Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Local Artist Q&A: Sarah from Artwark

I fell in love with Artwark a little over a year ago, when I saw an ad for the "Mother's Love" necklace in the Penny Saver.  I have since bought several pieces (including the "Mother's Love" necklace) and gotten to know the artist behind Artwark jewelry.  Here is a Q&A with Sarah from Artwark so you can get to know her too.  I've also included some of my favorite pieces from her collection.  Enjoy!

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself.

A: I'm Sarah :) I'm a grad student and have a small etsy shop where I sell my handcrafted jewelry designs. I have some special designs for bridal party gifting and mommy necklaces. I love creating custom pieces as well. There is a pretty large collection (almost 300 pieces online.) I do make almost everything to order, so I don't keep much of an inventory.  Many times, inventory ends up being gifts when friends or family see them. :)

Mother's Love Necklace $28

Q: How did you get your start in jewelry designing and what have you learned over the course of being a designer?

A: Ever since I was really little, probably 8 or 9 years old, I really enjoyed crafts. I can remember saving my tiny allowance of $3 to go to the local craft shop and I would usually buy beads and cord and make little bracelets or a necklace. I just always found it to be a fun and interesting form of expression.  Jewelry supplies come in such a vast array of shapes, colors and textures that it can really be fun to put those different elements together to make something. The possibilities are endless. While I tend to enjoy making more elaborate items that take time to create, it's really the simple and cute ideas that I (and most of my customers) wear daily. 

Fit for A Queen Earrings $65

Q: What inspires you?

A: Nature, culture, religion, love.  Simply put, but thats the elements. You will see those themes in my etsy shop. Most items have a story behind them or an idea. So they are not just adornments, each item has some meaning behind it. 

True Blue Earrings $19

Q: I love the name "Artwark." How did you come up with it?

A: Well, it's kind of funny.  When I started my first online shop, I wanted to have an e-boutique with several things including jewelry, art work, etc. The name Artwork Jewelry was not available, so I wrote in Artwark. It sounds funny to me, like Aardvaark, the animal. It also was available for me to use. In the second phase of my business, I wanted to have some kind of mascot, so to speak. You know, like the bunny for energizer or Chester the cheetah for cheetohs!! It was perfect because Artwark is a play on words.. a pun or combination of Aardvaark and Artwork. Artwark. SoI  had an image of an Aardvark created to look like me with jewelry in it's hands. Super cute. I had that as my logo for a while. In the current stage of jewelry by Artwark, the comic image just wasn't fitting the scheme of my Jewelry designs. My collections are more organic in nature, with that have an array of themes, none of them being silly or cartoon-like. So I was having dinner with my brother for my Birthday a few years ago and drew the current logo on a paper napkin. Later one of my regular customers and I bartered. She did the graphic design of the image. The idea of double meaning, and nature captured in an image I drew really embodies the spirit of Artwark, and in many ways of me as an indivual. I love the dual aspect of what something seems like verses what it truly is. 
Q: If you could sum up your look and aesthetic in three words, what would they be and why?

A: Diva - I tend to love the finer designs of things, but am known to pass up items, unless I get an amazing discount. I love to use coupons, discounts and great deals on really fabulous items.
Natural - I really favor natural fabrics like cotton that are comfortable and soft. Not a huge fan of anything that is itchy, or uncomfortable. I'm also really into earthy, nature inspired accessories & jewelry. 
Versatile - Since I'm first generation Bangladeshi, my heritage has really decadent clothing and jewelry in comparison to my typical American attire. I love and appreciate both Bengali and American styles, and tend to mix them together. For example, I'm loving the new color blocking trend & often wear bright orange, blue and peach all together along with Indian-inspired jewelry. I have noticed, sometimes, even unplanned, my jewelry designs that are the more elaborate pieces, end up looking like ethnic Bengali stylings, such as, peacock motifs, leaf motifs, etc. 

Leafy Dreams Earrings $47

Q: What materials do you enjoy working with most?

A: I just love gold vermeil and faceted teardrop gemstones. Gold vermeil is a rich 24K or 18K Gold thickly dipped many times over, with a sterling silver base. So it's considered a precious metal, but is very cost effective since it is really silver plated in gold. I just love the luxurious color of the gold that it has. I'm also quite mesmerized by gemstones. My favorite shape by far is teardrop heart briolette. This is a teardrop shape, that is a bit short (not long like a pear) It has really eye catching sparkle. I'm just drawn to them. The faceting makes them sparkle like crazy from any angle. I like to wire wrap them so that very little of the stone is covered, leaving more light to pass through them to catch the light. Unlike traditional set stones, which have metal around or behind them that cut of light sources from coming in. 

Tiny Hammered Circle Necklace $24.99

Q: What do you love most about living and working in Rochester?

A: I think Rochester is a great place because of the nature aspect. We have a lot of green here in spring and summer, all kinds of flowers, parks with waterfalls, it's really an endless sources of inspiration. A lot of my pieces are created from images or bits of nature. Here, the changing weather is really beautiful for the creative process. After starting my little Etsy shop, I started to notice nature more than ever.  I realized that every season, there is a lot of beauty around us, that we can take for granted. The rain, spring dew, branches, leaves changing color and even ice on trees can be really gorgeous sources that are great to get ideas from. My Zodiac sign is a water sign, so images of H20 like ice, dew and rain have always appealed to me quite a lot. There is nothing that can mimic the beauty of actual nature, but it sure is fun to shadow it!

Q: What is your studio or workspace like, and how do you work in your studio? Tell me a little bit about your creative process.

A: I have a small (uber messy!) space with a sturdy table to create pieces and another table I use for packing and shipping. There is a steel file cabinet where I keep bubble mailers and tape too. It's pretty simple, but it works.

Q: How often do you release new pieces/collections?

A: I create new pieces quite often. I would say when I am really creative in spirit.  Every day I make a l list of new designs and items. I usually create new pieces at the start of each season change. I really go with the flow of nature's changes, which brings pieces that resemble and represent the seasons. 

Summer Splash Necklace $17

Q: Upcoming events? Where can people find your work?

A: I don't really do many shows, but select items of Artwark can be found at at few local venues:  464 Art Gallery in Buffalo, Rose's General Store (gift shop) in SeaCliffe, and Health in Harmony Center in Rochester. I'm currently looking to consign or wholesale to more shops, too, so let me know if you think there may be a place that works well with my line. The best way to see the collection is to browse my Etsy shop and my Web site, where there are links to keep up with Artwark through Twitter, Facebook, and my newsletter.  You can also email for any questions or requests.

Initially Mine Necklace $34

I could honestly buy everything in her esty shop.  You NEED to check it out.  I'm sure you will fall in love with Artwark jewelry just like I did!  What's your favorite piece in the Artwark collection?

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