Everybody"s Fancy

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Interview with Sarah Loertscher

What's the first piece of jewelry you ever purchased?

You know, I have no idea- it probably had a unicorn on it. I can tell you the first piece of jewelry I remember, though- when I was born, my grandfather came to the hospital with a necklace with my name on it- the kind of necklace that comes from a gift or truck stop- the huge rack of jewelry with all the common names on them. That was, without a doubt, was my first piece of jewelry; I wore that necklace on and off until I was 24 or so- then I lost it. I also remember a pearl heart that my aunt and uncle gave me- it had my name painted on it, with roses, and somehow smelled like cinnamon.

Do you have an art collection, or prefer to make your own?

I'm starting to amass a small collection, through trading with friends. My favorites are a mug from my dear friend Natalie Tornatore, a screenprint from Matthew Landkammer, and a mirrored class sculpture from Thor Bueno. I just got that one last Friday and I love it!! I love bartering and filling my life with handmade objects.

Favorite materials to work with?

Sterling silver, steel, gold, ebony. I feel like silver and I are old friends now- we have been working together for 8 years or so. I like gold a lot, but have much to learn to feel comfortable and confident with it. Ebony is so satisfying to carve, and I love the way that wood smells, versus metal- wood is so much softer, and you seal it with delicious-smelling oil... it's a treat to work with.

Where did you get started, and how long have you been working in steel?

Officially, I got started at Ball State University in Indiana- I had to take all these survey courses as an undecided art major, and six weeks into my metals class I declared metals as my major. Working in that shop was the first time I can remember vividly losing time; sinking so far into a project that hours would drift by unnoticed. I remember the feeling that I had found a partner- like, THIS THING was what I was going to spend my life exploring. The only other time I felt that was when I met my (now) fiancee.

Unofficially, I started when I was five or so- not necessarily making jewelry, but collecting sparkly things. I was obsessed with fools gold, and would painstakingly inch up our enormous driveway looking for the faceted gold mineral. Anything sparkly- anything- caught my attention in a ridiculously focused way. I loved watching Wheel of Fortune so I could see Vanna White in her (always) glittery dresses. My family would make fun of how much I loved her... "oh, VAN-na!" they'd say, when Wheel of Fortune came on. "oh, Sarah, VAN-na's on TV!" Anyway, the work I am making right now just makes sense with what I've always been fascinated with- facets, rocks, sparkling glints of light, which are then paired with a healthy dose of (almost OCD) precision. It gives my need for precision and order a healthy outlet, I think.

Steel: I took a steel fabrication workshop with Kim Cridler when I was a core student at Penland- sometime in 2005? Kim is an amazing instructor, and she got me really fired up to work with steel. It's cheap, accessible, and strong as hell, especially compared with silver. And, somehow, I think it smells really nice, too.

What is your design process?

I liked reading what the other girls said about this- we all work in such a similar way. I usually don't have any idea what I will be making- like Rachel has these glorious drawings of what she'll make, and then she makes it. I just make parts- building blocks- like when I'm making my structure work, I'll have two or three days of just making hexagons. And then I'll start piecing them together, piling them up, drawing with the shapes. When I'm visually happy with what I have, I'll tack all the hexagons together and then start adding supports to make it structurally sound. By this time I'm usually deciding what the pieces are- like I'll make two piles of hexagons look similar, and these will be earrings. It's a really organic process, and I rarely measure anything, which sometimes surprises people. It feels very akin to how crystalline structures are formed. or, ah, accumulate.

Resources you're willing to share with other jewelers & the public?
hmm. My absolute favorite tools are snap-on sanding mandrels for the flex shaft. My new favorite non-tool-as-a-tool is a bocci ball- it's now used as a forming stake. For inspiration, the book "Snowflakes" by Kenneth George Libbrecht is just cra-zy. High-magnification images of snowflakes... and the way they're formed- it's really amazing. Did you know that some snowflakes are hollow barrels?!

Anything to add?

If you have any interest in craft, I would highly recommend watching Craft in America- the PBS series. Sometimes being a maker can feel like a pretty solitary pursuit, and this series reinforces the lineage we're all a part of- it's really well done. Like Dixie, I can geek out pretty rapidly about anything that interests me, and I'm also glad to hear from people... you can always contact me through my website at www.sarahloertscher.com.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Interview with Rachel Rader

Did you always want to make jewelry?

The jewelry I've been making is really an extension of my empire: the Mermaid Empire. I wanted to make pieces that people could wear that related to my sculptural glass work. I've been making jewelry for as long as I can remember creating. I love that jewelry is the one form of craft that you can make and show off on your body to the world. You can't very well do that with a ceramic teapot. Well, I guess you could but it would look very silly.

Where did you get started?

