Wednesday, August 3, 2011

G2G Jewelry

G2G model April wearing the Large Dual Ring earrings and the 3 Ring necklace.

G2G Jewelry, what is it?  What does it mean?  Well I am going to answer those questions and hopefully any other questions you have about it.  G2G Jewelry is a eco smart and fashion forward jewelry line from Ostlund Custom Works.  The base of each piece is made from scrap metal I source from machine shops and scrap yards.  The majority of it is high grade aluminum alloys used by PHDinc for making industrial air cylinders.  Some of the scrap I buy from them actually was an air cylinder at one point but most is new material cut offs or rejects.  This is metal that would go to metal recyclers for processing into "new metal" again.  I take some of this material and turn it into art and fashion accessories like the earrings and necklace pictured above on April. 

"Is it heavy?"  I get asked this question a lot, and I mean a lot! I get asked by almost by everyone despite having made efforts to tell people its light.  This jewelry is very light, much lighter than you would expect.  So light in fact that once I have told you its light and you pick up a piece you will comment "wow this is really light"  I have been told by many women who have wore my earrings that "They are so light it feels like I am not wearing anything!" 

"How do you make it?"  Well I take this scrap aluminum tubing and cut it into rings which I then finish with a file, and that's the base of each piece.  It has distinctive file marks nicks and scratches on the "raw" cut edge.  This is my style of not over processing my work.  I then add the jewelry hardware (beads, chain, cord, ear wires, clasps) and build it into a very versatile piece of jewelry.

Scrap bin at PHDinc

Dual Ring earrings
"What does it mean?"  G2G stands for Gothic to Glamorous.  It's my motto that "From Gothic to Glamorous its all Beautiful"  Meaning I believe that my line of jewelry looks great on any style and any woman.  I have been working hard at getting pieces modeled with different styles and different woman to show just how versatile it is.  Below you will see these beautiful ladies wearing the same jewelry but shown with polar opposite styles!  From glam and pretty, to hard and goth its just amazing its even the same piece! So if you are looking for wonderful handmade jewelry that is unique, wearable and just YOU,  look no further! G2G Jewelry is every woman! 

G2G Jewelry model Tawny wearing the Large Dual Ring earrings.

G2G Jewelry model Jacqueline wearing the Large Dual Ring earrings.
G2G Jewelry model Chantel wearing the Large Dual Ring necklace.
Jacqueline wearing the Large Dual Ring necklace.
Gothic Choker
Simple oval hoops

Please take a look at my website to see more of my work.  To see what is available for sale online now look at my Etsy shop. If  you want to see what some of my scrap metal was, or was going to be take a look at PHDinc  If you have questions about my jewelry line leave a comment or email me through the contact me form on my website.  Thank you for reading!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Little Mr Liam

Daddy and Liam

Ready for summer

So here we are almost 5 months down the road and this little guy is really growing!  People always said time would fly when you have a kid but now I believe it!  Its been a time warp since he was born.  Everyday is getting more interesting as he develops and learns.  Its so fun to watch him rolling around on the floor and playing with toys while "talking" up a storm.  He is such a happy baby and always wakes up with a smile and goes to bed without fuss.  He is sleeping all night and has so much energy in the day its a bit tiring at times!  He just had his 4 month check up (a bit late) a few days ago and got his shots so he has not been feeling very well.  But I have to tell you the guy is tough! (just like dad)  He really didn't get very sick and still has always had a smile for Mama and I.  He was pretty much himself last night playing and carrying on like usual till he gets tired and ready for a bath and bedtime.  Oh and Liam loves his baths!  I see many a wet floor in my future as he gets bigger because he can already splash water out of the tub!  He will get to thrashing and laughing and I end up almost as wet as he is! 

