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Artist Profile: Note-ify

July 24, 2011

Another in our series of artists profiles!  This week, Samantha Barsky

Please tell us the name of your business and what you create.

The name of my business is NOTE-IFY.  I create note cards, gift tags, and other paper products.

Where do you live?

I live in San Francisco.

Give us a little history of how you got into the business. What inspires you? Do you have a day job?

I majored in photography and graphic design, so I have always crafted and created.  I was making cards from my photographs for my family and they encouraged me to try it as a business.  I still have my graphic design business and do that as well as the note card line.

Describe your creative process when creating your product line.

I take a lot of photographs everywhere I go and then manipulate them on the computer to make them more of a graphic. I also search for vintage graphics that I can manipulate in the same style.

What is something unique or interesting about you or the process?

Since most of my cards are based off of my original photographs, each style is very unique.

What do you enjoy most about your work? The least?

I enjoy the people I have met, the friends I have made, and getting to do something creative and fun every day.  I do not enjoy bookkeeping!

What have you learned along the way?

I have learned that working for myself is not only fun, it keeps me healthy – less stress and I’m the boss!

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Artist Profile: Villain Accessories

July 18, 2011

This week, our artist profile is Villain Accessories…Don’t let the name fool you – it’s all good!

Please tell us the name of your business and what you create.

The name of my company is Villain Accessories.  I create jewelry from the heart.

Where do you live?

Pleasanton, California.

Give us a little history of how you got into the business. What inspires you? Do you have a day job?

I try to find beauty and light in that which is ostensibly dark. Embalmer and Funeral Director by day, and jewelry designer by night.  I have learned to embrace a life of seemingly disparate worlds.  However, my passion for helping people who are dealing with death lends itself directly to the creative beauty of my artwork, and the two pursuits overlap and interlace to drive one another.

Describe your creative process when creating your product line.

From an idea, an image, an inspiration, I am dedicated to my station.  Once I begin to put the pieces together, 9 hours could pass before I noticed.  There is no real awareness  of time, and I am in the zone until exhaustion or completion of the piece (or occasional blood loss)!

What is something unique or interesting about you or the process?

I am self-taught, with some more formal training last year.  But I am keenly aware of how things are put together.  I enjoy taking pieces apart in a mental deconstruction in order to reverse and teach myself the process.

What do you enjoy most about your work? The least?

I love bringing my pieces to life.  I am creating images in my mind and with a little work and a lot of attention, they become a reality.  Least of all do I like letting my pieces go since each piece takes a bit of me with them.

What have you learned along the way?

Life is precious.  We are given tiny moments to truly appreciate what we have, so we are and what we can provide for others.  If for one moment a piece of my work can make someone feel beautiful or special, I have done it right!

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Artist Profile: Margo Zucker Jewelry

July 11, 2011

Another in our series of artists profiles!  This week, Margo Zucker

Please tell us the name of your business and what you create.

My business is Margo Zucker Jewelry Design. I live and work in San Anselmo.

I design and create contemporary, elegant, and unique jewelry that is very wearable and transitions easily from day to evening. I use only the finest freshwater pearls and semiprecious stones combined with sterling silver and gold fill. I am torn equally between simple and classic design to the very ornate.

Give us a little history of how you got into the business. What inspires you? Do you have a day job?

I have always had a love of jewelry, and as I grew up I beaded and created my own necklaces and earrings. I lived very close to the ocean and would take walks to the beach often to pick up shells and sea glass. The warm sandy shore became my retreat and I would spend hours there just lying on the damp sand combing through it to find treasures to incorporate into my necklaces. Rocks and shells with natural holes in them often became the focal point in my early necklace design.

Throughout High School art became my passion. I went to college to pursue some form of art as a career receiving my Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Design. Happily, I was able to find a job at a large design/marketing firm in San Francisco named Landor. Very successful at my profession, and after a wonderful career there for twenty-one years, I decided to leave my graphics work to be closer to my two growing children.

Invited to go to a local gem show, the masses of pearls and gemstones took my breath away. I was brought back to my childhood and the hours spent at the beach. I was inspired and instantly hooked and decided my next career was to be that of a jewelry designer. From that moment on I set about to define my style and develop my craft. I took several jewelry design classes and poured over books on gemstones and freshwater pearls. I practiced my techniques and experimented with the raw materials. I found that my graphic design style and my jewelry design style were naturally very similar. I truly loved what I was doing. I worked diligently and created many signature pieces to incorporate into my portfolio.

The piles and piles of gemstones and pearls are what really inspire me. The color of one gemstone in conjunction with a different color of pearl often sparks an idea about how to use them together. Both color and texture play an important role in my design aesthetic. I love to combine rough-cut stones (for example, Pyrite nuggets) with the softness of a beautiful white pearl. This kind of juxtaposition I find interesting and unique. I am always searching for unusual or rare stones to incorporate into my designs and often use rough cut stones as a focal point in my pendants.

Tell us something unusual about your creative process.

Sometimes I even use found pieces in my work. For example, recently I used antique mother of pearl, Chinese poker chips as a pendant. Currently, I have developed a new line of earrings that uses silver-plated Victorian filigree stampings in conjunction with pearls and semi precious stones. I call it the Moroccan Collection because the filigree is reminiscent of the patterns and textures of Moroccan fretwork. Often I create pieces that are one of a kind.

What do you enjoy most about your work? The least?

