Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Plant a Garden and Watch Your Ideas Grow

Interview with Jewelry Designer Jessica Farber Robinson
by Miriam Schulman, @schulmanArt

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SchulmanArt: How long have you been selling professionally on etsy?
I have been selling professionally on Etsy since March of 2009, that makes this my third year. I love the community on Etsy and haven't found anything like it elsewhere. I think it gives you great access to people looking for the unusual or one of a kind.

SchulmanArt: Where did you study design?
I studied design at The Rhode Island School of Design, but I've diverted pretty far from where I began as a Textile Design Major. The thing about a good design programs though is that they give you the tools to be able to design well, no matter what the material. You learn how to see, how to render your ideas and that is the most important part of a good art education. My favorite medium is definitely Precious Metal Clay, it's nature as a clay is very fluid and adaptable, you can easily get it to do what you want, and mold it to what ever form you like. The silver starts out in a clay form and after firing to a very high temperature becomes solid fine silver. The other wonderful part about silver clay is that it's completely recycled silver, so instead of running mines they are reusing old factory waste silver and making it into a safe workable jewelry metal.

Check out more of her designs on etsy
How do you get inspired?
I've always been inspired by nature so I guess it makes sense that I usually start working on my jewelry by walking through my garden and getting ideas from the flowers and herbs that I grow, then I sketch the plants into my designs before crafting the unique pieces of jewelry.

Describe a typical day for you.
My day usually starts out with checking on the garden, if the plants aren't doing do well I have nothing to cast, so it takes a lot of time and maintenance. Usually watering at least twice a day, pruning and weeding it all goes into keeping the plants healthy and the leaves shaped just right. Then comes the first sandings of the day on the greenware, touching up the pieces I left to dry over night, smoothing them out and getting each piece perfect, can take a few days. While I wait for the layers of clay to dry I start to cast new pieces usually to fill orders.

The other side of having my Etsy business takes up almost every afternoon and I think it's the part most people forget about balancing books, creating treasuries, tweeting, and working on social media all while trying to keep up with my Etsy Teams and consistently writing and cooking for my blog The Painted Rabbit.

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What is your studio space like?
My studio is small, it's actually in the garage attached to our house, I set up a double row of tables under shelves that are attached to the wall. This gives me almost all the space I need. When working with Precious Metal Clay you need a dark cool space to keep the material from drying out, so the lack of light in the garage works out well, and the coolness of the concrete floors helps lengthen the working time. The only view out comes from the garage door which I only open for ventilation when I am firing pieces of jewelry. I live in a small community where people sometimes pop over to watch me work.