Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chrysalis Jewelry -- Featured Artisan

Our Interview with  Chrysalis Jewelry

Owned and Operated by Gloria Ewing

When and how did you first become interested in crafting?
When I was a young girl, I would spend hours transforming scraps into something creative. Cardboard boxes and fabric remnants became furnished houses for my Barbie dolls. My mother gave me an old treadle sewing machine and I used it to sew “period costumes” and make my Barbie dolls look like Scarlet O’Hara or Marie Antoinette. As the only girl in a house full of boys, I created my own little fantasy world in my bedroom.

How long have you been creating your chosen craft?

I’ve studied drawing, watercolor painting, oils and pastels over the years. Occasionally I still work with pastels because I love the intensity of the colors and the way the colors can be blended together like paint. About six years ago, I discovered jewelry making and immersed myself in learning the names of stones and exploring the infinite combinations of color, texture, and shape. There was a new world of materials to incorporate into my designs and new methods of construction to learn, some of which I made up as I went along. Only two classes went into my training for jewelry making, one of which I decided was NOT the direction for me to take, so I guess you could say I am self taught.

Piedras Pequeñas Earrings
Brass Fan

What are your crafting influences?

My work is influenced by some of the artists I admire; I love to use bold contrasting colors as Paul Gauguin did in his paintings. I like to combine elements of Native American jewelry and of African tribal jewelry in my pieces but the end result is still a contemporary look. Even though my work has evolved and hopefully improved over the past six years, the character of it has remained the same. If you owned the first piece of jewelry I ever made and another piece that I made last week, you could easily identify them both as my work.

What is your favorite piece that you have created so far?

This necklace is one of my favorite examples of mixing tribal elements, in this case Thai Hill Tribe silver and horn beads, and the result is still a very contemporary piece. One strand is strung in the conventional way and the other strand is rosary style, each bead individually linked with antiqued bronze wire. I mix metals to help emphasize the gorgeous Thai silver pendant. I try to achieve interest, contrast, and balance, and do it in a way that is uniquely my own. That’s where the gratification comes from!

What kinds of places have you displayed your craft in your life?

Art fairs, craft shows, holiday bazaars, open houses, home parties, I’ve done them all. Time and energy being somewhat limited, I have gradually shifted to online sales. It takes a while to get people’s attention and, of course there is fierce competition, but it is a more practical way for me to sell jewelry. I can do it on my own timetable and I don’t have the long days sitting in the sun and risking heat stroke while I’m doing it.

Below are the links to my three online shops.


ChrysalisToo on Etsy

Chrysalis Jewelry on Artfire

Tribal Princess Necklace
African Brass


Catherine said...

Fabulous interview! Have been following Gloria's work for some time now and love everything she creates! A truly talented artist!

Kristi Bowman said...

I love Gloria's work and it's fun to see some of the history behind it. Thank you for featuring her and her awesome work!