Thursday, April 14, 2011

Artists You Should Know - Annie Nygard

Scouring Etsy for the items I would include in my "30 Days of Play" blog project a few months ago, I searched "Star Wars" and stumbled delightfully upon Annie's shop, Spiffing Jewelry. You can imagine the shriek of pleasure I emitted. A geeky genius, a whiz with a bench block and hammer, and a balls-to-the-wall entrepreneur, it's very possible that Annie and I are fraternal twins separated at birth by the machinations of an evil galactic Emperor. Her work is smart and accessible, her energy positive, and her business sense savvy. I don't purchase jewelry from many designers, but I hit up Annie's shop if I need something unique and amazingly well-constructed. Read her cheeky interview then pop over to Spiffing Jewelry on Etsy and check out her shop!

Come in! Make yourself comfortable. What can I get you to drink?
I'd love me a long island...but it's not quite 10am. Mimosa? Easy on the OJ, please.

Tell us about yourself.
I'm a huge nerd. (Star Wars, Disney, Harry Potter, TrueBlood... and that's just to name a small few.) And I'm married to an even huge-r nerd. (a comic book reading, Star Wars figure collecting, sports-stat retaining viking, who's also an artist). We've been together since I was 15, we watched Star Wars on prom night.

What's your sign?
Oh, I'm a Virgo, of course. The personification of Type-A, I am forever making lists, thinking of things I need to do, and controlling situations. Everything I own has a very specific home, and my closet is organized by sleeve length, formality and then color. I stopped getting birthday parties when I was 9 after I made other little girls cry... I might be a little bossy.

Apart from being an artist, what do you like to do?
I'm a hardcore foodie and not the least bit humble about the things I bake and cook. I feed anyone who hovers within a 30 foot radius of my front door. I live for eating and drinking. (I'm definitely a bit of a lush...) I'm also a ridiculous girly-girl. I love shopping, shoes, handbags, makeup, and getting my hair-did. I'm the girl with the insane purple hair, wearing 6 other bright colors over a Star Wars shirt, in full makeup, grocery shopping at 9am. I'm also an aspiring romance novelist. You don't wanna know what my book is about. You'll throw up.

Share your top 3 current musical obsessions.
First and always, Jimmy Eat World. I'm not great at describing why I like music. I do, in fact, like most kinds of music. Jimmy Eat World is just amazing and wonderful in zillions of ways. If you don't believe me, listen to 'Just Watch the Fireworks' and then we'll talk. Oh, I need to name two more? I'm always listening to original movie scores, and classical. Easily I can say my favorite composer is Michael Giacchino, (Lost, Star Trek, Ratatouille, Fringe, just to name a few) music that makes you feel what you felt when watching the show or movie. I can listen to one, 4-minute track from Lost and emotionally relive the entire show. Okay, a third... Debussy. It's my quiet background jewelry-making music that lets me focus on words I'm stamping, so you don't end up with Little Mermaid lyrics on your cuff bracelet.

What are your biggest influences?
Etsy as a whole inspires me. I never would have started in stamped jewelry if I hadn't seen it on Etsy first. In fact, the whole reason I make jewelry is because I could never afford to buy it. I wanted to make stuff for me, and with the leftover supplies I thought "I should sell jewelry for other people who aren't overloaded with expendable income."
What would be the title of your autobiography? Why?
Yes, the Fat Girl Wants Dessert. I've worked crazy hard for everything I have, so I don't deny myself much. I quit my crappy day job to make jewelry full time, I'm going to have my jewelry in Nordstrom, I'm getting ready to open a B&M (brick and mortar) boutique. These things didn't just happen to me, I've worked my ass off and I deserve what I've worked for. If I want a three course meal AND dessert, goddamnit, I'm ordering dessert. Might my joie de vivre seem excessive to some? Probably. But I approach everything with a smile and my sarcasm is barely holstered if someone does try to bring me down.

