Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Brenda Schweder! up close and in person!

At BeadFest, I had the pleasure of meeting Brenda Schweder. She is the author of popular books, Junk to Jewelry, Vintage Redux, and the present, Steel Wire Jewelry.
But Brenda was at BeadFest, not to tote her books, but her newest invention, Now That’s  a Jig!...and Brenda has generously joined us for an interview about this amazing tool. Brenda is a super generous soul, very open and inspiring, and her new tool, is equally inspiring to those who tangle with wire. I wandered on up to her booth to see this tool and little did I know that I would be equally inspired!.....






Ba: Hi Brenda! Tell us about yourself!
Br: Hi Barbara! These are the things I am lately: newly 50; mother of an almost-driving teenager and a roller-blading, surfer-dude-looking high school freshman; sick of being a bad cook; loving my job and my art!; can't get enough Robert Downey Jr. and those big, brown eyes (we'll stop there); wishing the mint in my garden would permanently disappear; in a quandry about what real friendship means; and ready to be with my very literal and awesome husband through our sunset years The-Best-Exotic-Magnolia-Hotel-style!



Ba: How did you begin working with steel wire?   
Br: I wanted a way to attach found objects to my chest. Or wrist. Or earlobes. One of my teaching mentors, Keith LoBue, works with this quite-mysterious media, and once I got my hands and hammer on it, I wanted in! It meets all the Brenda-requirements for fun, frolic, and frivolity!

Ba: Where did the inspiration for Now That’s a Jig! begin?
Did you experience frustration with conventional jigs?
Br: It began by realizing that although I created a low-tech jig for the Dance a Little (Honeycomb) Jig project in Steel Wire Jewelry, it never once occurred to me that there may be a machined tool out there to help (even though I owned one still in its package, somewhere in my studio). So, I dug it out, opened it up, and started wrangling some steel on it. Within a matter of seconds, I knew conventional jigs wouldn't do the trick for me (or for anyone that didn’t have three or four hands), especially when working steel. Artists and designers deserve tools that work for them. Conventional jigs may work with lighter wires and fiber, but are whimpy “when the gauge gets tough.” Their pegs pop out, and their bases scoot across work surfaces. I wanted to give people a tool that helped, not hindered, the process of creating. So, I invented a jig that would sit-tight on any work surface, fitted with pegs that would stay-put in the holes they were ‘put in’ in the first place.



Ba: Why do you prefer steel wire over other types of metal; sterling, copper or brass?
Br: Ah, Steel Wire-eo! Where for art thou, Steel Wire-eo? Let me count the ways! How about:
  1. its economic-ability (less than a five-spot for three-and-a-half pounds of 16 gauge goodness)? Or,
  2. its work-up-ability (it comes to us dead soft for easy handling), but bends and stays wherever it’s put)? Or,
  3. its forgiving-ability? (steel is a flexible friend . . . who doesn't love to have a second chance at a right angle bend?)? Or,
  4. its beauty-ability (oooooooo, that earthy luster—prrrrrrr!)? Or,
  5. its easy to solder-abiiity (uh huh, even fills small gaps!)? Or,
  6. its strength (muscles hold up to repeated bends)? And, did I say,
  7. "it’s super-cheap?" Indeed it is!!

Ba: So, will Now That’s a Jig! work with sterling and base metals besides steel?
Br: Absolutely! I recommend separate tools for use with steel, but the NTaJ! jig bed is anodized aluminum and wipes clean with a damp cloth or wipe; and it’s pegs are black-oxidize finished - or stainless steel and wire is wrapped around—not hammered into it. So, the red flags I normally warn against become null and void.


Ba: So what is it made of? What makes Now That's a Jig! so awesome compared to those “other” jigs?
Br: Physically, NTaJ! is constructed of anodized aluminum with its pegs and accessories of black oxide finished- or stainless steel. But, what it’s really “made of” is the stuff that fuels creativity: practicality, versatility and good ol’ authentic honesty and authenticity. I really wanted to provide a tool that works for artists, not one priced to sell. I wanted a tool which, when artists purchase and try to use it, doesn’t end up in a bottom drawer somewhere when it doesn’t fill their needs!

Ba: Is this a tool that both a seasoned metalsmith, as well as a novice, can benefit from?
Br. Just as a great pliers or beautiful hammer work just as well for a novice as a master, the NTaJ! benefits all. It provides a format for versatility and customization for the serious wireworker, and patterns and ideas for beginners and those who want a little dose of instant gratification! What we all have in common is the need to use our hands to create. The process feeds our type, whether we are young or mature at it!

