I am largely self-taught in the arts. I come from a background of science and healthcare but have always had a keen interest in the arts. My interest in jewelry has been longstanding and my education varied. I have always been one to seek out knowledge in every nook and cranny that I can and this is what I have done to further my education in the art of jewelry.
I have a very eclectic personality and truly enjoy challenging myself and seeking knowledge. My professional career for the last 20 years has been in medical speech pathology primarily in hospital setting. My interests outside of work include traveling, rowing, running, biking, xc skiing, attending lectures and art shows. I’m also quite a foodie and love to cook. I told you I was eclectic! A shorter answer would have been what do I not like to do!
My creativity comes from somewhere deep in my soul I am certain. No one else in my family really “creates” but my brother was a budding artist in his late teens and early 20’s. I think for me, a part of my need to create comes from the challenge. I have always been driven to achieve something, such as creating a new design, to gain the knowledge and conquer the challenge. The challenge of getting something from my head to a piece of wearable art… fascinating.
“What got me into actually selling my work?” I would be out and about, literally, anywhere (the grocery, work, dining out), wearing one of my necklaces, earrings, or rings and inevitably more than one person would comment on how unique it was and ask where I had purchased it from. What followed was something like this…. “you made it? Are you selling your work anywhere?” Me: “No, I just make it for myself” Admirer: “Oh, no, you should really be selling it!”… and Aviron Jewelry was born about 2 years ago. I chose the name Aviron because it means, “rowing or oar” in French which is my second biggest passion next to jewelry design, rowing!
My creative process….It’s really an iterative process. I am really a self-taught jewelry designer and very instinctual with my designs. I have been drawn to jewelry ever since I was a young child at my great grandmothers house, rooting around her drawers of jewelry from Bohemia, her native country. I am a gypsy at heart.
I always think that I should be one of those artists’s who sketches out designs as I’m sitting by the fire or enjoying a day at the beach but it just doesn’t happen that way for me. I go down into my studio, I start with either copper, silver, brass or stones and it just happens. My pieces are very earthy and raw, so glittery and perfectly shaped does not typically come out of my studio. My dog Jackson usually accompanies me as well, which makes my studio space very homey. Some music, the dog and sunshine make for a creative day.
It is extremely hard for me to pick my favorite item. It seems like the latest design is always my favorite! I tend to make each piece slightly different than the next, which means each item is really one of a kind. I’m easily bored and crave new and different.
My goal with Aviron Jewelry is to inspire and create pieces that people love to wear. In the process of doing that I would love to eventually have my designs in small, independent boutiques all over the country and the world some day. Aviron jewelry is new endeavor for me over the last 2 years but my interest in jewelry and dabbling in creating has been a lifetime interest.
Meet Nicole Bloch from Erra Creations...
It all re-started from a few funky antique shop finds that re-sparked Nicole Y. Bloch’s love of visual art. Growing up in an artistic family was a huge inspiration for creativity from the beginning. Bloch's family owned an art and craft store in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. Fittingly, her father was a master framer, her grandmother was a nationally known decoupage artist, and her grandfather was a high school art teacher and amateur architect. Bloch pursued schooling as a classical flutist, and for a while her passion for visual art was set aside. Today, both audio and visual art are share the spotlight in her life. Erra Creations was born with the belief that almost anything that might ordinarily be discarded could be transformed into beautiful and wearable works of art. Everything from used bicycle parts to broken vintage jewelry to machine shop scraps is given new life as fun and funky household accessories and jewelry.
A personal insight:
I love to keep busy with good things: Destructing and reconstructing!
I get my creativity from my father and his family. Architects, visual art, and my family owned an art and craft supply store- so that helped a bunch!
I presume that fate got me into my business craft. I grew up with it. But as an adult, it was a mixture of thrifting and antiquing, a friend pushing me to open a vintage storefront, and my best friend moving to Vermont- purging his old bicycle components.
How I officially got started.. I made a bet with a friend, who makes beautiful, wire wrapped gold and gemstone jewelry, to open an Etsy shop. She was in a creative slump and I thought if opening a shop could help her out of it- yea! We were going to each list 20 things by Labor Day (it was Memorial Day) and have a girl’s night out on the town with our earnings. Alas, she never opened a shop, but I did!!!
My favorite items- well, that would be a triple tie between my bicycle chain and soda can tea light holders, vintage papered light switch plates, and the original Bicycle Gear Necklace. I guess my favorite would be my gear necklaces!
In five years from now, I would love to do everything I am now - I actually like my accounting job too. However if I could do part time "real job" and full time Erra Creations, that would be good for me.
My advice for those looking to start a business, take it slow. It is really exciting and lots of work. The worst thing you can do is get overwhelmed.
My newest projects… I've been having a lot of fun with custom orders lately. Half of them using parts I already have in my workshop, the other half I have been using customer's prized bicycle parts from the loved bike and making whole collections for them: clocks, trivets, coasters, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings, cuff links, frames, etc etc... It's a fantastic way for any enthusiast to keep their memories of great rides and be green at the same time.
Meet Shannon Dennis from The Nina Line...
I'm now a work at home mom after over 5 years of traveling for the sewing industry teaching sewing around the country. I've written and had published three books on sewing including:
Make It You: Sew Hip
Make It You: Your Space
The Basics and Beyond: Sewing Home Decor.
I currently write regularly for some very fun sewing publications like Sew News, Creative Machine Embroidery and Sew It All. Since my son was born in 2010, I've had the amazing opportunity to stay home with him and continue my creative career with Nina, my own company. While I make things to sell I also enjoy sharing my passion for sewing by helping others learn "how-to" DIY!
Where I get my creativity.. I got my skills from my mom and I think my creativity too. She was always a pattern and directions sewer, but when I started showing signs of cutting out my own designs and changing patterns around. she always encouraged me. She never made me feel bad if it didn't work out the way I thought it would. I think sometimes my creativity comes out of necessity too. I have to make a living at what I do now so sometimes you just have to buckle down (mostly during that wonderful two hour nap time!) and create!
I got into my craft through my mom. It was part of our homeschooling curriculum to learn basic sewing skills. She was always amazing about crafting for other people, making handmade cards for birthdays, it was just in our blood as a family!
My creative process is through visual inspiration. This can come from anywhere. Then finding the fabrics to create and making it happen. Sometimes this takes trial and error, but I also set up an inspiration board for bigger projects so they don't get too far away from my original intent. This allows me to take out some of the possibility of error.
Some of my favorite items... A custom made toddler quilt and a bib necklace. Totally fun to make and working with my client on the quilt made her feel like part of the creation for her daughter even though she doesn't sew!
My goals.. I'm about to launch a new website for my business www.theninaline.com and it includes a shop! I'm hoping this will be profitable and allow me to make more the how-to videos people have come to love. I hope that 5 years from now I can be teaching sewing again on a regular basis and creating more one-of-a-kind items that people will love!
Check out these featured vendors at the 2012 Spring Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show. This eclectic show will feature over 135 of the most talented artisans and crafters. A portion of the show's proceeds will be donated to Project Night Night, an organization that provide care packages and support for children during times of home displacement.
2012 Spring Avant-Garde Art & Craft Show
Sunday, April 29, 2012, 10:00am-5:00pm
Wagner's Country Inn
30855 Center Ridge Rd.
Westlake, OH 44145