, and besides various elementary school art projects, I grew to love crafting in all of its shapes and form with the guidance of my grandmother.  Over the course of the past 15 years, I have worked in needlework, crochet, knitting and scrapbooking.

What is the first thing you can remember making by hand?

How and why did you make it?  With the assistance and guidance of my Grandmother, I created a small framed puppy dog needlework piece.  Together, we framed it and gave it to my father as a gift, and now the piece hangs proudly in my own living room.

What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from? 

I find inspiration in many things ‚Äď nature and my own color preferences are probably the strongeGreen Florast of these.¬†

What are your favorite materials? 

I really love the sparkle of fire polished Czech glass and use it quite often in my work.  Lately, I’ve been working with more natural stones and lampwork beads.

What is your favorite color? What colors are you drawn to? 

My favorite color is pink, and I tend to be drawn toward pastels.¬† For those days when I‚Äôm feeling spunky, I tend to be drawn to brighter, louder colors ‚Äď cobalt blues and shades of fuschia.

If someone were looking to take up a craft, what advice would you give them?

Find something that you truly enjoy, something that can inspire you and others.  The most important thing would be to love what you do!

What is your area of interest in crafting? What do you specialize in? 

I specialize in jewelry making, with a very strong emphasis on custom bracelets.

What would be your top 5 tips for a beginner?  

Research, Network, Practice, Learn and Ask a lot of questions ‚Äď there are so many wonderful resources at ouSpring Flingr fingertips with the internet these days.

What would be your top 5 items of essential equipment?

For jewelry making, my top five would be my notebook for sketching inspirations and ideas, my pliers (round-nose, chain-nose and crimping!), my beading board, my computer (for all of my research) and lots of beads!!!

Can you recommend a technique or ‚Äėtips‚Äô book ideal for a beginner?¬†¬†

None specifically, but definitely look into all of the great messageboards and groups online ‚Äď there are a ton of resources online.

Can you recommend any brands to look out for, when buying equipment or kit?   

Lindstrom pliers really are worth the extra money ‚Äď they are comfortable and durable!

Do you sell your work, or is it purely for pleasure? 

I sell my work

What is your Etsy shop address and name? Where else can we find you? 

My etsy shop is located at http://www.humantouchdesigns.etsy.com ‚Äď You can also find Human Touch Designs online at http://www.humantouchdesigns.com and http://www.humantouchdesigns.blogspot.com

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GG’s Exclusives

Posted by Ivonnardona on 03/29/2008

chainmailleswarovski.jpgTell me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Ginny Moore, I’m 48, I reside in Batavia Ohio which is a suburb of Cincinnati.¬† I’ve been married almost 26 years; we have three children and three grandchildren.¬† My “day job” is working in an animal hospital which helps me take care of my animal habit!¬† I’ve lived in the same county my entire life, and in fact, I’ve only moved a total of five times my entire life!¬† I enjoy music, movies, working with animals, hiking, taking “day trips” to state parks to learn more about our state.¬† I enjoy horseback riding and my goal for THIS YEAR is to adopt a rescue horse and get back into riding again after many years of health issues which prevented it.

Tell me a bit about your background and how long you have been an artist/crafter.

I’ve always been “artsy”, ever since I was a small child. I’ve done sketches in charcoal, pencil and oil pastels, dabbled in painting, did “country crafts” for several years, love computer graphics but my biggest love is designing and creating jewelry.¬† The jewelry I started making when I was somewhere around 13 or 14, which means I’ve been doing this for almost 34 or 35 years!¬† A LONG TIME.

What is the first thing you can remember making by hand? How and why did you make it?

The very first thing I can remember creating of jewelry was this little swirled wire bracelet.¬† My cousin brought us some wire from old phone cable and it had all kinds of pretty colored wire inside it, and we took it and wound the ends up as spirals and then joined them all together.¬† I can’t even remember exactly how we did it now!¬† But that got me¬†hooked.¬† After that I started playing with stringing beads, and from there playing with wire working and¬†here we are.

What inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?

I get inspired from all kinds of places.¬† Mostly seeing combination of colors, sometimes in nature, sometimes in clothes.¬† I do a lot of spiritual jewelry as well, so the seasons inspire me, animals, that sort of thing.¬† Mostly things just come to me.¬† Sometimes I’ll just be sitting or laying in bed even and an idea hit me for something to try.¬† I never know where an idea or inspiration is going to come from!¬†

What are your favorite materials?

Oh, that’s a tough one, because I tend to bounce around a lot and I work in a lot of mediums. I love sterling silver, copper, I also enjoy beading and chainmaille,¬†AND I also enjoy designing and creating art beads from polymer clay, which I sell and also use in my finished pieces.¬† I enjoy using Swarovski Austrian crystals, gemstone beads, lampwork glass my husband makes.¬† SO many different things, and they are all my favorites at the time, I just get “tired” of doing any one thing for too long, then I move to the next and eventually work my way back around.

