Gina Germ bio: Gina is entirely fascinated by animals –biology, behavior, ecology and history– and they provide the primary inspiration for her work, which includes observational sketches, commentary and portraiture. A self-taught artist, she has been painting for almost ten years, and drawing since she can remember. She works in acrylic, ink and spray paint.
Gina lives in Minneapolis with her husband, three year old son, and two kitties. She spends her days doing design and production on 4-color books, calendars, and marketing materials, and her evenings (after her son goes to bed) working in her coveted basement studio.
Sally of Sally Rags lives in Salem, Oregon. She and her husband, Jim have three kids, all adults now, and two dogs, a Doberman named Dave and a Black Lab named Wanda. Sally loves flowers, butterflies, and bubble baths and surrounds herself with fabrics and yarn. Her store is filled with wonderful things she’s made from recycled yarns and fabrics. Check out all her items at her store.
What is your craft / art / creative endeavor?
I make handmade pendants and wire wrapped jewelry. The pendants I make are all by methods that I have invented myself! The wire wrap jewelry I make is to fulfill my desire to be able to make something beautiful, quickly, since all of my other jewelry takes so long to make!
I make four different types of pendants; micro mosaics, miniature sand painted pendants, fabric pendants, and hand painted embossed pendants.
The micro mosaic pendants are made by hand stretching glass into micro thin rods of glass that I cut down into tiny tiles that are about 2mm in length and 1/2 a mm in thickness. I make the design and then cover the design in resin to protect it. It takes hundreds upon hundreds of these micro tiles to make a pendant and I don’t make too many of them because they are so time consuming!
The miniature sand painted pendants that I make are inspired by the Native American art of Sand Painting. I make a design out of silver wire and then inlay the colored sand to the design. Then, I cover my sand paintings in jewelers’ grade resin to protect them and make them waterproof.
The fabric pendants are made by embossing a design into metal and then hand cutting fabric to be inlayed into the design. I also protect these with resin.
Finally, the hand painted pendants are made by embossing metal and using a metal paint to fill in the design and then finish it off by covering it in resin.
How did you get started? Have you worked in other creative areas before the kind of work you’re doing now?
I used to be a nurse, but I have been making jewelry since childhood. I made everything from elaborate friendship bracelets to brick stitched seed bead earrings. I really always wanted to make jewelry for a living but when it was time to go to college a nursing degree seemed more practical. I decided, years later and after having my kids that I didn’t want to be a nurse any more, but to stay at home with them. I soon discovered that as much as I love playing with them, I needed a more creative outlet than playdoh. I decided to finally make the jewelry I have always wanted to make.
I had planned to go back to school to learn how to make jewelry by conventional methods so that I could have a home business, but I just never found time to go. Instead, I just started inventing my own methods to make jewelry in my spare time. I really wanted to make something totally different than other people were doing. The micro mosaic invention took three years to perfect but then the invention of everything else just fell into place fairly quickly. And now, here I am!
Is there a story behind the name of your shop?
My shop name “Twist 21” comes from the idea that I put a twist on past forms of jewelry or art to make them new again. Micro mosaics and sand paintings have been around for a long time, but there are no books (at least that I could find) that could teach me how to make micro mosaics… and as far as I know, no one else has ever made a sand painting into a pendant. So I came up with my own twist on an old idea! The 21 in my shop name is because 21 is my lucky number.
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?
All of the jewelry is created by me. My husband helps by watching my two kids while I sell at craft shows and over the weekends when I do most of my jewelry creation. Most of my work is done late at night, during nap times for the kids, and over the weekend. I get very little sleep, but I really enjoy having my time with my kids as well as my creative time. Sleep will just have to continue to be on the backburner for a while!
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 enjoy selling both online and in person. I do find that I sell more in person since people seem to like to try things on and really touch jewelry before they make a decision, but I enjoy being able to sell to people all over the world by selling online. I don’t think I prefer one way of selling over the other.
I’d love to sell my jewelry in actual stores but I haven’t figured out how to make that happen yet!
Do you have any favorite handmade shops or sellers?
What inspires and motivates you?
I am inspired by all forms of art and really enjoy inventing something new out of an old idea. Obviously, I am a fan of antique micro mosaics, and Native American sand paintings. Most of my designs that I use for my pendants are not my own (though some are.) I use royalty free images that I have permission to use so that I have a broad range of styles for my pendants. Having so many different patterns and different types of fabric keeps me motivated and interested so that my craft never gets boring to me.
What do you wish I had asked you?
“When did I start loving art/jewelry?”
My father says as an infant, I was a really calm baby who never really got too excited or upset about anything. (I take this to mean I was pretty boring, but I don’t think that is what he meant!) But at just a few months old, my parents took me into a store in Arizona that was selling Sand Paintings and Native American jewelry and I just lit up. He said I grabbed at everything and was just really excited. He thought at the time that my excitement over jewelry was just a sign that girls are more expensive than boys…but now, it seems clear that I just always liked jewelry and art. I think that making jewelry is just something I was meant to do.
Thank you Danielle! And if you want to be interviewed next, just head over to DIY Interview.
Mmmm, this looks fabulous. Making your own cheese? Delicious!
Choices from Urban Cheesecraft include mozzarella, ricotta, goat cheese, paneer and queso blanco. They’re also a source for cheese making supplies like vegetarian rennet, cheese salt, citric acid, and butter muslin.
A little about cost comparison:
If you choose organic milk for your cheesemaking, compare the price to organic cheese. If you buy regular milk, compare the price to regular cheese. Keep in mind however that if you spend $5 on milk, you will make twice as much cheese as you would buy for $5- organic or not! So for $5 you get two typical logs of chevre.
A little about milk:
You do not need raw milk to make cheese. You can use regular pasteurized milk from the grocery store as long as it is not ultra pasteurized or ultra-heat pasteurized. Even some of the large organic brands now do this to milk. Its only benefit is a long shelf life. They use high heat and kill the microbes that help cheese happen so it won’t work. So, find a milk that you like and works, then stick with it. Oh and this kit works with cow’s or sheep’s milk too (or you can be like Europeans and combine them to play with different tangy flavors). You can also use lowfat milk or nonfat milk (yield and creaminess will be noticeable with nonfat).
I think I’m going to have to give this a try!
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.