1. When and how did you first become interested in crafting?
When I was a little girl, my mother worked nights and an elderly aunt took care of me. She made hooked rugs ... the old-fashioned kind, out of woolen fabric that she would cut with a little hand-cranked rotary blade. Seeing her make these wondrous rugs instilled in me a deep respect for creativity and a desire to put things together to create something that hadn't quite been there before. I never had a knack for hooking rugs, but my aunt encouraged me to draw and sew instead. From then on, I've been creative in various ways, from writing poetry to painting/drawing to learning crafts like crocheting and now earring making, which is my first step toward jewelry making.
|Meet Gonzo whom the shop is named after.|
2. How long have you been creating your chosen craft?
Since last summer. I began doing it as a form of physical therapy for a nerve-damaged left hand ... my main hand. My thumb of that hand is rather numb and my hand now tends to have a mind of its own, which I try to remain amazed at rather than depressed over.
3. What are your crafting influences?
I really like to think about history or myth when making earrings. Also, I've made some awareness ribbon earrings, as my father had Alzheimer's Disease, and I wanted to make earrings for that. The pairs I make are really meditations on my dad and the highly intelligent, compassionate man he was before Alzheimer's essentially dismantled him.
4. Does anyone in your family do a similar craft?
As I mentioned, my aunt hooked rugs. She also sewed, oil painted (she took it up at age 70 or so), and did terrific crocheting, knitting, and Italian cutwork. No one makes jewelry, but I see all these crafts and talents as interrelated in the warp and weave of creativity and beauty. To me, anything handmade is intrinsically a thing of beauty. It celebrates both the individual and the community. And it links us back into history.
5. What kinds of places have you displayed your craft in your life?
I have my shop at ArtFire and my blog. That's about it at this point for the earrings. I love ArtFire and the environment of such energized, creative people ... nice people, too.
6. What else do you do besides create these beautiful pieces?
I'm currently designing a series of book covers for someone, and I continue to work on my own writing and on learning more about digital composing. For years I was a book editor/designer. Editing is intense, time-consuming work, and when my parents needed my help because of the Alzheimer's, all signs read "It's time for change." I always loved the book designing/composing part of my job, though; so I'm thrilled to be doing these current book covers. Fortunately, I use a mouse with my right hand, as years ago keyboard wires favored right-handers and forced lefties to adapt; so no problem there!
7. What is your favorite piece that you have created so far?
I guess my pearl chandelier earrings because I based them on earrings in funeral portraits of ancient Roman women. I also like anything I've created that includes spirals. Spirals are age-old, meaningful, wonderful. I always feel a connection to people of all cultures and all times.
8. Why did you make that piece?
Because I find ancient Rome fascinating, especially the Empire centuries, and because those funeral portraits look so realistic and the women almost contemporary. The earrings were a way to celebrate connection.
9. What does it take to create pieces like that?
For me probably much more difficulty than other, more experienced jewelry makers. My left hand doesn't tend to do what I want it to do, so there was a lot of redoing with the hand-looped top of the earrings. I have to be patient in general when making earrings. I redo a lot and constantly have to fight dropping what I'm holding, like pliers.
10. What is special about your pieces?
I guess that there's always a lot of thinking behind them, even if that's not always evident. I never just throw something together. For example, if I use a yellow bead, it may be because I'm remembering swinging on swings in the sun when I was little and being very happy. Every bead is a thought.
11. What makes this kind of craft "good" to you?
I'm not sure what you mean by "good to you," but I know it's good for me because it is allowing me to keep creating something physical. I can work in Photoshop to digitally compose this or that; but there's nothing like the material presence of something that you have made. Plus the craft does act as a form of physical therapy for me. I'm hoping to get back into drawing and painting again, but I know I'll keep making earrings too and hopefully will start on other kinds of jewelry and maybe even get into bead making. I love earrings, and I love jewelry ... always have. And it's great to have satisfied customers and to think, "Wow! That person is happy with what they bought and will wear it!" That's just a fantastic feeling.
Pretty Gonzo can be found at the following links:
PrettyGonzo Studio on Artfire