Friday, August 19, 2011

Interview with Lydia of RocksandLydiaAnn (beadwork)

As promised I am able to share today some information from a friend of mine who makes jewelry.  She and I both belong to the Elmhurst Etsy Team which is a local Illinois group of crafters who have stores on  Her name is Lydia Slockyj and her shop is called RocksandLydiaAnn.  I thought the name was clever and asked her how she chose it.  I was intrigued to learn that she has a special affinity for rocks.  “I love the beauty of rocks.  There are so many different rocks and each one different, some are bought and some are found each with special meanings behind them.”  

Lydia does with wire things I can only hope to learn someday.  It is called wire wrapping where you bend wire into forms and shapes and in some cases wrap it around the item.  In Lydia’s case it is her rocks.  She describes it better than I can: “I find it to be a challenge to make each piece because each is so unique.  I don't use patterns when I make a piece it is something I've been thinking about for awhile and then I ponder how I can create it.  I am not formally trained, I didn't have the opportunity to go to school and learn lapidary or silver smithing, so sometimes I make a piece and I don't like the way it came out and I chuck it and start all over. However, the process gives me a sense of fulfillment, it gives me tranquility. ”  

                                                           Winter Wind

I asked her to describe what she liked best about this medium because it is obvious in her pieces that she sees in mere stones incredible attributes which she highlights with her wire creations. 

“The rocks are a medium all in itself, the polished rocks are beautiful, the color is brought out along with some of the detail.  Something about raw rocks in there original form though is exquisite to me.  With a raw rock, you see where it's been, you see nicks and cracks, and memories.”

So curious was I that I had her tell me how she creates her items.  “I think it's the possibilities of it.  You start with something basic, something raw and from there you end up with utter beauty.  You bend the wire, you hammer the wire, you twist, and turn the wire.  You can even solder it (although I have not done that yet).”

                              Here is her favorite work, a wire wrapped donut rock.   

“My sister loved it, and when my family really love's one of my pieces I give it to them.  It was a gift for her, she has been one of my rocks my entire life and I owe her more than I can ever repay.  My family has been a great support both with encouragement to continue with my jewelry journey as well as with everything else that comes with life.”

Although it is difficult to imagine it, she has not been working in this medium for very long.  She started working with beads stringing bracelets and necklaces.  After finding herself leaning towards the natural colored beads with the markings, it was a small step to considering ways to incorporate some of the rocks my family and I have collected over the years into pieces of art.  Lydia went on to explain, “I wanted to be able to do more and thought why couldn't I find a way to So I originally just practiced with what I had at home, pieces of electrical wire and just some rocks I picked up from the yard.  I found that with patients, a lot of patients I could make some really stunning pieces of jewelry.”

I look at my attempts to make wire decorated pieces which come out looking nothing like what I crafted in my head and realized I needed to know what she found to be the hardest thing to do.  To my surprise it was not the jewelry at all but rather the business end of things that gave her the most trouble.

I can sympathize with that.  Like me she works a full-time office job and has to squeeze time in for her craft around that schedule.  I think also she may still be shy about self-promoting.  I used to feel that way --wanting to let my herb products speak for themselves, but they do not.  I have to shout their amazing flavors and versatility from the roof-tops because of the competition.  But if her creative nature, which she says is the easiest part for her, has its way she will soon be showing off too because her amazing work and talent can only improve with time.

I am so sure of that I want you to take a look at her pieces and let us know what you think.  She has a nicely filled Etsy shopYou can also find her on Facebook and Twitter

My final question to Lydia was: Are you experimenting with something new?  She answered: “I am always trying new things, right now I'm trying to learn how to peyote stitch, which to me is very difficult.  I love the way it looks and if I can get it down and incorporate some beautiful rocks I think it will be breathtaking!”  So do I!

I have another beading friend who can weave beads like nobody’s business.  I will share her items with you soon.

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