Featured Artist: Michelle Cox Photography

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This striking photo is just one of the dramatic art pieces produced by Michelle Cox of  “Michelle Cox Photography” Chicago Illinois.  As you will see in her interview, Michelle’s view of life in America today is nothing but ” up front “, combining what is happening in our world and economy today with dramatic still shots of our history.  Her work is purely surreal.  Please visit her sites, it will remind you of who you are and where you came from. ( It seems that Michelle has a playful side as well, take note of her very interesting hobbies.)
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Name of Business: Michelle Cox Photography

* Link to my shop: www.etsy.com/people/michellecoxphoto

* About me: I am fun-loving happy blond little miss that, if seen in the wrong light, can take some of the most depressing pictures in the world. 🙂 I do enjoy a subject matter that is not too often understood, however my passion is to show people things about the world that they might never see.
I grew up and still reside in Midwest America, specifically the Chicago-land area. So much of this area is dead now, outgrown by the world’s technological age. My goal is to shed some light that. I want to make the “walls” of a place talk, one last time before they are gone for gone.

* My craft or talent: I am a photographer. I guess i would call a lot of my work… journalist artwork. All of the images are left untouched, meaning that I find the natural composition when I arrive at an abandoned area. I never feel that it is my place to disturb anything when I am there. I merely look for the proper lighting and adjust my position to that. Then the fun begins…

* How I do my craft: I primarily work with digital imagery but I work with film and digital. Capturing an image, I feel, is one of the most amazing things to do, so whatever medium i have to accomplish that, i will use.

* What lead me to my craft: I have always been interested in art however when I was one class shy of graduating college I pulled up an easy “A” that happened to be intro to photography, and I fell in love. Since then I have made it my goal to create, in my photography, the way that I see the world, the way that life looks in my mind.

* My other interests or hobbies: I enjoy any kind of art or design. I love to go on adventures, I love to travel. I adore classic holiday. Not just an acknowledgment of the time but an “I am obsessed with the time period and know everything about it” adoration. My heart truly belongs in the 1940s. I enjoy to sing and tap dance… I love cooking and baking. AND I love coffee, and couldn’t do the girl I am without it. 🙂

* My other links, blogs, websites:
michellecoxphotography.zenfolio.com/
www.flickr.com/people/lonelydove36
www.flickr.com/people/michellecoxphotography

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FEATURED ARTIST: Aikuzzura Titanium Flutes

This unique artist is as spiritually talented as he is creative.

