Aug 25, 2015

Soul Craft: Once Again Sam

I have a horrible green thumb. I warned my co-worker multiple times before I came to work one day to find a small pot of lemon-balm on my desk. "You can't possibly screw this up," she said, but I said a prayer for my green, leafy friend anyway. 

Taking care of plants is a reflection of how we should take care of the rest of our lives. It's a process and there's a struggle in every handful of soil. No slight of hand can make my green beans grow any faster. I devoted a portion of my time to it everyday. 

There's something to be said for working with your hands especially in a such an automatic culture of today. 

Sam, from Once Again Sam, creates stunning jewelry by pushing the boundaries of traditional materials and creating stunning up-cycled jewelry using paint, wood, and leather. She's graciously provided a peek behind the curtain into her world and how she works with her hands to give people around the world a small piece of her heart. 


Interview with Sarah Mandell: 

How did you begin creating jewelry using natural materials?

I started working with leather because it's a material that doesn't require any sewing, or specialty tools. I was able to cut it with scissors, and it was really straight forward to work with. It's also very easy to get material-I found places where I could buy upholstery scraps by the pound, and I also discovered I could cut up  thrift store clothing and get a lot of material that way. I began working with wood more recently, in the last 2 or 3 years. My husband does some wood working, and I have enjoyed learning this new medium with his guidance. 

What types of wood and tools do you use in your process? 

I use a combination of basic hand tools and high tech equipment. My workshop and studio include all the basic woodworking stuff like drills,  saws, files, sanders, etc. but we also have a 90 watt laser cutter, which is used to make intricate cutouts and engravings. Recently, I learned wood turning, so we invested in a lathe, so that's been fun to learn. 




What inspires your designs?  How do you decide which symbols to engrave? 

Just about everything inspires me. I love nature,  geometry,  textile patterns, travel...you name it! I choose images to incorporate into my "Curious Cameo' collection because they're interesting to me, and I feel they may represent someone. THere's truly something for everyone within this collection. I personally were the bee, bunny, and Edgar Allen Poe, and a few of the geometric patterns, because those, for some reason or another, speak to me and represent something about me. 

Who do you idolize as material artists? Would there be anyone with whom you would love to start a collaboration? 

I've had the honor of collaborating with lots of other artists over the years, but right now I'm actually wanting to collaborate more with my husband Josh. I think his wood working and my jewelry & fiber art go together well. We already share ideas now, and help each other all the time, but I want to collaborate more, because we're better together. 



Do you think you will ever incorporate different materials aside from wood and metal? 

I'm always looking to incorporate new materials into my work,  and this summer I spent a week learning to work with copper(forging, enabling, press, etc. ) so that is something I'd like to continue in the future. I also have an interest in learning to weave, carve, cast, and about 1,000 other things! 

What was your first piece and have you kept it or did you give it away? 

My first few pieces of jewelry were ones I actually made for myself, and I still have those somewhere. Once I opened up an Easy shop, and starting doing this as a business. I got better about thinking about these jewelry pieces as an inventory, so I was able to part with them. Once in a while, I still hang onto a piece here and there, but for most part I sell everything online or at craft shows. 



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