A little while ago, after joining a West Michigan Etsy Team (EtsyWMI Team), I discovered a true artist among Etsians. Her work is both mesmorizing and stylish. Shannon from gypsymoonart.etsy.com creates jewelry with intricate wire wrappings, coils and designs. Her second shop, gypsytrinkets.etsy.com, houses unique wire components and accents for fellow designers to use in their pieces. I recently interviewed Shannon through Etsy's super cool comunication tool, Convo, and was able to learn a lot of very interesting and inspiring facts about her and her remarkable trade.
Trina: Where did you first hear about Etsy?
Shannon: I actually heard about Etsy years ago from other artist friends, but wasn't really at a point where I was ready to open a shop yet.
What inspired you to start your first Etsy shop, gypsymoonart
I began making jewelry and sold a few items to my mom and my friends. People complimented me on my pieces that I would wear and I began to think that I should give it a shot. I was creating so much jewelry that it was piling up. With the full support of my husband, I started a website. My Etsy shop opened up a short time later.
Honey Mead Ring
And what made you decide to open your second Etsy shop, gypsytrinkets?
Store bought findings looked too commercial and lacked interest. They didn't compliment my jewelry designs. I started making my own and people who saw my jewelry couldn't believe that I made my own clasps, ear wires, etc. I decided to share my handmade findings with other jewelry makers. I wanted keep my finished jewelry seperate from my findings,so I decided that opening a second shop was the thing to do.
Brass Artisan Headpins
I noticed that all your pieces are made with handworked metal. Which metal is your favorite to use and why?
I love sterling silver. It is easy to work with and when oxidized it has a beautiful mystical, almost magical, glow. It is easily recycled by either melting down the scraps, or sending them to a refinery. I also love copper. It has a warm, earthy, rustic glow that makes it look very "Old World". I grew up going to Michigan's Upper Penninsula and visiting the copper mines there. Copper reminds me of all the great times I had exploring the U.P.'s forests, and Lake Superior.
Saugatuck Lake Michigan shell pendent
Which items in both of your shops are your favorites? Why?
That is a difficult question. Whatever piece I am working on at the time is my favorite. I pour all of my love and energy into a piece while I am creating it. Even when I am not working on it, it consumes my thoughts. That being said, I do have a pendant that I have never listed for sale and probably never will. I cannot bear to part with it. It is a beautiful, huge red stone that is intricately woven in copper wire.
Where, how, and when did you learn your craft?
I have always been an artist and worked professionally as a muralist and faux finisher for many years. When my children were born, my husband and I both wanted me to stay home with them. But creating art is in my soul and I began searching for other ways to satisfy my creative appetite. I began playing with wire. Right about this time my father was diagnosed for the second time with kidney cancer. For christmas that year, I made my grandma and my mom (and myself) very simple wire bracelets with beads in the symbolic color for kidney cancer. I attached little awareness ribbon charms in support of my dad's battle. I became totally obsessed with wire working. I have never taken any classes or had any professional training. I am an avid reader and devoured anything I could get my hands on about wire working. I have taught myself by trial and error. If I had an idea that didn't work, I just tried again. It spiraled out of control from there. Oh, and my dad is cancer free!!!
What inspires you in your art? What helps you design?
I am inspired by fairy tales, myths, and Celtic legends. I am completely in love with the Legend of King Arthur, I think my favorite characters are Morgan le Faye and Merlin. I love dreamy, romantic stories that carry me away to another time and place~ anything with knights, pirates, fairies, wizards, kings and queens. My family loves to go to renaissance faires, and I come away with hundreds of ideas. I am also inspired by nature and love using stones, gems, and shells in my designs. Sometimes I sketch a design out completely before I create it, and sometimes I just sit down in my studio and the design creates itself. It really just depends on my mood.
You have been sucessful in your business. Do you have any advice to give other Etsy sellers? Anything in particular that has really helped you?
The best advice I can really give is to be patient. Get involved in your local art community, and get involved in online communities. I participate in local art shows, and have items in local art galleries. Make friends with other artists, surround yourself with supportive people. Be confident, but kind and accomodating to people, attitude is everything!
So there you are! You can check out Shannon's other website at http://www.gypsymoonart.com/. You can also find her on Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter.