FEATURING: Delia Traister
Q: How long have you been an artist? How did you get started?
All my life I think. Growing up I was into acting and dancing and guitar and writing and painting. Like many people I know I was lead to believe that I would never make a living at being an artist, so I should be a lawyer instead. I've done everything from taxi dancing to Preschool Director, parenting in between, but never a lawyer - which makes me laugh a little now . . . and . . . a self-described, selling my work kinda artist? - I started that in 2008.
I started in my recent 'what I sell' work because I really wanted to and because I could. I'd been researching metal clay for a year and decided to take the plunge. An acquaintance suggested a show and I launched/had a grand opening in August of 2008.
Q: Do you have any formal training or are you self taught?
I am mostly self-taught. I have a lot of books that I've actually read, and there are a ton of resources, pdf's and tutorials within the internet. I love the internet. I started my business with some spit and glue, no business plan and very little money - nothing I would suggest to others and I actually know better, I just decided to cliff jump.
I have taken two metal-clay artisan certification classes; March 2009, with Tonya Davidson, owner and artisan with Whole Lotta Whimsey, via Rio Grande and in March of this year I took a class with Lora Hart, another extraordinary artisan. It was the Level 1 class via PMCC. I will be pursuing the 2nd and 3rd levels and plan to become a Senior Instructor.
Q: Where do you draw inspiration from?
everywhere . . . vague I know, but true. I can get lost in blogs, etsy, facebook, flikr, my books, my animals, my children, being outside . . . if I feel really tapped I ask my daughter for a suggestion and at 12 she always has one and they are usually really good
Q: What sort of things motivate you?
teaching metal clay art, the ring-a-day project I am involved in on Flikr, and sometimes I have no idea what motivates me to do what I do :)
Q: When you think of your artistic career, what do you feel is your most notable accomplishment?
my children. I believe that parenting is an art . . . and one can do some formal training but it is mostly self-taught. As far as the tangible art product I create I think my most notable accomplishment was the first class I taught. It was before I took any classes myself and I literally had no idea what I was doing. I taught a class of 15 people how to make silver talismans. It was a lot of fun and no one caught fire :)
Q: Which artists have most influenced you and why?
Wow this is tough . . . in my field of jewelry arts, I'd really have to say - every jewelry artist I've met. I am so inspired by my new acquaintances on Flikr . . . when I sit at my work table, I often hear Tonya Davidson or Lora Hart in my head reminding me of one technique or another . . . sometimes I hear my mother, sometimes my husband or one of my friends . . .
Q: Do you have a favorite piece/project that you are most proud of?
I am really pleased with "Cherish", a ring I recently completed. It's fine silver with the word "cherish" stamped into the signet or top plate . . . atop prongs I sat a frozen charlotte. This is not the best of pics, she is away being profesionally photographed
Q: What medium/mediums do you work with?
I create wearable art jewelry in mostly silver, sometimes copper and bronze. I use metal clay, which is a material that has fine metal particles combined with a clay like organic binder. After forming, the material is dried and then either kiln or torch fired. The binder burns off and the artist is left with the purest of the metal . . . hence the term "fine silver" for example
I've used enamel, polymer clay, resin, ceramic shards in combination with my metal work, as well as some of my photography and found objects, as in the Cherish ring.
I am also a self-taught photographer and shoot mostly flowers to create blank note cards . . . and I have other work as well.
Q: Are there any mediums you have yet to experiment with but would like to try?
While I've worked with sterling, I'd like to do more of that, as well as materials like stainless steel, gold, titanium, platinum. I'd love to try my hand at plating and become accomplished at soldering.
Q: Do you have any favorite art supplies or suppliers that you would like to recommend?
While I would like to significantly increase my tool collection I seem to have a champagne taste on a beer income instinct for the tools I'd like to own :) and no I don't have any favs. I do have a favorite vendor: Whole Lotta Whimsey, www.wholelottawhimsey.com There are tutorials, all the tools a metal clay artist could want, as well as tools for artists using other mediums. I enjoy the fast service, the question answering and support.
Q: Do you have a blog and/or a website you would like to share?
What don't I have? I twitter, Facebook, Blog, Etsy and have my own website :)
Q: Finally, do you have any words of advice for beginner artists?
I'll borrow a piece of advice I got from Lora Hart: "As for your work - only make what *you* love. What inspires you. Don't try to follow an unknown clientele. Don't make things that you *think* will sell. Make the work and the right collectors will find you." From this advice, Cherish was born, a piece that was really a stretch for me