What inspires you?
Creatively, I always loved words. I've been writing since I was about 8, and I enjoy being creative with words far more than any other kind of medium. I love color, but I've never been great at composition. I can't draw, or paint, outside of the abstract, and most of my beaded jewelry designs were either simple patterns or randomly assembled. With words, with stamped jewelry, I get to create with words in a way I never could before.
What does 'handmade' mean to you?
I see this come up a lot on the Etsy forums, and it's such a volatile topic, I'd almost be afraid to answer. Handmade to me, means it's made with love. You have an idea, you WANT to make something, you figure out a way to make it and you execute it well. You can tell when someone loves what they make, what they do or sell. If it's a hastily thrown together widget that someone makes because they've seen it sell well... it will leave a bad taste in your mouth, one way or another. It's the same as with food. A chocolate cake made from a great-grandmother's recipe, that the maker used to bake with her as a chiled, or created after endless research and trial and error, dozens of failed chocolate cakes in the process of creating a master recipe... these chocolate cakes will look and taste delicious. A storebought cake with extra frosting piped on top, or chocolate chips mixed in for 'creativity' will leave you feeling yucky, and probably isn't even worth the calories.

Who would win in a battle to the death: Jo from The Facts of Life or the cast of Rugrats?
Those Rugrats kids are small, but they have numbers and ignorance on their side. If Angelica tells them that Jo is the antichrist, or maybe that she killed Reptar, they'd go to town, no questions asked.

How would you describe your creative process?
Ideas for new pieces, or the proper things to stamp on them, often come out of the blue, or after a few daquiris. Or I've just watched A New Hope again and found the perfect C-3PO line for a cuff. Or my husband says something so asinine it's simply GOT to be stamped on a pendant. I have notepads and iPhone apps and Excel spreadsheets full of stamping ideas, I'm always writing something down.

Describe your umbrella.
It's teeny-tiny and black and white houndstooth and I keep it in my purse this time of year... it doesn't rain so often in San Diego. (though it sure came in handy last night!) If I lived anywhere where rain was an issue more than twice a year, I'd have a gorgeous bubble umbrella with some kind of damask pattern over clear plastic. And a big cane handle. I might be a little dramatic.
You have the opportunity to spy on any artist or designer in history - who would it be?
Kate Spade. I watched a mini-documentary on her and was fascinated. Not all of us have rich hubby's who can finance a designer startup, but to take something as simple as a nylon handbag and build an empire...and then sell it off and retire super young... just wow.

What accomplishment as an artist are you most proud of?
Quitting my day job to do this full time! I never thought it would be a reality but here I am! I quit at the spur of the moment, and I wish I had done it sooner. If I hadn't quit then, I probably would have lost my business... things were too busy to balance another full time job and I would have fucked up everywhere. I get to wake up in the morning when I want, have my coffee, answer emails and do what I love for a living. I'm the luckiest girl in the world!

How do you support local/handmade artists?
I shop on Etsy before I every buy anything online. If I can't find it on Etsy, I start to think about who I know that could make it for me, or if I could make it myself.  Aside from that, I JUST found out I'll be getting my own boutique very soon! It's going to be a handmade boutique, and I'll be selling not only my own goodies, but those of my Etsy friends and locals. I couldn't be more excited about it, and wish I had more details to share!

In five years, where would you like to be?
I want my husband to be able to quit his job too, I'd like to own a home by then, and have a kid. And I want Spiffing Jewelry to become a well-known, if not household name. I want to be in more stores, and I want my boutique to be thriving and supporting the community in a myriad of ways.

How do you take your toast?
Dark, spread with butter and schmeared with mashed avocado with a little lemon juice and salt. If I'm feeling naughty, top that with crispy crumbled bacon.

Plug your work! Don't feel bad - we're all hoors here.
Would you believe me if I say I'm bad at that? My stamped jewelry is all 100% customizable. I rock the classic cuff bracelet in aluminum, copper, brass and sterling. I have like a billion font options at this point, and I've started to venture into a new process that I call ink-enameling, which involves coloring the metal with alcohol ink and coating it in a thick lacquer for a truly unique piece of jewelry. Right now I have over 100 color options, and I'm always looking for new ways to make my stamped jewelry entirely unique from all the others you can find online. I have huge line of pendants for what I call the 'add-a-tag' necklace. A simple chain with dozens of different styles of pendants you can mix and match to your mood or outfit. And most recently, rings are the thing! I've been selling my latitude and longitude aluminum rings like hotcakes, and it's no wonder since they're customized with any location you can dream up. I still do beaded stuff here and there, and hope to have time to offer more one of a kind beaded pieces in the future. Yay for color!

1 comment:

Delicious Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Macys Printable Coupons