Thursday, December 30, 2010

~*Spotlight on Designer Cheryl Strait!*~

I'd like to introduce you to, ~*CHERYL STRAIT!*~
Before she and I met in person recently, Cheryl and I knew one another's name via the Internet for a couple of years. We had both participated in a One World One Heart blog hop hosted by Lisa Swifka!

I felt an instant rush when I read her name on a sign behind a table she was vending from in Danbury CT. this past fall. 
Instant recognition!

We were both excited to meet one another in person and I really enjoyed viewing and browsing through her array of hand made jewelry offerings.
The selection was so diverse and interesting! She creates a lot of wonderful eye candy!

Cheryl creates mixed media charms too!
Be sure to visit her links so that you can view a wide selection of art to wear that she creates!

Some of Her Handmade Art Charm Collection.

This Is Her Studio!

Enameled Metals

Cheryl, you design a wide array of jewelry and charms. 
How did you get started?
Growing up I was always involved in something creative, be it crafts in girl scouts, , painting and creating signs for the pep club in Middle and High school ,and now Jewelry Making, My husband who was in the Army, always gave me jewelry and after his death in 1997, I thought I would never receive another piece of jewelry from him, after Soul searching and putting my creative wheels in motion, I used my savings to take classes from some of the best instructors I could, and then began working on my jewelry making skills, and growing my business. In essence I feel every time I make a piece of jewelry my husband has a hand in it, and is shining down on me from above.

What are some of your favorite materials to work with and why?
I am a metal and stone girl, I love working with Sterling Silver and gemstones, Sterling has a quality like no other, and using techniques to manipulate this material, is incredibly rewarding.
For stones I like working with Natural gemstones,Turquoise is still my favorite, there is something therapeutic to this stone for me, the colors , veins and textures are amazing.

What is your favorite method of aging metal?
I don't think I have one particular favorite, but I do love hammering on rock stone or concrete to create texture.

Do you feel that you are inspired by nature? 
Yes, I love to sneak away and spend time at the Ocean , desert and Mountains, it brings me back to One, and it does wonders for my Creative Soul.

What types of charms do you collect (if any)
I love handmade charms. 

Do you have any special memories that involve charms?
.....Actually the one that sticks out is when (you) Amber Dawn traded your charms with me at Art is You, in Danbury Ct. This year. It was just so touching , the moment is forever in my heart! 

Thank you SO much for sharing part of your world with us Cheryl!
One of my favorites!!!- UrbanRomantic on Etsy!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

~*Cynthia Deis*~ Charming Tutorial & Interview- December Spotlight Feature (#1)

This month I will be shining a spotlight on a few artists and designers. 

~*I'd like to share with you, one of America's great sources for beautiful, stylish & trendy charm making ideas, supplies and components, CYNTHIA! Well, not exactly-. ~*Ornamentea*~ 
The selection of merchandise is wonderful*~

Cynthia Deis is the owner of the famous bead and jewelry shop Ornamentea & one of my Spotlight Features for this month. I met her through a charm swap I hosted & liked her right away.

She has a bright personality and a lot of design ideas to share. I enjoy her blog & tutorials. She is an ornament to the art charm design community & has added a lot of goodness to it. 
Without further ado... 

Interview with Cynthia Deis by, Amber Dawn

Hi Cynthia, would you please introduce yourself?
Hello! I am Cynthia Deis. I am from Ohio, although I am settled in North Carolina. I have been a maker my whole life and was lucky enough to grow up in a family where the expectation of all of us was that we'd be engaged in productive, crafty work most of the time. 

Do you have a charm bracelet? 
If so, what are your favorite charms on it (why?) 
Oh yes! I have several! I love both the idea of charms as tiny bits of wearable art and the idiom of the charm bracelet with the narrative and thematic possibilities it presents. 

I think my favorite of all my bracelets is one that features charms related to my husband and children. It has a variety of charms and hand-made beads that remind me of my family and I wear it every time I travel. My favorite charm of all is on this bracelet. It is a sweet soldered-glass charm that has my daughter's name and the word 'big sister' on it that was made for me by Denita Purser, a good friend and talented artist. Denita actually gave the charm to my daughter when her younger sister was born but I have been 'saving' it for her on my bracelet. I love that the charm has clear glass in it, somehow the heart floating in the clear glass really appeals to me. I think that was also one of the first hand-made charms I was ever given, and so that makes it extra special. On this bracelet I also have a crab charm/bead made by Bob Burkett (my husband is a Cancer, so that's for him), a Green Girl metal-clay charm that I wore when I was pregnant and other things like that. The bracelet also has ribbon and bits of cloth tied along the chain-they are scraps from a baby jumper my mother made for my oldest daughter.

