Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Crafty Panda Girl is Rocking Recycled Jewelry

I am proud to be making a post for another amazing Etsy seller that will be vending with me this Saturday! She is an amazing artist making unique jewelry out of everyday items that she has recycled and re-purposed to become awesome pieces that make great accessories and gifts!

My name is Melissa and I live in the suburbs of Baltimore with my feline companion, a very chubby Tuxedo named 35.  By day, I work at a non-profit human services agency that serves adults with developmental disabilities, Athelas Institute in Columbia, Maryland.  My educational background is in art, I have a AA from The Community College of Baltimore County.  In addition to fine art, I've studied computer graphics, dance, and music.

1. What types of items do you make?
Unique one-of-a-kind jewelry made from recycled computer keyboards, vintage game pieces, dominoes, guitar picks and other found and altered objects.

2. How long have you been crafting and how long have you been selling on Etsy?
Since I was a small child. I've always loved to "make things" and explore and collect.

My grandmothers were two very different women and I had the great fortune of being able to spend lots of time with them both growing up.  Both of their influences can be seen in my work.

On the one hand, my "Mama" taught me to sew and rummage around rummage sales, thrift stores, attics and basements, looking for "the good stuff."  She and my grandfather had a summer home on the Chesapeake Bay near Calvert Cliffs, where we would spend long days digging for fossils and combing the beach for any treasures the waves had washed up and deposited.

My "Dee Dee" on the other hand, took me for long walks in the woods and taught me to love and admire nature, she took me to the movies, where I developed my love for film, she loved to collect photographs and installed in me a love for photography and capturing and preserving images of things that I love.

Now I spend my winter weekends in thrift stores and antique shops looking for what I consider "the good stuff."  I salvage what I can to turn into something beautiful and new.  Summers are spent in secret spots searching for sea glass or looking through the forest for bottle dumps or any other discarded items from yesterday that I can renew and make useful again.

My Etsy shop has been open since September of 2011.

3. What is your most favorite item that is currently listed in your shop and why? (ie was it challenging, something new..)
I am fond of this piece, in particular.  I love the colors, blue is my favorite.  The vintage feel and the theme of flying away to a distant place combined with those dark blues, gives it a very dreamy feel.

4. How would you describe your process?
I don't really know if it could be considered a process but here's how it goes.  I find trash, I bring it home, I stare at it for a while and suddenly I yell out, "YES," and something new is born.  Or, that's it in a nutshell.  Seriously, sometimes I just pick something up and buy it with no idea what's going to happen to it, just a thought that I can do something with it.  sometimes before I get home, I know the answer and sometimes it sits on a shelf and in the back of my mind for months before an idea comes.

5.Are you working on anything new that you would like to share with my readers?
Right now, I'm working on staining, stamping and decoupaging domino pendants.  This is a new project for me and I absolutely love making them.  I think that these pendants allow for a lot more artistic expression than my previous projects have and I like the ethereal feel that they have.

6. Is there any new item or even different type of medium, art, or craft that you would like to start working with?  If so. what is it?
I've learned how to drill my beach glass, which has opened up a whole world of possibilities in that area.  I bought a metal stamping kit a few weeks ago and haven't really done anything with it yet.  My hope is to learn the metal stamping and oxidation process then combine handmade stamped charms with the beach glass for some pendants and earrings.

7. Since you are from Maryland, What is your favorite place to visit in Baltimore and why? If you don't do Baltimore, you can say somewhere else that is local ;)
My favorite place to visit in Baltimore is Hampden.  Why?  Because it IS Baltimore.  I love the shops, I love the people, I love the food, the festivals, the atmosphere ...

8. What advice would you give to a knew Etsy seller?
New Etsy sellers, be patient and persistent, sales don't happen overnight and they also aren't delivered by the sales faery.  You have to work hard, network, join groups, grow your circle, promote, promote, promote, make friends and most of all have fun!

If you would like to get more info about this seller, events, and her shop, please check her out on Facebook and Twitter as well as her Etsy Shop.

You can also buy some of her awesome items this Saturday at The Day With The Girls event this Saturday! Check my Facebook Fan Page for more details!

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