Monday, July 23, 2012

Meet FredMADE - Member Spotlight on Elaine Butcher

There is TALENT among our ranks.  FredMADE is pleased to introduce you to Elaine Butcher,  the jewelry artisan extraordinaire and owner/creator of Elaine B Jewelry.

Not only does Elaine create clean, sophisticated and incredibly inspired jewelry with her mad metal working skills, but she's a glass blower (how AWESOME is that??!), world traveler and a wonderful representative of the Charlottesville community.  You can find her art (because it's not just's totally art), in shops all over the state of Virginia, and you can find a great interview highlighting an incredible area talent and the hip, crafty soul that is Elaine Butcher below:

The Skinny on Elaine
Member:  Elaine Butcher
Etsy Shop Name:  Elaine B Jewelry
Age:  28

Where in our area do you live?
I currently live in downtown Charlottesville.  I grew up in Denver, CO but spent summers in Charlottesville with my mother.  I attended college in Forest Grove Orgeon, at Peidmont CC in Charlottesville and finally finished with a fine arts degree from VCU in Richmond.

Where can we find your handmade items?

Elaine's Craft
Describe your crafting aesthetic in three words:
Airy, Geometric, Well-Made

What item do you feel is most representative of your style?
I would say the 5 cube necklace.  It has a very geometric quality, but it is also super light, strong and easy to wear.  It is every day materials and shapes yet totally unexpected.

If you could impart one piece of wisdom to aspiring handmade entrepreneurs, what would it be?
If you do it now, later it will be done.

What was the best piece of wisdom you ever received?
"Originality is the obscurity of your sources."  -Jack Wax

Favorite crafting background noise?
I am addicted to internet radio.  I have listened to every This American Life and Radio Lab ever made, some twice.  I am pretty much an NPR junky, but after I get sick of hearing the news over and over, it's Pandora.  Then around 7pm it's a glass of wine and Netflix on the computer while making earring hooks and jump rings until I cannot stand it anymore.

Crafting tool you cannot live without?
Magnetic Tumbler for finishing.

Crafting tool you have always lusted after but never purchased?
I want a bigger car for traveling to shows (I have a 1992 Toyota Camry)

Elaine's Life
Do you have a skill other than making amazing jewelry?
I went to school for glass blowing as well as metal, so I know my way around a hot shop.  Since I grew up in Denver, I have been snowboarding most of my life.  I spend all my money travelling, I have been to 4 continents with a trip to SE Asia in the works now.

What do you love the most about your family?
I have a very small family, but they couldn't be more supportive.  Really a supportive family is the most important part of being a successful crafter.  And my sister is absolutely amazing and inspiring...she is in the Peace Corps in Indonesia.

If you couldn't be a crafter, what would you be and why?
I would like to have some really smart sounding job that no one really knew what I did...that's how I feel about most people's jobs.  "Jeweler" is so descriptive (of course, it's a lot more than sparkles).  Also, I think it would be fun to have a job that you could dress up for.  I wear my dirtiest clothes in the studio.

What is your very best trait?
I pride myself on efficiency.  I was trained well by my family's restaurant that we had for 19 years...the last few years of which I was the only waitress.

What is your worst trait (if you feel like fessing up!)?
I say "yes" to everything, even if I don't want to do it or I don't really have time or I don't really know how!  One of these days that is going to get me in trouble.

Elaine's Community
Describe a perfect day in your community...
Getting up early on a beautiful day, going tubing on the James River with friends.  Then driving back to C-ville and sitting on a patio downtown and having delicious food and drinks.  The great thing about Charlottesville is that you see people everywhere, and some how, the table just grows.  Then to bed by 12 so I can be productive the next day.

Favorite local shopping?
I love to shop at craft fairs.  Because nobody really needs anything you get them, I like to support makers and buy unique gifts.  Plus, support your new friends and neighbors.

Favorite local place to eat?
When I was in art school at VCU, we would walk to Ipanema on Grace Street.  We went there 3 or 4 days a week.  Every time I go back, I want the smoked gouda sandwich and a High Life (no PBR here...that breeds bathroom graffiti). 

Is there one "local" spot you've always wanted to visit, but have yet to go?
I have always wanted to go to Luray Caverns.  I've seen the signs on the highway, but never quite made it.

Favorite thing about living in Virginia?
I love how green it is in Virginia.  And how close things are, relatively anyway.  Growing up in Denver you are super far away from any other big city.  But in Virginia, you can hop on a train in either direction and go to NYC or Charleston.

To learn more about the utter coolness that is Elaine Butcher, check out the following links:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Studio Tour - Meghan Berney of Simply March

The Studio Tours continue!  Meghan Berney (you know, the one who is writing all these posts!) is going to blog in the third person and let you into her home sweet home.  Meghan is also one of the FredMADE leaders and is excited about joining together with other local Fredericksburg folks to create the axis of Fredericksburg crafty super powers!  Check out her shop, Simply March and read on for a delightful little studio tour.