Ba: Tell us about your own path. What motivates you to create?
Br: I am motivated by things. Mundane things. Junky things. Old and broken, and discarded things. Dirty, germy, and matted things. Things exactly as they are. I guess I like to celebrate the ‘thingness’ of things–and life—“As Is.” There is beauty in the way of things, in the mess and age and chipping-away of things.
Bright and shiny and new are alright (we must have a place to begin the
masterpieces) but, torn and worn and patina-ed are the embellishment of living life!

Ba: Do you have any advice for aspiring wireworkers or jewelry artists?
Br: In the words most commonly attributed to Germany Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

    “Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it.
    Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!”

I'll be celebrating my ten-year anniversary of my business in January, and I have been happily making every day of that time. Not long before beginning this love-life, I found myself interviewing for a marketing position with the Ready-Mix Concrete Association in my area. Can you imagine?; how lost was I? But, at that time, I accepted the idea that art doesn't pay the bills—and it didn't at first.

But if you don't start ‘it’ (your 'it,’ whatever 'it' is for you), ‘it’ will never build and grow. Start with just one bud of an idea, made in just one tiny, chiseled-out block of time. Beginning isn’t hard—or even momentous—but it packs an amazing amount of forward energy if you let it!

Ba: Thank you Brenda for joining us at Love My Art Jewelry.
Br: Thank YOU, Barbara! It is an honor to be featured in this way. Art Jewelry is the best-est!!











Wait! Brenda is offering a super special giveaway for LMAJ readers....

One each of:
  • Steel Wire Jewelry (autographed copy)
  • 1 package 28 gauge steel wire
  • 1 package 24 "
  • 1 package 22 "
  • 1 coil 20 "
  • 1 coil 18 "
  • 1 spool 16 "
  • 1 spool 14 "
  • 1 rod 12
  • 1 rod 10
  • 1 2-pack steel wool (00)
  • 1 2-pack wire brushes (steel and brass)
  • 1 sample Renaissance wax
  • 1 cotton application cloth
  • 1 white charcoal pencil (for marking dark steel)
  • 20% coupon for the NTaJ! Basic Jig Kit
To win this AMAZING gift, please leave a comment that you did one or more  the following (each for one separate entry):

and a separate entry for blogging, twittering, and sharing if you do so in a comment here. 

Comment through October 14, 2012 at 12 AM EST. and we'll announce a winner on Monday, October 15!

Purchase Now That's a Jig! here.
Visit Brenda's Facebook here.
Visit NTaJ's FB here.





99 comments:

OriginalBorski said...

I liked them all on Facebook!! And I am sooo excited about this tool. I have purchased jigs in the past and they are more annoying to mess with than helpful. They always take more time to keep together than it would take to just use tools. Am def excited to try this tool instead!!!!!!!!

freshbakeddesigns said...

Good morning, LMAJ! I just read Brenda's inspiring interview and happily liked the three Facebook pages.
What a great give away opportunity. Thanks.

ciaolucia said...

I have been following Brenda and Keith LoBu; they are amazing artists. I like new shiny things but also love and appreciate things with a history which is why I am drawn to their work. The steel is so accepting to shape and form, it's wonderful. And I just learned it can be soldered!

Kristen said...

Oh what a great interview with an absolutely hysterical lady! Now normally I would totally jump at the chance to win something but wire has not been my friend up to this point! I do not think even Brenda;s awesomeness could help me! LOL

Christine said...

What an interesting interview. I am excited to explore this new jig. I liked all 3 listed on Face Book.

Stacie said...

Brenda, you had my heart with this quote," torn and worn and patina-ed are the embellishment of living life!" That is exactly how I feel about patina...
What an amazingly positive and lighthearted look at steel wire...I have two rolls of it, but haven't started a relationship with it yet...this interview may well have been the jump start I needed. What a great looking jig...thank you Barbara, for a wildly awesome interview and to Brenda...for all of that passion about what you do...Bravo!

carolynchenault said...

I mostly work with glass and sterling with my jewelry, but the steel looks like an intersting alternative! I enjoyed reading the interview.

Heidi Post said...

Oooh, I love the look of steel wire, and I've used it a few times, but had to throw my only roll away after Hurricane Isaac-induced rust killed it. I would definitely love to learn more about it and tips and tricks on how to better work with it. The jig looks great! I liked it and Brenda on FB (was already a liker of LMAJ)!

Heidi Post said...

And I Facebooked about this blog!

Janet Bocciardi said...

Best interview ever!! ; )

I'm going to take a 2nd look at steel wire. : )

Janet Bocciardi said...

Oh - and I liked your FB page, of course!!

Louise said...

A great interview and a wonderful opportunity to win an amazing tool. I have been a follower of LMAJ on FB for a long time, so fingers crossed.

Louise said...

For another chance to win, I gave Brenda Schweder Jewelry on FB a 'like' ages ago.