Did I mention he sleeps? Well he sure does,  not only did he pick his own bedtime (at 9) all by himself  but he goes to bed without a fuss.  Just lay him in his crib and its lights out till morning!  I hear we got really lucky so I wont question that and just be happy.  He really is a wonderful son and just a perfect little person.  Well I just wanted to give an update and share some pictures with all of you!  Now its time for work, if you have time leave some comments below I love reading them and I respond to them all!      
Ahhh this is the life
All smiles!
Talking away

"I am so damn cute  you cant help but smile at me"

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Rock Star of Jewelry

I first met Victoria on Twitter and little did I know she was a true rock star of jewelry!  Not only are her designs worn by top celebrity's but she teaches people how to make it as well.  She takes metal and makes it glamorous, pieces that grab you and make you stare!  I decided this was someone I wanted to get to know as I am delving into jewelry myself.  I wanted to pick the brain of the best! So here is my interview with the one and only Victoria Tillotson.

Give us a bit of history on yourself.  My background is firmly rooted in liberal arts academia, but I've collected jewelry my entire life starting with rhinestones and 1950s kitsch in the 1980s and moving through ethnic jewelry and finally modernism.  I made kooki jewelry in high school with blue electrical wire, those bubbles with toys in them from a gumball machine, and vintage beads.  People liked it!  Why it didn't dawn on me then to go to design school I don't know, but i didn't.  In 2007 I bailed out of my doctoral program in Comparative Literature and moved to NYC with my husband, where I had started taking jewelry classes in 1998.  I did finish my Ph.D. but realized my passion was no longer there.  I began assisting another professor at SVA (School of Visual Arts) One thing led to another and in 2002 I was offered a position at School of Visual Arts, where I have taught ever since. 
My main inspiration is sterling silver modernist jewelry of the 1950s-1970s, and within that Israeli modernism in particular.  I love bold striking forms that make you look!

When it comes to your work you combine a few of my favorite things, art, true craftsmanship, and function.  What is your process from concept to reality?  Since I don't have formal art training and don't draw (although perhaps I should not admit to this!!) I get flashes of images in my head and then write them down.  Designing anything is a dynamic process as you know, and the object will take various permutations along the way.  You kind of have to just let the piece take the lead.  I may make a piece in copper or brass at first. 

Designing commercial work - meaning pieces to sell to mass market- and designing "art" pieces have two different processes: for commercial stuff, production ease and adhering to a price point are key and I design with them in mind.  For the arty pieces it's more about vision and precision.  The eye can see to 100th of a millimeter and it's hard to hide mistakes when you're making geometric shapes.  It's easy to bury mistakes in the kind of jewelry people dub "organic," - and I get mad at my students when they try to get away with this!  My one-offs tend to be very architectural, they need to be perfect and that takes time.

In the world of jewelry and fashion the styles change almost daily, how do you keep things fresh and interesting?  I don't worry about it. I make what I like and if I like it, someone else always does too.

You are a professor of jewelry making at School of Visual Arts in New York City, give us a sense of the core base of learning and skills you teach.  Also what is your goal as a teacher of your craft and what do you instill in your students?  My beginners learn basic jewelry making skills including sawing, forming, soldering, polishing and stone setting.  I start with making a sterling ring of their own design set with a round or oval cabochon.  This teaches a lot of critical techniques in one project, and they have something to show for it.  I always tell people:  "I'm going to teach you the right way to do it, and then after that you can do what you want."  Yes, I want perfection.  Am I going to get it 100%? No.  I mainly want people to make jewelry that expresses themselves and have fun doing it.

My advanced students do more, well, advanced techniques like hollow construction, boxes/hinges, settings for faceted stones, gypsy or flush settings, chain making, etc.  They design and create their own projects.  I work on techniques one on one, but its more of a studio class.

I look at your "laundry list" of accomplishments with awe and to me you are at the pinnacle of success.  Is there one metric by which you judge your success?  This is challenging to answer and my fumblings that follow will illustrate it!  For me like many people, it's tough not to fall into the trap of feeling that money=success.  For artists like ourselves, this is a particularly perilous way of thinking that must be avoided.  Instead I think:  what about my career do I like and what is fun?  I like writing books, I like getting press and being in books,  I like being on TV and opining about jewelry, I like teaching.  So since these are the things I do and the things I like, I guess-guess?! - I'm successful.  But the naked truth is that I am never satisfied with what I am doing or have done.  It's just how it is.  I think i could be the jewelry version of Oprah and still not feel successful!  So the answer is... there is no answer.

