Sunday, March 18, 2012

Interview of DianaShyeJewelry

I am an Israeli jewelry artist living and working in Jerusalem, Israel.  I was born in the U.S. and moved to Israel in 1968.  

What is your art/craft and how long have you been doing it? 

My training in jewelry-making has been an organic, eclectic process of formal and informal study and self-teaching that that began in childhood (see below) and continues to this day.  Even while raising my family and pursuing an academic career in health care research, crafting of many sorts has always been my avocation.  In the later years of my academic career, I began to concentrate my artistic efforts on jewelry-making and decided that I would make it my post-retirement second career.   Upon my retirement in 2004, I began the full-time pursuit of jewelry-making.  I formally launched my own jewelry-making business in early 2006.  

What got you started?
My development as a jewelry artist began in childhood as I watched my parents at work on their own handicraft projects.  My father, an avionics engineer by profession and an expert carpenter by avocation, designed and built many pieces of furniture for our home.  My mother, a talented dress designer and seamstress who could whip up anything from Halloween costumes to evening gowns, was also skilled at many other handicrafts.  Both were always at work on one creative project or another and many of my earliest memories are of observing their work process, skills and tools with fascination and begging to try my hand at them.  They were willing teachers, so at a young age I learned to knit, embroider, design and sew clothing and help my father in his basement carpentry shop.  I also made my first forays into jewelry-making as a child, starting with designing and weaving seed bead jewelry and later moving on to wire working. 

My parents also taught me the enjoyment of the work process itself and the importance of attention to fine detail and high quality workmanship.  As a result, I had early experience of the satisfaction of mastering new skills, of the excitement of the creative process and of the pleasure of beholding a creation of my own.  These experiences laid the foundation for my sense of myself as an artist and as an artisan with the drive and confidence to tackle the mastery of new skills as they became relevant to my artistic self-expression.  Creativity in arts and crafts, including jewelry-making, has remained an avocation and passion since those days.
Are there any other arts and crafts that you would like to try your hand at? If so, why?
I am skilled at and enjoy many different arts and crafts, but these days I focus almost exclusively on jewelry-making.   One art/craft I have always wanted to try is quilting; perhaps one day I will have time for it.  Within the field of jewelry-making, so far I have taken only tentative steps into the area of chain maille and I would like very much to devote serious effort to mastering this technique.

What are your favorite materials to use?
Sterling silver and fine silver wire and sheet, 14-karat gold-filled wire, semi-precious stones, pearls, crystals.  I recently also started working with copper sheet and am experimenting with designs that combine sterling silver and copper.

What and/or who inspires you?
I am fascinated by the decorative arts and crafts of ancient and classic cultures, and in particular, by the wire-working techniques used in their jewelry.  Motifs, elements and techniques of the jewelry of ancient cultures frequently spark my imagination toward a new design idea, concept or theme that I can translate into a modern idiom.  Many of my designs involve variations on age-old wire-working techniques such as Egyptian spirals, Viking knit, wire-coiling, and wire crochet, which I often integrate with semi-precious stones, pearls or crystals. 

I am also inspired by metalsmithing artists who push the limits of the materials and the techniques that they use, either through highly original designs, successful experimentation with innovative techniques (e.g., fold-forming) or simply very high quality use of classic techniques.  Here are a few of the Etsy artists whose work is a source of inspiration for me:

Here is another Etsy artist whose work I love because of the fantastic possibilities she sees in very prosaic, unlikely materials:

Another source of inspiration for me may be a stone or cabochon that is provocative because of it special color, shape, size, etc., which challenges me to create a design that will set off its unique qualities.
Do you have a Coupon Code?
Currently, the following coupon codes are active in my Etsy store:
TWITFOLL (10% discount for my Twitter followers)
FBFAN10 (10% discount for my Facebook page fans)
LINKEDIN10 (10% discount for my LinkedIn contacts)
SETDISCOUNT (10% discount for 2+ jewelry items that are part of a set)

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