Louise said...

Me again! I have also visited NTaJ on FB and given that page a 'like'.

Louise said...

And to give myself another chance I have also shared on FB.

Erin S said...

great interview! I "liked" LMAJ on facebook. (actually I didn't even know they had a facebook page until now. duh.)

Erin S said...

I also "liked" Brenda's jewelry facebook page.

quiltingjewel39 said...

Great interview. I always find it facinating how someone started making jewelry or what the did in "past lives". I have a spool of it also and haven't ventured to open it yet but may give it a try now. Brenda's work is so unique.
rmar261783@aol.com

KayzKreationz said...

Just 'liked' LMAJ on facebook. http://KayzKreationzGlassKreationz or Kay Thomerson

KayzKreationz said...

Just 'liked' Brenda's jewelry page.

KayzKreationz said...

Just 'liked' the jig facebook page. I'd love to win this. I've worked with Stainless Steel wire only once and it was so hard on my hands and difficult to work with. I'd love to try again, but don't feel like I have the strenght. This would be great.

KayzKreationz said...

Just tweeted about the jig and giveaway.

https://twitter.com/kayzkreationz/status/256064297485086720

KayzKreationz said...

Just shared on my facebook page. http://facebook.com/KayzKreationzGlassKreationz

ArtZhodgepodge said...

Like them all. Can't wait to see the Jig in action.

ArtZhodgepodge said...

Love the interview... shared here https://www.facebook.com/ArtZhodgepodge

youniquegems said...

OMG! I am in love with this tool! I haven't wireworked in steel (yet). This makes me want to run out and get me some!

I liked all three pages.

Linda said...

Liked all three! What a great collection that I would have a blast with! Thanks for the opportunity!

Manola Maria said...

I find the idea of screwing the pegs into the holes original and very convenient. I also like the bracket accessory. Brenda has certainly thought of every little detail. Great Giveaway! I liked LMAJ on Facebook.

Manola Maria said...

I liked Brenda Schweder Jewelry on Facebook.

Manola Maria said...

I liked Now That's a Jig! on Facebook.

Manola Maria said...

I just shared the giveaway on fb

https://www.facebook.com/maria.manola.758

Patti Van said...

This was a wonderful interview! It is so obvious that Brenda loves what she does and has such a passion for it - and that is so refreshing! Thanks for sharing, Barbara! I did the requisite "likes" on FB, too!

Thoughtfulhands said...

What a great interview.
I liked LMAJ on FB

Thoughtfulhands said...

And I liked Brenda's two FB pages

Jennifer B said...

I liked them all. I would really like to get into steel work.

Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio said...

Liked LMAJ on FB.

Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio said...

Liked Brenda's FB Page.

Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio said...

Liked NTAJ on FB (I got one from her at Bead Fest!!!)

Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio said...

Just shared via Pinterest!

Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio said...

I met Brenda a few years back out in Tucson, and something drew me to her jig at Bead Fest. I just had to have one (and grabbed some wire and tools - got to be ready to use it). I've been wanting to get her book - winning one would be SUPER sweet!

Thank You Brenda for making such an awesome tool to help others release their creativity!!!

Great interview!

Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio said...

Shared on my Marsha Neal Studio FaceBook Page!

susan said...

love your concept and thank you for bringing it to us

stacilouise said...

What an awesome tool! Thanks for sharing with us. Its so nice to hear how new tools are born! (and you have me itching to try some steel!)

Shannon Chomanczuk said...

what a great tool and wonderful interview! I have liked all 3 on facebook :-)

Rose said...

I have liked all 3 Facebook pages. This tool looks amazing!

Sherri Stokey said...

I liked LMAJ on Facebook

Sherri Stokey said...

I liked Brenda Schweder Jewelry on Facebook

Sherri Stokey said...

I liked Now That's a Jig! on Facebook

Lori Ackerman said...

Loved the article! I've liked all three FB pages. Thanks so much.
Lori

Lori Ackerman said...

Loved the article and working with steel! I've liked all three FB pages.

Lori

Lori Ackerman said...

Just Liked Brenda's FB page.
Lori

Lori Ackerman said...

Just liked the third FB page. This is so generous and wonderful!
Lori

Lori Ackerman said...

Just added the jig to my Pinterest collection!!!

Lori

Kathleen Lange Klik said...

Happy belated birthday Brenda! Also, congratulations on celebrating 10 years of your business!

I took your introduction to steel wire class at Bead Fest and you are right, steel wire is everything you said it is! I especially love that it is economical. It just seems to have it's own unique quality; very rustic, yet very modern.

Great interview and amazing giveaway (ooh, I am so excited)! Heading over to your Facebook pages now...

Kathleen Lange Klik said...

