Tag Archives: Jewelry Artist

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Colleen Griffin-Underhill

It is such a treat to be asked to write about my work!  It’s always been somewhat secretive and secondary in my life but I’m thrilled to be letting it shine a bit in the exhibit at Main Street Arts.

silo w orange in process

Silo with orange in process

After 15 years as the buyer and manager of the lovely Gallery Store at MAG, I am now the GM of Hart’s Local Grocers—plus the mom of 2 boys and a compulsive furniture re-arranger.  Sometimes I joke that I run the grocery store in my free time but the reality of course is that it is typically the other way around. I’ve learned to take good notes when inspiration comes flying at me and to allow the whole process to ebb and flow as time and life allows.

Making things and playing with color makes me tick.  Putting paint on a brush and playing with how it flows and mixes with other hues is just heart-racing exciting for me.

brushes

Brushes

When my boys were very little, the paintings and collages I had been making for many years became too time (and space) consuming.  Around that time I started making polymer clay shapes and beads to paint. Working in small chunks of time moving back and forth between just painting and then composing the finished pieces later, gave me the time to focus on what I wanted; mixing patterns, pushing color play and finding a rhythm to the way shapes work together.

pallettes

Pallettes

About 4 years ago I started learning to work with metals and integrating sterling silver components into the work. I’ll continue to explore where this goes as I practice more metal-smithing.  Adding something new—a tool, material or a thing in my head that kicks in and gives me a new way of working, feeds my creative process.

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My new studio space

This body of work is the most I ever made in one burst.  Early this year we moved our 11 year old up to the attic and this spare room became my studio space.  It has been such a luxury to start and stop freely and to sneak in there before work or late at night when everyone sleeps.  Keeping the work breathing and spread out before me each day allowed me to push into new realms and build off of earlier concepts to fully enjoy the design process.

studio sketch

Studio sketch

So much of what was in my sketchbooks came to life this year including the “drills” pattern featured on many items.  In planning our summer garden I found myself thinking about rows of holes for seeds… the boys probably dropping two in here and 12 in there and the dots kept creeping into my sketchbook, some larger, some smaller for seed size.  The dots wander around this work I’ve made and the garden never happened…so it goes.

drills brooch in process

Drills brooch in process

I’m always fascinated and eager to see the artist’s hand in their work.  I try to celebrate that and I never worry too much about the imperfections that happen along the way.   The process of creating plus the thrill of seeing my work worn and worked into a someone’s personal style is what keeps me making it.

My work is sold at Main Street Arts, MAG, Andrea Geer Designs and occasionally on my website — ceegeeu.com.


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Colleen’s work in our current exhibition “Multifaceted: An Exhibition of Fine Jewelry” through August 18, 2017. Colleen’s work from the exhibition is also available for purchase in our online gallery shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com

Inside The Artist’s Studio: Erica Bapst

Erica Bapst Profile

I consider myself a bit of a plate spinner. I always have a great multitude of projects in the air. It is a precarious balancing act I perform on a daily basis while running my boutique, Adorn Jewelry and Accessories, in Canandaigua NY. I always laugh and apologize to my customers because my workspace rarely stays confined to the actual designated studio behind the curtain. The designing process, works in progress, tools, random bits and pieces, all spill over into checkout area. I’m sure to many, it looks as though those “plates” I like to spin have all dropped and smashed to bits. More often than not the customers seem to love having the chance to see all the different projects I have going on in their various states. (Or perhaps they only like to peek behind the counter to say “hi” to my constant companion Penny, my shop dog —I am never entirely sure…;)

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Ok, let’s rewind a bit — how did it all start? I have an AAS in Graphic Design from Finger Lakes Community College (1998) and a BFA in Metalsmithing from Syracuse University (2001). I honestly have to say that my time in graphic design has always influenced my work, particularly during the initial layout process. I tend to create most of my layouts and templates using Adobe Illustrator. Because my jewelry is what stocks my store, I am often very focused on creating elements that have a consistency people depend on. Creating the templates allows me to easily reproduce, for example, a specific set of Ginkgo leaves.

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I hand form these ginkgo leaves from brass sheet in bulk.

The invite to this wonderful exhibit at Main Street Arts has given me the chance to step back from the day-to-day routine of creating jewelry for the retail world. I was able to expand upon my favorite body of work and experiment with the form and structure. It was so much fun having a reason to push my boundaries slightly. I am the type of person that often feels guilty if I take time to experiment. I fear that if the piece did not work out,  those precious moments would have been wasted. Running the shop leaves no minute of the day unaccounted for. Being a part of this show was such a luxury to be able to hit pause on my overly sensible brain and create with a sense of freedom!

