Friday, August 1, 2008

Featured Artist - Lynda of Diva Designs

I am very pleased to feature Lynda of Lynda is a fellow member of etsy's TeamSC street team.

Where in South Carolina do you live, and were you born here? If not, how long have you been in SC?
I live near Barnwell and I was born in Orangeburg. I have lived in SC all my life. In fact, I am a 9th generation South Carolinian.

What do you like best about living in South Carolina?
Everything but the gnats and skeeters! Seriously, I love the friendly people, the mild winters, the beautiful landscape, the fact that we have beaches and mountains within a few hours’ drive. I love the state flag. I get all choked up seeing the Palmetto and Crescent on that indigo background. I love our manners and the fact that we still pull over on the side of the road for a funeral procession. I love the food and the various cultures represented in the diverse population of South Carolina. I love the slow, easy pace and the fact that neighbors still look out for each other here. I love knowing everyone and everyone knowing me. I love the fact that my family’s roots are here and have been since the 1600s. I am a Southern girl down to my soul, and I know if I was born anywhere North of the Mason-Dixon Line, I’d still have found my way to South Carolina somehow. I would never live anywhere else. You know that saying, “American by birth, Southern by the grace of God”? I changed it to American by birth, South Carolinian by the grace of God!

What kind of materials do you use in your creations?
I design jewelry around polymer clay focal beads and pendants I make myself. I absolutely love working with polymer clay as a medium for jewelry design. It offers an endless array of patterns and color combinations. I am limited only by my imagination. I pair the pendants with semi-precious gemstones and metals, a kind of unusual take on polymer clay jewelry design.

What inspires or influences you? Do you have a plan before you make a piece, or do the materials "speak" to you?
I find inspiration in just about everything. Nature is a wonderful source of inspiration. I pair my polymer clay pendants with semi-precious gemstones. My favorites are the Agates and Jaspers, both of which offer an endless array of pattern and color and compliment my polymer clay designs perfectly.

Art and architecture are also huge sources of inspiration for me. Watercolor is my favorite medium, although I am strictly a collector and observer. I personally cannot draw a straight line! Watercolor fascinates me because it is such an unforgiving medium.

History inspires me. I recently completed a series of necklaces inspired by women warriors through history. It was a very creative and empowering experience for me.

Colors inspire me. My favorites are the tertiary colors, especially those found in abundance in the landscapes of the Southwestern United States and in the Native American culture: Turquoise, mustard, salmon, burnt orange, teal, tomato red, etc. I may be the only person who can find inspiration in a tomato, but that color just calls to me!

There are also many artists, jewelry designers and polymer clay artisans whose work I admire tremendously, and I always get inspiration from looking at their work: Georgia O’Keefe, Frida Kahlo, Andrew Wyeth, Jasper Johns (a fellow South Carolinian), and Gustav Klimt; glass designer Louis Comfort Tiffany, photographer Dorothea Lange, and sculptor Frederic Remington; as polymer clay artisans Donna Kato, Lisa Pavelka, Karen Lewis, Rebecca Geoffrey, Marcia Palmer and many others.

I try to plan, but I do believe in letting the clay speak to me. I love a “happy accident”. I never pick out gems and then do a pendant. I never have certain gems in mind when I create a pendant. I do the pendant first and then go look for things to compliment it.

Do you have a certain design style, and what is your favorite technique?
I’ve been told I’m a master (mistress?) of clay marbling. I don’t know about that, but I like clean lines, a glossy finish, a striking pattern. I think my designs, and my style, are unique and easily recognizable.

Polymer clay is baked in an oven and then sanded and sometimes buffed. I wet sand every piece through six grits of sandpaper, then bake it again for a second time, then sand again and I always buff with a modified Dremel outfitted with 1 ½” unbleached cotton muslin circles, which produces a glass-like shine if I’ve sanded correctly. It’s an obsession with me. I cannot stand to leave a bead nekid, even the tiny ones.