* Name of Business: Aikuzzura Titanium Flutes
* Link to my shop: www.aikuzzuraflutes.etsy.com
* About you: My name is Kudos Aikuzzura. That means, “the Holy Temple of Love, Light, and Spirit. Passion is the word I most often use to express who I am. What ever I am doing, it is my desire to be fully present in the experience, be it love, music,exercise, food or even stillness. I am a multi-faceted being and I do not believe in “Can’t”. I have spent a large majority of my life in self discovery. Always, I have wanted to alleviate the suffering of those I see everywhere, and so I have pursued knowledge and abilities toward that end. My Flutes are an important aspect in that self discovery. I have also studied the healing arts and in particular. I have been trained by my Vietnamese Master Luong Minh Dang for many years. As I have said, I am passionate and I love people, so as a teacher, I am passionate toward helping others. Now, as for music, there is a saying; ” Music in the soul can be heard by the universe”. It is very often that I experience music in my heart and mind. How wonderful is it that we have this gift of music!!!
* My craft or talent: Handcrafting titanium flutes.
* How I do my craft: As I begin to create a new flute, I start by sketching the outline shape, or profile image. The most significant aspect of the process is visualization. What is the feeling which the imagined form invokes? For me personally, the flute is inescapably somewhat of a spiritual instrument. By this, I mean that due to the fact that the very air which sustains life is what one uses to express themselves in music. Now that I have the basic form in mind, it will be translated intuitively through my hands as I form the parts. A number of processes take place in order to ensure that the finished product is both aesthetically pleasing and acoustically accurate. I feel that science and spirit come together in the making of a musical instrument. Much emphasis is placed on the head of the flute, especially the crown. Throughout history mankind has built temples as sacred places where by he could learn of his spiritual being. Many of the crowns I create are inspired by these temples. As man himself is a temple, it is my desire that as one plays my flute, that he will be drawn to his temple within. The flute in its form and function is very much like the human body with its portals which interface the inner and outer worlds. Much about ourselves can be discovered thru music and like the flute, it is the openings which allows the awakening to unfold.
* What lead me to my craft: Since an early age, I have had an interest in energy, pyramids, crystals, healing, and the like. In particular, the areas of light and music and the ways in which they impact our emotional states and well being. As a child, I grew up watching the T-V show Kung Fu with David Carridine playing Kwai Chang Cain. As Kwai Chang went about his many adventures, he would find peace in meditating while playing his bamboo flute. This resonated with some deep part of my being and I knew that one day I too would make a flute and enjoy the companionship of music. I was aware of the problems associated with bamboo cracking and so I went about finding a material which was light, strong, and not affected by the elements. At the time, titanium was starting to be used in various applications, most notably in the bicycle industry. I decided to test my theory and purchased a titanium handle bar for mountain bikes. Although it looked a lit strange, the sound was so mellow and resonant, perfect for a flute, but the shape wasn’t the ideal for most players. Once I found a supplier of titanium, the process of getting tools which were capable of working with this metal became a most intense process. Titanium requires some very specific tooling to work with due to certain physical properties inherent in the metal. This equaled a few broken tools in the beginning. Titanium is fairly expensive as well, but all things considered, the final result is an instrument of superior quality in every aspect. Used very often for weapons of war, I am very thankful to use this awesome material for creating an instrument of peace.
* Tell us about you, your history, interesting facts: I am a bit of a precision freak in that I admire precision craftsmanship. I have a great appreciation for time pieces and fine jewelry work. Any craft which uses skill such as bead work, sculpting, metalwork, painting, you name it. from the most sophisticated micro-chip to the most grand architecture, the human creativity seems limitless. From age thirteen, I began taking an interest in physical fitness and so in a way I enjoy creating my own body, and I admire the beauty and strength in others as they endeavor to create their own bodies. I remember something Yanni said some years ago, “life is precious, all of life and one must try to take in as much of it as possible, until the last moment”. I also remember in my younger years something said by the flamboyant Liberace, “Enough is good, more is better, and too much is just right”. Certainly in the realm of creative life these words would be aptly applied. So much can be said about my interests, but it is all best shared with good friends over music with a cup of jasmine tea or a good red wine.
*Additional notes about the flutes: All are completely hand crafted by Kudos Aikuzzura. Both my flutes and piccolos are made in the key of D at this time. I offset the holes a bit to accommodate different hand sizes. All of my flutes are open hole Folk flute style and require no mechanical parts or maintenance. They can be cleaned using common dish soap, preferably the non-abrasive type, as that would scratch the material. Titanium is impervious to nearly all chemicals and is Hypo-allergenic (does not cause reactions to the human body). Titanium is acoustically comparable to the precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum, and in certain aspects, it is superior. Titanium metal has its visual counterpart in the gemstone world as Titania with an extremely high refractive index, I.E. it creates lots of “fire”. Titanium is stronger and lighter than stainless steel and is thereby less likely to incur serious damage as would be experienced with wood or precious metals. And, as I have mentioned, that it sounds great and looks great too.

Etsy Artist: Beaded Art Jewelry

Susan from Beaded Art Jewelry, goes beyond conventional jewelry crafting with her stunningly detailed beaded art pieces. Her rich choice of color and intricate design remind me of a royal Egyptian or Indian headdress. I would love to have one of her bangles!

