Sunday, 10 April 2011

Etsy Favourites of the Week

Hello again, folks!

It's now already the second week in April, and I can't seem to remember what happened to March.  I got a bit caught up in other things and managed to miss last week's Favourites post, but it should be a regular Sunday night thing from this point on. So I now present you with this week's picks for the Etsy Favourites of the Week for this, the first real week in April.

If you spend a lot of time browsing through Etsy's categories day after day for almost a year, you'll probably notice the phenomenon that most artists are aware of: there is nothing new under the sun. You'll probably see a lot of the same thing; the same flower components in the same style of lariat, the same brass components attached to a chain, the same pink roses in a watercolour painting. After a while, it becomes obvious that it's not going to be often that you're surprised.

This week, while looking through the pen and ink drawings on Etsy, I came across something that surprised me.

The Raven (Part 2) by Edgar Allan Poe - Watercolour & Ink illustration, £26 ($43.65)

ClockTowerArtwork is unique. The delightfully whimsical, often childlike abstract ink and watercolour paintings would have been enough to capture my attention, but it's the surfaces she chooses on which to paint that seals the deal.

Leo the Yellow Cat - Watercolour & Ink on Vintage Poetry Book Page, £26 ($43.65)

She matches the painting to the poem, or in many cases, the subject to the subject: a rosebush painted on a page from a vintage book of Thomas Moore's poem Tis the Last Rose of Summer, or a watercolour ink drawing of a colourful piano on a vintage music sheet. The paintings are simple and straightforward enough to allow for reading of the poem or the music, and the black ink of the vintage pages serves to heighten the interest in the paintings. She manages to create a symbiotic relationship between the two that serves to benefit the viewer most of all.

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Generally in the "Favourites" blog, I try to feature artists, either painters, potters, glass or jewelry artists, and keep the focus on their work. But the beads at Skaramouche are, in and of themselves, little works of art.

Chunky Murano Klimt Mosaico Bead, $12

Not only will you find the most amazing Venetian beads on Planet Earth at this shop, but she also offers her own handmade lampwork beads for sale, as well as her own jewelry designs.

Huge Opaque White Murano Millefiori Pendant, $45

She uses many of the beads you'll find at Skaramouche in her own work at the other two of her three Etsy shops, where she showcases these marvellous beads in her own handcrafted jewelry as well as bridal jewelry. The best thing about this jewelry, in my opinion, is that she does just that, showcasing the beads themselves rather than eclipsing them with lots of extra beads or components (a mistake I see so many jewelry artists make), keeping the designs lovely but simple so as not to detract from the exquisite detail in the beads she chooses.

Murano Claret Wedding Cake Earrings, $38

Now that the jewelry market is so completely saturated with gemstones, it's wonderful to be reminded of the beauty of glass. It is by far my favourite material to work with, and I in fact prefer it to gemstones; gems are lovely, but the versatility you get with glass, combined with the luminescence and depth of colour, is unmatched in my opinion. Shopping at this site is like looking at a candy counter, and it's very difficult to choose which of the mouthwatering confections you'd most like to use in your own creations.

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I've said it before, and I'll say it again, and probably not for the last time: I love filigree. I think I were forced to choose one component or one style to use in my jewelry, I would have to choose filigree. Of course, add a beautiful glass or gemstone cabochon to that and you've pretty much found my Achilles' heel; I'm a sucker for the combination, and there's nothing that thrills me more than seeing the two combined into an exquisite piece of jewelry.

14K Gold Opal and Diamonds Bangle Bracelet, $15,500

Hoo boy.

The art of filigree (which is actually the name of these artists' web site) is one that I always thought best left to the true craftsmen. And if there is such a thing, then Alex Maryakin and Tim Wright are It. Going by the moniker master68uk on Etsy--an apt description--these two gentlemen are master goldsmiths, both with more than 25 years of experience, and it shows in their work. It's not difficult to see how labor and time intensive their work is.

Sterling Silver Amethyst and Mother of Pearl Chalice, $4,500

As impressive as both of these pieces are, there isn't a single item in their shop that doesn't equally impress. These two are true masters who have no trouble living up to the lofty heights that their name suggests.

Well, that's it for this week...going to work on being more on the ball with this blog.  It's a bit more time and energy intensive than I originally thought it would be, but when I look at all the gorgeous work that fills the world, it inspires me to write the next one.

Until then,

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