Barbe St. John and Craft Gossipcomments (2) September 25th, 2008
Barbe St. John covers jewelry and beading for the craft blog network site Craft Gossip -- everything from edgy leather cuffs to elaborately beaded fancies. I recently caught up with her to ask about some of her favorites among the super cool things she's spotlighted and found out more about her own inspiring work, too!
How did you get started designing jewelry?
I have a very crafty mom, and we were always making stuff as kids so jewelrymaking started as a hobby for me. Since funds were often tight, we didn't buy a lot of supplies but instead did a lot of recycling/ reusing whatever we had. Restringing Great Gramma's broken jet beads and other broken jewelry into new necklaces and bracelets was a favorite pastime. In college, my New Wave/Punk look had me repurposing keys and washers into earrings, cut up belts as chokers and vintage fabric wrist cuffs decorated with safety pins & vintage rhinestone pins, etc.
I went on to learn bead working, silversmithing, and resin work through various classes and being self-taught. I've now merged all my past jewelry-crafting history into what I do now - making more narrative jewelry from found objects, vintage items and new supplies. [note from Susan: I love the term narrative jewelry, very cool description and details!]
What are your favorite materials to work with?
Oh, that’s a tough one because I love so many things and love to find ways to incorporate unusual materials it into a design. I am drawn to copper metal, resin, vintage costume jewelry, scraps of vintage fabric, old maps and antique handwritten letters. I love taking little bits of this and that, mixing them together so they have a whole new story.
Tell us about your Craft Gossip column and writing for the site.
CraftGossip is all the latest craft news covering a range of topics such as crochet, bath & body, recycled crafts and a lot more. I've been the jewelrymaking editor at CraftGossip since July 2007 and it's been great! I really like finding all kinds of craft ideas, projects, books and supplies to review or talk about. I try to keep the site varied by having book reviews, info about classes, events, tool talk, tutorials, supplies and artist interviews. Occasionally I will showcase a jewelry artist whose work I find really appealing as well. I try to keep my blog fun & educational rather than just eye candy. I want people to create and try the tutorials or get inspired by the artist interviews.
Some of my favorite entries include:
-My interview with Carter Seibels
-Camille Young's Polymer Clay barbed wire tutorial
-Wirework Tutorials from Studio Heath
-Felted Jewelry kits from Gail Crosman Moore