What is your favorite color? What colors are you drawn to?

rosegemstoneartbeadbracelet.jpg

Oh, this is an EASY question, I adore purple.¬† I have to watch myself or I would make EVERYTHING in purple.¬† I do like purple combos though too, I love purple and peridot green together, and red, pink…..¬† I’m going to try some purple, peridot green and brown, which seems to be getting more popular these days.¬† But I’ve never been one to follow color trends; I go where my muses take me!

If someone were looking to take up a craft, what advice would you give them? 

Do something you like.¬† Be original, don’t “copy” what others do, be your own person and make your art your very own.¬† Do it for the love of it, and for no other reason.¬† Selling it is great, but do it for YOU, and you’ll be happy.

What is your area of interest in crafting? What do you specialize in?

Designing and creating jewelry and designing and creating art beads are my main focus right now.¬† I’ve tried other things, but my jewelry and my beads are my bread and butter and so those are what I am sticking with.¬† I specialize in wire worked and wire wrapped jewelry, also chainmaille, and in beads, I specialize in lampwork styled polymer clay art beads and hand-sculpted flower beads.¬† I have gotten so many compliments on my beads, people; even experienced artisans think my polymer clay beads are lampwork!¬† I take a lot of care and put a lot of work into my beads, and I really enjoy making them.

What would be your top 5 tips for a beginner?

1) Be honest and have integrity about your work

2) Don’t get discouraged, everything takes time

3) Find a mentor, someone whose work you admire

4) Don’t get dependant on classes or instruction books, let your imagination take you!

5) Learn how to ferret out great sources for your supplies, and find different things to use than others have!

What would be your top 5 items of essential equipment?

1) Tools YOU can handle well.  If cheapies work for you then USE THEM, but GOOD tools will make your work better and easier.  I still have one of the first pairs of pliers I ever used, they look horrible but I cannot part with them.

2) Organizing tools, so you can easily find what you need, makes your work so much easier

3) If you’re selling, good displays to photo on and a GOOD CAMERA for the photos, I feel photos are better than scanning as scanning does not allow you to use “props” which really add to your presentation

4) A cloth or pad to work on so you can lay your work out without it rolling around all over the place

5) Plenty of space for storage, this habit tends to take over your life!

Can you recommend a technique or ‚Äėtips’ book ideal for a beginner?¬†

Ummm, this is tough as I am totally self-taught, never had a lesson and I don’t read books about it.¬† If I was going to recommend something I would suggest to anyone to go to the one person they admire the most and ask them if THEY give lessons on their techniques and go that route.¬† Books can be good, but many a great would-be designer gets dependant on copying designs from books, and the whole purpose is to be a DESIGNER not an assembler!¬† So learn techniques NOT designs.¬† And if your favorite artist isn’t able to help you, find a local bead store and see about classes.¬† If you can’t find any, the internet has plenty of tutorials out there, or go my route and grab some tools and practice the way you think it’s done, until you get it down!¬† ūüôā¬† Use cheap wire at first (24 gauge brass is good), and once you have your technique down, move on to the precious metals.¬† Learning all on your own can be tough, but it’s far more rewarding.

Can you recommend any brands to look out for, when buying equipment or kit?

Well, be careful of cheap imports on tools, if they “jiggle” when you open and close them, leave them.¬† Also, when buying pliers, close them, if you see space, forget them.¬† For round nosed pliers you want them to meet together NOT cross over one another.¬† For wire, go with SOFT, working it will harden it, or you can always hammer it, often wire that is half hard or hard is BRITTLE and won’t hold up over time if it’s stressed at all.¬† I don’t buy kits or use them, so I’m not much help in that department, but I’d have to say to make sure WHAT is in it, and WHERE it came from before taking the plunge and spending your hard earned money on it.¬† And if I was to buy a kit, I’d buy one that was put together by a designer and NOT a packaged kit from a craft store.

wirewowrkedlampworkswarovski.jpgDo you sell your work, or is it purely for pleasure?

I do sell it, but it still gives me pleasure!¬† I put a lot of ME in my work, and I feel about my jewelry and beads almost as if they are my “children”¬†meaning, they are little parts of me I have put out into the world for others.¬† I’ve sold all over the world, so I’ve sent my love and heart and soul to the four corners of the planet, and that gives me a great deal of pleasure.¬† To know little pieces of me are out there giving pleasure to others is a tremendous joy.

What is your Etsy shop address and name? Where else can we find you?

I have two Etsy stores, one for my jewelry http://www.ggsexclusives.etsy.com/ and my bead store, http://www.ggsexclusivelybeads.etsy.com/ and my main website http://www.ggsexclusives.com/¬†, folks can email me at ginny@ggsexclusives.com for any questions!¬† I’m also soon to be launching some new work with a friend and fellow designer, and when I do that info will be on my blog http://ggsexclusives.com/whatshappening/.

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