First off, give us the scoop on Meghan!
Second Studio Tour...see, it's not so scary!  I'm a thirty something who lives in Fredericksburg.  I haven't always lived here, but came to the Fred for college (UMW) and just kinda stuck around.  The area has always been appealing, as I love any historic place and if nothing else, the Fred is definitely that.  I live with my sweet husband, Chad, and our furry children, a kitty and a dog.  I love, love, love to create and think that Simply March is a wonderful outlet for all things eclectic, vintage and pretty.

Where in our region do you live?
Falmouth Area, right across the bridge from downtown...I can dream!

Tell us briefly about your creative space and the products you create there:
I make at home and realized recently that I'm not very productive if I can't be social!  Everything became a chore when I had to hike up to our third floor bedroom and sit for hours with nothing but my supplies to keep me company.  Therefore, I made the decision (with the approval of my wonderful husband who is ever so tolerant of my creative ridiculousness) to take a sort of odd and unused area in our living room and make it a "studio".  We put a desk behind the love seat, got a great cubby from ikea, a few white boards for photography and space for creativity!  I can see the TV and all things Simply March (necklaces, note cards, wine cork earrings and a "coming soon" line of collegiate themed but pretty accessories) live right there.

Any other spaces you create in?
Having my main creative space in a living area has really motivated me to keep my crafting world minimized, well organized, and contained.  The abandoned third bedroom (lovingly referred to as "The Sweatshop") was de-stashed and converted back into a bedroom that may, one day, be home to a little Berney.  My overflow supplies live happily in the garage and are perfectly accessible for those days I want to branch back into sewing, painting or whatever other crazy craft my brain has decided it wants to take on this week.  I also have my "wrap station" in the garage for when orders come in.  I believe very strongly in packaging things in a beautiful way, and as such, I need space to store my stash of cigar boxes (sourced locally and perfect for shipping out fancy necklaces), brown mailing paper, bubble wrap, envelopes, and pretty ribbon.

What in your studio best reflects your personal style?
Ooooooo, I just LOVE my map cabinet!  I knew I needed something with a door to hide away all the STUFF, so I found this little $20 cabinet on CraigsList and covered it with vintage maps.  It's really become a signature piece and is completely representative of my love for all things vintage.  Currently, I'm working on keeping the inside a bit more organized.

What works best about your set up?
My desk rules.  It's a World Market purchase and 100% the perfect size.  The pull out tray allows me to switch gears quickly from jewelry creation to paper crafts.  My only challenge is keeping it clutter free enough to take advantage of its awesome size.

What would make your creative process easier in regards to your space and the tools in it?
I think if I had a studio space that wasn't in my home, that would be something spectacular.  I guess that's my run/own a studio that has space for a collective of crafters to come and work and sell their awesome stuff.  Maybe someday.  Otherwise, what I have now works very well.

What is your "go to" creative tool?
Laptop!  Without my MacBook, I very much doubt I would be as productive as I am.  I never realized how much time you need to spend, not only making, but promoting, posting and working on my blog, Another Crafty Day.  My laptop has been invaluable.  The other seeeeecret product that I have fallen quite in love with is Citra Solv.  It's a cleaner that allows for the most amazing image transfer process.  It's my little (not so) secret weapon (and you can get it a Wegman's!)

What in your studio space helps you stay organized?
I have recently discovered Thirty-One and it's turned into a must have for organization.  I am completely obsessed with their cute products (especially the bins!!)  and purchased some really great pieces that not only keep me organized at home, but also allow me to travel easily with my supplies and finished products.  It's like having a mobile studio!

What would your dream studio have that yours currently does not?
A BUTTON MACHINE.  Seriously, I have lusted after a Tecre button machine forevs.

What in your studio helps you stay focused?
The TV?   No really, I love some background noise.  I have a bit of a crush on all things English and I love the big costume movies that I’ve seen so many times, I don’t really have to watch.  I can just listen and look up every once in a while to a visual treat of pretty dresses and ridiculous hair.  Marie Antoinette, the Young Victoria, Downton Abbey and the King’s Speech are several of my most favorites.  And Harry Potter…it’s ALWAYS a Harry Potter Weekend at my house.

What is your biggest distraction?
Right now, it’s a 7 month old puggle named Sheldon.  I’ve never had a dog, and let me tell you, I had NO idea that, probably much like children, they require constant supervision.  Plus, it’s very hard to buckle down when you have such a sweet face to love on!  Luckily, my husband is very supportive and we trade off to ensure we each have designated creative time and a break from puppy duty.  It also ensures that little Sheldon gets constant love from someone….such a sweet face!
Thanks for reading!  I hope you're inspired.  Find out more about me, Meghan, through the following links: