We are very fortunate to have Christine as one of our Wubbers U instructors. This award-winning jewelry designer/maker is in more galleries than we can count, and shares her thoughts with you in this issue’s interview. Check out her work at http://www.chrizart.com and she can be reached at email@example.com.
Lexi Erickson: How long have you been making jewelry? What inspired you to start making jewelry?
Christine Keller: About five years ago I was in my pottery studio with some small pieces of extra clay and had an aha moment. Forming a cabochon I fired it and on the next firing melted recycled glass into it creating a “Glass Geode”. That led to the wire wrapping of the piece, which led to the wire wrapping of anything I could lay my hands on. To this day I still wrap these created “Glass Geodes” and they are one of my signature pieces.
Do you have a favorite artistic quote you can share with us?
Not exactly a quote but a line from my favorite poem “The Road Not Taken”
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
– Robert Frost
If you weren’t a jeweler, what would you be doing?
Wood carving. I love wood carving and have carved trees, baptistery’s, eagles, old world Santa’s, bears, wolves, faces and so much more. The good clean smell of wood as you carve it and watching it take shape and come alive, wow, it’s just so much fun. I want to do so much that I need to clone me!
Do you listen to music in the studio, and if so, what kind?
I always want music playing when I am doing anything. It inspires me, motivates me, soothes me, uplifts me and just makes me work better and smarter. What I have on changes every day. The mood of the day and the project decides the type of music I listen to, so you could find Golden oldies, Celtic, easy listening, New Age, guitar, country, anything but rap. I like so many different styles.
Do you have a favorite tool or tools?
I am afraid I have too many favorite tools to mention. I’d rather shop for a new tool than clothes! Hardware stores I absolutely adore! You never know what you might find that you can use for something other than its intended use. Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway? Not taking someone else’s suggestion for a tools use but creating a new way to use it, a WOW, isn’t that cool way? Let me state here that I do like to know or learn how to use a tool right but then push it for use in different ways. On my workbench for wire wrapping is a certain tool I bought, then grinded on to make a wonderful tool to tuck a wire down. I use it all the time.
Can you share your favorite jewelry making tip with us?
Painters tape. It is a great way to measure exactly where you want to put wraps on a cabochon when you are wire wrapping it. Simply cut the painters tape to fit around the cab, then mark it where you want your wraps, remove it and place it on your wire. Transfer the marks to the wire with a sharpie and wrap.
What’s your favorite color palette?
Bright, bold, beautiful! I know that’s not a palette but I am all about color. I want my jewelry to be known for color, to stand out so people take notice. I get tired of people saying, ”That looks good on you but I could never wear it!” My response is, “Try it.” I use to think like that and one day I decided to step out of the box and wear something BIG and colorful just for the fun of it. That day I got more comments and compliments than I ever did before. It was a big change for me but I never went back. Don’t be afraid to try a big piece of jewelry or a colorful one. At least once, and see what happens. I bet you’ll be surprised.
What do you do for relaxation? Is it something which inspires you?
If I want to relax and escape I read a book. Thousands of books have been my companions through the years. They can carry you away to another time.
Recently I bartered with another artist and had a Bowed Psaltery made for me. This too is relaxing and soothing and is quickly becoming a favorite pastime of mine.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received from your mentor?
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. If you are told no, you are no farther behind than when you started and if you are told yes, you just made a giant leap forward.
Is that the same advice you would pass on to your student?
Yes. That advice has opened up so many doors for me and works for most any situation, in any career, and on many paths of life. I would also add one very important thing – Always have goals. Without goals you will get exactly what you planned for-nothing.
What give you the greatest joy in making jewelry?
Watching the piece come to life, forming beneath your hands, having it turn out better than even you could imagine, then seeing someone else fall in love with the piece.
Throughout history, jewelry has been assigned a status, for example, it shows wealth, political power, employment, marriage status, spirituality power, etc. Do you feel your jewelry has any type of symbolism?
This is a goal for me – for it to become a status symbol to own a hand created piece of Chrizart, for the jewelry to be recognizable as a piece of my work. That would be a dream come true! I believe in dreaming BIG. Shoot for the moon, if you miss you still land in the stars!
What’s in the future for you? Would you mind sharing a few of your goals?
The future looks exciting for Chrizart! As I continue to build the business my goal is to create a cottage industry where I have different Jewelry makers making certain items in my line, fulfilling the orders, freeing me for designing and creating new and higher end pieces. I already have three ladies working with me and hope to see this area grow. Since I have four lines of jewelry already I definitely have room to expand! In the past year I have went from 18 galleries to over 50. My goal is to be known across the country for my jewelry. Do you own a piece of “Chrizart”?
I also want to start hosting classes in my home and share my passion for creating. Lately I have been getting a lot of calls for teaching, mostly one on one. This is something I want to pursue, everyone who wants to learn should have the opportunity.
Christine Keller online:
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