Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Little Light Housekeeping and then.... Spice Up Your Sunday....

by MaryAnn Carroll

A little bit of housekeeping before getting to our bi-weekly designer interview.  First, please enter in our ArtSpark challenge. To be taken right to the post, click the ArtSpark June button to the left.  We would love to be able to feature your piece in our weekly designer selection (the first designer selection will be tomorrow).  Not to mention, you will be entered to win the fabulous donations that are shown in the post as well as on our right sidebar.  Please share your creations along with your connections to that creation.

Also….. the Sunday giveaway has been postponed until tomorrow, Monday, June 13th, which means you have one more day to enter.... The link is to the left of this post.

Thanks for creating with us!  You can find links to learn more about Nat at the end of this interview.  Please take some time to visit her various sites.

Etsy Shop: Grubbi

So, here is what Nat had to say when asked to share a little about herself personally.  Being from the U.S., I was a little concerned when Nat shared that she lost 5 stones!  Ouch!!!

I had to look up what a "stone" was since I only know about passing those and that is not pretty....

Unless, of course, if we are talking about passing stone beads...... that can be a pleasant experience ;o)

In the UK, however, it would be delightful to lose a stone since one of those equals 14 pounds in the US.  Congrats to you, Nat for losing 70 pounds in U.S. lingo.  Oh boy, before I confuse anyone more, I will just get onto what Nat had to say....

When I’m not at my desk kneading clay and hammering metal I’m training part time to become a counsellor/therapist. I live in Liverpool in the UK with and am mum to my beautiful 14 year old daughter who could generate enough dirty clothing to sink a ship! 
I have a love for animals and have three cats, one of whom was a feral stray that we took in and over time she’s become a lot tamer and part of the family. I’ve been a vegetarian for 25 years and animal welfare is a cause very close to my heart.
I’m also on a fitness/healthy living kick, having given up smoking 3 years ago, I’m now counting calories and introducing exercise into my life and have lost 5 stone in the last 6 months, which is a big change but is a wonderful feeling to be taking positive steps towards a new me.

I must start off by asking.... How did you come up with the name Grubbi?

Well, I was originally going to use my regular nickname but as I’m known in other online communities by that name I wanted a new name that would be connected with my jewellery only. Grubbi resonated from the word “Grubby” which is English slang meaning “a bit dirty” or “worn looking”. As I love aged, distressed and antiqued jewellery and beads I thought it apt.

What was it that got you first interested in creating jewelery?

I’ve always had a passion for art and creating things…in the past it was pieces of art, portraits and sometimes 3D meshes and graphics.

I first became interested in jewellery making when I was looking for a piece of jewellery for my Mum's birthday. I found some beautiful earrings but they were extremely expensive and so I decided to buy some beads in similar colours and try to make something similar myself.

Once I had purchased beads and made my first pair of badly made earrings, I was hooked! Not just to creating jewellery but to buying beads. I must have spent a small fortune over the last couple of years. There are beads everywhere!

You mentioned that you have been creating jewellery for some time now and have been experimenting with different mediums. Would you tell us a little bit about that?

I get bored very easily and even though I loved buying beads, I found that I wanted a more hands on approach, buying beads and stringing them didn’t satisfy the Gemini in me and so I moved on to polymer clay and making my own beads.  I discovered polymer clay by accident. I was looking for beads to buy and discovered the polymer clay and lampwork artist Emma Ralph. I fell in love with a set of her polymer beads and so bought a load of clay and set about learning how to use it.
After that I discovered Etsy and art beads! That’s where I really found my niche…art and beads combined…just perfect!!

I discovered MissFickleMedia on Etsy and my love for metal work and patinas emerged. From that I discovered stamping and just more recently, etching. I would totally love to try lampwork but I don’t have a studio or the funds for the expensive equipment. I would also love to try ceramics and enamelling but I’m trying to become more adapt with the tools I do have and not concentrate on what I don’t have.

Do you create beads with jewellery styles in mind or do you make the jewellery work for the beads that were created? Please tell us a little about that.

Some days I fancy playing with clay so I’ll get out my stash and try a new technique or make a cane, other days I’ll just make some components such as ear wires or clasps from wire so that I have some for the future should I need them. Other days I’ll actually force myself to sit down and finish unfinished projects and occasionally I’ll have the right beads and the right components at the same time and I’ll actually get to finish a piece of jewellery!

I do like doing some of the challenges from the online community or if I have a custom order…I seem to work better when I have a theme or colour scheme or a commission…I like a little spark to kick of the creative process.

How did you get started selling on Etsy and what have you enjoyed the most about selling online? And the least?

Friends and family kept telling me that I should start selling my stuff.  I had spent a couple of years stocking up on beads, findings, tools and learning how to use them but never really had the confidence to think that anyone would actually pay for something I had made.
I made things for family mostly; my Mum is a huge fan of jewellery so she was my tester. I had looked at starting a website but found it quite difficult to get the look I wanted and worried about how I would drive traffic to it.

Even though I had been shopping on Etsy for over a year, it didn’t occur to me to open my own shop because it was a predominantly US site and I was over in the UK.  Then it occurred to me that if I was happy to shop in the US, others may me happy to shop in the UK. 

I joined in with some online communities and started adding my stuff to Flickr and had some good feedback and so less than 2 months ago, decided I had nothing to lose by opening an Etsy store and seeing how I got on.

So far I love it!  It’s great to see my things out there for everyone to see. Having such positive feedback from peers has given my confidence a much needed boost and every time someone adds something of mine to their favourites I feel very flattered!  My first sale was to a lady in New Mexico…blew my mind that my beads would be made into jewellery in New Mexico, the other side of the world. Very exciting!

Have you set any goals for your future in terms of creating and selling?

No, not really. I don’t think it will ever be a full time job unfortunately. I just don’t have the time to devote to creating on a full time basis. I think if it “had” to do it then I would fear it becoming a chore rather than a passion. So I’m happy to keep it more as a part time job/hobby for the foreseeable.  Unless of course I’m discovered in a big way and offered millions, hehe.

While purusing Nat's shop, I also noticed that she not only created wonderful beads and jewelry, but also offers some fabulous portraits.

I have drawn portraits for over 20 years and art has always been a huge passion of mine. I used to draw portraits with good old pencil and paper but moved on to Photoshop and a graphics tablet a few years ago. Your portrait will be delivered via email for your approval and then sent to you on a CD with an A4 print in a hard backed envelope. If you prefer you can just receive the email delivery and I will refund your postage costs. I will include different versions of the finished piece in many finishes including faded, black and white, high contrast etc... From the CD you can print out as many copies of your portrait for family and friends.

Check out Nat's shop

and some more artwork on flickr......

 and then learn more about Nat by following her blog:

Thanks so much, Nat, for sharing with us.


mairedodd said...

what an incredibly talented woman! nat, love all of your work... especially the polymer beads... thank you Mary Ann for the wonderful interview...

Izzy said...

Great interview. Amazing talent, not only in the jewelry arena but also with the portraits. Nice!

Patty said...

Great interview, Mary Ann! I'm off to check out Grubbi's shop. I predict it's chock full of incredible loveliness.

Grubbi said...

Thank you so much for featuring me, very flattering for a newbie! xxx

D'Arsie Manzella said...

I love your polymer clay work! It is so vibrant and fun. Thanks for introducing me to Nat's work. I will be checking out her shop frequently...

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