Posts Tagged ‘jewelry’
And now to introduce you to the newest Artists du Jour…that right, artists with an ‘s’… the lovely ‘stache sporting, jewelry creating couple, Meredith and Jacob Parker. I am SO lovin’ their metal work… and guys, they even make awesome belt buckles!
Who are you and what do you do?
Meredith and Jacob Parker, married couple. We are the owners and operators of Leeward Be, a metal and jewelry shop.
Essentially, both of us have been doing creative things our entire life, so having this shop – this sort of amalgam of our styles and talents, and a focus with which to pursue it – it’s really a dream for us.
We do everything by hand around here. We have a Dremel for drilling holes, but everything else is all us. Cutting, sanding, filing, engraving, hammering, riveting…all of it.
When you do things by hand, you really get to know the material you’re working with: how it reacts, what its limits are, what it can be coaxed into doing if you do it right. You don’t get that level of intimacy with power tools because there is that barrier between your hands and the metal.
What are the best aspects of being able to create and work with your significant other?
M: Getting to spend time together; you get to do what you love with the person you love.
I’m also not afraid to offer input or criticism because we know each other so well that I don’t have to worry about whether or not he’s going to take it personally. We both want to put out the best piece that we can.
I also like that the longer we are together, the more a hybrid style develops; our two separate styles becoming one. A bigger, more powerful style.
J:Yeah! I like…synergy? I don’t know.
You get to the point where the other person is an additional tool: you watch each other work and you know what the other person needs before they need it. It becomes a very streamlined process.
Plus, in a weird way, there is no pressure since the other person thinks you are great regardless, but also immense pressure because they are the one person in the world that you want to impress.
You guys are making some really great pieces of jewelry and I understand that metals are a newer endeavor for you both. What creative paths led you to jewelry making?
M: I’ve always sketched and drawn, and I’ve worked with clay. Knitting and crocheting are what got me a job at a local bead store, where I was totally submerged for four years. I learned the basics of how to make jewelry: balance, color, etc. Once we learned how to work with metal, I could add my other experience to it, so it was just a matter of bringing it all together.
J: We’ve been working with metals for around nine months now. We heard that the community college had a good course, and it sounded interesting, so we took it together. Completely life changing; we both suddenly found this medium that just instantly clicked. It was great, and we had a great teacher.
Neither of us, though, are new to art or making things in general. I mean, I have all of my notebooks from high school and college, but very little notes. What does that tell you?
Apart from art stuff, I grew up loving shiny things. Bedazzlers, Elton John, David Bowie, those roller skates with glittery wheels. Plus I love the kinetic sculptures of people like Arthur Ganson. The technicalities of that stuff just blow me away.
So art+shiny+sculptures=jewelry, I guess. Meredith is the one who really opened my eyes to the fact that you didn’t necessarily have to do gold hoop earrings every time. She made me see jewelry as creative, not just production.
Who or what inspires your designs?
J: Honestly, I think that we kind of play off of each other. I might be trying to sketch out an idea, and I’ll get frustrated with it and give up.
Then Meredith will take a look at it and throw her two cents in and take it in a new direction that I hadn’t thought of and, suddenly, it’s really a great idea and you know that it’s going to work. I’d like to think that I do the same for her.
It’s also pretty important to let things grow organically. A lot of times, where we begin is miles from where we end, but it seems to work out all right.
M: What he said.
Other than that, I’m gonna go with ‘complete accident.’
Metal is not an inexpensive venture, so if you make a small mistake, you kind of have to roll with it. Incorporate it into the design.
What superpower would most like to possess?
M: I know it sounds lame, but I would love to have a prehensile tail. At least once a day I say, ‘I need more hands.’ That’d take care of it. There’s all the classics – flight, invisibility, speed – but I think that, for what I do, a tail would be the most useful one. It’s not a fun one, but it’s the one I’d pick.