What is your earliest or happiest memory of making jewelry?
My earliest memory is of discovering some brass wire in our garage as a young teen and curving spiral swirls of the wire that opened out into earrings. I hammered the wire on the concrete back porch and left chips in the porch! I made so many pairs of those earrings and sold them to other girls at school. I should have recognized then that I would be a jewelry designer but somehow it took me another 15 years to really get that straight
Some of my happiest memories of making jewelry involve being with other artists around a table. I love the give-and-take of conversation that occurs when you are making something with your hands and eyes. Somehow the heart opens up and the most wonderful connections are made between the artists.

What is it that you love most about designing jewelry?
That it is wearable. It's hard to walk around with your newest painting under your arm but a new bracelet can immediately be taken out and shown to the world. 

How did Ornamentea come to be?
After I finally realized I should be a jewelry designer I started designing and selling my work under the trade name Bedizen Ornaments. I sold to small boutiques and did private-label work for catalogs and better chain stores. I really enjoyed the challenge of designing for different types of specific customers and the pace of designing several large collections a year. The work involved a lot of travel and I was lucky enough to meet and make friends with so many talented designers and store owners from around the country. After several years the company grew to the point where my husband left his corporate job to help me with the business side of the operation. He had the idea to open the store when the neighborhood around our studio began to gentrify and he actually built the very first store, shelf-by-shelf. We opened with a store that sold some of my jewelry, work by some of my friends and lots and lots of beads. I loved having a store and teaching people to create their own jewelry!  As the business grew over the first year I realized that I could stay home more and concentrate on the store and on working with people and helping them with their creative projects. I gave up designing for production clients the week after I taught the first class at our store. It was so much fun to teach people how to make their own jewelry, I wanted to do that every day.

Can you tell us how you have celebrated International Handmade Art Charms Day in the past?
I have participated in swaps but this last year I set upon the perfect way to celebrate. I placed wrapped charms around town that day with a message saying that I was celebrating International Charm Day and letting the person know they had received a gift from me. I put in my blog address, too, in case the recipient wanted to contact me. A few did and it was fun to see that they enjoyed the discovery! I think I will do the same thing this year. I have been saving charms all year for this! I didn't travel anywhere special, just went along on my normal errands to the library, grocery store and shoe repair shop. 

Do you have any favorite jewelry components that you recommend we try?
On of my very favorite things to use for making charms is fold-over or crimp-on ribbon ends. They aren't just for ribbon! I have used these for paper, mica, cloth, chain and just about anything else. I love using them to anchor tiny books. 

Here is a tutorial that Cynthia designed in which she shows us how to use one of her favorite components to make mini book charms with, the  fold-over or crimp-on ribbon ends<---link (you just need to scroll down a little once you click the link to find them)

Reminder Charm
Designer, Cynthia Deis

This tiny charm is composed of dictionary definitions from a French-English dictionary. The words chosen remind the wearer to detortiller, to relax and untwist themselves. Like many of my favorite charms, it addresses a need I have to untwist myself from the daily whirl of activity from time-to-time. I’ve added a safety pin to the charm so that it can easily be pinned to a collar.

1 antique copper crimp-on ribbon end bar, ½ inch
1 antique brass square jump ring, ¼ inch
1 silvertoned safety pin, 1 inch
1 small plastic blossom
dictionary pages

Chain nose pliers
Flat nose pliers

1.Trim the dictionary page into strips ½ inch by 1 ½ inches so that the selected words will show. Allign pages and place them inside the crimp-on ribbon end. Using your flat nose pliers slowly crimp the ribbon end until the pages are secure.
2. Using your chain nose pliers open the jump ring. Feed the ring through the loop on the ribbon end and through the safety pin and blossom. Check the alignment of the blossom and the pin before closing the jump ring securely. 

Choose pages from old maps depicting locations you’d like to visit.
Print images of family members and pin this to your collar before you head out of town on a long trip.
Use fortune-cookie fortunes for the pages.

509 N. West St. Raleigh, NC 27603

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~*Thank you Cynthia!*~
-Amber Dawn