My latest interview is with the incredibly talented Amanda of Gimme that Thing, also known on the forums as Chicita. Here goes;-
Tell us a bit about yourself:-
I'm Amanda Robins (aka Chicita on the crafting forums). I live in Manchester with my crafting 12 year old daughter, 2 cats called Zebra and Dolphin, 4 hens called Jet, Opal, Beryl and Doris, a cheeky gerbil and a temperamental (or just plain mental) horse named Sid the Sod. I'm a writer during the day, working from home, and my spare time is spent designing and making beaded jewellery and hand built utility ceramics. I'm a knitaholic, and usually have a difficult project and an easy one on the go at one time, so as not to get bored with the repetition of the same stitch and colour.
When did you first start crafting?
As a child I was always knitting, making papier mache plates and sewing my own funky clothes. I'm a child of the 60s so there were a lot of flared floral trousers being created. I recently got back in touch with an old school friend after 35 years, and when I told her what I was making these days she reminded me that I used to make and sell wooden Disney character brooches to the girls at school as well as fat candles that I produced in my mum's best saucepans!
Would you describe this as your work or your passion?
This is definitely my passion. A few years ago I ran my own hand knitwear business and had a team of knitters working with me, so I know from experience how hard it is to make a living out of handmade items.
What inspires you?
I'm a real water baby and used to scuba dive before I became a mum. I still snorkel but only if the sea is warm, and love looking at the amazing colours of the marine life. So I have to say that the sea and general coastline and all the beautiful things that get washed up on the beach are my main influences in relation to shapes and colour combinations.
Tell us about your favourite creation – do you have a picture?
I like my ceramic jewellery as it's all come from me. My favourite pieces right now are the Dot to Dot Moss Ceramic Brooch and matching Oh! Earrings. I love the colours and textures created by just 2 glazes.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
I teach myself new skills. Today I learnt how to make wire wrapped rings, and can't get enough of this simple technique. I also find motivation by ordering beads that I've not used before and just by trial and error I combine them with other beads to create interesting designs.
Do you attend craft fairs etc. or do you sell purely on-line?
I started doing craft fairs locally last year and did some absolutely brilliant ones. I also did some truly dreadful fairs, so this year I'm able to choose the best ones to attend. I also don't need to spend time hunting for events as I'm now on mailing lists.
Where do you do your work?
Jewellery is usually made on my bed. It's a great place to work as I can spread beads out and see what goes with what. There's usually at least one cat ready to cause disruption, attack jewellery wire or just try to squeeze onto my lap. I use the kitchen for playing with clay and my kiln is in the spare bedroom, which I laughingly refer to as the studio!
Do you have a favourite medium to work with?
I love freshwater pearls and have recently found a good supplier that sells wonderful colours. I'm also really keen on using clay to make pieces for earrings, rings and brooches. I'm experimenting with bronze clay and copper clay at the moment. This is a fabulous medium to work with, especially if you have pottery skills and a kiln.
What are you working on right now?
This morning I've been making wire wrapped rings. This afternoon I intend to teach myself how to make wire wrapped bracelets and this evening I'm starting a new knitted wire choker.
Where can we see your creations?
I have a small proportion of my creations in my Folksy and Zibbet shops. I also feature some items on my blog. Most of my items are sold at craft fairs, but I've just started selling jewellery in Voodooville, my friend's shop in Afflecks Palace in the centre of Manchester. Unfortunately for me, it's right next to a bead shop so all my earnings get spent straight away!
Do you have your own website/blog?
You can purchase my items on Folksy and Zibbet. I blog 2 or 3 times a week.
Thanks Amanda - I love your jewellery.
Next interview will be in a weeks time, and will feature Susie from Lynwood Jewellery
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