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.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Meet Nikki Cutro of 13 Black Cats Designs - Featured Artist

It's my pleasure today to feature Nikki Cutro of 13 Black Cats Designs.  Nikki's artistic talents consists of beautiful photography, illustrations and hand painted jewelry.  Nikki is also the Managing Partner of The Artisan Group.

Nikki Cutro, Artist
How and when did you discover your love for your craft/art?
It was always there. I don't remember a time where I didn't have something in my hand to create, pull apart, refurbish or build. My favorite toys weren't Barbies, they were Legos.

Do you remember the first piece you ever made?
Yes, it was a picture of chicken soup and it said on top "You make good soup" I made it for my Nana when I was four or five. We used to make soup all the time together. The other one that sticks out in my mind is an acrylic painting I did of my cat. His name was Sylvester and he was a grey tabby with one eye and one ear. He was my best buddy so it was naturalI would paint him.

Every Artist has a creative process, can you explain yours?
That is a hard question that made me giggle a little bit. I am a typical artist that is a bit flighty and has an attention span of a gnat unless it catches my eye to paint. Usually it is an animal, bug, or flower. Then I can stare at it all day until the image is burned in my brain or I can visualize how a particular animal moves. Normally there is no rhyme or reason as to how I create. It just happens, or it doesn't. I never fight it because I find that when I do I am not happy with anything. It is ok if I do not paint for weeks because I know when something is ready to come out it will be good.

I also have a tendency to flit through different mediums. I have been known to paint, bead on a loom, woodwork, light carpentry, silversmith, casting, sew, etch, weave, make baskets, carve, sculpt, pull everything apart to see if I can put it together again and well let us just say if it can be turned into something else I usually have my hands in it.

Hand-painted Floral Alice's Tea Party
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?
It really hasn't changed, for me anyway. I still try new things all the time, revisit things I once did and try to improve techniques I already know. My subject matter has always been natural things. My mind tends to go to the dark side so I always paint light to balance things out.

What inspires you creatively?
Could be anything, a colour, a smell, even the wind inspired a painting or two. A lot of time it is a memory of my past that I interpret in my own

Can you tell us about some important goals you have achieved with
your work?
I have met a lot of really talented people in the past few years and it has led me to do some tremendously fun things including showing my work to a whole lot of celebrities. The most important thing though is when I am able to donate my work to a local animal rescue so they can raffle it off to help pay for their operating costs.

Tiger Eyes Hand-Painted Canvas Bronze Necklace
Who are some of your favorite artists/crafters and why?
I have a few. Otto Dix and George Grosz both for their ability to interpret the things that were going on around them and in Otto's instance, deal with the atrocities he witnessed. Dali is another. I gained a great appreciation of his work after seeing some of his pieces in St Petersburg. He was an amazing, intriguing man and lastly Van Gough. I have grown to have a great respect for him in the past few years and I can relate to him on a personal level. It is funny how you look at a print of a painting and wonder what everyone sees as so special until you get a chance to see the actual painting, the brush strokes and colors and then you just get it.

Any goals for the future you would like to share?
I will just be happy if I am always able to paint or create. I think life would be torture without that ability.

What do you do in your spare time?
Spare time? I do not know of this but if I did have such things and the money I would travel all over Europe. I used to like to garden and read. I did read a LOT of books but sadly time gets away now.

If you are displaying or selling your craft/art? Where?
I am. I am currently on Zazzle where my main work is located, I have several shops there. I just started a Society 6 shop. I sell cards on Greeting Card Universe and I am also working on a shop on SupaDupa for my hand-painted jewelery. I hope to launch it once the awards shows are
Vineyard Nymph Hand-painted Necklace
If you sell online or at physical store. How many hours per week
to you spend in the creative side versus the business side?

Lately it has been taking a back burner to other life issues but I try to do 50/50 as both are very important and they are done around my "grown up jobs"

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

Be realistic. It is very difficult to make it as an artist even if you have a tremendous amount of skill. Be persistent and develop a thick skin and most of all do it because that is what you love to do.
Thank you Nikki!  Be sure to check out Nikki's
Tune in next week, we will be featuring the following The Artisan Group member's works and talents:   Lucy Chapman (Seasons of Wool), Christine Lorenzo (Sari Blue Jewelry), and Susan White & Ashley White (Wicked Wench Soapworks)

Penny Cheng


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