Here are some progress shots of the piece I had the most fun with.

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I really wanted to design something that felt as ancient as the Ginkgo itself. So I dug into my memories of the historical jewelry I have seen over the years in different museums. Gazing at jewelry that is thousands of years old always mesmerizes me. I could stare at the ancient pieces for hours, puzzling over the stories of how they were made, who they adorned, and how they came to be in front of my eyes. I wanted to take this opportunity to pay homage to those works — jewelry created impossibly long ago from a single ingot, with rudimentary tools  and incorporated rough stone, clay or glass elements.

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While I was not interested in starting from my own cast ingot of brass, I opted to start with a pre-formed sheet…the advantages of our age. Then I searched my vast collection of stones (seriously, my family thinks I am a hoarder when it comes to stones and beads…I am beginning to agree with them) and came across this great slab of seriphinite that I have been hanging on to for a few years waiting for the right moment.  This was the time.

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My favorite shot of this piece.

Some of you may be asking at this point,  “What is with the Ginkgo theme?”  I have had the store for 13 years and have heard a lot of personal stories — stories of bravery,  heartbreak, of illness and also of the people who heal and comfort those who have been through it all.  I would listen to these stories and later think to myself, “ugh…and what do I do? — sit here and make jewelry, what good is that to anyone?”  Then little by little I began to notice that the reason I was hearing these stories was because my customers were often coming in to purchase my pieces to lift the spirits of someone going through a tough time, or to celebrate overcoming a difficult situation. I knew I was not a person that truly helps or heals, but if there was some small way I could contribute to others through my work, I wanted to with all my heart.

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I searched for a theme that carried with it a powerful sentiment and could be translated in many ways. So I looked to nature which I love so dearly, for inspiration. I was walking to work and pouring over my thoughts on the subject, and a leaf dropped off of my neighbor’s tree in front of me. I realized right then that the Ginkgo would be my symbol. It fit perfectly.

With every jewelry piece I include the words:

“The Ginkgo has existed for 250 million years, unwavering in its uniqueness and beauty. They naturally resist the negative and are survivors against all odds.

May we be like the ginkgo and carry with us the strength, resilience and natural beauty that resides within. “

It is not much in the grand scheme of things, but I create each and every leaf with as much love as possible in hopes that the love will carry through to the wearer.

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Sterling silver, aquamarine and quartz branch earrings

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A little surprise on the back.

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This Labradorite is what dreams are made of.

This Labradorite is what dreams are made of.

After the show at Main Street Arts, you can find me at AdornJewelryAndAccessories.com,  on Instagram @EricaBapst or on Facebook.

PS—If you get the chance after visiting Main Street Arts, head east up Main and visit the grand Ginkgo Grove that are a little piece of Clifton Springs History!

My Daughter and I visited the trees after the opening of the exhibit.

My Daughter and I visited the trees after the opening of the exhibit.


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Erica’s work in our current exhibition “Multifaceted: An Exhibition of Fine Jewelry” through August 18, 2017. Erica’s work from the exhibition is also available for purchase in our online gallery shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Karen Tretiak

Jewelry designer Karen Tretiak is one of eight artists in our current exhibition, “Multifaceted: An Exhibition of Fine Jewelry”. We asked her a few questions about her background and the work that can be found in the exhibition.

Karen Tretiak

Karen Tretiak

Q: What influences you? What themes or symbols appear throughout your work?
A: My jewelry exemplifies the visual excitement I find in layering textures, colors, values and materials. I gather imagery and inspiration from the natural world around me; in particular the sea and forest. Moss greens, autumn coppers, silken leaves, woven shadows, luminescent waves, and polished stones appear and reappear throughout my work.

Green Soutache Necklace

Green Soutache Necklace

River Jasper Cabochon Necklace

River Jasper Cabochon Necklace

Q: Tell us a little bit about your background. How long have you been making art?
A: Creativity has guided my life from as far back as I can remember. Mud, paint, crayons, yarn…so many possibilities as a child. As is true of most artists, that child-like joy has never left me but has been guided and nurtured through skill development and life-long learning.

Traveling!

Traveling!

I am an artist and a teacher; each influencing the other. Professionally I have taught in a wide variety of venues from public high school to colleges to workshops and lectures. My paintings, jewelry and ceramic sculptures have been displayed and marketed throughout the world. I have earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education from Skidmore College and a Master of Fine Arts from Rochester Institute of Technology.

