Thursday, March 10, 2011

jewelry from that green-haired chick

by frédérik sisa

This week I’d like to introduce you to a green-haired friend of mine, the unstoppable Laura McCutchan. Not only is she editrix of the venerable Gothic eZine Morbid Outlook, an accomplished belly dancer, and an all-around design whiz, she somehow finds the time to make wearable art too. Since few things say style like artisan jewelry – all while rebutting amok capitalism's sweatshops and worker exploitation – take a look at some of these lovely (and highly affordable) hand-made pieces:

Rose and ankh earrings made with real mini-roses lacquered especially for us in jewelry. $15

22" necklace featuring celtic twist findings, fire-polised glass beads, and lacquered mini-roses. $25

3" long, chain drape earrings with fire-polished, iridescent black beads and rhinestones. $15

What made you decide to add jewelry-making to your list of artistic accomplishments?

I was initially inspired by my friend Robyn Rosen who made chainmaille. Once I got the tools in my hands, I discovered I was fairly decent at it and one summer while I was painfully underemployed in New York, I made a load of inventory to sell on the street in Soho on the weekend. Sometimes I made a decent chunk of change, sometimes I just spent a Saturday getting freckled.

What materials and methods to you use?

I love fire-polished glass beads - they're sparkly and easier on the budget than Swarovski crystal. I am also a fan of enameled copper wire in different colours. I love dramatic colour against the skin. I'm branching into more unexpected materials, like knitted things into jewelry or miniature roses that have been lacquered.

My methods have been very trial and error, but I've gained some techniques for twisting wire over the years and various mini-tutorials from magazines and web sites.

What are your inspirations and influences?

I get inspired by various time periods and exotic places. I love jewelry that makes a statement... sometimes that can be one strong, dramatic piece, sometimes that can be overall adornment. Indian bridal jewelery is a good source, and it definitely inspires the jewelry I wear for tribal bellydance. I also am drawn to rosary beads; the Y shape and the number of beads arranged in decades is a strong design.

Do you have any plans to expand your efforts? Take over the world, perhaps?

It's tough to sell jewelery. I initially wanted to produce a lot of fun pieces, but it's hard to compete when people can buy mass produced pieces made abroad for cheap. I'd like to get more into one-offs and make bolder art pieces, but there are only so many hours in the day! I'm posting more on Etsy as I can and going to let things grow organically and slowly on the side of the ten million other things I’ve been doing.
Like what you see? It’s this way to the Craftilicious Home of that Green Haired Chick on Etsy. Many thanks to Laura for her time and use of the images!

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