Saturday, March 14, 2009
Our First Member Interview: With Riverside Jewelry
Riverside Jewelry is Amanda Coburn of Stillwater, Maine USA.
Q. What is your favorite thing about where you live? What is it like living there?
A. I love the change of seasons in Maine! Each season is so drastically
different from the next- and each one beautiful in it's own way! Our
winters are difficult. We get a lot of snow and see very frigid
temperatures, but it makes us appreciate our mild summers so much more!
Spring is gorgeous with the daffodils poking out through the last remnants
of snow! And Fall is just stunning! If you've never seen the Fall foliage
in Maine, I highly recommend it! It's as if someone spilled red, orange,
green and yellow paint as far as your eye can see!
Q. What kind of jewelry work do you do? Why do you like doing it?
A. I'm a metalsmith by trade so I do a lot of work with sterling silver and semi
precious stones! I like chunky, focal pieces that really catch the eye. I
also like making simple, clean pieces using metal alone. Something that
you can mix and match with any outfit in your wardrobe!
Making jewelry for me is very therapeutic. Working with my hands has
always relaxed me. My husband says I'm the only person he's ever met who
enjoys rolling change! And you can't beat the sense of pride and
accomplishment you get when you finish a piece that you've been working on
for awhile- or you perfectly execute a newly learned technique!
Q. What materials do you work with? What colors do you work with most?
A. I work with sterling silver, copper and brass- but mostly sterling
silver. I also try to incorporate any type of semi precious gemstone and
mineral I can find! I like purples and greens and blues, but also neutral
colors like browns and blacks and whites. Depending on my mood I like to
be able to create pieces that stand out and are very bold, or pieces that
you can wear with anything!
Q. Describe your art education. Are you self-taught? How did you learn? What attracted you to making jewelry?
A. I started making Hemp and beaded necklaces about 7 years ago through books
and online patterns I'd come accross. Eventually my coworkers started
ordering things for themselves or for gifts. My husband realized that I
really enjoyed what I was doing and I was always trying to learn something
new. He bought me an "Introduction to Metalsmithing" class for Christmas a
couple years later, and I've been doing this ever since! Any new
techniques I've learned have been through trial and error. And there have
been many errors! (Thank god for scrap buyers!)
What started out as a hobby has turned in to a full time business!
Q. What was your most exciting piece to make?
A. I really loved making the Leopardskin Jasper Full Persian Necklace. It was
the first necklace I made that incorporated chainmaille and a chunky,
focal, bezel set stone!
Q. What is your most interesting, disasterous, or funny story about making jewelry?
A. My first few times trying to saw through ring bands led to some pretty
nice finger slices! I don't know how many times I walked into the room and
had to preface it with "Dave, it's just a flesh wound! Don't panic!". I
didn't want him to have a heart attack when he saw the blood.
Q. Please talk about three of your pieces.
Tiger's Eye Swirl Bracelet
This piece came out much better than I expected! It started out as an
experiment making funky twists without a jig, and I love how it turned
Faceted Amethyst Floral Patterned Band Sterling Silver Ring
It took me a long time to figure out how to bezel set a faceted stone so
it would be secure and look professionally set at the same time. I really
liked the finished product so much that I bought over 65 carats of faceted
gemstones the very next day!
Thick Bangle Sterling Silver Bracelets
These are by far my best sellers! I listed them and the next day they took
off! I think people really like the thickness of them, and the hammered
texture makes them just shimmer!