I've always loved jewellery and handcrafted pieces are my favourite, especially if their texture shows off the workmanship. Today's feature is a great example of this... Come in and meet Karen DeMarte.
1. Tell me a bit about your background and how long you have been an artist/crafter.
I have been doing art all of my life, I started drawing as soon as I could hold a crayon and the novelty of making my mark on paper never wore off. I went to college for art and also got certified to teach art in kindergarten through 12th grade. I taught art in public school for 14 years. In January 2006 I decided to get out of teaching and pursue my own art. It's one of the best decisions that I have ever made and wouldn't be possible without the support of my husband and family. Now, I delightfully spend my days at home in the studio doing what I love. I am currently casting and forging jewelry out of pewter and copper. I also paint pet portraits.
2. Where do you find your inspiration?
I'm inspired by nature and all of it's tiny details.
3. Do you sell your work, or is it purely for pleasure?
I sell my work on http://www.kdemarte.etsy.com/ and locally at art/craft shows.
4. If someone was looking to take up this craft should they have any related experience before they start?
Take classes to gain knowledge of the craft and to get experience. Seek out other artists to spend time with and gain valuable knowledge from. Ask questions and a lot of them.
5. What would be your top 5 tips for a beginner?
Take classes to improve your work and gain experience, do research into the media and style that interest you, work hard,
believe in yourself, love what you do.
6. What would be your top 5 items of essential equipment?
Wow...that's hard to narrow it down to five. But I would have to say for making my jewelry it would be;
torch, hammer, files, steel wool, dental tools
7. Can you recommend a technique or 'tips' book ideal for a beginner?
My all time favorite reference book for metalsmithing is "The Complete Metalsmith" by Tim McCreight.
8. Can you recommend any brands to look out for, when buying equipment or kit?
Not really...brands don't really matter to me I just look for quality materials and equipment at good prices.