What is your craft / art / creative endeavor?
Hand hammered jewelry using the ancient techniques of repousse and chasing. I mostly work in silver. My favorite items to make are pendants and earrings.
How did you get started? Have you worked in other creative areas before the kind of work you’re doing now?
I started by taking a U.C.L.A. extension class in making handwrought jewelry (as opposed to doing the lost wax casting method). I then was introduced to a German man who specialized in repousse, and studied with him for several years. Before turning to jewlery making, I wrote episodes of some animated t.v. shows.
Is there a story behind the name of your shop?
Yes. I was at the airport checking in for a flight to New Zealand. This was before 9/11, when one could still take things like hammers and saws into the cabin of a jet. I had my toolbox with me, and the airline attendant asked me what was in it. I told her it held my jewelry making tools. Somewhat surprised, she stated, “Humm, a woman with tools”. I have been a woman with tools ever since.
Do you work alone? With a team? Do you engage your family or friends in the work? What is your process? How do you ensure you get your work done yet still have a life?
I make jewelry by myself. I do get input from family and friends as to what items they like the most. I work best in the morning; it sort of sets the tone for the day. I am still trying to figure out how to balance everything in my life. It’s sometimes hard to concentrate on making something when my little dog comes over, drops a toy at my feet, and stares up at me.
Where do you sell your work? Which venues are your favorites? Do you prefer selling online or in person? Do you attend shows or fairs? Is your work in a gallery or brick-and-mortar store?
I used to have my work in a few galleries, but it’s hard making a profit on silver jewelry that takes such a lot of time and work to make. I’m not too good at selling my things in person, so online is perfect for me.
Right now my only shop is on Etsy.
Do you have any favorite handmade shops or sellers you’d like to recommend?
I’ve made friends with a lot of fantastic and talented people on Etsy. It’s hard to limit to 3, but I admire Tasha at http://www.etsy.com/shop/earjeans, Judy at http://www.etsy.com/shop/ConfectionsInGlass, and Shoshi at http://www.etsy.com/shop/ShoshiPo.
What inspires and motivates you?
Ancient metalwork that I see in museums and in books. Beautiful designs such as those from the Arts and Crafts period, and the jade and wood carvings of the Maori people of New Zealand.
What do you wish I had asked you?
How I met my husband. It was in a Kung Fu class. I was one of two women in the class. Now how many people can say that?
Thanks Lynn! And if you would like to be interviewed next, just head over to DIY Interview.
Michelle Prosek: I am inspired by the flowing organic forms of nature and the clean lines of geometry and architecture. I love experimenting with new ideas and pushing the boundaries of what glass can do.
I personally cut, carve, fuse and shape every single one of my designs to ensure that they are all one of a kind works of art. Each finished piece can take up to 90 hours to complete. I often feel like a pioneer in the glass fusing arts, because I am constantly creating new techniques and methods for working with kiln-fired glass.
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