I enjoy having my own business immensely, although I find the sense of isolation sometimes frustrating with no one to bounce ideas off of. I enjoy shopping at the gem shows and being able to come home, get comfortable and start creating something beautiful. I usually have so many ideas that I cannot get to all of them.

What have you learned along the way?

Through the last few years, and with the slowing of the economy, I have found the jewelry business to be very competitive. I have found that standing out in this competitive environment is a huge challenge. As a jewelry designer, my goal is to use the finest materials combined with the finest craftsmanship, develop elegant and unique pieces that are wearable, and price my work fairly. I strive to keep up with what is in fashion but I do not let fashion dictate what I create.

From the natural quality of the gemstones, to the innate beauty of the freshwater pearls, I am passionate about creating jewelry that is elegant, unique and wearable. My work continues to evolve while still keeping this philosophy. Many of my designs are one of a kind and all are created by hand in my studio in San Anselmo.

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wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.

June 17, 2011

A new baby is like the beginning of all things – wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities – Eda J. Le Shan

John and Catherine seem to have a special talent for creating wonder, hope and possibility – first with the opening of RooTs Collaborative a little more than a year ago, and this week with the birth of their first child. It is certain that the love, respect and support they’ve shown all of us as artists will be offered to their little one. From all of us here at RooTs we wish John, Catherine and Baby V, health, happiness and boundless love!  Congratulations!

John & Cat - once two, now three!

Artist Profile: Dan Warfield Photography

June 5, 2011

This week is the 1st Tuesday Artwalk in Mill Valley, and RooTs feature artist will be Dan Warfield and his amazing “Cuba” photographs – the subject of this week’s artist profile.

Please tell us the name of your business and what you create.

Dan Warfield Photography. I create journalistic and travel photography.

Where do you live?

San Francisco.

Give us a little history of how you got into the business. What inspires you? Do you have a day job?

I’ve been shooting photos since I was a kid. My father owned a photography store on the east coast and inspired me to follow that passion. I’m also inspired by some of the greats like Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank. In additon to my photography, I own and operate a small digital agency called Tango Studios ( www.tangostudios.com )

Describe your creative process when creating your product line.

I try to capture real life in my photography and show a unique side of environments and people.

What is something unique or interesting about you or the process?

I tend to shoot in a journalist/Leica style with my photography. I think it’s important to move fast but at the same time try and capture the culture of my subject matter.

I’ve been experimenting mounting my photography on wood panels with resin coating. I’m planning to introduce a more artistic range of presenting my work.

What do you enjoy most about your work? The least?

I enjoy meeting and taking portraits of people in various settings. I prefer the gritty side of life. I tend to shy away from the glossy landscapes or touristy imagey.

What have you learned along the way?

I’ve learned to just be yourself and try to gain the trust of people your shooting. It’s important to make them feel comfortable as if the camera isn’t even there.

Artist Profile: Jewelry by Irene Storch

May 30, 2011

In our continuing series of artist profiles, we feature Irene Storch and her innovative jewelry.

Please tell us the name of your business and what you create.

The name of my business is Irene Storch Designs, contemporary mixed media jewelry.

Where do you live?

I live in Berkeley.

Give us a little history of how you got into the business. What inspires you? Do you have a day job?

Making jewelry was an extension of my interest in and  practice of the visual arts, particularly painting and drawing. I’ve  made jewelry now for over 20 years.

Describe your creative process when creating your product line.

I love using  ordinary materials and recycling them into jewelry – what is now called upcycling. I’m also drawn to industrial materials and to screens in particular, which often serve as a base or starting ground for my designs. My ideas for the designs usually are dictated by the materials used, or, in other words, the materials inspire the work.

What do you enjoy most about your work? The least?

Playing around with a variety of materials, coming up with new ideas or designs is the most enjoyable aspect of the work. The least satisfying aspect of the work is when I have to repeat designs and  processes to create similar pieces that sell.

I like the contact with customers at markets or fairs  –  their  positive feedback or interest is a great motivation force. I’m  grateful to all my customers for their support.

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Artist Profile: Carol Allen Pastels

May 15, 2011

Another in our series of artists profiles!  This week, Carol Allen…

Please tell us the name of your business and what you create.

The name of my business is Carol Allen Pastels.

Where do you live?

Right here in Mill Valley!

Give us a little history of how you got into the business. What inspires you? Do you have a day job?

I used to do water colors many years ago when my children were young.  When they went off to college I worked in a pediatrics office as a Medical Assistant.  It was a very rewarding job.  Seven years ago I retired and once again felt the need to create.  This time my medium is soft pastels.  Working from dark to light is so natural for me, and so different from water colors.  The soft, sensual, translucent shapes just seem to flow from my soul to the paper.  It feels so good to work in this medium.

What is something unique or interesting about you or the process?

Yoga and meditation help me to visualize how everything in the picture frame is connected, foreground, background, and image.  One cannot exist without the others.  I render the background first and then drop my subjects into this little “nest”.  I photograph my images from many different angles, choose the best composition, and then work, when possible, from the image for color.

I try to use a palette of warm and cool red, yellow and blue and off white.  All of the colors are carefully added and blended on the paper.

What do you enjoy most about your work? The least?

Most of all I enjoy sitting at my art table and creating.  The thing I like least about my work is cutting mats and framing the pieces.

What have you learned along the way?

Along the way I have learned to be more bold with my colors and more dramatic with my compositions.

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