Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Its all about the BLING!

For the Artist in Focus today, I am featuring Natalie from Sparkle Beast Designs on Etsy. An artist who makes the most fabulous floating necklaces ever! I just found them so fascinating and gorgeous I had to share them.

Pink, Orange and Yellow Floating Rhinestone Statement Illusion Necklace
Pink Orange and Yellow Floating Rhinestone Necklace

Green Rhinestone Floating Necklace

Bold Purple and Yellow Rhinestone Statement Bib Necklace
Bold Purple ,Yellow Rhinestone Necklace

Dainty Clear Aurora Borealis Floating Rhinestone Statement Necklace
Dainty Clear Aurora Borealis Necklace

Aren't they gorgeous? You can check out more at her shop Sparkle Beast Designs on Etsy. I also had a chat with her tom find out what inspieed her. See below:

1. Please tell me about yourself and what inspired you to start making these wonderful creations.

I'm a recent costume design graduate about to relocate to the DC area in order to start a career working within a university costume shop. Essentially, I sew full time and make jewelry part time. I've always been fascinated by bead work, jewelry, and anything that sparkles so I absolutely adore all of the work that I do every day! 

2. Your necklaces are so unique, did you have any formal training?

I suppose my most formal training would've come from my university, but as far as jewelry is concerned, I am primarily self-taught. I have a lot of books on jewelry basics and bead work, so I've practiced different techniques during spurts of free time I've had during my middle school and high school years. When I made it to college, I started experimenting with brighter colors and bolder styles, and it wasn't until November 2009 that I became fascinated by the "bib necklace" and "statement jewelry" trends. One thing led to another and I started cranking out different necklaces for a few weeks until I decided to give Etsy a serious shot. However, I've been taking art classes since I've been in elementary school, and in college I've taken several theatrical design courses that have taught me more about combining different elements to create a cohesive piece of jewelry (it's really all about putting what you learn into context to what you do every day).

3. Where do you get your inspirations from?

Literally all over the place. I love looking for unique color combinations whenever I get the chance. I'll find myself glancing all around to see what catches my eye. 

I also looooove to collect books. I have an array of books that span through costume history, fashion, art (especially Art Nouveau), jewelry, nature, history and architecture, and geology. I find inspiration through all of these things and reflect on how I can incorporate different bits of research into my work as a whole. A few months ago, I was on a butterfly kick and started designing a bunch of necklaces that mimicked the wing patterns of tropical butterflies.

4. How do you come up with the color schemes?

I suppose I just blabbed about that a little bit in the previous question. :P 

5. What's your typical day like?

Right now, my life is very hectic! I work at a professional summer stock theatre as a costume stitcher. I work Tuesday through Sunday, 9-6:00. I only have off on Mondays. Once my contract is up at the end of July, life will simmer down for a few weeks. By the end of August, I will be moving from Pennsylvania (born and raised!) to start a career right outside of Washington, DC. From there, I will be working a more "normal" schedule of Monday through Friday, 9-5:00 (and you better believe than I cannot wait for those weekends off!). After work everyday, I come home, and try to relax. I typically check my e-mail throughout the day, so I'll know if I have messages to reply to, orders to pack up, or anything else. Sometimes, I'll find the time to work on new necklace designs... but lately it's been a bit hard since I'm usually exhausted by the time I get home. If I'm too tired to design and make something new, I'll read business articles or simply browse around Etsy or other websites for kicks. My boyfriend and I like to wind down with either a video game or movie, we then hold my adorable pet hamster Scarlett (since she loves to wake up right when I'm about to go to sleep!), and I hit the hay hopefully before midnight!

6. Anything else you'd want my readers to know about you and or your business?

I will also provide a link back to your shop.

I've been thinking a lot about what I want to accomplish with my shop, and what my focus is... I think it's important to have a clear vision of these things or else it can become easy to get overwhelmed by all of the factors of being a small business owner.

I've made it absolutely clear in my mind, that as long as "Sparkle Beast Designs" exists, it will be a unique jewelry brand that is entirely handmade and focuses on offering colorful and bold jewelry at a variety of price points. Someone else once said that my work is "fit for any modern day princess", and I really like that idea. Beautiful jewelry shouldn't be worth a small fortune. I want it to be accessible to everyone!

Probably the most important thing that comes to my mind about my shop is that I absolutely love what I do. Sometimes it's easy to forget because there is so much going on and you can often takes things for granted... but once in awhile when I'm working, I feel a sense of true happiness and pleasure from what I do as a jewelry designer. I know that what I'm doing is right because I find that while I work, I'm always smiling! :)

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