When asked to describe her work, Anne said: “I make wearable items that inspire, encourage, and comfort the spirit in all of us. I love colors and textures. Many of my pieces can be customized with a name, idea or Hebrew word.” Anne’s spirit and art shine in the work at her shop, Down to Earth Creations.
What's in your Etsy shop?
Judaica and spiritual, customizable jewelry made from silver, glass and semi-precious stone.
How did you learn your craft?
I have all kinds of eclectic arts education, although I graduated with my B.A. in ~ anthropology! I went to both School of Visual Arts and Parson's School of Design in New York for graphic and interior design. I also attended Hebrew University in Jerusalem for a year abroad program in college. So you see, no direction, just bouncing all over! How did you come to choose your craft? A fellow jeweler turned me on to beads and silver. I found that it was a natural relaxant and really helped me calm down and find a peaceful place inside. My "day job" is web design, and that's so logical, so linear, although my focus is on layout and visual (what they call the "front end.") The jewelry is like a waking dream, I get so in the "zone."
What materials do you use?
I started with stringing silver with Czech transparent glass, semi-precious stone and lampwork glass. I love the Czech pressed glass shapes, you can see how beautiful they are in Peppermint:
Presently I am doing a lot of work in beadweaving, where small Japanese Miyuki or Toho seed beads are sewn together in various patterns to make amazing objects. The reason mainly is for portability - my son joined a soccer team that met three times a week so I needed projects that could pack up and get brought out on the field. I've become fascinated by the amazing variety of possibilities in this area of beadwork. For the last six months I've been fooling around with various patterns to create bead-woven Stars of David, such as in this kippah:
What do you use for inspiration?
I just love beads, especially those that reflect light or come in interesting colors or textures. They elevate my spirit in their tubes or on their strands! I just let them carry me away somewhere.
Why is EtsyChai important to you?
I really love Etsy but other teams I've joined seemed lacking in purpose. The new EtsyChai has really energized me and my sales have doubled. I love the talent and spirit here, and enjoy being part of this wonderful community on Etsy.
Do you have special items for holidays/Judaica?
I have beaded kippahs, wine charms for Shabbat and holidays, Hebrew word bracelets, Star of David beadwoven earrings and Kippahs, Hamsa and evil eye jewelry!
Eshet Chayil (Czech and Swarovski crystal with sterling Hebrew letter cubes)
Do you sell outside Etsy?
I do a lot of word of mouth sales here in my Jewish community, which encompasses the JCC, my Reconstructionist congregation Am Haskalah, and the Jewish Day School. The local handmade store wants my stuff, so I have to figure out what pieces would be profitable to make when the store takes 50% of the selling price.
Photos are so important; do you have any special process for taking yours?
I take photos either outside on my roofed patio in the afternoon or at night on my bead table with three bright Ott-style lights. It depends on the materials in the piece.
Silver seems to really like natural light, glass and crystal often do best on a white background with the artificial lights and surrounded by white foam board. I use the foam board on the patio, too, to reflect the daylight on the "dark" side of the piece. It's two squares of foam core taped to make an angle. Works well. I do take photos into Photoshop and make some adjustments if needed, such as changing the white balance.
Think in terms of how to "create" an amazing photograph. Your photo is sort of an art work on its own independent of its being of the creation you are selling. Try interesting angles. You need at least 3 shots - one interesting for the first picture [in Etsy listings], one close-up to show a cool detail, one overhead of the whole piece. Then you can add another interesting angle or a picture of the piece on a person. Make sure you keep in mind how Etsy's front page looks. Try to take photos in harmony with that style.
You can use an inexpensive camera but you must use the macro setting. If it's not the greatest (won't let you get really close) take it as close as you can get and then crop in a photo editing program. Crop in really close. See how close you can go without losing the essence of what the piece is. If you can find and change your ISO setting to 80 or some such. This will give your photo less artifacting. The camera often defaults to a fast speed if you're taking your photo in daylight but not in direct sunlight, because there's less bright light. Then the photo gets grainy. Don't shoot in bright sunlight. It's okay if it's a sunny day but find a place in the shade. Sunlight is too bright and will cast harsh shadows.
Around the Web:
I loved reading Anne’s photography tips, and her work is truly beautiful! Enjoy visiting her links and be sure to share what you think here. - Tamdoll