Tuesday, May 20, 2008

BETH MILLNER - FEATURED ARTIST

I happened to be out in the Etsy forums today and ran across a post by Beth. My curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to visit her Etsy Shop, where I was absolutely delighted with her jewelry. I will let Beth tell you in her own words what inspires her to create.

I am a Silversmith and Jewelry Artist from Marquette, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula. Much of my jewelry is inspired by my surroundings, including the shorelines of Lake Superior.The circle is representational of my outlook on life; I believe that the end of one thing is the beginning of the next. I am using bird imagery in many pieces, inspired by a robin’s nest, which was outside of my window this past spring. I photographed the cycle from egg to bird, which gives me a source of ideas for designing bird-themed pieces. I feel as though there are many cycles in life that the circle is representational of, such as the life cycle of a bird. Once the bird dies, it decomposes and creates dirt, then an earthworm eats the dirt, a bird then eats the earthworm; thus creating a circular pattern in the life cycle.

Alexander Calder is one of the famous metalworkers whose work inspires me. His geometric shapes and moving components are elements that I incorporate into my work. I also strive to create pieces with components that have actual symmetry or a sense of symmetry. M.C. Escher’s use of tessellation patterns is influential to my work in that regard.I use sterling silver, brass, copper, gemstones and materials that are native to the area I live in to create my jewelry. Some of the local materials I have used in my pieces are found on the shoreline of Lake Superior, including agates, rounded pebbles, and beach glass.

WHAT LED YOU TO START CREATING YOUR ART?
I have always created art since I was a child. I remember saying that I wanted to grow up to be an artist.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE WHAT MEDIUM YOU WANTED TO WORK WITH?
I loved to paint throughout high school, and upon taking a jewelry class at Northern Michigan University, I realized that metal was a really fun medium to work with! I graduated this May with a BFA in Metalsmithing from NMU. I really love all kinds of mediums, so I may get back into painting at some point in the future.

WHAT ASPECT OF CREATING YOUR ART DO YOU FIND THE MOST ENJOYABLE?
I really enjoy the part of making my jewelry when time passes and I don't even notice. I love the meditative state of creating art.

WHAT MESSAGE, IF ANY DO YOU WANT TO CONVEY WITH YOUR ART?
My current bodies of work were developed along with my senior exhibition at NMU. This is my Artist Statement: "‘The Birds and the Bees’ series was inspired by a robin’s nest, which was outside of my window last spring. I am interested in the circular patterns of reproduction and existence that emerge daily in nature.

The ‘Caffeinated’ series was influenced by my strong connection to coffee houses. One of my first jobs was a barista serving specialty coffees and baked goods. Upon moving to the Marquette area, I found Dead River Coffee to be a great social scene allowing me to meet and develop long lasting relationships with individuals from the community.

The ‘Habitation‘ series is representative of my desire to live in a home in the woods, with a community of people. Also, many of my companions are homebuilders and green builders, which has inspired this series of jewelry.

Reusing materials is very important to me. Many of my pieces are made by melting and casting scrap precious metal into new pieces. Some of the sources of reused metal are from old sterling silverware, damaged jewelry and salvaged copper electrical wire."

Not all of the pieces from these three series' are in my Etsy shop, but hopefully they will be soon! You can see my entire senior exhibition here: SENIOR EXHIBITION

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER ARTISTS?
I would suggest for other artists to follow their dream, but realize that it will probably be the hardest they have ever worked. As with any occupation there are ups and downs and preparing for the unexpected can be difficult. Finding a target audience for your creative endeavors is important and self confidence is the key to selling your art!

BETH, thanks for sharing your art and thoughts with us! I'm sure you will go far with your art! To visit Beth's Etsy shop, and other links to her art, see below:









BETH'S BLOG
BETH'S WEBSITE
BETH'S FLICKR PHOTOS

1 comment:

bethmillner said...

Thanks a lot for featuring me on your blog! I greatly appreciate it!