What are you striving for at the moment and what are your future goals?  I want to learn some new techniques.  After all the more public ventures I just spoke about this must sound weird.  But one thing I constantly battle with as a self-taught jeweler is the feeling that I'm inferior to those who went to, say, RISD or Pforzheim.  I can teach anything; but I always want to be able to do everything.  I don't like the "those who can, do; those who can't, teach" mentality that so many people unwittingly cling to.  Otherwise, I am also involved in another book project way out of the realm of jewelry.  More on that later!

Now to go off topic and away from jewelry, in an effort to see more who "YOU" are as a person tell us who "YOU" are!  I'm 43, married and have a six-year-old son named Rijk.  I was born and raised in RI and say it like Rhode Islanders do: "road-Eyelan."  I went to Moses Brown School and  tried as hard as I could to break the mold of the prep school student.  Just to prove I was 100% weird, I chose Hampshire College.  I love mid-century modern design, particularly Paulin and Jacobson;  I have a weakness for Louis Vuitton; a favorite dinner is nachos and a margarita followed by pink cake from Amy's Bread in Manhattan; I will never say no to a jellybean; I almost exclusively listen to punk, old and new.  My favorite bands are New Bomb Turks and  Distillers plus lots of the archaic hardcore from the 1980s; favorite colors are orange and purple; I have a 1981 BMW R65 but it doesn't go;  my favorite plants are cacti; when i feel truly unhinged, I get my ears stretched.  Somehow this sort of lunacy grounds me.  I will end up with 1" plugs when I'm in my 50s, and it's not going to be pretty!  My favorite places are Bryce Canyon, Paris and the beach; favorite authors are Jean Genet, Oscar Wilde, Georges Bataille and Pat Barker.  For fun i love yard sales and flea markets, going out for drinks, the occasional mosh pit even though I am way to old, eating to much popcorn at the movies with my son and, corny as it is, long uninterrupted  hours in my studio.

To end this can you give fellow jewelry makers and designers a bit of advice?  What do you feel is the most important thing for them to remember?  Never give up. Never! There have been many times I have thought about giving in and trading entrepreneurship for a "real job."  It is so freaking hard sometimes.  You just have to be able to keep clear in your vision no matter how many people try to push you this way or that, or just flat out tell you no.  Train yourself to look at every challenge as an opportunity.  Every single thing, from "oh no, they're out of the metal I wanted" to "Vogue Magazine said no to the samples I sent for a story for the twentieth time" to "I'm not going to be able to pay my bills this month."  Learning this resiliency does NOT come easy and at first it's hard to weather.  But you MUST learn how to convert a no into a yes.  And you MUST do it again and again.  And when you have truly mastered that, you will be successful.

So much for emotional advice.  From a practical standpoint, every designer needs a business arm of their company/craft.  Whether it's a friend with an MBA who can help you with the basic P&L sheet to an expert in capitalization, you need someone.  Why?  Because without a business plan, the stresses of running a company will erode your creativity and you will be depleted.  There are lots of people in your life who can fill this role, if you can't afford or don't want to hire someone and they want to help. Let them! Give them some beautiful pieces and it will be a 100% win-win.

SVA studio

I want to thank Victoria for doing this amazing and inspirational interview with me.  There were some key points in it that I needed to hear as an artist, and I hope it can help others as well.  You can find her on Twitter at @chicmetal and find her amazing jewelry on her etsy shop chicmetal and if your looking for her book here is the direct link Chic Metal Jewelry Making

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

MMM, An Exhibition of Fine Art Fashion!

