1. When did you first get into crafting and art? …
I am so excited to share this interview with you guys! I had the pleasure of interviewing Coty of Sweet Sage Jewelry . Her work is wonderful, and she is a such a sweet lady, her story of how she got into jewelry making and why she loves eco friendly crafting is great as well. She was kind enough to give an exclusive coupon for her Etsy shop to us!
If you need any unique gifts, be sure to swing by her shop and use the coupon code “TRASHY” at checkout for 25% off all purchases made by November 30th 2014.
- When did you first get into crafts, and have you always been into recycled/upcycled crafts?
My obsession with jewelry-making started in elementary school when Mom got me a kit to make some little silver earrings with heart charms on them. I don’t remember how old I was but I thought it was the neatest thing to make something with my own hands and be able to wear it every day. I got more into jewelry-making in high school when I was a guitar-playing punk-rocker and made myself some necklaces with guitar picks as pendants. My classmates loved the necklaces and I started selling them to friends at school. Looking back, that was probably my first experience using upcycled materials. After I graduated, I had a nice collection of pins I collected from the concerts I went to. I grew out of wearing the pins on my clothes and backpacks, but I still wanted to show them some love, so I punched holes in the pins and turned them into pretty necklaces and bracelets. I think it’s really neat to take something that would’ve just been stored away or thrown away, and turn it into something beautiful. I’ve always loved to take apart old or broken jewelry to reuse in a new way so that nothing goes to waste. I’ve accumulated bags and bags of flea market and donated jewelry that I pull apart and create into a whole new design. Over the years I have incorporated recycled/upcycled materials into my work more and more, and I have developed a style that I feel is a great mix of old n’ crusty and new n’ shiny.
- What is the story and inspiration behind your work? What do you do when you get a creative block, how do you get inspired again?
I love the curves, colors, and patterns found in nature so I’m inspired every day by the creatures and features of our beautiful planet. My favorite color and stone to work with is turquoise and I find that, subconsciously, I wind up with a little turquoise in almost every piece! There’s something about that happy, earthy color that just speaks to me. My pieces don’t always tell a specific story, but some of my favorites have been the ones that are made with eclectic components that come together to tell a tale. When I’m feeling a creative block, I get out all my boxes with handmade artisan beads and pendants, and just start pulling them out on the table to see what feels good together. I’ve made some surprising and awesome jewelry that way! I also have a graphic designer’s color combination book that I reference to help me come up with fresh color combinations. Sometimes I get stuck in the ‘turquoise box’ and need some inspiration for new color choices. When I’m really, really stuck, I will sometimes get my husband to come dig through my bead stash and pick a bead to get me started. I can be pretty indecisive so it’s nice to have someone to help me get the creative process started, and I like the challenge of having to use a component or bead I might have otherwise overlooked.
- When did you first get into crafting and art? Do you typically work with the same mediums?
I come from a very crafty family so I have been making things since I was teeny tiny. My mom was always buying me crafting supplies and helping me put something together. I would glue Popsicle sticks together to make fences for the My Little Ponies I had. I remember making a lot of bird houses by nailing old scrap wood together and painting flowers all over them. Looking back, they were pretty hideous, but you have to start somewhere! Since I’ve started making jewelry, I have tried just about every medium and technique there is. I’ve tried to narrow down the types of supplies and techniques I use, because it can get expensive to try every new thing that comes out. I’m working on becoming a master of a few techniques instead of dabbling in them all, but it is hard. It’s just so much fun to play! For the past couple of years I have used a lot of recycled tin from old storage boxes and trays that I have cut up. The possibilities are endless and there are so many pretty patterns out there to work with. If you do it right, recycled tin can also be a very inexpensive medium to work with. A little can go a very long way. My husband brews homemade beer on the weekends, and last year he gave me the idea to cut up bottle caps to use in rings and pendants. I’ve had fun experimenting with those, and they are also an inexpensive material with lots of pretty designs to choose from. I love to mix my recycled materials with new Czech glass beads and handmade artisan beads.
- What project are you most proud of ever making?
To date, I am most proud of one of my most recent projects, my layered tin owl pendants. I literally woke up one Sunday morning and had a vision of a little owl made by layering and riveting patterned tin pieces. I got out of bed, sketched out my design, and just started cutting away. I hate to waste pretty tin, so I was really hoping this was going to work! It took me a couple hours to make that first one, but to my amazement, it came together better than I imagined. I was in love. It is so rare to have an idea flow from my mind to my fingers so effortlessly. I made several more and my customers have just loved them. I have a big craft show coming up and I’m currently working on a line of other little critters made by layering and riveting tin. They have been the most unique, most awesome pieces I have ever made. I love that each one is truly one of a kind and handmade from scratch.
- What do you like to do for fun when your not making art? What is the one things people would be shocked to know about you?
I’m a full-time hairdresser by day, so even when I’m not making art at home, I’m being creative at work! As cheesy as it sounds, when I’m off work and not making jewelry, I love spending time with my husband and dog and cat. They’re pretty fantastic so I just love to hang with them at home watching movies, going for walks, and cooking. People might be shocked to know I’m really into heavy metal music. I blast it from the speakers at home when I’m making jewelry and I love going to concerts and acting like a maniac. My jewelry style is pretty earthy and feminine for the most part, so it might be surprising to find out that part of me just loves to headbang!
- Who are some artists, bloggers or designers you look up to in the Eco Friendly community?
I truly admire the work of Stephanie Lee. I first found her book, Semiprecious Salvage: Creating Found Art Jewelry, a few years ago, and I have referenced it countless times since. It’s one of my all-time favorites. She explains very basic techniques as well as advanced techniques, and she combines salvaged materials with new materials in the coolest way. She can take the most rusty old piece of junk and turn it into a gorgeous and creative piece of jewelry. The components she uses come together effortlessly, and look like they were always meant to be together. She has a unique style that inspires me to find new ways to use old parts.
- Why do you think the Eco-Friendly, Recycled, Upcycled Movment is so important? What is your one best tip for a small change anyone can make in their life to be kinder to the environment?
I think the Eco-Friendly/Recycled movement is important because it helps our environment, it fulfilling to take something that would’ve gone in a landfill or someone’s attic, and give it new life by creating a whole new object from it. I get a lot of the tins I use from thrift stores and flea markets, so it’s obvious that most people consider them junk. My customers are amazed when I tell them that their pendant or ring used to be a cookie storage box! I know I can’t even begin to put a dent in the amount of useless waste produced every year, but it does feel good to have a small part in turning trash to treasure. From my perspective, one thing folks can do to be kinder to the environment is to be more considerate of what is thrown away. Maybe think about taking an old piece of furniture to a thrift store or giving it away for free on Craigslist, rather than taking it to the dump. Same thing applies to old clothes or broken jewelry. You never know who might come along and just love to buy a “useless” bag of tarnished baubles and turn it into your next pair of earrings.
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and don’t forget * If you need any unique gifts, be sure to swing by her shop and use the coupon code “TRASHY” at checkout for 25% off all purchases made by November 30th 2014.