This week, your trusty blogger is finally up for her own Friday Spotlight! I'm Alicia of Elements & Artifacts. Let's go!
Tell us a little about the items in your shop. What do you make?
I create inspired artisan jewelry and artwork based on various myths, legends, histories, cultures, and customs. I tend to release my work as collections with overarching themes, while also including items that reflect the seasons and elements for that particular time of year. For instance, every year I reinterpret the months of the year (in Latin), the pagan Sabbats, and various symbols that reflect the ebb and flow of the four seasons. I adore the aesthetics of the fin de siécle and Art Nouveau movement and my favorite time of year is Autumn and Halloween.
My jewelry work has a very strong focus on ornate/filigree wire work, hand-forged wire elements and earwires, textured metalwork, precious metal clay (in fine silver, bronze, and copper), and of course sparkling gemstones.
I love the added challenge inherent in difficult materials and advanced techniques and I find it very rewarding on a personal level. As an artist I always strive to evolve my work and, in turn, myself. Elements & Artifacts will always be a work in progress. My ultimate goal in this is to tap into each concept in a way that best evokes its feeling and mood. I draw upon my inspiration, research, and personal style—as well as reaching into new materials and techniques—to offer what I hope are unique, wearable artifacts.
What is your creative process?
My work is very conceptual and my creative process with jewelry mirrors the creative process that my art professors taught. At any given moment, I am brainstorming for upcoming collections. My creative process involves an ever-rotating medley of research, reading, and sketching ideas in my idea book. There are times that ideas for collections will percolate years before I ever start the actual work on the jewelry. Even so, most of my planning and sketching involves one or two key design points per item. When it's time to create, I sit down and open myself up to see what sort of spontaneous inspiration comes to me in creating the rest of each piece. I love having a balance between planned elements and spur-of-the-moment creativity.
Which Etsy Teams do you belong to?
TeamBPAL, the California Crafter's Club of Etsy, and the San Francisco Etsy Street Team.
When you are not creating things, what do you do?
Most days, I am wrangling the chaos that is parenting an energetic toddler. I also take ballet and pointe classes with Western Ballet Company and do freelance graphic design, illustration, and tattoo design. I love to travel, visit the ocean, fire dance, play WoW, and find new/cool places in the city.
Tell us two random, interesting things about you.
1. I have spent the better part of my life in art classes. However, I absolutely cannot stand the feeling and texture of charcoal and dry pastels. It literally raises the hair on the back of my neck until it's off of me and I can no longer hear or sense the way it rubs on the paper. I have had to struggle through numerous semesters of 3-hour studio classes with my hair standing on end, goose bumps on my arm, and the occasional body-wide shudder.
2. Forget dinner and a movie! I can eat inhuman amounts of movie theater popcorn, and would choose it over many other things. I also carry a miniature salt shaker in my purse for my popcorn.
What has been your proudest moment since opening your Etsy shop?
It's so difficult to pick. I will never, ever take for granted all of the lovely notes that I get from happy customers. I still recall the first sale I made to a stranger. I am still over the moon that Gail Kops of Beadles offered me a designer page on her website. I am also very excited about having my work shown at Modern Eden, a fine art gallery and studio in San Francisco.
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Be consistent in your efforts and creative output, remember that you are your own best marketing tool, don't be shy about getting the word out about your work, always strive to improve your photography since that is the most important selling point for online sales, be honest about your inspirations, be supportive of other creative friends and teammates, and most of all have fun!
What handmade possession do you cherish?
There are countless that I'd like to name, but I'll go with my sacred talisman which holds a magical symbol on the face of it. It was hand-carved by a dear friend of mine and finished into a pendant.
If you could have any item on Etsy regardless of price, what would it be?
It is so difficult to choose only one, but lately I've been fascinated with the art of lost wax casting, so I'll link to these Smoke Wing Cicadas. I'd probably go with garnet, and possibly a pendant rather than a ring.
What other skill or talent do you wish you could possess, if you had not taken this creative path?
While I would not trade anything I have in my life right now, I have always wondered where I'd be if I had pursued a performing career in dance. I've also had many daydreams about getting a culinary degree.
Where else can we find you on the web?
That's all for this time! Have a wonderful autumn weekend and we will return in two weeks!