Jill Mayberg: Jill Mayberg creates colorful paintings and prints that draw from a variety of sources, including primitive folk art, expressionism, and abstract modernism. Chief among her influences are the activities of her daily life, and especially the activities that revolve around her dog.
Starting each new piece with a general idea, Mayberg works in a free and associative way, allowing ideas, words, and graphics to suggest themselves as she works. Her original mixed media paintings are created with acrylic paint, thick archival rag papers, oil pastels and graphite, and her intuitive and abstract process results in colorful, personal, and eclectic pieces.
Niffer of 19 Moons spends her mornings eating eggs, potatoes and toast with (veggie) bacon or chocolate chip laced pumpkin pancakes. She says, ‘You see, I really like to mix it up- that way I get the most flavor per bite of life!’ Her first pet was a dog named Ulysses: a nice mutt often dubbed ‘Useless’, but currently she has a zillion wild critters to watch in her yard in Pittsburgh, where she moved a year ago, from San Francisco. She wanted to be with her boyfriend. Ah, sweet love. You can buy directly from her Etsy store or from many stores around the US and abroad.
How did you get interested in making jewelry?
I’ve always been crafty and making things since I could walk and talk. My first jewelry inspiration came in childhood from the Native American tribes of the Southwest. Feathers, bones and beads in brightly colored patterns! I began jewelry with beading and using recycled nuts and bolts, evolving to more styles and materials over time. After years of exploration, I’ve come full circle and lately am making some Indian inspired works.
Where do you find the supplies?
Anywhere and everywhere! All my designs incorporate vintage and recycled things which I re-purpose into jewelry. I find things at Fleas, Thrifting, Antiques, online etc. New items like gold and silver chain I buy at bead supply shops and online.
Where do you get your ideas?
From the ethers! Well actually just here on Earth- there is so much in the realms of nature and man to inspire. Largely it’s the materials themselves with all the history they bring to the table.
How long does it take to make a piece? Can you describe the process?
The time required varies widely depending on the piece. But really, sometimes I feel like they make themselves. It happens like magic- I put two or more totally different things together and if they click, it’s a marriage! Sometimes I let ideas sit for a while and come back to them, a sort of fermentation process. Assembly techniques vary- I do a little of everything.
Do you have another job or is this how you make your income?
No other job for me- making things is my living!
Where is your workroom? Can you describe it for me?
My studio is a dedicated workroom in my house just for jewelry and crafting. Nothing extraordinary about it- though I have some plans for a workbench and loft. The nicest thing is that the window faces our huge Spruce trees which are riddled with little inspiring animals.
What is the difference between your different lines: PLASTINIA, ARCADIA, X-MACHINA and DIONE?
The majority of work I do these days is in my X-Machina line, jewelry that incorporates outdated recycled technology (i.e. watch parts, payphone keys etc.) The aesthetic of this line runs from Industrial to Steampunk. There is some crossover with my other lines. Dione has a space-age theme with Art Nouveau influence (think F.W. Murnau’s Metropolis). Arcadia (Paradise) is nature Victorian style- birds, gardens and the like. Plastinia is my colorful retro 60’s-80’s line featuring recycled plastics from that era, like Lite-Brites and lucite buttons.
What does Steampunk mean?
Steampunk is a subculture that is quickly gaining steam in the fashion world. I believe it evolved as an offshoot from the Neo-Victorian movement with a more mechanical focus- sort of an older industrial version of Cyberpunk. Basically technology of the future through the lens of the 1800’s, as seen in the literature of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and others.
Do you sell your items in any stores or exclusively on Etsy?
I mainly sell on Etsy but I also do shows and stores. My work is carried in several stores around the country in CA, PA, AZ, WA states, plus two abroad in England and Australia. There’s more info on these and my upcoming shows at my other website, 19moons.com.
What does the future hold for you?
That I cannot say- as long as I am still growing and learning with the creative process then it should be bright!
Anna lives in Gloucestershire, England where she is a student and loves art, music, crafts, animations and video games. She’s an animation student so most of the time she’s working on her films and projects. She makes charms to fill in bits of idle time along with playing some video games. Check out her store!
How long have you been making these tiny charms?
Not very long to be honest! I’ve always made random bits of sculpture from various types of clay over the years but I didn’t take it too seriously until I discovered how to make cold porcelain clay. It’s only been…about a year!
Handprinting seems to be gaining in popularity in the handmade community, and it can be difficult for designer-makers to differentiate themselves. This week I’m talking with Alex Snowdon, a Cheshire-based graphic designer who sells beautiful handprinted bags, cushions and cards.
A few years ago, Alex realised that she missed the hands-on aspects of graphic design, as the industry became more computer-based. With a background in illustration and hand-lettering, she went back to university to study design and illustration, which she undertook while still working full-time. Alex loved the course and reconnected with crafting and printmaking, especially the joy of creating something with her own hands.
In 2009 Alex was offered a stall at a craft fair and frantically managed to print a small collection of bags and cards to showcase. The fair was a huge success and prompted Alex to set up an Etsy shop to widen her reach. Since then, she has made a lot of sales both on and offline, including wholesale to retail outlets in the UK and Australia – a dream for many crafters!
Alex still works full-time and crafts in her free time but would love to give up her day job eventually, even it that meant sacrificing a steady income. “I love the fact that someone has chosen to buy something that’s not mass produced, that they’re supporting the growing craft industry and basically, daring to be different. I love how the whole process is more personal when you’re buying or selling something handmade, for instance I always put a handwritten note in with my parcels – it’s just nice to have the human touch.”
Aside from crafting, Alex loves to travel and gains inspiration from her experience. She particularly draws on Chinese and European papercuts as well as Scandanavian design. Alex is also realistic about her goals and wants to work on promoting her products in order to increase her customer base. “I don’t really promote myself enough. I’ve been lucky so far in that people have approached me but I know that in order to make my business grow I’m going to need to put myself out there a bit more.”
Like many savvy designers, Alex already uses media-sharing websites like Flickr and takes advantage of the groups to share her work. She is now planning to set up a Facebook page for her designs and has identified shops in Manchester that she would like to approach.
Alex also sees the value of the handmade community for promoting work and sharing ideas. “The handmade scene in the UK is definitely growing and I think the support is there if you know where to look for it. The crafting scene is very big in North America and I think it will eventually be the same here. I think the economic downturn has also made people more concerned with getting value for their money and spending what they do have on something that’s unique and good quality, all the things that come with buying handmade.”
Do you have any advice or ideas to share on promoting your work? Post here or send me a tweet to @elliethouret.