J: I wrestled with this. I think, as a guy, we wrestle with this question from about second grade. I used to cop out and say that I wanted to be affected by Earth’s yellow sun like Superman, because you would get all the superpowers. But, since I am now a fair-playing adult, I will say flight. Which is strange, because I hate flying.
When you’re not making jewelry, what are you up to?
M: I play the banjo…I really like my couch time…but in all honesty, I do metalwork for fun, even if it’s not to sell. I DO still love to crochet. I’m a generally fidgety person, so I like to keep my hands busy.
J: We hang out together. It’s as ambiguous a term now as it was when I said it back in high school. We might be playing music together or playing with our two cats, or cleaning the house. We DO watch a lot of America’s Funniest Home Videos. But, generally speaking, we do everything together.
Where can we find you?
As of this moment, you can find us online at
www.etsy.com/shop/LeewardBe, or you can follow us on twitter @LeewardBe
We don’t blog, or have a facebook page, or…whatever else. YET. We are currently investigating where best to establish our vast web presence. Physically, we are going to begin shopping our pieces to stores in the near future.
How will you know if we ever do those things? Follow us on the ol’ Twitter. We’ll let you know.
The lovely Parkers’ are offering a lovely 10% discount in their Etsy shop. Just enter the coupon code ‘benny‘.
Featured Artist du Jour interviewee, the delightful Laurel Bushman, proves that snack food is not just for eating… it makes darn cute jewelry, too.
Warning! The pictures in this interview may induce hunger. Please do not lick your monitor. That would be gross.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Laurel Bushman and I am currently working on small-scale molded pieces that I make into jewelry. Until recently I was working on huge murals but I love working in three dimensions and also fussing about details. I plan to keep working on the jewelry I sell in my Etsy shop, which mimics snack foods like teddy grahams and gold fish, but I am also hoping to make more time for my first love, which is drawing from life.
Describe your creative process.
With my charms and jewelry, I see a cookie I like and I go for it. I have boxes and boxes of molds I’ve made from casting various snacks that are waiting for their time to come to life. I really enjoy the process of capturing a great shape first with the alginate, then with fine plaster, and then working it over to make it refined enough to make a mold from the plaster with clay. It’s actually a very long process to get to a finished, painted or gold- leafed piece. By processing the shape, it really is transformed from a processed food into a hand-made work of art.
My process in drawing or painting is similar in some ways. I see something that attracts me for whatever reason, and I feel the need to transform it into my own dialect, from real to abstract via the paper and pencil or paint and canvas.
What ignited the passion for turning classic snack foods into fun little accessories?
I made a project as a student at Savannah College of Art and Design that involved casting snack foods like Oreos, Fig Newtons and candy bars in plaster and painting them to look identical to the originals. I discovered I enjoy making the edible inedible for some reason (which I have yet to pinpoint), and the process of casting opened up a lot of creative doors. The first charm I made for Etsy was the Gold Fish because I thought it was the perfect combination of art-school cleverness and marketability with art at its core. Since then I have been making as many charms and doo dads as I can think of with many more to come!
If you could have one super power, what would it be?
That’s easy- I’d fly and also be sure to overcome a slight fear of heights!
What other creative folks do you admire?
My mom is the most creative person I know. She can make anything into something useful, fun, or beautiful. As a kid, my brother and I had a huge playhouse made from cereal boxes, complete with windows and a chimney! She has always encouraged me to look at the world like a giant project filled with opportunities to learn.
Five favorite things in the world.
Taking long walks, writing letters, yoga, public libraries, experiencing a great performance of music. (A frothy cappuccino is a close runner up!)
Where can we find you?
I live in Santa Cruz, California and my etsy shop is http://www.etsy.com/shop/LaurelBushman
I’m also part of a great team of SCAD alumni with shops on Etsy. You can visit our blog at http://scadonetsy.blogspot.com or you can simply search for SCAD team on Etsy to see our items.