Welcome, Nina and her Etsy shop PRETTY CHEAP JEWELRY. Nina not only creates delightful jewelry at reasonable prices, but also cross stitched cards, journals and more, so be sure to pay her shop a visit. First, get to know Nina a bit better by reading her fun interview below.
What led you to start creating your art/craft?
When my full-time artist sister cleaned out a deceased friend's studio several years ago, I was sent a box of beads and supplies. Morbid? True! That was the start of the jewelry making phase. And let me advise everyone out there - don't start cross stitching!! You cannot stop!! Some years ago I stitched a pattern over a 3 or 4 month period during a cross country trip in our camper that says 'Give your children 2 strong things, One is roots, the other wings' with all these monarch butterflies and ivy. What was I thinking???? Of course, a sewing machine wedding gift was sweet too (were they trying to tell me something about saving money?). None of my totes, wallets or pillows are for sale on my website.
How did you decide what medium you wanted to work with?
My husband is a rock hound (travels the earth in search of natural stone and fossils!) and would cringe at purchasing a stone. Since diamonds are still MY best friend, I followed him gathering stone and shells and whatever is shiny and pretty. But honestly, I have no qualms about buying stones. Otherwise, necessity being the mother of invention, says it all with respect to the other mediums I dabble in such as sewing, embroidery and pressing flowers. When my kids were really little I spent years 'making something from nothing' including puppets out of scraps, ships out of cardboard and string, and city streets out of big rolls of paper. Nowadays, I feel connected to the past, drying and pressing flowers for cards like my grandmother might have!! Being an environmentalist since 5th grade, I want to spread the word about California native plants (water-wise!) and use those from my yard to press and gather for the cards.
What aspect of creating your art/craft do you find the most enjoyable?
NATURE! RECYCLING! My biggest thrill seems to be finding the perfect use for that lonely something saved in my supplies. Look at the 'frame' on this necklace, it was picked up by my son on the beach. The remainder of the strand is recaptured from a piece I took apart.
Click on this link to see the necklace: NEUTRAL BUDDA NECKLACE
If you had to choose a fruit OR a vegetable, to describe your art/craft, what would you choose, and why?
I am most certainly a vegetable! And probably a carrot because my things are classic in design, are sensible and affordable, and subtly sweet!
If you had to choose one other medium in which to display your “creativity”, what would that be, and why?
Soon, maybe even in 2009, I will venture into the realm of photography! Except I need a decent digital camera. My 1st generation Canon is on its last legs (er, last batteries). Back a mere 15-20 years ago in the 35mm SLR ages, when people developed and printed in a dark room, (!?) I gave my ole Nikon a workout for awhile. I love the technical yet creative aspect of photography. Although the Nikon is now gathering dust, I hear you can use the same lenses on a digital Nikon body! Birthday wishlist anyone?
What message, if any, do you want to convey with your art/craft?
Each item I make contains a blend of texture, material, color, shape. When these come together in harmony, voila! A small masterpiece. I hope people notice the design is atypical of usual commercial stuff. And the underlying clever angles in many of my things! Do you see the message in this (not just the quote)?
What advice do you have for other artists/crafters?
Be true to yourself! Especially in pricing. Keep the critics at arm's length who may advise you to price higher or lower. Make what you love and not what will sell. That's easy for me to advise, being non-dependent on my craft income, absolutely not easy for full-time artists to follow.
Thanks, Nina for an enjoyable interview, and for taking the time to share your creativity with everyone! Click on the links below to find out more about Nina.