Roxie helping to take pictures

Roxie helping to take pictures

Q: Where else can we see your work?
A: I live and work in the Finger Lakes area of Western New York State as well as in “Maxine the Wonder Bus” when I’m on the road. I market my work at many venues across the country which gives me the opportunity to travel and meet many of my customers.

Maxine The Wonder Bus in Maine

“Maxine The Wonder Bus” in Maine

See more of my work on my website: www.karentretiak.com and my Etsy page WonderBusCreations. 


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Karen’s work in our current exhibition “Multifaceted: An Exhibition of Fine Jewelry” through August 18, 2017. Karen’s work from the exhibition is also available for purchase in our online gallery shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com

Inside the Artist’s Studio with Francesca Vitali

Francesca Vitali

Francesca Vitali

I was born and raised in Italy. My formal education is in science, having earned a B.Sc. and MS degree in chemistry from the University ‘La Sapienza’ in Rome. I then received my Ph.D from the University of Zurich in Switzerland. 

Even though my love for paper probably started way before my love for chemistry, I only started seeing my passion for paper not just as a hobby after moving to the US.  And more precisely when I took my first jewelry class 10 years ago at Penland school of craft in North Carolina. I am now a full-time studio artist (ok, I’m lying here I still work in the chemistry lab once a week) and I travel for craft shows all over the country.

But enough about me, lets step into the studio!

A few places where I store paper

A few places where I store paper

I use many different kind of paper for my jewelry—sometimes it is the paper that informs my work, sometimes I start with a design idea and then I have to find the proper paper that will translate into the design. 

I have shopping bags, books, magazine, maps, paint chips, patterned paper, money, yellow pages, newspaper, movie posters and the list goes on! (P.S. if you have some paper that is special to you and you want to make it into something wearable now you know who to ask!)

Once the right paper for a piece is selected, it needs to be reduced into strips, and that’s when the floor gets messy.

Strips of paper waiting to be made into jewelry

Strips of paper waiting to be made into jewelry

Next comes the weaving. The paper strips are handwoven into three-dimensional shapes by repeating the same movement over and over. 

If you are wondering if this stage of the process is a little monotonous, absolutely not! It is definitively very labor intensive but it is also very rhythmic, almost meditative, and therefore my favorite part of my studio time.

Once a piece is done, it needs to be coated. Every piece is protected with an acrylic layer that prevents weather or wearing problems.

The bracelet in the show  air drying after a first coat of acrylic medium

The bracelet in the show air drying after a first coat of acrylic medium

The tour has come to an end but if you want to know more about my work and my daily studio adventures, follow me on Instagram @francrscavitali.paperjelry. It has been a pleasure to have you in my studio!


Stop by Main Street Arts to see Francesca’s work in our current exhibition “Multifaceted: An Exhibition of Fine Jewelry” through August 18, 2017. Francesca’s work from the exhibition is also available for purchase in our online gallery shop: store.mainstreetartsgallery.com

Inside The Artist’s Studio: Introducing Vanessa Rivera

My name is Vanessa Rivera and I have been obsessed with jewelry since the fourth grade. It all started when my fourth grade classmates and I started making friendship bracelets, and people would buy mine for $5. At that time I never thought it would be a lifelong obsession, but here I am, still making jewelry and loving it.

me

I did not decide to turn my hobby into a business until I started graduate school at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), where I recently graduated with an entrepreneurial business degree for creatives. Alongside my jewelry business I am also a graphic designer with a degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and I teach art part-time at a private school in Bethesda, MD. I live with the love of my life, my husband, our three kids, and the many pets they bring into our home. We are expecting our fourth child any day now.

My studio/domain is messy. I find inspiration in the chaos and thrive on the beautiful mess that is my one-room art studio at home. I always have multiple projects going on at once. My studio has a small dresser where my creations are filed away once they are finished. There is an order to the disorder – I like to have all my materials visible so I can visually play with color schemes and sizing. I work best at night when everyone is asleep and I have the house to myself. Sometimes I get so sucked into a project I stay up to finish it, even if it means going to bed at 4 am and suffering the next day.

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I was born in Lima, Peru but have lived in the Washington DC area for most of my life (minus a short stint in the Middle East to accompany my husband’s job). Before we had kids we invested heavily in travel, which is something that has definitely influenced my work.