I received a Bachelors in Fine Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University in Material Studies with a focus in Metalsmithing and Glass making. Susie Ganch really opened my eyes to the possibilities in conceptual jewelry making. She's an amazing instructor! But before that, I would collect shells on the beach when visiting my Grandpa in Florida. I used to talk my Dad into drilling holes in the shells so that I could turn them into jewelry.

What is your design process?

It's a very organic process. I make all the parts I need in a monochromatic scale out of clay, glass and found objects, then I sew a little cushion. Next, I spend hours watching Hulu and covering the little cushion in all the made-parts with thread and needle. It's so satisfying covering every little nook and cranny of such a small space.

I've noticed a lot of your work has an aquatic theme, can you give us an idea of where this started?

I watched The Little Mermaid on VHS as a little girl, until the tape wore out. Since then, I've had an increasing fascination with the ocean. It's the one last place on earth that seems to enchant people with a mysteriousness found in fairy tales. A vast portion of the ocean is unexplored, and I suppose it's human nature to deem mystery synonymous with magic like the magical forests in European folklore. The magical creatures of these tales always lived in the dark mysterious woods just outside of the kingdom.

Favorite materials to work with?

Austrian crystal beads, pearls, and anything luxurious. But I really love pairing all of those precious materials with the unexpected like plastic seaweed.

Resources you're willing to share with other jewelers & the public?

If you haven't been to the Seattle Aquarium, go and pet the sea anemones!

Have you ever made a piece that embarrassed you?

I'm always making work that puts my inner feelings out into the public. So, when I go to explain why I made the object I wonder if it's a bit TMI, (too much information). I was making a lot of work before the Mermaid Jewels that focused in on my frustrations as a young woman who's Dad really wants her to find a nice Jewish husband. My attitude in reaction was that I wanted to be my own Prince Charming and that I could do it all on my own. See? TMI. I'm still aware of this theme in my work, but I work with it in a more subdued tone.

Who is your design hero?

Andreas Schl├╝ter. He designed the Amber Room which is now in the Catherine Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It's a room covered in amber. It doesn't get more decadent than that! Unless you're eating chocolate cake in the Amber Room, and washing it down with hot chocolate.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dixie Darling

Interview with Dixie Darling - one third of Fancy's upcoming show 'Accumulation'.

First, lets start with where you get started, where'd you go to school?

dd: I got my BFA, in painting, at the University of Montevallo in Alabama. After that I decided after spending two weeks at Penland that jewelry was for me, so, i moved to Chicago and attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, then transfered to the University of Oregon's jewelry program.

Did you always want to make jewelry, or was this a fallback plan when your welding career went awry?

dd: I always made or rearranged jewelry I was given as a kid, but I didn't know you could go to school and learn how to make it till I was almost finished with my BFA. Once I found that out, I packed up all of my belongings and moved cross country to learn this amazing craft

What is your design process?

dd: I usually sketch some very loose idea based off inspiration, decide on a color pallet that seems interesting, and then lay out the materials I feel will work best with my idea. My piece might look just like my drawing after I'm finished, or completely different. I'm not too particular about that.

Favorite materials to work with?

dd:I love working with brass,sterling, felt, ploymer, paint, beads, vintage bobbles, embroidery, bone, and wonderful objects given to me by friends or family.

Resources you're willing to share with other jewelers & the public?

dd: It depends. Some stuff I wanna keep to myself because I spend a ton of time in my studio tying to create unique materials to use. I'll tell you the basics, but you need to do some creative experimentation on your own. The process is a VERY important part of the whole. Anything else I'm an open book.

Have you ever made a piece that embarrassed you?

dd: Of course. Right now I have a piece that turned out lumpy after I worked about 6 months on it. So, I've covered it with a scarf to hide it from my sight for the time being.

Do you consider yourself a jeweler, an artist or a jewelry artist, or do you have another moniker?

dd: I guess I consider myself a jewelry artist. Most of what I make could be seen as small sculptures that adorn the body.

Have you worked with Rachel and Sarah in the past, or is this your first collaboration?

dd: This is our first collaboration, but we've known each other for a few years now.

Who is your design hero?

dd: Oooh, there are so many! I love Terhi Tolvanen, Helen Britton, Willemijn de Greef, Iris Bodemer, Karl Fritsh...... the list goes on

Anything to add?

dd: I love geeking out with people, so, if you have any questions that I didn't answer here please contact me through my website yourdarlingdixie.com

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Finally catching up

On our custom orders, keep an eye out for the updated Fancy site coming to a screen near you.
In case you're planning a visit, the winter store hours are
12-5 Tuesday-Saturday.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New and modernly exciting, Joelle King

Just added to the Fancy collection, and just in time for the holidays.
Come on down.