Today I am pleased to introduce to you Diane Perry of Catcophony - Wearable Art. A fellow member of The Artisan Group, Diane's vision of unique jewelry designs handmade with an array of metals, stones, clay and glass has peaked interest from all over.
How and when did you discover your love for your craft/art?
I have been engaged in art since I was very young. My mother’s side of the family are both trained and untrained artists-mostly painters in oil or watercolor mediums. So since a young age I was encouraged to pursue all forms of art. In High School I was one of the artists for our school’s literary and arts magazine. In College and graduate I did not pursue art as a vocation (went into the Health Sciences), but I always found time to learn a new craft. I really like to make things—so everything from stenciling to basket weaving to painting—kept me out of trouble and fed the right side of my brain. I found Martha Stewart Living and through her magazines and books she really showed me the variety of things one can make.
Do you remember the first piece you ever made?
That depends on whether you mean first piece of art or first piece of jewelry. One of the first art pieces I clearly remember was a plaster fresco painted with tempera paint I made from scratch….jewelry, was a pair of earrings in silver and gemstones. They were very rough- style wise. I realized they needed significant fine tuning and found a number of great videos on the internet and watched-watched-watched and practiced-practiced-practiced. I am a very visual learner, so those artisans who shared the basic techniques were such a blessing!
|Copper Dragonfly Pendant|
I sketch a lot of ideas, but frankly refer to my ‘idea book’ infrequently. Most often I sit at my bench and see what hits me and start fiddling with combinations. Sometimes I will see a technique for another art form or craft and say, “how would that be in copper or on copper or….” I really love to take something developed for another craft and morph it into a unique piece of jewelry. I really love sitting with someone who has asked me to create something for them and talking through our joint vision of a piece. The greatest joy is when you show them the final piece and theirs eyes light up and dance with excitement.
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?
I love silver and wanted to work in sterling. But it can make for an expensive trial and error experience—more so now with the silver prices than when I started 5 years ago—so I purchased copper and practiced and tried out ideas with it. I found I loved the outcome in copper and have gravitated to working more in that metal than any other. I still work in silver, but not as much as copper. Which is probably serendipitous since if you spit in any direction at most shows, the internet—you hit a jewelry artist. You have to find a niche and build on it.
|Brown Lip Shell Bracelet|
What doesn’t? The usual items such as nature and organic items are focal to a lot of my work, but more often than not it comes out of left field.
Can you tell us about some important goals you have achieved with your work?
Thanks to the amazing group of talented and sharing artisans of The Artisan Group I have found both a nurturing environment to learn and grow and an extraordinarily supportive group of people. This may not sound like a goal, but when you have a small business and pretty much are it-CEO, CFO, lackey—you don’t have anyone to ‘bounce’ ideas off of and questions. It also is tough to find and disseminate all information that is out there. But this group is my ‘board of directors and in the short time I have been a member I have learned volumes. Thanks to The Artisan Group my jewelry was recently featured in the GBK Oscars Gift Lounge preceding the Academy Awards and will also be at the MTV Movie Awards later this year. Who would have thought my jewelry would go “Hollywood!”
|Oscar Earrings in Copper|
It may seem a cliché to say Martha Stewart, but she really put crafting/DIY at the forefront and frankly made it cool to make your own things. Donna Kato gave me inspiration to try not only polymer clay, but sculpting—something I never felt I could do—and showed me the myriad of things one could do with this wonderful medium. Hadar Jacobson opened me to the possibilities with metal clays and shared her experiences and techniques. From a purely art perspective, I am an avid lover of all of Monet’s impressionist paintings. There is an elegant simplicity that resonates with me.
Any goals for the future you would like to share?
My overall long-term goal is to grow my business so I can buy more tools and gadgets—I admit it, my name is Diane and I am a tool/gadget junkie—and take tons of classes at some of my favorite folk-art schools. There are so many techniques and crafts I would like to try and to learn.
|Agate & Carnelian Necklace|
I love to garden and here in NE Georgia we have a very welcoming climate for that. I also enjoy reading, golf, antiquing, bird watching, and hiking.
If you are displaying or selling your craft/art? Where?
I sell both online on ArtFire and Supadupa and at art shows.
|Antique Silver & Turquoise Dragonfly Ring|
I try to divide each day between the fun of creating/making and the mundane side. You have to grow what you are making and you have to grow the business, too. During tax season, the mundane gets much more time.
What advice would you give to someone who want to start out or start a business in their craft/art? Learn all you can about the art/craft you want to pursue and then pick a niche within it to expand and make
*****Thank you Diane for letting us get to know you and your beautiful work! Be sure to visit and follow Diane and her "Wearable Art" at the sites below.