Monday, February 13, 2017

Monday Maker - Ace of Swords

Hi Melissa,

Thanks so much for sharing a little about yourself.

Were you creative as a child and do you come from a creative family?

I was a very crafty child in more ways than one. Ask my Mum! I have always had a wild imagination and constantly made crafty projects all my life.  
My mum made all our clothes as children and was the handy one around the house. She was very clever, I watched her make things and was definitely inspired.

How would you describe your work?

I would describe my silver jewellery as mystical and magical. 
I wish I could live in Middle Earth. 
I draw inspiration from spirit animals, ancient symbols, fables and  cultures.
I think my work is very talismanic,  I like to invoke a dialogue between the wearer and jewellery piece.

How has your work evolved since you started?

Funnily, the themes in my work go around in cycles. 
I have been making swords for two decades. 
The moon is always present, goes with my Lady of the Lake obsession. 
Technically, I think the quality of my technique improves as my practice continues.

How did you start selling on Etsy?

I started selling on Etsy about 10 years ago. At that stage I was running Metal Club, a silversmithing school for teenagers, as well as the Federal Village Gallery. So, I was not putting a lot of effort into my Etsy store. 
I am now silversmithing full time and put consistent effort into my Etsy store with great results. 
l love being part of the Etsy community. Living the dream with thanks to Etsy.

Who or what inspires you?

Ancient times inspire me, a time when life was less complicated with a slower pace and a focus on quality craftsmanship.  
Vali Myers, Australia’s own Queen of Bohemia inspires me endlessly. Vali was an artist and a true creative spirit, she lived isolated in nature with 100 animals and 2 husbands.  
I met her a few times and her advice to live my wildest dreams has always stayed with me. Please look up her art and life, she is an unrecognised National Treasure.

Do you reduce, reuse, recycle as part of your creative process?  If yes, how is your art/craft eco-friendly?

I try to use sustainable materials wherever possible. I always use reclaimed sterling silver and I only use reclaimed gold, as I have been up close and personal with a heap leach gold mine, its an extremely destructive process and has ruined many a river from source to sea.

Describe your workspace for us?

I would describe my workshop as a Bohemian Paradise.  A shed crossed with a curio store and a temple. 
It's a regular Woman Cave, lots of hand tools, crystals, specimens, embroidered wall hangings, trinkets, old boxes, antique family heirlooms, beads and metal all over the place.
I need a rich collection of colour and forms around me like a cocoon when I work. 

What is your favourite thing to make?

Rings are definitely my favourite thing to make, they are mini sculptures.
I can’t stop making them.
I also love a commission job.  Designing a special piece for someone pushes my designing beyond its usual Lady of the Lake meets King Arthur.

How did your business name come about?

The Ace of Swords hit me like a thunder bolt at my workbench one day, I wasn’t even thinking about a business name at the time.  The Ace of Swords is a Tarot Card, it is associated with focused energy, victory, determination, strength and power. 

Where do you see your creative journey taking you in the next 12 months?

I see myself continuing down the path of silversmithing forever.  
In  the next 12 months, I see myself building more loyal customers who love handmade jewellery and  sending my jewellery all over the world.

What’s your top tip to others wanting to break into the handmade/creative market?

My tip for other crafts people trying to break into the market would be : 
Create don’t imitate.
Clear your mind, open your heart, and make what you would like to wear, people will respond to your authentic style. 
Also, don’t give up, sometimes it seems like you are not getting anywhere, but push on through these moments of doubt, success is waiting for you, it is your birthright.

Describe your typical creative day?

My typical creative day starts with a walk through the coastal bushland and beaches of Byron Bay with Little Dog, my mini foxy. 
I spend time appreciating the birds, trees and nature and just soak it up. Its my recharge time, being out in nature is a must.  
I then enter the workshop for 5 - 10 hours.  I snack on vegan food all day to keep my energy levels up.

What kind of Music do you listen towhile creating?

My favourite music whilst working varies, its mostly reggae, but could be ambient electronic, goa trance or Indian classical.    
My fav Australia artist of the moment, is Nattali Rize (former of Blue King Brown)  I am always listening to her work. I made her some stage jewellery because I respect the meaning and power behind her music. Check her out, she is a star.

What is your favourite handmade item that you have bought?

My favourite handmade item that I have bought would be a tree of life hand embroidered wall hanging.  It has a white background with multi colours and mirrors.  I bought it from the maker in a small village in Gujarat, India. 

Where can we find you online?

My work is available only through me at present. I am a regular stall holder at Byron Bay Beachside and Community markets, Bangalow Market, Gold Coast Creative Market, Vindie Markets and BrisStyle markets.
You can view my creations on Instgram and Facebook and purchase online through my Etsy Store.

How long have you been a member of BrisStyle?

I have been a member of BrisStyle for 18 months or so. I love being part of a community of creatives.

How did you find out about brisstyle?

I found out about BrisStyle online whilst looking for handmade markets that I could sell at.

Why did you become a member?

I became a member of BrisStyle because I was so impressed with the level of effort and organisation that BrisStyle achieves whilst remaining grass roots and friendly. I felt welcomed and supported straight away. It feels so good to be part of such a crafty organisation.

Why do you craft?

 I craft because I love making sheets of silver come to life. 
Creating quality jewellery that has its own personality and journey.  
I love the idea that my creations are treasures that will get handed down. 
My work will outlive me and will continue to float around the world for generations.

No comments: