Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Interview Series 2: Week 7.1 – Another World Design

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving to those in the US, and that everyone stayed safe on Black Friday, and over the first day of “holiday shopping season”.

Today’s post is delayed from last week – seeing as it was due up on days where there was much madness.  This week resumes the two-per-week schedule!

The artist I’m featuring today dazzled me with the selection she has to offer, and, well, I’m a sucker for anything fantasy based, or Steampunk based…

Please welcome Amanda, her fantastic story, and of course her incredible work!

My name is Amanda and my shop is Another World Design (http://www.zibbet.com/AnotherWorldDesign)
I make Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Victorian, and Steampunk inspired jewelry for the most part. I also make kaleidoscopes and altered hats when the mood strikes. I dabble in everything from nature photography and oil painting to paper mache but I don't currently sell any of these.  Its hard for me to sit still and not be doing something artsy-crafty.
Favorite material (or medium, whatever you want to call it!):
Base metals are my favorite material to work with, especially copper and brass.  Unlike a lot of jewelry makers, shiny gold and sparkly gems don't appeal to me.  I like the idea of creating things that have a value beyond their monetary worth. There is more character to be found in the rough, the old, the worn, and common things people tend to take for granted.
Your Most Popular Seller (whether it be online or at shows you attend):
I sell a lot of rings at craft shows and it doesn't seem to matter what kind of rings I have on display.  I suppose everyone likes to make a statement, and when it comes to jewelry, wearing a ring is traditionally how we announce who we are, where we belong, or if we belong with someone special.

5799150-original[1] Stack Ring, Hammered Sterling Silver Stackable Ring
I love rings like these – they’re so simple, yet so timeless. They never fall out of style!

DWJ(am!) What got you into your craft?

AnotherWorldDesign1594123408 My mom is an artist and most of my family are creators of one type or another, so I grew up crafting. I also grew up a rock hound - collecting every rock, mineral and fossil I could get my hands on.  The first time I walked into a bead store with displays of hundreds of semi-precious stones, I was hooked.

When my children were born and I became a stay at home mom, making jewelry was my sanity saving hobby. I kept telling myself, and everyone else, that someday I would turn it into a business. I'm sure everyone is familiar with this tune, right?

Someday when we have the money...
Someday when the kids are older...
Someday when I have a bit more free time...

Then, when my daughter entered kindergarten, both of my kids were officially diagnosed with Autism and I was hit, hard, by two realizations. The first was that "someday" is never going to happen. The second was that I can't expect my kids, with all of the challenges they will have in life, to go after their dreams if I keep making excuses not to go after my own.

DWJ(am!) How did you learn your craft?

AnotherWorldDesign1594123408 I didn't learn from any specific place or person.  My first metalworking experience was a high school shop class. I've taken various other metalwork and jewelry making classes here and there.  Mostly though, I'm self-taught. I like to research, experiment, and figure out things for myself. For example, a couple years ago I decided I wanted to try etching metal, but I didn't want dangerous etching acids anywhere around my kids.  After doing some research, I built my own electro-etching system that is safer and far more environmentally friendly than traditional etching methods.   I find the problem solving aspect of any craft is the most enjoyable part.

4693267-original[1] Bangle Bracelet, Hand Woven Copper
The more I stare at this bracelet, the more I wonder at the work it took to braid it.  Unbelievable!

DWJ(am!) What about YOU? Who is the artist behind those wonderful items?

AnotherWorldDesign1594123408 As I mentioned, I'm a mother of two amazing kids.  My wonderful husband is a research scientist working on cures for cancers. I studied civil engineering in college, but life got in the way of finishing.  I would have been happy in that career anyway. When I'm not working I enjoy hiking, cooking, and gardening.  I'm also a huge gaming nerd.  For the last 10 years or so I've been a developer and admin for a small, online, Norse/Fantasy themed RPG community.

4693310-original[1] Brass Cuff Bracelet Etched with Oak Leaves and Acorns
It looks aged and ancient, the etch-work is unreal… Absolutely stunning!

DWJ(am!) What is a typical "working" day for you? How does it usually start and end? How many hours do you spend crafting? How many hours do you spend on other things? What about distractions? I know we all have them! Do you usually accomplish all you wanted to?

AnotherWorldDesign1594123408 Distractions are a constant problem and I never accomplish all I want to, but I learned early on to get done what I can and not stress over the rest. A lot of crafters talk about working late nights in their pajamas, but I'm an early bird.  My day generally starts at 6 and I'm dressed before I start work (Who wants metal shavings in their pajamas?).  Once the kids are off to school, I get to crafting and I try to be finished by the time they get home. By 7 in the evening I'm done for the day and ready for bed.  Weekends are reserved for family activities and housework. I also spend one day a week taking and editing pictures and one day doing other administrative tasks.  Really,  I only spend half of my work time, about 20 hours a week, actually crafting.

4693255-original[1]Lapis Lazuli Filigree Butterfly Necklace, A Midsummer Night's Dream
I’m a sucker for butterflies, and I love Moonstones and Lapis Lazuli! This combines so many things I like into a lovely necklace.

DWJ(am!) What happens when you Oops? Everyone gets one sometime or another! Do you get frustrated and destroy/start over, or do you go with the flow and see what comes out in the end?/What is your design process like? How many tries does it take to be happy with the final product?

AnotherWorldDesign1594123408 These questions kind of go together. I see the design process as a big experiment where there is no such thing as an "oops".  Instead it's a matter of learning what works and what doesn't.

Everything I make starts with a rough sketch and, because you never know when inspiration will strike, I take my sketch book everywhere. When I start a project that is going to require a good deal of accuracy, such as a piece fabricated from sheet metal, I take the sketch into Photoshop and make a pattern.  The pattern gets printed out in actual size so that I can see if the pieces will actually work together.  I usually "oops" several times, going back and forth between making, drawing and adjusting my pattern before I get a result that I like.  Sometimes an idea simply wont translate from my head to real world materials and the project has to be scrapped.  While disappointing, I take it as a lesson learned and an opportunity to move on to the next idea.

Mistakes are another reason I prefer working with base metals.  I feel like I have more room to be creative.  An "oops" isn't a big deal - messed up copper can be recycled or made into something else without much financial loss.  If I were working in gold I'd have to be far more careful. There is a certain freedom when the only thing lost in a mistake is time.

4693401-original[1]Dragonfly Earrings, Art Nouveau Hoops, Dark Brass and Blue Crystals
Loving dragonflies aside, the detail work on the hoops surrounding them is just lovely. 

DWJ(am!) What is your greatest roadblock, be it government regulation or that little frustrating thing that just likes to sneak up and stop you in your tracks? Broken needle? Jump ring jumping out of your pliers? Thread knots? Cats? Dogs? The family hedgehog rolled about in your yarn basket?

AnotherWorldDesign1594123408 I am my biggest roadblock.  Boredom, burnout, distractions.  That little voice in my head that keeps whispering  "This sucks.  You shouldn’t be doing this. You're not good enough." I'm sure a lot of people are familiar with that one.  If there is a fix for these bumps in the road, I haven’t found it yet, but taking a break often helps.  Doing something else also helps.  I suppose that's why I dabble in a lot of mediums.

DWJ(am!) All important pricing... Do you have a formula? Do you wing it? Do you feel your work justifies your prices?

AnotherWorldDesign1594123408 Pricing is difficult.  What I really want is for my work is to make whoever is wearing it as happy as I am making it.  In the real world though, expenses have to be covered at the very least. I've gotten into the habit of taking notes on everything I do, the materials I use, and the time I spend on each piece.  All that goes into a pretty standard formula.  If the result seems way out of line, then I check the competition but I don't normally rely on other people's prices to determine my own.  Are they justified?  I don't know. As it is, I charge enough to cover my materials, the occasional new tool, and anything extra usually goes towards Christmas for the kids.  I suppose that's justified.

4693394-original[1]Butterfly Earrings, Dark Brass with Amethyst Crystals
Once again, I’m a sucker for butterflies – but what caught my eye on these was the detail of the links as well as the overall simplicity! 

DWJ(am!) And of course, is there anything else you'd like to say to our "viewers at home"?

AnotherWorldDesign1594123408 Thank you for this opportunity to talk a little about my passion.  I can be contacted through Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/AnotherWorldDesign) should anyone have any questions or like to chat.


I can certainly identify with the dream, and of the “Someday…” Though with each piece I sell now,  a portion of what doesn’t cover my expenses is tucked away for full filing of a small business.  Until then – I’m just a lowly hobby.  Stories like Amanda’s remind me that it’s possible, and that I can’t give up.
How many of you, who shop at big box stores, can identify the dreams behind the items you buy?  I’m willing to say there are very few, if any at all.

Amanda’s story, like so many others, bring home that there are humans out there creating these wonderful items, and also brings home that each one is more than worth the price you pay for the work of two loving hands, heart, soul, and love.

Until Thursday! Thanks as always for reading!!

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