I designed and created the custom bridal jewelry set below for a wedding in Colorado, matching the cuff with the circular shape of the earrings. I was obsessed with gold and white when I made those earrings.

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Materials: Swarovski crystals, Mayuki seed beads, 14 carat gold filled chain

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Photo by: Jeff Ambrose

I designed the red set for a good friend of mine who needed the perfect jewelry for a speaking engagement. She wanted something bold to go with a simple black dress.  She looks fabulous in gold. I pictured twirling flamenco skirts and the result was this:

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Materials: Swarovski crystals, Toho seed beads, 14 carat gold and glass seed beads, 14 carat gold filled chain

Much of my creativity and motivation comes from the giggles, happiness, and craziness that my children bring into my life. They are my biggest source of inspiration and motivation. Sometimes they pick out the color schemes for my jewelry, for example, an upcoming peacock collection based on square shapes with greens, blues and golds.

You can see a necklace and earring set by Vanessa in our Small Works exhibition. You can also see more of her beautifully intricate jewelry on her website, or follow @VanessaRockwood on Instagram.

Keep an eye out for Vanessa’s second Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post, where she walks us through her jewelry making process.

Check out our previous Inside the Artist’s Studio blog post by painter, Kevin Stuart.

Inside The Artist’s Studio with Alicia McGloon: Finding Myself

My name is Alicia McGloon, and I am a watercolor artist/jewelry maker. I currently live on campus at the New York Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls, where my husband Ryan is a full-time student. I have my degree in Fine Art and a DBA  as Simply Divine Details, the brand I have created for my watercolor jewelry. I also work full-time as a bank teller (I know, working both sides of the brain).

my humble little studio -  we have a 2 bedroom dorm suite, the 2nd bedroom serves as my studio space.

My humble little studio – we have a 2 bedroom dorm suite, the 2nd bedroom serves as my studio space.

After graduating, I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my art. The one thing I knew for sure was that I wanted my work to be a part of other people’s lives in a practical and affordable way.

I stumbled upon the idea of putting my watercolors into jewelry settings. Through research, I taught myself how to adhere glass to small paintings, work with the metal and jewelry findings, and where to buy good quality components and supplies.

A large drafter's filing cabinet houses all my glass pieces and pendant settings as well as sheets of watercolor paper.

A large drafter’s filing cabinet houses all my glass pieces and pendant settings as well as sheets of watercolor paper.

Some artists creating similar jewelry use prints of their larger works, shrunk down to fit the jewelry. I paint each small painting individually to make every piece unique and one-of-a-kind. Of course, in going this route, I have ruined quite a few little paintings when something goes wrong during the post-painting process. Sometimes the resin doesn’t want to cooperate, or a piece of glass is chipped after adhering it to the painting.

Still, every successful piece is worth the risk, because in the end it’s more than just a painting. People wear my art knowing that each one is irreplaceable because it is not mass produced.

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these little flower paintings are about the size of a quarter.

These flower paintings are about the size of a quarter.

this little frog is half an inch in size and is one of my all-time favorite paintings.

This little frog is half an inch in size and is one of my all-time favorite paintings.

I use a one-part resin to adhere the glass to the little paintings. After the resin has dried, I use a heavy-duty pair of scissors to carefully cut around the glass and then clean up the edges.

I use a one-part resin to adhere the glass to the little paintings. After the resin has dried, I use a heavy-duty pair of scissors to carefully cut around the glass and then clean up the edges.

After cutting out and cleaning up the glass, I use the resin to glue the piece into the setting.  When that is dry, I finish by adding the additional findings, such as a chain for a necklace, or the wires for earrings.

"Red Flower" original watercolor 1"x1",  set in antiqued brass and glass.

“Red Flower” original watercolor 1″x1″, set in antiqued brass and glass.

One of the greatest highlights of my work is how personal it can be. I have many customers who see my work and immediately have ideas of how they would make it their own.  People get excited as they tell me their thoughts. I have had such fun creating custom orders, from favorite animals to tiny portraits of loved ones. Painting such small portraits has really pushed my limits artistically.

I really feel that I have finally found who I am as artist and look forward to growing in my art and seeing where my passion takes me.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read a little about me. You can stop by the Main Street Arts Gallery Shop to check out a selection of my jewelry. I am also on many social media sites where you can keep up to date with my jewelry, including the Simply Devine Details website!

simplydivinedetails.com | Facebook | instagram | twitter | pinterest

Check out our last Inside the Artist’s Studio post, by abstract painter Bradley Butler.