After doing loads of research on Marina L Makaron and reading many interviews I have to admit I am no fashion expert. I do not want to follow in the footsteps of the experts and do another cookie cutter interview. I would like to take a different approach and see it from the art side. Her clothing and accessory line is functional art at i'ts absolute finest! This stuff walks, talks and commands attention with stunning colors and patterns. If you wear MMM you become an exhibition of fine art fashion!

Marina L Makaron

Please give us a bit of history on yourself.
I was born in Moscow, Russia where I grew up. During my childhood my family traveled quite a bit since back then my father was in the army. When I was 12 I came to America but soon left to finish high school since Russian school education is stronger. After high school I came back to the USA where I graduated Drexel University with Magan Cum Laude. Then left to the UK for masters at London School of Economics and back to Russia for the second masters degree at Moscow School Of Economics. My higher education was focused on marketing, international business and media. While in school I traveled and worked in the field of study which helped me understand and develop what today is my brand.

After following your work as well as you personally on twitter and Facebook for about a year now, I see you are very driven. Where do you find this drive to press on and make your brand successful?

Just like creativity, drive has been in my blood, therefore I can not take responsibility for it. My father is a colonel who spend 20 years in the military, so I grew up in a military family where order, endurance and to thrive was a way of life. When I take on a task I do not think that there is an option to fail or not finish, I focus on how high or fast I will achieve it.

I myself have always been blown away by your creativity with color and patterns. Some of my recent work has even partially been inspired by it as well. I noticed that you did not go to design school, but studied business. Where does this almost divine instinct for color come from?

Thank you Ron, the clock that you have created is fantastic! I can not give a source of the "divine instinct" I guess its something I was born with and have to be thankful to my parents for. My father has an impeccable taste and my mom is an artist (she paints, sews, makes wall pieces out of corks, etc) so creativity is something I grew up with. Also, when I was little I was left with my grandma who spent her time raising me on fairy tales, which undoubtedly contributed to the light within my designs.

I am aware that you pride yourself on high quality products and not "fast food fashion". Your silk is of the highest quality, and made with secret old fashioned Russian methods. I know full well that making silk is an art in itself. Please talk about you're attention to detail and the level of craftsmanship that goes into each piece.

Production platforms is what differs each designer. I carefully test and choose people and materials before working with them. I strongly believe that there is no need to stay within the barriers of the box (regardless of how trite that may sound) yet while getting all creative I focus on quality and safety.

You told me when we first started talking that you originally wanted to start with furniture. I hear now you have plans to start a home decor line, what might we expect? Will you be bringing your vibrant colors and flashy style into this venture as well?

First I will focus on carcass free furniture like tear drop seats. And of course I am incorporating my designs in the furniture since that is what I am as a brand.

Now to get away from everything above, I know that you are quite the world traveler. I have enjoyed seeing pictures of you from various trips and adventures. Tell us one of the most memorable or funny stories from your travels.

I have traveled quite alot. It has been in our family tradition plus living in Russia made it easier to visit places. Yet it is difficult to select a single story, I guess I will go with Dubai only because it is a very diverse world filled with oxymoron's. First of all, the visual space is beyond description. Everything is of world record proportions. Tallest building, biggest indoor skiing, biggest outdoor light show and so on. Facilities are clean, organized , and nothing like the stereotypically depicted Arab world. Abundance of food and alcohol, royal attendance, its a dream. Yet you understand that all of this is in the desert where oxygen levels are half of what you are accustomed to and temperatures are of cooking caliber. However, while being a business woman and a leader it was quite difficult to take the back seat since in that culture women are still viewed as submissive. So it was a mixture of head spinning all access heaven and a confusing restricting regime.

To close this out tell us what Art is and means to you and how that pertains to your work.

To me Art is a frozen in time flash of emotions, feelings and perception of the world taken through the personal filter. It is vital to my work since I base my designs on color and shape combinations, which clearly are influenced by my inner state at a particular moment. I believe Art is a way to share your soul with the world.

I think this is my favorite so far.

Above are pictures from the Miami Beach International Fashion Show 2011

A favorite picture of mine from an earlier industrial photo shoot

One of my favortite pictures of Marina in her travels. This really shows the excitement for life that she has!