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Name of business: Beaded Art Jewelry by Susan A. Pierle
Links to my shop: http://www.beadedartjewelry.etsy.com
About You: I have been beading for over 15 years and have loved every minute of it.
I am mostly self taught from wonderful books and magazines for learning technique and inspiration.
I have taken classes in drawing, watercolor painting, silkscreen, etching, photography,
basket weaving, and glass fusing.
I grew up on the Gulf Coast of Florida and spent all my time on the beaches there painting sunsets and collecting shells to make jewelry and wind chimes.
I moved to Tennesse where I met my husband of 31 years and lived in the Smokey Mountains.
That was an inspiring place to be, I met some amazing young artist selling thier work and I knew I had to do the same someday.
We moved to Wyoming, another inspiring place, the mountains and landscape, I had to draw and paint it.
We came to Colorado Springs in 1984 and have been here ever since. This is where I started beading and selling my work. Every thing I had learned along the way came together and I found what I wanted to do.
My craft or talent: Creating wearable art jewelry with seed beads, fused glass, crystals and natural stones.
How I do my craft: When I make a one of a kind piece it starts with a focal piece of glass, one I might of made or a vintage button, a crystal, or a stone.
It is glued down and I start searching my seed beads for all the colors coming out of it. Then I just start beading and we’ll see what happens.
I do have a sketchbook and draw my designs too.
I love to do bead embroidery the most, but there are so many wonderful bead weaves to learn and create with, so I am always being pulled in different directions. It’s never boring.
What lead me to my craft: The desire to sell what I love to do.
My other interst or hobbies: Photographing flowers, camping and hiking, music festivals and having fun with good friends.

Other links or sites: http://www.myheartglass.etsy.com

Etsy Artist: JLWoodturning

This is Jerry from J & L Woodturning. After reading his interview, I can just imagine his journey from the beginning and relate to it in my own life and my journey into handcrafting. His work is spectacular!

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Name of Business: J & L Woodturning
Link to my shop: http://jlwoodturning.etsy.com
About you: I am a carpenter, by trade. I have worked in the field of construction since graduating from high school. There is not much that I haven’t done or attempted to do in this line of work. I have lived in the beautiful hills of West Virginia all my life. I am married and have two children that are in college.
My craft or talent: I turn wooden bowls and cowboy hats on a lathe.
How I do my craft: The art of woodturning is using a lathe to mount a piece of wood and with the use of gouges, removing anything that you don’t want there. I work in the corner of my garage, but I have hopes of somday building a shop to work in. I like to work with green wood – wood that has recently been cut and not dried out. Most of the wood I use is local wood from trees that have fallen from a storm or someone has cut down. I look for unusual pieces – diseased wood, spalted (almost rotting) wood, burls (abnormal growths on trees) or crotches where two limbs meet. These have the most character and will produce the prettiest bowls. I sand the bowls while they are on the lathe and finish the drying process in the microwave. The cowboy hats are also turned from green wood and using rubber bands are bent into their shape.
What led me to my craft: I started woodturning when my brother, also a wood turner, gave me his old lathe and said, “See what you can do.” With his help in showing me how to sharpen my tools and the basics, it wasn’t long until I was hooked. I spent every spare moment at the lathe, just trying to see what I could do. After turning for three months, I juried for and was accepted at Tamarack, WV – an arts and craft showcase of the best of West Virginia. With the help of my wife, I started selling on my etsy site last year and I love it.
My other interests or hobbies: Other things I like are hunting and fishing, riding a 4-wheeler and watching sports on tv.
My other links, blogs:
http://etsylounge.blogspot.com
http://hintjewelry.blogspot.com

FEATURED ARTIST: DraconianRain

This amazingly detailed drawing is from Laura at DraconianRain. She is new to Etsy, but this is my very favorite of her drawings.

