I’ve met many very talented artists on etsy in the teams that I belong. I’ll be highlighting them in the coming weeks on my blog.
Wendy, of IndigoSkye, is a fellow JET team member. She says “My jewelry pieces feature genuine natural stones or handmade art glass set in sterling silver or gold fill findings. I strive for unique but simple designs that can be worn to the office or out on the town with ease. Each piece is lovingly handmade by me one at a time in my studio.”
Etsy shop name: indigoskye
Name: Wendy Van Camp
Where else can we find you and your work?: Various Conventions and
Festivals also my website http://www.indigoskye.com/
Your tuts or informational articles you would like to share:
Beadweaving Basics and Pom Pom Earrings
What are your jewelry beginnings? Where did you start and how did you
progress to work you are creating today?
My first jewelry project was making my bridal veil and matching jewelry for my bridesmaids to be used for my wedding twelve years ago. We were trying to save money since we were paying for our wedding ourselves. I found making the veil and jewelry to be very relaxing and took up beadweaving as a hobby. The next year I made a few things to sell at local craft shows and started a website.
During my second year in business I switched from strictly beadweaving to making jewelry with metals via wirewrapping since it was more profitable. I took a basic wirewrapping class at the local bead store and used simple tools from the hardware store. It was enough for me to make the leap into medium level art and craft shows and to begin building a name for myself as an artist. I was working 50% of the time as a television professional and 50% as an artisan jeweler. Jewelry sold during the off peak times of television production so the two fields combined together well. I would end up directing TV shows during the summer months and selling jewelry in the late fall and early spring.
In the sixth year of my business, the television industry started to go bust. Many of the companies that I freelanced for either went under or started to farm their TV commercials overseas. I was a producer/director without clients. However, at the same time the jewelry artisan circuit began to be more profitable for me. A friend of mine had talked me into taking advanced level jewelry making classes in order to increase my skills set. I was rewarded by an increase of sales in my booth that simply got better and better each year. I continue to take jewelry workshops as time allows and am blessed to live in an area where many of the best instructors live and teach. I’ve also been upgrading my tools and feel that I have the basics for a decent jewelry studio.
Now days, I am a full time artisan jeweler. In addition to wirewrapping, I do minor silversmithing, stamping and roller printing in my jewelry lines. I still have a few mid-level craft fairs that I attend, but mainly I sell at large festival events or conventions. I am working on getting my ETSY shop up and running. It’s been difficult due to my busy booth schedule. I simply don’t get a chance to take photos as often as I like, but I’m determined to kick start my online sales and toward this end I joined an Etsy street team called the JETS. They are a fun group of talented artisans and I’ve been learning much about online marketing from them.
What are your favorite materials?
Sterling Silver, Semi-precious stones
What inspires you?
Everything. Sometimes I’m out walking the dog in the park and the way a tree is shaped will translate into a jewelry design at a later time. Sometimes I see a color combination that I like and I remember it for later. You never know where an idea might come to you.
How do you describe your design style?
My designs are simple. I tend to go toward the “less is more” principal. I like the natural texture of the stones or the texture of wire coils or chainmaile to be the focus of the jewelry instead of it being too busy.
What artists have influenced you, and how?
Connie Fox is the biggest influence on my art. I’ve taken several workshops with her and after each one I go home full of new ideas and techniques to try. Eventually these techniques get absorbed into my own styles. Eni Oken is another influence. I met her at a jewelry class that we were both taking, she being an advanced student and I a beginner, and was astounded by the beautiful coiled jewelry she brought along with her. Later, I purchased her online tutorials and have been incorporating a few of her techniques into my jewelry lines. Finally, Don Norris is the last influential artist. I have been learning silversmithing from him via his DVD tutorials. Don’s style is worlds away from anything that I would create myself, but again, I am learning much from his techniques.
What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?
Be prepared to work hard and devote a great deal of time to your business in addition to perfecting your art. Take a business course at SCORE and make sure that you understand the tax laws and the basic concepts of running a business. Ask questions. Be patient. Stick with it! Be kind to your customers and fellow artisans. Be true to yourself and know that you are a unique and talented person who deserves to be creating as much as the next person.
How do you spend time when you are NOT creating? I love to cook and to garden. My AARS rose bushes are my pride and joy. I also grow exotic hot chile peppers. This past year I’ve taken up OAMC (author’s note: see more info about OAMC here) style cooking in order to save money on groceries and to make the domestic part of my life easier. I’ve always been fond of cooking with my crockpot, but now I’ve added a Nesco Roaster Oven to my arsenal. It leaves me more time for making jewelry or working on other projects.
Where have you been published or profiled?
Two necklaces that I worked on with groups were recently published in Belle Armoire Magazine. I’ve been profiled as an artist in Cyndi Lavin’s Jewelry & Beading Blog. I have published a few tutorials on beadweaving that are still available on the internet. One is “Beadweaving Basics” at: http://www.eebeads.com/Webzine/june/6_10_97.htm
and another is a tutorial on Pom Pom Earrings at: http://www.bead-arts.com/pompom-delica-earrings-by-wendy-van-camp/
You can view more of Wendy’s work at Indigoskye’s etsy shop
Stay tuned in upcoming weeks for more talented etsy artist profiles from my JET and ABS team members.