Please visit MMM and find her on Facebook and Twitter as well.

If you want more info about silk and how it is produced check out this blog post from Tania at Passport to Design.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ostlund Custom Works New Release

Well here it is, the anticipated release of my new work! I have been busy in the shop for about 2 weeks now and have decided to do some things differently. I will be releasing groups of work rather than one at a time. I am also thinking about doing sets of pieces that all go together in a category. You are going to start seeing some things you didn't expect from me! Like the above clock "Curvilinear Abstract" Lets just say I have been inspired a bit!

This clock is more than a clock! It is a stunning piece of functional wall art and is HUGE! I call this clock "Curvilinear Abstract" This was a sudden inspiration I had one morning while looking at my two of my favorite artists online. The first of which is April with Lucas Leaf Creations she makes the most amazing concrete castings using real leaves! The colors and color combinations just grab you and you can't resist staring! I own one of these leaves and I can tell you that pictures do not do it justice. It is quite mesmerizing actually, I just look at it and feel its energy.

The second person is actually a fashion designer but she is an artist none the less! What she does with silk.... the silk worm wishes it could do! Her colors and patterns are in your face and spicy! The styles she comes up with are what true high fashion is all about. Marina L Makaron of MMM (Marina Makaron Moscow) really knows how to get it done! So what this all comes down to is I have been inspired by these people and when you look at their work you will understand why.

"Curvilinear Abstract" is a Huge clock! It is 4ft tall and 6in wide in the center. The aluminum rods are also 4ft long and are upcycled aluminum from Huth machine shop here in Ft Wayne. It uses a high torque movement to turn those long hands! The minute hand is 22.5in long and the hour hand is 18in long. You will really make a statement with this clock on your wall.

This new wall clock uses extruded aluminum air cylinder tubing for the body and a painted face. This deep blood red face was an experiment for me and it turned out great. It is a combination of two different spray paints I had around the shop. It features a continuous sweep clock movement which is my favorite. It has a nice smooth motion instead of the ticking type associated with most clocks. I have to say that this Gothic style is something out of the ordinary for me but it really works. The serpentine hands I had in my "clock stuff box" and they just never fit anything till now. I love it when a plan comes together.

"sexy pendulum"

This next clock is called "Red in the Face" and you can see why! I am going to start with the pendulum because I think it's really cool! It is delicate and even sexy, and is made of a slice of extruded aluminum air cylinder tubing and aluminum rod. I love having more moving elements in my work and a pendulum really does that. The red insert in the bob section really catches your eye! I think you almost start there and then work your way up to the clock. This time I decided to go big with the body and used a much bigger piece. It is an unusual look and really stands out! (no pun intended) This piece also has the Ostlund Custom Works engraved signature plate and title plate included.

Simple is best sometimes! These tea light candle holders are simple but elegant and the perfect accent for your home. These slices of extruded air cylinder tubing from PHDinc are just right for mixing cold metal and hot flame. The ambiance of a candle flame is hard to beat. An interesting shape and multiple facets lends itself to being placed and arranged in many ways. These sets will be in regular production and not one of a kind pieces!

My love for lamps continues here with this cute little MCM style flicker flame bulb night light. The flicker flame bulb is on of my favorites bulbs for its unique flickering filament that mimics a flame. I have this lamp shown here in my son Liam's room on his dresser it is also made of extruded aluminum air cylinder tubing from PHDinc. I really love this material because of its amazing shape and great versatility in my art.

Now here is my second necklace I have made. It is a thin slice of the same tubing I use for a lot of other things, just a smaller diameter. I filed and polished this pendant pretty well but I didn't want to get away from my style so there are still nicks and scratches in it. I don't like to over process anything and my jewelry will be no different. It is an industrial, simple and even beautiful necklace that a man or woman can wear. The closure is a loop and bead style with the bead made from aluminum rod upcycled from Huth machine shop. This will be another production piece and not a one of a kind item. One last thing.....but I wont say too much, Ostlund Custom Works will be coming out with a jewelry line soon! Keep an eye out for it!

