This week, I had the pleasure of working at the Harvard Square Holiday Craft Fair in Cambridge. I worked for Cheryl of Black Flower Chocolate on Monday. http://www.blackflowerchocolate.com/
Before this, I worked for my friend Gianna Bird of Silver Moon Designs. She is a talented silversmith and it is so fun to help her in both selling and production. Here is my interview with her:
Tell me about yourself:
My name is Gianna Bird. I’m based out of Westwood, MA. I grew up in Jamaica Plain. I went to Northeastern for outdoor education and got my masters in Education from Cambridge College. I was born in England!
How did you begin your career as an artist?
I was working as an after-school director when I took a Brookline Adult Ed. class on silversmithing. My father was a carpenter so I was familiar with all of the tools and it just felt natural. I felt like I’d been doing it all my life! I started accumulating my own tools, setting up my studio at home. This was in 1989. Ten years later, I decided to go fully into jewelry making. I woke up one day and the balance had shifted.
What inspires you?
Nature, ancient culture belief systems, symbols in general and symbols for connection.
Where and how do you sell your products? Also, the story of Five Crows, an artisan store in Natick:
My friend and I were going to yoga together. We talked about doing a home-show for our art. We both knew some people… So five of us had a home show in November of 2001. We thought, “Ooh we should open a shop!” and in February of 2002, Five Crows opened! It was so meant to be.
I sell my jewelry at the Clever Hand in Wellesley, Noa of Groton and West Concord, and the Cambridge Artists Cooperative. I also sell at fairs like this one and through my website. http://www.silvermoondesigns.com/
Do you advertise? No.
How much do your sales dictate what you make?
For the most part…they don’t. I make what feels right. Pieces begin with symbolic meanings for me. For example, when I want to make something about courage, I make a bear or wolf.
What do you enjoy most about being an artist?
Being in the flow- the rare times when I’m working on something and I just lose myself and time. I come out of those times with an object that I didn’t expect. I don’t even envision the end product. The materials tell me and I’m open enough to hear it and go with it. Another great thing is happy accidents- mistakes that I realize aren’t mistakes.
Do you sell online? What about Etsy?
My website is sporadic. There isn’t a shopping cart and I’m not very active with it. I did put some work up on Etsy and didn’t have any sales. This was discouraging and I thought, “Well, I have somewhere else I’d like to put my attention”. However, I would like to get more into Etsy.
It’s got soul. Things that are handmade hold some of the artist’s intention and energy. I love the buy-local-economy thing: helping support local artists and farmers helps the community.
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