Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Feature - Sharon Zimmerman

Being someone who works with fabric on a daily basis, it is almost impossible for me to fathom how metal can be worked in such a way that it can wind and cradle our hands, wrists, and necks with such fluid organic sensibility. It amazes me how something so raw and harsh can become so weightless and etherial.

Today's interviewee, Sharon Zimmerman, of Sharon Zimmerman Design, captures this balance in her enchanting jewelry. I love the way Sharon photographs her work, showing not only the outside view, but also the guts, the inside of the earring or ring that really tell us the story of how the piece came to fruition in her hands.

One of Sharon's rings, specifically, really caught my eye. Of course there's the pink gemstone, but I was also drawn to how balanced the ring looked even though it was photographed asymmetrically. I'll always have a soft spot for mathematics, so when I read: "lines that are spaced according to the Fibonacci Sequence", she had me! How simply, logically beautiful...

Enjoy the interview! Then treat yourself to some time at Sharon's shop.

1. What is your shop name and URL?

2. To which Etsy Teams do you belong?

SF Etsy, Team April, Etsy Entrepreneurs and Custom Order Corner (the new

3. Please tell us about the items in your Etsy shop. What do you make? How
did you learn your craft? What is involved in your creative process?

I make modern jewelry out of sterling silver, 14 karat and 18 karat gold. I
spent a couple of years at a technical school in Madison, WI before moving
to San Francisco 6 years ago to attend the Revere Academy's Jewelers
Intensive program. You spend 2 months in class-8 hours a day, 5 days a
week, plus any extra time that you can on independent projects. When the
course was complete, I came out with a comprehensive set of jewelry-making
skills. I try not to put too many limits on my creative process. My
process starts with an idea, and my main initial rule is that I can't
dismiss anything in the initial stages. Later I might edit or refine an
idea, but the beginning stages are unfettered by judgement. It's a
challenging practice. As a consequence, I almost always carry a notebook or
journal with me so that I can write or sketch any snippet of an idea. I try
to take in as much as I can.

4. Tell us two (or more) other interesting things about you.

What I studied in college has had virtually no influence on my chosen
profession. I majored in music (vocal performance) with a minor in Women's
Studies. I took only one art class in 4 years of college, yet somehow still
wound up in the visual arts field.
I have practiced yoga for about 12 years. It is the only form of exercise
that has ever stuck with me other than walking. Jogging? Tried for 3 months
and then gave up because I hated it. Swimming? Too scared of drowning.
Aerobics? BO-ring! Elliptical/Rowing/Stationary Bike/treadmill? OK if I'm
on vacation and staying in a hotel, but otherwise please see my answer to
the question of Aerobics. I love the way that yoga constantly challenges me
to think differently about myself. It also helps immensely with my focus,
not to mention my aching shoulders and back from making jewelry all the

5. What inspires your creations?

Modern art, abstractions of nature, sacred geometry and science. I am
interested in the interplay of science and the natural world, of science and
spirituality, and how they are not as separate as we often think.

6. How did you get involved with Etsy?

I joined last year, but it wasn't until I quit my job a few months ago that
I started to actively sell on Etsy.

7. What is your biggest challenge related to your Etsy shop?

Finding customers :)

8. What is your favorite item in your shop (currently for sale or previously
sold)? Why is it your favorite?

Everyday, i wear the one that you see in the picture. If anyone ever orders
this, I will need to make a new one, because there is no way that I am
giving this one up. All I can say is that the smooth surfaces and the
curves just feel good to wear. I find myself running my fingers over this
ring constantly.

9. Which one song describes your life the best? Why?

This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) by the Talking Heads. Because it is
both intensely romantic and totally cerebral. I love the contradiction.

10. If money were no object for just one day, what would you do?

Travel somewhere amazing that I have never been to before. At the top of my
list? Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Jordan...I could go on and on and
on and on...

11. What does buying and selling local handmade mean to you, and how has it
affected your life?

I wish that all people understood the work that goes into handcrafting
jewelry, so I think that selling locally means that I have the opportunity
to educate customers about my process.

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Jen from Mama's Magic Studio about joining SFEtsy!


mermaiden said...

such amazing designs!

Jen (Mama's Magic Studio) said...

so beautiful! loved the interview!!!

creativebeadz said...

What a great interview--good questions and insightful answers. So interesting to learn about your training. BEAUTIFUL work! Here's to your success!

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