Saturday, December 6, 2008
I recently purchased the most incredibly unique, stunning necklace from a fellow Etsy Seller. I was so impressed with her style and how out-of-the-ordinary it was; and you can tell from my own jewelry, I like more uncommon than common; that I decided to do a spotlight on this seller and hope that this will be the first of many more spotlights to come. Below are photos of my purchase from Nubia.
Her name is Nubia Goncalves and you can see her Etsy shop here.
What I found so extraordinary about Nubia's jewelry, were the materials she uses to create her works of wearable art. Nubia is from Brazil and uses organic plant material from her native country as the focal pieces in her jewelry. I was able to interview her via email recently so I will let her explain it herself.
Where do you live?
Nubia: I live in Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in South America.
How long have you been making jewelry?
Nubia: This is quite recent. I started last year, around September or October, after I retired. My last job was with a Brazilian NGO, that is a non-governmental organization, where I worked for about 21 years. It was an amazing experience!
What materials do you use in your jewelry?
Nubia: My first jewelry was made mainly from Brazilian seeds and wood. But lately my favorites are dried organic products. I also like to mix them with gemstones or other materials to give a different touch. I also use alpaca wire,nylon coated stainless steel, leather cord and cotton and some sterling silver for earrings.
Why did you decide to use organic products in your jewelry?
Nubia: Brazil is a very warm and colorful country and especially Rio which has tropical weather, so I thought it would be nice to put these colors in my jewelry. Also using organic products helps the people who collect and sell them as they are usually from poor communities and need our support. They are also quite popular here and I thought that, especially in my international shops, it would be good to show people outside Brazil what we have here in my country.
How do you prepare these organic materials to make them into jewelry?
Nubia: I have different suppliers.The seeds or pods come from the Amazon region, the dried products come from Minas Gerais which is a state quite close to Rio; and the gemstones I get from other suppliers ready to use. I get some of the dried products in their natural color and I dye them with a mixture of alcohol and pigments. You are not to put water on them. They also come in their natural state, that is I have to drill a hole or use a special glue to fix them. That will depend on the design.
How long have you been selling on Etsy?
Nubia: I registered with Etsy in July of this year to see how it was, browse a little, and then decided to open my shop last October 16th.
Do you have other venues where you show or sell your jewelry?
Nubia: I also have a shop on a Brazilian site called Elo7 and the European DaWanda. I have a blog and a page on Flickr. I have had Open Houses in the past and mouth to mouth advertising has been the greatest among friends.
In additions to your jewelry,what are your other interests or crafts?
Nubia: I also paint. I had painting lessons in The School of Visual Arts of Parque Lage, in Rio. This is a very good and popular school of arts in Rio. I use acrylics on canvas and paper and also love monotype and etching. I am an art lover! Apart from my art I am an Interpreter and Translator. All of these keep me quite busy!
What are your hopes for the future of your jewelry business?
Nubia: I am thinking about starting silversmithing, jewelry design and expand to other materials such as resin or clay. Those would go very nicely with the seeds and dried products I use. I will also continue with my shops and hope to improve them as much as I can. What started as a hobby is really becoming a business although I hadn't planned it to be like that. I am quite happy how things are going!
Here is a small sampling of some of Nubia's jewelry pieces and the organic materials she uses:
Nubia, I am sure you will have much success, you are a very talented woman.