By N Valentine Studio
Featured artist - Angie from Angie's Jewelry Design, Orlando
Angie's Etsy shop is full of stunning wire wrapped delights. The stones she uses are cut by her own hand making each piece truly a one of a kind. Being precise and beautiful her work makes me smile every time I see it. Her Rosetta Stone piece is one of my favorites.
What is your other craft?
I started my career in theater, and I've been a producer and manager of entertainment in a large theme park for 25 years. So I guess my other craft is putting together shows, from spectaculars and stage shows to events and atmosphere groups. This has helped keep my creative side dreaming and doing. I'm retiring in a few weeks - it's time to wrap up this phase of my life and see what's next.
How long have you been working in your medium?
About 5 years.
What drew you to this medium?
I worked in Hong Kong for six months several years ago. I was drawn to these little beaded elastic bracelets of natural gemstone beads - I think I came home with 30 or so. When I got back to the States I wanted to keep exploring these beautiful gemstones. Pretty soon I was taking a class in stringing beads. I branched out into wire working and chain maille. I devoured books and tutorials, and kept honing my skills with wire and beads. Then I discovered cabochons, but grew frustrated with the cost and lack of variety. I took a wire working class at the William Holland School and there were all these people talking about rocks. I had found the world of lapidary and I was hooked. Now I cut my own stones and love it!
What is your favorite thing about your art?
My favorite thing is the sheer variety of stones that are out there, and the amazing transformation that takes place when a rock turns into a thing of beauty in my hands. My second favorite thing is learning new skills in wirework and fusing, and the challenge I've given myself to explore metal craft and silversmithing.
What's your favorite piece?
I think it's one of the first cabochons I ever made. It was Mexican lace agate. As I ground and polished the stone, layer upon layer of color and pattern were revealed. Incredible!
What's the hardest piece you've ever made?
When I discovered chain maille, my first project was to make some earrings I saw in a magazine. I made my own jumprings - I think they were 2.2 mm. The weave was Byzantine and I stayed up all night to finish them. At one point I realized that I had made a mistake on the first earring I completed, and I took the whole thing apart and started over. When I think back on those tiny rings and the fairly complicated weave, I'm amazed that I ever got them finished - I guess ignorance is bliss!
What's the one favorite tool you cannot live without?
My Genie Gem Maker.
What's your favorite thing about your workspace or studio?
My favorite thing about my workspace is that I have one! We've carved out a small space in a corner of the garage with a bench for my Genie and a small table for everything else. My dream is to have a real studio with storage, plenty of work space, and windows.
Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by the beautiful colors and patterns in gemstones. Sometimes it's hard to believe that they come out of the ground!
East Asia has had a strong pull on me since I was a child. I don't know where it came from, since I grew up in a very, very small town in Ohio. I've been fortunate to be able to travel quite a bit in China which is a constant source of inspiration to me.
What's your favorite inspirational saying?
This question really got me thinking about creativity; where it comes from and how it's manifested. I did some research into creative thinkers who have inspired me over the years - Rollo May, Abraham Maslow, Joseph Campbell, to name a few. I re-found this quotation from Erich Fromm that speaks to the mix of tension and joy in the creative process "Conditions for creativity are to be puzzled; to concentrate; to accept conflict and tension; to be born every day; to feel a sense of self".
What's one thing you've never done you always wanted to do?
I want to visit Greece and go to Delphi. Stories about the Delphic Oracle have always fascinated me, and it would be awesome to actually go there.
The SATeam blog features artisan handmade creations by the etsy starving artists jewelry team. SATeam members create handcrafted jewelry and beads. More information about our team and its current etsy shop owner members can be found at SATEAM.etsy.com.