Friday, June 11, 2010

Interview with Brenda Potts

Brenda Potts, Iuka, MS
Millcreek Collection on Etsy

Brenda and I speak a little bit of the same language when it comes to jewelry design. She has that beautiful rustic yet refined style and she uses a lot of texture! Yummm...

How did you get interested in metalsmithing? 
I have alway loved jewelry. I can remember taking apart jewelry and remaking it into new and different pieces back in my pre-teen years. Mother would be amused, father would not understand why I tore it apart. When my children were small we would bead together, big bulky, acrylic colorful beads. Then as the years progressed, the internet opened up a whole new world. I would see jewelry pieces in stores and shows and all I could think is, I Could Do That! And so I did. I started in 2002 collecting gemstones, silver, tools, and wire. I'm not the type to wade in slowly to things, I jumped in with both feet, learning as I went along. Branching off into beading, wirewraping,stonesetting, wire knitting, I have even used macrame with sterling wire.  PMC clay introduced me to my first torch. Following the natural flow of things, I started soldering, sawing and fabricating out of copper, brass, and then sterling. And it all started with the  - I Can Do That.

Do you get more excited about the design or technical aspects of jewelry?
I get excited when a design comes together. I'm a rather "loose" designer though. I rarly sketch designs. I find that the metal and components have a mind of their own and when they come together its a thing of beauty. I just nudge them along.

Do you find the process of experimentation frustrating or inspiring?
I LOVE to experiment! My husband swears he's going to get a T-shirt made that says, "EIP" (experiment in progress).

What part of your work do you most enjoy?
Showing off the finished project. Watching people as they enjoy my work and the look of amazement as they ask "You did This?"

What part of your work do you find the hardest?
Trying to reproduce a design. I guess that goes along with the experimenting and no design sketches.

What technique do you wish you knew or want to learn?
Flush setting and channel setting gemstones. I'm not sure if I have the technical abliliies to be that precise.

Where do you get/find your inspiration?
I find my inspirations all around me. I have a very eclectic, spontaneous nature.

What are your 3 (or 2 or 1) most favorite items in your store right now?
My favorite items right now are the large larimar pendant with the prong and bezel combination setting and the blue topaz sheild pendant. Which reminds me...must list more items. I have been selling at shows month and my store inventory is sadly lacking.

Name a metalsmith whose work you admire?
Victoria Lansford's work speaks to my eclectic nature. (NOT a team member)

What is the best advice you have received?
"You can figure it out, you're good at everything you do." - Husband

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Give Brenda some love. We're all here to learn and grow and all input is welcomed! Visit her Etsy shop: MillcreekCollections

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June Challenge: Other Worlds Than These

I don't know about you but I am thoroughly enjoying our monthly challenges. It forces me out of my comfort zone and motivates me to attempt at least one major endeavor each month, and I love every piece I've created whether they've gotten any votes or not. As the winner of the May challenge I have the honor of choosing our next adventure, and I intend to S*T*R*E*T*C*H both your skillz and your imagination for this month's challenge.

I am re-reading Stephen King's iconic Dark Tower series this month and the line that best sums it all up is "Go then, for there are other worlds than these." In honor of that golden turn of phrase I'd like to challenge you to explore outside the comforts of your own little universe and experiment with all things new and unusual.

Rules for this month's challenge are as follows:

1. Interpret the phrase "Go then, for there are other worlds than these"
2. Create an item you've never made before
3. Incorporate at least one material you've never used before
4. Attempt at least one technique you've never tried before

Be sure to tag your entry with "June Challenge" and post it in the Flickr pool when you are done. Deadline is Midnight on July 2nd.

Let the weeping and gnashing of teeth commence!!

And the Winner IS...

After much deliberation and agonized voting, I'm please to announce that the winner of the May challenge IS.....Little old me with Siren Song!

I've never won anything in my entire life so I'm thrilled beyond measure. Awwwww you guys are fantastic, I have a killer case of the warm and fuzzies!

Second place was a tie!

Lori of StonePeace gets some love with her terrific turtle:

And Julie of WabiBrook Studio blew us away with her amazing copper cuff:

We're also tied for Third Place where the brooches stole the show.

Honorable mention goes to Carole of Caroleaxium with her lovely seahorse brooch:

And Heather of MistyRidge with her original seascape:

This a brilliant challenge with some incredible entries. Thanks to Brenda of Millcreek for envisioning the theme and thanks to each and every one of you for making it a reality. I hope your skills were taxed, your imagination challenged, and your spirit fulfilled by the experience. Thanks for playing!!

June challenge details will be up shortly so check back shortly!