Thank you for looking at my new work and taking a bit of time to look at the links on my sidebar. You will find amazing things!!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sayaka Ganz, Art that will move you!

Sayaka with her new piece

Not long ago I decided I wanted to start doing interviews on a few of the things that I enjoyed. Art, interior design, and fashion. I knew right away who I wanted to ask to be my first interview, none other than my favorite artist Sayaka Ganz. I will admit that she has become an "idol" of mine! My good friend Julie Toles intoduced me to her work (back in my art hater stage) and I was moved to tears by what I saw. I was not ready for the impact and emotion I felt looking at this amazing art. A change had occured in me and I have been different ever since.

I first met Sayaka at an art opening at Continuum Art Gallery here in Ft. Wayne. She is one of the nicest and most humble people I have ever met. I was quite nervous to be meeting this amazing artist and was a bit starstruck! Ok alot starstruck, and I still am! Well let me start this interview before I blab my way down the page!

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born in Yokohama, Japan. My family moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil when I was 9 years old and we lived there for almost 5 years. We went back to Japan when I was 13, then moved to Hong Kong and came to the United States to attend university. Up to high school I never graduated from the same school I started in. All these relocations have affected my thinking. It has made me flexible and also made me crave a sense of belonging. I get great comfort from fitting things together, perhaps partially because of these experiences.

Explain to everyone what you do as an artist, in a general sense.

I make organic forms from discarded household plastics that I collect from the thrift shops. Mostly I make animal forms of various colors but I also make more abstract sculptures. I try to use motion lines in my sculptures, just like some old cartoon drawings, to create the illusion that my animals are moving. My process is very experimental and non-traditional but my techniques are almost primitive, I drill holes in the plastic objects and tie them together onto an armature.

I have known you for a little while now and am continually amazed at your work. What drives and inspires you to create new work?

I get the inspiration from the discarded objects themselves. The human history behind each piece is very interesting, someone designed and created this object, someone used and later discarded it. I am also inspired by nature and the life energy of animals. The motion, wind, water current, waves and time.

I feel a tremendous amount of energy in your art. Please explain your philosophy behind your work and how you bring your pieces to life.

My philosophy is that beauty is all around us, but sometimes a shift in perspective is necessary to find it. I try to use the organic forms of the man made plastic and align them in a way that funnels the directional energy into a flowing stream.

What do you like most about the medium that you work with?

The objects that we use around the house are often designed to fit our hands or body and have beautiful curvilinear forms. I love putting odd shapes and forms together like a puzzle, so these objects work very well. I also like all the colors they come in, and that there are subtle variations in colors within each spectrum.

Do you have any plans and goals for the future of your art that you can share with us?

Jim Merz and I are applying for a public art commission in Seattle. I'm in a group exhibition in Washington D.C. in March. I have a commission to create four horse sculptures at the Isle of Man in October and I will make a series of four sculptures (three of marine animals and one of the North Pacific Gyre) for the Monterey Bay Aquarium using plastic debris from the ocean in 2012. My goal would be to find the good balance between having enough work and having too much. Its sometimes difficult to decide which shows I should enter, which invitations or commissions I should accept or reject.

Art tends to have many deffinitions, and means something different to each person. Give us your definition of Art and what it means to you.

Art and beauty cannot be separated in my mind. Some people look for more intellectual stimuli in art, but to me it is more about aesthetic and visual engagement and the messages you broadcast through them. I want to challenge the viewers to try to find beauty in the mundane, find hope in difficult situations and be kinder toward the little "stuff" around us.

I would like to thank Sayaka for letting me do this interview with her and for the wonderful answers she provided me with. I hope that her work can inspire many more people like it has inspired me! If you want to go look at more of her art take a look at the links I have provided. I highly recomend that you take the time to look at them and to "Like" her page on Facebook!/pages/Sayaka-Ganz-Sculptures/139396576111031