I haven’t talked at all yet about my adored (and recently deceased) studio helper. Bunnita “Pisky” Casique Hoople was the best pet I’ve ever had, the most wonderful bunny I’ve ever met, the best friend we could have asked for. She passed away this spring after 7 years of faithful bunny companionship to me and my husband and she is sorely missed. I’m really glad that I chose her as the emblem for my business, it’s a nice way to remember her by.
My favorite ice cream flavor is mint chocolate chip.
My husband and my heart belong to Mexico.
In college, I made a whole series of large (4' tall) ceramic sculptures reminiscent of colorful sea creatures.
My favorite musician is John Denver (I always say that I'm a closet John Denver fan, but, as you can see, it's not that closeted. I've even read his autobiography!)
What got you started crafting?
My childhood got me started crafting in general. My mom always had us plopped down at the table with watercolors or crayons or clay or yarn, you name it!
Specifically, what got me started making jewelry was a little packet of Job's Tears seeds. I saw them for sale in the Seed Savers Exchange catalog, the description said they were a natural bead and I couldn't resist trying to grow them! I ended up with a whole cookie tin of seeds, but it wasn't until a few years later that inspiration struck. It struck hard! I made one necklace of Job's Tears, unakite stone, wooden beads and mother of pearl. I loved it, so I made another for my mom, and then I just came up with as many different designs as I could with the leftover materials. Well, I had more seeds, so I bought more materials and so on. I found myself unable to stop making jewelry so I thought I'd better try selling it before we drowned in it!
What is your source of inspiration?
Color inspires me. Nature inspires me. Fantasy and Luxury inspire (like I think, what if I was a princess? What would I wear?)
Really, most of my creative process is just play. I start picking up materials and putting them next to other ones, looking for interesting color/texture/size/shape combinations and when I accidentally find what I didn't know I was looking for, I follow it until something beautiful is created.
I'm also really drawn to vintage rhinestone chokers, which has informed a lot of my pieces. I always keep my eye on other people's jewelry and jewelry trends, not to copy, but to notice when I get excited and then think about why and react to that feeling in my own way, through my signature natural materials and colors.
What have you made recently?
I'm talking a lot about color here, but my most recent line is less colorful, actually. I recently created a series of necklaces of pendants of collections of natural materials (or of a single stone or pearl) hung on antiqued copper or silver chains.
I really enjoy how seemingly mundane objects can be made wonderful by presenting them in a special way, by showcasing them.
My favorite of this series so far is Angel Wing: a single, peach-colored, baroque freshwater pearl made into a pendant and hung on an antiqued copper chain. It's so simple, but so elegant. The natural beauty of the pearl gets to take center stage, the warm peach color of the pearl harmonizing with the warm copper chain, while the antiquing on the chain contrasts with the shiny newness of the surface of the pearl.
These little things enchant me, what can I say?
Where do you sell your crafts presently?
Mainly, I sell my work online on Etsy and also on Artfire. I sell quite a few things in person to co-workers, friends and family. I also have some work on consignment at Poppy Gallery in Columbia, Missouri and at The Hive Creations in the Florida Keys. This year, I attended my first craft fair, which went well. I think I'll try more craft shows in the future if I can find time for it.
Why are handmade crafts important to you?
Handmade is authentic, personal, customizable. It's a deconstruction of big-box, fast-food, industrial culture. Handmade is a revolution!
When you support handmade, you buy more than a thing. For yourself, you're buying a unique aesthetic, better customer service and you are brought closer to the real business of living. For the person you buy from, you're purchasing a more authentic way of living. You're helping someone to live life creatively and by their own rules. You're helping them to be able to take pride in and have ownership of all the hours of their life.