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

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