Other than Etsy, where could someone find your creations?
I’m only at Etsy for the time being. I don’t do craft shows and I haven’t put any designs in local shops yet, but I’m working on it. I use my Etsy store for local clients to shop. They see something they like, they call me and I take it to them to try out in person. I also do private “trunk shows”, and I have a few clients who call me to look at a new outfit or even a whole wardrobe, and I’ll jot down a few ideas, go back and make some designs, and call them to see if they are interested. I am trying to build up my inventory to show in local shops, but I can’t keep it full because of word-of-mouth sales, which is great! My local clients are very good to me.

How long have you been involved in your craft, and how did you get started?
I have been designing jewelry since I was a teenager, but only recently started working with polymer clay as a medium for design. I purchased my first block of clay last October. It took me a month to work up the nerve to open the package, and 600 or so beads later, I decided I was ready to start designing jewelry around the beads. It has quickly become an addiction, and I cannot see myself ever abandoning it. I wore one of my designs to work one day, and it got such a positive response, I went back home and made nine more necklaces. They all sold out within an hour, and I’ve been at it ever since.

Do you work from your home, or do you have a brick and mortar store?
I work from home. My studio currently occupies a spare bedroom, but that will hopefully change. A fellow Polymer Clay Artist Guild of Etsy Member has put ideas in my head with her photos of her basement studio. It made me drool. I would love to not have to move everything every time someone comes to stay. It’s a major pain!

Do you have a method for remembering ideas you want to implement, such as a notebook or tape recorder, etc.?
I keep a notebook and pen with me always. I get inspiration from just about anything, but if I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it in a skinny minute.

What do you do when you hit a brick wall creatively and nothing is working?
One of two things: I either get in the car and take a drive down the coast with the top down, or I get in the kitchen and cook. I love to cook as much as I love designing jewelry.

What is the most rewarding, interesting, or even weirdest thing you’ve ever been asked to make?
I had a male friend who asked me to design a necklace, bracelet and earrings for his wife, whom he lovingly refers to as “Miss Thang” because she is a diva. She knows she’s a diva, so I’m not telling anything I shouldn’t! I’ve known her husband all my life, but I don’t know her very well, and I was very nervous about designing something for her. Her husband only told me her favorite color, which is red. I did something I loved myself, and it was very rewarding when she called me herself and told me how much she loved the set and asked me how did I know exactly what she’d like? I even called the piece “Miss Thang”.

What are some of your goals for your craft, and where do you hope it will take you? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years, I hope to be fabulously successful and financially comfortable so that I can retire from my 50- hour a week, day job as a real estate and probate paralegal and devote myself to jewelry design full time.

What is your favorite part of being a member of TeamSC?
Getting to know my fellow South Carolinians, and having the opportunity to help promote them and South Carolina. I am so happy I found the team. I really hope we’ll be a force to reckon with at Etsy for a long time. We have such a diverse group of artists on the team, I don’t think we can help but be successful!

What are your hobbies, or how do you like to spend your free time, assuming you have any?
I love to read and I collect first editions, church cookbooks and vintage children’s toys and kitchenware. I love to cook. I’m a genealogist and created and manage 3 DNA Surname Group Projects for genealogy purposes. I learned to tat several years ago, and I try to do that on a regular basis so I won’t forget how.

Favorite color? Red
Favorite food? Fried Chicken and tomato sandwiches with Duke’s Mayonnaise
Favorite song or musical artist? Al Green’s “I’m Glad You’re Mine” and Michael McDonald’s version of “All In Love Is Fair” ; Bon Jovi
Favorite book or author? Ecology Of A Cracker Childhood by Janisse Ray
Favorite movie, actor or actress? To Kill A Mockingbird, The Quiet Man, Hoosiers; Gene Hackman, Maureen O’Hara

1 comment:

PolymerClayTutor said...

What a well written feature! Thank you for introducing the 'Mistress of Marbling' to us all... she does beautiful work! ~Cindy Lietz