Monday, February 18, 2013

Artist Spotlight: Nikki from Untamed Menagerie

Nikki and her mom Penny are partners when working at their Etsy shop, something I really admire. Though I do think that if my mom joined me in the blogging business there would be a lot more posts about cats floating around Unabridged Andra's...

Hi Nikki! Thanks for joining us today! Your Etsy shop is really cute and I love that it has so many influences from the Victorian period like Lewis Carrol, Edgar Aetc! Before we get started, why don't you tell me a little bit about yourself!

Hi Andra! I am a full time jeweler and metalsmith living in a very old farmhouse in Kingsport, Tennessee. Things I love: Coffee, The Walking Dead, thai food, books, all things fashion, my beautiful Chihuahua (Shiva), my sweet cat (Josephine), and my silent goldfish friend (Fat Rabbit). Sometimes I think I've seen every movie ever made as I can never find anything new to watch. I have a soft spot for science fiction and horror films, especially. Since receiving a Kindle for Christmas a couple of years ago I feel like I have so many books at my fingertips that I feel guilty if I go to bed without reading. As such, I have many late nights.

Dude, who DOESN'T love the Walking Dead? So awesome! Did you see this week's episode with Rick and...ah...sorry, when you get my going I have a hard time stopping...anyways, how long have you been making jewelry?

I started making jewelry when I was in middle school. My specialty back then was soda tab bracelets and I sold them in the halls after school for $2 so that I could buy nail polish. Skipping forward, after a few really disappointing jobs in my early adult life I got really passionate about jewelry making in my spare time and haven't looked back. I had no formal training and relied on many great books and articles to teach me basic skills that I could develop and use in my own work.

Dang...kicking it old school. I myself got suspended from school for peddling friendship bracelets and beanie babies...we would have had lotsss in common :P If you could live in any time, any place, where would it be?

I thought a lot about this question and while I love elements of fashion from times past (like the Victorian Era and the 80s (I know!)), I'm going to have to say that I am very happy right here, right now.

Wow, that's the first time I think I've heard that! Cool though...I'm kinda happy here with my man-friend too. Do you live the Steampunk lifestyle or participate in other aspects of the genre? (books, movies, etc?)

I absolutely love Steampunk fashion and try to incorporate it in my wardrobe when possible. Some of my favorite movies with Steampunk elements are: The Prestige, City of Ember, Hellboy, Sweeney Todd, and (loosely) Stardust.

Huh...I never really thought of Stardust as being Steampunk...I can see it though...especially in the Jewelry. So tell me, what materials do you use in your own jewelry?

Stainless steel is my absolute favorite metal and I use it in the majority of my work. Whenever I have an idea for a new design I always try to make it with steel first. Only when a design is not possible in this material do I try something else. I also enjoy working with brass and sterling silver, especially when they are a part of a mixed metal piece. Contrast is very important to me.

A lot of your pieces have roots in the Victorian stories of the time like Through the Looking Glass and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. What, other than the time period references, makes your work "Steampunk"?

I think the material is also a big factor. I feel like stainless steel gets skipped over a lot because it doesn't have the same shine of sterling silver and is not as widely recognized as a jewelry metal. However, it is beautiful both raw and polished and brings a very industrial feel to even the most delicate and feminine pieces.

How long does it usually take to make a piece?

Most sketched ideas are completed and turned into wearable pieces within 2-3 weeks time, with a few exceptions. I've had some breakthroughs where I have worn the finished piece just days after the idea came, and at least half a dozen that I have been working on for years. Once I produce the original piece, I can reproduce items that aren't one of a kind from anywhere between 30 minutes and 3 hours.

What's the best story you have about your work?

My lightning earrings were worn in a Philip Selway (he's the drummer of Radiohead) music video. As a huge fan of Radiohead it was one of the coolest things ever for me. The video and song are pretty awesome!

Wow...seriously wow. That's amazing! Congrats that must have been so cool to see! What is your favorite piece or work you’ve ever made?

This changes constantly, but today it's my Dagger earrings. I've been dreaming them up for a very long time. They are so simple, just straight lines really, but that is what I struggle with the most as an artist; making something simple that is still somehow eye catching and memorable. It's a challenge for me.

Thanks for coming on the blog today Nikki! I really love your work and am really glad I got to get to know both you and it better!

Hey darling followers! Nikki is offering up a chance to win a 15$ giftcard so you can choose one of her pieces for your very own! Lucky you! I think I'd have to go with the Carpe Noctem piece...Who'd want to seize the day when you can seize the night :) Good Luck and you can enter at the rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

  1. Nikki's designs are awesome! Thanks for the interview!