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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Announcing the Winner for Greek Gods and Goddesses Theme Jewelry Designs (May 2014)

I’d like to thank everyone who participated in May 2014 SRAJD challenges. The results for the Greek Gods and Goddesses themed challenges can be seen here:

Overall Greek gods and goddesses, not specific to any of the weekly challenges

The administrative staff at SRAJD selected one overall winner for May. This person’s designs were chosen as best exemplifying the challenge themes.

Congratulations Tammy Adams of Paisley Lizard!

These were Tammy's entries for the weekly challenges: 





We thought it would be nice to get to know a little bit more about Tammy so I asked her some questions…

What prompts you to embrace the SRAJD jewelry-making challenges?

I was initially drawn in by the fun themes. I keep coming back because they inspire me. When I joined SRAJD earlier this year it was with the intent of becoming part of the community, not just grabbing my membership badge and running back to my quiet corner. These challenges are a fun way to be engaged with my fellow jewelry artists, while pushing my own creative boundaries.

How did you learn your craft?

I am mostly self-taught. I took a class on how to select and use pliers and make loops. I also took a “polymer clay 101” although at the time I had no intention of making my own beads or components with that medium. The rest is trial and error. I collect technique books, even though I’m terrible at interpreting pictorial directions. Even with instructions in front of me it’s a lot of trial and error. I’m still learning and hope I always will be.

What do you think is the most interesting thing about your creative expression?

I think people might be surprised to know I am a scientist by training, and very analytical by nature. Scientists are sometimes placed at the opposite end of a creative spectrum from artists. And yet, there’s a lot of creative outside-the-box thinking required in making significant scientific progress. I feel driven to create, whether it’s jewelry designs, period costumes, and gourmet cupcakes, or technical papers that synthesize and analyze data and information.

What themes do you pursue?

On purpose? None. There is so much inspiration all around and so many things I want to try. Some might say I haven’t found my creative voice. Maybe I have and it speaks with many tongues. In looking at my work, themes do emerge. Because I go through phases or periods of different inspiration or obsession. A recurring theme is what I suppose some might label “southwestern boho” although that label was never in my head when I created those pieces. I grew up in the southwestern U.S. and images of the art and culture from that region permeate my subconscious. You could probably put some of my more recent designs into a “vintage-inspired” or “steampunk” bin based on my use of brass and mixed-metal components. I don’t know if it’s a theme per se, but I am working on asymmetry lately. It’s a personal challenge to create a non-repeating pattern that has balance and flows and isn’t just lopsided design.

Did you always want to be a jewelry artist?

I did not. I wanted to be a veterinarian from the time I was old enough to answer the “what do you want to be when you grow up?” question until I started college. I discovered jewelry design as a creative outlet much later. I have a long way to go and a lot to learn on my journey as a jewelry artist.

What are the biggest challenges that you face as a self-representing jewelry artist?
The biggest challenge, at least today, is having to know all and be all. When you’re self-representing it isn’t just about designing jewelry, which I love. It’s about knowing how to take good product photos, which includes learning how to use lighting, props, and photo-editing software. It’s about knowing how to price your pieces so you don’t undervalue your time or your creative process yet remain competitive. It’s about knowing at least a little computer programming and graphic design to maintain a website. Knowing how to use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and other social media to market your creations. Knowing what SEO stands for and how to use it. How to do your taxes. What kind of liability insurance you should have. And so much more. It’s about not having enough time to do what you love - the creating part - because there’s only you to do all that other stuff. Even so, it’s worth it because I don’t have to interact with my customers through a middleman. Being able to provide 100% personalized interactions is what handmade and artisan are all about for me.

What role does the artist have in society?

I saw this brilliant bumper sticker that reads “Earth without art is just eh.” I think that pretty well sums it up. Art tells our story as individuals, a society, a culture, and a species like no historical treatise or scholarly tome could. We are driven to create it. We admire and cherish it. We collect, preserve, restore and imitate it. Even as we debate how to define it, we are inspired and enriched by it. Art speaks for us when we have no words. Art endures.

How has your art changed over time?

I hope it’s getting better, not just technically, but creatively. These challenges have helped me embrace new techniques which I am striving to perfect. More importantly, they’ve helped me think more creatively and more critically about my designs. When I complete a piece and am pleased with how it looks, I don’t just move on to the next piece. I try to deconstruct what it is I like about it and why I think it “works” as a design. I don’t want to be known for perfect technique unless it’s as the foundation to great design. Again, it’s a journey I am on and may be for some time to come.

What does the future hold for you?

I will continue embracing design challenges like the ones here, trying new techniques, failing and trying again. I’d love to get some formal training, especially in composition. It doesn’t have to be specific to jewelry. The theories of good composition are universal. A little “drawing 101” so I can create better sketches and get more ideas out of my head even when I don’t have time to assemble the design. Some day, when I have the right space, I’d like to try making my own ceramic, lampwork, and metal clay components. Maybe metal-smithing and stone cutting. I don’t have a vision of where I’m going, I just know I want to keep learning and growing.

Tammy, thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. It’s an immense pleasure seeing your work and getting to know you better!
See more of Tammy's fabulous jewelry here: http://www.paisleylizard.com



touch of silver said...

Tammy, congratulations to you and your creative ability. These pieces bring great pleasure, as each is so unique in design, color and construction. May your jewelry journey continue to provide artistic satisfaction and joy in producing lovely creations.

Tammy Adams said...

It is such a thrill and honor to have my designs chosen from among so many wonderful interpretations of this theme. This group is truly inspirational.

Toltec Jewels for Jewel School Friends said...

Congrats Tammy! A well deserved win and recognition of your jewelry art.

Toltec Jewels