Thursday, October 22, 2009
Featured Etsy Artisan - Altered Beauty
Taking inspiration from the industrial revolution, the Victorian era and even Greek mythology, Ashely from Altered Beauty uses new and found objects to create truly unique jewelry. She was kind enough to grant me an interview.
Could you tell us a little about yourself, what got you started making jewelry, and your creative process?
I have been making jewelry for a few years. I initially became interested in creating jewelry when I was working overnight shifts at a domestic violence shelter. A woman there (a shelter resident) saw me working on something crafty and she mentioned that she made jewelry. I asked to see some of her work and it was wonderful! She showed me the basics and was very encouraging. I started making things for my family. Eventually I heard about Etsy and thought I would give it a shot!
I have been happily married since 2002. My husband is an artist who has worked in the movie industry and is currently working freelance. I work full-time in the nonprofit industry (I have a BA in Psychology and an uncompleted Master's that I don't plan on finishing :-D) I work overnight shifts, which I think would be difficult for most couples, but since my husband is freelance he just adapts his schedule to mine. We don't have kids but have a dog named Buddy.
I love making jewelry as a way to relax. (Sometimes it isn't relaximg lol, but most of the time it is.) I particularly love the Steampunk genre and Altered Art. I have always been inspired by the industrial revolution and victorian era. I don't have a very specific creative process; many times I see a beautiful watch movement or a particular finding and I just go from there. I love making custom pieces as well.
I have to admit that I had to Wikipedia the term "steampunk". Can you tell me where you first came across this term as it applies to modified objects, and what the term means to you?
I first came across Steampunk jewelry because my husband became interested in the Steampunk movement, especially as it is represented in movies. I started researching typical Steampunk attire, including jewelry, and fell in love with it. I have always loved anything pertaining to the industrial revolution and the Victorian era, so it seemed like a natural progression.
Do you find yourself looking at everyday objects in a different light since you started creating jewelry?
Absolutely...I am always looking for things to incorporate into my jewelry, such as mechanical parts, tiny boxes, and tiny bottles. I love jewelry that is functional and can be used to contain things.
Do you have any other crafting hobbies that you enjoy; knitting, sewing, painting, etc., or is there anything you would like to try some day?
I am hopeless when it comes to knitting and sewing, but I love textile arts. I am currently trying to teach myself wet felting and needle felting, and I love it. I also do watercolors and enjoy collage.
How has selling your creations, as opposed to just making them for fun and giving them to friends, affected your life?
Selling my jewelry has been an awesome way for me to make a little bit of extra money (much needed :-D) while doing something I love. So far, I have been able to maintain a good balance between work and fun, so while I handle all of my transactions professionally, I still get to have fun creating without it seeming like work. I am so glad I found Etsy, because I think it is an ideal venue for people like me who want to test the waters of selling their handmade and vintage products. I am now gearing up towards doing craft shows :-)