Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday Artisan: Sweet Silver

Meet Amy of Sweet Silver, our Saturday Artisan.

You must add her shop as favorite (I had!) because her work are simply beautiful.

There is something about Amy that I truly admire, her positive attitude and her praise to God of his blessing to her and her family. This is one of the reasons why I love handmade.

Tell us a bit about yourself and what arts/ crafts that you make?

I am almost 30 years old, I have been married to my husband for 5-1/2 years, and we have two very active and silly boys, ages 3-1/2 and 2. Oh, and we also have a 2-1/2 year old Border Collie mix who has so much energy you’d think we only fed him Red Bull. In addition to taking care of our boys, I work 20 hours a week in the office at a landscape irrigation service company while my mom and my mother in law take turns taking care of the boys. I am so thankful to God that I get to work with wonderful people at my “day job”, that my boys get to spend so much quality time with their grandparents (and we don’t have to pay for childcare!), that I get to spend some time being a stay-at-home mom, that I get to do something I love in my free time and make a little money doing it, and most of all for my loving and super supportive husband.

I discovered Fine Silver Precious Metal Clay in the fall of 2010 and taught myself, with the help of books and the internet, how to create jewelry with it. It is the most amazing material. It has a clay-like consistency composed of superfine particles of pure silver and an organic binder. It can be formed, shaped, and textured in almost exactly the same way as stoneware clay, but on a much smaller scale. Once the piece is dried, filed, and sanded to perfection, it is fired with a torch or in a kiln at very high temperatures until all of the organic binder burns away. What is left is 99.9 percent pure silver – more pure than sterling silver, which is 92.5 percent pure. Then the piece is painstakingly polished, a patina is applied, and then polished some more.

As long as I can remember I have always enjoyed creating something from scratch with my own hands. I have tried my hand at lots of different 'arts', including watercolor, pencil drawing, acrylic painting, sewing, clay, stained glass, paper crafting, wire and steel, photography, and graphic design. I even like putting together Ikea furniture! I love that even though jewelry is what I create, I get to use almost all of my past art interests in the creation and promotion of my work. From sketching ideas, to using some of the same techniques I learned in working with stoneware clay, to working with wire and tools, to sewing handmade felt pouches for my personalized metal clay items, to photographing my items, to graphic design and paper crafting to aid in the recognition and feel of my “brand”.


Which part of creation process that you like to do the most?
I truly love every part of the creation process, but I would have to say my favorite part is when I get to work with a customer to design a piece that is personalized specifically for them, and then delivering the finished product to them. My Sweet Petite Teardrop Initial pendant came about in this way and is one of my favorite pieces. A friend was pregnant with her second baby girl and described what she wanted for a “mommy necklace”. We emailed back and forth for a few weeks discussing different options and refining exactly what it was she wanted. I was able to complete the necklace just a couple weeks before her sweet little girl was born and she got to wear the necklace during the birth.

Could you share on how your organize your products, we all can use a little tips here and there in this department?
I LOVE CONTAINERS! As I have acquired more and more gemstone beads, I have had to “upgrade” my storage. I love the Snapware Smart Store System of containers. The boxes are clear and come in lots of different sizes. They have handles and the lids snap on with clasps that are effective at keeping little hands out! My workspace is in my kitchen/dining room/office, so I try to keep it as tidy as possible. I find that if my workspace is clean and tidy, so is my brain and my thought process. (Both can get quite cluttered!)

What is your best seller?

My best seller so far is my Lovebirds Personalized Necklace. I created this because my dad wanted something that he could give my mom for Valentines Day that would also commemorate their 40th year of marriage. (WOW!) I came up with the design of the kissing lovebirds sitting in a tree, which led me to thinking about how couples carve their initials into a tree. The back has a faux bois/tree bark texture that I carved their initials into. I have sold a few of these and each one ends up being just slightly different than the one previous, which is the awesome thing about handmade and individually created pieces.

How do you balance your personal and work life?
Actually, I don’t believe my life is in balance. With two small children, my husband, an office job, a house to keep up, and a small business, and trying to fit sleep in there somewhere, I constantly feel like I am just trying to keep up. I frequently do not get the laundry put away, or the floors cleaned, and sometimes I have to put off jewelry projects until later, but I try to remind myself that God did not create me to DO stuff, but to LOVE people. If I love my family and the other people in my life well, then that is success.

How do you promote your shop?
I have a facebook page, and I just started a Tumblr. blog where I plan to post a bit about how I create with metal clay and what inspires me. You can also see some of my photographs there. Please “like” me and or “follow” me! I would love to hear feedback and any suggestions for new items.

4 comments:

  1. I haven't heard of Precious Metal Clay before but it certainly allows you to creates lovely pieces with quite intricate designs. I am very fond of silver and semi precious stones.
    wendyhatton9at)yahoo.com.au

    ReplyDelete
  2. I did not know that such a thing as fine silver clay existed- how fascinating! I would love to see a larger variety of embossed pieces because they make your work unique.

    olivia
    oliviabeaumontart@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. Beautiful jewelry! Congrats for your work, keep it coming!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm glad that she is like me - feeling out of balance with the kids, the house, the job, and an etsy shop!

    I would like to find some of this Fine Silver Precious Metal Clay and see how difficult it is to use. thanks for the interview!

    ReplyDelete