Welcome to Our Blog


My name is Penny Cheng, Chainmaille Artist and the Owner/Designer Of Jewelry by Saniki Creations. I am lucky enough to work on my designs at home while taking care of my three girls. Life is hectic, but fun...

This Blog is about my life, my business, and my creations plus I enjoy promoting my fellow Artists.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Meet Cami Tout of Camilee Designs - Featured Artist

Gorgeous Gemstones and Fine Metals are used to create the unique jewelry designed by Cami Tout of Camilee Designs.  Cami is a fellow member of The Artisan Group and I am thrilled to feature her beautiful work and a bit about Cami today.

Cami Tout, Designer

How and when did you discover your love for your craft/art? 
I started making jewelry in 2000.  I was living in downtown Portland, OR working as a telecommunications analyst for a big bank.  At the time I felt overwhelmed by job and I was looking for creative outlets.  I’ve always been crafty, but something felt different to me about making jewelry.  I wanted to know all about it and be great at it all at once.

Do you remember the first piece you ever made?

As a gift, my husband, then boyfriend, bought me a Swarovski crystal necklace and earring set from Nordstrom.  One day while shopping I spotted the necklace and peeked at the price tag and was shocked and a little horrified since we were in our early 20s and definitely couldn’t afford those luxuries!  I went on a mission to re-create that set.  I bought some jewelry making books and magazines and browsed local bead stores for hours, and spent some time googling – although there wasn’t that much info back in the olden days!   After replicating the Swarovski set (For about 5% of the price) I went on to develop my own style. About a year later I opened Camilee Designs and with my husband’s encouragement, left my job at the bank 2 months later to focus on my business full time.

Ruby and Garnet Mini Mosaic Pendant
Every Artist has a creative process, can you explain yours?
I create in my home studio, which looks like a train wreck most of the time.  It is functionally perfect - everything is out in the open for me to reach for when I get inspired, and when I don’t have time to clean up (which I never do!) I just shut the door behind me…haha!  Now that I have it where I want it functionally, I’m working on making my studio more beautiful.  I get terrible artist block (or whatever you call lack of inspiration for a crafter).  All of my ideas come flooding in all at once so I keep a design journal for when that happens and it is my go-to for inspiration during dry spells.

When people start doing their craft/art, they tend to try a lot of different things before settling down to something that resonates with them.  How has your work changed since you began?

When I first started making jewelry I was into really chunky pieces with big pendants.  Now, my line is very delicate.  Honestly, I feel like I am always searching for what resonates with me.  I feel like I find it for a while and then get bored or change my mind and move on.  
sterling silver basset hound necklace - live long
What inspires you creatively?
I find a lot of inspiration in color combinations and patterns in textiles.  I think my best ideas have come from browsing through wallpaper books or looking at bedding sets.  Inspiration can come from the wackiest places for me – a video game, shopping for nail polish, or sometimes just out of thin air.

Can you tell us about some important goals you have achieved with your work?

The most important part of being a maker for me is to be able to offer something that is authentic, original, and truly mine.  I feel like I am always striving for that, but intermixed with my classic pieces, I have some original pieces and lines that I’m really proud of right now. 

Who are some of your favorite artists/crafters and why?

Have you checked out The Artisan Group? ;)  I am in awe on a daily basis.  I admire so many crafters – especially the ones that are very skilled at what they do and have a cohesive look about their branding/product.
Mom Necklace - Sterling Silver Flower Bouquet Engraved w/4 Charms
(pictured is a Personalized Celebrity Gift sent to Jessica Alba via The Artisan Group)
Any goals for the future you would like to share?
I have 2 retail opportunities and a wholesale opportunity that I would really like to make happen.  My goal for this year is to have more time to produce new items so that I can make them a reality!

What do you do in your spare time?

Up until a few months ago when I injured myself I spent a lot of my spare time running.  I’m hoping that I can start up again!  I spend a lot of time doing crafts with my daughter who is 4 and during the growing season I love to tend to my vegetable garden. I also really, really enjoy red wine, really.
Cami and her adorable daugher
If you are displaying or selling your craft/art? Where?
I sell on Etsy at camileedesigns.etsy.com  I also sell my jewelry at a great local shop called Elizabeth’s House of Wax.

If you sell online or at physical store.  How many hours per week to you spend in the creative side versus the business side?
On an average week I spend about 10 hours/week on the creative side of my business:  designing and creating items and about 10 hours/week on the business side of my business:  photographing and listing new items, buying materials, marketing, facebook, twitter, etc.  When my daughter starts school full time I hope to get back to a full time schedule! J

What advice would you give to someone who want to start out or start a business in their craft/art?

It takes a lot of time!  It takes a lot of patience!  It can be very emotional at times to share your art with the world, but there is no job I would trade it for!

If there is anything else you want to add, please feel free to do so.

Find me on facebook at:  www.facebook.com/camileedesigns
I love to tweet:  www.twitter.com/camileedesigns
Thank you Cami!  Be sure to also follow Cami's BLOG!

Until next time, thank you everyone for reading about this talented artist.  Come back Friday, January 13, 2012 for our Feature of Libbi Shorts of Mt. Baldy Glassworks.

Penny Cheng

1 comment:

  1. Great job Cam I love all your stuff cant wait for the rings!!!


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