* Name of Business : Draconian Rain
* Link to my shop:
http://draconianrain.etsy.com
http://stores.lulu.com/draconianrain (will be a short while till I add some items, this is where I will sell my graphic novels)
* About you:
I am an Australian artist with a great interest in Japanese manga and pop art. I spend what ever spare time I have on my art and working on my graphic novels. I am now teaching others to draw manga. In some countries this may not be much but for Australia it is for those wanting to learn. There aren’t as many resources here and it is hard to learn much about it, which is why I offer lessons. I have taught people of all kinds of ages and some are better than me now which makes me really happy to know that I helped them to get where they are today.
* My craft or talent:
Drawing or just about anything art related.
* How I do my craft:
I make my art in various ways. So far I am working on my digital art and airbrushing skills. I am best at pencil/graphite drawings and giving them soft textures which is particularly effective when drawing children and babies. I love working in charcoal and making detailed work with them and when I use it I tend to use hard charcoal to get the most detail possible. I always listen to music when I draw or have a specific song playing over and over that relates to my art. I prefer to work in large areas. Usually on the floor or under a tree.
* What lead me to my craft:
I have been drawing ever since I could hold a pencil so I guess you could say that I was born with it. I am only 20 now and still haven’t stopped drawing and I doubt I ever will.
* My other interests or hobbies:
Manga, Anime, Ice skating, giving gift art and doing art trades, teaching others to draw and writing
* My other links, blogs, websites:
http://draconianrain.livejournal.com/
http://draconianrain.blogspot.com/
http://twitter.com/draconian_rain
http://www.mangabullet.com/visit/Saphira
http://saphira.paperdemon.com/
http://www.ratemydrawings.com/user/Saph/ (on this site you can watch how I made my work as a flash)

FEATURED ARTIST: MATTSART

I am in awe, just viewing this artists site. Some day maybe, I can own one if his paintings!!!

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* Name of Business: Mattsart Fine Art Paintings – The Art of Matthew Hamblen
* Link to my shop: http://www.mattsart.etsy.com/
* About you: I love painting more than breathing. I’m self-taught and have been at it for more than a decade now. I’m very happy that my work touches so many people.
* My craft or talent: Painting
* How I do my craft: Painting (funny Matt!)
* What lead me to my craft: Instinct – being an artist is in my blood, and it found me and owned me before I even knew what happened!
* My other interests or hobbies: TV, friends, the usual.
* My other links, blogs, websites: I may have the website http://www.matthewhamblen.com actually functional with more than just a directory soon. I’m not sure yet if I’ll develop it, or just keep plugging away on Etsy (which is fun too!)
*Be sure to tell us about you, your location, history, interesting facts:
I’m in beautiful North Carolina in the Piedmont. Right in the middle of the state so I can visit the mountains or the ocean without going too far.
I love it here – one way I spend time is just driving around in the hills here. It’s like driving around in a landscape painting it’s all so beautiful. I can just get lost down here all day, and love every minute of it!

Then I come home and try to put those adventures on canvas for you!

FEATURED ARTIST: StudioHaus

StudioHaus Is pretty new to Etsy, but her vivacious photos speak volumes!

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* Name of Business: StudioHaus
* Link to my shop: http://studiohaus.etsy.com/
* About you: From a very young age, I have been in love with arts and crafts. I use to spend summers with my grandparents: my Grannie would teach me how to crochet and do creative projects while my Papa would take me in his wood shop and help me make things. Those are some of my fondest childhood memories. I think this is why I feel happiest when I am creating or doing something artist.
* My craft or talent: My main passion is photography. I love knowing that I’m capturing a moment that will never be the exactly that same way ever again and getting to share that with other people makes my day.
* How I do my craft: Outdoors and nature inspire almost all of my photography. Often some of my best pictures come from little mini adventures with my husband throughout the Midwest. I also do a lot of fireworks and life photography.
* What lead me to my craft: I’ve always loved the arts and began working in a photo studio several years ago but soon realized that my passion was more in capturing things in nature.
* My other interests or hobbies: I love going out to coffee shops and hanging out with friends. I also enjoy making envelopes and cards just for fun.
* My other links, blogs, websites:
http://studiohaus.blogspot.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/studiohaus/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Studio-Haus/216333265373