I have "liked" Brenda Schweder Jewelry on Facebook!

Kathleen Lange Klik said...

I have also "liked" Love My Art Jewelry on Facebook as well. I didn't even know you had a FB page-so happy that you do!

Kathleen Lange Klik said...

I "liked" Now That's a Jig! on Facebook. This tool is the bomb! Brilliant invention Brenda!

Jan Petek said...

Hi! I love your blog!
I "liked" all 3 FB pages! I have been wanting to try out steel wire! Would love to get this great giveaway! Keep these giveaways coming. They are very informative and fun!
Thanks
Jan

PA said...

I "liked" all three on Facebook. And I love this jig idea! I've never been successful using a jig because the pins kept popping out. Now I've this great tool on my wish list!

Cositas said...

Ihavebeen following LMAJ on the blog and liked it on Facebook for a while, and just " liked" Brenda's page, as well. I have been hesitant to use steel wire because of fear that it will rust on my clients, but... I bet there's a few pearls of wisdom on that subject in the book (which I bought, but haven't read yet...). Thanks for the chance!

Sharon said...

Wonderful interview and I love Brenda's outlook on worn and weathered things.

Sharon said...

Just liked Brenda's FB page!

Sharon said...

I liked LMAJ on FB!

Sharon said...

Just liked the jiggity Jig FB page!

Cecile Nichols said...

I enjoyed the interview very much! I've done a bit of steel wire work and really must buy your book! I've looked at a friend's and saw some ideas I'd love to try.

Thank you for the opportunity to win some goodies!!

I've "liked" you and am anxious to read up!

Cecile

gretchen said...

great interview - nice to hear a real voice of a real person-

gretchen said...

I liked Brenda Schweder Jewelry on Facebook.

gretchen said...

I liked Now That's a Jig! on Facebook.

gretchen said...

I liked LMAJ on FB and am a big fan of using steel wire!

mairedodd said...

thank you so very much brenda for your generosity here - you have sparked quite a lot of excitement! and barbara - thank you for the wonderful interview and bringing brenda to us!
i love steel wire as well - and am so excited to read about your jig... brilliant!

Alice said...

A fascinating tool! If I don't win in I'll be adding it to my Christmas wish list.

I liked LMAJ on FB

Alice said...

I liked Brenda on FB

Alice said...

I liked Now That's a Jig on FB.
Thanks for the chance to win!

Beetique said...

I liked LMAJ on facebook.

Beetique said...

I liked Brenda Schweder Jewelry on Facebook.

Beetique said...

I LIKED Now That's a Jig! on Facebook!

Pat Haight said...

Liked ntaj on facebook. Love the design of this jig, so tired of the platic pegs popping out on the jig I have. Already added this to my Christmas wishlist;~)

Pat Haight said...

Liked Brenda's page.

Pat Haight said...

Liked LMAJ page ages ago;~)

Ana Marcela Herrera said...

I liked LMAJ on Facebook

Ana Marcela Herrera said...

I liked Brenda Schweder Jewelry on Facebook.

Ana Marcela Herrera said...

I liked Now That's a Jig! on Facebook

Ana Marcela Herrera said...

I tweet about it.

Ana Marcela Herrera said...

I shared it on Facebook.

lakesuperiorwaves said...

I did share on Pinterest. I love working with steel as I love the rawness of the wire. I like to combine it with freshwater pearls so the rawness of the black metal contrasts with the organic shapes and color of the pearls.

lakesuperiorwaves said...

I liked LMAJ on facebook.

lakesuperiorwaves said...

I liked Brenda's page on Facebook.

lakesuperiorwaves said...

I also liked Now That's a Jig on facebook. I would love to have one of those jigs as steel doesn't form as well on the other jigs. They just can't handle the strength of the steel wire.

New Moon Scents said...

Loved the interview!

New Moon Scents said...

I liked LMAJ on Facebook

New Moon Scents said...

I liked Brenda on Facebook.

New Moon Scents said...

I liked the jig on Facebook.

throuthehaze said...

liked LMAJ on Facebook: Rae Pavey

throuthehaze said...

liked Brenda Schweder Jewelry on Facebook: Rae Pavey

throuthehaze said...

liked Now That's a Jig! on Facebook: Rae Pavey

Christine's Beadworks said...

I liked them all three on facebook. A great interview with a wonderful artist.

Christine's Beadworks said...

I liked them all three on facebook. A great interview with a wonderful artist.

Christine's Beadworks said...

Liked all 3 on facebook. A wonderful interview and giveaway. I'm looking forward to seeing more of Brenda's work.

Carmen Letusick said...

I liked all three sites. The jewelry is intriguing and the methods implemented I would like to master. Really excited about "Now that's a Jig!"

face
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...