Thursday, December 1, 2011

Artist of the Month - Chrissy Gemmill

This month's artist is Chrissy Gemmill, an amazing jewelry designer. I first fell in love with Chrissy's work when I happened upon it at The Muse in Frederick where I also sell my work.  I absolutely love Chrissy's work.  I enjoy her style, texture and overall design.

Chrissy grew up in Sparks, Maryland which is in Northern Baltimore County and then moved to Baltimore city where she met her husband, Matt. They now live in downtown Frederick with their son Marcus who is now 3 years old.

Her first introduction into jewelry design was a basic beading class that she attended when she was 14 or 15 and loved it! Chrissy actually had her own business in High School after taking that class. After High School, she took an enameling class at Towson State and then transferred to Maryland Institute College of Art to participate in a certificate jewelry program.
Peony by Chrissy Gemmill Jewels

I asked Chrissy to tell me a little about her design process and here is what she had to say:

"To keep track of all my inspirations I try to jot down a lists of my ideas, sometimes I sketch my ideas out and then sometimes I sit down and play around at my workbench and see what happens.    At times I do a fair amount of research before I even begin executing.  My peony flower collection, which was inspired by my mom and made in honor of her 60 birthday, started by studying the flower itself.  After consuming my mind with facts, folklore and beautiful images I then sketched and cut out stencils to figure out how to layer the petals to resemble the intricate, delicate peony flower itself.   

 Many of my pieces (like my peony flower collection) begin with a piece of sterling silver sheet metal.  I draw on the metal with my sharpie and then cut the design out with my jewelers saw.  From there I may do light metal forming then solder, oxidize and sand to a finish.  Some of my 3 dimensional detailed pieces (like my tree) are cast from molds so they can be reproduced more than once.  And then there are the pieces I make from vintage findings and baubles, often these pieces are reworked slightly, like my vintage copper flower necklace which I recreated into a toggle."
I really love the combination of soft floral designs and the more rugged stronger look of the silver metal work. Chrissy's favorite part of creating jewelry is when an idea comes to life. She feels that the finished product is so rewarding. She also enjoys seeing other people wearing her jewelry, especiallly people that she doesn't know. I understand what she means there, I love seeing someone with a piece of my jewelry on. Makes me feel proud. Once I was mailing something at the post office and the woman working there was wearing my earrings! How fun.
Chrissy's least favorite part of her work is sanding and finishing cast pieces. She said there are a lot of loud tools that she uses and metal can go flying. Another not so favorite part for Chrissy are some of the business aspects involved that she has to force herself to do since she creates jewelry for a living.
Chrissy sells her work online through Etsy, if you'd like to look at more of her work check out her website Chrissy Gemmill Jewelry. Besides the Peony and beautiful Tree necklace shown above, here are a few of my other favorites:
Lotus Earrings by Chrissy Gemmill

Lotus Petal and Garnet Triple Strand Necklace by Chrissy Gemmill

Sparrow and Vine Silhouette by Chrissy Gemmill

While Chrissy is not busy being a Mom and a jewelry designer, she teaches classes. Here is what she has to say about her teaching experiences so far:
"I started teaching a little over four years ago at The Muse through their Wine & Cheese Craft Parties.  The Muse's owner, my friend Whitney, is actually responsible for getting me into teaching.   I also teach at  Frederick Community College and recently I began hosting classes in Baltimore with Kaleidoscope.   I absolutely love teaching.  What I love most is meeting new people and I am always amazed by the full lives some of my students have, yet they still make time to learn something new!  They inspire me.  It's also really fun seeing someone design for the first time and seeing what bead colors and combinations the students select from the kit I provide."
Whitney also got me into teaching too! If you'd like to take a class from Chrissy or find out what other exciting things she has going on in her life be sure to visit her blog at Chrissy Gemmill Jewelry.

Chrissy also designs some really creative pieces with Owls, look at these:

As for the future, here is where Chrissy sees her business going:
"Although jewelry design will always be the foundation of my business I see myself spending less time at my actual work bench and more time working with students and designers. Recently I began working as a bead rep.  I am so excited about this and things are set to really get in gear in 2012.  Next year I will have set dates where people can buy beads from me on a once a month schedule either in Baltimore or Frederick. It is so rewarding for me to work with people and help them learn a technique or offer them my selection of beads and then see their designs evolve over time."
"It is also a goal of mine to create a Mommy and Me or Daddy and Me jewelry making workshop for young children.  This was a special request from my nieces Cameron and Blythe!   I feel it is really important for kids to be exposed to art and craft as early as possible so when they grow up they will already recoginzie the importance of appreciating and supporint arts or maybe even become a crafter themselves!"
I hope you enjoyed getting to know Chrissy this month. Make sure to visit her Etsy shop and blog to learn more about her and her amazing work.
"Find the pattern of life." by Madi


Chrissy Gemmill Jewels said...

Thank you so much for featuring me Stacie! I am honored to be part of your blog! :)

stacie said...

No problem Chrissy! I really enjoyed writing the post.

The Muse said...

Great post! Combines 2 of my favorite artists-Stacie & Chrissy!!!

Renee from Where the Grass is Greener said...

So nice of you to say Whitney!

Renee from Where the Grass is Greener said...

Opps! Forgot I am logged on to my sister's google account, last comment was from me Stacie!

Spiritual Jewelry said...

I love the Sparrow and Vine Silhouette, and anything with owls. Best of luck to you with selling the beads, but please keep making that jewelry, the world needs more of it!