Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Feature - Embergrass Jewelry

Happy Friday Folks!

    Today's interview is with everyone's favorite twitter chat host, Claire of Embergrass! You might hang out with her on Tuesdays, or catch up with her re-caps on Thursdays. But, today you get to take a little peak behind the scenes of Embergrass Jewelry, and learn a bit more about this talented, inspired British gal in SF!  It's amazing to see what magic she can perform using one main medium - copper.  Lucky for us, Claire has also created a Guest Pintrest board for the SFetsy Pintrest - Halloween themed! The page is lined with scary decor ideas, spooky art, and deliciously devious delectables!

Enjoy the interview then head over to her shop to grab some Fall accessories for you and yours!

1. What is your shop name and URL? 

2. To which Etsy Teams do you belong?

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 simple but striking rustic jewelry in copper and gemstones. My interest in jewelry started when I discovered an adorable bead shop in the town I was living in at the time (Bath, UK). I dabbled a little but restrained myself from buying too much there! Fast forward a few years and I quit my career as a Chemistry teacher to move to San Francisco with my then-fiance. When I began planning our wedding and my search for the perfect (and affordable) tiara came up empty, with so much spare time on my hands I decided to have a go at making all my own jewelry. That quickly spiraled into also making jewelry for all my bridesmaids and my mother, by the time we got married I was hooked!
I prefer to learn by experimentation (and the occasional youtube video) so I learnt all my jewelry-making skills myself, gradually buying more supplies and tools to expand my skills. My creative process starts with my inspiration, I love to take photographs so I collect inspirational images in folders, one for each of my collections. I then sketch out designs, sometimes I'll sit down for a few hours and sketch loads of ideas at once, others an idea will come to me randomly and I'll rush for my sketchbook to record it. The final stage is, of course, making the item - manipulating wire, cutting sheet metal, lots of hammering and some soldering. Sometimes I'll discover that my sketch just isn't going to work out, maybe with my materials, or tools, or skills, or just because it doesn't actually look that great for real, but usually it's awesome to finally see a piece realized.

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

Right now I have 2 hobbies - figure skating classes, which I just started a few months ago, and ceramics, which provides me a peaceful creative outlet not related to my business and associated stress. I also love horse riding and kept my own horse for several years. Unfortunately there aren't many opportunities to ride in San Francisco so that is now limited to vacation trail rides only.
Two things... I also enjoy reading fantasy novels (enjoy might be an understatement, I basically refuse to read anything else!) and Robin Hobb is easily my favourite author, with Terry Pratchett winning out if I want something more light-hearted.

5. What inspires your creations?

I'm mostly inspired by the emotions and memories I get from being outside and in nature. Each collection is inspired by a different aspect of my experiences: My 'Sundrops' and' Ocean Dreams' lines are inspired by memories of vacations to the seaside in warmer places than the UK! 'After The Rain' is inspired by the abundance of colour you get in flower gardens, wildflower meadows and especially those parts of the desert where it rains so rarely but when it does there is a sudden, brief bloom of life. My 'Fae' collection is inspired more by the fantasy novels I love to read and by my British roots. My final collection - 'Emberseeds' is inspired by the last few years of my life which have been spent living (grudgingly) in cities (London and San Francisco). I may not have grown to love the concrete jungle but I have grown to appreciate the beauty that can be found there and especially the beauty that appears when nature begins to reclaim the industrial structures.

6. What crafting skill(s) do you wish you had or hope to learn someday?

I would love to learn how to manipulate glass. I love glass creations, from simple lampwork beads to stunning sculptural pieces, and I would love to be able to create my own.

7. If you had to be an animal for one week, which animal would you choose to be? And what would you do? 

I'd be a cat! Cats definitely have the best life, they sleep all day, laze in the sun, have their meals prepared for them, get snuggles when they want them and pretend to be independent when they don't. I would set myself an incredibly difficult but fun challenge, such as trying to fish a favourite toy out from under the sofa, or trying to unscrew the lid of the treats pot and in between working I'd make sure I got lots of naps!

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

Buying and selling local means putting my money back into the pockets of the people around me. It means connecting with the person who made the item and rekindling the community spirit that got lost somewhere along the way. It means supporting someone's dreams rather than just someone's job, and the idea that people can be successful on their own in what they want to do. And it's encouraging a new kind of economy.

9. Where else can we find out more about you and/or your creations? 

I have a website with a blog at and a facebook page I'm also on twitter as @embergrass where I host the weekly #sfetsy tweetchat

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Katy or Steph about joining SFEtsy!

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