Samantha Barnett Evans, metalsmith artist, makes jewelry fashioned from enamel, stone, beads and various treasures, bound together by silver, copper, brass and gold.
Since I was a child, Ive always been into art. I can always find myself there. Growing up, I spent summers with my family at Topsail Island and I started making string and hemp bracelets. By the end of the summer, Id made special beads for everyone. At East Carolina University, I took various art classes and while I found painting relaxing, I was always thinking about metals in class.
Everything has to be hand-cut and cleaned with chemicals and brushes. I work with silver, copper and brass, and I just started working with gold, but enamel is my favorite. I have all my colors here in my studio, and look, she says, pointing to a very important corner of the studio, I get to use this cool kiln, too.
Im a hands-on learner and teach myself things every day. Im not a color-inside-the-lines person. You can under fire, or over fire and always get a different look. Theres a million things you can do with one pattern. One piece can really feed into making a hundred other things. When I get to the last finishing moment of a piece, its the best. I feel so proud that I did it!
Gather a bunch of scrap copper, grab a torch, heat it up, see how it morphs. ... Its a good way to check it out, to see if you want to buy a hammer, deal with fire, buy a tiny saw and get the worst paper cut ever, Evans says with a laugh. Then buy a spool of wire, flatten the round part, take some pliers and coil it up and there: youve just made your first piece.
Sarah James, glass and bead artist, maker of ocean-themed jewelry. The color, texture and inspiration stem from a creative connection to the surroundingwaterways.
I just like to make stuff, says James with a smile. Ive been making glass beads and working in glass for over 20 years. I took a glass class out of college and I started fusing things and using a torch. I really like making small things. Its like a miniature sculpture, and its fun to wear.
I make them with my colored glass rods, a torch and a narrow, super-hot flame. I melt the glass around a stud, put them in a kiln. Ive started to use metal craft, as well. I took a metal class downtown and a week-long class at the renowned Penland, and Ive realized I like hammering. All you need is time, and youre only limited by your imagination.
I incorporate all my own findings, charms and trinkets, to go with my glass, and I combine what I call my ocean elements. All my work is water-related to reflect the colors and shine of the ocean. Being at the beach, in the water thats where I get my ideas for color combos and shapes. This is a sterling silver oyster, with brass and glass for the pearl and the shell. From sea urchins to anemones, really, everything looks like its dripping out of the ocean, she says.
To see if its for you, Id truly recommend taking a class to learn about the tools. From rubbing sterling silver with sandpaper, to the oxygen propane torch, to hammering, there are so many different things you can do with a hammer. You can learn to cut and grind and shape, use a saw, melt glass its fun.
Sarah James Jewelry is sold at Spectrum Art and Jewelry.
Katie Parker, origami artist, makes mobiles, frames, ornaments and multi-colored, multi-purpose paper flowers.
I have a masters in special education and teach adults with disabilities at Cape Fear Community College but Ive always done ceramics or scrapbooking. And origami is my favorite. I just love the origami paper the feel, the smell, the look of the origami paper from dragonflies to butterflies, its all different. And I love being able to change something into something else, with one little fold.
I started with frames, cut the pieces of origami paper and put them onto puzzle pieces around the frame, but once I discovered the origami flowers that was it. I love them, Parker says. Etsy is my global marketplace, but this is my studio, she explains, gesturing to the surrounding wares. There are long-stemmed flowers for a vase, flowers adorning picture frames like brooches, and long, fluttery mobiles with pink, purple and green flowers stretching toward the floor.
You can put the flowers anywhere, in windows, cans, rear-view mirrors, use them as ornaments. And on clocks! She gestures towards a rainbow-colored timepiece, with flowers for numbers.
Try a paper airplane mobile at home. I made one for my sons room. Get a dollar frame, pick up some paper you love, punch it, tear it, cut it into shapes a circle, a square, whatever glue it all together with Elmers glue, and there you have it.
Katiemade Crafts are found online at
Colleen Gardner and Alyson McFarlane, woodworking artist and graphic designer, are co-owners of The Project Cottage where they craft surfboards, prints and a variety of hand-cut, originally designed wall dcor.
I worked in restaurants for 16 years, Gardner says, and I was commissioned to redecorate some of the establishments. I basically turned a rustic log-cabin themed place into a surf shack. Soon, I got restless at the restaurants and realized, I want to do this, instead; my husband showed me how to cut the wood, fashion the surfboards. I started using the saw, and a drill and adding boat cleats for coat hangers, which has sort of become our trademark. Really, I couldnt find the designs I wanted, so I started making my own.
Best friend and next-door neighbor Alyson McFarlane came on-board as part-time graphic designer for business cards and materials but eventually, her talents expanded into original Project Cottage print designs, and the two became full-time co-creators.
The best thing is that were best friends and our kids get along, our husbands get along. Weve recently started kayaking to Masonboro Island before we get started, and then, well have our creative meetings on the beach, Gardner says. Its been a huge addition to our workday.
And we both listen to old-school hip-hop, McFarlane adds. So, really, we couldnt work with anyone but eachother.
Currently, The Project Cottage factory is housed in Gardners garage. While the two will keep the home retail business downstairs, with growing demand for their product, theyll be licensing their designs, and searching for a wholesaler to manufacture the goods on a larger, more global scale:
Theres only so much we can pump out of the garage, McFarlane says.
Check out our popular do-it-yourself frames, Gardner says. We provide the hand-cut plank frames and the wood mats; you paint it yourself and pick your hardware: cleats, starfish and the hooks. Then take out the screws, paint the frame and the mats, pick one of our print designs or add a photo and all the hanging hardware is already on theback.