Today we are welcoming Nicole to the Handmade Brilliance Spotlight. Nicole is what you would call an artist in the truest form of the word. In addition to fine art, she is the creator of elegant jewelry--combining vintage materials with modern flair.
1. Tell us your story. What brought you to now? There were never many kids in my neighborhood growing up and due to my intolerance to Arizona summers I spent many hours indoors either trying to imitate painting techniques from my regular excursions to art galleries/museums or jewelry making that my grandmother sold to local stores that I was making at around 8 yrs old. When I was able to get away from our scorching summers I spent them in Michigan. Five of which were spent at Interlochen Arts Camp where I studied Piano, Art, Printmaking, Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design and developed some of my fondest childhood memories. I later received my Bachelor’s in Fine Art from ASU with a major in Printmaking. I worked as a specialty bookbinder for 3 years hand binding one of-a-kind books, bibles, and just about anything else you can imagine. I have more recently returned to my love of jewelry design and one of my many interests, repurposing vintage jewelry pieces and components with new items to give them a new life and a contemporary context.
2. Outside of creating, what do you do? I am currently a full time artist, painter, printmaker, jewelry designer and small business owner. I have great friends a loving family and an ever-attentive personal assistant…my Border Collie mix named Arlo.
3. What does handmade mean to you?
I come from a long line of do-it-yourselfers. My grandmother was a seamstress, self-made interior designer and mother of 7 girls. My grandfather is a carpenter and all around handyman. They never had much money but no one ever really knew because they never went without and always were surrounded by beauty. If they couldn’t afford it they would just make it or restore it. My mother and I have carried on that tradition. I attribute my resourcefulness to them and apply that in my everyday life. Handmade is creating from what is available and in doing so, truly making it your own.
4. What handmade item do you cherish the most?I am fond of the many handmade toys that were made for me when I was little. I used to be rather annoyed that I never had the store bought version of well, really anything but I appreciate it very much now. I think that the lack of toys and stimuli that I had as a child really allowed me to open my imagination and tap into my creative nature.
5. What's your secret in life? Any words to live by?
The older I get the less I really know, so really all I can say is what I tell myself: Keep creating, do what you love and everything else will fall into place. Never allow others to put you in a box nor to put yourself in one.
6. Where do you draw inspiration?
I draw inspiration from the materials themselves. They tell me what to do. I especially like experimenting with unusual materials to see how much I can manipulate them and hopefully turn them into something uniquely beautiful.
7. Where did creating start for you?
I can’t really remember a time when I wasn’t making something. From my laboriously constructed ballet shoes that I made for myself when I was 6 or my first adult level art and design class at the Schemer Art center when I was 8, or nude Life Drawing classes at 13. I can’t remember how many times my mother/grandmother were getting me into art classes for adults simply because they knew I wasn’t stimulated enough in the more “age appropriate” ones.