Saturday, February 12, 2011

Interview With the Artist: JewelryArtbyDawn

Dawn of JewelryArtByDawn is currently the only member among the thousands of Starving Jewelry Artist members (7,123 and counting) who...paints. And wahoo! Does she ever!! Here's an example of her work: we collaborated on a competition on the Starving Jewelry Artist forum, taking second place in the use of color. All the beads you see were painted by Dawn. The Blue Tiger butterfly bead is just 3/4 of an inch and is perfect in every detail.

So, let's start with an obvious question: how and why did you start painting? Who influenced you? Who - My mom. She is an extremely talented artist. As far back as I can remember she was always sketching, drawing and painting. To keep me and my sister out of her hair while she was creating, she'd set us up with pencils, crayons, water colors and paper. Eventually, as we got older she encouraged us to play with her oil paints.

Sounds like she instilled her love of art in you.

Do you have any special memory of when you were little? I don't remember it, but one day she was soaking some brushes in turpentine and at the age of two I toddled into the room and drank the entire contents of the glass. My mom thinks I thought it was milk. I started screaming which led to a trip to the emergency room to have my stomach, fun, fun - not! Anyway, that experience didn't deter me from wanting to paint, but it made my mother much more careful about leaving dangerous chemicals out that a toddler might decide to sample!

How did you get to where you are now? I went through a very long spell of not painting anything during the 80's and 90's because I was too wrapped up in my career. Sixteen years later I realized I'd had it with climbing the career ladder and the overall rat race of the city and hubby and I sold our house and moved to the mountains. It wasn't much later that I found myself wanting to paint again and I did, but it didn't feel quite right. I tried watercolors and pastels, but those weren't doing it for me either. A few years later I was bitten by the jewelry bug and one day it struck me that perhaps I could paint miniatures as pendants for the necklaces I was making. Gave that a try and it was a perfect fit. I have never felt so creatively fulfilled.

What or why do you keep painting? Why - Because I have to. It's the same to me as breathing oxygen or eating food; a part of me would shrivel up and wither away without it. The feeling I get when I look at a completed piece is like nothing else. I still go through spells when I don't feel like making things, but I know once those phases pass, the paintings and the jewelry making will be there waiting when I am ready. Those dry spells don't last long because I love making things so much that I can't stand to be away from my workbench for any length of time.

Dawn recently opened her ArtFire shop, JewelryArtByDawn. Here are a few examples of her work:

Your Artfire shop, JewelryArtByDawn also contains copper work. What made you turn in that direction? Once I started making jewelry, I found the wire work I was seeing made by others endlessly fascinating and I wanted to give it a try. What I realized is that while I enjoyed working with wire, I'm not a natural at it and I've worked really hard to get to where I am now. I try to balance painting pendants and beads with wire work. Sometimes all I want to do is paint and other times the wire is calling me and it becomes my main choice.
Because it was inexpensive, I used copper for practice. It would have been insane to use silver as I needed a lot of practice! As I became more adept with wire, I also realized that I loved the color of copper. It's beautiful shiny, amazingly rich looking when oxidized and I've yet to find a color that isn't enhanced when paired with copper. These days, it's my "go to" choice, although I have a small stash of silver set aside for the rare piece that tells me silver would be a better fit - something that doesn't happen very often. If the price of silver were to drop below copper, copper would still be my first choice of metals as I love everything about copper.

Here's an example of Dawn's copper work:

Dawn, thankyou for answering all my questions. So, everyone, go to Dawn's ArtFire shop, JewelryArtByDawn to see more of her lovely work.


Erika Price said...

Great interview article with a fabulous jewelry artist!

mcstoneworks said...

Fantastic interview. Dawn's gorgeous painted beads are always a treat to see. The details are always amazing. I also lover her beautiful and unique work with copper.

AMDesignsbyAngela said...

Thanks so much to Sue & Dawn for this interview...Dawn in an incredible painter and her jewelry designs are's fun to here how it all started.

Ava said...

What a great interview, enjoyed learning more about Dawn and her creative history. I've admired Dawn's paintings for awhile now, ever since she posted the WIP on the Elephante bracelet, my favorite.

Thanks for sharing.

BeadSire said...

Dawn is an incredibly talented artist, her miniatures are to be seen to be believed, each of her pieces are executed with so much love ... fabulous interview!

DawninCal said...

Sue, thank you so much for the interview - no one has ever interviewed me before. It feels like being a celebrity for a day (or maybe that should be 15 minutes)!!!

Thank you everyone for your lovely comments; they are really and truly appreciated.



scottpatlindsay said...

Dawn, you are a celebrity to me.. I'm a big fan!! :D

Bonnie said...

Great interview. It is nice to get to know Dawn a little better. I always enjoy her WIp's on the forum.

Tasha said...

It is always wonderful to learn about how other artists started in their passions.
I love your painted pieces Dawn - the patience you must have!

Jeanne said...

Alright Dawn! Great interview and I'm so glad you got to showcase your work. Beautiful!!

Cat said...

Thank you for sharing this with us, Dawn, you know how much I love your work!

Anonymous said...

Great to find out more about other members, love your necklace and the fab design of the earrings.

tjrjewellery said...

Hmmm... had an error when trying to post the first time so I hope this isn't a duplicate!

Thanks for sharing Dawn! You do beautiful work!