Stephanie Weber of Pickle Things has lived in Portland for the past five years. In her own words, ‘I love it here. Of all of the places that I have lived, I feel the most at home here. I like that it is so beautiful, has a great neighborhood/community feel, progressive and eco conscience and has fabulous restaurants.’ She lives with a dog, birds, fish and soon a cat and roommates who actually own all the animals. A self-described independent, perfectionist who cannot sit still, Stephanie loves fabric (specifically vintage patterns), cool glass jars, 70s embroidered wall hangings, screwball comedies from the 30s-40s, macaroni and cheese, vegetable gardens and rain. Don’t miss Stephanie’s shop and her blog.
Satanica Batcakes has lived in the Echo Park district of Los Angeles since 1995 and loves it. She says, ‘I wouldn’t live anywhere else in this city. We have trees and parks!’ She has a 17 year old son, Jordan, and two cats named Pixie and Battle Cat. Satanica describes herself as ridiculous, hilarious, imaginative, nurturing, fearless, polarizing and flexible. Some of her favorite things are the circus, vintage costumery, hanging out with clowns and making puppets. Without a doubt, Satanica is among the most unique crafters out there. You can find her shop here. You can also find Batcakes products at MediaNoche in Los Angeles and Fedora Primo in Santa Monica. [Read more…]
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!
Please welcome the newest contributor to Try Handmade: Rebecca Hadfield! Every week she will be bringing you eco-goodness with her column “Going Green.”
Please stop by the comments section after reading her first post and make her feel welcome!
With the rapid advance of technology, the electronics manufacturing industry is disposing of its obsolete parts at an alarming rate, making e-waste a concern to both the industry itself, as well as the public. By diverting unused computer and electronics components from the landfill and into our jewelry boxes, crafters such as Ruth Smith are leading the eco-crafting brigade.
As soon as Erika gave me the go-ahead to write the “Going Green” column on Try Handmade, I knew my first piece would be about Ruth Smith of PeriwinkleDzyns. Not only is Ruth a friend of mine, she is an an amazing crafter whose work is innovative, clever, and eco-friendly. Her beyond-cool jewelry appeals to such a broad audience – from the geeks to the chic. “Initially, I expected it to only appeal to geeks. You know, IT workers like myself; gamers, computer nerds and such”, says Ruth.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions of others who are farther along than you are. People in general are surprisingly nice!” says Jessica Jones, when asked what advice she would give to others starting their own business. Jessica is a graphic designer and her fabrics and designs are hot items. She designs and lives in Evanston Ill., and loves it because there are lots of big trees and a really big lake nearby. She and her engineer husband don’t have pets, but she jokes, “[We] just have a bunch of dust bunnies that keep multiplying. They don’t have names.”
Jessica loves thunderstorms, coffee, mystery novels, Ikea, and peeling off sunburn. (Ed. She can’t be the only, right?) Her home is filled with lots of books, inspiring graphic design samples, simple furniture, green plants and because she hates being cold, a fuzzy blanket. Visit her blog How About Orange… and her Etsy store, by the same name.